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IPFS – The InterPlanetary File System is the future of the free internet

I wrote about IPFS – the InterPlanetary File System – some time ago. At the time the project was still at the beginning of the acceptance even on the fringes (aka freedom-loving) of the internet, but today this is changing!

So.. what is IPFS?

IPFS is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to make the web faster, safer, and more open.
In short it means that it creates a new field for websites that can’t be censored; the internet will get more democratized again – like it used to be before big tech took over and started centralizing it more and more.
IPFS doesn’t allow this – by design.

How do I enter this future of the Internet and how do I become a valuable part of the distributed web, you ask humbly, yet absent of kneeling?

In this post I’ll show how to start using IPFS if you use a Brave browser.

Since Brave browser is already capable of allowing you a dip into IPFS, I’ll limit this first post in the IPFS series to showing you how to enable this function.

Go to Settings, click on Extensions (these are the integrated extensions you get with Brave automatically) and then turn ON the “IPFS Companion“.

The new extension will appear as a gray/green cube icon at the top bar. Click on the cube icon and after the little IPFS window appears.

Choose ‘Preferences‘ button and a full IPFS settings window will appear.

Turn ON the Toggle all IPFS integrations and a bunch of new settings will appear in front of you.

Right at the top you’ll see IPFS Node Type. Change that to: ‘Embedded (experimental)‘..

…. and your Brave browser is good to go!

Check the cube icon at the top row now. Is it green? Click on it and if you now see some thing like this

Congratulations!!!
You are now plugged into the InterPlanetary File System!

Yes, it’s true! There’s a lot to learn after now to make serious use of it and if you want to prosper here you will have to read a few things first. Think of IPFS as a very advanced version of the internet. done as it should have been from the start! IPFS has the capacity to give us back the optimistic, open, free and exciting internet we all hoped for in the 90’s. The internet where big IT companies don’t rule us, censor us, moralize and penalize us just because some unhinged individual in the company doesn’t like what you’re saying.

The centralized control which they accumulated in recent years is nonexistent in IPFS.. and that… is BY DESIGN!

We now have an option to start fresh!

But what if you’re just gonna be a normal user who doesn’t have any need for a website? Can you find something useful in the IPFS already or will you have to wait for decades to become interesting for you?
The answer is: it depends! There’s a lot of services being currently developed that will make your life easier, safer and more free very soon. But some are already here.

Here’s a few examples for you that you’ll be able to browse now:

  • Awesome IPFS
    is a small place where you can browse through tools, videos, apps etc which were created by various ppl recently.
  • Unstoppable domains
    A website which allows you to buy a .crypto domain name. No ‘annual’ subscriptions to your own domain. You buy it once and that’s it – forever yours!
  • Space
    S new file storage, sharing and collaboration platform with a focus on privacy. Stop letting companies spy on you. Finally take control of your privacy while still enjoying all your favorite features & tools.
  • Woodfy
    Decentralized video hosting for everyone. Just upload your video and stream it
  • Haven
    Snoop-free shopping app based on IPFS
  • Fleek
    Fleek makes it easy to build and integrate privacy, encryption, and p2p functionality into your sites, web & native apps. Built on top of IPFS, Textile, & Filecoin, our suite of products allow you to effortlessly take advantage of the benefits of these new technologies.
  • Open Bazaar
OpenBazaar costs nothing to download and use. Unlike sites like Ebay or Amazon there are no fees to list items, and no fees when an item is sold. Because the trade is p2p (peer to peer), it’s happening directly between buyers and sellers with no middleman to take a cut from each sale. It’s completely free e-commerce.
Filecoin is decentralized storage network designed to store humanity’s most important information

Conclusion

Yes… It is still early. But IPFS might be one of those moments where it pays off if one gets in early. IPFS has advanced miles and miles ahead of what it was just a year ago. A bunch of new services appeared just in the last half year.

If you have time and interest you should probably get on this train.

More little posts liker this to come…

Share files by IPFS

Today we look into a new website, which allows you to quickly share files with your friends – directly from your browser.

As far as I can see, there’s no size-limit of the shared files, since it is operated by the IPFS under the hood.
However, it needs to be pointed out that you don’t need to have IPFS capable browser to use it!

These are the 3 simple steps to follow after you open up the webpage:

  • Add a file you want shared
  • Get the link in return and share it with anyone you want.
  • BUT… keep the page open! Your friends can help you share the file by keeping their page opened as well.

Perfect tool for a quick transaction of a file to your friend.

And here’s the website: https://share.ipfs.io/ where you can start sharing immediately and also find some additional information.

Happy sharing!

Keybase par 2: Stellar Crypto-Wallet

Stellar Crypto Wallet

Stellar Wallet

Every registered user gets their own crypto wallet ready to receive and send money around Keybase in Lumens (XLM), a c protocol token of the Stellar network.

” Anyone that wants to hold or move money on Stellar must also hold lumens. Per the protocol, every account must set aside a small increment of lumens for each type of asset it holds. Similarly, an account must reserve lumens for each open offer against its assets. The total hold back for a typical account is low—a few XLM. “

Stellar

In practice it means you can move money with it – and on the cheap.

When chatting with a person , you just click on the dollar sign on the right and choose “Send Lumens”.

In the chat with a person click on the dollar sign and

Then… fill in the amount of your choosing.

As I type in the value I wanna send in the chosen currency ( 0.2€ in this case), I immediately get informed what it amounts to in lumens as well (3.8 XLM in my case)
One more check…

.. the money is waiting for the taking on the other side.

To be continues in part 3

Link to my invitation: keybase.io/inv/f39c332683
You can find me under the nickname… hoornet.

ImprovedTube: improved YouTube control

ImprovedTube is an open-source browser extension that modifies YouTube to give users more control over all aspects of the site. 

If you are like me, quickly annoyed by some features of the YouTube that should in my opinion not be there you’re in luck. ImprovedTube will likely solve most if not all of these problems for you.

As in all my post I shall keep this one short as well so I’ll only present the most important features for me personally, just to show you what CAN be done. It is up to you to play with the settings and use them according to your own will.

So let’s start!

One of the most important features I need and I always set up in all my video players is the option to control the volume by my mouse wheel. I don’t touch a video player that doesn’t offer this possibility to me.

Lucky for me, this extension does just that.

After I installed the extension I found a nice recognizable YouTube-ish logo in my browser’s button menu.

As I click on it I get the following options:

And among the Shortcuts options have the ever nice “Increase volume 5% “:

As I click on it, this is what I see:

And then I simply turn the wheel UP, and after it recognizes it…

I click SAVE and repeat the procedure with for the Decrease of Volume as well.

The worst of YouTube is behind me! Now all I have to do is turn on the auto-pause when switching tabs option…

.. And my YouTube is beareble again.

Link to the project’s source: https://github.com/ImprovedTube/ImprovedTube

Click here for Chromium/Brave/Chrome extension
Website is here

Happy tuning!

ProtonVPN – High-speed Swiss VPN that safeguards your privacy

ProtonVPN is a a VPN from the makers of Proton Mail. Proton mail is a security-conscious mail server based in Switzerland and ProtonVPN is simply put a logical extension as VPN.

There are numerous VPN possibilities on the market today, but rarely does one find one which has a working and free version as well.

While I personally recommend we all pay those 8$ per month for the PLUS version of the VPN, the free version is enough for somewhat secure-ish basic browsing. Do not think however that you are safe from spying though!

The advanced versions have P2P support and integrate with TOR perfectly. So in case you need an actual secure VPN this is probably one of the best options out there.

Still… if you don’t have any VPN install the free version at least and if you have a ProtonMail account you can simply use the same username and password.

Link: https://protonvpn.com

Altap Salamander – better file manager for Windows

Altap Salamander is a fast and reliable two-panel file manager for Windows. It has an intuitive interface, offers viewers for all popular file formats as well as support for common archives, and has built-in FTP and SFTP clients.

Altap Homepage
Altap Salamander

This is one of the tools, I have been using for years and I find it unbeatable for daily use on Windows.

It is always among the top 3 tools that I install immediately after I finish setting up a new Windows machine.

It used to be called Servant Salamander for years and operated as a shareware, but after a recent company merger, it changed the name into Altap Salamander and became free of charge for both commercial and non-commercial usage.

In essence it is an easy file manager with one or two panes, a good search tool, FTP client, extensions through plugins, image and txt viewer and everything else a modern operating system should in my opinion already have integrated by default.

PictView
Image viewer plugin

One of it’s most used features is a “Hot path” which is in essence a named path on the drive or network which you use frequently and are sick of always looking for. In most of my computers I have about 10 hot paths set and this satisfies all my needs to quickly find the most used directories.

The only drawback that I have found is that it doesn’t recognize my tablet or phone as a disk. This is the only use-case for which I still use Windows Explorer.

Before I end this short post, I have to mention another feature I use frequently, especially for renaming my video and audio files on PC. It’s called Batch renamer!

Batch renamer

But you will find much more useful features if you try it yourself.

Link: https://www.altap.cz

Enjoy!

Dark Reader – browser extension easy on the eyes. Literally.

Today’s browser extension suggestion is Dark Reader. This extension turns a web page you’re browsing into a darker version of itself, and does so intelligently in most cases by far.

Dark Reader is an open source browser extension available for: Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Brave. According to the website it “never collected and will never collect any personal data, browsing history etc. ” and it doesn’t introduce any new ads. Since it is an open source project, you can check all these claims for yourself.

To enjoy the new, friendlier surfing for your eyes, you won’t need to bother with any additional tuning in most cases. The text will remain very visible, if not better, the structure of the page will remain the same.

In those rare cases, when the structure isn’t recognized correctly or fitting your desire, you have a bunch of options at your disposal. You can set the contrast, lighter or darker brightness, change the font and gray scale of the page or … you can simply set certain pages to OFF and it will just present the unchanged page to you.

Facebook - Dark Reader ON


FB page looks better to me, blog posts and long passages are easier to read. Below you can see the difference between the original Facebook page (Dark Reader OFF), and Facebook with Dark Reader ON

Another good example of the usefulness of Dark Reader are definitely blogs.

Link: https://darkreader.org

OnionShare: securely & anonymously share a file of ANY SIZE

OnionShare is an open source tool for securely and anonymously sending and receiving files using Tor onion services. It works by starting a web server directly on your computer and making it accessible as an unguessable Tor web address that others can load in Tor Browser to download files from you, or upload files to you. It doesn’t require setting up a separate server, using a third party file-sharing service, or even logging into an account.

Unlike services like email, Google Drive, DropBox, WeTransfer, or nearly any other way people typically send files to each other, when you use OnionShare you don’t give any companies access to the files that you’re sharing. So long as you share the unguessable web address in a secure way (like pasting it in an encrypted messaging app), no one but you and the person you’re sharing with can access the files.

– OnionShare, GitHub page

In this short intro I will just illustrate the very basic use of this tool for you guys.

1) Download & Install

Go to https://onionshare.org/ and download the latest version for your computer. You have a MacOS, Windows and Linux versions to choose from.
After downloading it simply click through installation and you’re ready to run it.

2) Run it

Run by clicking on the OnionShare icon.

You will see a short message saying that it is connecting to Tor network.

And that’s it.

Now you can…

3a) Start sharing files

This is what you’ll be presented with:

OnionShare default window

Simply drag some files you want to securely send to a specific person and drop it to the window:

Then, click Start sharing and…

you will be presented with onion address your friend needs to type in Tor browser or Brave browser (click “New private window with Tor” from the menu and you get Tor capability in Brave).

You can of course also

3b) Receive files

To do that, simply click on “Receive files” and this is what you’ll see:

After clicking “Start Receive mode”…

.. the other party can simply run their Tor browser of Brave (Private browsing with Tor) and start uploading using this simple user interface within browser:

Wish you happy and safe sharing.

Link to my Keybase invitation: keybase.io/inv/f39c332683

Keybase – Secure groups, files, and chat! – 1

This is my opinion the best app[lication] for encrypted communication.

The only drawback is people who haven’t yet installed it which limits their practical use. Well… that and maybe a slightly bit more complicated first setup of the app, but this one is the small price to have it secure.

So.. what does it actually do for us?

Well…a bunch of things, as it turns out!

It’s a communication machine

Main Keybase window – Communication within Teams

You can securely chat user 2 user as in most messenger apps these days and you can create or join secure chat groups as well. All messages have a time-bomb option, and if set they self-destruct after a desired time has passed after which they are gone.

Emoji
Emoji in Keybase’s chat

Chat rooms slightly look like a pimped up IRC client, but with all the goodies included: emojis, file-links, message explosions, search, all in done securely.

Explode message after…

Continue to part 2: Keybase’ Crypto-Wallet