sam4k: yay!

sam4k: yay!

Holy moly I actually pulled it off. A full month of successful blogging?! I mean, uh, yes, welcome to the final series of my 4-weekly rotation, that I totally expected to reach. This series will likely be more informal (yes, my posts can get even more informal) and aim to just be a roundup of some hopefully interesting snippets from my last month or so.


Starting with the low-hanging fruit, in case you hadn't heard, I started a blog!  As I mentioned in my introductory Hello, World? post, the whole blog idea initially came about from a suggestion I made to my girlfriend who's been studying Mandarin. However, I realised as I listed out the benefits to her that this whole blog thing could be fun for me too.

So in the guise of solidarity, I started typing. My main goal with this blog has been to encourage me to pursue and stay up-to-date with my interests and hopefully give a little back in the process.

I've always been hesitant about posting on the internet, despite being a huge consumer of content and proponent of the free and open-source software (FOSS) community, there's always that fear that you could be horribly wrong or what you've posted could be misinterpreted, permanently tarnishing your internet rep.

As a result, my initial post schedule involved content like monthly security & Linux roundups, which conveniently required very little opinion. While I still believe these posts are useful in their own right, I have found myself loosening up slightly with regards to broadcasting my thoughts to the internet; it also probably helps I've made absolutely zero attempt to alert anyone to the presence of this blog, but baby steps right?


For a long time I was never particularly passionate about travelling. Sure, there were plenty of places I wanted to see and given the opportunity I'd make the most of it. But, at the same time, I was also perfectly happy where I was and had more than enough to keep me occupied; plus I'm young, I've got heaps of time right?

Then IT happened ... The pandemic and ensuing lockdowns certainly put things into perspective. Suddenly I couldn't travel, so naturally all I wanted to do was travel. I've done a fair bit of travel around Europe and Northern America but I'm keen to explore Asia, with Japan & South Korea currently sitting atop my ever-growing list.

However, for now, with the current restrictions I had to settle with a 4 hour drive to a touristy seaside town. While no Tokyo, it was nice to get away from home and spend some time in the seaside air.

I Have a Confession

For an aspiring tech blogger, it dawned on me as my friends pinged each other calendar invites and shared todo lists, that I have very much technologically stagnated in terms of day-to-day productivity. I don't use cloud storage, calendars or have any kind of file syncing setup going for me. The shame of it all.

But with all that recent news of Apple muddying their "privacy first" approach with their controversial anti-CSAM technology and Google being, well, Google - where should I put my data? Like any computer enthusiast with too much time on their hands I threw caution, dedicated support, 24/7 up-time and professional infrastructure to the wind and figured hey, why not host it myself.  

So this epiphany provided the perfect excuse to spend a weekend tinkering away, organising all my digital goods and setting up my ecosystem.  The foundation of my little digital world is Nextcloud, a neat open-source "self-hosted productivity platform that keeps you in control". tl;dr is I can now sync & share files, calendars, todos, passwords and more stuff I've not got around to looking into.

Tune in next week for my "Tutorial: Migrate from Nextcloud to G Suite"!

So Fast!

Finally, time to explain my overly enthusiastic title. Okay, yes, I was happy to complete my first month of posting with my internet rep still intact but there's also another reason ...

Let me explain. For a long while, to my shame, I ran Windows on my desktop at home although I basically lived inside my Ubuntu VM. The main reason being you can't play games on Linux, right? Yeah ... It was only when I was building a new computer last year that I actually stumbled across some posts and discovered that you CAN in fact play a large swathe of games these days, native or otherwise, on Linux thanks to Proton (and WINE).

So anyway I got my new desktop and there I was, neck-deep in the command line with the Arch wiki up on my laptop when ... nah, who am I kidding, I buckled, I saw the shiny, hyped up Garuda Arch-based distro with its 1337 Dr460nized KDE desktop and the little gamer nerd in me couldn't resist.

In all fairness, I did feel pretty 1337 for the first few months and there were no driver issues with my filthy, proprietary NVIDIA GPU and the fish shell made me feel even cooler. However all good things comes to an end and the novelty of the Dr460nized desktop wore off, plus I was noticing some performance issues on the desktop and it wasn't as crisp an experienced I'd hope for given some brand new hardware.

Well, looks like there's no other choice, I'd have to do some distro-hopping, oh no! My main use cases were dev work and gaming, however after the relative bloat of my Garuda install, I wanted something a bit more minimalist. The short list boiled down to Manjaro (Arch-based), OpenSUSE Tumbleweed and EndeavourOS (Arch-based).

Saving the tribalism and personal preferences for another forum, I ultimately opted for EndeavourOS with KDE as it seemed to be just what I'm after and no issues so far. It's not got any crazy neon lights or 1337 speak, but does what it sets out to well - provide a minimalist starting point for an Arch-based distro with few tweaks.  

Shout-out to ElementaryOS as the latest big update, Odin, came out recently and by all accounts the attention gone into the UX looks very well done and the Pantheon desktop environment in general looks pretty cool. However, I heard it's a bit more locked down and not the ideal choice for a power user (although please correct me if I'm wrong), so I gave it a miss but looks like it might be one to check out down the line, maybe on a laptop.

Wow, I've really gone off on a tangent when I just wanted to explain my hilarious title pun. Hopefully discussing distros hasn't put me in the firing line. Basically, if you hadn't guessed already, EndeavourOS comes bundled with yay, an AUR (Arch User Repository) helper to install packages easily. When you want to update your system, you run yay ... and this post is an update post ... get it?! I'm so sorry.

Maybe I should have titled this yay sam4k ...

Moving Forward

Anyway, moving forward, both from that last section and with the blog in general. I'm fairly happy with the current schedule and plan to keep it for the foreseeable. For those that haven't read my Hello, World? post, the plan was this:  

  • Week 1: Monthly Linux Roundup; so Linux related happenings I've found interesting in the last month or so
  • Week 2: Monthly Security Roundup; in a similar vein to week 1 except regarding cyber security happenings
  • Week 3: This'll be an optional piece, usually a technical write-up or opinion piece
  • Week 4: My Monthly Roundup; the most important roundup of them all, this could be hit or miss ngl, but will cover anything interest updates or happenings with me

Initially I wasn't sure about my week 3 content, as I wanted to do some interesting pieces but I also wanted to avoid rehashing content that's already out there.

One idea I'm excited to give a go is a "Linternals" series, in the vein of Winternals, I aim to do a deep dive on some Linux internals. I'll probably do a mix of kernel and some user-space stuff, basically whatever seems cool and interesting. In particular I'm keen to do some writeups on the upcoming 5.14 memfd_secret syscall, AppArmor and more!


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