Welcome to my webspace!

Greetings, I'm Helenah - a keyboard and command-line oriented hacker, or tinkerer, as well as a biohacker - which involves hacking biology. I have been using GNU/Linux as my daily driver since 2005, specifically kernel 2.4. Additionally, I am a proud member of the Ctrl-C club since February 11th, 2023, when my shell account was reported active via email. With my extensive experience using GNU/Linux and my membership in the Ctrl-C club, I am happy to offer assistance whenever possible. However, while I am well-versed in many aspects of computing, I do not claim to know everything, and I encourage individuals to read manuals and documentation to help themselves whenever possible.

Although I do not embody all of the traits associated with the culture of individuals who call themselves VUAs (Veteran Unix Admins), I do share some commonalities with this group. While the term Unix is included in the name, many of us who identify as VUAs are not solely limited to Unix-based systems. Instead, we often utilize Unix-like systems, such as modern BSD and Linux distributions, as our daily drivers. In addition, while we are capable of repairing Windows systems, many of us are hesitant to admit this knowledge, as it goes against the fundamental principles of "The Unix Philosophy" that we hold dear.

In addition to my technological pursuits, I am also passionate about environmentalism and minimalism. As an eco-environmentalist, I am committed to promoting sustainable practices and reducing my environmental impact in all areas of my life. As a minimalist, I believe in simplifying my life and possessions to focus on what truly matters. These values deeply inform my approach to both technology and life in general.

Recent change in website colour scheme and font

I have recently made changes to the color scheme and font, aligning them with the aesthetics of my personal computing environment and terminal emulator. By adopting this approach, I aim to create a cohesive and immersive experience, providing a glimpse into my personal computing environment.

Choice of software

I have compiled a list of my preferred software, which you can find below. If you are curious about any other software preferences that I may have, please feel free to ask and I will be happy to update the list accordingly.

Software Type Software Name
GNU/Linux distribution Devuan
Init System OpenRC
Shell Z shell (Zsh)
Window Manager sway (Previous: i3, dwm)
Terminal Emulator Alacritty (Previous: st, URxvt)
Terminal Multiplexer tmux (Previously GNU screen)
IRC Client WeeChat (Previously Irssi)
Digital Audio Workstation LMMS
Raster Graphics Editor GIMP
Vector Graphics Editor Inkscape
Geographic Information System QGIS
3D Medical Imaging Reconstruction Software InVesalius
Image Analysis and Scientific Visualization Software 3D Slicer
Software-Defined Radio (SDR) Development Toolkit GNU Radio

Throughout my years of using GNU/Linux, I have had the pleasure of experimenting with a vast array of distributions, including but not limited to: Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Arch Linux, Artix, Manjaro, Devuan, PCLinuxOS, Fedora, RHEL, SME Server, Knoppix, Feather Linux, CoreOS, OpenWRT, DD-WRT, TomatoWRT, FreeNAS, Proxmox, Sugar, Gentoo, Raspbian, Raspberry Pi OS, and DSLinux. Each of these distributions has its own unique features and characteristics that have contributed to my extensive knowledge and experience with Unix-like systems.

As a result of my extensive experience using numerous GNU/Linux distributions, as well as Unix-like and Unix-derived systems, I possess a deep understanding of these operating systems that enables me to navigate them with ease - like a rat in a maze. With my comprehensive knowledge of these systems, I am able to effectively utilize their features and capabilities by utilizing various resources, including man pages and other documentation. Over time, I have developed strong software preferences that remain largely consistent to this day, reflecting my dedication and expertise in this field.

I have come to accept that my ongoing search for the perfect web browser is an enduring quest that I must continue to navigate. Over the years, I have experimented with a plethora of web browsers, jumping back and forth between them in search of the ideal solution. Although I have a few favorites, none of them quite meet my standards. I have explored a wide range of options, including w3m, Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, Pale Moon, Opera, Safari, Qutebrowser, Surf, Netsurf, Netscape, Midori, Dillo, Lynx, Links, Elinks, Links2, Iron, Vivaldi, and more. Suffice it to say, I have explored virtually every option available to me in my quest for the ultimate browsing experience.

While I personally do not prefer systemd, I strongly believe in respecting individual choices and opinions. I have no intention of disparaging those who utilize systemd, as I understand that each individual has their own unique needs and preferences. I firmly believe that elitism has no place in the tech community, and I strive to maintain an open and inclusive attitude towards all individuals, regardless of their choices or beliefs.

Choice of hardware

Lenovo Thinkpad X230 (Decommisioned): I am a proud Lenovo Thinkpad X230 (2012 model) laptop owner, they are not as good as the original IBM thinkpads but they are still solid, kept a lot of the original style and make a great hackers toy. Clicking here will take you to the X230 page on ThinkWiki where you can read up on its specifications, look through its manuals and read up on hacks you can do to it. You will be surprised at how hackable thinkpads are despite being proprietary devices manufactured by a big corporation (First IBM, now Lenovo) though I do hear the more modern ones are not as good quality. My most favourite Thinkpad X230 modification is the installation of a Thinkpad X220 (2000 model) keyboard which replaces the island keys with better quality keys, click here for information on this modification and how to do it.

To further support my greener way of living, I have chosen to decommision my Lenovo Thinkpad X230 as it is terribly inefficient requiring a 20 volt supply for charging and spewing out a lot of heat, it would be very expensive to keep running on solar energy. Instead, I will from now on be using low-powered devices only which will be listed below.

Pinebook Pro: This has arrived and is a lovely 5 volt, 3 amp and 15 watt Rockchip RK3399 based ARM laptop. It looks very similar in case design to the Macbook Pro, how beautiful is that? This laptop because of its power rating can be charged via a USB device, I charge mine off a portable USB 30W solar array which can be carried around on my back when I'm travelling or even laid out on the table at a coffee shop, this gives me a portable solar powered computing solution.

Banana Pi R2 Pro: This has arrived however I have not set it up yet.

Raspberry Pi 400: This has arrived and is set up. The system performs great, powered over USB-C and seems to use only 0.8 amps at minimum.

Please note: A Thinkpad laptop and a pinebook are not the only devices I own, it's just lets talk to hackers about what I have that can be hacked around a lot.

Some things on hacker culture

As a self-proclaimed hacker, I take pride in my title. However, I am disheartened by the media's portrayal of hackers as individuals who seek to breach security systems, cause harm, and withhold vulnerabilities for personal gain. Such individuals are commonly referred to as black hat hackers, and their actions are known as cracking, not hacking. I want to clarify that the majority of us hackers are not criminals, but rather curious individuals who enjoy tinkering with technology in creative and harmless ways. In fact, many of us have no involvement whatsoever in cyber security or cyber attacks. Rather, we enjoy exploring the potential of technology to create positive change in the world.

If you seek a deeper understanding of hacker culture and its various subcultures, I recommend checking out this resource. Additionally, if you are new to the world of hacking and seek guidance on how to ask smart questions within the community, I highly recommend reading How To Ask Questions The Smart Way by Eric S. Raymond and Rick Moen. This resource provides valuable insights on how to properly communicate with hackers in various online forums and communities.

My greener way of living

Me and my girlfriend have opted for a greener way of living, one has to be more minimal with our setup too. We have erected our own wooden shack which has 100% self-generated renewable electricity (solar and eventually a wind turbine and an exercise bike too).

We have an array of two monocrystaline solar panels totaling at 24V 250W, an array of 3 12V batteries. We aim to be efficient as possible, that means there must be no DC-AC conversion and no inversion, these will both run you as a loss.

I made a smart decision to take control of our gas supply by choosing a low carbon LPG (Low Pressure Gas) option, specifically Butane, instead of relying on grid gas. Unlike gasoline and diesel fuel, which release 11.11 and 10.17 kilograms (kg) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per liter when burned, propane emits only 6.85 kg, and butane emits just 7.94 kg per liter. As a whole, LPG emits only 6.71 kg of CO2 per liter. In addition to being environmentally friendly, this switch has proven to be highly cost-effective. Currently (2023), the average UK gas unit rate through the grid stands at 0.10331 GBP per kilowatt-hour (kWh), whereas our transition to LPG Butane has significantly reduced the cost to just 0.03 GBP per kWh. Furthermore, the efficiency of LPG gas means that less is consumed per usage. This solution not only reduces CO2 emissions but also offers remarkable economic benefits.

Other interests

I like Photography and own a Canon EOS 1300D camera and I also do music production, particularly New Wave (80s Synthwave scene) and various 90s house genres. Absolutely love the Roland TR-808, LinnDrum, Yamaha DX7 and Korg M1 instruments so you'll hear these a lot in my music.