How to update or install “Linux on Windows” in Windows 10

In the olden days, there was only “Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10”. This little gem gave you something like reverse WINE.

You got an Ubuntu linux install that’s running on top of the Windows kernel – with full file system access, the ability to install and run all kinds of linux command-prompty stuff like git, and even graphical linux apps like gitk.

Fast forward a few years, and things have changed…

What if you’re still running Bash on Ubuntu on Windows (Ubuntu 14.04) and you want to upgrade to the latest Ubuntu 16.04 without reinstalling everything?

Or, what if you want a different flavor of linux?

Read more…

Meltdown & Spectre: DO NOT PANIC! Yet.

By popular demand!

Meltdown and Spectre are the recently-publicized exploits that take advantage of flaws in modern processors.

These flaws are big news, but what’s the actual scoop?

It turns out that they ARE a big deal, but with a few important caveats…

Since the exploits themselves are so technically complicated, I have tried to explain them in a simplified way without sacrificing actual useful details.

That way, you can make up your own mind as to whether or not you should run for the hills!

Read more…

How to code smarter – now with 50% less irritation!

Everyone knows that coders are weird people.

Interrupt them, and you often encounter a rather strange and “interesting” reaction. Why is that?

Well, it’s all about what happens in your brain when you’re programming something. It’s probably one of the hardest things to focus on, at least for me.

There’s a reason why programmers tend to work late/early hours: fewer distractions!

Fortunately, there are a couple of tricks I have taught myself over the years that can make everyone much happier.

Even if you aren’t a coder, you can still benefit from these tips!

Read more…

DIY Ultrasonic Fuel Gauge / Level Sensor

If you have a fuel or water tank that is either metal or colored plastic, you may have run into the same problem I had: How do you know when it’s empty?

Mechanical level gauges are nice, but not always practical or even possible. So, I went on the hunt for an ultrasonic level sensor for my fuel tank.

Alas, what’s available on the market is too expensive, not very reliable, and often goofy in terms of features. So I decided to build my own!

This ultrasound fuel gauge can be built for around $33 using a breadboard, Arduino Uno, and one of 2 different ultrasonic transceiver modules designed for use with Arduino or Raspberry Pi boards.

Read more…

PikaJS: Think jQuery but smaller, lighter, and just as easy to use

Introducing PikaJS: a jQuery-like JavaScript library that simplifies the client-side scripting of HTML.

I had been using jQuery and PrototypeJS, and I needed to ditch PrototypeJS at long last.

My colleague Michael Franzl said, “Hey! Check out this Balalaika thing!”

So I did.

Unfortunately, Balalaika doesn’t give you many methods to do cool stuff. That’s left as an exercise for the programmer…

So, I decided to make my own jQuery, and PikaJS is the result!

Read more…

Notepad++: The best free text editor for Windows

If you’ve ever tried to open a text file in Windows that was not a Word Doc, you’ve no doubt been smacked in the face by the abomination known as Notepad.

Notepad is Windows’ built-in text editor. At this point, I think the program has not been changed since… forever. And it shows.

Notepad is slow, it has almost no features, and generally people just pray until they’re done doing what they need to do just so they can close down that flaming pile of garbage.

As it happens, there’s a great all-purpose text editor you can download for free, and it’s WAAAAY better than Notepad.

Read more…

WordPress white screen quick fix

Many people use WordPress on a server for a blog, online stores, and so on.

It’s great software since it makes creating a “fancy website” accessible to those who are not so technically inclined – which is most of us!

There is a problem many people see when using WordPress that has become known as the WSOD, or White Screen of Death. Basically, one day you try to load any page on your WP site (including the admin pages), and all you get is a blank screen.

When this WSOD happens, there is 1 trick that I have found works better than any other…

Read more…

How to install git and gitk on Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10

gitk on Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10You may have heard about “Bash on Ubuntu on Windows”. If not, you can check out my post on Bash for Windows 10.

First, you’ll need to make sure you have the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which you’ve probably received automagically by now.

Then, you’ll need to manually install Bash on Ubuntu on Windows to get your bash prompt.

When you’re done, you’ll probably listen to Microsoft when they say “no GUI stuff!” on bash… But actually, you can set yourself up with a lovely development environment including git – and even gitk – right in Windows.

And it’s much easier than you might think…

Read more…

The Windows 10 Summer Update will include… Linux?!

Ubuntu Bash + Windows 10This summer, Windows 10 will be 1 year old. Microsoft recently announced that they’ll be releasing another “major” update for their latest OS around this time.

Most of the new features are nothing terribly earth-shattering. Probably the most impactful change to most users will be a slight modification to the Start Menu.

For power users, however, they’ve got something rather big planned: Windows 10 will soon include the Ubuntu Linux Bash shell (probably as an optional app/download).

What in tarnation is going on here?!

Read more…

How to add an EU Cookie Consent popup to your web site

Cookie Consent / IdiocyCookie Consent laws: you have surely seen them.

You go to a site, and you get a popup or bar at the top of the site that says, “We use cookies, blah blah blah…”

There is usually a “Learn more” link, and sometimes a way to accept or reject that site’s use of cookies.

The reason for this is a very stupid law implemented in the European Union that is supposed to protect people from… well, actually, it doesn’t protect anyone from anything. Okay, technically, it protects you from your sanity.

Especially if you use Google Adsense to put ads on your web site, you probably have received an e-mail from them telling you that you must have a Cookie Consent thingie on your site by the end of September 2015 in order to comply with yet another EU cookie law.

Right, so, how do you add cookie consent to your site – quickly and easily?

Read more…