On Smartphones and Two-Factor Auth

So, my trusty Nexus 5X gave up the ghost suddenly on me.  Given that it is an Android device, I was not worried about losing things like my contacts and photos, or even my apps as Google does a pretty decent job backing those things up.

However, there was one application I use which does not get its data backed up. FreeOTP which is a One-Time-Password application for Two Factor Auth.  This allows me to have another layer of protection on web sites past my password.

Most sites which have this option will allow you to either have a list of one-time use codes to get in to reset in case something happens to your phone (like me), or will let you set it up on multiple devices, like your phone and your tablet.

Then, there are those that do niether.  And those are a pain to recover from. 🙂

Always get the list of codes (if avalible) and store then somewhere that you can access if your phone ever dies or gets lost.  And, try to set up a second device if you can.

Really moving in on the Chromebook

As I mentioned a while back that I was experimenting with using a Chromebook, I decide to see how far I could take it.  On my recent trip to the UK, I only took my Acer C720 with me.  During the trip, I used it for things like uploading photos I took, Skype to chat with the family, checking email and news, and remote access while in the hotel room.

This worked out pretty well, to the point where I am trying to use it or my HP Chromebook 11 G1 full time.  While I can get lots of things done in a browser now days, there are some things I find my self sshing back to another box to do.  So, I decided to see if I could do that on the Chromebooks.

The ‘normal’ way is to install Linux into a chroot using something call Courton. I have done that in the past, but the work flow is not something I can adapt to easily as it involves more than a simple key combo to switch between.

I found a project called “Chromebrew” in the vein of “Homebrew” for MacOS.  Setup is pretty simple as I had turned on Developers mode on my boxes a long time ago, so it was a matter of downloading a script, reading it, and then running it.

From there, I used the crew command to install some basic tools (git, vim, & python), and I can now do 90% or more of my day-to-day work on the Chromebooks.

The only thing that I have not figured out yet is a decent VPN solution, but I am working on that.

I suppose at some point, I will upgrade one of the Chromebooks to one of the newer generation which can run Android apps as well.

Back from London (again)

So, when I started the new job last November, my boss told me that the new position was not a traveling position.  Well, after three trips this year (including one to Columbus, OH), and the one I just got back from, I think he was wrong. *grin*.

So, this time, I was in London for most of the two weeks, but I did get a side trip to Bournemouth to meet with the team there.  I was over there to get brought up to speed on a new project I am starting.  This one will be more project management  vs development.

Oh and of course, I took some time to take pictures.  Some are here:

Aftermath of Harvey

We have been very lucky.  Our house sits at 125 feet above sea-level, and the reservoir near us which everyone is very worried about tops out at 107 feet, so no worries about flooding from that.  Plus, we are the highest house in the subdivision.

We also kept power, water, and internet through the whole process.  Most of the people I know who live in town took some damage from flood waters.  Thankfully, no one I know either lost their home or loved one lives.

Around here, the stores are starting to open again, but with a lack of shipments from outside the region, things look a little bare:

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Night Mode for ChromeOS

So, what is night-mode?  It is a mode for changing the color temperature of computer screens to be ‘warmer’ (more red-tones, less blue tones).  Why?  The strong blue tones (and whites) from most computer screens help trick your mind into thinking it is still day, and therefor you need to be awake.

I have been trying to enable night mode on all the things for a while now.  For my android phone, I use twilight for Android (IOS has something built in now), Solus Linux added it in the most recent release, Gnome has it in the later releases, and under i3, I use xflux.

However, I could not find anything for the Chromebooks….until now! 9to5Google.com has a story about the feature coming soon to ChromeOS, but they claim that you need to be on the very latest development branch called ‘Canary’.  I tend to run on the Developers branch, and did not want to switch.  I did a bit of digging, and found this reddit thread which has the feature flag to set:

chrome://flags/#ash-enable-night-light

Normal warnings, this can lead to breakage of your system.

I have enabled it, and it is looking good so far!