“Are you a human being or a chatbot?” “We are a chat agent”

This was an actual chat conversation snippet between me and a customer service .. entity! Did I just interact with chatbot or a human being who was constrained to following a strict script? Was I stupid enough that I failed a Turing test? I have so many questions! Maybe you, dear reader, can figure this one out?

I just got a new UM790 Pro Mini PC (barebones with RAM and SSDs separately purchased and installed). This blog post describes some fixes to improve WiFi and Bluetooth performance (range, speeds, reliability etc.) as well as cooling and fan noise.

This post explains how I built a Network Attached Storage (NAS) for home use in August 2023. The various hardware build steps are carefully document with lots of photos.

Seafile is a secure, reliable, and performant file sync and share solution. I have been using it since about 2014, occasionally trying out other solutions, but keep returning to Seafile. It has a fairly large feature list and works on every major OS/mobile-device. Self-hosting it has been painless and performance is rock solid. This post describes one particular feature that is useful to me and is present ONLY in Seafile (to the best of my knowledge).

(I am not associated with Seafile in any way. Just a happy user.)

“If you already know some programming language/framework X, what are effective ways to rapidly learn a possibly similar new language/framework?” I found myself pondering this question recently. Wouldn’t it be nice to discover a system to learn something new that optimally exploits what you already know?

Over the last few years, I have tried a number of productivity apps for todos and task management: Todoist, Trello, Things 3, Google Keep, Evernote, OneNote, Emacs org-mode, etc. but nothing stuck. The pattern is: In an initial burst of enthusiasm, I create a large-ish initial todo list by making a brain dump of tasks in a productivity app. The list then languishes. Rinse and repeat when I come across (yet) another promising app. Why does this happen?

This post explains a home-grown personal finance tool that aggregates transactions from various bank accounts and credit cards, auto-categorizes them, and presents information/analyses via a set of dashboards. All this is accomplished without sharing your banking credentials and financial transactions with a third party.

The pattern: How to remotely access a service that is bound to localhost and refuses to respond to requests not originating from localhost? The instance: If using Speedify CLI on a linux-based router with no GUI stack, how to nevertheless view the Speedify GUI in a web browser, from another device on the same network? This post documents some non-conventional hacks needed to get a working solution.


Home network schema

This series of posts describes the setup of a custom router for a home network. The router takes full advantage of multiple Internet connections, seamlessly manages Internet traffic when one of the connections drops or behaves poorly, and provides some additional functionality like firewalls, adblocking, VPN tunnels for specific clients, bandwidth shaping, network flow monitoring etc.