1Password for Linux

Having a native Linux client of 1Password1 is a big deal (currently in developer preview). Not only because it is an awesome product and provides much needed personal security, but because it's another high-quality piece of commercial software coming to the platform.

  1. The need for a dedicated client has largely been sidestepped by the excellent browser extension... which works better than iOS client these days. The number of passwords that never sync is maddening: I simply can't trust 1Password on my iPhone 😓 

July 06, 2020

Old Phone? New Webcam

I, like many of you, have been working remotely from home. This has without a doubt been the best thing that’s happened to me (career wise) in a long time. While I remain resolute that I want to work from home forever, the transition hasn’t been without its difficulties. The biggest source of friction, you ask? Video conferencing.

As part of my alternative lifestyle, I run a “non-standard” OS. In the past that meant that popular commercial software wouldn’t have been available, but the times have changed and Zoom (along with its many alternatives) have been available across pretty much every OS. Where I get myself into trouble is riding the bleeding edge: my display protocol and window manager setup do not always play nicely with video conferencing software. Share my current tab in a web browser? Dicey. Share my entire screen? Forget about it.

I’m still working out the kinks in the OS department; I could make things easier by using better supported software, say the excellent Ubuntu (or its derivatives) and call it a day. Instead, I enjoy the suffering.

Second and arguably bigger problem, is that I don’t have a webcam. Buying one is also out of the question until prices return to relative normal (stock in my area through Amazon or local retailers is still non-existent).

I shuffled through a few junk drawers until I found my solution: an old iPhone 6! Vindication that I’m not a hoarder and of course all these “collectables” are going to be worth something someday. Now, to connect the video feed to my computer. There’s a beta for Camo an exciting bit of MacOS software to connect your phone to your Mac. Unfortunately, that’s not helpful to me on Linux. It did get the wheels spinning though...

Enter: Iriun Webcam.

It has client’s for both iPhone and Android, as well as software for Windows, Mac and Linux! If you run Ubuntu (remember I mentioned earlier I should be running that as my OS...) it’s a deb package away. For users of less well tested software, your milage will vary.

Once you have it setup, it works exactly how you’d expect. Make sure your computer and phone are on the same network, run the respective client software on each device and marvel as you’re able to use a phone which only moments ago was living in a dusty old drawer as a better webcam than any you could buy (even if prices weren’t exorbinate)!

Highly recommended. Now, if only I could solve the first set of video conferencing issues... I suppose that I better look in the mirror if I plan on actually getting any work done.

N.b.: This is an aside for anyone running an Arch-based distribution. First, Iriun Webcam is available via the AUR. It bundles a DKMS module called v4l2loopback which creates a video loopback device (effectively a pretend camera) that Iriun Webcam uses to trick the OS into accepting the video feed from. From time to time, you may see an error that says there was a problem with the module not being initialized and a recommendation for you to do the following (please look up what these commands do before blindly pasting them into your terminal!!!):

modprobe v4l2loopback exclusive_caps=1

If after doing this, you’re still getting the error from Iriun Webcam, here’s the fix (at least for my Arch-based system, again, buyer beware, ymmv, etc.):

modprobe v4l2loopback exclusive_caps=1 card_label="Iriun Webcam"

It turns out that according to the author behind v4l2loopback, that Iriun Webcam expecting a loopback device with the exact label “Iriun Webcam”. Updating your software may remove this label, so adding it back should fix everything.


I'm not much of a redditor, but holy heck, I can't believe I haven't seen this community before. Quick, someone get me a 3D printer!

June 30, 2020

Unbelievers by Vampire Weekend

Add another entry into songs I listen to over, and over, and over again to.1

  1. A habit I suggest you try for working. One song, on loop endlessly until you forget it has words, or anything other than a positive feeling. A good way to separate your work-from-home setup and music you enjoy listening to elsewhere 😘 

The True Value of Link Posts

There’s no right or wrong way to do this, and I’m not suggesting that people who share links without commentary are committing some sort of crime against the indie web. However, if you’re going to share new ideas and experiences with someone, it seems courteous to do so with the same care and attention you’d grant them if you were making the recommendation in person.

If I'm following you (yes, you there!) it's because you bring value to my feed in a way that Google, or Facebook, or Pocket, and etc., do not. Just clipping titles and the link, or just a pithy, “This,” doesn't provide enough context for me to do anything other than skip over it. Which bums me out, because there's something about that link that got you thinking. You spent time reading or watching, then you took the time to save it and shared it with others. Why not add a little more so we can expand that conversation or note your frame of mind should we choose to view it as well.

I'm a bit ashamed to realize that the above, reads like I'm a “choosy beggar” but I chose to follow you because there's something special about you. Can you blame me for wanting just a bit more?

May 10, 2020

A Tip Using Grav and WordOps

This is another letter to future me.

In the future, if everything goes pear-shaped, and you decide its easier to burn this server to the ground and start anew using one of Digital Ocean's droplets and WordOps (a handy set of scripts and configs to get your LAMP/LEMP stack working in seconds), please remember this: delete the default regex lookups for atom, rss and json so they're not cached in your locations-wo.conf. If you don't, you won't have accessible feeds for as long as it takes you to remember this tip... Not that it's happened before.

VR Winter

Great read from Benedict Evans, as always. VR seems like it's perenially bursting out onto the scene; this time VR is here, we were just waiting for the technology to become available to make it more than a small niche of users looking for entertainment (e.g., games, or cinema). I'm largely in agreement, that there appears to be no fire, despite a great deal of industry smoke. I'm not a skeptic, I would love for the VR and AR experience to live up to their potential. Yet, it is clear that there's some consumer behaviour that appears to be blocking greater adoption, be it the applications, the hardware, or something cultural, perhaps.

Remote Applause

An experiment using WebRTC to help bootstrap your own recreations of Seinfeld. Clap and laugh audibly with a digital audience from the comfort of your home.

Simple Colour Picker in Sway/Wayland

One of the hurdles of running Sway (a manual tiling window manager, like i3, but built for Wayland) for me has been the lack of colour picker. I spend a load of time goofing around on the Internet and getting colours right is a big deal. I thought Wayland's security model made having a colour picker nigh impossible, until I came upon this StackExchange answer by Matthias Braun.

Just for clarification, you'll need to be running Wayland and an wlroots based environment, Sway in my case, so you can install the dependencies: grim, slurp, wl-clipboard and imagemagick. This is the keybinding I've added to my ~/.config/sway/config file (triggered by `Super+Shift+P).

bindsym $mod+Shift+p exec grim -g "$(slurp -p)" -t ppm - | convert - -format '%[pixel:p{0,0}]' txt:- | tail -n 1 | cut -d ' ' -f 4 | wl-copy

Hitting that keybinding dumps a hex-color (e.g., #rrggbb) to my clipboard and I can use it however I please. All smiles from this dork.