The Basics

The Nerdy Stuff

The Basics

Password Protection

Step one

Use a password manager.

Lastpass; F-secure; Abine Blur; keepass; Google Smart Lock; Just use something that allows you to securely store randomly generated password.

Step two

Use different(Complex, Long, and different from any other password) passwords for every website or service you use.

Step three

Use 2 factor authentication if possible. Google authenticator or Authy are the best options, SMS is not great due to many cases of targeted identity theft.

Web Browsers


Firefox is good too.

Brave is a newer company, based on Chrome, that is doing some nice things with blocking advertisements.

Browser plugins

Both browser plugin recommendations are provided by the EFF.

HTTPS everywhere does exactly that, it attempts HTTPS on every site you visit.

Privacy Badger blocks tracking and potentially malicious scripts on web pages.


Windows or Linux laptops

A great option for most people is the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54, they run around $700.

My next laptop may be a Dell XPS 6gen i7 512GB SSD 16GB RAM or Dell XPS 7gen i7 512GB SSD 16GB RAM. I never thought I would say those words with Dell… They have not been great computers in the past, but the XPS is one they seem to have built correctly and everyone that gets their hands on one loves it.

The Thinkpad T-series laptops have been great at my workplace, Reasonable price to durability.

I’d love to try a system 76 laptop, they have some nice specs and pre-installed linux!


If you are in the google ecosystem try a chromebook. They are cheap with great battery life and you can make them very secure without using antivirus software.

Mac Laptops

The Macbook Air is one of my favorites. They are small, sturdy, and fairly powerful.


The Intel NUC is pretty good for a lower to mid range PC. They are small and fairly powerful. Let me know if you would like to have one built for you, I’ve deployed dozens of them and they are all working great.

I’m sure there are many out there that are good. If you want something that can do more than the NUC, I recommend building a Desktop PC.


F-Secure is expensive, starting around $90/year for antivirus and VPN, but they have a good reputation.

HerdProtect is Not currently distributing their software. but I like the way their product works.

Kaspersky seems to be one of the leading “finders” of malicious things going on in the virus world.

Business Security solution

Carbon Black


I recommend ProtonVPN or Private Internet Access(PIA); Private internet access even allows relatively anonymous payment.

F-Secure does have a VPN option, good option if you go with the F-Secure Antivirus.


Chromecast over kindle fire. The Fire I had numerous issues with, the remote seemed like a nice idea, but streaming to it was flakey and frequent buffering made me put it in the donate pile. The Chromecast, on-the-other-hand, I’ve recently purchased the second version. And the original I use daily for music and streaming all sorts of video.

The Nerdy Stuff


I really think most people would be able to use linux without an issue. This was not the case 10 years ago, but I think the usability of linux is getting better every day.

If you…

are new to linux, Ubuntu or kubuntu is a great way to go. Easy to install, easy to learn, loads of information on the internet.

want a server, Cent OS is a great way to go, Long life time for each release and Updates are simple to schedule.

really want to learn linux roll with Arch Linux.

want the most up to date software, go with Manjaro, it’s based on Arch, but easy to install and update.

An fun distribution to try if you are mighty paranoid is QubesOS(“A reasonably secure operating system”). Each “Window” is a virtual machine that keeps the data separate from the other Windows. Qubes requires a powerful laptop/Desktop with a fair bit of memory. It can work on i5/4GB ram. Not well, but it works.


Vim is based on an old file editor called vi. It stands for vi iMproved. The basic idea is that you “should” be able to do most editing of a text file with out moving your fingers far from the home row on the keyboard.

e.g. ‘hjkl’ move you around an open text file. (left,down,up,right); ‘i’ allows for inserting text.

More to come…