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Old computer Challenge 2024: Final Thoughts

July 20, 2024 — ~liron

After about one week, I can definitely say that the Raspberry Pi is enough for about 80% of my computing needs. That means I can leave the PC powered off and I am probably saving some money in the process.

While researching some things, I learned that the Raspberry Pi is apparently much faster when running a 64bit OS. This is something I will need to try, but because this Pi also runs pihole I will need to reserve a couple of hours, since no other machine will be able to access the internet when this “transformation” takes place.

tags: old-computer-challenge

Old computer challenge 2024 - Day 4

July 17, 2024 — ~liron

So I figured out why the graphical Desktop on my Raspberry Pi did not work anymore: There were some obsolete settings in config.txt that I had put their some time ago. Removing those, everything works fine again. With new new bookworm OS, browsing is now much faster, too.

Interestingly I catched myself turning on the mid-end PC just by habit; but then I remembered what I actually wanted to do, and used the raspberry pi again.

After some experimentation, I now can say that the raspberry pi is enough for:

  • Watching Videos in UHD (2560x1440)
  • Writing
  • Reading most ebooks. PDFs that are heavy in graphics, e.g. where every page is scanned, take seconds to load (every single page).
  • Organizing files
  • Listening to music over bluetooth

What I want to try in the future is listening to brain.fm over the 3.5mm headphone jack. I read on the cheapskate guide that the audio quality is supposedly very bad, and I don’t know if the raspberry can actually handle streaming music from a bloated website.

Another thing are small programming projects. These have probably to be written in a specific language; C++ and Rust are out of the question, they already take too much time to compile on a regular PC. The language of choice might be C, Python, Lisp or maybe D.

tags: old-computer-challenge

Old computer challenge

July 15, 2024 — ~liron

You may have heard of the old computer challenge. It is an experiment to limit yourself to (severely) restricted computer resources for one week.

Because I don’t have an old computer at my disposal, I decided to limit myself at home to a Raspberry Pi 4 for one week. Normally I use a mid-end gaming PC even for webbrowing or listening to music, which feels like a waste of resources/energy. The raspberry pi is running 24/7 anyway because it does DNS and NFS, therefore it felt like a good opportunity.

After two days, I noticed:

  • “Normal” webbrowsing is almost impossible; modern websites are way too heavy.
  • The temptation to play Games etc. is much less, because the PC is not turned on (yet).
    • The raspberry pi is already there, I just need to turn on the monitor.
  • The limited performance “forces” me to do other things, e.g. sorting my book notes.
  • It seems more quiet. There is less noise coming from applications like the Signal messenger.
    • There is no official Signal build available for ARM.

However, at the end of day 2 I noticed that I could not use my usual Emacs workflow, because the Raspberry was actually still running Debian Buster. After I upgraded it, the graphical desktop stopped working - for whatever reason.

I guess I will spend day 3 figuring out what is going on.

tags: keep-this-tag-format, tags-are-optional, beware-with-underscores-in-markdown, example

Writing as a stress-coping mechanism?

July 15, 2024 — ~liron

Yesterday I finished reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Since this book is well-known, I will not go into detail about its content; however, there were several things I read and I am wondering about. One thing is the author’s claim that regular writing (even daily, as he proposes) is a way to increase your mental calmness, apparently.

I wondered if this is true; and after a quick google search, I found a couple of studies (note to Gopher users: these links lead to the WWW), that suggest that at least for male writers, writing for even just 15 minutes daily can reduce “mental exhaustion”.

This intrigues me, because feeling mentally exhausted is something that I have been struggling with for some time now. Because I tried this blog as kind of a public journal, I have decided to write much more small posts in the future about various topics. Possible ideas are:

  • Regrets
  • How to setup a resource-efficient linux installation
    • (Because I keep seeing people using specialized distros when its not needed)
  • Making money in the stock market (algorithmic trading is my hobby)
  • Things I have found on the alternate internet
  • Books I have read
  • Emacs tips.

There are probably more things I can write about. I have been keeping various of notes in the past years (my “org” folder contains about 170 files) and I think it won’t be too hard to “flesh out” some of them into blog posts.

Last week, I read on someone’s blog (sadly I did not save it) that he stopped “microblogging” and just decided that “everything is a blog post”, even if its just 3 sentences. This is a good strategy I think and similar to how Seth Godin seems to do it.

tags: writing

The “alternative” internet has a higher diversity of people

July 05, 2024 — ~liron

I have been exploring the so-called “small web” for a couple of years now. What I observed is, that the space of personal websites and networks alternative to the big corporate ones is not “small”, by no means. I have more links to visit in my bookmarks than I will ever have the time to do so.

Also, it is not contained to the WWW; you can find tons of people, personal spaces, communities etc. on gopher. And there is Gemini and zeronet, which I haven’t even tried yet.

But one thing that really stood out to me is the “diversity” of people. I don’t like the term diversity because it has been misused in the couple of years; however, in the original meaning it makes sense here. On the corporate controlled Internet, people are usually excluded when they have the wrong character or the wrong opinion; and my this I don’t mean being banned for promoting racism or nazi idiology, but just being insulted if they don’t fit into the normie view. On the alternative internet however, everything goes.

For example, matthewgraybosch.com has a page about his working conditions - where he states not only that he operates on the autistic spectrum, but he also lists lots of clear rules if you want to hire him. Try having a page like this on any corporate social network and you will be driven out by the normie crowd, while being ridiculed on the way. I do respect this man for basically saying “if you want me to work for you, these are my conditions; if you don’t accept them, feel free to look elsewhere”.

Then, on the gopher network you cand find prolonged discussions about using old tech (e.g. minidisc players) just for the sake of it, without anyone making fun of you because you are not using the newest hottest iphone.

As a third example, you can find lots of pages where people host their favorite music, films or games for downloading. These are by no means warez sites, just people trying to share what they love without the control of the corporate copyright mafia.

Furthermore, on discussion forums like bluedwarf, I was surprised to see actual discussion - that is, people stating their (sometimes very diverse) point of view, trying to find the bigger truth without insulting each other or trying to just “win”.

I have gotten used to the “discussions” on places like reddit, which are basically “look at this funny comment, give me upvotes” or “don’t post against the hivemind or we will downvote/ban you”. Seeing these other kinds of people felt unfamiliar, I must admit.

But after some time, it feels much more human.

tags: small-web

Being patient (2024-05-17)

May 17, 2024 — ~liron

One of my personal weaknesses is that I am a very impatient person; this is especially a matter when it comes to financial situations.

At the moment, I am running my first trading bot on the financial markets that is actually profitable; and from my simulations I know that it needs to run a couple of months to churn out a profit that can be called “substantial”. On paper, this sounds fine. Especially if you consider the time-frame of two years, the bot will make a decent amount of money. However, the waiting period annoys me to no end.

No conclusion for this post, because I don’t have one.

Meditation (2024-02-05)

February 05, 2024 — ~liron

In this blog post, I would like to write about meditation.

I have been trying meditation on and off since ca. 2011, when I first read a book by Thich Nhat Than. However, despite having a few meditation experiences, I never stuck with it – also because I had trouble with headaches, which were due to bad technique.

Only last year, in 2023, I finally made the effort to start meditating daily on a consistent basis. It was not easy finding time for it, because I can practice only when my girlfriend is asleep or away. I started with 5 minutes per day and increased the duration up to about 20 minutes.

When I reached that timeframe, suddenly some old repressed memories surfaced, causing a very strong emotional response. It was not even something very traumatic, just a situation where I misbeheaved as a teenager in front of the parents of one of my youth female friends, and felt sorry and ashamed after that. Somehow, during meditation this memory came back and caused an emotional experience as if I were there back then, right at this moment.

The incident is so minor that I am sure everyone else has already forgotton about it, but then so did I until now. This experience caused me to stop meditating entirely, fearing of what else might turn up.

However, I now had time to read about this and it seems that this is a more-or-less normal phenomenon; apparently (to my amateurish understanding) meditation tends to bring up memories of old situations that we did not have dealt with properly; things we forgot or repressed. According to online information, the best way to deal with this is to “go through with it”, i.e. be prepared that this might happen, let the memories arise and then try to accept it and distance oneself from it, like one is doing anyway during meditation.

On a sidenote: This is one thing that I feel is conveyed incorrectly about meditating. Many people seem to be under the impression that you should “think about nothing”, but this is not the case. The point is to “distance yourself from your own thoughts”, that is, observe what random thoughts come into your head, and then, instead of following them (like we all usually do), just acknowledge them and go back to your focus point, which is usually your breath.

So after thinking about this for several months, I decided to go back to meditation, again starting at 5 minutes per day. This time I will be prepared for old memories resurfacing and I will try to acknowledges my mistakes from the past, learning from the experiences and move on.

tags: mediation, self-improvement, example

Not enjoying programming anymore

February 02, 2024 — ~liron

I have been programming for more than 25 years now, and it used to be great fun.

In this time, I have written lots of programs that I don’t even remember; Games, various utilities, web applications, my own word processor, etc.


Personal Rants (2024-01-30)

January 30, 2024 — ~liron

I decided to use this blog for a kind of self-therapy, because

  • No one I know will ever read it – they don’t have a clue about gopher/gemini/etc.
  • I don’t have anyone to talk to
  • Sometimes I feel better when I write about this.

First, let me make one thing clear: I am aware that I am in a privileged situation. Nevertheless, it makes me unhappy.

For about 4 years I have been in an unhappy relationship – moving in with this woman was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made; she does nothing when it comes to cleaning, cooking, shopping for groceries etc. which means that I need to do all of that, while working for 45 hours/week.

In one part she is lazy, but she is also severly depressed, so I can blame her only partly. She currently goes to therapy, but to me it seems that her therapist does not really help her, but instead frames everything in her life in such a way that it is never her fault and that she did everything perfectly; I base this on my impressions on what she told me.

I moved in with her because I was stupid, love-blinded and never had lived with a woman before, even though I am 35 now. So on the one hand I think it is good that I finally head this experience, but on the other hand I think the worst part was that I did not insist on us getting a cheap apartment that anyone could pay on their own, when the other one moves out – instead we now have an expensive one that she never could pay for with her job.

All this struck me particularly when one of our friends, a nice woman, told us that she “finally” found a boyfriend – I have known her before I got to know my current girlfriend, and I would much rather be with her. So that makes me very sad and I don’t know how to better describe it.

I just hope that I can get out of this relationship in time without putting to much stress on my girlfriend, given that she already goes to therapy to treat her depression; but I don’t know how.

tags: personal-rants

bb on tilde is very useful

January 30, 2024 — ~liron

It took me 9 months to discover the existence of bashblog (bb) on tilde.

It publishes the posts onto the WWW, gemini and gopher – very useful.

What I know would just love to see is a combined browser for gemini, gopher and the oldschool websites; and even better if it includes RSS-like support for monitoring pages for new content.

Maybe I have to build it myself.