G's Blog

Just a place to post random things. Enjoy your stay.

New Keyboard and GeekCode (#100DaysToOffload Day 18)

In today's post we will have a quick look at the new keyboard i got about a week back. I wont call it an official review because i suck at those but hopefully it can give yo an idea about how great it is and tip you over if you are on the fence about getting one of these. I'll also talk about something kinda neat/silly i found.

First the keyboard.

So a long while ago @selea@social.linux.pizza posted about a sweet keyboard he got(including the video below) from Unicomp.

I told myself that day that i would someday have one. That day has come. About a week ago i got this baby

Keyboard_Images Keyboard_Images

I must say i absolutely love it!! I got the tux keys to replace the windows keys because well i run linux. I decided to go with the trackball version just for the simple reason of why not? I probably wont put the trackball to much use but it does look pretty cool. Anyone looking for a new keyboard should consider a Unicomp keyboard. The feeling/experience of typing on one of these is like nothing else. Each key press is followed by very distinct “click” and a nice audible bounce back of the spring. There is nothing like it.

Also made a quick/dirty unboxing video. You can view that below if you wish

Now lets talk about the GeekCode.

As described on the above the GeekCode is the creation of Robert Hayden back in the mid/late 90's. It's intent was a quick way for geeks to recognize each other's skill level/interest while communicating on mailing lists/forums/NewsGroups. I for one had never come across it until i stumbled upon V1 of it on textfiles.com when someone i follow on Mastodon posted a link to that site. Soon after i found the latest version V3.12 and set out to craft mine. The result is:

——-BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK——- Version: 3.1 GCM/IT d- s:– a C++(+++) UL+++ P L+++ !E W++ !N !o K-? w$ !O !M !V PS@ !PE Y+>++ PGP+ t++ 5+ !X !R tv+ b>+ DI>+ D+ G e+ h—— r+++ y+++ ———END GEEK CODE BLOCK———

If you want to decode that to understand it you can do that here

This code will now be at the bottom of every email i send. It's also on my mastodon/pleroma profiles. I think it's kinda neat. Its somewhat easy to read/understand once you know what each section is. If you get one or already have one please share.

Anyways that's all for now.

Until next time stay safe!


Time to get back at this ( #100DaysToOffload Day 17)

So first i must admit something. I got overwhelmed with posting everyday so i did what i always do. I gave up. Then recently i found this post redefining the challenge a little and making it less about 100 posts in 100 days but more 100 post in 365 days. That's something that should make this easier for me. I could have probably made this choice myself but i was really trying to stick to the challenge and instead gave up...

So with that i will do my best to reach 100 post before day 365 and if not at least i tried. So this post is going to be short and simple. A way to get my feet wet again if you will.

Things are finding a new normal here in the wake of COVID-19. Not that i think we are fully done with it but for now things are calm. As of next week we can travel between our 2 neighbor provinces so that's something. I have been back to working in the office since June 1st. Not much has changed there but we must practice physical distancing and wear a mask when walking around the building. Other than that it's the same. I'll be honest i miss working from home even tho i appreciate that being back in the office means things are finding a new normal i felt more productive working from home. It was an adjustment. Also back to seeing my wife and kids much less now as i work days and my wife works nights.

I've secured a new keyboard since last i posted but that will be the topic for another post. I'll do my best to find interesting things to write but also try to post every 3 or so days so some post might be lighter content.

Anyways i guess that's all for now.

Till next time stay safe!


Mystery Drives adventure ( #100DaysToOffload Day 16)

So once again i have missed a few day(like 4) . Partly because wow time flies and i suck at keeping a routine and also because someday i just have nothing to write. I try but some days by the time i have the time it's bed time...

Anyways onto today post. In a previous post i found 2 HDD's when cleaning my desk. Today lets see what's on them.

So first i went with the biggest


Once i plugged it in it seemed to have a hard time spinning up but once it did i ran dmesg

[12492.016974] usb 1-5: new high-speed USB device number 5 using xhci_hcd
[12492.165816] usb 1-5: New USB device found, idVendor=04fc, idProduct=0c25, bcdDevice= 1.03
[12492.165818] usb 1-5: New USB device strings: Mfr=2, Product=3, SerialNumber=1
[12492.165819] usb 1-5: Product: USB to Serial-ATA bridge
[12492.165820] usb 1-5: Manufacturer: Sunplus Technology Inc.
[12492.165821] usb 1-5: SerialNumber: SAMSUNG HMS25YJ9EZC24659      
[12492.183863] usb-storage 1-5:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
[12492.184046] scsi host16: usb-storage 1-5:1.0
[12493.218807] scsi 16:0:0:0: Direct-Access     SAMSUNG  HM641JI               PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
[12493.218931] sd 16:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg12 type 0
[12493.219551] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] 1250263728 512-byte logical blocks: (640 GB/596 GiB)
[12493.223065] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] Write Protect is off
[12493.223068] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] Mode Sense: 38 00 00 00
[12493.226057] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] No Caching mode page found
[12493.226060] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] Assuming drive cache: write through
[12493.271298]  sdj: sdj1 sdj2 sdj3
[12493.287066] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] Attached SCSI disk
[12495.078929] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] tag#0 FAILED Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE cmd_age=1s
[12495.078932] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] tag#0 Sense Key : Medium Error [current] 
[12495.078933] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] tag#0 Add. Sense: Unrecovered read error
[12495.078935] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] tag#0 CDB: Read(10) 28 00 4a 85 82 a0 00 00 08 00
[12495.078937] blk_update_request: critical medium error, dev sdj, sector 1250263712 op 0x0:(READ) flags 0x80700 phys_seg 1 prio class 0
[12497.208218] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] tag#0 FAILED Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE cmd_age=2s
[12497.208221] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] tag#0 Sense Key : Medium Error [current] 
[12497.208222] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] tag#0 Add. Sense: Unrecovered read error
[12497.208225] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdj] tag#0 CDB: Read(10) 28 00 4a 85 82 a0 00 00 08 00
[12497.208227] blk_update_request: critical medium error, dev sdj, sector 1250263712 op 0x0:(READ) flags 0x0 phys_seg 1 prio class 0
[12497.208230] Buffer I/O error on dev sdj, logical block 156282964, async page read
[12498.162779] BTRFS: device label root devid 1 transid 264523 /dev/sdj3 scanned by udevd (10554)

Oh that does not look good. But it can see a BTRFS filesystem on it so that's a good thing. Not what i was expecting. I assumed it would have an NTFS partition. so what's on this...

➤ sudo mount /dev/sdj3 /mnt/usbtmp
➤ ls /mnt/usbtmp/
.   bin   dev  home  lib64  opt   root  sbin  sys  usr
..  boot  etc  lib   mnt    proc  run   srv   tmp  var

Ok it has a linux system on it...mine?

➤ ls /mnt/usbtmp/home
.  ..  marcg

Yep mine for sure

➤ ls -la /mnt/usbtmp/home/marcg/
total 488
drwx------ 1 marcg users    566 Jun 30  2016  .
drwxr-xr-x 1 root  root      10 Dec 27  2015  ..
-rw------- 1 marcg users    359 Apr 15  2016  .bash_history
-rw-r--r-- 1 marcg users     21 Nov 23  2015  .bash_logout
-rw-r--r-- 1 marcg users     57 Nov 23  2015  .bash_profile
-rw-r--r-- 1 marcg users    274 Dec 27  2015  .bashrc
drwx------ 1 marcg users    266 Mar 26  2016  .cache
drwx------ 1 marcg users    330 Jun 20  2016  .config
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users  27412 Jul  1  2016  Desktop
-rw-r--r-- 1 marcg users     23 Dec 27  2015  .dmrc
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users     56 Jun 26  2016  Documents
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users  11810 Jun 27  2016  Downloads
-rw------- 1 marcg users     16 Dec 27  2015  .esd_auth
-rw-r--r-- 1 marcg users  18674 Feb 24  2016 'Essay- Coates.odt'
-rw-r--r-- 1 marcg users  19517 Feb 25  2016 'Essay- Thompson.odt'
drwx------ 1 marcg users      8 Dec 27  2015  .gnome
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users     50 Jan 18  2016  .hplip
-rw------- 1 marcg users  16030 Jun 30  2016  .ICEauthority
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users     16 Dec 27  2015  .linuxmint
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users     10 Dec 27  2015  .local
drwx------ 1 marcg users     34 Dec 27  2015  .mozilla
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users      0 Dec 27  2015  Music
drwxrwxr-x 1 marcg users    176 Dec 27  2015  packer-color
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users     32 Mar  8  2016  Pictures
drwx------ 1 marcg users     10 Dec 27  2015  .pki
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users      0 Dec 27  2015  Public
drwx------ 1 marcg users     54 Dec 27  2015  .ssh
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users      0 Dec 27  2015  Templates
drwxr-xr-x 1 marcg users      0 Dec 27  2015  Videos
-rw------- 1 marcg users     54 Jun 30  2016  .Xauthority
-rw------- 1 marcg users  25576 Jul  1  2016  .xsession-errors
-rw------- 1 marcg users 383067 Jun 30  2016  .xsession-errors.old

From 2015-2016 wow i'll have to try and dump what i can from it. I suspect that the above errors will prevent a full dump/exploration but i'll see what i can get.

Alright what's on that other drive.


mount: /mnt/usbtmp2: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sdk1, missing codepage or helper program, or other error.

Well that's not good. Oh but right i did not install/enable anything NTFS/FAT related. So after installing ntfs-3g and rebuilding my kernel with ntfs support i tried again

➤ sudo mount /dev/sdj1 /mnt/usbtmp/
NTFS signature is missing.
Failed to mount '/dev/sdj1': Invalid argument
The device '/dev/sdj1' doesn't seem to have a valid NTFS.
Maybe the wrong device is used? Or the whole disk instead of a
partition (e.g. /dev/sda, not /dev/sda1)? Or the other way around?

Well not good. Gparted still reports it as unknown type. So i suspect one of two things. Either it's corrupted or it's encrypted using VeraCrypt(Or TrueCrypt) but i'm pretty sure i've seen Gparted detect those before... So for now it's content(whatever shape it's in) will remain a mystery. I may try some more to figure out what's on this bu for now...

That is all for today.

Until next time Stay Safe!!


A Rainy Morning/Time in the sun ( #100DaysToOffload Day 15)

Today was a mixed bag. We had plans to spend the whole day outside with our granddaughter but then it was raining all morning. Things cleared up by the afternoon and we got spend a few hours playing outside before her dad was off work.

Ran around the yard. Swung on her swing(for the first time) and slid down the slide.

Ended the day with a BBQ. Overall a good day. Tomorrow will be a long day. Wife works at 6:30am so early start.

That's all for today.

Till next time. Stay Safe!


I made the jump to Gentoo ( #100DaysToOffload Day 14)

So after thinking about it for a few days i decided to make the jump to #Gentoo. I'm glad i did. I forgot how fun using Gentoo could be. It has it's drawbacks like compilation time, understanding use flags and some dependency quirks but i knew all this going in. Overall i find it makes my system run ever so slightly faster. Is it a placebo effect? Maybe but i'll be damned if i'm not going to embrace it. Either way the feeling of running software optimized for my CPU is something. As silly as that is.

One thing that i wanted to try and avoid(And maybe another of gentoo's quirks) is getting in a hell of 32bit dependencies like i did last time. By default gentoo will only build 64bit libraries and applications. It can build 32bit when needed and that's controlled via the abix8632 use flag. I don't recall exactly what happened but i remember that i was in a mess of everything wanting to build 32bit versions but nothing could build because something else would not be happy if something had 32bit support. It was a vicious circle of turning off/on 32bit builds of things. I ended up giving up and going to funtoo who at the time did things a little different when it came to 32bit(Now they only offer pure 64bit).

Anyways one thing that still requires many 32bit parts is steam. I do use steam for most of my gaming so i needed a solution. Something that could allow me to have mostly(all) only 64bit libraries/applications on my day to day but still run steam. Luckily gentoo provides a guide for setting up steam inside a chroot so that's what i ended up doing. With work and all it took most of the last 3 days to get that just right. Some of this being moving data back and forth when things got messed up with the chroot setup. But that's all sorted out now. Steam is working great. Gotta find another solution for Diablo 3 and Star Wars: The old Republic. Not that i play those 2 often but when i get the itch i want to play them...

Still a few general things left to setup. Automate backups(I manually run them in the morning not a big deal just a few cron entries), Yubikey (which i just got working before writing this) and some missing fonts for a better web experience. Other than that i'm happy with the move.

I could ramble for a while about things i did to get back up and running but i think i'll leave it at this for now. I'll end by saying that i did find a cable for that HDD enclosure from my last post so in a future post i will see what's on those 2 drive i found.

Until next time stay safe!!


Mystery HDD (#100DaysToOffload Day 13)

So lat week i finally decided to clean my desk. Well it was not so much a choice as it was forced as i was looking for the new insurance card for my car which should have been on me/in the car since Jan 01 of this year...good thing i did not get pulled over.

Anyways desk went from this


To this


In the process i found many things along with said insuracne card. One(well 2) of those things was some HDD's. I have no clue what is on them or where they came from. I think one came from a laptop that is long dead.


I do have a USB enclousre i could stick them in but first i have to find a acable for said enclosure.


So now i must go on a hunt to find a cable to make this enclosure work so i can figure out what is on those drives...i will post here if i ever find said cable.

Also i've made the switch to Gentoo and have gone with setting up Steam in a chroot. I should have been documenting that process but i will try to make a blog post of it anyways. Overall it went well. Have to get used to how Gentoo works all over again.

That is all for today.

Until next time. Stay safe!!


Google Recaptcha alternative ( #100DaysToOffload day 12)

Today's post will be a quick one. A while ago my work wanted a captcha added to our website forms re prevent spam. The only thing that i knew of at the time was google's recaptcha so that's what i put in place. After i doubled down on my anti-google(really anti-centralized) mission i knew i had to change to something else.

After a while of looking i found secure image

What can i say. It's free. Open source and easy to setup. Supports using a cookie or mysql database. It also offers different types of verification. Either text or math question. The amount of image distortion can also be configured. Overall i really like it. It just works.

Well that's about all for this post.

Until next time. Stay Safe!!


Tattoos...They are kinda an addiction (#100DayToOffload Day12)

In today's post i just wanted to talk about Tattoos. Kinda in general but also show the ones i have and plan on getting.

First Tattoos in general. They are something i like for the most part. Some are really stupid and i'm sure i have not seen most of the stupid ones but some are very nice and well done. It takes great skill to do that properly on someones body. Just like a painter a tattoo artist is using the human body as a canvas. I have great respect for them. For me it's something i've always kinda wanted to do since high school but i was always afraid of how much it would hurt. I'm not a big man just skin and bones as they say so i was especially concerned. For some reason part of my fear was that the needle would hit bone and that would be VERY painful. I was quickly told by the tattoo artist that this could simply not happen. That made me feel better.

The want really hit when my step daughter went and got her first done(she now has like 10). I drove her there and waited while she had it done and i gained real perspective of the process seeing it first hand. The same was true for my wife. She had also wanted one for a long time but was afraid of the pain(and needles in general). After hearing from her daughter what it was like she committed to getting one. We both did. She had something in mind a little rose just at the base of each thumb. I did not know at the time what i really wanted. All i knew was that i did not want something you could find by googling “keyword” tattoo. I decided i would go with some text for the first one as i figured with it's lower complexity it would not hurt as much.

So i opened up LibreOffice Writer. Picked a nice looking font(That matched my current console font) and stared at the blank page before me almost seeing it skin color.

This is what i typed in


It went well. Turned out just like i wanted. I told myself and everyone that was it. Only the one. Everyone said “you wont stop at one”. I would maintain that it would be only one.

Well they where right. After that one had healed my wife started talking about wanting another. I had wanted another but had not said so so as to not make everyone right...But now that my wife wanted one i could say it was her fault lol. So then came the task of choosing something else. One again i did not want something common but i did want something linux/tech related. I ended up settling on Tux. What's more linux than Tux eh? I did not want to go for plain old Tux since he's pretty common i remembered a dressed up Tux i had seen on the net many years ago and went on a hunt.

So here he is


Tux dressed up as John Rambo. Once again i think he turned out great.

After this one i once again said this would be it...i don't know why because i knew that at some point i would want another. That time came and everything was set for #3...Then COVID-19 came so that go put on hold. Once things go back to normal or at least our tattoo guy can reopen his shop i will be getting this on my back


It's a Fork Bomb Bomb... 😊

After that who knows what else but i gotta stop at some point.

Well that is all for today's post.

Just as a follow up to my last post. I'm re-committing to the original mantra of the #100DaysToOffload and will post something each day. On the off days(where i can't find something specific to write...which might end up being often) it will be just about my day which is kinda what i had started out doing. Along the way i felt i wanted to only post meaningful interesting things. But really posting the personal day to day stuff might help me write better in the long run. Every other time i've tried to get a blog going i get to consumed about what to post that i end up posting nothing for years...not this time!

Until tomorrow Stay Safe!


To Hop or Not-To-Hop that is the question (#100DaysToOffload Day11)

Todays post is about my itch to distro hop. Back a few years ago it was something i did almost daily. Then i found Gentoo. I stuck with it for a few months then switched to Funtoo. 2 reasons prompted that switch.

  1. It used Git instead of Rsync for ebuild tree. Much faster sync

  2. Linux should be Fun-Too

I stuck with Funtoo for quite a while. Then they where going to do away with 32-bit support all together this meant that Steam would no longer work unless i setup a chroot or something which i felt was too much trouble(for some reason...looking back i should have probably stuck with it). They now have an “official” solution but only for Nvidia cards so no help to me. So after Funtoo i went to Arch it was an old faithful type choice for me. I had used Arch on and off during my crazy Hopping years so knew it well. I stuck with Arch when i get my new PC just over a year ago. A few month ago i made the lateral jump to Artix which is just Arch without systemd.

Now i'm getting the itch for something different again. I don't know if it's just something different or if it just a “Everything works lets break something...” type mood. I posted about this on Pleroma a few weeks ago and someone suggested i switch DE to see if that helps. I did that switched to Qtile. It helped at the time but now i'm back at feeling like i want something else...

I think part of my itch would require going back to something Source based like Gentoo/Funtoo. Steam support is important as i do game. I don't want to dual boot because i don't want to have to commit disk space to each distros then be locked into that choice.

I think in the end i'm going to end up going to Gentoo. It still has full 32-bit support which means Steam will just work. They even provide a nice guide for setting it up in a Chroot which i might do. It also comes with OpenRC by default which i like. I'm going to think on it some more the next few days and this might be my weekend project.

Now to address something. I embarked on this #100DaysToOffload journey but somedays i just can't find anything to write/post about. Instead of stressing about it i either skip that day or post a silly/insignificant post. In situations like that what should i do? Pleroma Poll

Also i know i should really just do this for myself in a way but sometimes it's hard to justify the time when i get little views/comments. Comments can be made by replying to this post on Pleroma/Mastodon. This is a new feature of WriteFreely so maybe most don't know about it. It now support Activitypub mentions. That's why i tag myself. Then if you reply i will get mentioned and we can have interactions about the post in question.

Anyways that is all for today.

Untill tomorrow. Stay Safe!!


A Little Something Different (#100DaysToOffload Day 10)

For today i did things a little differently. See here for the post


Not something i'll do all the time but for day 10 i figured i would shake it up.