Fastest way to learn the ukulele

If you have been following this blog, you certainly know that I’ve been kind of crazy about the ukulele for the last three years (though perhaps not as much as George Harrison, in the picture). Now, locked up at home because of the coronavirus pandemic and with more ukuleles within reach than cats in the home of a British spinster (no relation to George), I’ve finally sort of put it together, perhaps for your enjoyment and even moderate edification. The result is no less than what I believe to be the fastest route to learning to play an instrument at a mature age. It may come in handy for the many folks who, perhaps because they comb white hairs already, are in no hurry to leave their hiding holes and breathe the (arguably pathogen-laden) fresh air. Read More

How “high” is your ukulele?

Well-known fact: the standard-tuned ukulele is pitched higher than a guitar. In fact, one of the ways you can get a ukulele of sorts from a guitar is by putting a capo on the 5th fret (and avoiding strings 5 and 6). But did you know that there are other ukulele tunings, some of which are higher, while others are lower? In this article, I try to put some order in this mess, coming along the way with a number that might help you decide how to tune your ukulele. Read More

Using PassLok with video meeting apps

Like many of you, I’ve spent several weeks locked up “working” from home, which I’m putting in quotes because it does feel quite a bit different. One of my favorite helpers is Zoom meetings, because it’s so easy to use. But apparently it’s not so secure when it comes to holding confidential meetings and conversations. I’ve researched a few alternatives, and in this post I show you how you can combine them with my own PassLok in order to achieve a moderately secure connection. I actually started writing this before updating PassLok Chat to version 2 (this is the real-time conferencing solution built into PassLok and compatible apps), so I had no particular interest in promoting one method over another, including PassLok’s built-in conferencing. Read More

PassLok Chat version 2 released

These days, lots of people are communicating with each other via video conferencing, but it seems a number of popular video conferencing services are less than secure. Zoom, in particular, has come under a lot of fire recently because of the ease with which interlopers can get into ongoing meetings. You probably know that PassLok has had its own way to create secure chats for quite a while, but now it has been completely redesigned for version 2. This version works more reliably than before, and now includes the option to initiate Jitsi chats. Read More

VideoSkip Exchange started

One of the great things about VideoSkip is that the users themselves can edit movies and share their edits, via .skp files, with other users. I order to facilitate the process, I’ve started hosting a forum, entitled “VideoSkip Exchange” in order to do just that. You can find it at https://prgomez.com/videoskip/exchange/

BTW, the extension version of VideoSkip is now live. You can install it in Chrome, Firefox, and their derivatives. Unlike the standalone version at https://prgomez.com/videoskip, which edits videos that are downloaded to your computer, the extensions can do the same for movies streaming from any online source.

Here are the links:

Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/videoskip/mlmifkfgafheljfcjlgoiggcfjenjeed

Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/videoskip/

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Video Skip player released

With so many people staying at home these days due to the coronavirus pandemic, some are running out of movies to watch. Or, to put it another way, the movies that they or their children still haven’t watched contain objectionable material that they’d rather not see. This is why I have created the Video Skip player, a browser app that gives users full control over what is shown or heard. The version just released works with videos that have been downloaded locally, and I’ve started work on an extension that will do the same with streaming content from any source. Here’s the link to the player:

https://prgomez.com/videoskip

If you want to contribute to its development, here’s the GitHub page:

https://github.com/fruiz500/VideoSkip Read More

Mobile-friendly PassLok released

It’s been a while since I looked into PassLok on mobile devices. Well, things have evolved and now smartphones and tablets are faster than they used to be, and can handle things they couldn’t handle before. So the newest version of PassLok (2.4.16) removes a number of old limitations placed when the code was running on a mobile platform. You can now insert images and files to be encrypted, and integration with the texting app is tighter.

One good way to run it is from a browser bookmark from one of these sources: PassLok.com, Autistici, Site44.
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Calculators in 2020

I’m old enough to have seen the beginning of calculators, which had just replaced slide rules. Now, cell phones and tablets are about to replace calculators for good. They may have done it already. Or maybe calculators are here to stay. This article attempts to shed some light on this not-so-hot issue, and I do this by comparing pretty much everything available at the beginning of 2020. No one is safe. Read More