Switched to a VPS, again

During the years, my blog hosting has gone back and forth between a self-configured VPS and shared hosting. Thanks to a special WordCamp Europe 2015 offer, for the past couple of years I’ve been on Siteground shared hosting, which has worked fine. I certainly have no complaints: the site has been fast, setup was easy with free SSL, but… a nerd’s gotta be nerdy. As the subscription for my shared hosting was about to expire, I looked around for options, and decided to go for a small VPS on DigitalOcean for $5/month (yes that’s a referral link). One reason I chose them was their comprehensive set of tutorials, but I was still suprised how quickly and painlessly I got my virtual server set up with Ubuntu, Nginx, SSL and WordPress, in just a couple of hours. Simply by following instructions, so I can’t claim to be very clever.

Let’s see how long this lasts.

Microsoft’s Role in WannaCry

Sam Biddle wrote for the Intercept on the recent WannaCry malware disaster. According to Sam, it’s not possible to name a single culprit for what happened, but militarism and greed are the two main forces at play here.  This bit stood out to me:

Microsoft also did not create WannaCry. But it did create something something nearly as bad: Windows Vista, an operating system so horrendously bloated, broken, and altogether unpleasant to use that many PC users back in 2007 skipped upgrading altogether, opting instead to stick with the outdated Windows XP, a decision that has left many people on that decade-and-a-half-old operating system even today, years after Microsoft stopped updating it.

I recommend reading the full original article here: https://theintercept.com/2017/05/16/the-real-roots-of-the-worldwide-ransomware-outbreak-militarism-and-greed/

Smart Keyboard and iPad Pro

So I went and bought a 9.7″ iPad Pro along with the Apple Smart Keyboard for my personal use (althought I’m pretty sure quite a few work emails will be written on this too). First impressions after a little use: the keyboard is the best iPad keyboard I’ve used. There are ones that are more rigid and thus probably better for typing too, but those also tend to be pretty heavy and bulky. I had a Logitech Fabric Skin Folio for my work iPad Air, and just stopped using it after a while because of how much it limited the tablet-ness of the iPad, even though it was OK as a keyboard. The added bulk was just too much. The Smart Keyboard has all the versatility of the basic Smart Cover, it’s light and can be easily removed.

Switching to Android after 4.5 years of iOS

After over four years of using an iPhone daily (first a 3G and then an iPhone 4), for the past month I’ve had the pleasure of using the Google-sanctioned LG Nexus 4 as my work phone. Trying to have a positive angle on things, I put together a short list of things I like about both OS’s:

Things I like about Android

  1. The freedom to choose my default browser/camera/whatever
  2. Third-party apps are less restricted by the OS
  3. The notification system (mostly)
  4. Superior autosuggest system (both in the stock keyboard and alternatives such as SwiftKey)
  5. Widgets
  6. Google Now (have no experience of Siri though, since it wasn’t supported on the iPhone 4)
  7. Integration into Google’s ecosystem and support for multiple Google accounts
  8. Automatic app updates

Things I like about iOS

  1. Better scrolling and touch responsiveness in general (not sure how much this is a hardware issue)
  2. Consistent, well thought-out UI
  3. Despite #2 in the previous list, overall better selection of quality apps
  4. Better default lockscreen notifications
  5. Seamless integration with Mac OS X

A few words about the hardware

A big part of the experience is of course defined by the hardware. The Nexus 4 is a very powerful but elegant phone, and I have found myself truly enjoying the big 4.7″ screen. Surfing the web and reading articles definitely feels less cramped, but I couldn’t imagine going any bigger, at least on a day-to-day phone. The camera on the Nexus 4 is OK, clearly better than the iPhone 3G but worse than the iPhone 4.