Preparing Your Precious Technology For The SHTF
For many thinking about an SHTF situation involves making sure there is plenty of food storage and that they have plenty of guns and ammo. That is all important of course, but living in a highly technology-centric society means that much of what me do is digital. Living in a digital world like this means if an adversary wants to cripple us, they can just knock out our technology infrastructure and cause havok, think about what happened during Y2K, and if you're too young for it look it up. So, in order to be properly prepared we also need to think about the technology we have and how to prepare the data that we may not want to lose for such a situation. We do have a few options on how to do this and using more than one is very beneficial.
Hard copies is probably one of the easier ways, but also very space intensive. This I would recommend for key documents; medical records, identification docs, even family pictures, and journals. It takes up paper and space, but this guarantees that if something like an EMP hits, you don't lose everything for your family history or for a medical emergency. This can also mean currency, since much of our transaction now happen electronically, but plenty of people have talked about having cash of hand in case of such situations.
In this category, I would also include reference materials for tools and vehicles. If you can't get to a shop to fix something and the internet is down, you'll be glad you had that book on you. Cuba is a great example of this, while under Fidel Castro, they had books and guides that helped them learn to fix the appliances they had. From such books they figured out how to repair fans and even recharge hearing aids. The skills you can learn from these books in priceless, especially when you can't just look it up online, I would also recommend at least reading through them once.
Also, add in fictional literature in here, since you'll have a lot of time to read. Your kindle or iPhone won't last long if you don't have a way to recharge it, or if you're keeping a low power profile. Having a few good books you know you will reread again or a few you haven't yet read will fill in down time and help ease your stress.
Safely Stored Backups
For situations where the grid doesn't completely go down, having backups stored away means you don't lose everything and you should take time to update backups as needed. There is plenty of software out there to automatically backup your data to an external storage device, but I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about your EMP-proofed/buried backups. Luckily, this option has gotten much less space intensive with advances in technology. Also, as an added note, a situation where this would be viable is the more likely one, in my humble opinion, due to the usefulness of location tracking and how it is done today.
Our options for easy to obtain backup medium has expanded quite a bit with how prolific the smartphone has gotten during the 2010s. Many of our option can store hundreds of terabytes of data in a small box. Options like these are best:
- External or Internal Solid State Drives
- USB Flash Drives
- Micro SD Cards
Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Solid State Drives
Solid states drives (SSDs) are an improvement on the hard drive, they store data on chips much like flash drives and don't have any moving parts like a hard drive does. They are also typically smaller is size than a hard drive, meaning you could store away more of them in a lead box than you could hard drives. The disadvantage with them is, and the other options I've listed, is that electic shock can kill the data on them. Depending on whether you get an internal or external you could have a bulkier package, but the option for external SSDs means you can plug them into a USB port to access your data. They fit well in cargo pockets or backpack pockets generally, too, for those that wanna take their data on the go.
Usually called a "Thumb Drive" due to their size normally being that of a thumb, they are quite easily pocketed and a favorite tool of pentetration testers as a social engineering exploit. With the advances of flash memory, as I have noted, these little drives have gotten much bigger from their 512MB sizes from over a decade ago. People often use them for school homework and some medical documents, now. This is an excellent option from having on your person or to squirrel away in your bags somewhere. They have the same advantage of an external SSD in that they can plug into a USB port easily, but they can be quite fragile if bumped just right. You should be able to easily find these drives in 1TB sizes and if not, 256GB is still quite common to find, and that will hold plenty of PDF docs.
Micro SD Cards
These ones and very much like flash drives, but are made with the intent or inserting in your smartphone of game console. They don't have a USB interface, so you need some sort of reader for them to access the data from your computer. They do have a huge advantage of being extra small in size however and are very easily concealed. That concealment factor is much more easily seen from S2 Underground's SERE Kit video. They do come in 1TB sizes as well, so you can stick quite a bit of info on them and partition them out so you can hold encrypted data on them. They can be pricey depending on the brand you pick up, but guaranteeing that you have the space you need can sometimes be a boon, so I highly recommend getting a reputable brand like SanDisk and making sure you have bought it from their store.
The interface on the SD cards does mean you can access the data from a smartphone that has a slot or from a portable device that does as well. Many more devices with full desktop computing functionality, like the Steam Deck, exist that allows you to access that important data whereever you are or to access the data of others. These devices also have much more power than even many smartphones, to allow for much quicker access to weakly encrypted data.
Accessing Your Data
Having data backed up is all fine and dandy, but what happens if someone takes your computer or smartphone? What if your computer gets fried? How do you access your backup data now? This takes a bit more preparation, but is quite easily done and has plenty of affordable (and expensive) options.
The Raspberry Pi is a single board computer that has a low power footprint. It easily runs off of a USB power backup. Depending on the model you get, it has a number of USB ports and an HDMI port. It uses an SD Card for the main boot medium. These are quite available on amazon with entire kits for the hobbyist. On the SD Card you decide to use for the Operating System, I would recommend a version of Linux and occasionally taking time to make sure it is up to date. What is nice about the Pi is that it can easily store in a small box. Yes, you can put the Pi in a lead box with your precious data backups. Once, you boot up your Pi, however it is powered, you should be able to open a file browser and plug in your data backup to access your data. If you want to, you can backup your data directly to the SD Card you are booting from.
If you have been using computers for a while, you've probably bought a new up-to-date computer because software and hardware continuously improve. Those old computers can be used as backups or ways to access your backups. If you have old laptops, these make excellent ways to stow away data. Many laptops have SD Card slots, so you can plug one with your backups into it. Again, laptops and old desktop computers make great places to backup your data as well, if you buy a new SSD for them, they even get a new breath of air.
Now, what if your computer doesn't support the latest update of Windows? Scrap the idea of Windows on that old computer, install Linux, it runs quite well on old hardware, just ask any Thinkpad enthusiast. Again, much like a Raspberry Pi, I would recommend taking that computer out on ocassion and making sure your software is up-to-date. Linux has software to let you look at most if not all of your data.
Data is a precious resource, ask any big tech company. If you take the time to work out how to make sure your data is still available, it will benefit you and you won't feel lost or stressed. Also, if someone happens to "lose" your records, you still have them to make sure they have them. This can mean life and death in a world where you never know when you're the enemy.
Wed, 12 Oct 2022 14:53:47 -0600
On Audio and Accessories
So, I have been started on a journey for audio quality. It started with
and has kinda spiraled to me buying headphones. It sounds better to about the
same depending on what set I use and compare it to. I haven't quite tried some
of the "higher" end ones that are more expensive just yet, nor has Raycon sent
me a pair. I am going to just let you know what my kit looks like.
This is actually two sets of headphones. One is a standard over-the-ear set
and the other are buds. They both sounded better than previous sets I have used
and they were the first ones on this journey. The over-the-ear ones I used with
my computer for the first bit and then went to use otherwise when I replaced
them. The buds have mostly been used with my switch and the switch doesn't have
the best DAC in it. One thing to keep in mind is that each of these cost $30.
So, the buds don't pick up the static background like some of my nicer
headphones. That is a plus and they come with fins for keeping them in your ear
and this definitely help. They have a need to fall out of your ear, even with a
larger set of tips, but the fins help. They do have a burn in period for some
reason, but they sound good.
The over-the-ears have been decent for my uses, with streaming, games, etc.
I'm not quite sure about better quality as compared to the Sony ones I got from
my brother. They did the job, that was the big part and they are braided. The
cord is still intact in spite of the abuse since, with travel and wear.
This set serves double duty. They have a wire that lets you use it with
non-bluetooth devices. This configuration needs no batteries, so you don't have
to charge them when using them wired or turn them on for that matter. The wire
plugged in does take over whatever you may have going over bluetooth. They do
sound good this way, I'm pretty sure slightly better. I have only used the
bluetooth a couple times.
The bluetooth on these ones are pretty standard. By default "noise canceling"
is on, they really only have a noise passthrough setting, which works the way
you think, with the mic. Mic is bluetooth, and has trying-to-listen-from-your-ear
quality. The controls are physical, which is nice. It charges by micro USB.
Somewhere in this point is where DankPods really came in.
KZ ZSN Pros
These are great for the price. They have mostly been used with my switch, but
I had a lot of time with them at the IRS. They allowed me to enjoy my music
somewhat better than wireless. They fit well in the pocket, after hearing
more sound stage, though it does kind feel sad, but at $20, I did by another
pair, which is the slightly upgraded model. The one big thing I like about this
set is the wire is setup to loop over your ear, which means they can hang just
outside of your ear, without losing them, which is why I got them. The wire
does get in the way of glasses, though. I am messing with them on my computer
currently, to see how buds feel again in this situation, plus full-sized
headphones can be kinda bulky with limited desk space... Also, the problem of
my switch creating background noise is prevalent. Impedance on these things are
kinda low, and my volume settings using these things are low.
These headphones are also somewhat modular. You can replace the wire with
other wires, such as balanced wires or different colored ones. They do use
a special connector for it, so you have to look out for that. They do also sell
a bluetooth wire that connects the two, but lets you use them wirelessly like
some of the bluetooth sport earbuds. There are probably other options, too.
Get the best dirty buds
People have complained about the battery life in these buds, but I haven't
noticed. My use case with them has mostly been one ear at a time, great way to
stretch out usage when listening to an audiobook. They basically seem to be on
par with the ZSN Pros and are True Wireless, so using one at a time doesn't
require both out of the case like my unmentioned Skull Candies. I love them for
when I need to work and don't wanna deal with wires while listening to
audiobooks, podcasts and music. Also, keep in mind, this set cost only $30. The
wireless reach is pretty good, but once you hit the edge, you get the odd cutting
from what you are listening to and it doesn't autopause, like when they disconnect.
Get some wireless action
Samson SR 860
Basically, a recolored SR 850. This one changed me. After having listened to
plently of Sabaton through the ZSN Pros I really got to know some of the music.
This set is a refernce set, so more balanced, and I could hear things I didn't
before. It amazed me to hear some of the higher end detail that I was missing
in other sets, the pinephone does a decent job. So, as I mentioned earlier
I do pick up white noise from my switch with them, but at $50 they work well
for everything else. They do fit the SR 850 cups, too, so you can accesorize
with those pads, but the velvet pads they came with feel nice. They also work
better than the Sonys for it, in spite of those ones being (likely) $100...
They don't need much more power compared to the ZSN Pros, either.
Get the phones
So, to finish things off. The last part of my eargasm journey has been the
best part. I have included the links, yes affiliate, for the ones I recommend.
They will serve you well, I promise.
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 13:51:34 -0600
State of the Web
I needed to update you all on things. Adding a couple things to the new stuff is just a perk.
Development continues in spite of the slowness, I am in 'recovery' from UPS. I do have IRS applications in the process of going through, hopefully I can get this other stuff moving. Then after (or before) that, I can fully focus on this.
I don't wanna be fully texty, so I'll just leave you with my long worded update.
Fri, 08 Jan 2021 20:57:32 -0700
The Blog is Sorta Back
I am back again, took long enough to migrate. Still using Luke Smith's blog script, though. Also had to migrate some of the CSS to make it work better.
I plan on being more regular with this. Especially with paid hosting, it makes sense to try to keep on top of this. Github pages was nice, but isn't the potato I prefer. I have more options with what I can do here, now, too.
I am still working on the site otherwise, too. Still gotta work those images in somehow. This is an inagural post for the blog migration and plus it has been over a year since my last one, and a lot has happened over that time...
Mon, 28 Dec 2020 10:53:32 -0700
Of Men and Not So Men
So, over the last little bit there has been a lot of turbulence on the internet. Whether political or videogames. I don't care which side of the bench you are on,
but can we agree to disagree?
I know it feels like the opposition is only getting in the way of the life that everyone wants to live, that people are marginalized. How extreme are we really from each other?
It honestly feels like people let trolls get under their skin and use it as an excuse to alienate them. Trolls use their alienation as an excuse to continue to troll them.
People may hold up your marginalized status in politics, but for how long? When does it end? The Nazis were completely willing to allow Latter-Day Saints members of the party stay for the first little bit while they ripped out all the dissenters and Jews, but later on, they wouldn't permit an "American Religion" to live in their perfect Germany.
First I think I want thick skin as my subject. For those that don't know, thick skin is the ability to have people hurl words, insults and perjuratives at you without having to lash out violently against them. One bad example of this is Antifa, say something they don't like, they dox you and encourage harm on your family and yourself. A good example, I'm not gonna say Trump cause he bites back in bad ways many times. I think everyone can see Jesus as a person with thick skin. He was thrown insults and threats multiple times, but still stood his ground of faith. He died for what he preached, but that is another subject entirely. He didn't tell people to kill others over words they said, but told everyone to love each other. He talked with people who had lifestyles that he didn't agree with, too.
Developing thick skin doesn't happen over night either. It takes time and effort, most of that effort might be in forgiving and ignoring the opposition. There are plenty that will disagree with you that will give you the time of day if you are trying, though. I think sometimes people for get this. When you put yourself out there, people from both sides are gonna attack you for something you say on some level. You may say something someone may agree with you on and they praise you for it. You can then turn around and all of a sudden they are venomous to you. It is only human nature. I've honestly learned in my time on the internet, that people are gonna be jerks, when I run into people that are awesome it's a pleasantry. And honestly, I would prefer people throwing slurs at me over the internet than having them dox me and attacking me physically
Now, inorder for those trying to change to actually change, somebody needs to give them room to improve. This means forgiving them and accepting their best efforts. Some things do require punishment, but going back into their history back multiple years and holding something they did or said then against them now is no way of doing that. I've run into people that had no heart of looking at the good of someone because of something they saw as bad or hateful. This concept of love the person and not the action was something they didn't seem to grasp. There are a lot of people I associate with that I don't agree with on certain topics, but I still respect them. I can't stop them, but when they wrong me directly, I can still forgive them and let them know what they did so they can improve later on.
Now, in all honesty, I think these concepts will help you not be lashed to the ideology that may just toss you off to the side. I want the best for everyone, but sometimes we don't have all the facts and think that we know best. When we base our society on theories that haven't proven their salt, then we destroy the very things we have enjoyed for years.And no one wants to lose that.
If you have a though provoking thing or idea, let me know. If you have thought on the subject that might even help me form this idea better, be sure to let me know (dissenter is a great way to interact with this post).
Sun, 22 Sep 2019 18:29:46 -0600
Simplification and Nonsense
This week has been a riot with updates for a game or two. The thing that makes it crazy is the reaction of people and the reactions of people to those reactions. It make it interesting when people have opinion that clash (I'm trying to protect the identies of the sorta innocent, so I'm beating around the bush). It only creates problems for those around.
I'll start off with the nonsense, people without thick skins make the world more dramatic. It really boils down to being able to talk with people that have differing opinions and not just shutting them down. I've seen more than once people get banned or shut down for having an opinion that covers a sensitive topic. It soinds insensitive to say they need to just grow some thicker skin, but at the same time, it's true. They still have the agency to choose how they react and talk to someone. Just because someone believes different doesn't mean you have license to call them a clown, people that do this often complain when they get called names... If you want someone to listen to you, listen to someone else. It's how you learn.
This rant is one that really gets me each time, but the anger can go into something constructive, like peening the scythe blade. It's when we learn to sort it out for ourselves and peacefully deal with other opposing views that we lessen the divide between us. People complain about being inclusive and dividing everyone, but they go and get into their little echo chambers to be with themselves and their lackeys. I may be wrong, but hopefully, I've got things setup so that my little community isn't an echo chanber
Finally, in other news. I've finally setup qutebrowser to open my video watching in MPV. It removes the distraction of other things, but I still want to have my Discord functionality in the terminal, but that is still on hold...
Wed, 26 Jun 2019 01:27:41 -0600
Starting a Blog... Maybe...
So, if you or anyone you know has ever been on the internet, you probably heard of blogging. Yeah, this is one of those. I've tried before, decided to try again. This time, however, I get to use VIM for editing posts and simple scripts to manage it, then I 'git push' the updates.
This is just the first step, it should look pretty clean, but I hope you enjoy some more in depth adventures.
Fri, 14 Jun 2019 01:03:46 -0600