Ubuntu 20.04 on Lenovo t480s

Recently I've upgraded my setup and got Lenovo T480s with all max configuration(Intel i7-8650U) and additional 32Gb RAM

TL;DR: everything works really well on Ubuntu 20.04, 40Gb is just enough to run modern web applications. But in 2020 it's probably worth to consider modern models of computers and next generation CPU. Conclusion: while performance is good the design was upsetting

In this post I'll share some observations after a week of use for work. As a reminder I'm a backend and Android developer mostly focusing on JVM stack

What is GOOD

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Does pihole make any difference?

The Internet is full of advertisements and marketing services which are marking and chasing you all over the web. I believe it is fair - if a user doesn’t pay for the product, the user becomes a product. Another problem with tracking and advertising services that they significantly affect browsing experience by draining up CPU, memory, making page look laggy, often affecting responsiveness.
Fortunately, the PiHole project helps to turn many of them off. More details about it are in my previous post

One might wonder, does pihole make any difference or it's just a placebo for a few geeks? I did a small research and took some measurements for the different websites with and without tracking.

Measurements were taken:

  • Screenshot of the page - it's interesting to see if there is any significant visual difference, compare space occupied by the banners
  • Number of requests - every request takes a lot of time even via the modern Internet protocols and fast internet connection. Also, downloading an additional code makes the page behave laggy as the browser needs to run it soon after. That's why the first seconds after the page visually completes it can behave a little hectic.
  • Data transfered - the more data it needs the more time to pull information is required.
  • Html loaded - it's a time required for broswer to load html page itself when DOMContentLoaded is emitted. I record an average time as this time can fluctuate significantly
  • Page loaded - time to 'load' event, when all direct dependencies of the web page are loaded. That include stylesheets, javascript and images

Examples

Read moreDoes pihole make any difference?

Discrimination by OS

It's hard to be in minority. I wonder how many people even thought that there is a discrimination by OS?

People who born before 1990 might remember that message from the beginning of millennium "this website requires Internet Explorer" to run. That time minority (macos, linux, bsd, solaris) had to run a virtual machine with Windows just to access some websites. No kidding.

Nobody liked it, people felt oppressed and that caused a very strong emotional feedback for Microsoft. Having no other options we managed to use internet and Windows-only focused hardware. As a Linux user I remember those conversations with macos users - we all were in the same boat. We were "pricks".

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Pi-Hole and DNS-over-HTTPS using docker-compose

I'm glad that people started to think about the privacy more than ever

In this post I'll share my experience of configuring pi-hole and Cloudflare DNS-over-HTTPS on Raspberry Pi using docker-compose. Before we dig into the configuration a few words what it's all about

UPD: Post has been updated with newest version of pi-hole

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Grumble: Virgin Media is hijacking DNS and has no customer service

Just recently we moved home and of course we had to look for an another Internet Service Provider. Due to coronavirus outbreak we could not install Vodafone. We had it previously and generally it was quite reliable and service was decent. Instead we stick to the only option - Virgin Media

TR;DR: If you can - avoid. It's a scum. Terrible service, low-end hardware, DNS spoofing, HTTP/s transparent proxy, website doesn't work, support agents are humiliating and threatening you.
Not convinced? Read further.

I'm going to repost my post from reddit and provide additional comments

If you're from IT you probably would be especially interested in what Virgin Media is doing with you internet traffic

Read moreGrumble: Virgin Media is hijacking DNS and has no customer service

Asus Zenbook UX303UA memory upgrade

I bought UX303UA Zenbook back in June 2016 for £800. It's meant to be be a temporary laptop to be used for 1-2 years max.

Although it's quite cheap it had very good spec especially for 2016: i7-6500U @ 2.5Ghz and 12Gb RAM with fair 4-6hours on single charge, just 1.2kg. It was a significant improvement from previous Zenbook with i5 and 8Gb memory. RAM is especially critical for java developers, especially for greedy Android tools.

Even now, in 2020 this spec isn't bad at all. It's still possible to get a similar device bus slightly cheaper. Having said that I was thinking to add more memory so I can continue to use laptop comfortabily. Unfortunatelly, all websites and official sources say it's impossible - the max is 8(in the slot)+4(soldered).

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Installing docker-machine on Raspberry PI

One of the nicest things about docker is reproducibility and containerisation. It is possible to run multiple applications which requires different environment on the same computer and make them live happily altogether. Although Raspberry Pi has ARMv7 instructions set, we still can run docker on it - we just need different images. One would be surprised there are some official images available on docker hub.

The configuration can be very simple - literally two commands in terminal, thanks to widely available devops tools such as docker-machine and ansible. Having this setup there won't be need to login to the RPi and perform any manual configuration per service anymore. Instead, services can be configured and deployed right from your computer.

If you don't have your Rasbperry configured yet refer to previous article for the initial setup.

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Setting up Raspberry Pi without Monitor

In this post we will setup and configure Rasbian for your RPi to be instantly available via local network and without screen on the linux or mac system. Those steps should be appliable to any Raspberry PI version

To start with we need a few things:

  • Raspberry PI itself
  • 8Gb+ SD Card, class 10 at least
  • Ethernet cable to connect RPi to the router
  • Downloaded Raspbian Lite zipped image

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Project Sunset: PronounceMe

In year 2019 one of the projects I launched was PronounceMe. It's a service which automatically generates videos with pronunciation of the English words and publishes them on YouTube. For more details about the hypothesis and technical implementation check out all posts under #PronounceMe

Unfortunately, I have to shut it down due to recent changes in the YouTube monetisation policies.

Read moreProject Sunset: PronounceMe