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How to Network Boot a Raspberry Pi Without a MicroSD Card


Setting up a Raspberry Pi usually means writing the disk image to a microSD card, then using it to boot the operating system. It’s a good flow that works in most cases… but it’s not the only option. Now you can use network boot to run your Raspberry Pi, and forget about microSD cards completely!

MicroSD, USB, or Ethernet?

For Raspberry Pi

Traditionally, running a Raspberry Pi has meant writing the disk image of your preferred distro to microSD. This is usually done using a tool like Etcher (although Linux and macOS users can access command line tools for writing data). Having a fast, resilient microSD card is important, but even the best devices suffer performance degradation, and eventually fail.

Keeping a backup of the microSD card is a good idea, so that you can instantly copy the image to a new card. One alternative is to boot from a USB device How to Make Raspberry Pi 3 Boot From USB How to Make Raspberry Pi 3 Boot From USB The Raspberry Pi is a versatile piece of kit, capable of a diverse range of tasks.

But it has one glaring flaw: the inability to boot from USB. Until now, that is. Read More instead, but with the release of the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, things have improved. Now you can boot multiple Raspberry Pi’s over Ethernet, from a central server.

This uses Preboot eXecution Environment (or PXE, pronounced “pixie”) and is known as network booting (or “netboot”). It’s made possible thanks to a new feature in Raspbian, PiServer. PXE has been a common feature in desktops and servers for years, although it’s usually used in corporations and public institutions.

For Raspberry Pis in schools or businesses, using piServer, there’s no need to install the operating system on each Pi–instead, a single server runs the Raspbian x86 distribution Revive Your Old PC Raspberry Pi-Style With PIXEL Revive Your Old PC Raspberry Pi-Style With PIXEL If your computer can run Debian, it can run PIXEL. Not sure what PIXEL is? Here’s what you need to know and how to get it running. Read More as a server, and each Raspberry Pi acts as a client (a zero, or ultra-thin client, specifically) booting from the OS on the server.

This is an excellent way to control what is installed on each Raspberry Pi (it’s all hosted on the server), and monitor how they’re used.

What You’ll Need to Use NetBoot on Raspberry Pi

Setting this up is pretty straightforward. However, PXE doesn’t work on older Raspberry Pi’s, only the 2018 model, the Raspberry Pi 3 B+. Along with this, you’ll need a desktop computer or laptop, or some other suitable device to run Raspbian x86.

You’ll also require:

  • Raspbian Lite
  • MicroSD card

Both of these are required for configuration of PXE, but once this is done, the microSD card can be repurposed.

How to Set Up a Raspberry Pi Server

With Debian Stretch with Raspberry Pi Desktop (the official name for Raspbian x86) downloaded, you have several options. It can be run as a live disc from DVD-ROM or USB; alternatively, you could install it as a virtual machine using VirtualBox. If you’re planning on using a dedicated machine, meanwhile, then a full installation will be appropriate.

While it is possible to use a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian as the server, this will result in slower performance. Regardless of which solution you choose, ensure there is enough HDD capacity for each Raspberry Pi on the network. With the system set up, boot Raspbian x86.

How to Configure a Raspberry Pi Client

You should now be ready to configure your Raspberry Pi 3 B+.

You should have written the OS to your microSD card already, so ensure this is inserted in the Raspberry Pi and boot the computer. Open a command line (or connect via SSH) and input:

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

With the file open in the text editor, add the following to the end of the file:


Save the file and exit with Ctrl+X, then power down the Raspberry Pi:

sudo shutdown

You can now remove the microSD card.

Note: You can save time with the above process using this all-in-one command:

echo program_usb_boot_mode=1 | sudo tee -a /boot/config.txt

However, you will still need to switch off the computer.

How to Boot Your Raspberry Pi Over PXE

With an Ethernet cable connected to your Raspberry Pi 3 B+, you’re ready to connect the power supply and boot. At this stage, nothing much will happen, other than the power LED lighting up. Put this to one side and configure PiServer.

On the server computer launch PiServer from the Preferences menu. Follow the instructions in the wizard to set up the network. You should see the MAC address of each Raspberry Pi 3 B+ on the network in the Add clients screen; proceed to the Add users screen to create one or more user accounts and passwords.

Note: More can be added later. Also, the accounts are portable, and not locked to specific Raspberry Pis. Click next to Add software, and select the operating system you wish each client to use.

Currently, Raspbian and Raspbian Lite are available. Click Next to complete the procedure, install the client operating systems, and finish.

Simple Raspberry Pi Servers Without MicroSD Cards

By now, you should have at least one Raspberry Pi 3 B+ running as a zero client, and a PC running the Debian Stretch distro for 32-bit computers. The end result is a simplified, networked, Raspberry Pi environment that is centrally controlled and doesn’t require a microSD card.

It may not be ideal for offline projects, or many online projects, but as a solution to many computing tasks, network booting a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is ideal. You might have a home server to connect your Raspberry Pi to, or use PiServer as a central server in a classroom scenario. PiServer might even control a bunch of Raspberry Pis using Power over Ethernet (PoE) in an industrial scenario.

It’s all pretty exciting, isn’t it? Want more Raspberry Pi server solutions? This little computer is capable of so much, from Raspberry Pi media servers 3 Ways to Set Up Your Raspberry Pi as a Media Server 3 Ways to Set Up Your Raspberry Pi as a Media Server Which media center application should you install on your Raspberry Pi?

Several options are on offer, and we’re going to walk you through them now, looking at the features, advantages, and disadvantages of each. Read More to Raspberry Pi web hosting servers Host Your Own Website On Your Raspberry Pi Host Your Own Website On Your Raspberry Pi Need to run a website but can’t afford the hosting costs?

One way around this is with the low-powered Raspberry Pi, which is more than capable of running basic web server software. Read More !


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Luke Cage Season 2: What Worked and What Didn't

Luke Cage is back for a second season on Netflix, adding another chapter in the life of Harlem’s bulletproof hero after his short-lived stint with The Defenders – that’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and him – last year. Though he’s a free man, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is still dealing with a lot of pent-up emotions, which is made worse by unexpected arrivals and departures. And he’s got a neighbourhood to protect, against villains both old and new.

Unfortunately, the show suffers from a sophomore slump with good moments few and far between, as we said in our spoiler-free review. With all 13 episodes of Luke Cage season 2 available Friday, it’s time to comb through the different storylines, and see what worked and what didn’t. This goes without saying, but everything beyond this paragraph is full of spoilers.

Spoilers ahead for Luke Cage season 2. Please turn away if you haven’t seen all of it. Bad: Too much time, not enough plot
Netflix-Marvel shows are regular offenders of stretching storylines longer than necessary, and the second season of Luke Cage is especially guilty of this.

There’s no need for this story to be 13 episodes long, and Marvel’s insistence on doing just that causes the show to spin its wheels, with the same conversations repeated and character choices restated over and over. It’s simply boring to watch, and it’s also perplexing given Luke Cage did a much better job with character interactions in the first half of its debut season. But here, it’s like running through an uninspired cycle, be it the beef between Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir) and Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), Luke’s issues with his father, and Misty Knight (Simone Missick) reconsidering her profession.

Mike Colter as Luke Cage in season 2
Photo Credit: David Lee/Netflix If Marvel shows have to have 13 episodes, the writers should consider creating standalone episodes with individual cases while the bigger arc simmers in the background before coming to the fore. Or they need to lobby the producers and convince them to make fewer episodes, possibly eight or less.

By doing so, Luke Cage season 2 would be able to strip away all the bloat and hit its big story beats with more emphasis. For one, Mariah should have hit her lowest point – her house burnt down – much earlier in the season, and Bushmaster’s backstory, which gets a proper look late into the season, should have been told in the first few episodes, which would let audiences feel for the character in every subsequent scene. Good: A moving LGBT subplot
One of the more touching, nuanced and well-written subplots in Luke Cage season 2 involves Hernan “Shades” Alvarez (Theo Rossi) and a fellow enforcer Comanche (Thomas Q.

Jones), who served time together at Seagate prison, where Luke was imprisoned alongside. It’s revealed that Shades and Comanche had an intimate relationship behind bars, but it stopped after they got out. That transforms their promise of always being by each other’s sides into something much more.

While Comanche is willing to explore it again, Shades sees life inside and outside prison as two separate things. Though Shades never explicitly says why, it’s possibly because street gangs are known to view homosexuality as a sign of a weakness, and often use homophobic slurs as insults and mockery. Kudos to the writers for the gut-wrenching tragic turn to their relationship, as Shades discovers Comanche is the police informant and kills him, despite the latter claiming he could engineer a deal for the two of them.

And it’s all brought together in a powerful fashion towards the end, with Shades willingly becoming an informant himself after witnessing Mariah’s wrath.

Theo Rossi as Shades in Luke Cage season 2
Photo Credit: Cara Howe/Netflix Good: A deep focus on family
Heard on Luke Cage since its premiere, “family first” were words to live by for the Stokes, handed down from Mariah’s grandmother Mama Mabel.

The show’s second season took that to heart with its writing, with many of its plots defined by family disputes and their far-reaching effects through time. Though Mariah often used the term to justify her decisions, she embraced her husband’s last name to wash away the bloody legacy of Mama Mabel and further tried to get away from it in season 2, by selling off the gun business and going “legit”. It’s why Bushmaster kept insisting to call her Mariah Stokes, because he sees her as the emblem for all the disaster heaped upon his family.

Tilda Johnson (Gabrielle Dennis), who mainly serves as a weak audience surrogate, is a further piece of the puzzle. Her horror at learning she’s a product of incest rape and seeing what her mother Mariah did to the Jamaican family restaurant Gwen’s pushes her to poison her, a la Ellaria and Cersei on Game of Thrones. Bad: Shifting characterisation
While Luke Cage does a good job in exploring the family conflicts, the show is much less convincing in how it achieves some of that.

Mariah’s decisions as the head of the Harlem gang paint the character as both intelligent and short-sighted: while she makes great calls in some places, she then turns around and makes some awful ones at other times. It’s a clear sign of the writers pulling the strings from behind the curtain, pushing her in the direction the show’s narrative needs her, instead of creating a character that lives and breathes. Luke Cage Season 2: What Worked and What Didn't

Alfre Woodard as Mariah, Gabrielle Dennis as Tilda in Luke Cage season 2
Photo Credit: David Lee/Netflix

Good idea, poor execution: Harlem’s Godfather
Though it takes too many diversions and too much time to get there, the second season’s character arc for its titular bulletproof hero is a solid, intriguing idea. Holed up in a Queens facility owned by his billionaire friend Danny Rand, Mariah tells Luke that Harlem doesn’t need a hero – it needs a queen. Luke isn’t convinced at first but when the level of street violence shoots up after she ends up in prison, he realises she’s right.

It pushes him to step up to the other crime bosses of New York, in what becomes a literal bone-crunching scene against Rosalie Carbone (Annabella Sciorra). That turns Luke from a guy who reacts to someone who takes charge of a situation. It also pushes him away from his usual image as the guy with the highest morals in the room, which tends to make him the most boring individual.

All of this leads to the pivotal moment in the finale, where Luke discovers that Mariah left the keys of Harlem’s Paradise in his name.

In choosing to keep it and use his influence to bring the crime bosses to the table, Luke accepts that Harlem needs a king.

It’s gotten Misty worried for obvious reasons, but it does give us a great homage to The Godfather.

7 Myths About HTTPS and SSL Certificates You Shouldn’t Believe


Take a look at the URL for this article and you’ll see that it starts with https. That “s” at the end means the connection between your device and this site is secure. On the web, secure connections are usually established using a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? Browsing the Internet can be scary when personal information is involved. Read More .

These can be confusing, partly because there are many myths about them that you simply shouldn’t believe. Let’s debunk a few of the more common ones!

Myth 1: “Only E-Commerce Sites Need SSL”

You’ve probably heard that only sites requiring personal data need SSL certificates.

It’s a fair assumption: after all, you should be trained by now to notice encryption on sites that request private information. It’s true that, when signing up and logging in, you definitely need to check the address bar reads “https”. But encryption is vital for all sites, whether e-commerce or a small blog.

Firstly, Google defaults to a secure version Google Is Making HTTPS the Chrome Default Google Is Making HTTPS the Chrome Default With well over half of all websites now encrypted, it’s time to think of HTTPS as the default option rather than the exception. That is, at least, according to Google. Read More of a site. Google Chrome users who visit a site which doesn’t have an SSL certificate will instead see a warning page.

This will inform them that the page is not secure. Secondly, those visiting via other browsers will consider you more trustworthy. Most users now know about checking for secure connections, so installing an SSL certificate is a sign that you take their privacy seriously.

In effect, you’re telling your audience that you’re a professional organization.

Myth 2: “SSL Won’t Affect Web Traffic”

If Google Chrome doesn’t fully load a web page, that site’s statistics will be affected–potentially quite drastically! Imagine how many people might see that their connection isn’t secure and immediately turn away. The problem is, even when their data doesn’t seem at risk, people panic when they see security alerts.

They picture themselves falling victim to hackers. Thankfully, most users prioritize their security over convenience. So if they can’t read your site, they’ll simply search for another one which offers similar information.

Furthermore, an SSL certificate is essential for SEO. It’s not just about keywords: Google ranks a page higher if it proves to implement decent security measures. Naturally, the nearer the top of search results, the more people will find your page.

Myth 3: “SSL Significantly Slows Page Loading”

Image Credit: jayneandd/ Flickr

With a potentially increased audience, your concern might be that an HTTPS address will slow down your site. Fortunately, encryption has no noticeable effect on the speed of your website. That’s because, in most cases, HTTPS actually refers to HTTP/2, a revision on the standard HTTP protocol.

It was designed to have a 50 percent reduction in page load time through compression of data and reduction of processes involved. Here’s what you need to know: the web has been using HTTP since 1991. HTTP/2 is an upgrade to this with an eye on performance.

If you want proof, check out some of your favorite sites–the most popular ones (including social media like Facebook) have SSL certificates and look how fast they are! Okay, so sometimes, speed will be affected, but it’s rare and negligible. We’re talking milliseconds.

This is mainly down to server distances, which you typically can’t help. And cases of slowing down will get fewer and more far between as Certificate Authorities (CA) secretly switch to Transport Layer Security (TLS) instead.

Myth 4: “SSL Certificates Are Cutting Edge”

7 Myths About HTTPS and SSL Certificates You Shouldn’t Believe SSL certificates are great, but they’re not the most advanced form of encryption widely used on the internet.

In fact, many CAs use TLS certificates instead How Web Browsing Is Becoming Even More Secure How Web Browsing Is Becoming Even More Secure We have SSL certificates to thank for our security and privacy. But recent breaches and flaws may have dented your trust in the cryptographic protocol. Fortunately, SSL is adapting, being upgraded – here’s how. Read More .

TLS certificates are essentially the next stage in the life of HTTPS. The successor has been around since 2008, fixing some of the minor vulnerabilities in SSL certificates. However, until recently, it’s mostly been used solely for sites that require payment details or manage your money.

PayPal is perhaps the most notable example of a monetary site using TLS. Fortunately, several exploits in SSL certificates means TLS has become more commonplace. In fact, many encryption services implement TLS instead of SSL certificates as default; the latter is more well-known so is frequently used without the client knowing the difference.

As long as your URL has HTTPS, most website visitors are content.

Myth 5: “SSL Certificates Are Expensive”

7 Myths About HTTPS and SSL Certificates You Shouldn’t BelieveImage Credit: Ken Teegardin/ Flickr Which organizations use TLS? Primary examples also disprove the myth that HTTPS is expensive.

Let’s Encrypt is a popular service because it’s effective and entirely free. Many big name companies support the idea, including Facebook, Yoast, Mozilla, the American Library Association, Server Pilot, and Google Chrome. Alternatively, freemium software is available.

Encryption Everywhere, created by security firm, Symantec, offers free SSL/TLS certificates, and you can pay for additional security features. Admittedly, SSL certificates can be costly, but it largely depends on hosts. Sometimes, the host server doesn’t support third party encryption, i.e. they want you to use their own associated service so they can get extra cash from you.

It’s a horrible tactic, especially when users are under pressure from Google. You need to shop around. Don’t be scammed by your web host.

Myth 6: “SSL Certificates Encrypt All Data”

7 Myths About HTTPS and SSL Certificates You Shouldn’t BelieveImage Credit: owlpacino/ Flickr

Let’s not rave about SSL certificates without pointing out that it’s not the be-all and end-all for security. Yes, data is encrypted–but only during transit. HTTPS means your connection is secure; it doesn’t mean the web server is secure.

Imagine it as a tunnel you’re driving through. The tunnel means your vehicle can’t come under attack from anything from above, below, or either side of you. However, problems can still occur once you reach your destination.

You don’t know what lies ahead of you once your car comes to rest. The same goes for data. It’s encrypted so you shouldn’t be a victim of a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack?

Security Jargon Explained What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack? Security Jargon Explained If you’ve heard of “man-in-the-middle” attacks but aren’t quite sure what that means, this is the article for you. Read More while it’s transferring between networks. But once that data is static (i.e. stored on someone’s server), SSL certificates don’t mean much.

This is why HTTPS is now considered a basic security measure, something sites should have as standard. Further precautions are also needed!

Myth 7: “SSL Encryption Is Foolproof”

Today I had to google how to self sign an ssl certificate At first I was a little embarrassed.

Then I realized that it’s because @letsencrypt has made trusted certificates so easy that I literally haven’t had to self sign an ssl certificate in like 3 years. — dade (@0xdade) June 10, 2018

HTTPS offers a good level of encryption. You’ve probably heard a lot of good stuff about that.

Still, myths persist about encryption Don’t Believe These 5 Myths About Encryption! Don’t Believe These 5 Myths About Encryption! Encryption sounds complex, but is far more straightforward than most think. Nonetheless, you might feel a little too in-the-dark to make use of encryption, so let’s bust some encryption myths! Read More . Notably, you should know that encryption doesn’t make something unhackable.

Companies just need to try their best: they need to look after personal information in the most secure ways possible. They have a responsibility to look after private details. The methods used to track passwords How Do Websites Keep Your Passwords Secure? How Do Websites Keep Your Passwords Secure? With regular online security breaches reported, you’re doubtless concerned about how websites look after your password. In fact, for peace of mind, this is something everyone needs to know… Read More , however, show how ineffective encryption can be, depending on the form used to store them.

Even SSL certificates have been compromised–that’s what Heartbleed was all about, hitting headlines back in 2014. Can you trust SSL/TLS certificates? Yes.

Just remember: no security is absolute, and vulnerabilities are inevitable.

Make Sure You’re Using a Secure Web Browser

Don’t underestimate the importance of basic levels of safety online. SSL certificates are a vital part of your protection from cybercriminals. Of course, you need support from a strong security suite too.

Fortunately, mainstream browsers know the significance What Is the Most Secure Mainstream Browser? What Is the Most Secure Mainstream Browser? The battle for the best desktop browser will never be settled.

But which is the most secure?

All boast having superior protection — but in 2017, which is the browser of choice for the security-… Read More of keeping their users secure on the internet.


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