Monday

Cloudflare DNS App For Android and iOS

If you are already using a VPN on your mobile device to enhance your privacy, good for you, you can move along - nothing to see here. If not, a stupid-simple app from Cloudflare called "14" allows to you install and use their 1.1.1.1 DNS service.


What does that give you? Well, possibly faster DNS lookups (so your browsing is a little slicker) and some protection from your ISP logging every single flippin' thing that you do on the Internet. 

That is accomplished by the fact that the Cloudflare DNS supports encryption, so that the requests your device makes for DNS lookups are not readily available for others to view.

Every little bit helps, right?

Saturday

CCleaner Alternative

CCleaner has long been a popular file cleanup utility for personal computers. However, following a couple of security-related incidents since CCleaner maker Piriform was sold to antivirus company Avast, some users have wandered away.

While it's true that Windows itself can perform a hard drive cleanup of temporary files, it does so almost painfully slowly, particularly if you require it to cleanup old system files too. 

So are there alternative products to CCleaner that can clean up old, stale files on your Windows computer? Yes, of course - there are quite a few product out there for Windows and Mac, including BleachBit (remember Hillary's server?), Glary Utilties and others.

To keep it simple, I can recommend Wise Disk Cleaner (Windows only). It's free, and is straightforward and fast to use. 

These sort of products are not something you really need to use all the time, maybe once a month for a file cleaner like this (if that much). These can be used with traditional or SSD drives.


Friday

Musical Interlude!

I don't know what it is, but I get a kick out of discovering cover bands on YouTube; there's something that just tickles me about the ability of a random group of folks to interpret or even emulate the sounds of an established musical group.

The latest one I came across is a bunch of Russians (I am assuming they are ethnic Russians, just bear with me) who have several really impressive covers of Chicago songs.  Yes, the horn section and everything! They apparently don't stop there - they also do a cover of "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire.

So take a look below at some impressive work from Leonid and Company:





Saturday

Trying Hive OS For Mining - *Updated*

Windows 10 is actually a decent OS, except that Microsoft seems to insist upon an approach that must surely alienate a good percentage of its users. I'm referring specifically to configurations and settings that I have made mysteriously being reset during updates.

Actually, it's not that mysterious - Microsoft just knows what is good for me and is saving me from myself.

I finally became tired of that, after finding that the sudden, curious lockups of my "mining" computers were actually due to the blasted things going to sleep after Microsoft reset the power settings. What is the point of even allowing me to change system settings if you are just going to reset them every few weeks?

A section of the Hive OS web interface, showing my 3 GPUs

It's (Not) Hilarious!

This does not even rise to the level of a "pet peeve", rather it's just a truism I have observed. 

When I see something described as "hilarious" on the Internet, I have learned to avoid it. While the Merriam-Webster definition is "extremely funny", invariably, a more accurate description might be "mildly amusing", and I don't really have time for mildly amusing.

Remember Vizzini in the Princess Bride? He would declare "Inconceivable!" when his plans kept getting fouled up - to the point where Inigo Montoya says "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

"Hilarious" is kinda like that. See if I am right.


Thursday

Microsoft Wants You To Have An Edge

Okay, Microsoft, I get it.

1) you pretty much have a captive audience with Windows users
2) you are really pushing the "software as a service" (SAAS) thing
3) you are using Windows 10 to more blatantly track us and sell us stuff

But, please, can you quit just blatantly shoving things in our face? You uninstall apps, reinstall others, and reset OS settings a LOT. The latest is the "Oh, you don't really want to install Firefox or Chrome now, do you?!" dialog.

I know, I know, Edge is better than IE (I would bloody well hope so after all these years!), it's faster, more secure, etc. The heavy-handed approach is not an endearing one though - just sayin'. Google does it too with Chrome, and it makes them look craven too, frankly.

Yeah, that's not creepy

Sunday

Be Prepared - Check Yourself

Since we are coming up on the anniversary of 9/11, and we also have a hurricane bearing down on the East coast of the US, you may be more aware of how quickly the status quo can change. In that light, and following up on September being "National Preparedness Month", it's a good time to check yourself.


In times of disaster, natural or otherwise, things can go bad quickly; people start to panic buy water and gas and supplies very quickly run out. We see it all the time on TV. It's also important to realize your don't have to be living in Florida to be surprised by high water, or damaging winds, or by power outages lasting several days.

At a minimum, you should probably have on hand at least 3 days worth of food and especially water, and some means of heating any food that needs to be warmed up or cooked (a small camping stove, for example). We are fortunate enough to have some basement space at our home, but any closet or pantry space can be useful for storage - but be mindful of temperature extremes when storing items in the garage, if you have one.

There are MANY sites devoted to this kind of thing, and while some can get DEEP into the weeds, many offer simple, prudent advice for those of us not familiar with the practicalities of food storage and so on. Oh, and if you have pets, do you have extra water for them?

Some links below: