mintCast 343 – Tinfoil Not Included (mp3)


1:47 Bi-Weekly Wanderings
42:01 Vibrations from the Ether
1:05:00 Check This Out
1:26:51 Outro

First up, in our Wanderings, I recorded some how-to’s, Moss has computers raining on him, Joe reads and repairs, Tony Watts jams and tinkers, and Bo and Tony Hughes will be back next episode.

Then, in the news, we have news from Mint, Debian, and  MX Linux. We also say goodbye to a team member.

In security, we take a break from the doom and gloom and just talk tinfoil.


  • Leo
    • I’ve finally gotten some time to record a couple more how-to’s. Bashtop and Bpytop.
    • Also, I’m fairly current on Full Circle Weekly News again! I plan on doing a two-week episode this week to get current and it feels good.
  • Moss
    • About 2 hours after completing the last episode, I went to plug my speakers back into my desktop, slipped, and somehow shorted out my computer. A new power supply, thanks to Tony Hughes, arrived on Tuesday, and surprise, it was the wrong size. I’m supposed to have a mini ITX machine, and ordered accordingly, but the power supply in the box (and, yes, I should have looked first) was a full sized ATX. 
    • After complaining about that to the Telegram group, Fuzzy shipped me a new tower computer which will blow the socks off what I had. That should get here next Saturday.
    • I went ahead and returned the power supply to Amazon and have ordered the correct power supply from NewEgg, and when I get the old desktop repaired and running, I will find a deserving schoolkid to give it to.
    • On top of that, I went out to visit a friend last night, and came home with a pretty high-end older HP tower computer (Win 7 Home Premium license, early i7 processor). It’s quite dirty right now, so I’ll clean it up, check the specs and whether it runs, and see if I can find someone to give (or sell cheap) it to.
    • I tried using the Pi 4 as my TV machine but could not get my VPN to start, even though it was installed. Mullvad customer support was disappointing, considering how long I have been a customer.
    • So I signed up for a new VPN called Surfshark. If I can get it to work, it will cost about the same for 2 years as I would have paid for 8 months to Mullvad. It’s good when it works, but apparently that’s only on Ubuntu-based systems (a fact they neglected to mention). The Linux app is non-existent, although it has a nice app for Android and anything else. Their tech support was friendly initially, but now they’re falling into patterns of “Well, Linux users don’t want an easy way to run our VPN…”
    • What I haven’t done yet is try Surfshark on the Pi 4. Coming soon.
    • I moved the 1 Tb SSD from my desktop to my laptop last Tuesday night. I started running updates, as it had been about 11 days since these 7 distros had been updated. My Manjaro installation would not load, so I reinstalled it, then installed OpenMandriva on the remaining unused partition. I had both Feren OS and KDE neon which were basically Ubuntu-running-KDE and yearned for more diversity, so I flipped a coin and replaced Feren OS with Ubuntu Unity. I’m way behind on getting all these distros as near equivalent as possible or even evaluating their current status, things have been so much in flux.  I have also installed Surfshark on the four Ubuntu-based distros.
    • I have a new digital watch and fitness tracker. It only cost $7.95 and a two-month wait for it to get here from Szenchen, China. It connects to a phone app and can attach to social media and email but I don’t want that. I have no idea what other data it collects, but I’ve gained 20 pounds since my accident and want some incentive and help to start going the other way again. Besides the time function, it also detects my pulse, blood pressure, and even blood oxygen, as well as my steps. You ease the friction-fit watchband off on one end to expose the USB terminal — yes, you plug the entire watch into a USB port to charge it. A charge seems to last 3-4 days. There are virtually no controls on the watch, everything is run through the app.
    • My unemployment ran out. Not weeks, but dollars. My final check was under $100, so no covid money for Moss this week. On the other hand, I have 3 job possibilities, and it looks as if one of them will go through, although it will be a temporary job. Feast or famine. I’m not completely out of money yet, but it could be a race between that and my first paycheck. I have been encouraged to talk to a lawyer about the fact that I have been getting paid out of Unemployment dollars instead of Worker’s Comp funds, but the covid-19 money received puts a major question mark in that process as that comes only with unemployment money. While the potential fraud was not on my part, I was the beneficiary of it.
    • My mother went back to the hospital after she fell and broke the pin in her hip. They repaired the pin successfully. She has been moved from the hospital to the rehab facility, where she will spend at least a few weeks. She’s 91 now, in case you lost count.
    • We finished reading Blood Rites, the 6th Dresden book, and have started in on Dead Beat.
  • Joe
    • Soulwood series by Faith Hunter,  4 books of 5
      • Same universe as the Jane Yellowrock series.
      • Good series
    • Locke and Key audio drama
      • Based on the comics
      • Well done, easy to follow and interesting
    • Junkyard Pirate by Jamie McFarlane
      • Second book as well
    • Also from Jamie Mcfarlane
      • Wizard in a Witchy World series
    • Ministry of Curiosity (10 books)
      • Good series. Feels a bit generic, nothing really stands out for me
      • Sometimes the books in the series felt like nothing really happened.  Like there was no overriding antagonistic event
    • Suggest some good cyberpunk novels
    • 3D-printed a whole setup for the macro keyboards.  
      • 12 key and it works very well
      • I am very happy with the quality and I may do a few more
      • Using it to control my mic mute button and also have it setup for vlc and docker using auto hotkey functions
      • Still looking for the most comfortable position to mount it
    • Also got some very thin wire .1mm to see if I can bridge the bad spots on that other board so I can have another one.
      • Once I get it working correctly I will 3D print a case for it
      • It is also the wire that I used to run the grounds for all the other keys on the one i printed
    • My water heater started leaking.  Went through a good chunk of my garage and most of my kitchen.  Caught it quickly though and got the water shut off so not much damage.
      • Going through the warranty company to get it fixed. 
      • Warranty company has been somewhat hit or miss over the years so…
      • Cost me a bit over 500 so that is not too bad.
      • Need to build a moisture sensor for it and not sure if I should use an arduino or a Pi.  What do you think?
    • This also meant that I had to shuffle my garage around a couple of times.  Once to get everything off the far wall and once to get everything out of the way so that they could get the new one in.
      • This allowed me to restructure my storage and work area
      • My son helped me figure out where to put some things in order to maximize my space and make it look neater
      • Still have a lot more work to do 
    • I have  an iPod docking station that is going to be my next item to work on.  Looks more like a sound bar.  It turns on and the clock works but no sound comes out no matter what you set the input to.  Gonna be fun taking it apart and seeing where the break is.
    • Revamping my workout
  • Tony Watts
    • Basement finishing continues
      • Added some insulation to the ceiling.  This helps contain music noise a bit but also has the benefit of keeping unwanted noise out of the Studio/Office
      • First jam session in my basement rehearsal space was a success!
        • Despite is playing pretty loud, no ringing ears on our part and the sound didn’t carry outside too much
    • “Adventure” with bathroom flood
    • Some more chromebook crouton tinkering
      • One of my kids accidentally reset the Chromebook due to developer mode screen on startup (my fault, forgot to prep him) 
      • Installed both KDE and Gnome variants of Crouton.
        • KDE was buggy on this particular Chromebook
        • Gnome was just too slow
        • Went back to XFCE which is Crouton’s default and works very well
    • Really debating a new phone purchase, Pixel 4a
      • After 3.5 years of heavy use my OnePlus 3T still holding up well but the charge port is worn out and that is getting annoying
      • Most new phones will support dual sim which is kind of a requirement for me
    • On vacation this week, working on 
      • More basement refinishing
      • Music recording
      • Prep for another Ironshield Brewing gig next weekend



  • There wasn’t much Linux centric today, and to keep this discussion episode going with discussion: 
    • How much of a tinfoil hatter are you?
    • What do you do in your life to secure yourself up?
  • Londoner: Proton Drive


Our next episode will be Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 2 pm Central US time, 7 pm UTC and 8 pm British Summer Time. Time conversions are available at You can use Austin, Texas as a Central Time reference.


Before we leave, we want to make sure to acknowledge some of the people who make mintCast possible … 

  • Owen Peery for audio editing
  • Josh for all his work on the website
  • Hobstar for our logo
  • Bytemark Hosting for hosting and our Mumble server
  • for hosting our audio files
  • HPR for our Mumble backup
  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about <Thanks, Clem!>

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