Beeper Self Hosted

I saw some posts about Beeper last weekend, and figured I’d take a look. It seemed like a cool Trillian-esque idea. For those of you not aware, Beeper links a ton of different chat services together by bridging applications. That means, all your chats show up in one app. It supports everything from Facebook Messenger, to Instagram, Signal and Whatsapp.

The security implications did seem a little iffy, but they offer a self-hosted option. So, with a static IP in hand, and a decided lack of linux skills, I decided to set it up.

I spun up a VM on my Hyper-V server at home. Did Debian because that’s what I’m “most” familiar with, and started following their instructions.

Initially, went pretty well. It used Ansible, so once I did the initial DNS [cloudflare ftw] and Firewall [OPNSense] config, it seemed to be a breeze. Ran into a small pitfall that it needs port 80 open for the initial configuration. Once I figured THAT part out, it seemed to be moving again.

Then I ran into the second problem. The version of Ansible that was in the official guide didn’t seem to work. Thankfully, the official self-hosted Matrix server guide [here] had the correct ansible version listed. Once I modified to call that, the installation resumed.

When the install was done, it was time to run the app, and make my account. I used Schildichat on Android as well as on Windows. Account creation was a breeze. Then, time to start bridging chats.

I decided to use Linkedin, Instagram, Discord, Whatsapp, and Signal. Everything but Discord was idiotproof. Attempt login, enter 2fa, or scan QR code, and then in business.

Discord was easy, but then you have subscribe to each channel per server that you’re on. Thankfully, I only follow a few channels, but it did take me a little bit to figure out what was going on.

It also has plugins for Steam [didn’t work, ancient account with spaces in the name], SMS [requires a LOT of work to get working on Android, so skipped for now], and Facebook [I don’t have one].

Post setup, I wanted to set up the built in Borg Backup, but that ended up being….a whole new headache. I’ll post about THAT ordeal later. 🙂

All in all, I’ve been running this for a week, and it’s been rock solid. The desktop app seems a little quirky compared to the android app, but it’s nothing too terrible.

Definitely recommended!

About that iPad I Got…

So I’m back after a bit of an absence. I need to get back into the swing of keeping this up to date.

My last post was about switching to an iPad, which is amusing. So it served me well for a bit, but I ended up switching it out for a Windows-based tablet again. Main reason? The screen was just too small.

I’ve ended up getting a Razer z13 Flow tablet. It’s a “gaming” tablet, with a GeForce 3050 RTX built in. I’ve not done too much gaming-gaming with it, but it runs No Man’s Sky and Grim Dawn really well.

Only real complaint I have is that the battery life isn’t that great, but it’s good enough to get by.

My Derbycon Experience

Last week, I went to my first conference. It was Derbycon’s last year, and since I live in Louisville, it made sense. I managed to get tickets on the second wave of sales, so I got lucky there with how fast they sold out.

I’m going to be upfront here, I’m not the most social of people, nor am I that good with crowds. Definitely took a huge step going. It was completely worth it.

The talks were excellent. Two talks stood out in particular to me. Heather Smith did an amazing talk about how to communicate risks to upper management to help you ensure the security of the company. Link is here. Jayson Street did a great talk on physical security, here. There were some talks that sounded good on Sunday, but I’m going to have to watch them on Youtube. Managed to get ConFlu on Sunday, and didn’t make it.

More than the talks, there was so much else going on. I spent far too much money at the No Starch Press booth. I managed to get enough points to get a coin from the Bank of America CTF challenge. I met a lot of cool people. Even had some good conversations with vendors about their products and capabilities.

As someone who doesn’t really do well in large crowds, this turned out well. They had a quiet room which I used a few times to catch my breath. Also hung out with people in the quieter areas to work on the CTF.

I didn’t do the main CTF. I took a stab at it, and realized that it was far beyond me. Going to have to study up on tools and techniques and give it a try at the next con I go to.

All in all, it was a good experience, and I’m now looking forward to my next conference.

OpenHab Part 3: More Hue

Finished getting all of my lights configured with OpenHAB, as well as configuring the sitemap.

Once I got the initial syntax down yesterday, the rest progressed very quickly.

What took most of the time, however, was getting my sitemap configured. Took me about 2 hours of comparing config files, and reading help files to realize that I hadn’t capitalized “switch” at one point in the config.


Once I fixed that, the rest came together very quickly.

Next up, getting my smartthings connected. But that’s for tomorrow.

OpenHAB Part 2: Hue

Since I already had a Hue bridge configured and setup with my lights, I decided to I’d start with integrating that into OpenHAB. I figured it would be relatively simple to do.

Well, that turned out to be rather optimistic.

Using the PaperUI, I was able to quickly identify the Hue Bridge. But, all attempts to connect kept failing. I checked the error message, and apparently I needed a username. No matter, I’m smart, I can Google things and get that information. Well, it sounded easy enough. There’s a hue API page (hueIP/debug/clip.html) where I was able to run the command (
{“devicetype”: “openhabHueBinding#openhab”} )to get the user ID. I had to press the button on the HUB, hit “Post” in the API page, and then got the User.

Thinking that that was all I needed to do, I copied the username to the PaperUI field, which is where I hit the next issue. PaperUI was insisting that I needed to do it via the .Items file. After finding the official openHab Hue page, I was able to generate the file and interact with the hub that way. Suddenly, all the connected lights popped up in the “Inbox” ready for configuration. As did 2 Hubs. Apparently, PaperUI only writes to the database, not the files, even though it pulls config from the files. At this point, I threw my hands up in the air, and abandoned PaperUI for config, and decided to do all the config from the files themselves.

This led to significantly more trial and error. At this point, I’ve got several things set up (lights and hub), as well as “items” for each of them (the actions that can take place).

My next step is get a sitemap up and running to interact with the lights. That’s tomorrow’s project.

An S7+ Woe

After running the same S7+ install since I got it a year and a half ago, I decided to wipe and reload.

I have set my tablet up to use the microSD card as internal storage, and it has given me a lot more flexibility. So, I tried to do the same with my phone, and didn’t have the same options.

Did some googling, and found an ADB command to force it in the background. I attempted it several times before returning to the Googles. It appears that Samsung “fixed” that command, and it no longer works in the newer releases.

Honestly, I like the hardware for the S7, but it’s the little software quirks like this that really turn me off to the device. I got this phone to replace my LG G4 after it succumbed to the bad circuit board issue that plagued that model. I’m up for renewal in September, so at this point, I’m not sure I’d go back to Samsung. Might just look at a “clean” Android phone.



After a very, very long break, I’m bringing Furytech back. In the coming days, you’ll be able to find reviews of products, thoughts on technology, random scifi opinions and more!

More to come!