Computing

Installing Arch Linux with an encrypted root

I’ve got a ThinkPad T410. I got it off craigslist in what was a somewhat shady transaction. Regardless, it came with a 300GB spinner. Not interested in finding out how much life was left on it I got a solid state replacement from NewEgg for “Cyber Monday”. A 240GB Intel one for $110, that’s less than 50 cents per GB!

The spinner has a single unencrypted partition with Arch Linux running on it. I wanted to run Arch on an encrypted partition. The main reason: If it’s ever stolen I don’t want to have to worry about any of the data on it. Bonus reason: Geek/spy points.

So, while there are excellent guides for installing Arch, and setting up encryption, and optimizing an SSD, there don’t seem to be any combining the three. In reality it’s not that much more difficult, and if you are motivated to setup encryption on Linux in the first place you probably know what you’re doing. Still, I was disheartened a bit at the lack of information so I decided to note how I went about it in general.

Interesting Spam

Akismet is really good at preventing spam, but I’ve noticed that spammers don’t even seem to be trying sometimes. This is what’s in my spam queue: {I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. {It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did, the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever

Updating WordPress on nearlyfreespeech.net hosts

Update Dec. 13, 2014:

These scripts are out of date. NFS has the WP-CLI installed allowing for much, much easier upgrades, backups, etc. See the repository for information.

Originally posted on Sept. 10th, 2014:

If you use NearlyFreeSpeech.net as your web host, you may have found it difficult to automate WordPress updates. I’ve made a script that does this for you. It also calls my backup and permissions fixing scripts, which I include here as well.

Beware of some notes and assumptions though:

  • Assumes WordPress is installed in /home/public/ (not a subdir of it)
  • Scripts are assumed to be in /home/private/
  • Does not check or recover from errors

Windows Backup

After installing Windows 7 in place of OS X on my MacBook Pro for work, there are only a few things I miss. But man, they were really nice. Unix shell Time Machine The first one I’ll just say if you haven’t used a Unix-like shell of some type (Bash, zsh, whatever) then it’s hard to explain. Just that you can do everything a GUI can do (save for graphics work), but much, much faster.

D-Link DIR-860L Woes

For the past week our internet service has been slowed to a crawl. Like, dial-up speeds: 0.8/0,1 Mbps (so 100 kB/s down, 12 kB/s up). I tried restarting our 8 year old modem, our brand new router. I eventually gave up and called Comcast and had a cable guy come out and check the signal level. He says it’s fine, but our modem is the culprit. So, I figure he’s right and besides, it’s an ancient modem anyway.

GAWMiner Fury

So I’m attempting to jump on the Scrypt based ASIC coin mining bandwagon. I got a GAWMiner Fury to try out. It came with a free ZenMiner, which is a Raspberry Pi with a custom image that runs mining software automatically, and connects to a 3rd party website to allow remote control and monitoring.

Image no longer available :(

GAWMiner Fury and ZenMiner

It came with everything needed to power up and get started. The included instructions just mention how to get started using the ZenMiner, so it’s pretty skimpy compared to most other packaged products. Being an ASIC cryptocurrency miner, it’s already a specialty device so you likely know what you are doing. Still, the ZenMiner is geared to newcomers so they can easily start mining. In that respect I think it still needs work as the ZenOS web interface is pretty but limited.

Windows bugs

Over the years I’ve noticed a couple bugs that are present in in some or all of NT/Vista/7. I experience these on a daily basis, across dozens of computers. So it can’t just be me, right? Focus bug. If the timing is right, some windows remain on top despite clicking on a background window. The background window obtains focus, but does not move to the front. This is typically when the foreground window does some focus changing action (Showing a dialog, opening a new tab, etc.

Arch Linux on Lenovo ThinkPad T410

I picked up a really cheap ThinkPad T410 from Craigslist. First-gen mobile Core i5, 4GB, 320GB drive and most importantly: 1440×900. A 40% increase in horizontal space (and 17% vertical). Finally I can tune without trying to get TunerStudio to fit. Installing Arch was quick, as usual. The laptop has a fingerprint reader, which works really well in Linux. Now I can log in with a finger swipe-although you have to press enter after swiping.

Exporting Drupal Pages/Posts to WordPress

I’ve decided to consolidate some of my web presence. My car’s website will be merged into this one. Going from WordPress to Drupal is easy, but the other way is not. I found a couple links for SQL scripts to import lots of posts automatically, but these were and are easily outdated by Drupal and to a lesser extent WordPress. It was easier just to create my own SQL JOIN statement and export the resulting list.