Skip to content.

A Note About Website Navigation

Skip to main menu.

For users of screen readers, depending on the screen resolution, the two checkboxes are for opening and closing the side menus that appear to the left and right of the screen. This is designed both for large screens and for mobile devices with a touch screen. Checking either the main menu or sidebar checkboxes causes the menu to open from the left or right side of the screen, respectively. Clearing the checkox in either the main menu or sidebar closes the menu. The checkboxes are visible to screen readers such as JAWS and NVDA for Windows, Voiceover for Mac, and Orca screen reader for Linux. When a screen reader says "clickable" for both main menu and sidebar, that is for the respective checkboxes. End of explaination.

List of Blog Posts

Need to Change Hostname for Windows Server Domain Controller?

If you promoted your server to a domain controller, you won’t be able to change the hostname for Windows Server Domain Controller without inputting commands in the command prompt. Basically, you need to open the command prompt, add a new alternate hostname, make the domain controller your primary hostname, reboot your server, and then remove the old hostname. This is useful if the server’s hostname was not changed before the server gets promoted as a domain controller. The order of commands along with the syntax is as follows:

netdom computername oldcomputername.yourlocaldomain.lan /add:newcomputername.yourlocaldomain.lan
netdom computername oldcomputername.yourlocaldomain.lan /makeprimary:newcomputername.yourlocaldomain.lan
shutdown /r /t 0
netdom computername newcomputername.yourlocaldomain.lan /remove:oldcomputername.yourlocaldomain.lan
netdom computername
The command to execute.
oldcomputername
Old hostname (example: WIN-R61PT45).
yourlocaldomain.lan
Local domain name (example: graysonpeddie.lan)
newcomputername
New hostname (example: grayson-dc1)
/add
Adds a new hostname to the domain controller as an alternate hostname. For this example, newcomputername will be added as an alternate hostname for the domain controller.
/makeprimary
Makes a hostname a primary name for the domain controller. newcomputername will be the primary name for the domain controller and the oldcomputername will be the alternate hostname for the domain controller.
/remove
Deletes the hostname from the domain controller. In this case, the /remove flag removes the oldcomputername from the domain controller.
/enumerate
Although not shown in the order of commands above this list of commands, parameters, and flags, this will enumerate the list of hostnames assigned to the domain controller. This flag does not require a parameter, so the colon after the enumerate flag is not needed.
shutdown /r /t 0
This command reboots the server (hence, /r) immediately (/t 0. The /t 0 flag and parameter is a timer.
dcdiag
Not shown in the list of commands above. This command runs a diagnostic for the domain controller to make sure everything in the domain controller is working fine. There might be some errors and warnings, but if computers can login to the domain controller, it should be fine.

Because I did not know the commands myself, I must give credit to “The ICT Guy” (Twitter profile) for writing an article titled Correctly renaming a Domain Controller for a seamless easy migration. That article has been of great help to me since I am testing Windows Server 2016 Essentials edition as part of my virtual homelab setup. For example, I wanted to test the domain joining functionality in macOS and test an Active Directory integration in Nextcloud using an LDAP/AD integration app. LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and is used for managing users and groups.

I hope I can be of help to Windows administrators.

Pro Tip for Proxmox Users: Using Linux Containers (LXC) For Testing The Ability To Join Linux to an Active Directory?

Short Version

When creating Linux containers for the purpos of joining them to an Active Directory Domain Controller, make sure the checkbox after the “Unprivileged Container” is unchecked. The “unprivileged container” checkbox is after the “Hostname” edit box. Unprivileged Linux containers won’t be able to join to an Active Directory. Essentially, I forgot to uncheck the “Unprivileged Container” and wasted hours of my time, but I consider time well spent when learning the hard way.

Proxmox has “Unprivileged Container” checked by default when creating a new Linux container. That option cannot be changed once a Linux container is created, so the Linux container will have to be deleted in order to start from scratch with “Unprivileged Container” unchecked.

Skip ahead to Long Version section for more details.

Who Is This Article For?

This article is for anyone who has experience with Proxmox. Proxmox is a Linux distribution and it comes with a web interface for running and managing virtual machines and Linux containers. This link will take you to the web page that explains how virtual machines and Linux containers work. The “long version” also mentions SSSD when I was troubleshooting issues while attempting to log into an Active Directory. System Security Services Daemon (SSSD, for short) is what enrolls a Linux client to an Active Directory. A “daemon” in Linux is another name for “services” in Windows that runs in the background. This article is intended for advanced Linux users only.

Long Version

I wanted to see if I can implement Active Directory functionality without needing Windows Server operating system. A software called “Samba” lets me do just that, so I followed instructions on getting Samba’s Active Directory Domain Controller (AD-DC, for short) up and running. I set this up in a privileged Linux container. The reason why Linux containers need to have privileges is because when I did a search for “setresgid failed [22][Invalid argument]” (without quotes) in StartPage, I came across a page in GitHub titled Cannot log in with Active Directory users via SSSD on Proxmox #3153. That was when I created a new Linux container and I forgot to uncheck the “Unprivileged Container” checkbox. I did a lot of troubleshooting when I looked into /var/log/sssd/sssd_graysonpeddie.lan.log and /var/log/sssd/krb5_child.log. graysonpeddie.lan is my local domain name for my home network. This web page explains how to setup a Linux client for joining to a Samba domain. From what I have learned, if I execute an id command in my Linux client:

gpeddie@ubuntu-desktop1:~$ id
uid=1451201106(gpeddie) gid=1451201104(grayson peddie) groups=1451201104(grayson peddie),1451200513(domain users)

According to the GitHub page that I linked earlier, the maximum user ID and group ID (UID and GID for short) is 65536 for an unprivileged Linux container. Within the issue page, the max UID and GID can be changed to 1000000000 or something higher. However, as this is for experienced Linux users who know the inner workings of Linux containers, the moral of the story is that “Unprivileged Container” needs to be unchecked in order for domain joining to work.

Warning

Bear in mind that privileged containers are not safe for businesses when it comes to attackers exploiting privileged Linux containers. And yes, it’s all about vulnerabilities and exploits when it comes to escaping Linux containers and causing damage to the host; however, for homelab purposes, a privileged Linux container is fine for my needs. If you are concerned about the security of Linux containers, spin up virtual machines instead of Linux containers in Proxmox. Of course, depending on your security hygiene, virtual machines can be as unsafe as privileged and unprivileged Linux containers if you do not have security precautions in place. For more details, learn more about privileged and unprivileged containers.

How To Change Your Uber Email Address and Password?

Instructions

  1. From your smartphone (not your desktop or laptop computer), open the Uber application.
  2. Tap Account. The Account button is located at the bottom right of your smartphone’s screen.
  3. Tap your avatar to the right of your name.
  4. Tap your email address to change your email address. Skip to step 6 if you do not make use of unique email addresses for every account that you signed up for.
  5. Once you change your email address, tap Update. Go into your email account and look for an email from Uber. Enter the verification code that Uber gave you.
  6. Tap your password. You will need to verify your password first before you generate your new password from a password manager.

And you are done! Congratulations! You have successfully changed your unique email address and password! Stay safe!

Cannot Change Email Address and Password in Uber’s Website

If you are like me, you watched a video about Uber Has Been Hacked and you have a unique email address and unique password assigned to your Uber account. If you make use of a password manager such as Bitwarden or KeePassXC but do not have more than one email address, that’s okay and unique passwords are important anyway. Password managers saved me from re-using passwords and I cannot remember hundreds of passwords.

So you learned about Uber that got hacked and we all know that we should change our passwords, correct? For no reason, Uber won’t let me change my email address and password in their website. I have to change that in an Uber app in my smartphone. And yes, I went into my profile after I sign into Uber’s website and there is no way to change both my email address and password!

The Only Way To Change Important and Sensitive Information?

That’s right! Your smartphone! If you need to change your email address and password, you must open the Uber app in order to change what you need to change. And you know what? My computer is a lot more convenient than my smartphone. Why? Physical keyboard, a mouse, and a large monitor. I have to have my smartphone very close to me due to my visual impairment and the use of my smartphone can hurt my back. It would be nice if I could connect my smartphone to a dock and use my computer monitor, mouse, and keyboard to control my smartphone. That reminds me of Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone. I found a video called Desktop and Phone Convergence. Purism Librem 5 is not only a smartphone, but it is more of a general-purpose computer. The smartphone runs PureOS, a Linux distribution made for Librem laptops and Librem 5 smartphone. If Android could do convergence right out of the box, I could turn off my Mac Mini that I currently have in order to save power and just use my smartphone like a computer. That way, I could pull up an Uber application using my mouse and keyboard and I can change my email address and password from there! I do not have to worry about visiting Uber’s website.

Surely, we should be able to change our email address and password right from Uber’s website, right? At the end of the day, I think we are living in a smartphone-first world where smartphones are all the rage these days. And all the smartphone manufacturers are all copying Apple’s designs with the exception of Planet Computer Astro Slide 5G. That smartphone has a built-in physical keyboard and I would love to get my hands on one when it ships. Oh, and you can thank me for providing instructions at the very beginning of my article. Far too many blogging websites make it seem so wordy that their articles provide lots of reasons for changing the password that I would have to scroll down the article in order to view the instructions. Simply read the instructions from the beginning of this article and you can change your email address and password in no time!

And people will always fall for social engineering problems. 🙂

A Nice Home Theater Processor That Makes Me Droll!

Who is this blog article for?

Anyone who is into home theater electronics and those who understand home theater terms such as a home theater receiver, a home theater processor, and eARC. This article is unsuitable for blind users who do not have eyesight.

A Cool New Home Theater Processor!

I received an email from AVSForum about a 9.4.6 Home Theater At CEDIA That You Definitely Don’t Want To Miss (that’s 9 speakers near the wall, 4 subwoofers (2 front, and 2 rear subwoofers), and 6 ceiling speakers) and I came across a processor that is used at CEDIA called StormAudio ISP Elite MK3, so I went to that page and–wow! A multi-theater processor!!!

Okay, so what does that do? Does the ISP processor… (Interrupted by the “I don’t care about cookies” web page as I type. A browser extension in Firefox about getting rid of cookie warnings or cookie notifications in websites opened up a new tab after updating a browser extension as I type. Now I’m getting off-topic. Thanks to you, browser extensions!)

Hah… 😆 Let me get myself back in control of my moment as I write my blog post. Because that cool new home theater processor interests me a lot! 🤣😀

Okay, so what does that new home theater processor do? Does the ISP processor let me have multiple theaters? Yes! That’s having two home theater processors in one processor! Okay, let me explain. Most people that have a surround sound system typically have a home theater receiver with amplifiers built-in. A processor does not have an amplifier, so it needs an external amplifier. An ISP processor can have up to 32 channels of audio. That’s 32 speakers. What!? 32 speakers!? Yes. “But you don’t need 32 speakers–let alone 4 or 8 subwoofers for a dedicated home theater room,” you exclaimed. That’s true, but that’s not the point. Think about AMC Theatres. If you have been to a movie theater, you know AMC Theatres has so many auditoriums, right? Think about just one device that can connect to 16 speakers per theater room. Actually, commercial movie theaters do have multiple rows of surround speakers. Each row of surround speakers can be located to the left and right side of the room and can surround multiple rows of seating. Of course, that can be done using a StormAudio ISP processor, but that’s not what I am interested in.

What piked my interest is the multi-theater feature of the StormAudio ISP MK3 processor. This would allow me to assign 16 channels of audio to a dedicated home theater room and 8 channels of audio to my home office/gaming/studio room. A home theater processor has two HDMI outputs. One HDMI output is linked to the 16 channels for the home theater room. Another 8 or 16 channels of audio (depending on the modules installed in a processor) can go to my home office/gaming/studio room. So people might be thinking “is it possible for a home theater receiver with an integrated amplifier to have 32 channels of amplification?” The problem with that is, the home theater receiver’s power supply is very limited in terms of the amount of current that must be pushed from an electrical outlet to the speakers. The receiver can get so hot to the touch even if nothing is playing. That’s why going with external amplifiers is better when playing at high volumes. A dedicated home theater room needs to be connected to a dedicated circuit breaker in order to provide enough power to the speakers in a dedicated home theater room. For a computer room, I may not need a lot of power, so a 700w amplifier going into 7 channels (that’s 100 watts each per speaker) is more than enough for me.

Although the price of the StormAudio ISP MK3 processor is sky-high, for me, that is similar to buying two cheaper home theater processors, but the cool thing about this is I could have more speakers in a dedicated room and still have leftover for the speakers in the computer room. And I could control the processor to show me a different video source going out to HDMI 2, which is the connector going out to my computer room. If I want to see what’s playing in a dedicated movie theater from a computer room, I can do that because the processor acts as a hub. Sure, if I could find a multi-theater processor at a lower price than the StormAudio, that’s great, but I get what I pay for. Right now, the MK3 only supports HDMI 2.0, which means I cannot game at 4K (3840×2160) at 120Hz and my TV (Samsung 43″ QN90B) supports HDMI 2.1.

I have my PC connected to my TV, then from the TV to an eARC HDMI audio extractor, and then to my Denon AVR-X3400H which does not support eARC. Basically, eARC allows 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound audio to come directly from the TV and the audio passes into a receiver’s HDMI out for the receiver to process audio information so that the sound can output through the speakers. But because my home theater receiver does not support eARC, I use an audio extractor (that I linked above) in order to supply audio going out to my receiver. Here’s how it works:

  1. “HDMI Out” from an audio extractor connects to my Samsung 43″ QN90B’s HDMI 3, which lists “eARC.” Connecting an audio extractor to HDMI 1, 2, or 4 in the back of my TV won’t work as those HDMI ports do not provide eARC support.
  2. “HDMI Audio Out” connects to my Denon AVR-X3400H’s audio input. This allows my receiver to process audio that came from my PC that hooks up to my TV’s HDMI 2.1 inputs.
  3. “HDMI Input” from an audio extractor connects to my Denon AVR-X3400H’s HDMI Output. This allows me to select HDMI3 on my TV. Any video going from my receiver to my TV passes through my audio extractor’s HDMI input.

And that’s all there is to it! In short, my PC connects to my TV via an HDMI cable, the TV connects to an audio extractor, and an audio extractor connects to my receiver. An HDMI audio extractor avoids having me buy a new receiver. Think about this. Back on late 2018, my Marantz SR-5008 was having issues and the audio continues to make squealing noise after the outbreak of Hurricane Michael. Since January of 2019, I wanted a new receiver. Should I buy a Denon AVR-X3500H which supports eARC or should I buy a Denon X3400H which does not? Back around August of 2013, I bought a 4K-ready receiver, thinking that $900 would give me a much better sound compared to Marantz SR-5007, which was a discontinued model. That’s why I bought myself into that “$900” hype! Bad! Bad mistake! So let me ask you this. Would you spend $300 extra just for eARC support? Me? I don’t think so. I bought a Denon X3400H just to save $300 in the process. Sure, Amazon mentioned that X3400H is a discontinued model (yes, it “was” as it’s past-tense, but let’s forget about the tenses for now), but I bought it anyway! Why? So I can quit being a fool! The sound character is the same regardless of whether it’s a 2010 model or a 2022 model!

Of course, I’ve gotten way too far off-topic from my article, but the point is, I’m going to wait for ISP to come out with a new processor that supports HDMI 2.1 such as 4K at 120Hz. 4K at 120 Hz would last for a very long time for me. Maybe a decade? Even if HDMI Alliance (or whatever it’s called) upgrades to 8K (a resolution of 7680 by 4320) at 120Hz? Okay, hold on a minute. Today, I don’t think modern graphics cards can even handle 4K at 120 frames per second or even at 240 FPS unless people play older games or turn down the graphics settings. I mean, I’m talking Cyberpunk 2077 that can push even an NVIDIA RTX 3090 so hard that gamers can’t get more than 90 to 100 frames per second. So, HDMI 2.1 will be with us for a very long period of time. Well, I’m pretty sure that games such as Cyberpunk 2077 could run the GPU (graphics processor unit) down to 20 frames per second or even lower. 😂🙂

Anyway, one day I could save up my money for an awesome StormAudio home theater processor. One day. That is, if I could get into network engineering and make a whole lot of money (I am Cisco CCNA certified as of October 2021; I am CompTIA CySA+ certified as of August 23rd of this year, which renewed my CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications).

Related Article:

Pro Tip for Proxmox Users: Need to Add Multiple IP Addresses for a Single NIC in LXC?

A Note About Proxmox and LXC (Linux Containers)

For those unfamiliar with LXC and Proxmox, LXC is similar to a virtual machine that runs a guest OS (Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, etc.) but the container part of LXC excludes the core part of the OS and simply provides networking and storage inside a container. Unlike virtual machines, applications inside a container can access resources on a host system directly. Proxmox is a hypervisor for running virtual machines and Linux containers (LXC) in a server hardware.

IP Addresses and Subnetting

Do you need to have multiple IP addresses assigned to a network interface inside an LXC container? In terms of networking, a single NIC can have multiple IP addresses. This is useful if you want to run a single server with multiple websites that have their own IP address. Here’s what I mean:

172.20.31.0/23
A small HTML file with a list of websites hosted by the web server.
172.20.31.1/23
A web application running Adminer, a lightweight alternative to phpMyAdmin.
172.20.31.2/23
A development version of my website that mirrors a production version. Anyone who visits my site sees my production version of my website.
Once I test the changes I made in the development website, I push the changes up to the production website.
172.20.31.3/23
A custom-built web application for taking notes. Any notes written in HTML gets shown up in the web browser.
172.20.31.4/23
A development version of the note-taking web application taken from 172.20.31.3.

A note for those new to networking: pay attention to the subnet. A slash 23 subnet can start with 172.20.30.1 and ends at 172.20.31.254. Both 172.20.30.255 and 172.20.31.0 are both valid IP addresses. 172.20.30.0 is a network address and 172.20.31.255 is a broadcast address. Cisco has an article about IP addressing and subnetting in order to help you understand how subnetting works. With that out of the way, let’s get into configuring a Linux container running in a Proxmox serer.

(more…)

Who is the Weakest Link In a Cybersecurity Chain? We Are!

I watched the video about whether the ransomware can be stopped and I scrolled down through the comment section. While reading comments, some people are suggesting that we switch to Linux because Linux is more secure compared to Windows. That is true that Linux is inherently secure compared to Windows and Mac; however, what if I were to tell you that if you are running Arch Linux, Fedora, Ubuntu, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Haiku OS, or just about any other operating systems in our planet that you can still fall victim to phishing attacks? If we all switch to a different operating system on a basis that one is more secure compared to other operating systems, then we are forgetting about our weakest link.

Let me ask you again. Who or what is the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain? It’s not Windows; we are the ones that need education so we can protect ourselves online.

No anti-malware, anti-virus, and anti-ransomware programs will protect you against ransomware attacks. And Linux and BSD operating systems won’t protect you from phishing emails either. What we need is cybersecurity awareness training. Businesses should establish cybersecurity awareness training. Here’s one example that shows a video about cybersecurity awareness training from Burgi Technologies. The video starts with email, which talks about safeguarding your email such as phishing, email attachments, and spam. Do note though that an email address can be spoofed, so if you receive a phishing email and the email address in the From field ends in @paypal.com and the email claims to be from PayPal, you should simply go to PayPal’s website and check what is going on in your PayPal account. Plus, the security awareness training talks about passwords, malware (don’t forget that malware can target Linux computers as well), public Wi-Fi, and even IoT, such as thermostats, Google Nest cameras, and even light bulbs. Even a router needs to be protected as well. And don’t forget about social engineering as well.

Remember what I mentioned about PayPal? Phishing attacks is one of them. They can even call you over the phone by impersonating that someone is your employer. They might say it’s urgent and they need access to the username and password so they can access the network resources so they can do harm. In other words, they can manipulate you into disclosing confidential or sensitive information.

Regarding security question and answers, it’s convenient if you forget your password, but put in your correct information and once an attacker can scour the Internet tin order to look for information, they can click the “reset password” link, fill in the answers to questions, and once everything is correct, they can then reset the password so you cannot access your account any longer. This is where a password manager comes in. Your password manager of choice can remember gibberish answers to questions. For example:

  • Question: What is your boyfriend’s name?

    Answer: I would like to say thank you to my friend 68dagbbzpTmR5.

  • Question: What is your first car you owned?

    Answer: My beautiful-looking car is my bicycle and I love jverw89.TmZr

  • Question: What is your mother’s maiden name?

    Answer: oi9574bn8tTv8rBz0qpM.,[23w489hZm

A lack of honesty can safeguard your account against information gathering so they can do harm to your account. That’s why a password manager such as Bitwarden can come in handy so that a password manager can help remember your gibberish answers to security questions. And no, security questions is not a security feature. If I know so much about you and I know your email address, I can gather information about you and reset your password by answering security questions without your knowledge. I know this is scary, but don’t let that scare you if you are using a password manager.

To take it a step further, I also make use of unique email addresses as aliases. I do not use plus addressing or catchall because I can create email addresses for my own domain name. I use different email addresses for different sites that I sign up for. For example, I gave pizzahut(at)example(dot)com to Pizza Hut, uber(at)example(dot)com for Uber, walmart(at)example(dot)com for Wal-Mart, bestbuy(at)example(dot)com, and so on and so forth. Not only is this good for security, unique email addresses enhances my privacy. Sure, this is not part of cybersecurity awareness training as employees may not have the luxury of having more than 1 email addresses, but I did this in order to take security into my own hands so that I won’t become a weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Even if businesses said that they took security seriously, if one of my unique email addresses have been compromised in a breach and ends up in Have I Been Pwned, not only should I change the password using my password manager, I can change my email address right away. Why? I did this in order to dodge spam and phishing emails. Because I make use of unique email addresses, I get very little to no spam each month. If I do get spam email messages that lands in my spam or inbox folder and one of my unique email addresses were listed in the To field, I can consider my email address compromised and can track who sold or give away my email address and change my email address or stop doing business with them at any time, immediately delete my compromised email address, and move on with my life.

Don’t let Linux users tell you that you should switch to Linux no matter how inherently secure Linux is. At the end of the day, no matter how much we need to keep our operating systems and software up to date, we still are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. We still need to educate everyone in order to stay safe online. Linux is not a be-all-end-all solution to our security problems.

Refresh Your Browser Cache On a Regular Basis

Trying to Sign In to My Account at Pizza Hut’s Website…

While trying to sign into Pizza Hut’s website, I was having difficulty with trying to login after I click “I am not a robot.” Once I click “Sign In,” the login page got stuck and I had to wait until I see something like “CAPTCHA expired” or something and I did this so many times to no effort. I closed Firefox, moved my .mozilla directory to .mozilla.bak directory, started Firefox, and tried to sign in to my Pizza Hut account as usual. Initially, I did receive “Something went wrong, try again” message, but once I sign in, everything is fine. I then ordered my pizza as usual. After that, I moved my new .mozilla directory to .mozilla.fresh directory and restarted Firefox to get my old profile back. For non-Linux users, the . (dot) signifies a hidden directory, such as .mozilla (dot mozilla for screen reader users) and .config (dot config).

One of the troubleshooting steps I’ve tried is to clear the browser cache, which are temporary files that are stored in a computer for later retrieval, such as HTML files, images, and CSS files (cascading stylesheet for non-Web developers). Sometimes, the cached version of the files get corrupted. To solve the problem, follow the steps below.

Firefox

  1. In Firefox, open the Settings menu from the Edit menu (Alt+E, N). For sighted users, the Settings menu (beneath Zoom) can be found by navigating to the hamburger (≡) menu.
  2. In the Privacy and Settings section, navigate to Cookies and Site Data.
  3. Open the Clear Data… dialog.
  4. (Optional) In the Clear Data dialog, uncheck the check box for Cookies and Site Data if you want to stay signed in to websites you frequently visit.
  5. Navigate to the Clear button and confirm that you want to clear all the cached files.
  6. Give Firefox a fresh restart and you should be good to go.

Chrome

Clearing the browser cache can be found in the Security and Privacy section of the Settings page. I’m a partially-sighted user and I’m not sure how I can navigate to the Settings page if I’m using only a keyboard and a screen reader.

Summary

Hopefully you should be able to sign in to Pizza Hut’s website. I have encountered no problems with other websites besides Pizza Hut, but every now and then, I think it makes sense to clear browser cache during a monthly or weekly basis. The only reason I need to refresh the cache is while working in my website. I still get a “something went wrong” message when I try to sign into my account at Pizza Hut’s website, but after I try to sign in again, it worked. I do not like pointing fingers, but I think something must be wrong with Pizza Hut’s website.

Anyway, I hope I can be of much help. Happy surfing and stay safe online.

Dynamically-Resizing Televisions and Monitors

Let me ask you a question. Do you find yourself wanting a larger TV because a movie looks too small? Do you not like black bars above and below the movie that is formatted for ultra-wide screens? Before reading any further, I want to link to an article that talks about aspect ratios. Now, please note that this article will require anyone to have eyesight, so this will not be suitable for those who are using a screen reader. Of course, it might be helpful if anyone who is blind could visualize in their head. Maybe a Braille measuring tape could help?

Put it simply, a TV has an aspect ratio of 16 to 9, which is referred to 16:9 or 16×9. Most movies today are formatted to 2.35 to 1, or 2.35:1. An aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is for movies and 21:9 aspect ratio can be found in gaming monitors, but according to displaywars.com, it’s not the same size. Let me list the dimensions of the two aspect ratios given the size of 100 inches in diagonal.

Size Ratio Width Height
100 2.35:1 92.02 39.16
100 21:9 91.91 39.39

So the 2.35:1 format is slightly taller, but the 21:9 aspect ratio is slightly wider. I did some research regarding movies and gaming monitors and I saw that 2.35:1 movies can actually fit in nicely with a 21:9 gaming monitor. It’s in the “Movie Watching” section of the article.

So why do I want to talk about aspect ratios and why should screens dynamically resize based on content’s aspect ratio? If you have a desktop computer with a 32-inch monitor, do you ever watch movies? I do. Let’s consider the size of the movie in relation to the actual screen size. With a 32-inch monitor that I am currently using, the height of the 2.35:1 movie is less than 12 inches. To me, that is very small. If I forget about the information from the left and right sides of the screen in a 2.35:1 format, the result will be about 24 inches in diagonal when cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio. (more…)

New CSS Property For Web Developers: backdrop-filter

While browsing through Twitter as a progressive web application in my Android smartphone, I saw the blur effect in the header of the Twitter page. I like what I saw, so I did a search and came across backdrop-filter, which only work with Chrome-based browsers at the moment and Firefox does not have support for it. For those with eyesight, here’s what it looks like:

An image of my website running in Google Chrome with a blurred background for articles.
This image shows a website running in Google Chrome. Google Chrome supports a backdrop-filter property with a blur radius set to 5 pixels.

Mozilla Firefox (as of 96) does not support backdrop-filter CSS property.

An image of my website running in Mozilla Firefox with no blurred background for articles.
This image shows a website running in Mozilla Firefox. Firefox does not support a backdrop-filter property.

An example of how the backdrop-filter property is shown below:

main article {
  backdrop-filter: blur(5px);
}

Until Firefox supports the backdrop-filter filter right out of the box, I’m going to leave it off for now so both major browsers look the same.

Got a new Nintendo Switch Recently? Don’t Buy a Cheap MicroSD Card!

After Christmas, I wanted to buy a Nintendo Switch so I can play Breath of the Wild. I wanted to buy a highest capacity MicroSDXC card for Nintendo Swtich that I can afford. So I looked through Amazon and I saw a 512GB MicroSD card for less than $15. The description mentioned Nintendo Switch, so I went ahead and bought the MicroSD card. Once I have a Nintendo Switch in hand, I went ahead and inserted a MicroSD card and decided to install The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Later on, I wanted to try Skyward Sword and the data corruption happened. I downloaded the game again and same thing happened again. I then reformatted the MicroSD card and tried to install Skyward Sword, then Breath of the Wild, but then the data corruption happened again as well. This led me to believe that the MicroSD card I bought can only fit one large game at a time. I am able to download small games such as Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest III, but that’s about it.

Just because the description says “Nintendo Switch” does not mean it is compatible with Nintendo Switch. There’s no review of the card mentioning “Nintendo Switch” until I wrote a review. If you do a search for “Nintendo Switch” (without quotes) in the product page, I am the only one who wrote the review of Nintendo Switch and I gave it a one-star rating. No one has ever written a review of the 512GB MicroSD card for Nintendo Switch except me.

So, I went with a SanDisk 256GB MicroSD card. Yes, it’s more expensive, but the truth is, I have not had any problems with two large games and a couple of small games that was downloaded into my SanDisk MicroSD card and I gave it a 5-star rating for that. I wanted the largest capacity I can get, but at the end of the day, I think 256GB is more than adequate for purchasing console-exclusive games for Nintendo Switch.

One game that is not console-exclusive is Dragon Quest XI S, which is available for both Steam for PC and Nintendo Switch. I already have Dragon Quest XI S in my Steam library, so I do not see myself purchasing the game for Nintendo Switch. I have my Switch docked and the dock is hooked up to my home theater receiver, so I can play games on a large screen monitor. And yes, my computer is hooked up to my receiver via HDMI, so I use my computer all the time. If I want to play games that are exclusive to Nintendo Switch, I can switch my receiver to Nintendo Switch. So anyway, I don’t care for portability aspect of Nintendo Switch because the screen size is not suitable for my visual impairment.

Should I have went with a 400GB MicroSD card? Yes. However, I’ve had to ask myself this question: am I going to play games in Nintendo Switch that is available for Steam? The answer is no, which I already covered that in the previous paragraph. So it’s only going to be console-exclusive games such as Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, and just about any games that are not available in Steam. If I factor in games that take up to 16GB in disk space, I can only see myself playing 15 large games, which is way more than enough for me. Of course, with a 400GB MicroSD card I would have bumped up to 24 large games. However, I would be looking at spending hundreds of dollars in games before I run out of space in a MicroSD card. I have already spent $120 for two large Zelda games and even Link’s Awakening is another $60. Yikes. So yeah, 256GB is more than enough for me for now.

With all that said, you get what you pay for when it comes to pairing a MicroSD card with Nintendo Switch. Don’t skimp on a price of a MicroSD card just because you get a much higher capacity for your new Nintendo Switch. Now go play some Zelda games and have fun!