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These are tech/gadget related posts. Archive for 2021.

My web-based keyboard tester can now also print your keyboard layout!

Simply type all the keys and shift, alt, alt+shift combinations and then you can print out an overview of your keymap for easy reference. (Or make a PDF, or take a screenshot, of course.)

Works best in Safari on the Mac, but most keys will be detected correctly with other browsers / operating systems, too.

(This is Apple's "ABC - Extended" layout, formerly known as "US Extended".)

Read the article - posted 2021-01-29

Bringing some unity to international keyboard layouts

As most people who’ve used a keyboard in (another) European country can attest to, all the other countries use really crazy keyboard layouts. An effort like EurKEY tries to solve this by coming up with a keyboard layout that works for all latin script languages. Apple’s ABC Extended (formerly US Extended) is also a pretty good effort.

However, coming up with a really good keyboard layout is pretty easy. Getting people to abandon the keyboard layout they’re used in favor of a “better” one to is the big problem. (Insert old joke: standards are great, there are so many to choose from!) So what I wanted to do is come up with something that works for people who find themselves behind a foreign keyboard, but also those who appreciate having a layout that makes it easier to type their most-used language.

Read the article - posted 2021-02-05

Review: Cable Matters USB 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet adapter

I think it was in 2016 that 2.5 and 5 Gigabit Ethernet was standardized. After a year or two the first USB to 5GE adapters started to appear at about €/$ 100 and about two years ago the first €/$ 50 2.5GE ones. Right now, there's a ton of USB 2.5GE adapters at good prices.

I got a Cable Matters one for € 31 off of Amazon.

Read the article - posted 2021-03-03

Ethernet cables in the post-gigabit era

As I'm preparing for the arrival of more > 1000 Mbps Ethernet equipment, I did an inventory of the Ethernet cables I've collected over the years. Turns out there's more variety than expected: I have cat 5 UTP, cat 5e UTP, cat 5e STP and cat 6 STP...

Read the article - posted 2021-03-30

No joke: running BGP on a $100 home router / Wi-Fi access point

For some time, I've been hearing about Mikrotek routers, which couple being quite capable with being affordable. But I never got my hands on one. I'm now in the process of upgrading my home network, and learned about the Mikrotik hAP ac³. The ac³ defies easy classification, but I think it's mostly a home router and/or Wi-Fi access point. I paid € 95 and shipping, and I believe it's available in the US for about $100.

I was somewhat disappointed to learn that "5 gigabit ports" doesn't mean ports that are capable of 5 gigabit, but 5 ports that just ordinary 1 Gbps Ethernet. Initially it seemed the box didn't support IPv6, but it turns you have to enable that under "packages" and then reboot. (Not shutdown.)

However, I wasn't disappointed to learn that the ac³ supports RIP, OSPF and BGP, both for IPv4 and IPv6.

Read the article - posted 2021-04-01

Accent tool: a web tool to easily add or remove accents

This web tool lets you click on a list of accents to add those accents to text you've typed or pasted in a text box. Or remove accents with a click. So no need to remember those pesky alt codes or unintuitive key combinations!

Read the article - posted 2021-05-14

Vaste telefonie in de jaren '20

Ik heb ondertussen mijn "KPN box" binnen die over ruim een week aan de glasvezel aangesloten gaat worden. En die heeft, net als mijn Ziggo kabelmodem, twee poorten voor analoge telefoons. Nog interessanter: je kan je eigen router aansluiten. Dan heb je in principe de mogelijkheid een eigen VoIP (SIP) telefoon te gebruiken. Die telefoniedienst kost twee euro extra bovenop het internetabonnement.

Dus misschien toch wel een interessante optie, een VoIP-telefoon op mijn bureau voor lange gesprekken zonder dat het mobiele netwerk even de weg kwijtraakt of de batterij van mijn iPhone leegraakt.

Read the article - posted 2021-05-22

Mijn internetsnelheden

In de loop der jaren heb ik een flink aantal verschillende verbindingen naar het internet gehad, en uiteraard werden die steeds sneller. Toen ik ooit die lijn doortrok kwam ik uit op 256 terabit/s wanneer ik met pensioen ga. (De AOW-leeftijd was toen nog 65.)

Tijd om eens te zien of ik inderdaad nog steeds op dat pad zit. Alleen merkte ik dat ik niet echt helder meer had op welk moment ik wat voor lijn met wat voor snelheid had. Tijd voor wat uitzoekwerk dus, en ik zet het hier neer zodat ik het later weer terug kan vinden en kan lachen over hoe sloom alles was in het jaar 2021.

Read the article - posted 2021-05-31

Glasvezel: Fiber To My Home!

Overstappen op een heel nieuwe manier om aan het internet te koppelen gebeurt niet elke dag. Maar deze week wel: ik heb nu een glasvezel-verbinding. Het interessante aan FTTH (fiber to the home) is dat dit de eerste kabel is die het huis binnenkomt die daadwerkelijk bedoeld is voor internetverkeer.

Read the article - posted 2021-06-06

Iconverter makes your old Amiga icons look right

The way the Amiga handles icons changed a number of times over the history of the platform, with the result that many older icons don't look right on Amigas running later versions of the OS. I made a tool to convert these old icons so they look like they should on later Amigas: Iconverter.

Read the article - posted 2021-07-14

Review: MouSTer: making my favorite wireless mouse work with my Amiga

Original Amiga mice were never that great, and a few decades of use and storage didn't help. So if there's one part of the Amiga I have no problem replacing with something new, it's the mouse. (Don't feel bad, I swore of Apple mice, too.) So a while ago I got a USB-to-DB9 mouse adapter. That one worked fine with wired mice, which was a big improvement.

However, a few years ago I discovered the Logitech Anywhere MX 2 wireless mouse...

Read the article - posted 2021-07-24

Be gone, Kailh Box Orange switches!

Five months ago, I put Kailh Box Orange switches in my Massdrop CTRL keyboard.

Today, I took them all out and replaced them with the Cherry MX Browns that the keyboard came with. There were just too many keys that generated an extra spurious press. So that would be "I typee" rather than "I type". This seems to happen especially with often used keys like e. So let's see what happens when I've used the Cherry MX Browns for five months.

Permalink - posted 2021-08-07

Test post preparing for HTTPS

For some time now there's been a push to move the entire web from HTTP (no encryption) to HTTPS (with encryption).

I never felt it was necessary to encrypt static content. But the time has come to cave to peer pressure, and enjoy a few benefits such as the ability to post images to web forums.

However, I still feel very strongly about everything remaining accessible over HTTP. If you go HTTPS-only, you are now relying on a certificate authority (as well as your own ability to keep certificates up to date!), and you're cutting off some older systems and losing some performance. Also, having to change everything wholesale will be somewhat of a nightmare.

Read the article - posted 2021-11-20

Resizing photos in PHP with correct orientation/rotation and retaining EXIF data

When I got my first iPhone back in 2008, I hacked together a quick script that let me post photos from my iPhone to my website. However, iPhone photos are now 3 MB or larger, which is a bit much. So in practice I would edit the photos on my computer before posting them. But that gets old, so time for some automation.


The first photo I uploaded directly from my iPhone 3G, showing part of the script

Actually resizing images is easy enough in PHP using the imagecopyresampled() function. However, using the provided example script the result was that a photo that I took with my iPhone showed up rotated...

Read the article - posted 2021-11-28

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