Let's Encrypt free TLS/SSL for HTTPS

Using Let’s Encrypt to enable HTTPS for your website

For a long time I’ve been meaning to sort out SSL certificates for my domains & secure traffic to them. Last year HTTPS became a google ranking factor & since then site wide HTTPS adoption has been on the increase. The problem with HTTPS is that up until recently it required buying an SSL certificate from a vendor & installing it on your hosting.

SSL certificates are not cheap & need renewing on a regular basis. It isn’t just a one-off cost. Furthermore, if you have multiple websites hosted on shared hosting, you need to sort out & purchase a separate certificate for each domain, or buy a wildcard certificate to cover your domains. Not cool. Read More....

Configuring LibreELEC

Migrating from OpenELEC to LibreELEC kodi

I’ve been using OpenELEC for a few years now, having it installed on an older Apple TV 1 (ATV1) and more recently on my Raspberry Pi 2 for use as a media centre. OpenELEC drastically simplified a kodi installation on any supported hardware & by aiming OpenELEC at being an appliance they managed to make a lightweight & rock solid kodi OS.

It would seem over the past 6 months or so, development of OpenELEC and support for OpenELEC has wound down. Maybe the developers have other projects to focus on, but I found that it wasn’t being updated as often as I would like. I then spotted LibreELEC which is operated by a small board of developers focused on creating a system with just enough OS for Kodi. This is excellent news for anyone running Kodi on a Raspberry Pi as the filesystem requirements are small & only enough processes & services run in order to support Kodi, meaning precious resources are freed up on slower hardware. Read More....

Lenovo Thinkpad X200 laptop battery woes

Regular readers will know that I now use a Lenovo X200 for most of my computing needs. It has Libreboot installed and I run Trisquel 7 GNU linux on the laptop. This laptop is perfect for linux, all of the hardware including the updated Atheros wifi adaptor have open source & free drivers available & the machine is truly 100% my own.

The laptop itself is still fairly powerful for an older laptop with an Intel® Core™2 Duo CPU P8600 @ 2.40GHz dual core processor and upgraded ram to 4GB it really is a good mobile workhorse. I only paid £50 for the laptop in September & I installed 4GB of ram I had in my desk drawer from an old Macbook upgrade. I also updated the Intel wifi board to an Atheros to allow me to run Trisquel. Read More....

Front veiw on my 5th Generation iPod U2 edition & original packaging

iPod 5th Generation SSD Upgrade with iFlash and Sandisk SD cards

I love my old school technology. While I love all the new developments in tech, I’m still one of these people who wont replace something which is perfectly good just to upgrade to the latest model. My 5th Generation iPod is no exception. I bought this iPod in 2006 from the Apple store in San Francisco. It was my first new Apple device & I opted for the special U2 edition, not because I particularly like U2, but because I loved the black with red click wheel.

This iPod has seen heavy usage since the day I bought it. It has travelled with me around the world, still in its original Belkin hard case & it has never EVER failed me. Read More....

Turn Off iCloud Music Library

iPhone storage full when using iCloud music *fix*

I’ve been having major issues with my iPhone 6 running out of storage capacity. I have a modest amount of apps installed on the iPhone & I have the 16GB version of the iPhone 6. I was constantly receiving the storage almost full banner on my iPhone and even when looking at the storage & iCloud usage in settings I couldn’t figure out what was taking up all the space. This tutorial will also apply to iPad as it’s an iOS issue and not an iPhone specific issue. Works well if you keep receiving the message “iphone storage full” and you use iTunes match or iCloud Music Library Read More....

Firefox ends support for OSX 10.7

Can’t update Firefox on OSX 10.7 Mountain Lion – Mozilla ends Firefox support

This evening I was greeted with a message from my trusty firefox installation that OSX 10.7 (Mountain Lion) is no longer supported and as such won’t receive any future updates. This contradicts the message over on the Firefox support site which states that support will continue to August 2016. I, like many people still run an old iMac. This machine is fast (faster than my brother in laws brand new iMac running OSX El Capitan) in real life even though the hardware is in no way a match.

I’ve tried all new versions of OSX on this machine and the last fast version to work is OSX Mountain Lion. I cannot replace a machine due to bloaty software and I in particular hate it when an OS gets bloaty. OS’s should be light & fast and allow each user to customise the system with software based on their needs. I don’t like all the new & faddy features to be baked into the OS. It’s harder to tweak and generally performs badly. Read More....

Apple Macbook repaired & working

Apple Macbook Pro water damage – fixed

If any of you guys follow me on social media you will be aware that a few weeks back we had a disaster in our household. I brought a cup of tea to my wife while she was working in bed, and as I handed it to her I dripped a few drops on her Apple Macbook pro. We quickly dried it off and thought no more of it. It worked all morning & she closed the Macbook when we went out for lunch.

On our return the Macbook refused to startup. On pressing the power button it would make the startup chime, the grey apple screen would appear with the apple logo and then with a click of the hard drive the machine would shut down. This happened every time we tried to boot the laptop. The liquid had done damage. I inspected the Macbook where the drops had landed, mainly around the top right of the keyboard & the power button. I couldn’t see any signs of moisture at all. I suspected a fried logic board but refused to give up on the machine & testing. Read More....

iOS 5.1.1 lock screen

iPad 2 downgraded from iOS 9 to iOS 5.1.1 – So much Faster

I bought my iPad 2 back when it was first released. I bought it on release date back in March 2011. I remember driving a 150 mile round trip from my new home in Cornwall to Exeter to visit the apple store and pick one up. On arrival, the only iPad 2 left in stock was the most expensive 64GB version with GSM cellular built-in. I really wanted a 3G version so I could use it anywhere so I jumped at the chance and paid the hefty £659 price tag. I loved the iPad 2 when it came out. I loved reading books on it, working & writing on the go. Browsing the net on a big screen anywhere & watching media on it. I really did fall in love with this device. Over the years as it has become older & with each iOS update the iPad 2 has gone from being a speedy device for all of my mobile computing to a sluggish and painful device to use. In my opinion, Apple should have stopped supporting the iPad 2 at iOS 7. They need to make better efforts for apps to support older version of iOS. But they won’t. This is perfectly useable tech & it seems so wasteful that software can make useful hardware obsolete. Read More....

And Finally the working My Subscriptions page with working thumbnails

Kodi YouTube plugin broken – *FIX*

Update 11th August 2017
**If you are having issues with youtube on kodi not showing your subscriptions or videos & loading blank pages, I recommend you download the new YouTube plugin respository from here. Install the repository on Kodi and update the youtube plugin to the latest version, currently YouTube for Kodi 5.4.2. **

Recently Bromix, the developer of the awesome YouTube addon for Kodi decided to quit the project & concentrate on other things. This quickly lead to the addon breaking, days after he announced he was leaving the project. As yet nobody has taken up the reigns on this plugin. Over the past few days the plugin has been broken, with the My Subscriptions tab breaking and thumbnails failing to load. If you use this addon like me you will rely heavily on the My Subscriptions tab. I subscribe to a lot of YouTube channels & tend to watch this in the evening with my wife over watching traditional TV. The My Subscriptions tab essentially brings together all of the latest videos (in order) from every youtuber you subscribe to. Read More....

Apple Devices I own

Apple Error 53 & tech repairability

I’ve been considering this for a long time but over recent weeks the ability to repair my own technology has become far more important to me. Only a few weeks back, I was unfortunate enough to splash a few drops of coffee onto the keyboard of our Macbook Pro. We cleaned it off & thought nothing more of it until later in the day, when the machine failed to switch on. This was such a stressful thing to happen. The Macbook is 4 years old but is still in great condition & used constantly. It doesn’t warrant an upgrade. Read More....

Ubuntu Login Screen on X200

Thinkpad X200 + Libreboot + Trisquel = Back to my roots

It’s been a few years since I got my Computer Science Masters degree. In that time I’ve had less & less free time to concentrate on my own projects. This is mainly due to the fact that I’m running my own business (web-based but not overly technical) and concentrating on making enough money to pay the rent & bills. I’ve also been clearing off all the student debt which helped me achieve two degrees. In that time I’ve mostly had my main machine which is an early 2009 iMac. It’s a great spec machine & allows me to get all my daily work done. As it’s my development machine however, I can’t really test out new OS’s and generally fool around with computers like I used to. Read More....

My Social Media Account

The dangers of Social Media – An end to productivity

You are going to think I’m being a complete dick with this post, but stick with it. I’m not saying that I’m not guilty of any of the points made (I am), just highlighting them in a way that makes you think.

I have been planning this post for a long time & researching these issues for many years. Back in 2008/2009 I based my Masters thesis around social media & it’s uses in a virtual learning environment. After writing 30,000 words & creating my own Social Media platform I realised the many benefits of Social Media when used within a specific context (in this case to enhance University learning). Although I did uncover many drawbacks which at the time (when Twitter was almost new & Facebook very basic) didn’t seem too grand. Read More....

Servicing my Fiat Panda

Being Frugal – Servicing your car & fixing your car

Long time readers of my blog will know that I’ve been on a mission to save money & generally live a more frugal life. For a while life became very extravagant & very expensive. I’ve only just managed to correct a lot of the financial mistakes made during a foolish & stressful part of my life & I’m always looking at ways to save money.

A little over 3 years ago my beloved Land Rover developed a gearbox fault. It cost a lot of money to have repaired & the repair failed, so I ended up selling it for next to nothing. I then bought a sporty Mini Cooper S which cost me a fortune & after 6 months I sold it to buy a Mercedes estate. This cost even more money to run & maintain and after less than 18 months of owning 3 separate cars I was at a point that I could no longer afford to run a car (silly financial decisions & lots of expensive repairs). It was at this point we sold the Mercedes & used the money to start paying off debt. This would be the beginning of paying off almost £20k in unsecured debts. Read More....

The selection of Sim cards used for my conrwall rural mobile phone test

Rural Internet Access – Cornwall

All of my social media followers will now know I’ve taken a short lease on a converted church in Cornwall & plan to relax & research for the foreseeable future until completing my move to Amsterdam. This downtime is needed to really become an expert in my field again, over the past 24 months of downsizing & paying off debt all of my own personal development went out of the window. This time will put that right.

The first stumbling block I had when moving to Cornwall was perhaps the biggest, internet access. We live in between the villages of St Blazey & Lostwithiel on the south coast of Mid Cornwall. Coming from a major metropolitan area & back to Cornwall meant giving up any notion of 4G and hopefully falling back on 3G. That was a no go with my GiffGaff sim as the O2 coverage in my new house was 2G (gprs) only. And that was too slow to even send iMessage over. I therefore started ordering sim cards from all of the major mobile phone providers in the uk. This would prove to be a bigger challenge than I expected. Read More....