TechZerker

A Tech Professional With Occasional Sanity

As I have continued my expansion into self-hosting as well as the fediverse, the one challenge I still had was image posting and sharing in an easy and clean looking way. For images on websites like this, especially from a mobile device, FTP uploading has just been inconvenient and disrupts the focused writing activity.

PixelFed Image

I had already dabbled a bit in Pixelfed, by joining Pixelfed.Social when it was still open for registration. This let me test the functionality for a service similar to Instagram or Imgr, but without ads or tracking. The final leap was setting it up self-hosted so that I could fully own that image data.

On my Arch VPS that I host on Vultr, I had already tried in previous weeks to direct install Pixelfed. Unfortunately, likely because of other self-hosted apps or packages in place, it was a struggle and I just could not get Pixelfed fully operational. In steps Docker, and the article here that inspired this updated version with what I had to do differently, as well as more details on the Nginx reverse proxy portion.

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Pinebook Pro

Over the last year, I'm progressively been keeping a closer eye on ARM-based systems as they're growing in power and usability. I currently have a retro game system based on a Raspberry Pi 3B+, and it's already a great system.

As we're getting into 2020, I'm seeing a lot more articles and posts of the Pi4, at least the 4GB model, making a decent basic workstation and office computer. This is assuming that use case is similar to that of a Chromebook, focused on web and terminal type software. Along the same vein is a system like the Pinebook Pro, which has been getting a fair amount of attention for making the right decisions for a budget system that does not feel budget. I was prompted to post this tonight because I really enjoyed this longer Vice article on the Pinebook Pro and its market in general:

The Pinebook Pro, a community-built Linux laptop that runs on ARM hardware, offers a few surprises. Fairly inexpensive, it’s the perfect machine for tinkerers.

This $200 Laptop Is Like a Chromebook You Can Hack

Currently, getting your hands on a Pinebook Pro at its original price point is challenging. The Pinebook Pro has been popular and not mass-produced, with even lower production volumes for the ISO North American keyboard variant. Knowing that, unless a new batch comes in soon, I'll likely acquire either a Raspberry Pi4 or a Pine64 – ROCKPro64 for a small home workstation and tinker box for Arch Linux and i3wm.

When I do acquire something, I will definitely write about any projects I plan, such as a Plex media server, maybe a small in-home Minecraft box, not to mention a NAS system at some point!

Nothing much, but I was browsing some of the themes posted up at Write.As Themes, and after trying and tweaking a few, found I liked this Aris theme the best. The only tweaks I did to it from the default were to reduce some font sizes a bit, as they were a little large for my taste.

In this code block:

.p-summary p {
  font-size: 1.0rem;
  line-height: 1.6 !important;
}

.e-content p {
  font-size: 1.0rem;
  line-height: 1.6 !important;
}

The original font-size values were 1.3rem and 1.4rem respectively, which was just a bit too close to the title/header size for my liking, so after trying a few settings, I settled on 1.0rem for both.

Happy writing!

Among the #self-hosted projects that I run just for my own usage, I have a VPS server running Arch Linux. (Yes, I'm running an Arch server, instead of Ubuntu/Debian)

That little VPS runs a few different services: – Minecraft server for a group of friends, which is the heavy memory user – Write Freely instances for a few subjects – Subsonic Music streaming server – Resilio Sync encrypted storage target – MiniFlux RSS Server/Reader

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My writing here is mostly focused on technology and gaming in all aspects. Being a general geek into all sorts of subjects and thought, sometimes an idea just sticks in your head and needs to be written.

I don't know the genesis of the idea forming in my head, probably watching sci-fi shows too late, but my mind starting musing on the concept of time. Specifically, how we measure it, account for it, and place meaning on it despite a limited view of it.

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elementary logo

When I first really transitioned into the Linux world from Windows, I started with Ubuntu. That is a very common introductory point for many, or was, and from there I was an aggressive distro-hopper. I shifted through the Kubuntu's and Xubuntu's of the day, into ArchLabs on one laptop. At some point about two years ago took a stop at elementary OS in it's 0.4 version (just one version before 5, they dropped the decimals).

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Why couldn't I just be fine with Nano and Sublime Text? I guess I can't help but be curious!

VIM Logo

Up until a few days ago, my previous experience with VIM was limited. I've been using Linux heavily for years now, and it was just an annoyance. In the past my only exposure to VIM was AUR install scripts or source builds that forced me to check build files via VIM. What that really meant was it was that annoying text program, that I had no clue how to quit when it suddenly was on my screen! :w to save, and :q to quit, but not if your in insert mode...what?

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I have continued to play Elder Scrolls: Blades, mainly on my iPhone for the past month in bursts. Overall, it is still holding up, although obviously it is not remotely like a full Elder Scrolls PC game.

I found I had very little trouble through the single digits and into the teen levels. The occasional level had some minor grind spots for difficulty, but nothing too bad. The early 20's levels however, started off pretty rough. Granted, this was in part because around level 19, I chose to re-spec skills towards light weapons and magic. Learning curve with magic converting to it later in the game was a bit harder, so more enemies beat me around.

The real sweet spot from my current play came around level 23-24, when most of this gear combo below came together.

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As many will have seen, the originally announced last year mobile Elder Scrolls game has finally landed! Granted, they've labelled it as Early Access and are slowly rolling out invites to iOS and Android Users. That being said, I was invited a little over forty-eight hours ago.

In Brief

It's really good. It looks absolutely gorgeous on my iPhone 8, and only slightly less so on my older iPad Air 2. Character design is more flexible than most mobile games, and starting out, it does actually have a story. Unfortunately, it is Free to Play model, but it feels fine. It's definitely worth a try for Elder Scrolls on the go!

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The last few evenings after work I have kept very occupied as I tackled a variety of #SelfHosting projects on my plate.

If you visited this site at all in the past year, it was still a very busy 'news magazine' looking WordPress site. It liked it at the time. I am shifting more to quick, personal writing on my tech adventures.

Hence, TechZerker.com has moved to the reading focused WriteFreely platform. It's open source, light on server resources, and was a breeze to implement! It is the project that powers the more well known Write.As platform.

While I was at it, I also moved my cloud storage system from it's existing VPS to this new Vultr VPS. I have been using Resilio Sync to that end for nearly a year now. It has been working great for my needs and I will do a better write-up on it, and it's installation.

Last on the list, and easier than I expected, I deployed MiniFlux to replace Feedly. I continue to prefer a curated RSS feed over what social media services try to serve me. I had one or two small bumps with steps not really documented, but they were simple to figure out!

All those services are now up and running, and are now on my preferred pure Arch Linux distro. The last project on the plate is to migrate an existing MineCraft. For that project I'm going to test out MineOS to simplify the management.

I will do additional write-ups or commentary on each of the applications when I am ready to write about them. In the meantime, enjoy the cleaner and way faster loading TechZerker!

—Scott