WordPress.com lets you ditch Medium with new import tool


One of the best blogging tools, WordPress, can now import blogs and posts from rival Medium. Medium recently has laid off several workers and is searching for a new vision of what their company’s mission will be.

WordPress has been around for a long time and it just keeps getting better. The best feature, in my opinion, is that WordPress is free/open source.

Importing Medium posts and switching to WordPress is a good idea because who knows how long Medium will last in its current form, and besides you get more power and customizability with WordPress.

Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon

Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon

Check it out, it’s a hackathon for SecureDrop, the software that Aaron Swartz worked on to give whistleblowers a secure method of dropping off files to newspapers on the web. A lot of news organizations have a SecureDrop website that can be accessed through Tor to hide your IP address. Excellent piece of software to hack on.

The hackathon is on Saturday November 5th and Sunday November 6th in San Francisco. Aaron’s 30th birthday would have been next week Tuesday, November 8th.

There are also speakers scheduled after the first day of the hackathon.

Now a bit about Aaron Swartz. He co-authored an early version of RSS and helped launch Creative Commons, and worked on a piece of Python code called web.py (which was one of the web servers Reddit used).

Aaron Swartz’s ideals and all his awesome hackery and coding to support them is something we can all learn from. Instead of simply discussing and debating endlessly, he would at some point sit down and write new tools to build a better future. SecureDrop, Creative Commons, they are all tools in support of the open web, and fundamentally in support of freedom.

SecureDrop is possibly the most important software. It lets journalists receive data from whistleblowers securely. Among the news organizations using SecureDrop are The New Yorker, the Washington Post, VICE Media and the Globe and Mail.

So if you are in San Francisco check out the hackathon. If you are anywhere else in the world, you can still work on SecureDrop, just fire up your favourite text editor and download the code.

Gitlab – the best Github alternative

Gitlab – the best Github alternative

Gitlab is a git-based source code hosting service similar to Github. What makes it superior to Github is that it is free/open source and can be self-hosted by you or your company.


Gitlab also has a lot of features that are better designed than Github. The latest version of Gitlab offers a Kanban board for an overview of issues that are being worked on. The user interface is simpler to work with.


Gitlab allows users to import repositories from other services such as:

  • Github
  • Bitbucket
  • Google Code
  • Fogbugz
  • any other git repository from any URL

I’ve been looking for a replacement to Github because they have been moving slower than before in adding features and the user interface isn’t that great, I also prefer being able to self-host as much software as possible and being able to contribute back to the source code if I choose to.

If your company is looking for an alternative to Github, look no further because Gitlab is awesome and easy to work with.


ProtonMail is encrypted email, open source.

If you wanted to use encrypted email in the past, it was hard to do so. ProtonMail makes it easy and it is fully open source.

Recently, Yahoo was caught leaking all of its users emails to the NSA. Yes, you read that correctly, Yahoo allowed the NSA to search through all emails. If your emails are unencrypted and you were using Yahoo Mail, the NSA knows a lot about it. It’s worse than that though, because emails can come from other mail providers. So your friend who uses Gmail or their own server will have all the emails sent to your Yahoo mail account searched by the NSA as well.


But enough fear-mongering, what can we do about it? The first step is checking out ProtonMail. The second step is telling your friends to check it out.

Email is your identity on the Internet and how you get things done. Email contains newsletters and important work-related data, and it can contain personal data. Using unecrypted email is dangerous and ProtonMail’s goal is to protect you by being open source and by encrypting email.

Continue reading “ProtonMail is encrypted email, open source.”

TechBridge Makerspace: Help fund the Lethbridge Maker Space!

TechBridge Makerspace: Help fund the Lethbridge Maker Space!

The Techbridge Makerspace is attempting to create a new makerspace in the city of Lethbridge, Alberta. They’re raising money to create the space and have already raised $4080! There’s just TEN DAYS LEFT to fund them.

The perks they offer are:

  • a 3d printed bust when you donate $200 + shipping
  • a handmade laser cut letter when you donate $10
  • a handcrafted leather key fob when you donate $20
  • $50 gets you an engraved multitool
  • $1000 means you’ve basically bought equipment for the space and can name it anything you want, the example is a 3d printer named Printy McPrintface

They want to buy some of this equipment so that people can come in and learn how to create new things and build their own projects and products and prototypes:

  • CNC mill
  • Machina X20 3D printer
  • 3D scanner
  • heavy duty sewing machine
  • laser cutter
  • vinyl cutter
Lethbridge skyline, source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lethbridge_skyline_August_2009.jpg

Hackerspaces and makerspaces should be helping each other more often, this is why I’m posting about this new makerspace here.

Crowdfunding isn’t just for funding new hardware, it’s for funding new spaces where people can learn how to build using that new hardware. It would be amazing to see people all over the world learn how to use 3d scanners and printers.

Click here to fund the Techbridge Makerspace and help Lethbridge residents see what all the excitement about the future of 3d printing is all about!

German Free/Open Source Fund

The Prototype fund applications are open for another 60 days. The fund has 1.2 million Euros to invest in free/open source software projects and development work. They are looking to develop prototypes that are open sourced over a period of 6 months. Each project can receive a grant of up to 30,000 Euros. Projects will also gain mentorship. They are looking to fund around 10 projects per round of funding.

The coolest part here is that you will get paid to develop a prototype and that prototype can later on be further be developed by others. Non-profits especially will appreciate this as it will keep their costs low and give them a chance to check out new technology. For example, the open source nature of WordPress is the main reason it is the dominant technology used by non-profits and charities.

Businesses across the world will benefit as well from the Prototype Fund’s works. Very exciting development, looking forward to other governments and nations offering grants for open source development work.

FreedomBox on RaspberryPi

FreedomBox on RaspberryPi

I did a presentation at the Toronto Anarchist Bookfair. The workshop/presentation went very well, great questions in the Q & A session, people picked up and kept the handout which contains all the info on the hardware and software needed to get everything set up.

The presentation was about how to run FreedomBox on the RaspberryPi hardware. FreedomBox is a collection of software running on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. The software includes Tor, OpenVPN, Privoxy.

The full list of software included on FreedomBox as of version 0.9:

  • Tor, the onion router for anonymizing web browsing and hosting hidden services
  • OpenVPN, VPN service
  • Privoxy, proxy service
  • Quassel IRC client
  • RoundCube email client
  • Deluge, BitTorrent client
  • Transmission, BitTorrent client
  • IkiWiki, a wiki/blog
  • Minetest server, a server for a MineCraft game clone
  • Mumble voice chat server
  • XMPP chat server
  • SIP server

It includes dynamic DNS in case your IP address changes while running the FreedomBox. Also useful and included with it is PageKite which is a reverse proxy.

The first part of the workshop was a presentation where I covered the current privacy and liberty landscape. I explained how corporations and governments are gathering and analyzing much of our data which should be remaining private. In the second part of the workshop I walked through practical applications of the FreedomBox and how it can be a convenient alternative to services that invade your privacy. Furthermore, I tried to highlight how particular ideas of sharing and helping, do it yourself and building alternatives apply to the FreedomBox.

Click here to download the presentation PDF “FreedomBox on the RaspberryPi”

Click here to download the raspberrypi instructions handout PDF

I specifically mention anarchism and anarchist concepts in the workshop, because I lean toward that ideology myself. That doesn’t mean I’m against business or against government, it means I’m in favour of building alternatives that are fair and protective of privacy and liberty. I am in favour of free market competition as well, though we do not operate in a free market most of the time. However I know it isn’t always polite to talk politics and it may make some people uncomfortable, or they may think I am anti-whatever.

On my other site, NeverFriday.com, I will be posting a different version of the slides that cuts out the mention of anarchism. Maybe I should have changed the title of the talk to “applying free market concepts with FreedomBox and RaspberryPi” and point out that in a free market the FreedomBox is a competitor to Dropbox, Google Drive, GMail, and other services.

In any case my goal is to show people how to protect their privacy and establish their own space of liberty and freedom with the FreedomBox.