January 2022

Free (yes, FREE) container hosting

I ran across this a few weeks ago and had to fiddle with it a bit before posting anything about it.

Fly.io will host a docker container 24×7 with FREE inbound data, 3GB of persistent storage, and 100GB of free outbound data (160GB in some regions) with a minimal charge for additional data (bandwidth or storage). What can you do with that? Bring up a Debian container for SSH; host your own VPN; host your own password management app; just fool around!

Before deploying your first app you’ll have to give them a funding source which CANNOT be a prepaid card (like one from Privacy.com) although you CAN buy credits (minimum $25) with a prepaid card. Be aware that they have systems in place to detect fraud and high resource utilization so once you’;ve signed up and given them a funding source, you still may not be able to fly launch because your account is marked as high risk, Just email support@fly.io and they should be able to resolve it,

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I’ve been warning about this for years

I haven’t said anything about the Log4j issue here but this article from the Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/14/open-source-bugs-present-an-extermination-problem-government/) that discusses the recent meeting at the White House about securing open source software shows that people are finally waking up to the fact that open source needs to be patrolled better. Far too many developers pull in open source packages without regard to their exposures and those places that makes sure the packages are vetted often miss the packages that are pulled in as dependencies.

I’m not putting down any of the open source contributors but I’ve been a contributor and code reviewer and it’s just TOO easy to miss a vulnerability. Sure, automated processes can catch a lot but if someone is intent on introducing a vulnerability, it can be done without a lot of extra effort. No, I don’t have a solution but I’m certain the open source community can come up with some good ones.

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Turn any site into a PWA

I’m not sure how many of you are aware of or use Progressive Web Apps (or PWAs – look it up). Think of them as encapsulated web pages that appear as apps (because that’s what essentially they are) so, instead of bookmarking or trying to remember all those sites you can have an app for each of them that IS the website. The website creator has to do some work on their end to enable this functionality on their site and not everyone has done that. Enter https://surfable.app/ – an open source (github: https://github.com/sandoche/Surfable-app) tool that will create a PWA given the site’s URL. It’s pretty cool and has premade PWAs for many of the popular sites. And if you want to make a PWA for a site they don’t currently support (or you want to tweak one of their PWAs), their github explains how or you can justs open an issue about it. Useful and worthwhile IMHO

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Jq? Nah, fx!

Another neat tool I came across recently, is fx (https://github.com/antonmedv/fx). It’s Linux/Mac only (altho a chromebook’s Linux or Windows WSL should work, too) and gives you the ability to pretty print JSON. But that’s not all! It has quite an extensive set of capabilities so I invite you to check it out,

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Make your own private (or public) wiki

It’s been around for quite a while (version 21 is out) but I just came across it recently. https://www.bookstackapp.com/ is its homepage but you can grab the source over on github (link on the homepage). Why would you want to host your own wiki? Keep track of information like research or recipes or a journal or…just to be a nerd! Securely share with friends – it’s got authentication via LDAP, SAML, Google, Slack and others with multi-factor authentication on a per user basis. You can restrict registration so the only way to add a user is from an admin account and you can restrict content so the site is only available to registered users. Seriously, it looks like something worth considering.

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Ever feel the need to create a local backup of your email?

I admit, it never occurred to me but now that someone has created a tool, I think it ay not be a bad idea! Maybe not ALL of my email but maybe my subscriptions and purchases and license keys?

Check out https://github.com/joeyates/imap-backup for details and installation.

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