willem.com blog

Linux on Willem's Blog

Helping people with free software

Installing Debian GNU/Linux on an old laptop

July 20, 2018
This week I helped a man with repairing and reinstalling his computer with Debian GNU/Linux.

This week a man brought his laptop to the community centre where I help people with computer problems as volunteer. The old laptop wouldn't start anymore and had to be reinstalled. Instead of Windows, I installed a free operating system. I think it is important to tell you how and why I did it.

Cyber security: 5 easy tips to protect your server against hackers

Server hardening best practices for Windows and Linux

Mar. 10, 2018
These 5 practical cyber security measures will improve the safety of server, website and data.

This week one of my clients was hacked and asked me for emergency assistance to help secure their server infrastructure. It was a web server that ran WordPress websites on Apache (with PHP/MySQL), including a few webshops with customer data. This hack could easily have been prevented with the following best practices, is your server secure?

Lessons from a takeaway plastic bag

My ever increasing antipathy to planned obsolescence

Jan. 8, 2018
How we're tricked into repeated purchases replacing perfectly fine products just for the sake of change.

About five months ago I got some take away food from our local Asian restaurant. They packaged the food and gave me a plastic bag to carry it home. On my way home I was thinking about the bag. Although it has some nice styling printed on it, it's designed for single use only. What a waste... making me wonder: how long would it last if you would use it on a daily basis?

Clouds below my floor

Building a little datacenter in my basement

Aug. 31, 2017
Building a little datacenter in my basement utilising a very fast internet connection.

At my home I have this crazy fast optical internet connection. It is a 600MB up and down fibre connection which directly arrives in my home (no copper cables involved). It's like a private internet highway. Reason enough to find out if I could do something to make better use of all this speedy fiber galore...

The day I killed my LAN

Turned off my local network and went 4G only

July 31, 2017
I killed my office LAN and went 4G only. Saves a lot of clutter, energy and money.

Today I called my provider to quit my office's ADSL internet subscription, I don't need it anymore. I have turned off my local area network and switched my workflow onto mobile internet only. The simplicity and savings actually surprised me so much, that I made blog post for it.

Programming on Apple Watch

Serious about crazy experiments

Feb. 16, 2017
Programming with VIM over SSH on Apple Watch using a bluetooth keyboard

Over the past years I have been no stranger to crazy experiments, but this time I really wanted to push it into the extreme: programming on an Apple Watch. Would it be possible to actually write code on such a tiny device? Why even bother? This post is about the case for crazy experiments, and why you should try too!

iPad Pro as primary computer

testing iOS as primairy development platform

Aug. 15, 2016
Is the time right to use an iPad as primary development platform to get some real work done?

The lack of physical clutter, distracting branding, or blinking LED's makes the iPad Pro a textbook example of minimal design. My despiction of distraction explains my interest in using the iPad Pro as only computer to test if it is up to the task. Is Apple's latest effort on iOS enough to enable it to do serious development work?

Building the blog... in style!

Developing on a 20-year old computer with 16MB RAM and Windows 98

June 23, 2016
Find out if it is possible to turn a computer from the 90s into a modern development machine.

One must be a bit crazy to come up with the idea to build a blog (as in: actual programming) on an old 486 laptop with just 16MB RAM. I happen to be that crazy: I took my very first laptop from the 90s and decided to find out if it was possible to turn it into a development machine.

All blog posts
Plastic bag at work, with food inside protecting the contents of my commuting backpack
Plastic bag at work, with food inside protecting the contents of my commuting backpack
Replacement disk tucked way inside the laptop
Replacement disk tucked way inside the laptop
Plastic bag from the Asian takeaway restaurant
Plastic bag from the Asian takeaway restaurant
Boot device not found - that's not good
Boot device not found - that's not good
The data centre is where your server lives. Even though it may be physically secure, you should check upon its software too!
The data centre is where your server lives. Even though it may be physically secure, you should check upon its software too!
The iPad Pro works well with a normal bluetooth keyboard
The iPad Pro works well with a normal bluetooth keyboard
Nokia 9300i, officially not a communicator but nonetheless a device with advanced mobile communication options for its day (2007). Running Putty on Symbian Series 80.
Nokia 9300i, officially not a communicator but nonetheless a device with advanced mobile communication options for its day (2007). Running Putty on Symbian Series 80.
Upgrading the ThinkPad X200 memory and SSD is easy.
Upgrading the ThinkPad X200 memory and SSD is easy.
Message from my buddy Niels, suggesting I take my
Message from my buddy Niels, suggesting I take my "working on a smartphone"-idea to the next level, complete with a Photoshop mockup.
Averaging 3.4 milliseconds in pinging Google. That's fast, datacenter fast.
Averaging 3.4 milliseconds in pinging Google. That's fast, datacenter fast.
Multi user, multi screen. Two Nokia Communicators (E90/9300i) connected to my work environment simultaneously using Putty.
Multi user, multi screen. Two Nokia Communicators (E90/9300i) connected to my work environment simultaneously using Putty.
The error message was right, quite literally: the boot device is missing!
The error message was right, quite literally: the boot device is missing!
Toshiba T2130CT laptop with a 75Mhz Intel 486 processor and a whopping 16MB RAM (that is megabytes!)
Toshiba T2130CT laptop with a 75Mhz Intel 486 processor and a whopping 16MB RAM (that is megabytes!)
Connected a monitor and keyboard to test the systems
Connected a monitor and keyboard to test the systems
The 486-development machine!
The 486-development machine!
Alfa One 802.11b WiFi adapter is recognised by the Debian installer
Alfa One 802.11b WiFi adapter is recognised by the Debian installer
Nokia E90 Communicator running Putty on Symbian Series 60.
Nokia E90 Communicator running Putty on Symbian Series 60.
Feeling old already, my trustworthy old local area network (LAN)
Feeling old already, my trustworthy old local area network (LAN)

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