Migrating from KeePass to 1Password

An image of the KeePass and 1Password logos, with an arrow pointing from KeePass to the stylised "o" in 1Password

I’ve been using KeePass for my password management needs since early 2014, but I recently decided that I wanted to move to something a bit more substantial. KeePass is an excellent (open source!) piece of software, but since it stores passwords in a single database file the only way that I could really sync it between multiple computers and my phone was to store that file… in Dropbox.

Yeah, as you can imagine that’s not a great solution.

Anyway, I wanted to move over to 1Password but when I tried searching for “Migrate KeePass to 1Password” I kept seeing references to 3rd party scripts I’d need to use to convert my exported data (no thanks) or that it would require a bunch of manual data entry. After giving it a go though, I can tell you it was actually ridiculously easy and straightforward and didn’t require any external tools or scripts! As such, I decided to put together this step-by-step tutorial for migrating your data from KeePass to 1Password!

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So You Want to Run Azure Functions Using .NET 5

I’ve spent the last couple of evenings trying to get a set of Azure Functions migrated from .NET Core 3.1 to .NET 5 so that I can play around with some of the nice new syntax options, nullable contexts and the like. Since .NET 5 has officially been released, it would be justifiable to believe that it would be well supported across the core Microsoft product catalogue, such as in… say… Azure Functions?

Ha! You’re a funny one.

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There Is No Such Thing as a New Idea, and That’s Ok!

A lightbulb laying on a chalkboard, with a thought bubble drawn around it in chalk

Mark Twain once wrote that “there is no such thing as a new idea” and quite frankly I’m starting to agree with him.

I’ve spent the last month or so actively trying to come up with some ideas for projects/ blog posts to work on that would be interesting and useful. The issue I’ve run into is that almost every time I come up with something, I give it a quick search only to find out that it’s already been done (sometimes many times over). That means another idea goes on the pile to be abandoned since “there’s no point in doing it anymore I guess”.

Well that’s not a fun feeling to have.

Changing Host Key Algorithm in SSH.NET

I’ve used SSH.NET a lot over the years to send and receive files using SFTP and it’s a very flexible and practical library, but the documentation can be a bit thin on the ground when you’re looking to use some of the more esoteric features it has.

As an example, I recently ran into an issue where I was connecting to a remote server and the host fingerprint I was receiving through SSH.NET didn’t match the one that I expected to see (and could see in WinSCP). After verifying that I was using the same connection settings on both and more than a little spelunking through the SSH.NET source code I found that by default the host key algorithms used by the stable release of SSH.NET that I was on (2016.1.0) are RSA and DSA, while WinSCP uses Ed25519. For my purposes I needed to use Ed25519 in SSH.NET as well even though the SFTP host also supported these other algorithms.

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SoundFloored: Open Source Soundboard Pedal (Part 4 – Final Implementation)

The top of the SoundFloored pedal. It is held together by various cross-head bolts and has six footswitches embedded in the top, with four along the close long edge and two along the far long edge (with a screen embedded in the lid between them)

This is the fourth and final post in a series about designing and creating SoundFloored, an open source soundboard pedal! Check out the other posts in the series:


So SoundFloored is now working just like I wanted it to with buttons and a screen, but the current build isn’t exactly what I would call robust. As such, the final part of the build involves moving what I’ve built so far into a more permanent home, one that can withstand the rigours of live performance and is far more practical to move around.

Building the Box

Design

Based on some preliminary research on the minimum usable distance between footswitches, I decided to keep them 7cm apart from each other to ensure good clearance. I also thought to leave a 3.5cm gap between the switches and the edge of the pedal since I didn’t need as large of a gap but still wanted the numbers to map out in a simple way.

Since there were going to be four footswitches across the length of the pedal, it would need to be 28cm long (3 x 7cm for the gaps between each switch, plus 2 x 3.5cm for the gaps between the outer switches and the edge). Similar maths for the two footswitches going across the width of the pedal gives us 14cm (7cm for the gap plus 2 x 3.5cm for the edges).

I wanted to find something with these dimensions (or near enough) that I could use to house everything, so I started by looking at “project boxes” (plastic boxes designed for maker projects like this). Unfortunately, the largest project box I could easily order was barely half the size that I needed and I wasn’t interested in putting in a custom order to create one. The only option left at this point was to build something myself!

I figured that wood would be the best material for this project; although not the traditional material for a pedal, I could make it pretty much whatever size I wanted, it’s readily available, cheap and I already have some basic experience in woodworking.

At this point even though I had the dimensions I wanted to get a better perspective of how big the pedal was going to be before I started building anything. Mediocre arts and crafts to the rescue!

Continue reading “SoundFloored: Open Source Soundboard Pedal (Part 4 – Final Implementation)”

SoundFloored: Open Source Soundboard Pedal (Part 3 – Breadboard Implementation)

A Raspberry Pi connected to a breadboard with various wires. The breadboard has a screen on it that says "Memes" on the first row and "RS: STOP" on the second

This is the third post in a series about designing and creating SoundFloored, an open source soundboard pedal! Check out the other posts in the series:


So this project has really been gaining some steam! I’ve figured out the design and managed to get a software implementation with two separate interfaces. Now though, I’m entering uncharted territory; the world of hardware electronics.

Now I say uncharted territory, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’ve previously watched a Pluralsight course called something like “Introduction to Electronics” or “Electronics Fundamentals”, although it’s also worth mentioning that I remember approximately 5% of the content. Actually, one of the few things I did remember was how a breadboard works, which is a place to start at least!

Preparation

So although I’ve owned a number of Raspberry Pis over the years and have a lot of HATs/pHATs to go with them, I’ve never ventured far enough into the hardware electronics side of things to have bought any components. As such, I ordered a pretty generic looking “Electronics Fun Kit” that had pretty much everything I might need for this project; a breadboard, wires (especially wires that I could use to connect the Pi directly to the breadboard), buttons, LEDs, resistors etc. I’m sure there are higher quality components out there, but since this is all for prototyping I decided that in this case cheap and cheerful was what I was looking for.

An ELEGOO Electronics Fun Kit, which is comprised of a cardboard box and various electronics components such as wires, buttons, capacitors, resistors etc.
Continue reading “SoundFloored: Open Source Soundboard Pedal (Part 3 – Breadboard Implementation)”

SoundFloored: Open Source Soundboard Pedal (Part 2 – Software Implementation)

A diagram of the SoundFloored Architecture. There is one long red box at the bottom with the text "PyGame" inside. Above that is a single green box that says "SoundFloored Logic", with three seperate side-by-side blue boxes above it that say "Raspberry Pi", "Gui" and "Keyboard" respectively.

This is the second post in a series about designing and creating SoundFloored, an open source soundboard pedal! Check out the other posts in the series:


So now that I’ve prepared what I can, it’s now the step that can often derail the whole project: implementation.

For context the “Plan” section of this post was written before I started writing any code and “Implementation” was written shortly after I’d put the first version together.

Plan

I know, I know, I’ve already done the planning in the first part, “when are you actually going to start writing code“?

Well, except for tiny projects (usually single file, one-off scripts) I like to spend some time considering how the different parts will interact. The reasoning is that as soon as you start working with multiple modules and classes you’ve really got to consider how the parts will hang together, including what should “own” which parts of the logic, what the different interfaces should be and how the code should be laid out.

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SoundFloored: Open Source Soundboard Pedal (Part 1 – Planning)

This is the first post in a series about designing and creating SoundFloored, an open source soundboard pedal! Check out the other posts in the series:


So I’m a guitarist in a band (shout-out to #DemocracyManifest). Not a particularly good guitarist, but nonetheless it’s a whole lot of fun and a great excuse to hang out with some friends for our weekly practice.

One of the issues that we have is that there are only three of us in the band; a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer. This is the dream when it comes to planning practices, but we’ve always had trouble with feeling our sound is “full” enough since a lot of the songs we cover have way more instruments and numerous subtle elements like small synth riffs, choir aahs and audio clips that we can’t really replicate in any appreciable way while trying to also play our instruments.

So “hey” I thought, “let’s try to over-engineer build something that can”!

Continue reading “SoundFloored: Open Source Soundboard Pedal (Part 1 – Planning)”

The 2020 Twitter Account Takeovers and How They Were Different

A hand holding an iOS device. The device has an app folder open called "Social Networks" with various social network apps visible

The recent Twitter account takeovers that are all over the news right now are yet another entry in the long list of hacks, exploits and security problems that have hit major social media platforms over the years, but this particular attack was different and really piqued my interest. There’s a few reasons for that.

First of all, the number of incredibly popular accounts that were hit (on one of the biggest social media platforms in the world) is absolutely mind-boggling. These sort of takeover attacks have happened plenty of times before, but usually on a far smaller, much more targeted scale (such as the SIM swap attack that hit Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in 2019 for example). In yesterday’s case, these attackers managed to take over the accounts of some of the biggest companies and some of the richest people in the world on a scale I’ve personally not seen before.

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Working from Home in the Age of Lockdown

A kitchen table with a laptop on the left and a large external screen on the right. A keyboard and mouse are visible in the foreground, with a large Sports Direct mug on the right and a pair of over-ear headphones charging in the centre

Important context/timeline for this post: I live in Guernsey, which went into a full lockdown at the end of March (although I started working from home about a week before that occurred). Lockdown was slowly lifted in phases which meant increasing ability to go out and see other people, with things largely returning to something resembling normal (being able to go out to shops, see friends casually etc.) around phase 4 (end of May).


If I’ve done this right this post should be published on the first day that I’m back in the office since this global pandemic started, which by my calculation means that I’ve been working from home for the last 16 weeks(?!). While it’s been a tough experience overall, I’ve learned a lot from it and wanted to get some of those thoughts out of my head and into a post.

Flexible hours were a game changer

One of the biggest and most notable changes when working from home was how flexible my hours became. Instead of trying to get into the office for a strict 09:00 start ever day, my schedule was based a lot more around what hours worked for me. Was I ready earlier than usual? I’d just jump online at 08:00 instead and finish earlier. Forgot to put on a load of washing? I’ll down tools for 10 minutes mid-morning and make that time up later on in the day. This is definitely something that is heavily dependent on/needs to be supported by your company, but I’m very lucky that the work I do is really flexible and that my manager is awfully accepting of my ever-changing work hours.

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