Category Archives: Software

I might have been spending a lot of time on Mastodon

In my previous post, I talked about how after Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, I was giving more attention to Mastodon.  Since then, I killed my twitter account, launched my own Mastodon instance, launched three new Mastodon bots (including a new one that goes live this morning), and converted Joe Travels to only post to Mastodon.

The new bot is called Good Morning, Milwaukee! and I created it to test the limits of my ability to create a Mastodon bot.  It gets sunset info, sunrise info, the weather, the news, and a live photo.  For the news article, it randomly picks between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal (limited to just local stories) and the Milwaukee Business Journal.  Once it picks a publication, it picks a random story amoungst the five most recent ones.  For the live photo, it picks a random one from three (i43 at Silver Spring Drive, Cathedral Square Park, or the Milwaukee River at the MIAD campus).  The whole bot is written in Node, using Pipedream.

The other two bots are MCTS and The Hop.  They both post the details of a random stop (including a Google Street View image) once per day.

I don’t consider any of this to be a finished product.  Everything is going to need some tweaking, moving forward.  I’m going to try to stop building new bots, though.

Please drop a comment if you have any questions and feel free to check out Toot Works if you are interested in checking out what Mastodon is all about.


[ Cover photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash ]

Learning Laravel: Composer and The Laravel Installer

I spent years writing Laravel code at UWM but you might have noticed that I almost never wrote anything on this blog about it.  I am hoping to address that here and now.  If you don’t already know, Laravel is a free, open-source PHP web framework, intended for the development of web applications following the model–view–controller architectural pattern. Continue reading Learning Laravel: Composer and The Laravel Installer

The first three apps that I install on my mac.

Over the past few years, I have written an annual “prefered tools for coding” post.  This time around, I wanted to focus more on the more basic software end of things.  When I set up a mac after getting it, there are some basic applications that I always install right away.  Let’s go through the top three. Continue reading The first three apps that I install on my mac.

How to use the UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) in linux

Firewall configuration isn’t always a very easy thing in linux.  I know that I have felt a bit intimidated, in the past.  UFW (uncomplicated firewall) is meant to make it much easier.  UFW is a configuration tool that runs on top of iptables.  In this post, I am hoping to go over how to use it. Continue reading How to use the UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) in linux

Free local TV streaming in Milwaukee

I gave up on the concept of over-the-air TV a while ago.  I have tried PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, AT&T TV, Sling TV, and Philo.  I have also tried services where you have a box with an antenna that is connected to an online service.  There were issues with all of those options.  I eventually settled on using Youtube TV.  The problem with that is the $68.57/mo price.  Not everyone can (or wants to) pay that much in order to watch TV.

Recently, I discovered a COMPLETELY FREE (and legal) alternative that is now available in Milwaukee.  It is a nonprofit digital TV translator service called Locast.  The organization is in 36 markets and is 100% free.  There are no DVR or on-demand services with it but they have Roku, FireTV, Apple TV, Android TV, iOS, and Android apps so if all you want is the ability to watch an episode of home improvement as it airs, it is a great option.

How to fix “remote: HTTP Basic: Access denied” in Git

This is going to be a very quick post.  It is more to remind future me than anything.  Did you change your password on your gitlab (or github) server?  Do you now get “remote: HTTP Basic: Access denied” when you “git push origin”?

If you “git remote show origin”, it will ask for your credentials again.  After that, you can “git push origin” your heart out.


[ Cover Photo by Pankaj Patel on Unsplash ]

Newton, It’s not you. It’s me.

For years, I was a prolific user of Inbox by Gmail.  When google announced that they planned to retire my beloved email client, I panicked a little.  Even a year later, Gmail is a bit of a UI nightmare.  After trying a few alternatives, I found Newton.

It was clean, worked on all of my devices, and even resembled Inbox a little.  It was perfect in every way except for the fact that it was $50/yr.  I have never seen an email client charge an annual fee before.  Their argument was that it allows them keep their small dev team fed and roll out new features.  I was willing to throw them $50 per year if they were going to actively work on the client.  The problem is that they haven’t done that.

I haven’t seen any indication of anything more than bug fixes since Essential bought CloudMagic and made the app available again.

Newton, we are done.  I cancelled my subscription and I am giving myself two months to find something else.

Have a suggestion for what I could use?  Feel free to drop a comment below.  It needs to work on macOS, iPadOS, Android, and ideally Wear OS.