When I want to test the data rates of networks I connect my PC to, I usually use wget to run a large file download from a public server to /dev/null. In the uplink I use an FTP server on the other side to push a file with randomized content. But actually, that is rather crude as there is a convenient tool available: iperf3
After having read a couple of classics lately, I decided to go for some contemporary science fiction for a change. For me that’s a rather difficult domain because most science fiction these days seems to by dystopian which I don’t really enjoy at all. So I select my science fiction carefully. One book I recently picked up is Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, as the storyline sounded interesting and promised something other than a plain dystopian story.
This post might be a bit out of the overall context but I thought it couldn’t hurt to loose a few words about a recent coding project of mine. As you might have noticed, I have put some of my queer open source projects on Gitlab after emigrating from Github last year. Most of the things there are quite particular and probably only interesting to few. Recently, however, I was looking for a way to generate Libreoffice Writer documents on the PHP based server part of a web application and thought that there must at least be half a dozen projects in public repositories with a solution for me. To my surprise it turned out that this was not the case, so I set out to put a library together on my own and open source it for others to benefit as well.
When I migrated from my Samsung S5 to an S9 smartphone last year I also made the significant step to run LineageOS without any Google Apps or frameworks on top. This has improved my privacy even further as the device does not talk to Google at all anymore now (*). The only major downside is that without the Google Play app, access to the standard app store is not possible per default. But there’s a fix for this!
As I travel a lot I kept a close eye on falling roaming costs over the years. On the one hand every price reduction offsets increasing volume requirements due to the continuing increase of website and document sizes. On the other hand, additional data volume for the same price as before gives me additional autonomy from local Wifi access that is often patchy and slow and allows me to do new and more data intensive things even while not at home. When I was recently in Dubai, I was glad to notice that my mobile network operator of choice has increased the amount of data I can get for €25 from 500 MB back in December 2018 to 1 GB in January 2019. In both cases, the data bucket was valid for up to a week and additional packages could be bought when running out of data earlier.
This nice increase also allowed me to add one more thing to my list of services I use while roaming outside the EU: VoWifi over LTE. Continue reading 25 Euros per Roaming Gigabyte Now and WB-AMR From Dubai
2D barcodes on mobile devices have been around even before the advent of 3G networks. The first time I mentioned the technology on my blog was in 2006 but for more than a decade, nothing much was done with the technology, at least not in Europe anyway. But now, 13 years later, I catch myself actually using them for a variety of things and I noticed how ideal they are to send digital information through space and time over quite unexpected channels.
It’s sad to see history repeating itself. Back in 2012 one network operator in the US that, at the time, had not yet introduced LTE decided to just rebrand its dual carrier HSPA network into 4G. Done, a 4G network overnight out of thin air with a bit of a creative redesign of the network indicator logo on devices! Other operators were furious and looked for ways out. One operator that already had an LTE network decided to call it “Real LTE” in advertisements. Now that 5G networks are on the horizon, history repeats itself, at least in the US, the land of ‘creative’ marketing. Continue reading US Marketing Does It Again – 3G became 4G – Now 4G becomes 5G
About a year ago, Debian 8 ‘Jessie’, that was the basis for the main Raspberry Pi operating system (Raspbian) for quite some time, was nearing the end of its standard maintenance cycle. Debian would continue to supply security patches for this version but not for all CPU platforms. By that time, Raspbian had already moved to Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ but I still had quite a number of Raspberries running in several locations that would have been difficult to simply upgrade to Debian 9. So the question back then was if Raspbian based on Debian 8 would still be supported by the Debian long term support team!? At the time I was not sure because the ARM architecture of the Pi did not seem to be included. So where do we stand one year later?
I’m always amazed by the unexpected things happening at Congress. This year, or rather at 35c3 in December 2018, I could hardly believe what kind of gift I got and how I could immediately put it to good use to rescue a 30 year old program of mine from an ancient storage media.
For many years, I’ve been using the RSS button built into Firefox to copy and paste the feed link of a blog or website to my favorite RSS reader, Selfoss. That is until recently, however, when Mozilla decided to remove all RSS functionality, including the RSS button from the codebase. Shame on you Mozilla! Yes, compared to the billions of Facebook and Twitter users, those few (?) millions who use RSS seem to be nothing to you. Thanks for nothing! Frankly, I could not imagine to browse all the different sites I follow manually to check for new content without going utterly mad.