Pi-hole DNS Server

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Network-wide Ad Blocking

I have had a Pi-hole set up near my cable modem for at least 1-2 years now? Time moves differently for me for the last 18 months. Regardless, my Pi-hole device just sits there, filtering out ads from the network. I highly recommend setting up a Pi-hole for your home. It’s cheap, easy, effective and efficient!

What is it?
A cheap Raspberry Pi computer with an SD card. Gets power from a phone charger and connects with a simple Ethernet cable. Runs passively without any fans at about 37 degrees C.

How do you use it?
You can set it up as a Wifi source, or you can add the IP address in your wifi settings for DNS server. Use the same IP address in your web browser to see a web interface. From there you can modify the whitelist/blacklist and see in real time how many ads are being rejected.

Pi-Hole on Docker using OMV Raspberry Pi 4 "Network Wide ...

How do you set it up?
There are many guides. Here is a good one:
https://www.instructables.com/Pi-Hole-Setup-Guide/

Essentially, what is involved?
You flash a linux OS for Raspberry Pi onto your SD card using something like the Balena Etcher. I prefer “dietpi”, which is a low resource Debian distro.
https://dietpi.com/
A simple 8GB or higher card will suffice. Then you install Pi-hole on it.

How do you maintain it?
Every now and then, it’s good to log into it with SSH and run a “sudo apt update/upgrade” (if you choose a Debian distro). That’s it.

I have over 4 million domains on my blocklist and it makes a HUGE difference when I load websites without Pi-hole DNS configured in my wifi settings.

Bonus: You can SSH into it and install lynx, mc and any other useful linux terminal programs and have fun with it. As a double-bonus, you could even host web services like subsonic or ftp using it!

Install Brave Browser in Debian-based system like Ubuntu

How Does Brave Browser on Windows Compare?

Brave is a great privacy-focused browser with built-in (optional) crypto functionality. It blocks trackers and ads without an extension and it’s the only browser I know of that blocks Youtube ads. Very useful!

There’s only an X86 version as of now, so it will not work with Raspberry Pi yet. I am running it on my work iphone and my de-googled android.

sudo apt install apt-transport-https curl gnupg

curl -s https://brave-browser-apt-release.s3.brave.com/brave-core.asc | sudo apt-key --keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/brave-browser-release.gpg add -

echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://brave-browser-apt-release.s3.brave.com/ stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/brave-browser-release.list

sudo apt update

sudo apt install brave-browser

Migrate from Windows to Ubuntu with 3 lines in a terminal

You can obviously tailor this list to your needs, but with this post you can install at once these programs in a Debian-based distribution (x86 or Raspberry Pi!):
FTP, audio editor/streamer/player/tagger, office suite, radio streamer, remote desktop client, video editor, web browser, social media, disc utility, bit torrent client, email client, virtual machine, photo editor, CAD, CD burner, comic/ebook reader

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

sudo apt install filezilla audacity vlc rhythmbox thunderbird lynx mc krita libreoffice brasero gparted picard freecad transmission remmina obs-studio kid3-qt sound-juicer snapd p7zip-full p7zip-rar

sudo snap install freac foliate telegram-desktop

At the end of the page is an explanation of which programs do what.
Note: Every program on this list works on almost any Debian-based Raspberry Pi distribution, including Kali, Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Desktop, Raspberry PI OS

Tip for games and tweaks:
There’s a CLI program called pi-kiss that can install multiple games, emulators, system configurations, tweaks, tools, scripts, etc.

curl -sSL https://git.io/JfAPE | bash

Launch the program:
cd /root/piKiss
./piKiss.sh

Continue reading “Migrate from Windows to Ubuntu with 3 lines in a terminal”

Install nifty Raspberry Pi Imager program on any Debian distro

The Raspberry Pi Image program that comes with Raspberry Pi OS allows you to install an OS (similar to Etcher but with Pi images incorporated into it) to SD card, SSD, etc. Has lots of stock images, including Retropie, several Ubuntu variants, Raspberry Pi OS and more. You can also flash a custom image and wipe drives.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt install snapd
sudo snap install rpi-imager

Protonmail in eMail client

So far, Protonmail has evaded us with eMail client support.

Now the option exists via the Protonmail Bridge, which is available for Mac OSX, Windows 10 and GNU/Linux.

Here’s how I set it up in Ubuntu:
From the protonmail.com/bridge/install page, click on the GNU/Linux to download the .deb file. Double-click on it and launch the software manger. Install.
Unfortunately, right now the only email client that works with this Protonmail Bridge is Thunderbird, which is a Mozilla product. I had previously deleted this app out of protest of Mozilla’s anti-speech behavior but since it’s free and open source, and the only option for now, I will have to live with it. If you do not have this program, in a terminal, type:

sudo apt install thunderbird

Before you setup Thunderbird, you will need to launch and configure the Protonmail Bridge. All of the instructions for configuration are here: https://protonmail.com/bridge/install

Then to setup Thunderbird, go here for instructions:
https://protonmail.com/bridge/thunderbird

My64 – mini ITX system in a *new* c64 case

This is a project that I definitely WILL do early next year:

I thought the whole setup was great except for one annoying thing: I don’t like cables coming out the sides of anything.  I know this is standard procedure – even a macbook pro costing thousands of dollars does this. Would have been nice to have the power on the back. But this is a clean setup, looks great and isn’t too expensive, relatively speaking.
When I got to the end and saw what the function keys did I almost spit my coffee.
Outstanding!
The mainboard/CPU mini-itx combo was really interesting. I didn’t know those existed, especially at that low price. I tried to find the board and they are out of stock everywhere but even better – the highest end version of the board is available for only $120:
Now that ARM processors are coming to the market for desktop computing, I wonder what kind of mini-computing setups we will see in the near future. I can picture something that looks like a 5″x5″x1″ shape that people shove behind a monitor that has Windows 10 and an SSD drive for under $200. We’ll see…

Raspberry Pi OS Update December 2020

There are many great improvements to Raspberry Pi OS for the Pi enthusiasts.

  • Chromium browser updated to version 84, which allows smoother video playback in sites like Youtube.com.
  • PulseAudio sound server instead of ALSA, which allows for simultaneous playback and improves Bluetooth options.
  • CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System was added so that wifi printers are now accessible.
  • For the visually impaired: The screen reader audio can now be played through Bluetooth devices and improvements to Orca screen reader support.

To update your Raspberry Pi to this new OS update, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade

Then, install the PulseAudio Bluetooth support:

sudo apt purge bluealsa
sudo apt install pulseaudio-module-bluetooth

Next step is to reboot your Pi. Enjoy! 🙂

For those having issues updating the audio, the Pi Foundation created this guide:

To swap over the volume and input selector on the taskbar from ALSA to PulseAudio, after your Raspberry Pi has restarted, right-click a blank area on the taskbar and choose Add / Remove Panel Items. Find the plugin labelled Volume Control (ALSA/BT) in the list, select it and click Remove; then click the Add button, find the plugin labelled Volume Control (PulseAudio) and click Add. Alternatively, just open the Appearance Settings application from the Preferences section of the Main Menu, go to the Defaults tab and press one of the Set Defaults buttons.

Some people have reported that some applications are ignoring the effect of the PulseAudio output switcher. This is probably caused by an old ALSA configuration file still being on the system. Once you have updated, execute the following in a terminal window, which should fix this:

rm ~/.asoundrc

To remove the old Audio Preferences application, which will not work with PulseAudio, do:

sudo apt purge pimixer

Unrar multiple files + file name spaces in the terminal

First, when dealing with the spaces in a file name while using the terminal, you can use a back-slash before the space.

Example:

File name with spaces.txt

For the terminal:

File name with spaces.txt

Sometimes we run across a downloaded file online that was created by utilizing the winrar multiple-file feature to make a huge file downloadable. A good example would be an ISO image that is more than 1GB in size. The rar program can break up the file into smaller pieces. Example:

bigiso.part01.rar
bigiso.part02.rar
bigiso.part03.rar
bigiso.part04.rar
and so on

To unrar multiple files into one, first install the unrar program in linux. In this case, I’m assuming you are using Ubuntu or any Debian-based distribution (like Raspbian):

sudo apt install unrar-free
sudo apt install unrar

Then use the unrar command to unrar. Remember to use the before any spaces.

unrar x -e bigiso.part01.rar

This should build the large file back up into its uncompressed state.