Setting up a Private DNS with adblocking

Introduction Recently I setup a VPN to so I could get around geo-restrictions for for a specific streaming service I’m using. So far it’s been working well. Now that I have the server, I started thinking about what else I could do with it. One thing that jumped out at me is DNS. I configured my WireGuard client connections to use CloudFlare and fallback to Google’s DNS servers. While this does provide privacy from my ISP and queries originate from the same VPN server, felt like I could do better....

February 11, 2023 · John

My VPN Experience

Introduction I was recommended some videos and I’ve been very interested to watch them. However they’re not available outside of a specific country due to geographic restrictions. This is a common problem and pretty much every commercial VPN service advertises this as a major reason to use their VPN. So I embarked on what should have been a simple journey. Sign up for a VPN, choose an end point in the country I need, and watch the videos....

January 6, 2023 · John

Restic Backup

Introduction Since 2017 I was using SpiderOak for backups of my laptop. While the service has gotten better since I first tried them, they still have some issues which kept me looking for alternative . I was using SpiderOak because they are one of the only all in one solutions that allow local encryption and specifying what directories to backup. This is a must for me because I don’t want my entire home directory backed up....

December 10, 2022 · John

CSO Compression and Decompression Tool

Introduction I have a number of backed up ISO files that were taking up quite a bit of space. I wanted to save some space and I decided to compress them. Instead of putting them into something like a ZIP archive, I decided that compressing into CSO would be the most usable option. Sadly, there is a lack of CSO compression and decompression tools that can be easily installed using something like homebrew....

November 21, 2022 · John

Lua Template Engine Yet Again

Introduction After writing a template engine in Lua, I found some deficiencies and wrote a few more iterations. After having used the template engine for quite a while, I’ve made a few enhancements and some fixes. This is hopefully the final version of the template engine. Newest Engine This engine is an iteration of the previous template_engine3.lua. The differences are: Bug fixes for escaping routines. An empty string will no longer cause a failure....

August 28, 2022 · John

macOS USB Enumeration in C

Introduction Apple provides documentation for using IOKit, but it’s not very clear how to do a number of things. Descriptions and relationships of functions often isn’t clear. While there are examples, they tend to be lacking. The generic types IOKit uses doesn’t help either because you could have multiple different types of hardware sharing the same device object type. I was working on a project where I needed to enumerate USB devices on macOS....

December 6, 2020 · John

macOS IOHIDManager Permission Issue

Introduction The other day I was working with a USB-HID device and I thought my machine was starting to act funny. I could use the device no problem in a Windows VM but whenever my application tried to use the device, it was unable to open it. At this point I know the device is good and my machine should be fine but the device was unusable. I tried other software to just inspect the device and it was failing too in the same way as my application....

November 8, 2020 · John

C if Statement Evaluation

Introduction One of the bad things that the C language allows is setting variables and calling functions directly in an if statement. This should be avoided due to how the statement can exit early stopping some of the logic from happening. That said, this can also be abused to write more compact code. Not that you should do this because it’s better to have maintainable, rather than clever code. While how if statements evaluate segments to most programmers....

October 20, 2020 · John

Full Text Search with Jekyll

Introduction When I switched from WordPress to Jekyll I gave up searching posts. I knew this was a limitation of running a static site and I didn’t think it would be too big a deal. After a year I’ve found I actually look up some old reference posts just enough that search to be useful. Trying to remember which tags given posts use became a bit of an annoyance. I really started to miss the ability to search....

June 10, 2020 · John

Making and Using C plugins

Introduction No app is ever complete and you’ll never get to the point where users stop asking for new features. Sometimes those feature are low priorities so you’ll never get to them or they’re inane and you’ll never touch the idea with a 10 foot pole. This happened to me when I was working on an ebook editor a number of years ago. There were so many features people wanted that I just didn’t have time for or didn’t like....

May 12, 2020 · John