Tangible Bytes

Where Code Meets Reality

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Part of what makes the web so brilliant is in it’s flexibility - the information is conveyed mostly in digital text and unlike paper we don’t all have to experience that in the same way.

Some people can’t see the images in a website so we can add “alt” text which replaces the image for these people.

The problem comes when the image doesn’t actually have a meaning - then what should the Alternative text be?

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Ubuntu Installer Blank Screen

I was recently updating a very old laptop for use in some network testing - all it needs to do is connect to wifi.

I couldn’t understand why I was getting a blank screen after grub loaded

I tried various install media, tried editing grub conf.

The best I could get was a screen saying

Booting a command list

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Firebase Emulator Add Users

I’ve been using Google’s Firebase recently and find it a great development platform.

One of the best things about it is the emulators available for local development.

Just a few weeks ago they made it even better by adding an authentication emulator

So now you can easily start up a clean environment to test your new code on.

But the auth emulator starts with no users every time.

This is one way to add users.

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Postfix via Gmail SMTP

I’ve been taking a bit of time lately to do some of those low priority housekeeping tasks that can easily get overlooked.

By using quiet times to setup good processes life should be easier next time things get busy.

One of those tasks was to setup outgoing email on various systems - some of which are laptops and I’d still like automated mails to go out even if the device isn’t on the home network and can’t reach my ISP mailserver.

Back in the day you’d just send mail directly - but with spam protection everywhere this just doesn’t work and it’s far better to authenticate to some trusted mailserver.

I’m using gmail so I’ll use their servers.

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Windows10 Installer Linux

I repurposed an old workstation and needed to install Windows with only Linux systems to work from. This turned out to be painful because the system has an old BIOS and while you can in theory install windows from a USB stick - doing so requires a newer system using UEFI Linux installs fine from a USB stick so this caught me out. It turns out the Windows installer works fine from an external DVD drive - but first you may have to buy some double layer DVDs because the image doesn’t quite fit on a normal one. Read more ...

Hugo Shortcode

I wanted to use an html <aside> block in my blog and this isn’t supported by Markdown

It’s fairly easy to implement as a hugo shortcode though

I created a file (path from the root of my hugo site)


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Writing Golang

I’ve really enjoyed learning Golang lately, the tour is a great place to start and I found using VSCode as an IDE really helped with automatic formatting and highlighting of errors.

Best things about Go so far for me are

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