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A Note About Website Navigation

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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

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.

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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!

Internet and Safety: Why Physical Businesses Should Not Require Everyone To Use Internet?

(For my blog post, I want to focus on the audience regarding people who use Internet every single day and knows a lot about cybersecurity. Myself included.)

Imagine a scenario: you went to get your haircut and the place you went to requires you to enter an email address before you get your haircut. Why? Even if I do have a smartphone and I use Internet every single day, why must I put in my email address? For what purpose? To send spam? For businesses, they might say “we respect your privacy and take security seriously,” but in my mind, I would say that if an email gets compromised in a data breach, it’s more likely that those who are not tech-savvy are more likely to receive spam and phishing emails. Not thinking about security when using the Internet can lead to ransomware and identity theft. They might stop using the computer altogether because of fear of feeling unsafe online.

Okay, so I can imagine people asking…

What is ransomware?

So anyone who have not used the Internet before would then ask…

Okay, so what is malware? Oh, maybe I should click in the link. Oh, and what is a file?

Okay, I can imagine tech-savvy folks asking “what do you mean, ‘what is a file?’ Do you ever know how to use a computer before?” How can we guide people who does not use Internet every single day, let alone not knowing “what is an Internet?”

What is an operating system? Windows? Mac? Linux? What is an email address? What is a “file?” See where I’m going with? What is Android? iPhone? iOS? How do I manage files and folders in my computer? How do I check my email? I hope you get my point.

So back to the topic about email address requirement, people who have no plans to educate themselves regarding security and privacy should not have an email address and should not be using the Internet. Even a smartphone can be very complex compared to a cell phone that only make and receive phone calls and nothing else. Let alone how to send and read text messages. And yes, I’m talking about people who use cell phones with no capability for browsing the Internet. Not even Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

Okay, so you say that your 90-year-old grandmother knows how to use the Internet, takes care of security themselves, and I should not overly-generalize myself. Well, that’s great. People should be educated regarding the implications regarding cyber attacks and how to protect themselves; however, as long as people out there (Demographics of Cybercrime Report) do not take their time to educate and protect themselves, businesses should not require them to have an email address when they check in. Even dentists should make email address requirement optional as well. Even though I have close to 200 email addresses (one email address per site with no plus addressing and no catchall for my domain), I do not want to enter my email address if I do not want to for privacy and security reasons.

Businesses say “we take security and privacy seriously,” yet businesses do not take their time to harden and patch their systems over time. Of course, training employees regarding how to protect themselves against phishing emails is a very important part of having a security culture for businesses. But then again, an email address would be a requirement for businesses for getting your customers to setup an account online, but in a physical world where people simply walk in, as long as people do not use the Internet and do not plan to educate themselves, an email address should not be a requirement. At all.

My Dream Home of the Future: Computer in Server Closet; KVM in Home Office; Home Theater

I have been watching a couple of YouTube videos of people who want a computer in one room (such as a wiring closet) and a keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) in a home office. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, I want to post links to YouTube videos.

Embedding YouTube or Odysee videos will insert a tracking cookie in users’ personal computers. As a citizen of the US, I need to follow GDPR if European visitors visit my website. I don’t like and want to talk to lawyers to be honest. 🤣😀

As for the video from Linus Tech Tips, I would much rather have a couple of computers rather than single computer that can house a couple of virtual machines running desktop OSes such as Linux and Windows just to make it easier for me. So yeah, a virtual machine is a computer within a computer that can serve different purposes such as running Ubuntu within Windows using VirtualBox or by running Windows OS in a Linux host using KVM or Xen.

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Mic Comparison: Shure MX185 Cardioid vs Movo LV8-D Omni-Directional Lavalier Microphone

Here’s a link to a video on Odysee’s website:

A microphone comparison video that leads to a website for playing a video

Embedding any videos from any external sources will insert tracking cookies in your computer or mobile device so I decided to link a video instead. Even in the US, I have to comply with Europe’s GDPR as I want to allow all visitors to visit my site. Inserting any kind of tracking cookies is against my privacy policy. I would like to upload my videos to my website; however, videos take up a lot of space and that’s why I uploaded my video regarding the mic comparison to Odysee.

This is a comparison of two lavalier microphones. Recently, I bought a Shure MX185 cardioid lavalier microphone as I want to test if a uni-directional (cardioid) microphone is right for me, especially if I want to test and hear if my AKG K702 headphone leaks sound to my microphone especially for the Zoom meeting. I bought a Movo LV8-D microphone as of late October so I can participate in Zoom meeting that began November of last year. The Zoom meeting I am participating in is Cisco Academy from National Industries for the Blind. I’m studying for Cisco Certified Network Associate certificate (CCNA, for short) and my class ends by the end of August. I asked if students and my instructor can hear any leaks coming from my K702 headphone and they said they did not hear any leaks at all, which is great. However, I have a Sony WX1000XM3 headphone and because of the shape of my headphone, I don’t think my hearing aids are picking up any high frequency sounds unlike when I use my AKG open-back headphone.

I plan to ship my Shure microphone back because the uni-direction nature of a lavalier microphone is not for me, especially as I was reading from left to right as i read the script during the recording.

Do note that even though I did cut out a couple of pauses in my audio production software (Ardour), I tend to speak slow as speaking at a moderate speed for more than a minute is not my second nature. As I live in Altha, FL, a rural town in the United States, I’ve been very lonely a lot even when I go to restaurants with my family. Plus, I did not position the text inside the dialog in the first part of the video correctly. I do not want to waste another 45+ minutes trying to render the entire video using Blender. Although as a Linux user, I could have used KDenLive instead of Blender; however, as Blender is a very easy tool for me to use, I used it for the majority of my video editing. My familiarity with KDenLive is secondary to Blender.

When I zoom in using GNOME Magnifier (Windows key+Alt+8 to activate the magnifier and Windows key+Alt+- or Windows key+Alt+= to zoom in or out, respectively), there is a small mouse cursor shown in the screen. I think it’s a bug with the compositor that draws the entire application, be it Firefox, GIMP, or Ardour). Please ignore the small mouse cursor. Thanks.

Anyway, I appreciate you checking out my video that I linked above. Here are the links to products listed for the video:

When Uploading A Screenshot of a Website, Be Aware Of Your Browser Tabs

When uploading a screenshot of your website (or someone else’s website), make sure your email address (or portion of your email address) is not exposed when taking a screenshot. I uploaded my screenshot of pagination for my website and a part of my email address has been exposed over the web and I had to retake the screenshot without it. If you have a webmail opened in one browser tab such as GMail/Google Workspace, your browser tab will look similar to this:

Inbox (5): yourname(at)your…

That tab is exposed by the <title> tag inside a website. Here’s what I mean:

<html>
  <head>
    <title>Inbox (5): yourname(at)yourdomainname(dot)com</title>
  <head>
  <body>
    <h1>Your E-Mail Provider</h1>
    <p>Your email messages go here.</p>
  </body>
<html>

Instead of “@”, I use “(at)” so that spam harvesters and bots won’t harvest any email addresses in my website; however, I won’t give away any of my 170+ email addresses at all. Pay special attention to the title of web pages that you currently have opened. By “title,” I meant your browser tabs. My advice is do not leave anything sensitive unattended. I hope I can be of help to everyone. Be safe out there in the web!