MATE Explained: A Look at One of Linux’s Most Enduring Desktops

This is a good write-up on the MATE desktop environment for Linux. I’ve only briefly tried out Ubuntu MATE on a Raspberry Pi and I thought it was pretty nice.

Unlike commercial operating systems, Linux lets you change your desktop environment. One of the most popular is MATE, but how good is it, and should you install it on your Linux PC? Let’s find out.

Source: MATE Explained: A Look at One of Linux’s Most Enduring Desktops Teams Up with Rebrand Cities to Bring Local Businesses Online | The Blog

Cities are collections of neighborhoods — and neighborhoods are powered by small business. From coffee shop owners to fitness instructors, therapists to thrift stores, it’s the people we see in the storefronts next door who build and reinforce the unique character of our cities.

At, we want to support local businesses as they grow their own communities (and their revenue!) on the open web. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Rebrand Cities, a project founded by Hajj Flemings to bring small businesses online, in pursuit of an audacious goal: 10,000 new websites for 10,000 small businesses and to tell their stories.

Read the full article: Teams Up with Rebrand Cities to Bring Local Businesses Online — The Blog

Who Has Your Back? Government Data Requests 2017 | Electronic Frontier Foundation

In this era of unprecedented digital surveillance and widespread political upheaval, the data stored on our cell phones, laptops, and especially our online services are a magnet for government actors seeking to track citizens, journalists, and activists.

In 2016, the United States government sent at least 49,868 requests to Facebook for user data. In the same time period, it sent 27,850 requests to Google and 9,076 to Apple.1 These companies are not alone: where users see new ways to communicate and store data, law enforcement agents see new avenues for surveillance.

Read the full article: Who Has Your Back? Government Data Requests 2017 | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Changing Things Up

This past weekend, I decided to change things up a little bit on my blog. Nothing extreme – I’m still using WordPress but I moved my blog from to Pressable, a self-hosted solution. My main reason was so that I could be more helpful in testing out other Automattic products, such as Jetpack, as well as some new Core features, such as the beta Gutenberg editor. Additionally, a self-hosted solution will allow me to customize things a bit further that I would be able to on … but I don’t really plan to do a whole lot of that at the moment.

You may have also noticed that this blog has a new look. After a pretty decent stretch using the theme Revelar, I decided to switch to the default them from 2016 – Twenty Sixteen. I still think Revelar is a great theme. The main reason I switched is because I felt like Revelar is set up great for photography but, if I wanted to post a quick blurb or a standard blog post, I always felt pressured to come up with a good featured image. After exploring a few other themes, I found that Twenty Sixteen was exactly what I was looking for (after making a few very slight visual customizations). It looks great for photo posts with nice featured images, yet it still looks very nice for posts that don’t have/need one.

I’m hoping that this switch prompts me to blog a little bit more, since I don’t have to spend additional time worrying about imagery for non-photography posts. That being said, if you are looking for a more photo-based blog, Revelar is still a great theme!

Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi

I’ve been wanting to try out a Linux desktop for a while now. Mainly out of curiosity – I like to try new devices, operating systems, etc. I didn’t really want to invest in a computer just to try out a new OS, however. I had a couple older MacBooks lying around but I also had a Raspberry Pi 3 that I hadn’t quite decided what to do with. After poking around a bit on the internet, I found desktop variant Ubuntu MATE had been optimized for the use with the Raspberry Pi 2 & 3. The installation process looked pretty straightforward and I had an extra monitor, keyboard, and mouse so I figured I’d give it a try!

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React.js Resources

Recently I’ve been digging into React.js. Some my awesome co-workers are experimenting and utilizing the library in some pretty cool ways, so it really sparked my interest. As a result, I’ve collected a little list of bookmarks that I thought was worth sharing:

I’m currently in the process of working my way through these and I will likely update this post as I discover more resources. That said, please do share in the comments, if you know of any good ones that I’ve missed!

* List last updated on 04/01/2015

Yoda Conditional Statements

Here’s a little gem on conditional statements that I saw for the first time in the WordPress Coding Standards a few months ago. When writing out a conditional logic, it is recommended to place the variable on the right side of the comparison operator and the constants or literals on the left. Appropriately named “Yoda Conditions”, as the statement then reads backwards to how we would typically speak or think. I’ve never really thought about this before but it really is a handy little tip.

Take the following example (from the handbook):

[code language=”php”]
if ( true == $the_force ) {
$victorious = you_will( $be );

Despite that it reads backwards, this makes sense programatically. If you were to accidentally omit a part of the comparison operator (an equals sign, for example) when writing out your statement, your code would fail because you can’t assign to a constant. Writing your conditional the other way around (non-Yoda) would evaluate to true via an accidental assignment operator. This would result in perfectly valid code and a bug that is much more difficult to track down.

Note that this only applies to ==, !=, ===, and !== comparisons. As stated in the handbook, “Yoda conditions for <, >, <= or >= are significantly more difficult to read and are best avoided.”

Moving Local Files with Rsync

I am very obsessive about backing up my data. To preserve space on my MacBook Air’s drive, I store most of media files on a WD Passport external drive. Additionally I back that media up on a second (and oftentimes a third) desktop external drive. Sure, this is a little OCD but it’d be quite a shame to lose all of my files, should my first Passport drive fail me.

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