How I do my computing

V. 12-2019

My computer

I do most of my main computing on a laptop, because I am a student and a desktop is inefficient since I am always on the move for now. If only! - I use a Lenovo ThinkPad x230 with an i5-3320M, 16GB RAM, and 500GB+120GB of Storage. The additional storage is obtained by the ThinkPad UltraBase dock that I use with the laptop. This laptop is equipped with a 9-cell battery and 3 USB 3.0 ports extra from the ExpressCard/54 slot on the machine.

OS choice

I run Windows 10 Ameliorated - A third party build that completely kills telemetry, with some tests, I am confident AME sends 0 call backs unless you use software that does. Ameliorated however has security issues due to the killing of Windows Update from the OS. To mitigate, I only connect to the internet when required, use a VPN 24/7, and split administrator and user to seperate accounts. All my former machines run Debian GNU/Linux.
For GNU/Linux (or just Linux) distributions, I recommend Debian. For Linux-libre distributions I would recommend Trisquel or Parabola. Parabola is like Arch, so if you're into the rolling release fanclub, I'd try it out if you can support it. For BSD OS's, I would use OpenBSD and HardenedBSD. When running a server, I also use Debian, but I may also choose CentOS.

Software Choice

When I browse the web I use Mozilla Firefox, with a customised preferences configuration called Librefox, which disables Mozilla's telemetry, disables DRM, WebGL, and many other privacy invading/tracking capable features. This configuration has been changed a litte by myself, with DNS over HTTPS enabled being one of them. The extensions I use include uBlock Origin, NoHTTP, Decentraleyes, Google Unlocked, Don't Track Me Google, Browser Plugs, and Google Container.

When text editing, I use Notepad++, Sublime Text for Programming, because I like to keep things simple. I am not into programming as much as I used to be, but I used the JetBrains software collection when I did.

When listening to music, I use foobar2000, with only encoder plugins, I love the absolutely simple list layout on Foobar and I have all my music playing through this app. If I want a fully open source cross-platform media player, I recommend DeaDBeeF, as it is alike to Foobar. At the time of writing this, the x86 version does not share many same features.

For media, I use MPV, I used to use VLC but I fell for the MPV meme thanks to it's simplicity, It's a little more advanced but if you're willing to learn, I'd gladly recommend it!

Other software

Mobile phones

I don't use mobile phones often. I would rather not use them at all, if I could. I have 2 mobile devices, a Samsung Galaxy S5 with LineageOS 16.1. The phone has all GApps uninstalled and I will not add them onto the LineageOS distribution. For my app-store choice, I use F-Droid, an open source app store for free and open source applications. The apps this phone uses that aren't the Lineage stock app include SnoopSnitch, an app that detects SS7 attacks, NewPipe, a custom YouTube client and downloader, and Bromite, an Android browser with enhanced security and privacy features.

Other apps I'd use include Telegram FOSS, Tutanota, OpenVPN, Feeder, KeePassDX, Twitlatte, Identiconiser

My other phone is a Sony Ericsson W660i with a 4GB MMS card. This phone acts as a J2ME app player but also as a distraction-free smartphone solution. I use the Opera Mini web browser on this phone, which can run most modern websites perfectly, including YouTube.

Portable technology

Other gadgets I have include a Sony Ericsson NWZ-384 Walkman with Rockbox firmware, It is an amazing MP3 player when Rockbox is installed however the device cannot handle higher volumes and spits static. Invest in a better device if you have the money, but I really love this thing.

I also own a handheld radio, a Baofeng UV-5r (I am a licensed Ham Radio operator). This is an amazing piece of kit for how cheap it is, if you want to get into HAM Radio, watch DX Commander on YouTube, I wholly recommend his youtube videos.

My Keychain

My keychain includes an iStorage DatAshur USB 2.0 flash drive with hardware encryption functionality, this was the first item in my keychain. The second was an OnlyKey, a USB 2FA and U2F device with open source firmware and better functionality than what the YubiKey I used to own offers. The next device is an OpenDime USB Bitcoin wallet, then a USB random number generator.