Linux Distribution

Well, it is time for a change.
(tl;dr: ubuntu -> manjaro mate / cinnamon)

I was a user of many distributions during the past years. Starting with SUSE, I quickly discovered that I like more standardisation than they provided. Changing to debian, I realized I needed to be a bit more bleeding edge, so I was using Ubuntu. Many times. With XFCE, Gnome 2, Gnome 3 and had testinstalls in a VM of fedora, CentOS, Arch, Mandriva, Mint and Manjaro to name a few. I even used neverware’s cloudready for testing a ChromeOS-like experience. Now it’s time to put all the experience into a final decision.

  • What I don’t like:
    • snap – snap packages get too damn slow. I primarily liked the concept, but I also disliked dual installation of software from snap and the official repos – you need to make yourself accustomed with the new concept
    • gnome 3 – just don’t.
    • KDE – which is a bit ancient, but I am just lacking positive experiences
    • Ubuntu in general. – It started off as easy replacement of debian – you just never know which version will support your hardware out-of-the-box. Plus: I can no longer be bothered with major upgrades every 6 months. Nope. I want to say goodbye to that.
    • Waiting for the next release cycle of debian.
  • What I like:
    • The concept of rolling releases – like Arch.
    • Stability as well
    • Cinnamon – well lightweight, consistent, functional and stable DEs and WMs in general
    • Running the same distro on all my Laptops and PCs
    • A big fan of debian in general because: general stability – with the drawback of waiting for the “next” release

So what’s next?
Well – I will make another distrohop. Now I’m running Ubuntu 18.10 on my T420 and my old Phenomx4 – I’d like to consider myself “not” a distrohopper, but in my defense, I might just have not found a distro to meet my needs / taste.
I just want decent QA for distros that do faster release of versions or packages…

And what distros will I try?
I might go for two main releases first, and have a look into two minor contenders.

Which ones?
As main contenders: Manjaro (w/XFCE) and Fedora 29 (w/Mate or Cinnamon). I think both of them get closer to my use case, but from different angles. Fedora the release-based approach, but in a minor sense than ubuntu, and Manjaro with the rolling approach with an option to choose “stable” as release branch.
– The minor ones are Elementary and Solus, because I am curious about those two. Solus provides flatpak, like fedora does, so that might be a pro.

I won’t be making a huge comparison, even though I might update on what I will be using after my final testings.

Update 1:
Dropping out of the race: Elementary. Another Ubuntu-Based distro is not exactly what I wanted, so I figured why even bother….
Solus: strong contender with Budgie, but I can have my cake and eat it too when installing budgie on another distro (like manjaro). Plus: no mega client on solus either, reason might be because it’s an independent distro. Nice try though, version 4 looks promising – but is lacking software for general purpose that I am already used to – without all the fiddling for what I consider basics in my daily usage.
Focussing on getting used to Manjaro and Fedora next.
Cinnamon: no longer interested. I want more lightweight with a simple search button in my start-alike menu.
Most interesting DE’s: XFCE and Budgie. XFCE I used already over ten years ago, Budgie has a very strong sidebar game and honestly quite good dark themes out of the box.
Both are out of the box available as a Manjaro flavour, while fedora comes with XFCE only of those two. Still, no interest in going super lightweight or the other full featured options given on the fedora spins page (Mar 2019).

Update 2:
Fedora dropped. If I want to use mixxx for some DJing, fedora has to enable separate repositories, where I was trying to escape from when leaving ubuntu. Even worse: on a Lenovo Laptop you might need non-free / proprietary firmware. So manjaro seems like the better call – especially when Arch is known to run on those like a charm.
Also dropped: Budgie. I liked the sidebar, but around 10% CPU on Idle is a no-no on my 7 year-old laptop. (It was inside a VM, but nonetheless. no compromises this time.)

Conclusion: Manjaro it is. With MATE and Cinnamon to switch around until a decision is final.

Stay private!

A Relaunch – And then some!

Hi there.

We haven’t had any traction lately or in general. However, I plan on relaunching everything in order to keep up to date with my personal techie-journey to more security, privacy, where I feel is needed and ease of use – because I no longer want to manage any kind of website and hosting stuff. All of the management might be a nice distraction while playing around with stuff, but it is what it is:

a distraction. One that keeps me from generating content, which was the goal in the first place.

While I was setting it all up in order to get every account tracked and leave all of the providers of online services in order to take back as much as possible, I really don’t want to manage all by myself. It is also not relatable for the average user, who I will target with this documentation.

So rather than that, I will select a few services, where I think security is well implemented and after that, will try to reduce all the other background noise. A Relaunch – And then some!

Also, I might keep some projects by myself – so you will still see some advanced nerrd-projects as well.

Plans so far:
# relaunch website, reduce management of hosting(s)
# focus on accounts management
# passwords management
# Browser-Wars 3.0 (Comments: Edge dead, Chrome messing with Ad-Blockers, Opera full of ads)
# Android Integrations
# Content buckets
# Hosted Server Projects (Docker, Multi-Apps, Adblocking, VPN, Firewalls)
# Optimizing Home Network

Account Cleanup

#1 – Gathering data, or: how I learned that I failed as a human

Hi, time for another update, so let’s get this thing started.

Today we’re going to find out what internet accounts need to be reviewed. Well, if it wasn’t that easy. If you’re like me, you have some different e-mail addresses, do shopping, are an active forums user and some various others.

Well, in my case, it’s a bit complicated, since my guessed count of e-mail accounts are about eleven. I don’t use most of them, but I haven’t organized them the way I want (or need) just yet, that I have a nice, clean structure – or that I can safely delete them. Then there are the shopping sites (first guess: 14), Forums (first guess: 5), ohers (first guess: 5) and newsletters. Yes. they have our e-mail address, and need to be reviewed. (first guess: 5 [educated guess: endless, because they’re trading addresses]) and gaming (first guess: 5). Don’t forget social media services, they give you sometimes new e-mail addresses like (guess: 5)

That would make a total of about 40 accounts to review, but I already have a bad feeling about this…*

Good thing though: I use a gMail account since 2009 or so, but I never used the address, just the addresses, that are implemented via pop3, that way I have one big inbox at google, while using the other e-mail addresses for signing up anywhere. I even have an e-mail alias called damnspam@<> for you-know-what. But even though I am relatively good prepared, I need to know exactly what I am dealing with, so what you need to do is:

  1. search your inbox(es) for keywords like: password, username, login, newsletter, invoice, account, activation, reset (in case you needed to reset your password for any service) – let me know if you have some other ideas for keywords that are typical for online accounts.
  2. Make notes of the results, moreover: note any website you have in mind, where it could be possible, that you needed to enter your e-mail even if only once for proving its validity.
  3. If you plan to consolidate your services later on, make categories. My categories are: e-mail, personal online services, social services, shopping, forums (tbc).
  4. *Enter fetal position and weep quietly. (I’ve had round about 300 results after only a few hours investigating. There will be more, i know it; what I don’t know is how much more.)

Enough of the irony, now, let’s clean up this mess!

#2 – Swiping, cleaning, sorting

Okay, you’ve had your time to relax, and get yourself sorted. Now, we need to sort our findings. This never was supposed to be this nasty, but we’re cleaning, right? You can never expect to clean your mess, without getting your hands dirty.

  1. Check the websites, you once registered for newsletters, but haven’t received something lately (like for the last three-to-twelve months). Ignore those and mark them in your list. If they’re just for newsletters, without an account with password, it’s better to not contact the sites, because you want to keep a low profile. You never know which provider will sell your e-mail address, and which doesn’t. If there is a profile site, you most likely need to login, then you can deactivate your newsletter preferences, and afterwards maybe delete the account. But that’s not always guaranteed.
  2. Try to log into the accounts that you want to delete. If you don’t already have a password manager, now would be the best time to start. I recommend using keepass. Use your previous categories inside your newly created database, and save login site, username and password. Be sure to remember the database password! Also, you should not delete the deleted ones from your password manager – just to be safe.
  3. Find and use the option to fully delete your account. They might trick you into clicking the wrong buttons, so pay attention until you’ve taken the process to an end. Afterwards it should give you a message like: account deleted; account will be deleted; it can take up to X days until… *
  4. After cleaning each single account, you can delete the corresponding e-mails. You should be safe with your password manager database (make backups).
  5. Lather, rinse, repeat – for each account that you have found.

After clearing the list, you should be left with the active and mostly used accounts.

My recommendation at this point is to change your most important passwords to unique, strong passwords. You can let keepass generate some for you, or you can invent them yourself.

Now, you can stop here and be happy with your unique passwords inside a database or you might keep on consolidating and reducing the total number of accounts. Well, for shopping, there’s not much we can do, except changing to unique passwords, but do you really need all of your ten e-mail addresses? Or maybe you want to host your emails on your own server.

*Whatever message you get, you could try and login after the given number of days to prove that your account/profile really is deleted.

I will update, how many accounts of my initial 300+ I’ll have left. – I am also curious, how my inbox is going to look like. – GO!

Dropbox, gDrive, iCloud, OneDrive, etc. #1

Hi Internetters,

Today we’ll start with one of the biggest data storage providing services: Cloud Storage. In the beginning we already talked about you can self-host on a server on the internet. But we start the synology-way first, which might be quite similar to other NAS storage systems or even simpler.

1. A router with USB and file sharing option.

Just attach a USB disk to your router and activate the file service. You need to use the manual of your corresponding device. If you want to make is accessible via the internet, you need to set up a dynamic DNS account or use built-in services inside your router. What service you use depends on your device. If you follow the manuals it’s quite easy to set up.

+ Easy to setup
+ Cheap, just any USB drive to your router

– no client solution for mobile devices
– no automatic syncing like you’re used to

2. The synology way

You need to already have: A Synology, a a myDS account and a user on your syno box
Log into your synology and install the cloudstation package via the package center. After Installing, open the package, you may need to activate your myDS account and enter your quickConnect ID for setting up.

Activate it for the user you want cloudstation to use. Then check the settings – the maximum number of versions you want to keep may strongly differ from the default setting (32 at the time of this writing), especially, when you’re working with big files and need to save often. Each copy will use extra space. Just keep that in mind, if you run out of space.

Then go to, download the client for your operating system (Help/Support – Download Portal – chose your Syno – Download) and install it. Enter your hostname (of the client), the quickconnect ID with username and password. Specify your folder sync preferences and you’re set up.

The mobile device app should be in your app store as DS Cloud from synology inc.

+ Easy to install and configure
+ Dropbox functionality
+ Your data is literally in your own house

– Setting up for mobile access requires a bit more tweaking

I the next episode we’ll look at a complete server solution with owncloud, which looks and feels not only like dropbox but can also provide contact and calendar syncing for your mobile devices.

If you want to know, what you could need a synology for except this dropbox thingy, here’s a small list, on what I do with mine:
– network drive (replaces USB Disks)
– streaming media server (DLNA, video / audio) – time machine server (mac backup)
But you can also host websites like a wiki or the most common CMS. The 2+ bay variants also provide security when used in RAID1 (redundancy)

Questions or comments? Feel fre to post them in the comment box below.
Until next time,


Password security

Hi Internetters!

Before we’ll start with any server app, let’s take a look on your existing accounts.
If you’re anything like me, you have multiple accounts, I can’t even count all my e-mail accounts anymore. Maybe ten, maybe fifteen. But passwords? I have maybe two passwords. Imagine the would be like “purplejuice” and “abc123defgh4”. What I did was to vary them in order to meet certain standards. So for some sites I did something similar to: Purplejuice9$ or Abc123defgh4.

This was just an example, but I think you get the point. On other sites, I forgot my login name / e-mail address. Imagine testing five e-mail addresses with four different passwords…

Solution one

Pen and paper. Write all your current and future passwords down.

+ Safe in terms of data loss / corruption

– You may need to type them every time
– You need to take the paper with you

Solution two

Software: KeePass (PC), KeePassX (Mac/Linux) or TeamPass (web-based – for server admins)

+ Safe
+ You can copy/paste
+ Password generator integrated
+ browser plugins available – if you trust the developer

– you lose the file somehow, you lose everything – but you can make backups on any cloud storage, the file is encrypted.
– you may need the file and an app to open it on other devices
I strongly suggest creating a database in a tool similar to KeePass(X) to keep track of all your passwords. You don’t need to worry about too many different passwords. The software itself is self-explained. Just give it a try.

So long, and until next time.

Hello on TPB [dot] org!

Dear internetters.

Thanks for visiting my privacy related how to-blog. Chances are high, that you got here because you want to regain your data which is already distributed all over the internet. But let me do a fresh start here, and tell you what we’ll do in the next couple of weeks, where we will start and what the end results may look like.

I am Kay Urbach, IT Systems Engineer, Administrator and PC, Mac and Linux power user.

On this site you will be provided with a clear way to create your own services like e-mail or cloud storage similar to p.e. Dropbox. 

If you think that you might not be able to do that, please continue. My how-to’s should provide you with enough information that the regular user can redo them as well, given that you’re motivated and don’t give up too easily.

What is the current situation?

Today, we have many profiles on the internet. I mean MANY profiles. Shopping sites, forums, picture hosting, e-mail provider, feed readers, community logins, (social-)bookmarks, instant messaging, social media, web-based-notebooks, sharehosting, etc. Many users even use multiple similar services just to get more online storage space for their data.

The drawback, as almost always these days is, that companies may use your data for their profit and you don’t have everything in a single place. Plus, with a growing amount of accounts you need to micromanage them all by hand and: passwords. You know, you should use secure passwords, and preferably different ones for each of your accounts. And if any of your providers gets hacked, which happens pretty often these times, passwords may not be identical on your accountsthieves could use the stolen passwords for any other remaining account.

You should also have a secure database for your passwords as well.

So what can you do?

There are many ways leading to Rome and not all of you may have the same goals. But basically, there are multiple solutions for this challenge that i will be showing:

  • use a NAS as a home-server
  • set up a website and do as much as you can with the provided packages
  • set up a your own rentable server for your task


Well, there are great sites on the internet, giving you hints and tools to deal with certain scenarios, but I want to give them all to you in a single place. If I did the research already so why should you?

What does it cost?

I will provide detailed prices that I am paying or paid, but it is not that expensive, especially compared to all those premium accounts that you won’t be needing anymore.

So much about what will be coming in the near future. Feel free to comment or check out the FAQs for additional information.

See additional information in the FAQ.