Working from Home: My Experience and Gear

posted in: Blogroll, Gadgets, Technology | 0

Empty office

I meant to write this post shortly after I started working from home in March of 2020, but I am now glad I waited because I have tweaked my home office space quite a bit more since then. I think I’m now finally to a point where I have everything I need with a setup that is also flexible enough for gaming and other activities outside of work. So, in no particular order, here are the things I have either purchased or repurposed for my home office work.

This ended up being a long post, so I have included a table of contents in case you want to skip to the device or item that interests you.


What’s in a Name: A Brief History of How User Agents Became So Long

posted in: The Web | 0
Make #browserlove not #browserwar
Image Credit: J. Albert Bowden II (CC-BY)
If you type “What’s my user agent” into Google, you’ll get something like this:
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/67.0.3396.79 Safari/537.36
Websites can use this to determine what browser and operating system you’re using, but most of the information is actually pretty pointless. In case you can’t tell, this is the user agent for Chrome.
Back in the day, when the Browser Wars were just heating up, Netscape pretty much owned the web. Many website owners decided to code their sites to specifically work with Netscape (which was once called Mozilla). To do this, they’d look at the browser’s user agent, which still said Mozilla 1.0 (or whatever version) rather than its commercial “Netscape” name.
When Microsoft wanted its Internet Explorer browser to compete with Netscape, they decided to spoof the user agent, adding “Mozilla” to the front of their own.
As other browsers emerged, they too spoofed previous browsers. KHTML was the browser engine for the Linux/Unix desktop environment KDE’s Konqueror browser. Apple borrowed its free source code to create Webkit, which was the engine for Safari. Google borrowed Apple’s source code in its own Chromium browser, which commercially became Chrome.
The Gecko part actually has nothing to do with Chrome, which is the actual browser featured in the example above. Gecko was the rendering engine for Netscape, Mozilla (the open source spin-off of Netscape) and eventually Mozilla Firefox (originally called Phoenix, then Firebird). Nevertheless, “like Gecko” still appears in many browsers’ user agents.

Why Print Still Rules: The Fading Legacy of E-Books

posted in: Libraries, Technology | 0

Woman reading Kindle

For the better part of my career, my areas of concentration and expertise have been intellectual freedom, copyright (and copyleft), free and open source software, open access and net neutrality. But because I also have expertise in technology, people often ask me if I think e-books should replace print. They assume I would be a fan of digital books replacing paper and ink.

Personally, I prefer print books, but let us put my personal feelings aside for a moment.


7 Security Tools for Servers

posted in: Computers, Linux, Servers | 0

If you have decided to use Linux or another Unix-like operating system for your dedicated server, you probably factored in security into your consideration.  Linux, BSD, and similar OSes are renowned for their inherent security features.  Nevertheless, is still important to be diligent and make sure your server is as secure as possible.  A unprotected Linux server can fall victim to security flaws just as easily as any other.  This is especially true for servers connected to the Internet.

There is unfortunately no single security tool that will make Linux rock solid for you, but with the right combination of free and open source tools you can find online, you can make your server virtually impenetrable.


The World Now Has Documented Proof of Trump’s Racism

Donald Trump
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Inflammatory rhetoric has typified Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and his unusual post-election campaigning. Many of his outlandish remarks in his speeches and tweets have at least suggested elements of racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim sentiments.

His defenders, both inside and outside his inner circle, argue that it is just his style of speaking and is not actually indicative of his true feelings. Through a series of executive orders, memos and even a pardon, however, Trump has now provided his detractors with well-documented evidence of his racism, anti-transgender and anti-Muslim agenda.


Why I Switched Back to Firefox

posted in: Linux | 3

As an alternative to Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox once reigned supreme. Over the past couple of years, however, Google Chrome has risen to claim its spot. Firefox had become more bloated, slower and less innovative. Someone at Mozilla finally realized that, however, and they have been working hard to increase Firefox’s speed, slim down the interface and be more proactive with its innovative development. Moreover, as far as Linux web browsing is concern, I now believe Firefox to be more effective for my uses than Chrome.

Firefox screenshot Continued

The Witcher 3 Available for Pre-Order on SteamOS (Linux)

posted in: Games, Linux | 1

The Witcher 3

Steam has announced that the Witcher 3 will be available for pre-order on SteamOS (a.k.a. Linux). The big question Linux gamers want to know is: Will this be another poorly wrapped Windows port or a native implementation of CD Projekt RED’s REDengine 3? We might have to wait until much later to find out, and you’ll have to wait until February 2015 to get the game, even if you pre-order it now.

At any rate, the game looks like it will be awesome, “built exclusively for next-generation hardware: PlayStation4, Xbox One and PC”.

The Witcher 2 Now On Linux and SteamOS

posted in: Games, Linux | 1

The wait is over. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is now on Linux and SteamOS. Best of all, to celebrate the debut, Steam has it available for only $3.99. I highly recommend you pick it up (unless you have an AMD card *sad face*). Let’s hope The Witcher 3 will also find its way on Linux.


Update: The Steam forums have been lit up with talk and complaints about this port. Apparently, CD Projekt hired a company called Virtual Programming to get the Windows TW2 running in a wrapper called eON, rather than creating a native Linux port.