1. DeGoogling myself

    February 19, 2012 by Vincent

    I have been an avid Google user for the last few years. Everything I wanted to know came via Google, my mail was hosted by Google, my calendar was hosted by Google, my contacts were stored at Google, my documents were hosted by Google, I
    chatted via Google and planned my journeys via Google. So Google knows everything about me, something I am not really comfortable with. The dutch organization Bits of Freedom introduced the idea of a Google Free Diet.

    So that was the challenge for me too, albeit a week later. First of all I wanted an alternative for GMail, and that wasn’t really too hard to find, but I had a choice to make. Was I going to host it myself or was I going to find another provider for me to use. The one I was doubting to use was FastMail, but as I wanted to use mail on my own domain it would cost me E50 a year. I already had a server to host my mail on so that would cost me nothing extra so I made the choice to do that.

    I have to warn you though, setting up a mailserver takes some time and patience. I used a guide from the Linode Library, even though my server isn’t hosted with them anymore, I like the guides. The guide I used was Host Email with Postfix, Dovecot and MySQL on Debian 6, and after a days work it was done, I was hosting my own email!

    But a true alternative to GMail, needs a webmail option. For this I chose RoundCube, and it was very easy to set up. RoundCube has a very good Install Guide.

    After this I was at a problem where I was before. How am I going to host a calendar? I can start a calendar locally in Thunderbird, but then it won’t sync with my Android phone. And, to be honest, I would love to have a web interface where I can check and add events. And then I found it, the perfect solution. That solution is ownCloud. OwnCloud is a php solution in which you can host your calendar, contacts and files. It is build as an alternative for the cloud based solution that is used regularly by a lot of people these days. It is extensible with apps and in active development.

    The calendar and contacts can sync using CalDAV and CardDAV, which can be synced on multiple platforms. There are apps for android made by dmfs which sync the contacts to the Android internal calendar and contact stores. This means that you can use the apps you already use for your contacts and calendars but it is synced with ownCloud.

    The last thing I wanted to replace was Google Talk. Talk is Google’s implementation of the xmpp protocol. You can connect to other Google Talk users using xmpp, so I set up my own XMPP server using eJabberd. For this I used another guide from the Linode Library Host Instant Messaging Services with ejabberd on Debian 5.

    Than the hardest thing, search. I am forcing myself to use DuckDuckGo but the results are nowhere near as good as Google’s results. Maybe Ixquick is a solution, but I haven’t tried it yet.

    It is possible to go “Google Free” and it isn’t even that hard. You don’t lose connectivity with people who still use Google, accept for the fact that you can’t share calendar events easily. With a simple shared hosting plan that has email hosting you can roll your own cloud platform in a days work! Go for it!


  2. Eduroam with wpa_config

    February 1, 2011 by Vincent

    My school (Avans) has been using Eduroam for a while now. However, I haven’t been able to get it working. Mostly because I was lazy and they had a legacy support option which was using MAC address whitelisting, which was a lot easier to set up. But this option hasn’t been working great lately so I sat down and tried to get Eduroam working.

    I use Archlinux on my laptop, which has an awesome tool for managing networks using only a commandline tool and some configuration files called netcfg. Netcfg can use the well known wpa_supplicant to authenticate with a protected network. To connect to an Eduroam you need a working config file. The following one worked for me at Avans.


    eapol_version=1
    ap_scan=1
    fast_reauth=1

    network={
    ssid="eduroam"
    key_mgmt=WPA-EAP
    eap=TTLS
    identity="<>@avans.nl"
    anonymous_identity="anonymous@avans.nl"
    password="<>"
    priority=2
    phase2="auth=PAP"
    }

    Good luck with it!


  3. Command line file management

    June 19, 2010 by Vincent

    I have been a fan of the command line for a while now, about from the time I moved from Ubuntu to Arch. The most difficult thing to get used to was command line file management but I think I can do anything now comfotably from the command line and I think I am a lot faster doing it thanks to a couple of wonderful applications.

    First of all there is coreutils, this is the thing every one knows and is used to. It has the regular things like cp, rm, mv and ls. It is however the basic of everything. Combined with shell globs this is a very powerful thing, and it can do any I wont go into the basics of those commands but I will share some examples that I found very useful and weren’t as obvious as others.

    When you have a list of pictures, named pic001.png through pic732.png and you just want to remove pic051 through pic521, you can use shell ranges. They are defined like pic{<startno.>..<endno.>}, so in our example it will be like:

    rm pic{051..521}.png

    Also ls isn’t as useful as it could be by default. I think every distro has some basic options set for ls like --color=auto but there is a lot more. For example, I also like to have my directories and files seperate, and there is an option for that called --group-directories-first. I also like to see the size of the file as well as the permissions on the file, and ls -l is perfect for that, but the filesizes is in bytes by default, which isn’t really human readable. I mean, I don’t care my file is 45234786 bytes, I just want to know it’s 4MB. ls -lh is for that. I think by now we have a very useful ls, you can try it out by executing ls -lh --color=auto --group-directories-first in your favourite shell. Or, a lot more useful, you can make an alias.

    Then we have cd which just does what it should, which is change to the directory specified. But as we all know, we mostly hang around a couple of directories, and we just want to switch to those easily and fast. Some archer named Joel Thelion made an application called autojump which he describes as The cd command that learns and that is exactly what it does. It keeps track of in what directory you are and how much you do in there and it calculates a weight of that. That weight is later used to determine where to move. I can explain it but it’s better to just try it, it is awesome!

    I think that makes you able to do all the things you do in a normal file manager, but just with your fingers on your lovely clicky keyboard. We all know that you dislike the mouse, like you should according to a lot of linux elitists, although I have to be honest and I like it a lot for laid back browsing sessions. But to the point, and that is shell based file management. And the shell is so powerful because it’s scriptable, you can chain things together very easily. And the most amazing application for that is find.

    For example, you have a directory filled with rars which you all want to unrar. Instead of unrarring them each on their own you can use find. We are trying to find the files ending in .rar in the directory “Archives”, so just to test what we find we can execute find Archives -name "*.rar" which should print out the path to those files. But we want to do something with those rars, not just know where they are, and find has a flag for that called -exec . -exec needs two things, the binary to execute, in our example it’s unrar e, and {} \;. The {} is replaced by the path it finds and \; mimics a return key being pressed.

    I really hope I learned you something and if you have ANY comments/criticism please reply to this post!


  4. Uzbl and Xmonad

    October 23, 2009 by Vincent

    I already showed you that I switched from Firefox to Uzbl. Uzbl has no tabs out of the box, so I had to come up with something else. Somebody made a tabbing plug-in for Uzbl, but somebody else pointed me to the tabbing layout for XMonad. But I don’t want my browser full-screen. I have 22″ monitors with a resolution of 1680 * 1050 so full screen is a little much. Fortunately XMonad has something for that as well. namely the ComboP layout.

    ComboP is a way to combine multiple layouts in one workspace. I now have a portion of the workspace tabbed so that is where I can have multiple uzbl windows. On the other portion I have two terminals. One for Weechat and one for Mutt. These are situated in a tall layout that doesn’t resize so they will always have 50% of the available vertical space.

    This would be useless to have on every workspace, I just want it on the one I have reserved for my browsing. So I went to look for another module and found it. It’s called PerWorkspace. It gives you the ability to set a layout for just one workspace and to have just one layout on a workspace, and multiple on all the others. It does make your layoutHook look like a mess.

    Here is my layoutHook line, don’t forget the imports!:

    ,layoutHook = avoidStruts $ onWorkspace "www" (named "Tabbed" (windowNavigation (combineTwo (TwoPane 0.03 0.5) (tabbed shrinkText tabConfig) (Mirror (tiled))))) $ tiled ||| named "HintedTall" (hintedTile XMonad.Layout.HintedTile.Tall) ||| noBorders Full

    I think this is a great example of what Xmonad can do. You can mold and craft it into anything you want and it will do it for you. I just love my setup at the moment. If only there was a good cli-feed reader that could synchronize with Google Reader


  5. New host, again

    October 20, 2009 by Vincent

    I got a new hosting provider again. I went with a VPS, because I wanted some more freedom with what I can do on the server. I did take a control panel with it so can easily make accounts for people, and they can set them up using a web interface, I don’t see my mom logging into my server using ssh and moving some stuff around. This can be a little slow but there is more RAM on the way!


  6. August 2009 Screenshot

    August 26, 2009 by Vincent

    A lot has happened in the past year, but not a lot different in the screenshot. It’s uzbl now, the rest is pretty much the same. I like it.

    xmonad, uzbl, urxvt, dzen2, weechat, Vincent Kriek

    Config Files


  7. Uzbl

    August 20, 2009 by Vincent

    For those who remember, I’ve switched from Opera to Firefox a while ago. I like the way Firefox gives you the ability to extend the browser to your liking. But Firefox didn’t give me the right base. I want a simple browser that in itself does virtually nothing but browse and can be extended through plugins. And then Uzbl came around the corner.

    Uzbl is a project that aims to be a browser that follows the UNIX Philosophy, and I like it. On top of that, it’s real easy to extend the browser using scripts. Uzbl is built on top of Webkit, so it is standards compliant and it passes the acid3 test with flying colors. Off course, it is still alpha/beta so it’s not ultra stable but stable enough for me. And have I mentioned it is way lighter then Firefox? It starts in a snap and it uses a lot less memory.

    My config can be found here and my scripts can be found here. Let me know if you have suggestions for my scripts!


  8. I Messed Up

    August 8, 2009 by Vincent

    Now a years worth of blog posts are gone :’(


  9. August 2008 screenshot

    August 9, 2008 by Vincent

    You see:

    • Arch Linux
    • XMonad
    • Dzen
    • conky-cli
    • opera
    • urxvt
    • irssi

    I made some changes I planned on for a while. The biggest one is the switch form xmobar to dzen+conky-cli. Much more versatile. Also i cleaned up my xmonad.hs. It’s just how I wanted.
    All my configs are found here.


  10. ZSH, I love it

    August 6, 2008 by Vincent

    I was bored a couple of days ago. I installed xmonad and everything worked like it schould. So I started browsing the ArchLinux wiki searching for something new to install. I heard about zsh-completion being wonderfull but I never understould what zsh was. Zsh is a shell, an alternative to bash. I never had problems with bash but I never founf it really good. I liked it’s completion but I heard zsh’s completion was better.

    Zsh is in ArchLinux’ extra repository. You can change from shell using the usermod command. You just do

    usermod -s /bin/zsh USERNAME

    You have to login and logout to activate the shell. Basic configuration is done in .zshrc. It works like .bashrc with some other commands. My .zshrc is bits and pieces from other people and form my .bashrc. You can find my .zshrc on my git branch. Gentoo’s documentation on zsh is rather good.

    Since I now have succesfully installed and configured zsh I am looking for a new project, anyone tips? And also, i would love to see your .zshrc