Android

Proton has a Google Drive alternative

It’s been in beta since 2020 but they’ve finally made it available to the rest of us. Android app and web app available now, the rest is coming. As with all Proton products it’s open source, privacy focused. 1GB for free, 200GB for $4/month or the whole package (mail, calendar, drive, and VPN) for $10/month. Read about Drive at https://www.howtogeek.com/835660/proton-drive-is-a-privacy-first-google-drive-alternative/

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Buh-bye Google Keep, OneNote, Evernote!

Open source Notesnook (https://github.com/streetwriters/notesnook) aims to be THE replacement for all your note taking needs. Fully encrypted on your device before storing on their cloud service (self-hosted option coming), it’s a zero knowledge service meaning they can’t decrypt your notes. With a web app (https://app.notesnook.com) and apps for iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, and Linux you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to use it wherever you need or want with full synchronization across all platforms. It’s still in its relative infancy and updates generally make it to the web app before other platforms. Roadmap at https://notesnook.com/roadmap/

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Finally, a point-to-point VPN!

I’ve set up a VPN at home and, honestly, in my config, it’s a PAIN! I have 3 routers that need to have ports opened and then I need to make sure that certificates and passwords are all secure.

Then I found Tailscale.com! What a breath of fresh air. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Create an account on tailscale.com then install the tailscale service on the machine you want to be a part of the VPN and run it. The service connects to the tailscale server and it becomes an immediately available VPN target, complete with its own hostname (which you can change) and its VPN IP address. If you enable their “MagicDNS” in your settings then the hostnames all resolve to their VPN IP addresses (i.e. the hostname is first checked against the hostnames on the VPN before being checked against other DNS resolvers). Voila! No config, no ports to open, no firewall rules to manage! Now, when you’re away from home, you can get to your home server with confidence.

It’s free for a single hobby/personal user. There are a few restrictions as to how many subnets you have available but, honestly, if you’re a home user, the restrictions probably won’t bother you. It’s multi-platform with binaries for Android, MacOS, iOS, Windows, and Linux so you can connect just about anything you want. They’re on github at https://github.com/tailscale and a place to discuss it at https://forum.tailscale.com/. And, yes, you can use tailscale to act as a subnet router – https://tailscale.com/kb/1019/subnets/ – to get to those devices (e.g. printers) on which you can’t install tailscale.

Apologies for the delay between postings but I prefer to try the things before I post about them and tailscale took a while.

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Getting set up with Chrome OS

I’ve had chromebooks for quite a while but it’s only within the last year or so that I’ve thought it was ready to be my primary tool. My Acer Spin 713 has an 11th gen Intel i5 with 8GB RAM and 256GB disk and it’s quite fast and capable! I run a Debian Linux and have a number of Android apps installed. It’s my “daily driver” as some call it – the machine I reach for and use far more than any other. And I got it on sale for less than $500.

It can be a chore getting set up for the first time but I came across https://github.com/mikeroyal/Chrome-OS-Guide which has some good information to get set up. And if you’re interested in doing more than just getting set up, it has some useful info on expanding your Linux environment and preparing to develop. I recommend it.

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3 new (to me) linux (mac, android,windows) tools

I’ll cut right to the chase, Copyq, syncthing, and tldr.

Copyq, at https://hluk.github.io/CopyQ/, is a clipboard manager for Linux, Windows, MacOS, AND ChromeOS in the Linux environment! It has a GUI as well as a command-line interface and in the ChromeOS environment, captures clips from BOTH Linux and ChomeOS! CHeck out the docs.

Tldr, at https://github.com/tldr-pages/tldr, provides a cheat-sheet-like summary of command options. It’s not as full function as a man page but can often provide just that one bit of info you need. It provides info on Android, Linux, MacOS, Windows, Sun OS(!), and a set of common commands like 2to3 (convert python 2 code to python 3), adb (Android Debug Bridge which can be installed on many different platforms), and atom (a cross-platform editor).

Syncthing, at https://syncthing.net/, is an open source, multi-platform, authenticated, continuous file synchronization program with communications secured by TLS. It works on MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android among many others.

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Google is bringing full on KVM to Android 13

Yeah! Now, you’ve gotta wonder how well it’ll perform but someone has already run Windows 11 on their Pixel 6 running the Android 13 preview. Here’s the tweets https://twitter.com/kdrag0n/status/1492754683445669893 and here’s a link to an asrticle that goes into more detail about the KVM implementation https://blog.esper.io/android-dessert-bites-5-virtualization-in-android-13-351789/ if you want more info.

https://www.androidauthority.com/windows-11-android-13-3107906 is the source article with some higher level info

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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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RC33 comes out for the G1

T-Mobile began distributing RC33 on February 5th. This isn’t the rumored “cupcake” update (if you’re not familiar with what cupcake is in this context, do a search for cupcake and Android — you’ll find a lot of hits) and didn’t contain A2DP for Android but it did fix a number of problems and introduced some new functionality (Android Market will now notify you when there are updates to your installed apps, for instance).

The stock T-Mobile builds don’t allow root access to the phone but the gang over at the XDA Dream Android Development forum wasted no time repackaging the build to allow root access (the Dream [aka G1] is an HTC phone and uses pretty much the same mechanisms to boot as previous HTC phones so they’ve got a LOT of practice hacking them). It wasn’t too long before a “rooted” RC33 was available … and I installed it Friday. The rooted build also includes browser multi-touch support which is nice but takes a little getting used to, an updated Busybox, a terminal emulator (which you use for access to the G1’s Linux command line on the phone), relatively complete versions of less and even an implementation of vi. From the command line there’s a lot you can do — there’s an SSH server and an SSh client so I can SSH from my phone to my Linux desktop, there’s a VNC client for Android so I can use VNC to login to my Windows/Linux desktop and add in root and you’ve got pretty much endless possibilities open to you — cron, modifications to the stock mount tables and so on.

Wow, what a phone!

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