Blaise Alleyne

Toronto, Canada

Technologist, musician, writer, theology student, free culture/software advocate.

  • Huge Geek Fatigue

    2017-04-24T03:54:27Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I have such a massive amount of geek fatigue these days. I've just had so many problems and so little time, over the past year specifically. Debilitating problems that have caused so much downtime for my mobile device, and my living room server and a bunch of self-hosted services. I'm still nowhere near 100% (e.g. my living room xserver/gdm isn't starting properly as of last week, and my mobile contacts sync has been broken for months). In 10 years of self-hosting and running OSes, I've never had this level of problems... It's just so exhausting.

    No point here. Just venting. And I suppose explaining some of my absence from social media here.

    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    der.hans, Clacke moved to and shared this.

    Sorry to hear! I know how exhausting it can be when a few things start going wrong at once and you don't have time to investigate fully.

    Ben Sturmfels at 2017-04-24T04:33:10Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

    I can feel your pain, I had somewhat a cathastrophic week (some weeks ago) in which al my computers/devices seemed to have a problem (except my PC at work).

    I hope your stuff get better soon, and yourself too #sendingGoodVibrations

    Laura Arjona at 2017-04-24T05:43:02Z

    der.hans, Blaise Alleyne likes this.

  • Let's Encrypt rocks

    2017-01-03T21:17:44Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Just used Let's Encrypt for the first time (since experimenting with the beta but never using it). certbot is awesome. Here's to never paying for an SSL certificate again!, EVAnaRkISTO, Charles ☕ Stanhope likes this.

    Good to know... It's on my todo list for this year.

    hope it can handle Multi domain name certs because I host on a Dynamic IP and so my main domain "" is C named to my Dynamic host name. So would be good to get a cert that handles both. (like my current Self signed one does)

    Freemor at 2017-01-03T21:27:35Z

    >> Freemor:

    “[...]hope it can handle Multi domain name certs [...]”

    I believe it does.

    James Dearing 🐲 at 2017-01-04T02:19:10Z

  • 2016-12-29T06:44:00Z via AndStatus To: Public

    Argh. I spent 2016 back and forth between Maemo and CyanogenMod, making a slow transition from my N900 to an S5. Now CM is dead (and reborn)? I can't keep up...

  • Restore Android App Data

    2016-11-28T00:10:20Z via Impeller To: Public CC: Followers

    What do you all use for Android backup? I have an rsync script, but just borked my S5 trying to encrypt it and I have no idea what to restore to restore app data... web searches are useless because all the result advocate proprietary Play Store backup/restore options...

    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    TWRP Open recovery for nandriod images of the phone (encryptable)

    oandbackup for backing up apks + data (encryptable). helpful to enable the option to save the oandbackup apk in the root of the backup directory.

    (No sense having an encrypted phone if the backups are in the clear.)

    rsync to back the data on the phone and said backup to our nas

    Freemor at 2016-11-28T01:19:19Z before a known operation like that, I just do a full adb backup to a laptop. Continual backups are done using syncthing to several computers on my network, but that's mainly for photo, video, notes, etc. It could sync more but I try to keep minimal state on device. oandbackup is useful, but it's too manual a process for me to remember to do on a regular basis.

    Kevin Everets at 2016-11-28T02:09:58Z

  • Why Software Freedom? Recommendations?

    2016-10-31T02:29:52Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    It's been almost 10 years since I was introduced to the concept of free software. I've been out of practice and struggling lately to explain it to friends and acquaintances though, when it comes up. I find great for more technically-minded or philosophically-minded folks, but don't always feel confident sending that to other folks.

    Is there another website/resource you'd recommend as a great summary case for software freedom from first principles for a wide audience? What's your favourite intro/defence of software freedom? drawing on the free beer, free speech distinction I normally present my interest in it as "I came for the free beer, liked it, and now I stay for the freedom"

    Efraim Flashner at 2016-10-31T06:18:34Z, Blaise Alleyne likes this.

    @Blaise Alleyne I don't necessarily feel like I have the magical answer for you, but people do seem to be a more conscious of privacy and security lately, and that their devices may be selling them out to the world's largest advertising companies. How about the "there's no privacy without free software" angle?

    Ben Sturmfels at 2016-10-31T10:50:27Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

    I do often start with privacy these days. Sometimes I feel like it works well. Other times I get the, "aren't you being a bit paranoid?" response. That's probably still the best starting point though...

    Blaise Alleyne at 2016-10-31T21:48:08Z I start with "Your devices should obey you, not some company." And then head into privacy versus surveillance, focusing mainly on companies collecting data to help them sell unwanted ads (and directly selling the info for payment.
    So far, my IRL contacts all think I'm a crackpot, but once they know about the relevant issues, it is entirely their choice how to respond. at 2016-10-31T23:06:19Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

  • Bringing my Toddler to the Toronto School of Communication Conference

    2016-10-15T22:36:38Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Even though I've never had an issue, I still wonder what the reaction will be like sometimes bringing a young toddler with me to a conference. It's wonderful when you realize the woman staring at your kid from across the way is just looking for an opportunity to make some silly faces, and when you leave the lecture hall a bit early during Q&A, Eric McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan's son) smiles and applauds as another panelist says "thank you for coming" and compliments your kid for being so well-behaved. Reminds me of the time the Mesh Conference folks made Noah an honourary conference pass. Now, if only Victoria College had change tables...

    sazius likes this.

  • Internet Filtering/Accountability Software?

    2016-10-07T04:13:47Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I have such an intense knee-jerk reaction against internet filtering that I got into a bit of a debate with a friend about local network filtering, like, parental filters in the home as kids get older. I'm still pretty skeptical, but started looking into free software options, like DansGuardian/e2guardian or net responsibility something. Still feels really odd to think about (and really ineffective, but maybe for young kids)...

    Anyone have any experience with content filtering or accountability software? (Or parenting...)

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Douglas Perkins, Douglas Perkins, Douglas Perkins shared this.

    Show all 5 replies
    Once kids start actively looking for [blocked material], they're gonna find a way to circumvent the filter, at which point the matter becomes entirely counter-productive. That alone is a decent argument against filtering in the first place. And even supposing you could secure the internet at your house, what about your kids' friends houses? They're gonna find whatever they want to find somewhere.

    In other words, if we're talking about filtering or reducing exposure, we should be talking about reducing accidentally stumbling upon [bad stuff], as opposed to perfectly blocking it out. How much time is worth spending on that, as opposed to how to teaching kids how to deal with such situations when they do occur? I dunno.

    Douglas Perkins at 2016-10-07T06:36:34Z

    For now, I care about: blocking ads, having https everywhere, and not creating accounts in whatever site... aka same strategy for all the family, nothing special for the kid.

    For the kid (7 y.o. now) I'm following the "teaching" approach in a similar way as we do for the non-computing life: when possible, we go together to everyplace; if he is alone (school, soccer class, browsing videos in the tablet, etc) he has to be careful, don't trust everybody/everyplace, keep in mind that the internet (as the streets) is a "wild place" and some people use it for the bad, and post ugly things, or for adults only. Better stick to the places/sites/contents that we all know they are safe. Feel comfortable to talk to me about any doubt or idea or anything that arises: I'm not going to judge or ban directly, I will try to understand his point of view and explain and give advice, with love.

    About having his own devices or use them autonomous from me, for now I say "no until you know well how they work and know how to fix them when they are broken".

    We'll see what happens when he grows a bit more.

    Laura Arjona at 2016-10-07T11:45:49Z

    Blaise Alleyne, Charles ☕ Stanhope, Benjamin Cook, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) and 1 others likes this.

    If I have children someday, they won't be able to use a computer until they can build their own machine and get the operating system installed.  Once they've done that, they'll have full access to the internet once they are able to figure out how to get online.  By that point, I hope I've taught them enough to handle anything they might come across.

    Benjamin Cook at 2016-10-07T19:43:10Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

    @Douglas Perkins that's really been my feeling too. The filtering would be such a minor speedbump. I'd rather inoculate than shield. But I do wonder if a low effort minor speedbump would be worth it, just for those, as you say, those accidental kinds of cases. Way too easy to circumvent anything though, and I would worry about the trust issues in setting up surveillance or filtering.

    Blaise Alleyne at 2016-10-09T02:55:19Z

  • Back to Drupal

    2016-10-05T08:13:29Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Just when I thought I'd left Drupal behind, I've got a big CiviCRM / website project, and Drupal seems like the tool for the job again.

    Of course, I go back to Drupal excited to try out Drupal 8 now! And sure enough, super popular modules like webform are still not Drupal 8 ready. And CiviCRM doesn't even support Drupal 8 yet. And then I remember one of the reasons I had planned to leave Drupal (the huge headache between major version migrations). Back to Drupal 7 it is I guess...

    I'm not sure if I should be excited or terrified. Probably both, which I am.

    You can use CivICRM under WordPress as well. We're using it for our local UNIX users group ( and it works well enough. I think it started under Drupal though so it might work better under there? Not sure. But there's options. :)

    Craig Maloney at 2016-10-05T11:24:11Z

    Yeah, I've been using CiviCRM under WordPress much more often in the past couple years. The integration isn't as complete, there are some more advanced functions that are Drupal only, but all the basics are there. This project just seems to cal for some of the power of Drupal, like the more advanced CMS and CiviCRM features will be important over the long run.

    I suppose I just feel stuck between the simplicity of WordPress and the power of Drupal. You hit ceilings with WordPress more quickly, but Drupal takes so much work to get it where you need it to be. Here goes another try on another website though...

    Blaise Alleyne at 2016-10-07T04:05:52Z

    Ah, wasn't sure if you'd explored those options. Do you know what the options are better implemented under Drupal for CiviCRM rather than Wordpress? (Off the top of your head. Was more curious than anything).

    Good luck!

    Craig Maloney at 2016-10-07T10:57:54Z

    CiviEngage is Drupal-only (not something I'm looking at using though). Drupal integration also includes integration with views, a CiviGroups Roles Sync, or an Organic Groups sync too I think. So, just a whole bunch of ways to integrate CiviGroups with Drupal roles/access, and then to pull information from Civi for custom display in Drupal. I think there's even a webform integration module.

    WordPress can do all the basic stuff, like display profiles or CiviCRM pages or whatever, but you don't have the same potential to integrate content/permissions in both directions like you can in Drupal.

    Blaise Alleyne at 2016-10-09T02:58:34Z

  • Bits from Debian: DebConf17 organization started

    Debian Project at 2016-09-07T01:16:54Z via AndStatus To: Public

    Link to original post: DebConf17 organization started

    DebConf17 will take place in Montreal, Canada from August 6 to August 12, 2017. It will be preceded by DebCamp, July 31 to August 4, and Debian Day, August 5.

    We invite everyone to join us in organizing DebConf17. There are different areas where your help could be very valuable, and we are always looking forward to your ideas.

    The DebConf content team is open to suggestions for invited speakers. If you'd like to propose somebody who is not a regular DebConf attendee follow the details in the call for speaker proposals blog post.

    We are also beginning to contact potential sponsors from all around the globe. If you know any organization that could be interested, please consider handing them the sponsorship brochure or contact the fundraising team with any leads.

    The DebConf team is holding IRC meetings every two weeks. Have a look at the DebConf17 website and wiki page, and engage in the IRC channels and the mailing list.

    Let’s work together, as every year, on making the best DebConf ever!

    Paulo Henrique de Lima Santana, Alberto Moshpirit, Face, der.hans likes this.

    Blaise Alleyne, Face, Face, Face and 2 others shared this.

  • 2016-08-18T13:48:19Z via AndStatus To: Public

    Squirrel steals G Pro and films tour of the trees -- queue multi-year baseless copyright battle and PETA lawsuit:, Ben Sturmfels likes this.

  • Way to digital, U of T

    2016-08-16T18:01:44Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    From a book I was trying to access online through the University of Toronto library: "Borrow this ebook! Available on a 3 day loan. Returning it makes it available to someone else sooner."

    Reminds me of the Penny Arcade take on Playstation Home:

    There are things about Home that are simply beyond my understanding. Chief among these bizarre maneuvers is the idea that, when manufacturing their flimsy dystopia, they actually ported the pernicious notion of scarcity from our world into their digital one. This is like having the ability to shape being from non-being at the subatomic level, and the first thing you decide to make is AIDS., Jason Self, jrobertson, ostfriesenmärz likes this.

  • Strings

    2016-08-03T03:53:51Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I've compiled videos (YouTube, Vimeo) that people have uploaded from the past 7 years of string arrangement work I've done:

    My work with strings comes usually in the form of QString or char* =)

    JanKusanagi @i at 2016-08-03T11:16:44Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

  • es in Peace

    2016-07-15T13:23:56Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    This week, both the R and T keys of my N900 fell off, worn out from 6.5 years of usage.

    (I bought an S5 back in January, put on Cyanogenmod, but about a month ago the IMEI, which I discovered was not the one it shipped with, was blacklisted -- bunch of sketchy stuff from the retailer that I haven't sorted out yet... so I've been back to the N900...)

    martinho, Face, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    I really miss my n900. After all these years, it was the only phone I ever liked, both in form factor and in software.

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2016-07-15T13:46:02Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

    I do have a spare... my wife's old N900 is sitting on a shelf, and only had ~3 years of use... still has all it's keys and a working USB port... but the effort to migrate over there, and still having no usable web browser today, etc... I think the loss of these keys pushes me more back towards fixing my S5 than moving to that N900...

    Blaise Alleyne at 2016-07-15T14:00:49Z

    >> Christopher Allan Webber:

    “[...] the only phone I ever liked, both in form factor and in software. [...]”

    Did it run Maemo?

    Face at 2016-07-15T14:11:00Z

    @Face Yes, Maemo 5, which I loved.

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2016-07-15T15:15:44Z

  • Anyone still using Tomboy?

    2016-07-03T04:17:19Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Is anyone still using Tomboy Notes? What do you use for sync?

    I just spent a good 6-8 hours today pushing through an update from Django 1.4 LTS to 1.9 LTS that I'd begun but got stuck on in January (triggered updates to a bunch of dependencies...), for a Django service I'm running on my living room computer.

    This reminded me... I'm still running Snowy, which is Django 1.4, and abandoned... yet, it's worked solidly for me since 2010 or 2011, allowing me to sync between Tomboy on multiple machines, and Conboy on my N900. And then this year, to Tomdroid...

    I remember following Rainy, but it was a Mono-based service that I wasn't too thrilled to figure out how to run... and now it looks like there's Grauphel, an ownCloud app?

    But... Tomdroid kinda sucks (compared to Conboy). It chokes and crashes all the time, and editing is an awful experience... Conboy is one of my most used pieces of software, buggy at times, but pretty reliable and easy to use as long as I sync often...

    If you're still using Tomboy for notes, what do you use for sync? If not Tomboy, what are people using these days?

    I'm using Emacs org-mode for notes. Syncing I do with git at the moment, so it's more like manual version control than syncing :-)

    sazius at 2016-07-03T07:27:12Z

  • We Distribute at 2016-06-05T03:27:08Z via AndStatus To: Public

    What's going on with OwnCloud?

    The recent announcement of the OwnCloud Foundation followed by the announcement of fork of OwnCloud is bound to raise more than a few eyebrows. What happened? How did things get to this point?

    Catching the Next Cloud
    Earlier today, Frank Karlitschek, co-founder of #OwnCloud, made an announcement about the formation of a new project. Five weeks prior, he had left the company that he had helped start, and some of the core development team have followed him to their new project, NextCloud.


    Frank describes a vision for what he wants out of this new project and its respective community: a project that does development out in the open, without any contributor agreements or dual-licensing schemes, with a new trademark held by an independent foundation. A better company culture where shares are equally held by employees, with the hand of development decisions guided by the community-at-large rather than a disconnected small team.

    To paraphrase Frank, the best parts of OwnCloud are to be extended to fully support what the community has been asking for: better apps, with features that previously only existed for enterprise customers. In his own words:

    We will release a drop in replacement for ownCloud in a few weeks so that users and customers can easily upgrade to Nextcloud to benefit from the new bugfix and security improvements and features. Nextcloud GmbH will provide free support for all current ownCloud customers to simplify a transition.

    The OwnCloud Foundation

    "One of Frank’s criticisms concerned the need to strengthen the Community. In this regard, we have been working on the creation of the ownCloud Foundation, the formation of which we announced earlier this week."

    Recently, the OwnCloud project announced that it was setting up a foundation. While this is a welcome event for any Free Software project, it immediately raised eyebrows. Some of the main criticisms were focused on the nature of the board itself (only 2 seats are elected by the community - the other four are coporate), whereas others have pointed out that only OwnCloud Inc itself appears to have any sponsorship in the foundation.

    Meanwhile, a handful of developers of the OwnCloud platform announce that they are leaving their projects. Their announcements can be found on Planet KDE. The general theme appears to be that OwnCloud is putting its corporate needs above its community needs.

    The OwnCloud Foundation's had this to say on the matter:
    Today’s announcement by our former colleague Frank Karlitschek, that he intends to launch a competitive product to ownCloud into the market using recently poached developers, has both surprised us and – admittedly – disappointed us. In the past, Frank has made a wealth of contributions to the development of the ownCloud Community Edition. With today’s announcement, he is no longer related to the ownCloud project and has started a competing community.

    This ends on a particularly strange note, as OwnCloud finally concludes that it has to close its doors after their main lenders cancelled their credit. 8 employee contracts were terminated in the process, and the company will be forced to close its doors. Paradoxically "The ownCloud GmbH is not directly affected by this and the growth of the ownCloud Foundation will remain a key priority."


    Manuel, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Jorge, sazius and 3 others likes this.

    Stephen Michael Kellat, mnd, Stephen Sekula, Blaise Alleyne and 11 others shared this.

    This ends on a particularly strange note, as OwnCloud finally concludes that it has to close its doors after their main lenders cancelled their credit. 8 employee contracts were terminated in the process, and the company will be forced to close its doors. Paradoxically "The ownCloud GmbH is not directly affected by this and the growth of the ownCloud Foundation will remain a key priority."

    I'm confused. What closed its doors? I would've thought the business, but the next sentence says the GmbH is not affected. Anyone know?

    Mike Linksvayer at 2016-06-03T16:01:35Z

    I think I've read somewhere, that the US branch "Inc." has to close down, while the "GmbH" which is the German branch can continue. But I don't have a link to prove.

    Tobias Diekershoff at 2016-06-03T16:19:55Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Mike Linksvayer likes this.

    >> Mike Linksvayer:

    “This ends on a particularly strange note, as OwnCloud finally concludes that it has to close its doors after their main lenders cancelled their credit. 8 employee contracts were terminated in the process, and the company will be forced to close its doors. Paradoxically "The ownCloud GmbH is not directly affected by this and the growth of the ownCloud Foundation will remain a key priority."

    I'm confused. What closed its doors? I would've thought the business, but the next sentence says the GmbH is not affected. Anyone know?”

    The developers themselves and the promise of their future intellectual properties was the asset or other collateral used to secure the debt?

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2016-06-05T19:41:54Z

    Alex Jordan likes this.

  • 2016-05-07T04:33:16Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    "dpkg: ... it looks like that went ok"

    Uh, that's reassuring...

    Stephen Michael Kellat,, Stephen Sekula, jrobb and 1 others likes this.

    Stephen Michael Kellat shared this. I am thinking we need to have a meme now about new suggested messages for dpkg to print. Like, "We made it. We made it. Don't look back. Don't you dare look back."

    Stephen Sekula at 2016-05-07T12:18:20Z

    Paco Vila, Douglas Perkins, Efraim Flashner, Stephen Michael Kellat and 2 others likes this.

  • 2016-03-29T00:30:16Z via AndStatus To: Public

    I'm starting to get serious web development geek fatigue. I frequently used WordPress and Drupal over the past 10 years. Drupal got radically more complicated with D8; WordPress is reinventing itself with Calypso. I feel no real desire to keep up with either.

    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    Change is hard; change on the servers you administrate, triply so.

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2016-03-29T00:43:53Z

  • Pumpa v0.9.2

    sazius at 2016-01-31T02:40:27Z via AndStatus To: Public

    There's a new minor Pumpa release v0.9.2 out.

    Biggest changes are:

    • New feature: user profile and avatar image editing.
    • Shares are now visualised with a recycling icon.
    • New language: Finnish.
    • Fixed bug where a shared object might be seen as already liked.
    • Fixed bug where certain authors were seen as being followed even though they weren't.

    William L. Anderson, Fabián Bonetti, jrobb, Christopher Allan Webber and 4 others likes this.

    Fabián Bonetti, johan, Blaise Alleyne, Stephen Michael Kellat and 2 others shared this.

    Show all 11 replies

    Building Pumpa on Mac OSX 10.11.3 (El Capitan) needs updated documentation. The Tidy dev files need to be installed. I'm looking into that now.

    William L. Anderson at 2016-02-01T02:05:49Z

    OK, thanks for testing! I don't have access to a Mac OS X system so I'm depending on others to test it :-)

    sazius at 2016-02-01T16:21:40Z

    OSX 10.11.3 report: Pumpa 0.9.2 crashes when selecting "New note" or "comment'. From the crash log it seems to be something between Qt and libtidy and initializing the new window. I do not have time right now to follow up on this.

    William L. Anderson at 2016-02-01T16:51:54Z

  • Firefox is discontinuing tab groups

    2016-01-28T19:51:21Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers


    Thankfully I just reduced my open tabs from ~300 to ~75 last month... time to go to Tab Zero...

    Tab Zero is something I can get behind

    Efraim Flashner at 2016-01-28T20:11:07Z

    And I had just started using the "tab groups" feature. I switched back to the tree style tabs ad-on I had been using. For as long as that works...

    Charles ☕ Stanhope at 2016-01-28T21:18:20Z

  • Tacere: Auto-silence mobile during calendar events

    2016-01-24T04:48:07Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    In switching from Maemo to Cyanogenmod this month, one of the nicest applications I found in F-Droid has been Tacere, which reads from your calendar to automatically switch the ring mode while events are active.

    It's 90% what I had imagined developing myself! In Maemo, I used a bash script with fcrontab to autosilence my N900 on regular times every week (e.g. during regular rehearsals, classes, mass, etc.). But I'd always wished I had a way to read from the calendar, to catch one-off events, like a meeting or concert, and automate the silence.

    Tacere basically does this! The only issues I've had so far is that by default it assumes you want it to take action for all events in a calendar, whereas I really just want to whitelist a few events... that's possible, but a bit counterintuitive given some of the design assumptions. Second issue is... I'm not entirely sure I have it working yet... I've had it ring when it was supposed to be silent! But I'm not sure I've got it configuration properly, so could be a user error... Still, very excited of the potential to get this working properly!

    Also, a nice surprise, since this was one of the things I was expecting to lose from my N900, not improve.

    Efraim Flashner, B. Ross Ashley likes this.

    Doug Whitfield, Doug Whitfield shared this.

    what phone are you using? Also, have you looked into any of the apps that allow you to install Debian or another Linux to run alongside android?

    Efraim Flashner at 2016-01-24T05:30:55Z

    X11R5 likes this.

    I'm not sure but I'm hoping so. I'm not sure how easily it can access the rest of the file system, but I'm still trying to think of what programs I'd want to run.

    Efraim Flashner at 2016-01-24T08:34:59Z