nerd

My general notes & thoughts about things I find interesting.

using a mac

This is my initial thoughts about macOS as well as MacBooks. This is coming from someone who has tried every other possible operating system (well, not every Linux derivative, but I have tried quite a few.)

Windows

The only reason I still use Windows at all these days is for compatibility. While it performs worse in every other category, fact of the matter is that it runs on nearly any PC, and is the most compatible with programs. I still use it for my tower to game with, but other than that, it performs worse. The UI is awful and has parts from Windows 11, Windows 10, and going down to the XP era. It can also often still be a buggy mess, and this lackluster operating system is certainly not worth the $100.

Linux

I have tried so many different flavors of Linux, and many different desktop environments (also a few WMs,) but Linux still to me is not ready to be used on a PC. It's compatibility with hardware is less than ideal, and while this does sometimes have to do with lack of support from the manufactures, sometimes it does not. The Linux community also sucks and will not respond to any constructive criticism. As an example of this, while I have tried Wayland and X11, Gnome and KDE, and multiple different flavors of Linux (mostly Arch and Debian variants,) I have never gotten a laptop to sleep and exit sleep correctly when the lid is closed without much research and commands in the terminal (these changes would also often revert during updates, and sometimes I would even have to use different commands to accomplish the same task I did before.) For something that is supposedly good enough for anyone to use, I cannot imagine the pain someone less tech savvy would have to go through for bugs like this. However, I still do use Linux, but for only one thing: servers. This is the only use that I think Linux should truly be recommended for in its current state, as with all of the issues in its current state on the desktop, I do not think it is ready for the average user, or someone who just wants things to work instead of constantly having to do more work just to get things to work properly.

macOS

Well, this is where I have ended up. I bought a MacBook (more about that later,) and I now use macOS on my laptop. It certainly has a few of its own issues (such as forcing you into a workflow for multitasking instead of giving you options,) however I still believe that it is the best choice, even if it is only an option if you can afford the hardware (or go through the pain of a hackintosh, which at that point just go use Linux if you're fine with putting in that much work for an at least slightly buggy experience.) Its compatibility is nearly as good as with Windows (that is, much better than Linux,) and it does not have the issues of inconsistent UI, something that plagues Windows and Linux to a lesser effect. Even being on the beta version, I have experienced far less bugs then in the stable versions of Windows and Linux distros. The only small issue may be the amount it locks you down in the beginning, which is even more than Windows does, however if you have the knowledge and will to do so, you can unlock it to be even more open than Windows (although still not as good as Linux.)

The MacBook itself

Well, as stated before, one of the few issues with macOS is that it is only available for certain hardware. And, in the opinion of me and many others, this hardware is at least a bit overpriced. I went with their current cheapest offering, the ~$1000 MacBook Air from 2020. For this price point, it is missing quite a few things present at nearly every other laptop at this price range or even below. The 8 GB of RAM included is quite small, and the small 256 GB SSD is even worse. However, it does make up for this in quite a few ways. The CPU is great, and I have had no issues with more power hungry programs such as Android Studio or Adobe software. Also, the battery life is next level. I could easily get two full days of work out of it on one single charge. I also understand that they had to make some sacrifices with the RAM and storage to be able to get to such a small form factor and weight, which is another positive to me at least. Overall, while I wish I had more storage with the RAM and SSD, it is not too little for it to be a major issue for me. And at the end of the day, the experience is still better than any other laptop that I have used so far.

So, that wraps up my review of it. I do hope to write another after more use of it, and see if my thoughts have changed after a year or so.

refractions

Day 14/100

what light do we see
the ever flowing seconds past
not much of it, really

the issue of "gifted children"

Day 13/100

One issue with the current education system (in the United States) is how we handle so called "gifted children." As someone who was often referred to in school by this or similar, I have directly suffered from these issues. While my school was somewhat good with this, and had me sorted into some of the "higher level" classes by fourth grade, it still wasn't enough. While most who fall into the middle of the school system generally have to learn how to study early in their school career, I did not, even with these "accelerated" classes. I honestly did not have to learn how to study until my freshman year of high school due to these issues, and I ended up with much lower grades than I wanted in both freshman year and sophomore year (although to be fair a lot more was happening at that time that affected this, such as COVID.)

In school

What can be done about it? Well, certainly more specialized education depending on a students level. And, I was probably better off than many others with education systems where they do not offer these programs until sixth grade or after, where by then a student should have a pretty solid base knowledge of how to study. However, I understand that this is a tricky subject to deal with, as if you push a student too much it will result in other issues. Either way, if you are currently in this situation, just know that you can recover from it, but to do that, you have to realize your current position, and get rid of the thing in your head telling you "I know I can do better than this." That mentality is only going to hold you back, and instead of believing that at the current moment you can do better than you are, realize that at this moment this is the best you can do and are doing, and try to work towards doing better in the future.

Parents

Parents are also a major issue, as they often try to push you to what they believe your potential is, without realizing all of the work you still have to put in to get to that level. They are doing what they believe is right, but most of them do not understand that while sure, having more potential is good, it does not mean that the path of education is going to be easy for you. If anything, it will be harder. So, realize that even if others seem to be in the current moment doing better than you, know that you can also improve, and not everyone is going to have the same rate of growth either.

Comparisons

The word "gifted" means that in comparison to your peers, you are well, more gifted in education then them. However, this leads to the issue that everything turns into a constant comparison between you and your peers. Instead of focusing on personal growth, you are instead put on a track of comparing yourself to how others in your classes are doing. While comparisons can be good for pushing yourself, and work well some of the time, most of the time it seems to just demoralize you as you see yourself as being lower than those above you in the system. Even as someone who used to be at the top of my classes (while being in the highest level of classes,) I still was demoralized by the few above me. And later, during my beginning of high school, this got even worse when I realized that I was slipping in ranking and doing worse on tests than my peers who I had previously done better than. These comparisons, however, are something that are difficult to get rid of, as everyone likes to want to feel better from doing better than someone else, and then will later look back in retrospect at those who did better than them and feels worse about themself. Hell, even most the current standardized tests are based off of comparisons with you and your peers, such as the SAT.

online identity

Day 12/100

How do we express ourselves online? And why is there so much of a divide of people who hide themselves as much as possible with the anonymity online, while others allow much more of themselves to be shown?

Well, duh, some of it has to do with self confidence and how shy or outgoing one is. But that isn't the end of the story. For example, I am actually decently talkative and confident in myself in real life (shocking, I know,) but I still don't allow much of myself to be shown online? Why is that? Honestly, even I don't have a great answer. The best one that I can give is maybe that I like to be able to be a different person online then in real life (although recently I feel that this has become less so,) but even that isn't the full reasoning behind it. Maybe at the end of the day it just depends on the person, I don't claim to know. I guess having less of an online presence or at the very least disconnecting your real life identity from your online one makes it more difficult to do any OPSEC on you, but this doesn't really apply to me as nearly everyone I know well knows my identity online (not that most of them do much with that information, and I would be shocked if any of them knew this blog existed, but you never know). At the end of the day, maybe all of the stupid side projects I do will lead to me getting some kind of good recognition, but this is a double edged sword, as anything bad I do will be seen as well. In the future, I would like to make another online presence different from this one so that nobody I know personally knows about it, but its something I doubt I will ever end up doing.

Yes, I am sorry to myself for posting this an hour late, but I recently factory reset my phone and forget to set a reminder to post every day again, in my defense. (And that this is one of my most badly rushed posts.)

security on android

Day 11/100

While I previously mentioned that I am using the monster known as Windows, I actually do run a security based OS called Graphene OS on my phone. So why do I do this?

Well, there is at least one good reason for this. While sure, I still probably have more security vulnerabilities and spyware due to using Windows, that is not the issue I am addressing with this. At the end of the day, it comes down to how I use both devices. While my desktop and to a slightly lesser degree my laptop are a lot more difficult to get access to, as for the most part they both just stay inside of my house, my phone goes around with me throughout the day. So, it is very important to me that it is encrypted well both at rest and right after use. The TLDR for drive encryption is that it is typically pretty good if it is powered off and still fully encrypted, however after you unlock it for the first time, it usually will decrypt quite a bit of your files, which makes it much more open to exploits. Graphene gets around this by allowing you to auto restart your phone after a set amount of time of no use, which forces all of the files to be re-encrypted. It also features many other device hardening features, which you can check out on their website. However, I am a bit less worried about this with my PC devices, as they are nearly always powered off when I am not using them, or at the very least inside of my house, compared to my phone which I could drop.

why i still use windows

Day 10/100

While I used to be a Linux (arch btw) user, there are a few reasons why I will not be using Linux until something changes.

The community

Yep, this is a major issue at hand. 99% of the Linux community (of the ones actively involved in Linux, not just people who use it,) believe that it is their way or the highway. Want to know if a feature like using a fingerprint for 2FA is possible currently? They reply to you by saying that logging in by fingerprint is insecure because they "are not secure and can be compelled from your body, whole or parts, alive or dead." If Linux is meant to be something that you can use the way you want to, then why is the community so hard set on not including features (that the user could chose to use,) because they would not use them? And no, I do not have the time nor the skillset to add a bunch of features to Linux.

The support

While I still run Linux on all of my servers, as I believe there is no better alternative (except for maybe BSD,) I just don't personally think that Linux is ready to be adopted as my primary operating system for desktop. It still has many bugs, one such example being that every time I install it I have to go through a number of configs to get my laptop to properly turn off when I close the lid, otherwise it just won't get out of sleep mode and I have to restart it. This along with a slew of bugs on every desktop environment / window manager that I have tried makes it hard to use, and it for sure is not ready for the average user. And no, I did not leave Linux "because I couldn't get used to it." Even on Windows I still find myself often trying to open a terminal for most tasks such as deleting files / directories, and it leaves me disappointed at how lackluster Powershell is in comparison. However, I still do not believe that the Linux kernel itself and the software utilities such as DEs really have enough stability and support to make me switch back to them.

The UI

While I know that this isn't a major issue for everyone, I find it hard to use something that does not have a UI that feels nice to use. Even projects like Gnome or KDE that are meant to fulfill this need fall short. Sure, Windows has near to no customization options, however it still is in my opinion above Linux desktop environments. I will be using Gnome and KDE as examples as I have the most experience with them. KDE is a buggy mess where one restart can lead to UI elements being removed or moved to other positions on the screen, and Gnome has near no customization options as around 75% of its extensions break every time it gets an update.

minimalism & web frameworks

Day 8/100

While nowadays most modern websites are created using web frameworks such as React, Vue, and Svelte, are they just unnecessary bloated nonsense, or are they the future of the internet? While some may have an even more extreme stance than me by saying that JavaScript on web is unnecessary, I believe that at the very least these web frameworks are often unnecessary and bloated. Many new web developers may start out creating small static websites with just HTML, CSS, and a bit of JS, they often move on to web frameworks before they even fully understand what they are doing. This often leads to developers compiling their React app (or similar) into something that they are not even sure about how it fully works. No website has a need to use a web framework, and it often leads to lazy developers who introduce unnecessary bloat into their websites. It's completely possible, feasible, and not at all difficult to do 99% of what is being done in a web framework in a quick way, and all these frameworks do is introduce unnecessary complexion and bloat in return for making code a bit more readable and writable.

I do understand the need to meet deadlines and how that makes it difficult to do what I mentioned above, but I also believe that you should put quality over meeting deadlines. While that may not always be your choice to make, I encourage everyone to try to get extensions to these deadlines instead of writing things that are more bloated and buggy. On top of this, I often find that frameworks often introduce many security vulnerabilities due to requiring outdated versions of other packages, and by not relying on a whole slew of packages that you realistically do not have the time to check over individually, you can instead go the route I mentioned above and take a bit more time to improve the end result and remove wasted time down the road.

alternatives

Day 7/100

Do they make things better or worse? Some may argue that they lead to too much fragmentation of development, but I am here to argue that that 1 issue is more than outweighed by the positives that come from alternatives being developed.

While this post will use development as an example, it does in most regards apply to almost everything in life. One good example to prove my point is the current state of web development. While there are many frameworks that can be used when developing for web, at the end of the day, they all compile to JavaScript, as that is the only thing that all modern browsers understand as a language. HTML and CSS also play an integral role in this, and again, there is no alternative to them in modern web development. This leads to innovation in the wrong areas, for example, SCSS trying to fix flaws in CSS, while still at the end of the day compiling to CSS. There really is no reason why CSS has to be the only styling language accepted for browsers, and lack of innovation in this area leads to stagnation. I personally have no issue with HTML (although I am sure some do,) and although I have had a decent amount of experience with it, I still hate CSS. However, as there is no alternative to CSS, I am stuck with what I have. At the very least, actual compliable languages instead of a patch on that doesn't change much would be an interesting change in my opinion. One good argument to this is that adding more languages to be viewed on a browser will lead to many new vulnerabilities in browsers. While I have no good point to counter this is it is a very good refute to what I have stated, however I still believe that it is overtaken by all the good that can come out of alternatives being created and used. I will leave you by saying that just because something has existed for a long time does not mean it is good, and there certainly are still a issues with JavaScript, something that has been present on browsers for years.

Tomorrow I will continue this by talking about the issues with web frameworks such as React, so be ready for that (if you care :)

depression, apathy, & stress

Day 6/100

This is an overall reflection about my battle over depression, apathy, stress, & lethargy. I now feel that I am on the uphill climb to bettering myself, however for the past year or so, I was stagnant in a valley in the ups & downs of life. I was apathetic and lethargic, and finding a will to do anything such as schoolwork was difficult.

I am grateful that I am moving past this, and for any of you that are currently in this position, I wish you the best. And as I end this post, I hope that I can remind you that nobody is constantly in a good state of mind or self, and you are just as good as anyone out there. Have a good rest of your Sunday~!

money?

Day 5/100
Yeah, so i recently got removed from one of the projects I've been working on, popWALLS. To be fair, I wasn't developing it much, as it was just a fun thing I did in my free time. However, the manager of the popMODS group decided that he wanted to make it paid, and I didn't exactly get much of a say in it. My personal philosophy is that I would rather make something that could be freely used over getting a few $ out of it. However, it does help that I am currently a student and don't have to pay taxes or rent. Either way, I understand the reason behind making such a project paid, but as someone who cannot really accept money from services like PayPal or Stripe due to being under 18, there's not even an option for me to do so. Anyway, popWALLS in its current state will remain free forever on GitHub (with a few hundred walls possibly getting added when I feel like it), however if you want to get more feel free to buy it on the Play Store when it comes out.

tech support

Day 4/100

At this point, I am convinced that tech support is just the blind leading the blind. In my case I usually know more than the other person, and this is quite annoying. Often I have to wait hours talking for them just to get to the point where you are able to get a warranty return, which was all I was looking for in the first place. The amount of times I have been asked to restart a device when it won't even power on or other stupid questions similar to that is laughable. Most of the time these people just have a list to read off of, and do not do any critical thinking of their own. Not to bash on those doing these jobs, as they are just there to to what they are told to make money, but the amount of hoops you have to jump through to just get the answer you want, even when it is obvious that you know when you are talking about is annoying.

sleep patterns

Day 3/100

why is it that our brains fall into patterns of sleep? why do they only release melatonin when the sun sets? sure, its a form of poleotection to sleep when it's dark out, but it also makes things less safe.

why such a crappy post? its 5 minutes before the next day because i forgot. gonna put a reminder in my phone from now on

you and those above you

Day 2/100

This is just a quick something that I wish I had known earlier, and I hope that some others can benefit from. While I'm not telling you to be egotistical, know that in this world, you are just as good as any of those that you view above you. While you may have not had the chance in your life yet to talk to someone you look up to and have them see you as being on the same level as them, it does make you realize that there is not much separating you from all of them. I guess if you are looking for a way to take this, think about it this way: there's not as much of a gap as you may think from you becoming great. You are not going to be on the level of the greatest in your league, whatever it may be, tomorrow, but it is achievable.

(Yes, I know I am greatly simplifying here, and there may be some situations where this may not be true, but just know that you can improve, and that you can get to the highest point in the skill ceiling, even if it may seem ways away and unobtainable right now.)

upcoming changes to my homelab

I know, this is different from the other posts I've made so far. But then again, look at my username.

Also yes, I am now restarting the 100 days challenge, so let this be day 1/100.

Skiff

While I am currently using Migadu for email hosting (\$9.50 a year isn't a bad deal,) I might later switch to something like this once they add more features. The only flaw I have with self hosting this is that it's for whatever reason not possible to host a mail server on a consumer internet plan, however I might have a workaround to this. Either way, Skiff seems quite promising once it matures. It is advertised as Web3 (yuck), however Web3 does have some benefits (if you remove crypto from the equation,) plus with self hosting you can host your files wherever you like instead of on the blockchain.

Photoprism

An AI powered photo management system that rivals Google Photos, allowing you to sort photos by faces, and search for photos for things they contain inside of them. I'm not sure how good the AI is, but this project as a whole seems really promising, and I would love to finally detach myself (nearly) completely from the Google ecosystem.

Teedy

A very powerful document management system. While I know that I already have Standard Notes, I often still need to write Word documents and other things that cannot be done with this platform. Being able to manage and host all of my documents instead of relying on OneDrive would be a nice alternative, and its not like documents take up a lot of storage space anyway, so I might set this up right now. As for the other two, I will need to upgrade my current homelab infrastructure to be able to run them.

Maloja

While I currently use Last.fm for scrobbling music, it is not open source. I would also like to have closer control over the data that is aggregated by a scrobbling service. That's about all I have to say about this 😁.

LanguageTool

An open source alternative to things like Grammarly. Seems to have great functionality, and is even available in other languages (even though I only speak English & Spanish, its still nice.) From my limited use of their publicly available free plan on the shared instance, it seems to work great, and has integrations for every service imaginable.

Status update

Yep, most of the things I was going to say here have already been said. But, know that once I feel better, I will be restarting the 100 days challenge, and hopefully this time I will complete it. Also, I will not be apologizing for my lame/lack of posts now or anymore, as these posts are mostly made for my sake, and shared just in the hope that some others might find some use out of it. Other than that, have a good rest of your Friday, and I hope to see you all soon.

Oh well

Due to feeling sick as of late, I don't exactly have a whole lot that I can write down.
So, you get another haiku

Rain drops, falling down
Why do I feel like joining
Into this despair