A blog about random stuff I'm interested in


Please backup all your data before encrypting anything. I recommend Déjà Dup when backing up Linux.

ecryptfs backs up your data before encrypting it on your local system. In case anything is missing, it will create a local copy of your data. However, I highly recommend you back up your data in the event that it does not create a local copy of your home folder.

Encrypting your home folder will require free space that is 2.5 times bigger than the home folder you want to encrypt because ecryptfs will create a backup. For example, if your home folder is 10 GB, have at least 25 GB left over.

Throughout this guide, replace yourusername with the name of the user folder you want to encrypt.

How to Encrypt

Log out of your user's account. Press Ctrl + Alt + F1. If this doesn't combination doesn't work, replace F1 with keys from F2 to F6. This will bring up the TTY.

  • If you want to exit, press Ctrl + Alt + F7

Switch to root.

sudo -s

Install ecryptfs-utils. For Debian/Ubuntu:

sudo apt install ecryptfs-utils

Adjust above command to your distro's package manager. You can use this guide if you're stuck.

Next, encrypt your user account. Replace yourusername with your username:

sudo ecryptfs-migrate-home –u yourusername

You can encrypt multiple user accounts by running the above command several times.

After, enter a passphrase to encrypt your new home folder:


Ensure you remember your passphrase. It's best to store it in a password manager. I recommend setting it to the same as your login password.

Reboot your system. Verify you can login to your user account. Check that everything is working.

Remove your local backup (typically stored as yourusername.random_letters). For instance, ecrypt-fs will store a local backup of user in user.iLvpQs.

sudo rm -r yourusername.random_letters

Verify Home Folder is Encrypted

Enter this command:

mount | grep yourusername

If you see something along the lines of .ecryptfs and yourusername, your home folder is encrypted.

You can also check ~/.Private for ecryptfs.

Hello everyone. This is a quick update. I have noticed that posting on Fridays is going to be difficult with my current schedule. I will now post every Saturday from now on. All posts will continue as normal.

Thank you.

Warning: Neither this summary nor this book should not be treated as legal advice. Rather, this book explains how United States copyright law generally works and the debates surrounding copyright (which this summary does not get into). It does not include anything related to copyright such as trademarks or patents. Please consult a real lawyer before making any legal decisions.

Copyright means that authors are the only people who may:

  1. copy
  2. distribute
  3. make “derivative works” (i.e. translations, movie versions, etc.). This also includes improvements.
  4. publicly perform and display their work.

Rights are transferable. Recipients may defend their copyrights (even from original authors). If there is more than one author for a particular work, each party gets an equal share and may choose to give rights to whomever they want regardless of who did more.

Copyright puts public benefit before authors. It only protects works with creative expression, not functional works. Works must be “original” and recorded on anything that can be access content later (i.e. writing, documents, recordings, etc.). Copyright automatically applies once work has been recorded. It will last 70 years after the author's death.

  • Patents protect functional works with a 20 year monopoly
  • Trademarks identify the source of a good or service
  • Neither of the listed items are the same as copyright.

Copyright is not property. Therefore, it is not protected by the Constitution. Copyright may also restrict free speech to prevent infringement. You can still copy ideas, but change its expression to spread a message. Copyright only protects expressions, not ideas. For instance, you can talk about communism without copying straight from The Communist Manifesto.

There are ways to bypass copyright. Fair use allows you to use work as long as there is “transformative use.” Transformative means using work for different expression. Statutory licenses allow users to use work with no permission from the owner. A “fair” rate must be set for the owner.

It is very cumbersome with all the licenses, rights, transfers, and legal-talk that make up copyright. Examples include music licensing and orphan works (work that might be copyrighted, but no one knows; you can get sued for using orphan works.).

There are many debates over technology and how it should be used with respect to copyright. There are many sides and many issues to tackle with. Unfortunately, reform will be difficult because there will always be someone who loses out.

Further complicating copyright is the fact that copyright industries and authors may choose not to sue for certain infringing works. This may be because the infringing works provide them benefit. They may choose to sue at any time, however.

Tags: #book

Productivity is made up of systems that you build over time. It should fit your needs. Note, there are many different ways to approach productivity. This article shows one way to approach it. It also serves as a stepping stone into productivity.

Before starting, I have one warning: it is possible that you may end up investing too much in being more productive than what it's worth. For example, if you spend 2 hours making something that only saves you 1 hour, you will have wasted 1 hour in total. Just like with everything, productivity has diminishing marginal utility. As you invest more effort, benefits become smaller over time.

Table of contents


Planning is about managing your limited time and energy. It ensures that they are put into things that matter.

You should also figure out what the most important things to you are. Once you've figured them out, do the most important stuff first.

Some planning tips: 1. Always give yourself more than enough time to do something. 2. Anticipate setbacks. Have a Plan B (or C). 3. Single-task. Do one thing at a time. That one thing can be something that helps you achieve more than one goal (similar to killing 2 birds with 1 stone). 4. Time block events. That means placing an event on your calendar and sticking to it.

Tasks should be sorted based on 3 categories: 1. Due date (items past due or due soon take precedence) 2. Priority (higher priority takes precedence) 3. Effort (harder items take precedence)


Organization rests on 2 principles: externalization and categorization.


We live in an era where there is too much information. This information overload makes it easy to forget simple things such as where you put your car keys. The fact is, your brain was never built for efficient memory storage. If you forget things, it is biology's fault, not yours. Remembering things requires energy, adds stress, and is far from perfect. Moreover, we are prone to forgetting the chaos that goes on inside our minds.

Externalize your thinking with tools such as calendars, to-do lists, and notes. Any tool works so long as it puts your thinking into something that you can go back and read later. At no point should your brain have to burden itself with the ideas, obligations, and information.

“Your brain is for having ideas, not holding them.” — David Allen


Making categories is simple. In The Organized Mind, Levitin suggests 3 different ways to categorize: 1. Gross (put all pencils together) or fine (separate pencils by lead, color, eraser, etc.) appearance. 2. Functional appearance: things that do the same thing (i.e. pencil with paper) 3. Particular situations (i.e. emergency items, first-aid kit, travel bag, school bag)

He also gives 3 rules for categories: 1. It is better to have unlabeled items/locations than mislabeled items/locations. 2. If there is an existing standard, use it. 3. Don't keep what you can't use (minimalism in a nutshell).

In the end, the categories you choose must work for you. They should be easy-to-understand.

Another simple tip: put it back where you found it.


This category is about making your work easy and enjoyable.

Figure out the type of work you enjoy most. Find commonalities between them. This determines how you should work.

Make your environment more conducive to work. Some examples include eliminating distractions (i.e. phones, noise, using blockers) or listening to music.

Outsource any boring, tedious tasks you have to someone else (who would find it interesting or is more skilled) or to a program. If possible, automate your work.

If you are unable to outsource or automate, make your work more “fun.” This might mean adjusting the difficulty, approaching it with a different mindset. For instance, you can say that you “get to” do something as opposed to “have to.”


Every once in a while when working, take a rest. Rest is productive. Small, intermittent breaks help you stay focused for longer while working. During your break, feel free to do whatever makes you feel rested.

Also, consider doing things that are fun and make your mind or body work (i.e. hobbies, side projects, exercise, etc.). When you invest energy into fun, you ironically get energy back. Hence, it takes energy to make energy.

Another thing to note: if you are struggling to meet with your current demands, scale back. You can't do everything nor should you try to. Instead, refer to Planning and prioritize important items first.


Resource list for productivity advice.

It seems that everyone really wants your email address nowadays. However, certain people just want to flood your inbox with pointless emails. Not to mention, carelessly handing our your email harms your privacy and security. If your email is involved in multiple breaches (or its address is sold), someone could link your online accounts and activities together. This makes it easier for them to stalk or hack you. You can prevent this by using the following workarounds.

Table of Contents

Plus-Addressed Email

I don't recommend this method for most people. The reason why is because your real email is still exposed. On the other hand, it is good for organizing email.

This method involves putting a + after your real email address. [email protected] will still forward to [email protected] One benefit for doing this is if you happen to have a folder named garble, any emails sent to [email protected] will be sent to that folder, not the inbox. It keeps email organized when you sign up for something.

Some email providers (such as Gmail) allow you to put dots in your email. They are still forwarded to your inbox. These dots do the same thing as plus-addressed email.

Any competent marketer or spammer would know how to remove the garble after + and send it straight to your inbox.

Temporary Email

Temporary email sites allow you to create a quick disposable email that later gets destroyed. Do not trust these sites if you are planning to sign up for something that requires high-security (like a bank).

Some temporary email sites you can use include: –

Email Aliases

Email aliases are addresses that send and receive emails on your behalf. – receiving: sender –> alias –> you – sending: you –> alias –> sender

The other person never knows your real email. If they start spamming your alias, disable the alias and you will no longer receive emails from them. Some email services already have this feature incorporated. Alternatively, you can use SimpleLogin or AnonAddy.

One problem you may encounter with aliases is that sending and receiving from them can be hard to learn at first. Another problem is if you are using a 3rd party service, you are trusting another company handles your emails responsibly. Furthermore, if the company goes down, you cannot send or receive email through your alias.

Catch All Domains

In rare cases, you may find yourself unable to go to your favorite temporary email site. This might happen if you're in line, and a cashier asks you for your email. Instead of providing your real email address, you can provide them with a catch-all domain.

The following catch-all domains are similar to the other temporary emails. You can put anything before the “@,” and the domain will automatically receive any email that gets forwarded to that address. For instance, if I told you to email me at [email protected], the email would end up in that address's inbox.

Domain Website (they have 10 other domains you can use)

Certain sites may block these domains because they know that no one will ever check them. One solution is to create your own domain and make it a catch-all domain. Domains typically start at around 10 USD per year.

English spelling is phonetically inconsistent. One letter (or set of letters) can represent multiple sounds (such as C in cup or cellar). What's more, the same set of letters can have different pronunciations as seen in this quote:

“English can be weird. It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.” — David Burge.

The above words all have “ough,” yet most are pronounced different (except for thorough and though because they rhyme).

This creates problems for English learners and natives. No one knows how to pronounce a word until they've heard its pronunciation. To fix this, each letter should be assigned to one specific sound. Each letter in this table corresponds to a sound in American English.

Letter IPA Example
a æ Ask
b b Bet
c Chicken
d d Deal
e e Elephant
ə ə About
f f Far
g g Go
h h How
i i Even
j j Yell
k k Kite
l l Lean
m m Me
n n No
o ɔ, ɑ All, October
p p Pat
r ɹ Red
s s Some
t t To
u u Hoot
v v Van
y ɪ In
z z Zebra
- ʔ Kitten (but t is glottalized as heard in this audio clip)

Unfortunately, some sounds require more than 1 letter. Making up new letters would complicate things. Using 2 letters to represent a sound should suffice.

Letters IPA Example
ai I
au Loud
dzh Just
ei Ate
ng ŋ Long
oi ɔɪ Oil
ou Low
sh ʃ Shut
th θ, ð Three, There
zh ʒ Genre

The benefit with this approach is that almost every letter in the above tables can be typed using current keyboards in English-speaking countries. The only exception is “ə.”

This alphabet system removes Q, W, and X because each letter creates a sound that can be replaced by the letters in the table. Q becomes K, W becomes U, X becomes KS or Z. This makes the alphabet 24 letters long (because Ə was added). Ə and other letters could replace these letters on the keyboard.



An Ox came down to a reedy pool to drink. As he splashed heavily into the water, he crushed a young Frog into the mud.

The old Frog soon missed the little one and asked his brothers and sisters what had become of him.

“A great big monster,” said one of them, “stepped on little brother with one of his huge feet!”

“Big, was he!” said the old Frog, puffing herself up. “Was he as big as this?”

“Oh, much bigger!” they cried.

The Frog puffed up still more.

“He could not have been bigger than this,” she said. But the little Frogs all declared that the monster was much, much bigger and the old Frog kept puffing herself out more and more until, all at once, she burst.

Moral: Do not attempt the impossible.


En Oks keim daun tu ei ridi pul tu dzhringk. Az hi splashd hevyli intu thə wodr, hi krəshd ei jəng Frog intu thə məd.

Thi old Frog sun mysd thə lydl uən and askd hyz brəthrz and systrz wət had bikəm əv hym.

“Ə greit byg monstr,” sed uən əv them, “stept on lydl brəthr wyth uən əv hyz hjudzh fit!”

“Byg, wəz hi!” sed thi old Frog, pəfyng hrself əp. “Wəz hi az byg az thys?”

“Ou, məc bygr,” thei kraid.

Thə Frog pəfd əp styl mor.

“Hi kəd not hav byn bygr than thys,” shi sed. Bət thə lydəl Frogs ol diklerd that thə monstr wəz məc, məc bygr and thi old Frog kept hrself pəfyng aut mor and mor əntyl, ol at uəns, shi brst.

Morəl: Du not ətempt thi ymposybol.

One thing to note: spelling for some words did not change. Examples include not, old, and that.


The main problem with spelling words phonetically is the inconsistent pronunciations seen in English. Secretary is a good example. In American English, it would be spelt as “sekrəteri”. However, in British English, the word would be spelt as “sekrəcri”. While small, these differences add up quickly because many words are pronounced differently in both forms of English. Accents and regional variations only exacerbate this problem.

Potential changes to a word's pronunciation are also problematic. This may mean that changes to spelling are required periodically. An example of this is “kitten.” Normally, it is pronounced “kɪtən” (kytən). However, t-glottalization (dropping t) is becoming more popular. Some people may pronounce it as “kɪʔən” (ky-ən).

This post is primarily targeted towards those living in countries that don't use Celsius yet.

Why Use Celsius

Celsius is the international standard. It is used in almost every country except for the United States and her territories, Liberia, and some Caribbean countries. Standardizing how we measure temperature (and other measurements) helps avoid confusion.

Celsius also works logically with other measurements. To quote John Bazell:

“In metric, one milliliter of water occupies one cubic centimeter, weighs one gram, and requires one calorie of energy to heat up by one degree centigrade—which is 1 percent of the difference between its freezing point and its boiling point.”

Imperial measurements do not work so seamlessly.

Celsius is also used heavily in science. Unfortunately, people living in countries that use Fahrenheit must learn both it and Celsius for their science classes. Needlessly having to learn 2 systems that do the same exact thing is inefficient.

Converting to Celsius will also help countries like the US to switch to metric. In fact, conversion errors costed the US a USD 125 million dollar Martian probe! Switching to Celsius would help prevent such errors.


Rather than convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius (which introduces unnecessary math), it is far better to associate a number with a feeling. You can use this table as reference. It should only be used when reading weather temperatures.

°C Feeling °F
Below 0 🧊 Very cold. Get thick clothes. The lower, the more you might need Below 32
0-9 ❄️ Cold. Wear a jacket. 32-49
10-14 🧥 Relatively cold. I recommend wearing a jacket, but some people are used to these temperatures. 50-59
15-19 🟦 Cool. You don't really need a jacket, but some people might want one. 59-67
20-24 🟩 Ideal temperature, especially for t-shirts and shorts 68-76
25-29 🟨 Warm, but not hot. You will start sweating if you are overexerting yourself. 77-85
30-34 🟧 Hot. It is easy to sweat. 86-94
35-40 🟥 Very hot. 94-104
Over 40 🔥 Excruciating. Over 104

How to Start

Switch all temperature reading services (such as weather) to Celsius. This is as easy as looking up “how to switch {x} to Celsius.”

Get the book here.

Table of Contents

Main Points

  1. > “The business of life is the acquisition of memories.” – Carson
  2. Too many people save too much and then die with too much money in their bank accounts. It is a waste of one's time when they die with a million in the bank. That's $1 million of experiences they miss out on and hours of their life wasted at work.
  3. Invest in experiences; the earlier the better. They give out “memory dividends.”
    • If you invest too late, you may not have the health to enjoy them
  4. Balance the present with the future
  5. Give money to others when they need it most. This usually means now, not later.


  1. Maximize your positive life experiences.
  2. Invest in experiences early.
  3. Aim to die with zero.
  4. Use all available tools to help you die with zero.
  5. Give money to children or charity when it has the most impact.
  6. Don't live your life on autopilot.
  7. Think of life as distinct seasons.
  8. Know when to stop growing wealth.
  9. Take the biggest risks when you have little to lose.

Chapter 1: Optimize Your Life

Rule 1: Maximize your positive life experiences.

Some people delay gratification for too long. Don't live like you live forever.

Certain experiences we can have disappear over time either due to physical limitations or changing tastes in what we like. For instance, when we grow too old, we can no longer enjoy the kiddie pool again. It is important to have the right experience at every age.

Money is converted into enjoyable experiences. Not all experiences have to cost money. Choose your experiences deliberately because they earn certain amounts of memory dividends. The earlier you invest in experiences, the more memory dividends you will have.

Chapter 2: Invest in Experiences

Rule 2: Invest in experiences early.

“The business of life is the acquisition of memories.” – Carson #quote #life #economics #memories

“You retire on your memories.” – Perkins #quote #life #memories

Balance the future with the present.

Investing into experiences is a good long-term investment. Anytime you remember an experience, that itself gives you more experiences from reliving the original experience.

It pays to invest early. Think about what experiences to invest in, when to invest, and the risk of not having them.

Another reason to invest early is because the number of experiences we can enjoy goes down with age.

Be careful not to use money you don't have.

Chapter 3: Why Die with Zero?

Rule 3: Aim to die with zero.

If you die with money in the bank, it's like working for free.

Instead of trying to reach zero before you die, aim to have as little unused money when you do die.

Even if you love your job, it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy using your money. Identify ways to spend money on activities you enjoy that will fit your work schedule. Money you give to charity and kids is not your money anymore. It also helps to give to both parties as soon as possible.

Net worth goes up as people get older. Yet, their overall expenses goes down with age, even when accounting for healthcare costs. As time drags on, the number of things people can do goes down because their health deteriorates.

Chapter 3 Notes

Brewster's Millions problem: you make so much money that you can't spend it all.

Chapter 4: How to Spend Your Money (without actually hitting 0 before you die)

Rule 4: Use all available tools to help you die with zero.

Use life expectancy calculators.

Life insurance protects you if you die too young. Annuities protect you if you die too old (outliving your money). Aim to withdraw 4% of your savings every year. – Life insurance: provides loved ones financial support if you die – Annuities: guarantees a fixed monthly amount until you die

You are not a good insurance agent because you cannot pool risk.

Aggressively spend on experiences during your golden years. At the same time, balance living presently with future planning.

Avoiding death is often people's number 1 goal. Some are willing to give up years of their healthy lives to live a few more weeks sick.

Chapter 5: What About the Kids?

Rule 5: Give money to children or charity when it has the most impact.

“Die with zero” sounds selfish. However, you're money is taken no matter what. Just because you give it to charity or kids after you die doesn't make you selfish. The only money you need after you die is money for a funeral.

Give money to children when they need it most, not at 60 (the median age of inheritance). The most optimum ages are 26-35. That is when people are still healthy, but less risky with their wealth.

You can build memory dividends in yourself and your kids. Positive memory dividends are very beneficial to children later in life.

With charity, the earlier the better. The sooner you relieve suffering, the more your kindness will compound.

Chapter 6: Balance Your Life

Rule 6: Don't live your life on autopilot.

Strike a balance between present spending and future savings. If you know your income will rise, it's OK to spend a bit more in the present. Ensure your spending does not go overboard. With age, money's utility goes down

Invest in health. Health declines after late teens and 20s. Because of this, we start to derive less enjoyment from physical activity. Good health maintenance leads to a less steep decline.

To get the most out of life, people need to balance health, money, and time. It is rare to have all 3 in life. It is important to note however, that no amount of money makes up for good health. You can also trade money for time.

Chapter 6 Notes

  • following plan recommended for some:
    • little savings in early 20s
    • gradual ramp up in late 20s and 30s
    • peak at 20% in 40s
    • slow down savings until expenditure > savings

Chapter 7: Start to Time-Bucket Your Life

Rule 7: Think of life as distinct seasons.

We will all do something one last time and not realize it. We will do it for the last time and not much fanfare will happen. When we do something for the last time, a small part of ourselves die.

The 2 biggest regrets in life are: 1. Not having the courage to live true to one's self 2. Working too hard to make a living

Make time buckets. 1. Draw timeline from now to death 2. Divide your life into 5 or 10 year intervals 3. Place items into specific buckets

Some experiences will be more flexible than others. It is ideal to have most (time-sensitive) experiences at peak health and before parenthood.

Chapter 8: Know Your Peak

Rule 8: Know when to stop growing wealth.

Invest in experiences that yield long-lasting memories. In particular, increase spending during your golden years.

Find your net worth peak date deliberately. Note, it should be a date not a number. It is much easier to put off a number and to be less satiated by it. Your net worth peak should be somewhere between 45 and 60. If you want to keep working, even past your net worth peak date, ensure you ramp up spending or consider cutting back work hours.

Once you near your net worth peak, re-bucket your life.

Meeting the minimum threshold means ensuring you've saved enough to survive without any other income. Once you've meet the minimum threshold, you can start thinking about your net worth peak. – minimum threshold = annual living cost * number of years expected to live – likely less if you invest your money – if concerned the minimum threshold won't last, downsize, reverse mortgage, and annuities are options to consider

Chapter 9: Be Bold — Not Foolish

Rule 9: Take the biggest risks when you have little to lose.

When you have little to lose, upsides > downsides. Therefore, it is important to take more risks. In fact, it can be riskier not to engage in risk! This is especially true when you are young. – oftentimes, downsides are not as bad as you think. – Fear takes the actual risk and blows it out of proportion. Don't let irrational fears get in the way

Even when things go badly, you can still course-correct. Don't underestimate the risk of inaction.


Aiming to die with 0 ensures you get more out of life. You won't get it perfectly, but it's good enough that you're moving in the right direction.


There's an app. It is available here. They are mere calculations, so don't take it at face value.

Tags: #book-summary

Table of Contents

There is a lot of entertaining content on YouTube. Sometimes it can be hard keep up with your favorite YouTubers. Or, maybe you want to watch more content in less time.


Instead of relying on YouTube's algorithm to tell you when someone uploads, use RSS readers. RSS fetches content and serves it right to you. A great FOSS (free and open source) RSS reader is CommaFeed.

RSS readers are a great, privacy-respecting alternative to YouTube's traditional subscription feature. In fact, it is better than YouTube's feature because you can subscribe to content creators outside of YouTube.

RSS feeds on YouTube are in the following format:{channel_id}

where {channel_id} is the channel's ID. You cannot put custom YouTube IDs here.

Finding a YouTube Channel's RSS Feed

  1. Look for the source code. Neatnik will help you view the source code if you do not know how to.
  2. Hit Ctrl + F (or Command + F) and look for rssUrl. The URL after the colon for rssUrl is the RSS feed for that YouTube channel.
  3. Copy that URL and paste it into your favorite RSS reader.

The highlighted part is the URL you want to copy.

Custom YouTube ID

Reading this section is not required for RSS.

One custom YouTube ID example is Pewdiepie. His channel URL is: “PewDiePie” is not his channel ID. It is his custom ID. His channel ID can be found by looking in the source code.

Watching at Higher Speeds

The most obvious tip is to just raise the video speed. Normally, I would recommend people to raise it to 1.1x speed as it's difficult to tell the speed increase. Unfortunately, YouTube has no such option, so it is best to raise it to 1.25x and slowly increase the speed from there.

I will give you with one warning. Watching at higher speeds may diminish the overall viewing experience. It may also make it more difficult to consume content at 1x speed because it will feel slow.

Calculating How Much Time You Will Save

Watching at higher speeds will allow you to save a lot of time. You can calculate that by:

  1. Turning your desired speed into a fraction
  2. Finding the reciprocal of that fraction (flip the numerator and denominator)
  3. Multiplying by how many seconds long a video is
  4. Subtract the total length of the video by the answer you got in #3.


  1. 1.25 = 5/4
  2. 5/4 >> 4/5
  3. 60 * 4/5 = 48. 60 – 48 = 12. Therefore, you save 12 seconds for every minute you watch at 1.25x speed.

Adblock and SponsorBlock

Adblockers block time-wasting ads. I recommend you leave it on by default, but turn it off for creators you want to support. A good adblocker is UBlock Origin. Its default settings are enough for most users. Mobile users should download the Brave browser to block ads.

Note, blocking ads may break Google's Terms of Service and could lead to account termination (though it's very rare). To avoid this, you can buy YouTube Premium.

SponsorBlock skips sponsored segments of a video automatically instead of having to exert effort to skip the video yourself. Blocked segments are contributed by the community.

Download Videos

Downloading videos may break Google's Terms of Service. Moreover, downloading videos could technically be considered piracy and may lead to legal consequences. To avoid this, buying YouTube Premium will allow you to download videos for offline use.

That said, why download videos? Sometimes you want to consume content offline. Another reason is that YouTube can occasionally be slow (especially if you have a terrible Wi-Fi connection). Downloading videos ahead of time will allow you to view them later at your own leisure.

Tags: #productivity #entertainment

Table of Contents

You've likely heard about how Linux is superior to Windows or Mac, and you want to try it out yourself. If you have not, it typically boils down to privacy, security, reliability, customization, open-source, efficiency, and convenience.

Linux is not one operating system. It is made up of hundreds of distributions that each have specific use cases. It may seem like a terrifying decision because there are so many options. However, it is possible to narrow them down.

Your Use Case

The first thing to consider is your use case. What will you be doing with Linux? How much effort are you willing to expend to get it working? Certain distributions (versions of Linux) require more work to setup and maintain. Different use cases may also require more setup and maintenance work.

Do you prefer stability, or do you want the latest and greatest? Most novice users will likely want stability.

Linux Distributions (distros)

You can use this quiz to determine potential distributions (distros) to use. It takes into account various different factors and recommends distros that you might want. After, you can test that distribution in a web browser here. Be sure to do some research on the distribution and see if it aligns with what you need.

Consider your hardware. Does your computer meet the minimum requirements?

Desktop Environments (DE)

A desktop environment is the user interface that allows you to navigate the operating system. There are a ton out there. Many distributions ship with different desktop environments. You can read about different desktop environments here.

Each desktop environment also has different use cases.


If you're unsure with what to choose, some great beginner distros include:

  • Linux Mint
  • Elementary OS
  • Pop!_OS
  • Zorin OS
  • Manjaro: based on Arch. This may require more tinkering to set up and maintain.

Alternatively, use this quiz.

Ensure you do your own research first. Your needs matter more than a recommendation from some random blogger.

Problems You May Encounter When Using Linux

One common problem novices run into are programs. The sad reality about Linux is that it is difficult to get Windows programs running on it. There are programs on Linux that run similar to their Windows counterparts that you could try slowly switching over. For instance, you could replace Microsoft Office with OnlyOffice. Solutions like Wine exist, but they can be difficult for new users to use. One solution is to dual boot Windows and Linux. This means that your computer has 2 operating systems at the same time, and you get to choose which to boot into. It is a good compromise if you want the best of both worlds. The Installing Linux section will show you how to dual boot.

Another problem you may run into is the terminal. Technically, you don't need to know the terminal to use Linux, but it is very handy. The terminal is practically a Swiss Army knife; you can do almost anything with it. Unfortunately, its convenience means that Linux programs often require you to download from the terminal. Sure, you could copy and paste commands, however you're trusting a random person at that point. If you don't know what you're doing you could potentially damage your system. Learning a few helpful commands will make your transition to Linux easier.

Installing Linux


This YouTube video explains the installation process clearly.

As a general TLDR: 1. Get a USB. 2. Download the ISO file for your desired distro. 3. Flash the ISO file onto your USB. Use balenaEtcher (more user-friendly) or Rufus. 4. Once flashing is done, turn off your computer. 5. Ensure your flashed USB is plugged in. 6. Load your computer's boot options screen by pressing one of the function keys (F1, F2, etc.) or Esc. Keys differ for different models, but a useful table can be found here 7. When you're in the BIOS, set your USB to be first in the boot order. Disable Secure Boot. 8. Turn the computer back on. Ensure you have booted into your USB. 9. Go through install process. – At some point you will need to partition the system. You can choose to wipe the whole drive (which will erase all your data!), or you can manually set aside some free space for your operating system. – If you want to dual boot, you will want to choose the latter option. To dual boot: 1. Set aside space for your new operating system by resizing or deleting partitions. 2. Create a new partition for your new operating system. 3. Assign that partition. I recommend you create 2 partitions: one as / (root) and one as /home. It makes it easier to distrohop (switch between Linux distros). 10. Reboot. Remove USB. 11. Log into your new system

Configuring Linux

After, you will need to do some configuration in your new system. The most important are setting your mirrors (servers where you will download updates), updating, and downloading any programs, drivers, etc. that you need on Linux. Congratulations, you now have a functional system! At this point, you can go to other online guides, and complete their “After Installing {x} Distribution” (where x is your distribution).


  • Linux distribution: different versions of Linux
  • distro: short for “distribution.”
  • distrohop: switching between different Linux distros