Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

What is a Progressive Web App

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Over the last 18 months, I have seen more and more sites prompting me to "Add to Home Screen" from websites I have been browsing. Then you add this site, it installs itself in the background and is now accessible like a native app from your smartphone.

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What I have just described is the wondrous workings of a fairly new technology called Progressive Web Apps. This technology (called PWA) works even when you are offline and behaves like a "normal" smartphone app.

What are progressive web apps?

PWAs were created by Alex Russell and Frances Berriman. The technology driving Progressive Web Apps isn’t new. What was required was a new recipe to make Progressive Web Apps behave like native apps. This means that a progressive web app will work (as long as the platform supports it) on an iphone or Androis smartphone, a chromebook or ipad, on Windows or Mac.

True cross platform applications without needed to join an app store with super restrictive controls (I’m looking at you Apple).

Why Progressive Web apps

Like many of you, I live in a world with abundantly fast internet. This simply isn’t the reality everywhere. Even in my own backyard of Ontario (Canada), there are communities where internet is delivered via very slow ADSL,

PWAs, once installed, cache the content locally which means they will respond quickly even for those on slow internet connections.

Statistics show that users still prefer native apps to web pages. There are a tone of reasons for this from convenience (single click from your home screen), ability to get push notifications, etc. The web simply doesn’t offer the same bells and whistles.

PWAs offer most (if not all) native functions. They startup with a single click from the home screen and can hook into most native features. PWAs can even offer notifications (like a native app) and therefore remind the user to open and engage with the app.

What is required to build a progressive web app?

This is not a technical instructional article but you need 4 elements to build a Progressive Web App:

 Google Firebase Web App Manifest Generator

Google Firebase Web App Manifest Generator

  1. Web App Manifest - It is a JSON file with meta data about the web app, It contains information such as the icon, background color, app name, etc.

  2. Service Workers - Even driven agents that work in the background. They perform tasks like updating the web app or its content.

  3. Icon - You need an icon to represent the Progressive Web App on the home screen

  4. HTTPS - The app and its content must be securely delivered over a TLS session.

Progressive Web app examples

You will find new PWAs every day but here are a couple of cool ones to get you started:

Tochka DarkNet Marketplace

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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It's been a while since I posted a Darknet website. I would like to introduce you to the Tochka Marketplace ( http://pointgg3pgee4gic.onion/ )

Tochka was launched in 2015 by Russian speaking devs. It offers the ability to conduct transaction without the buyers and sellers having to talk. Dead-drop transactions are available for more sensitive transactions. They also offer a "Buy It Now" option called "Instant Trade".

This is a smaller marketplace and is less known that it's more popular (aka news-worthy) counterparts. It has poorer design and a questionable choice of colors.

Enter the marketplace

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If you click on the vendor tab, you can choose your seller of choice.

You can buy anything from Marijuana to Marijuana oil, Research chemicals , with prescription medications, credit cards and everything in between.

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Shipping Expertise

What you will find most interesting is how they have developed expertise to ship items carefully wrapped in an attempt to bypass customs inspection. Hopefully writing about it here may create interest by some police departments and shut down some of these more questionable and dangerous sellers.

Ridge minimalist wallet review

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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This is not an ad or sponsored post. This is an honest review.

I have been a fan of minimalist wallets for many years, and my wallet of choice has been the HuMn Aluminium wallet.

Ridge Wallet Specs

  • Holds 1-12 cards without stretching out

  • Blocks RFID (wireless theft)

  • Replaceable elastic

  • Backed by our lifetime warranty

  • 6061-T6 aluminum | anodized black

  • Weight: 2 oz | 86 x 54 x 6 mm

Ridge Wallet Use

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You add a card by sliding it from the top groove

To access a card, you press the ridged opening and pull the required card out from the top

To Insert a Card: Gently slide the card into the top groove.

To access a card in the middle, you push out all the cards from the ridge, separate the metal plates and then find your card.

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This strategy is similar to the HuMn wallet and most other plate based wallets. This may seem a little off for someone coming from a traditional leather style wallet but you will get use to it quickly. You will start moving your most used cards to the top or bottom of the stack.

Design

The stated purpose of the Ridge was to design a sleek minimalist wallet that would be durable and easy to use. I believe they successfully achieved this stated goal. The height and width of the Ridge Wallet is designed to be very slightly larger than (North American) style credit cards.

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First thing first, the wallet is a thing of beauty. Much better looking than the HuMn Wallet.

The aluminium wallet will feel slightly heavier than a “normal” wallet. After 3 weeks of use, the wallet feels normal and not heavy at all. For those that are looking for a lighter option, the poly-carbonate or carbon fiver models are lighter. Unless you want Carbon Fiber for the look and prestige, the aluminium version is likely the best cost/benefit deal.

The wallet comes with either a money clip or elastic band. I chose the clip version which makes it slightly thicker and less useful. I recommend you acquire the elastic band version.

For those that carry their (normal) wallets in their back pocket, you will notice that your cards are slightly bend. The Ridge Wallet’s aluminium “walls” are strong enough to keep the cards straight even if you sit on them.

The company claims that their wallet provides RFID protection. I used an RFID scanner to test this feature and can confirm that it does offer RFID protection (most leather wallets do not offer such protections).

Some companies provide non-standard sized cards (loyalty and membership). Those non-standard cards do not work well with the Ridge. In my case, I do not have any of those.

Behavioral change

For those coming from a normal leather wallet, moving to any minimalist wallet will force you to reconsider what cards you carry with you on a daily basis. In my case, I scanned all my loyalty cards into Google Pay (and Apple Pay) and leave those at home. Additionally I stopped carrying cards I barely use.

Conclusion

Coming from the HuMn Wallet, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the Ridge Wallet. The truth is that I liked it much more than I expected and it has now become my main daily-use wallet.

They have made a great product that balances form, function and cost.

It is strong, light and dependable. For those looking for a great EDC wallet, this is currently the best choice available (I have tested over a dozen such wallets).

Link: Ridge wallet

Tab complete on Linux

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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NOTE: Sorry if this is a more technical article and not for general consumption.

Tab complete is the magic wand of any Linux magician and I am surprised every time I see users ignoring it.

Shorthand for system commands

Let’s say I want to type ifconfig, if I enter ifc and then press the TAB button, Linux will autocomplete the rest of the command for me

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This trick can work for any app or command. If I want to start firefox, I just have to enter fire (since there is no Linux command that starts with fire) the system will autocomplete to Firefox.

Find command syntax

It can be useful to complete system commands by tapping TAB twice. As an example, if I write SUDO APT- and press tab twice it will list all the possible commands starting with APT.

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Autocomplete file name

Let’s say you have a long file name like thisIsALongFileNameThatwouldBeDifficultToType565464654.txt and obviously want to save time, you just have to enter rnough text to make the file unique identifiable (e.g. thisI) and then pressing tab will autocomplete the rest for you. In this casem if I want to display the contents of the text file, I could enter

cat this [then press tab]

the system will autocomplete it for me.

Popular TOR site list

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Candle is a basic search engine. It contains a small but interesting subset of TOR sites.

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Grams is a dark market search engine for labour, digital & physical goods that can be purchased with various currencies including Bitcoin. It searches the most popular darknet markets including Hansa, AlphaBay, Agora, Nucleus Market, Majestic Garden, Oxygen, Outlaw Market, Oasis, Tochka and Arsenal.

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Haystack is another TOR (darknet) search engine and claims to have indexed 1.5 billion pages (which makes it one of the most comprehensive TOR search engines). In my experience, this site is a hit type of thing. Every couple of searches fail for me.

Security sites

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GnuPG (open source version of PGP) allows users to cryptographically sign and encrypt email communications.

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OnionShare is a free and opensource tool that allows users to securely and anonymous share large files over the TOR network.

Anonymous Pasting sites

There may be times when you want to post (public or private) a snippet of text with the world. The common feature shared by most of these TOR based services is that pastes delete automatically after a certain amount of time. These are TOR alternatives to pastebin.com

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DeepPaste is a very simple and basic pasting service.

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RiseUp pasted are automatically deleted within a week. Additionally you can share files up to 50MB.

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Pasta is an open source paste service that supports standard pastes, editable pastes, self-burning pastes and URL shortener.

Email

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Confidant Mail is a free and open srouce non-SMTP encrypted email system that leverages GNU Privacy Guard (PGP).

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Daniel email service is a free anonymous email and XMPP service (limit of 25MB storage space). Encryption is not built into the service.

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Elude is an email service with encrypted storage with a TOR only web client. Their accounts are completely anonymous, they allow you to purge your data completely if required and provide encryption.

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I wrote a review about ProtonMail here and their well designed email service is also accessible via the TOR network. This is a very good option because unlike the other email services here, ProtonMail is a real company offering a professional service.

Social sites

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Cyph Messenger is an open source video chat and file transfer app that uses a modified Signal messenger protocol enhanced with Quantum Resistant encryption (their claim).

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Dread is a TOR Reddit clone that is used primarily as a drug market discussion and reviews forum.

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Here is the Facebook TOR site.