Less News

2020/06/28 - Random

BBC News

Reading the news isn’t a new thing. People have been reading daily or weekly newspapers since before radio, tv, or even the internet existed but with each technological advancement, the news became more available. Radio allowed for news/talk radio stations. TV allowed many to be entertained, but also to be informed with their once a day news program.

Today we have 24/7 radio and dedicated TV news channels. On the internet, you can get news from social networks, assistant/feed apps, news aggregator apps or apps from each newspaper/organisation, each one with their notifications for “breaking news”. Even many browsers now have news on their “new tab” page. It’s hard not to be up-to-date.

While I think it’s important to be aware of what’s happening around us and in the world (major events at least), I’m not sure if the average person is ready to deal with the amount of information we consume daily. Many can’t filter the content their app shows them or perform a little bit of critical thinking before taking what they read or watch as truth.

It can also be addictive. How many times have you closed the app or site where you get your news from, just to find yourself on the same app/site a few seconds or minutes later?

Then there’s what’s considered to be “news”. Maybe it’s just me, but most news aren’t really news. When I open aggregator apps like Google News, I’ll see gossip about the UK’s royal family, twisted and one sided articles from tabloids about serious matters, articles about something that happened in a place so far away that I couldn’t point to it on a map, what person X said about matter Y, right party vs left party, etc. Is this important information? I guess I should be aware about the protests in my city or political issues in my country, but should I worry or even obsess about something happening in a different place?

The way I consumed the news was having some negative side effects on me. Sometimes it was overwhelming, distracting, usually a waste of time, depressing, and energy draining. So I changed a few things.

Running a Computer Outdoors

2020/01/30 - Tech

Some background: I’ve been contributing to the Folding@Home project since 2009. This project uses computers to simulate protein folding in order to test new ideas, drugs, etc, related to things like alzheimer’s, huntington, diabetes, etc. Essentially users install a program on their computer and that program uses the CPU and GPUs to run simulations.

Since folding takes everything to the limit, CPUs and GPUs run hot. This means two things: fan noise and a hot and dry room. Noise is annoying and the heat is not something I always need. It’s useful for those cold winter months, but becomes a problem when temperatures raise and you live in an old building without AC.

Back in 2016 I had an idea: why not move the computer outdoors?

Voto Postal: URL Shortner gratuito usado em documento que acompanha o boletim de voto

2019/09/09 - Random

Como vivo fora de Portugal, registei-me para votar via correio. Hoje recebi uma carta registada com o meu boletim de voto.

Como esta é a primeira vez que vou votar via correio, comecei a ler a carta com as instruções e reparei que no fim colocam um link e QR Code “para mais informações”. Este link chamou-me à atenção por ser de um serviço que encurta endereços e não um endereço de um site do estado/governo.

Voto Postal URL

Link na carta/envelope com as instruções para votar corretamente.

Alguns problemas com isto:

  • É um serviço gratuito, brasileiro, com servers nos EUA, operado por privados. Não há nenhuma garantia se vai estar online até as eleições, se vai encerrar ou se vão passar a servir, sei lá, malware.
  • Guardam informação sobre o número de visualizações, IPs e no caso de seguirmos o link a partir de outro site, o site/página de referencia. Qualquer pessoa tem acesso a esta informação, basta adicionar um “-” ao final do endereço.
  • Podem mudar o endereço da página de destino se quisessem (ex: redirecionar para página de um candidato/partido). Num momento em que cada vez mais vários países se intrometem nas eleições especialmente na internet, parece-me ser uma péssima ideia usar um serviço destes.

A razão para terem encurtado o endereço é fácil de perceber. É um URL grande, difícil para copiar:


Deviam ter usado um site/serviço do estado que permitisse criar endereços curtos que redirecionam para o conteúdo original (mais ou menos o que o GOV.UK faz…) mas usaram um serviço gratuito. ?


  • O link foi removido do PDF. Espero que não aconteça novamente no futuro.
  • Embora o envelope tenha um “selo” pré-pago e a carta explique que não devemos pagar pelo envio, o Royal Mail (Reino Unido) não reconhece e acaba por devolver a carta. Tive de ir ao correio e pagar para enviar. Segundo o podcast “Revista da Semana” da RTP, o mesmo problema está a acontecer na Austrália.

Steven Black’s Hosts Files (Mirror)

2018/10/15 - Links

On this page I provide mirrors for all hosts files variants compiled and shared by Steven Black on Github.

Warning: these lists might break some apps, services, websites, etc.


Steven provides two links, one hosted by Github and the other hosted by himself. Usually this would be enough, but there are two problems:

  • Github links aren’t supported by apps like Hostsman or Adaway.
  • The official alternative links work with Hostsman and Adaway, but don’t use HTTPS.

My aim is to fix that last point. I want my devices to download these lists over a secure connection.

How does it works?

Every 24 hours a cron runs on my server, downloads the latest hosts lists (even if there’s nothing new), and makes them available over the URLs below.

Links to all variants:

Extra lists:

  •  malwaredomains (mirror1.malwaredomains.com/files/justdomains)

Will these links work forever?

I’ll do my best to keep these links online and also to keep the cron running, but I cannot assure you that they’ll be online “forever” nor that it will always work. If the app you’re using supports Github links, I suggest you use the ones provided by the project.

Keep in mind that I do this for myself mainly. Use at your own risk and don’t blame me if something goes wrong.


If something’s wrong with the lists (e.g.: broken websites or apps), open an issue on the project’s Github page.

For issues related with my links (e.g.: not updating, links offline, etc), send me an email.