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  • March Status Update

    March 6, 2023

    Well, it's been quite a while since I've written a blog post. I've started three or four since the beginning of the year, but I've never had time to finish them. This week, I get a little bit of a break—though not as much of a break as I'd like—so I thought I'd just take a little time and write a status update.

    I'm still pretty busy with school; this semester has hit like a truck. I'm doing very well, but at the cost of my sanity, I think. I'll make it through though, and I'm excited for the summer. I am considering adding a math minor to my program, since I am thoroughly enjoying my math classes, and when I volunteered at one of my high school's robotics meetings, I had a great time solving some tough math problems with the other alumni. I think I'm only one or two classes away, so it's something I should just do over a summer.

    This year I'm studying the Old Testament of the Bible. I just finished Ruth and am heading into 1 Samuel. My church is currently studying the book of Judges, which is very fascinating, especially because most churches do not preach books like Judges.

    In the world of computers, I got my Raspberry Pi 4 updated to the latest UEFI firmware and OpenBSD. It runs very well; better than the Pentium D machine I was using for a few months, and at a fraction of the size, noise, and power consumption. Setting up my Rasberry Pis always get me thinking about what it would look like if I ran all of my network infrastructure off of them. I could probably get away with less than five Raspberry Pis. One for the router, one for storage and hosting my website and CVS server, one for general desktop usage, and one for my Matrix server. Such a setup could even be solar powered rather easily. I'm always conscious of my energy usage, and I want to be as efficient as possible. Raspberry Pis seem like the next logical step.

    I was thinking the other day about how the hardware I use on a daily basis is probably unrecognizable to most people. Most people have ever heard of Framework, so they make fun of me and call my laptop an "off-brand Chromebook." I experience a similar phenomenon with my PinePhone, and my Raspberry Pi, although the Raspberry Pi is perhaps the coolest of the devices I use. Interestingly enough, I'm finding that my usage of x86 machines is significantly decreasing. My laptop and server are the only x86 machines that I have. My phone and desktop—the Raspberry Pi—are both arm now. It's interesting because I thought I'd always be using x86, because nothing is more powerful and advanced, but now I have come to terms with the fact that I don't need powerful or advanced. I'm perfectly content with under-powered computers. Yes, arm computers are still rather under-powered, but it's more than enough for my use case.

    Speaking of under-powered, I am still daily-driving the PinePhone. It's definitely a quirky piece of equipment, but it gets the job done. Phone calls work almost perfectly. There are some audio routing issues that can be solved by playing with it for a little bit, but other than that, calls drop very infrequently, and everything seems to just work with making and recieving them. SMS is a little strange; just the other day I got a notification for a month-old text, and sometimes texts just don't come in at all until I reboot, but that's fine because the people I care about are not using SMS, they're using Matrix. Flaky SMS was a great excuse to get them all on Matrix.

    Every once in a while, it freezes and locks up, and needs to be force-restarted, and occasionally the mobile data will cut out and have to be turned off and back on, but these are minor inconveniences. I think they're well worth it to have a real Linux phone, a phone that I actually have control over. The thing is horribly slow, but it works and that's really all that matters.

    Yesterday, I spent almost my entire afternoon messing with my fiancee's Lenovo X1 Carbon. She runs Linux—in fact she has never had a Windows laptop of her own—and Linux does not handle that laptop very well. Suspending is such a risky operation, and if you can get it to wake up after that operation, you'll find that the trackpad is no longer recognized, and all the settings you set are lost. I had to write a systemd service that reloads the Linux kernel's mouse driver on wake, and then I had to write a script using xinput to detect the trackpad and re-apply the settings she likes to use. It's such a hack, but I can't tell if there's a problem with Linux or with the laptop. Probably a little bit of both. I hope that her next laptop is a Framework laptop, and that she'll allow me to put OpenBSD on it, since I do all the maintenance on her laptop anyway, it seems like a good idea to be using hardware and software that I'm familiar with.

    OpenBSD just seems so much more stable on all the hardware I've tried it on. It just simply works, without any quirks. If a piece of hardware is not supported, then it just simply does not work, without any quirks. There's none of that kind-of-working-kind-of-not that Linux seems to have quite a lot of. It either works or it doesn't, and that's something I really appreciate. There's no need to write scripts to reload drivers, or any of that nonsense.

    Telodendria, my from-scratch Matrix homeserver implementation, is making good progress. I won't talk about it much here, since I talk about it so much in the Matrix rooms, but I just want to bring attention to it and say that I'm optimistic with how things are going. I've accepted a number of good patches, and I myself have written a substantial amount of code over the last few weeks. Probably too much code, since I'm so busy with other things, but that's fine.

    You can check out the project website here: Telodendria Website

    Also, join the matrix rooms, particularly the #telodendria-newsletter:bancino.net room! There you can get the lateset updates with Telodendria. Telodendria doesn't have a blog like this one, I just use that room as the blog. I figure that everyone that's interested in Telodendria is going to be on Matrix, so it makes sense to just have it on Matrix. If you're interested, but you're not on Matrix, don't hesitate to sign up for an account!

    I really think it would be great if I could be a full-time open-source developer on Telodendria. If you're able and willing to support me, you can find donation links at the link above. Right now, I just work on it in my very limited free time, but there seems to be enough interest, so I'd like to keep developing both for my own personal use and the people that are interested in it. I never thought of myself as wanting to be an open-source developer, but now that I have a project that could potentially be successful, it's definitely something I can see myself doing long term.

    It's been almost a whole year since I started this blog. Looking back, I think I'm still proud of all the posts that I've written, and I stand by them with very few modifications. I've contemplated free will a little more, so I think I'd probably amend that post if I had time, and I think my public rsync modules have changed a bit. I also have to say that I've added a bit of CSS to my website, so that footnote in my post about JavaScript is not accurate anymore, but other than those few things, I'm pleased with how this is going.

    I'm also pleasantly surprised at the people that have contacted me regarding my blog. I've always thought that I have such an odd combination of interests. A Christian that uses OpenBSD and is writing a Matrix homeserver? That's got to be the most unique combination ever, but there are other people out there that are just like me and share most or all of my beliefs, and that's really cool to experience. I'm sure there are plenty of people that find it absolutely revolting what I believe, but all the people that have reached out to me have been supportive and kind, and I just want to say thank you to those people.

    I think that's all for this time. In the future, I'll try to get back to topical posts. I feel like there's so many things I want to write about, but I just simply don't have the time to think about them and get my thoughts written down in a coherent manner. Between work, school, and Telodendria, my schedule is pretty much full! I do enjoy writing blog posts though, so I'll keep it up as much as I'm able.


    © 2019-2023 Jordan Bancino.