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Writing on various topics including travel, finance and technology.

How to Backup & Restore macOS Mojave

17 minute read Enclosure Updated

If there's one thing computers do well, it's malfunction. Plan ahead so you don't lose data should your Mac start behaving more like a computer.

Last month, while download Mojave patches for at least two zero-day exploits a malfunction occurred and I couldn’t upgrade, leaving my machine vulnerable:

During a 10 minute chat with Apple Care it was suggested I back-up and restore Mojave. The resolution wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for. But not a big deal as I hadn’t created a backup in 3 years and it was about that time.

Awesome React Boilerplates

7 minute read Updated

Awesome React starter kits to kick your app development into high gear.

Not interested in reinventing the wheel? Neither am I. Here’s a short list of awesome boilerplates – sometimes called starter kits or seeds – for getting your React applications off the ground in a hurry.

These boilerplates weren’t taken from any list, however awesome it might be. Rather, they’ve gained enough mindshare to find me outside The Stream.

So without further ado…

When I Stopped Trusting Apple

3 minute read Published

How I lost my trust for Apple as an American, and what I'm doing about it.

Trust is like the stock market. Escalator up, elevator down. When an individual places trust in something they typically do so because that trust has been won through unwavering commitment over time. When we speak of brand trust – or trust with a company – committed relationships work much the same. Especially as that trust applies to technology in an era of cloud.

But here’s the thing about trust. If it’s not built with transparency, it is created under false pretenses – smoke and mirrors – and, in the long-term, will never stand. This is the unfortunate case with Apple. And here I will explain exactly when I stopped trusting them and why, and what I’m doing about it.

Surfing the Uncensorable Web

11 minute read Enclosure Published

Testing the waters of ZeroNet to enjoy a Web without information gatekeepers.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you already know the guy behind WikiLeaks, who was living at an Ecuadorian embassy in London, was recently arrested and now facing extradition to the United States – the country I’m originally from – and the country which forces tax payers to fund the second-largest stockpile of nuclear weaponry ever created.

But perhaps you didn’t know that WikiLeaks was at one point hosted by Amazon. Yep, right up until political pressure caused them to take it down. Afterall, nothing says freedom like a fear of misbehavior in a country with the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. I suppose Julian Assange’s situation could be worse… Maybe, had he also been practicing Falun Gong in China. But I digress. And there’s no telling what’s going to happen.

DarkDuckGo

2 minute read Published

Improve your search privacy on DuckDuckGo using custom URL parameters.

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine since it was introduced to me by a colleague in Chicago. This was before I was able to close my Google account but some time after losing hundreds of photos leaving Facebook. And though I was aware DuckDuckGo maintains a hidden service for Tor users it wasn’t until recently I felt confident enough with my OS security to safely use it.

Rather than just bookmarking and using the DDG onion site, however, I decided to leverage some of the nifty URL params they’ve made available. Following is a quick rundown of the URL params I’m using to customize my DDG search experience for use with Tor. In After Dark fashion I’ve decided to name them “DarkDuckGo”.

Self-host Gitea on Amazon Lightsail

9 minute read Enclosure Published

Learn how to self-host Gitea on Amazon Lightsail for only $3.50 USD per month.

Shortly after the buzz of MS purchasing GitHub I started self-hosting a Gitea stack using a Docker Compose file I threw together just for the occasion. The hosting I chose at the time was a $5 Vultr VPS with the following specs:

  • CPU: 1 vCore
  • RAM: 1024 MB
  • Storage: 25 GB SSD
  • Bandwidth: 1000 GB

I chose Vultr partly because they’ve been shown to be faster than DO and Lightsail. But really I just needed a testbed to prove things out. Something I did through sharing knowledge on the Gitea Support forums before, months later, finally feeling confident enough to abandon GitHub.

But Vultr isn’t cutting it anymore. Their $5/month VPS option, while arguably a great deal, isn’t delivering enough storage. Sure I could add block storage at $0.50 per GB or even consider switching to Linode. But I don’t see the point of either when Amazon offers a 40 GB SSD option at $5 an instance with double the bandwidth offered by Vultr and half the cost of the Linode equivalent plan.

As luck would have it, last night I ran out of disk space on Vultr. What better a time to make the switch over to Amazon Lightsail? And if you’re looking to self-host Gitea on Lightsail, here’s how you can too.

Unbrick a Micro SD Card using Tails and macOS Mojave

7 minute read Published

Learn to dual-boot a Mac using a second operating system running Linux and use it to troubleshoot hardware problems by unbricking a Micro SD card.

Recently, while creating a physical back-up of my Mac, I ended up corrupting the Micro SD card I was using to perform the back-up operation. This translated into a one line cautionary alert inside the related blog post:

Caution: DO NOT attempt to remove the SD card or adapter during this process.

Turns out removing an SD card during a 100+ GB 77,000 file transfer from a Mac to an SD card isn’t the best idea – despite what a five year-old might tell you.

After several hours of toiling with Disk Utility, diskutil and dd on macOS the furthest I got was to experience the same issues as another individual who posted on Apple Exchange 3 years ago - their question unresolved, until now.

Awesome React Components

7 minute read Updated

Hand-picked components and libraries to help you build your next hot app.

One of the best parts of building with React is discovering new and awesome open source components to use. Rather than just throwing the kitchen sink at you, here’s a short list of React components and libraries I feel are truly awesome.

Coding Mass Destruction

2 minute read Enclosure Published

GitHub's new policy on the use of its services for the creation of WMDs.

Gitea announced just last week gitea.com was now live and accepting user registrations while the Gitea development team prepares for their eventual move off GitHub. I was excited to see this as, just a few days prior, I sent some encouragement after myself leaving GitHub. Then I signed-up.

Blocking MinerBlock

4 minute read Published

How to cloak your Webminer from the MinerBlock browser extension.

MinerBlock is a browser extension which alters the content of a webpage in an attempt to prevent a handful of crypto miners from running.

To function MinerBlock must be installed and left running in the browser while a user surfs and it must be trusted even though extensions can get you hacked.

Consolidate a Jekyll site with Hugo

8 minute read Published

How to migrate a website hosted on Jekyll into an existing Hugo site.

Three years ago I started a website called hackcabin.com to scratch an itch after discovering Hugo and starting development on After Dark. At the time my primary website was running Jekyll and build times were nearing the 2-3 minute mark for little more than 70-80 blog posts.