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?

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

Read morePi-Hole and DNS-over-HTTPS using docker-compose

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.

Read moreInstalling docker-machine on Raspberry PI

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

Read moreSetting up Raspberry Pi without Monitor

RPI Zero scan button

While I was finishing wireless scanner and printer server I realised that traditional document scanning approach is not so nice from UX point of view.

I really like the way office scanners in multi-functional devices work. Normally if you want to scan you just load stack of paper into and put your email address. Scanner does the rest and in minute you'll get ready-to-use pdf file in your inbox.

I was thinking about having button attached to RPI Zero which initiates scanning and document upload.

Read moreRPI Zero scan button

RPI Zero: print & scan servers

I had to make old printer and scanner wirelessly available over local network. It can be done using wireless printer USB adapter but it's not that cheap and still doesn't support scanner

Obvious choose is using Raspberry PI with linux installed. Before I heard a lot about RPI Zero but could never believe that it costs just £5. Actually it is just £5 and +£2.5 delivery fee. Surprisingly there are no other options except of first class delivery!

Long story short, I put here main steps how to setup print and scan servers on small Raspberry PI Zero:

General configuration

Upgrade RPI software
To access most recent features and freshly created bugs make sure you use most recent version of RPI firmware. To do so run sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.

Static IP
Assign static IP for your raspberry. The easiest way is configure your router DHCP server. Just bind mac address to nice IP in your network, like 192.168.100.100, later in this post I

Reduce graphic memory fraction
If you aren't going to use video how to

Read moreRPI Zero: print & scan servers