Modifying my cheap guitar – Part II – The Appearance

Continuing to the first part, I will now tell about how I modified the look of my guitar. I considered doing swirl painting or buying a customized pickguard online, but none of those options got me excited.

The Pickguard

After some time thinking and incubating ideas I started the composition by picking trippy and psychedelic elements, being Alice in Wonderland a huge influence as well as the line “The rabbit is just a monkey in disguise” of the song Organ Grinder by Marilyn Manson.

Unfortunately, visual arts are not part of my skill set. I contacted a friend artist (Daniel de Carvalho) with the ideas and soon he started to present me some sketches. Some months and some drawings later he started to work on the pickguard.

He developed the art using acrylic paint and India ink. Check out more photos of the process and other works on his page, Daniel is a very experienced, talented and passionate professional.

Pickup Selector

While assembling the guitar pickguard with Daniel, we come up with the idea of a mushroom pickup selector. I really liked the concept and resolve to try it out.

I used a recipe of cold porcelain. To my surprise it’s a very cheap and easy to use material, I have some leftover and consider using it on other projects. I regret choosing nail polish for painting, it’s too thin and inconvenient to use.

Discoveries of the Month – November/2016

Wow! My second DotM post!
Turns out that the biggest discovery of this month is that NaNoWriMo is not easy at all. Next year I will prepare myself and try again.
Well, let’s get to the point of the post:

Web Development

Microjs: A selection of small footprint JavaScript micro-libraries and micro-frameworks for all sort of things.

Tech

PythonTutor: Visualize your code in execution, kinda like a debugger. It now has support to Python, Java, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby, C, and C++. Fun project and may help you understand how programming languages work.
Detexify: Struggling to find a symbol for LaTeX? Just draw it!

Music

Paranoia: Crossover/Thrash Metal band from the late eighties. They released just one album though.
Hellbenders: Stoner rock band from Goiânia/Brazil.
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult: Industrial rock band from the late eighties. Been listening to industrial since my teenage years and, strangely, never heard of them before.
Eloy: (German) Progressive Rock band. Underrated in my opinion.
Shackles: Death/Thrash Metal band perfect for headbangin’. It’s a shame they split up.
Electric OctopusPsychedelic/Jazz/Experimental… there is not enough genres to tag these guys.
Brunt: Instrumental stoner rock with a mix of trippy clean tones and heavy fuzz guitars.
Lee Van Cleef: (not to be confused with Lee Van Cleef) Psychedelic acid rock from Italy.
Sasquatch: Another stoner rock band. Great sound and they are really a bastardized version of GFR as they claim. Should be on the regular playlist of any fan of the genre.

YouTube Channels:

The Art of Weapons: An U.K. teenager run this channel since he was around 13 years old. Focused on crossbows and slingshots, but has a lot of DIY information for HDPE plastic, wood lathe and even forging aluminium.
Stoned Meadow of DoomChannel posting albums from underground stoner/sludge/doom bands. Some of the bands presented here I found on the channel.

Free SSL/TLS Certificates with Nginx and Let’s Encrypt

As you might have already noticed, I am now running this site with a SSL certificate provided by Let’s Encrypt. Formerly only enabled to another domain hosted here.

For those who don’t know Let’s Encrypt, it’s a free automated, and open certificate authority. You can literally have a SSL certificate on your hosting in minutes.

You can easily install it with the following instructions. Keep in mind that the instructions are for Ubuntu 14.04, so some steps may differ.

Install Let’s Encrypt client.

Download the script and make it executable:

cd /usr/local/sbin
sudo wget https://dl.eff.org/certbot-auto
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/sbin/certbot-auto

Check your package manager for letsencrypt. Ubuntu 16.04 already have it.

Obtain the certificate.

To generate the certificate the client will create a temporary file on your webroot. You need to allow the access to the file adding the following to your nginx server block configuration:

location ~ /.well-known {
                allow all;
        }

After that, restart your nginx and run the following command:

certbot-auto certonly -a webroot --webroot-path=/var/www/yourwebroot -d yourdomain.com -d www.yourdomain.com

Don’t forget to change your webroot-path and your domain. If needed, add any other sub domain after the -d yourdomain.com. At the prompt insert your e-mail and, after read, accept the agreement.

You will end up with a set of four .pem files.

Set up nginx with SSL.

Edit your nginx configuration file again, you may now remove that .well-knowmentioned earlier. Also remove the listen 80 portion.

listen 443 ssl;
#listen 80; 
server_name www.yourdomain.com yourdomain.com; 
ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomain.com/fullchain.pem; 
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomain.com/privkey.pem;

To redirect all your http traffic to https you should add this server block before the above:

server { 
    listen 80; 
    server_name www.yourdomain.com yourdomain.com; 
    return 301 https://$host$request_uri; 
}

Restart nginx again and test to make sure everything is working as expected.

Set up auto-renewal.

The certificate expires within 90 days, you can run the command certbot-auto renew to perform the renewal of the certificate. However, it will only renew if it’s 30 days away or less to expire. So you can create a cronjob to run every week without any problem.

Edit your crontab and insert the following entries:

30 2 * * 1 /usr/local/sbin/certbot-auto renew >> /var/log/le-renew.log
35 2 * * 1 /etc/init.d/nginx reload

A log of the output of certbot-auto renew will be available in the path shown above.

Conclusion:

Easy to install and maintain. You can also improve it using a strong encryption.