Social Media-Free 2020

As of today, I’m totally social media free!

I want to head off the new year by being free of pervasive propaganda and toxic manipulation. Today I deleted my Twitter account. I had previously deleted Facebook in 2016 after the election. It was epic toxic – people tearing each other down. Very bad for the soul.

While I believe in free speech, I don’t think wading a cesspool of negativity, lies and manipulation is good for humanity. Do as you wish, but I’m out. People who want to get a hold of me know how.

Vegetable Barley Soup v1

The Broth
Fry a handful of garlic, onions and green peppers in the bottom of a saucepan with a splash of olive oil

Once fried up, add 4 cups of water with 2 bouillon cubes and boil this mixture
The stock

Add 2 cups of veggies (meat optional) in any configuration. Here’s my suggestion for veggie soup:

Could be more or less of any of these things. Frozen or fresh are okay, as long as they are 2 cups or less:

Cabbage (Napa preferred)
Diced potatoes
(Whatever you want)

Add 1/8 cup quick barley. If you want more barley, add another cup of broth because it absorbs liquid.

Spice it up as desired. I usually add a few shakes of pepper and maybe one shake of red pepper.

Simmer on low for :30 minutes, almost covered. Serves one as a big meal or two with a side dish.


Egg Foo Young Recipe (Vegetarian)

The Rice
Make the rice any way you wish but if you have a rice cooker (described for the newbie):
Rinse 1 cup of dried rice in a sink
Add rice to rice cooker
Add 2 cups of water
Press your "cook" button
The Gravy
Pan fry a handful of green peppers, onion and garlic in olive oil

Boil 2 cups of vegetable broth* and the fried veggies in a saucepan

In a shaker bottle (or mixed with a fork in a bowl), mix:

1 cup water and 1/2 cup flour 

Then slowly add the flour/water mixture to the 2 cups broth (avoid lumps)

Determine thickness (your preference) and remove from heat

Put aside

*Broth: If you do not have pre-made vegetable broth on hand, you can mix 1 vegetable bouillon cube with 2 cups of water and boil to get your broth
The Egg Patty
Mix 2 eggs in a bowl

Add 2 cups of mung bean sprouts to the bowl and mix with fork

Fry up a few tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and add mixture

Fry each side

Add a cup of rice to a plate
Place your egg patty on top of the rice and pour gravy over it

*Could be (2) servings if served with a side dish

Unrar multiple files + file name spaces in the terminal

First, when dealing with the spaces in a file name while using the terminal, you can use a back-slash before the space.


File name with spaces.txt

For the terminal:

File\ name\ with\ spaces.txt

Sometimes we run across a downloaded file online that was created by utilizing the winrar multiple-file feature to make a huge file downloadable. A good example would be an ISO image that is more than 1GB in size. The rar program can break up the file into smaller pieces. Example:

and so on

To unrar multiple files into one, first install the unrar program in linux. In this case, I’m assuming you are using Ubuntu or any Debian-based distribution (like Raspbian):

sudo apt install unrar-free
sudo apt install unrar

Then use the unrar command to unrar. Remember to use the \ before any spaces.

unrar x -e bigiso.part01.rar

This should build the large file back up into its uncompressed state.

Install Retropie on Ubuntu 18.04.03

I found a nice guide to installing Retropie on Ubuntu 18.04.03 at a website called markontech and it works brilliantly.

sudo apt-get install -y git dialog unzip xmlstarlet
git clone --depth=1
cd RetroPie-Setup
sudo ./

Once the Retro-Pie install script is running, you will want to do a Basic Install and then navigate back to the menu and install the desired optional packages.

One thing I have learned: if you copy the retropie directory to a thumb drive (once it’s setup) each time you have a new setup, if you plug the thumb drive in, the computer will automatically copy the roms and bios files to the new install when emulation station is running. 🙂

Private VPN on Ubuntu Server or Raspberry Pi

I can run my own VPN that becomes an encrypted, point-to-point connection from anywhere? Say what? Relatively safe and secure using public wifi?

Yes, it’s true. You can setup PiVPN on your Ubuntu Server or Raspberry Pi device. There are three components to this: PiVPN running on the server, the UFW firewall configuration, and the mobile device app.

First, install PiVPN

curl -L | bash

Most of the suggested configuration options should be applicable.

Once PiVPN is installed, you will need to add a user.

pivpn -a

Give it a profile name and password. The file will be saved in a folder in your home directory called ‘ovpn’. You will want to save that to a flash drive and then import to your phone/tablet. I used FTP. There are many other ways to do this, but the flash drive method is most secure.

Configure UFW

sudo ufw allow 1194/udp
sudo ufw allow OpenSSH

Ask UFW to generate a list to make sure there are no double entries and delete them! Those double entries can mess up the PiVPN’s ability to connect.

sudo ufw status numbered

sudo ufw delete x ("x" is the double entry)

Now, download “OpenVPN” app in your smartphone app store. It’s free. Then open the app and choose the third option, “OVPN Profile”.

Add the ovpn file you generated on your server. You can choose the “save private key password” if you would like. I use this because my phone has a fingerprint security feature. Once you connect, you will be connected to your home network from anywhere! Perfect security for pubic wifi.





Clone a Hard Drive using Ubuntu Live CD

I have a hard drive-duplicator device. It works great if you two of the same drive. But I’ve had issues transferring from an SSD to a regular hard drive (and vice versa).

I looked into buying the EaseUS Disk Copy program (only works in Windows) but now they want a subscription? Hell no to that. So here we are, looking to Ubuntu for our solution!

EDIT: I used the following method to duplicate my Ubuntu Server backup and the copied disk booted into grub (no boot loader). All things considered, one of those duplicators found easily on ebay and Amazon are the best bet. They are much faster and more accurate. For the error I did get using the physical drive duplicator, it was easy to fix. I booted with an Ubuntu Desktop Live USB and used the Disks program to repair. No issues after that. The model I have is a Sabrent EC-HD2B and I have to say it’s pretty nice.

I found a great guide to duplicating hard drives using an Ubuntu Live CD/USB.
Balena Etcher will help you write the Ubuntu Live ISO to a USB disk.

Once you run the Ubuntu Live disk, open a terminal.

Plug in your first drive (the one that you want to copy).

sudo fdisk –l

Take note of what fdisk reports for this drive. It is likely /dev/sda

Now, plug in your second drive (the one you want to overwrite).
Run ‘sudo fdisk –l’ again.
fdisk will likely report this drive as /dev/sda.

Do not confuse the two drives. Here’s a sample statement that will allow your computer to copy the first drive to the second. Replace the drive names as necessary. In this example, sda is the source and sdb is the target:

sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb

This process can take several hours. Do not turn your machine off until you see a report in your terminal that the process is complete. In my case, it took over 24 hours to copy a 1TB drive with a Mac Mini (Mid 2012)!

Example output when done:

1953525167+0 records in
1953525167+0 records out
1000204885504 bytes (1.0 TB, 932 GiB) copied, 102499 s, 9.8 MB/s

Connect a PC to a Commodore 1541/1571 drive

Did you ever want to transfer files from your old Commodore 1541/1571 drive between your computer and a real drive? Did you also want to use a real Commodore floppy drive with the VICE emulator? Me too! 😉 Both of these things are possible with the zoomfloppy device being offered by Retro Innovations. You can download basically anything you want from (or any other commodore software source) and transfer it right to your floppy device so it can be used on a real Commodore 64 or Vic 20.

This device is unlike other solutions that only worked with specially built cables and DOS. You simply plug a USB cable between your zoomfloppy and your computer and then the serial cable between the zoomfloppy and the floppy drive. Once the physical connections are made, you simply run the OpenCBM software to transfer files or backup disks.
Here’s how to install a zoomfloppy device to your Ubuntu computer.

sudo apt-get install libusb-dev build-essential linux-headers-generic git

Install the CC64 Compiler:

cd ~
git clone
cd cc65
sudo prefix=/usr make install

Compile and install OpenCBM

cd ~
git clone git:// opencbm
cd opencbm/opencbm
make -f LINUX/Makefile
sudo make -f LINUX/Makefile install install-all install-plugin-xum1541
sudo ln -s /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib/

Add udev rules for the ZoomFloppy hardware itself:

sudo pico /etc/udev/rules.d/45-opencbm-parallel.rules

Add this to the bottom of the file, then save and quit:

SUBSYSTEM!="usb_device", ACTION!="add", MODE="0666", GOTO="opencbm_rules_end"
# zoom floppy
ATTRS{idVendor}=="16d0", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0504", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"

Restart udev:

sudo service udev restart

Check the ZoomFloppy and IEC device status:

cbmctrl detect

Bonus: Get VICE to use the zoomfloppy interface to utilize a real 1541 Commodore Floppy Drive!

1. Settings -> Peripheral Settings -> Device #8 -> Enable IEC Device
2. Settings -> Peripheral Settings -> Device #8 -> Device Type -> Real Device Access