HOW-TOs

Weekend Reading: Raspberry Pi Projects

The Raspberry Pi has been very popular among hobbyists and educators ever since its launch in 2011. It’s a credit-card-sized single-board computer with a Broadcom BCM 2835 SoC, 256MB to 512MB of RAM, USB ports, GPIO pins, Ethernet, HDMI out, camera header and an SD card slot. The most attractive aspects of the Raspberry Pi are its low cost of $35 and large user community following. Join us this weekend as we explore some cool Raspberry Pi projects.

Creating the Concentration Game PAIRS with Bash, Part II

Dave finishes up the PAIRS concentration game, only to realize it's too hard to solve! In my last article, I tossed away my PC card and talked about how I was a fan of the British colonial-era writer Rudyard Kipling. With that in mind, I do appreciate that you're still reading my column.

Take Your Git In-House

If you're wary of the Microsoft takeover of GitHub, or if you've been looking for a way to ween yourself off free public repositories, or if you want to ramp up your DevOps efforts, now's a good time to look at installing and running GitLab yourself. It's not as difficult as you might think, and the free, open-source GitLab CE version provides a lot of flexibility to start from scratch, migrate or graduate to more full-fledged versions.

Bytes, Characters and Python 2

Moving from Python 2 to 3? Here's what you need to know about strings and their role in in your upgrade. An old joke asks "What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. Two languages? Bilingual. One language? American."

Globbing and Regex: So Similar, So Different

Grepping is awesome, as long as you don't glob it up! This article covers some grep and regex basics. There are generally two types of coffee drinkers. The first type buys a can of pre-ground beans and uses the included scoop to make their automatic drip coffee in the morning. The second type picks single-origin beans from various parts of the world, accepts only beans that have been roasted within the past week and grinds those beans with a conical burr grinder moments before brewing in any number of complicated methods. Text searching is a bit like that.

Creating the Concentration Game PAIRS with Bash

Exploring the nuances of writing a pair-matching memory game and one-dimensional arrays in Bash. I've always been a fan of Rudyard Kipling. He wrote some great novels and stories, mostly about British colonial-era India. Politically correct in our modern times? Not so much, but still, his books are good fun for readers and still are considered great literature of its time. His works include The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous, The Just So Stories and The Man Who Would Be King, among many others.

Cleaning Your Inbox with Mutt

Teach Mutt yet another trick: how to filter messages in your Inbox with a simple macro. I'm a longtime Mutt user and have written about it a number of times in Linux Journal. Although many people may think it's strange to be using a command-line-based email client in 2018, I find a keyboard-driven email client so much more efficient than clicking around in a web browser. Mutt is extremely customizable, which presents a steep learning curve at first, but now that I'm a few decades in, my Mutt configuration is pretty ideal and fits me like a tailored suit.

Shuffling Letters and Words

You can shuffle your feet and you can shuffle cards, but can you shuffle characters? Dave's latest column explores the possibilities. My last few articles have described building a pretty sophisticated password generator, except for one thing: I never quite got to the point of scrambling the end result to add a second level of randomness. I sidestepped the issue by saying it was an exercise for the reader, but in fact, it's a pretty interesting problem, so let's look at it here. You can reverse a word with the handy Linux command rev, like so:

Encrypting NFSv4 with Stunnel TLS

NFS clients and servers push file traffic over clear-text connections in the default configuration, which is incompatible with sensitive data. TLS can wrap this traffic, finally bringing protocol security. Before you use your cloud provider's NFS tools, review all of your NFS usage and secure it where necessary.

Building a Bare-Bones Git Environment

How to migrate repositories from GitHub, configure the software and get started with hosting Git repositories on your own Linux server. With the recent news of Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub, many people have chosen to research other code-hosting options. Self-hosted solutions like GitLabs offer a polished UI, similar in functionality to GitHub but one that requires reasonably well-powered hardware and provides many features that casual Git users won't necessarily find useful.

DIY: Build a Custom Minimal Linux Distribution from Source

Follow along with this step-by-step guide to build your own distribution from source and learn how it installs, loads and runs. When working with Linux, you easily can download any of the most common distributions to install and configure—be it Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE or something entirely different. And although you should give several distributions a spin, building your own custom, minimal Linux distribution is also a beneficial and wonderful learning exercise.

Building a Voice-Controlled Front End to IoT Devices

Apple, Google and Amazon are taking voice control to the next level. But can voice control be a DIY project? Turns out, it can. And, it isn't as hard as you might think. Siri, Alexa and Google Home can all translate voice commands into basic activities, especially if those activities involve nothing more than sharing digital files like music and movies. Integration with home automation is also possible, though perhaps not as simply as users might desire—at least, not yet.

The LJ Password Generator Tool

Mnemonic passwords generally stink. A random sequence of letters, digits and punctuation is more secure—just don't write down your passwords, like the knucklehead antagonist does in Ready Player One!

Introducing PyInstaller

Want to distribute Python programs to your Python-less clients? PyInstaller is the answer. If you're used to working with a compiled language, the notion that you would need to have a programming language around, not just for development but also for running an application, seems a bit weird. Just because a program was written in C doesn't mean you need a C compiler in order to run it, right?

Data Privacy: Why It Matters and How to Protect Yourself

When it comes to privacy on the internet, the safest approach is to cut your Ethernet cable or power down your device. But, because you can't really do that and remain somewhat productive, you need other options. This article provides a general overview of the situation, steps you can take to mitigate risks and finishes with a tutorial on setting up a virtual private network.

Back Up GitHub and GitLab Repositories Using Golang

Want to learn Golang and build something useful? Learn how to write a tool to back up your GitHub and GitLab repositories. GitHub and GitLab are two popular Git repository hosting services that are used to host and manage open-source projects. They also have become an easy way for content creators to be able to invite others to share and collaborate without needing to have their own infrastructure setup.