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Latest articles & site news

Fedora 26 review - A garden implement

updated August 21, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora 26 Gnome
In my merry escapades through the Linux jungle, over the years, I started liking Fedora more, as it transitioned from a nucleus of bugs into a rather stable and fairly fast distro. I was particularly satisfied with the last two editions, Gnome no less, most imaginatively named Fedora 24 and Fedora 25. I did have to sweat some getting the apps and codecs in order, but after that, it was a pleasant, colorful and practical experience.

Now we have the latest edition of Workstation in our hands, and we need to see how it fares. I deliberately decided not to perform an in-vivo upgrade of the resident Fedora 25 instance on my Lenovo G50 box, as I wanted to see what the vanilla crop does without all the pimpage. To wit, let us commence the testing.

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Dedoimedo now runs with HTTPS enabled

updated August 21, 2017, category: Site news

HTTPS enabled
This may be of interest to some of you. A few days ago I have installed an SSL certificate on Dedoimedo, properly signed and all. Which means that Dedoimedo can now be accessed over HTTPS, or if you still like, over HTTP like before. There aren't really any logins or forms to fill on Dedoimedo, so this shouldn't make much difference, but if you are conscious about Web security and your browsing habits, you may appreciate this little change.

Everything should work normally. However, I would like to ask you to report any bugs, glitches or errors you may encounter, so that I can look into them and fix them, should they need fixing. I did remove some social media sharing buttons as they were pulling non-HTTPS traffic. Other than that, it ought to be seamlessly same. Happy browsing.

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Firefox 54: Speed, customization and future

updated August 19, 2017, category: Software & security

Firefox 54
Ever since Mozilla embarked on the Chrome-me-up journey a few years ago, my enthusiasm took on a six-weekly decline cadence, with each new release of the Firefox browser bringing in more of what Firefox shouldn't be and less of what made it such a cool program in the hands of its loyal users. But the best is yet to come. The true rite of passage. Only the most righteous will survive. WebExtensions.

While trying to salvage some of what it still has left while actively scuppering its fanbase and killing off its powerful extension mechanism, Mozilla is working on giving its browser a breath of fresh air. More speed, it seems, as though it is the critical factor that made people abandon ship. But assuming it is, does it make a difference? Let's test.

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Age of Empires - Rise of the Rajas - Another star

updated August 18, 2017, category: Computer games

AoE: Rise of the Rajas
Normally, I hate DLC. Because it means either a) developers were too lazy, and they remembered to add valuable stuff only later b) someone is trying to milk more money from you for something you should have received in the first place, for the original price. Indeed, if you get a game that functions less than 100%, you are being stuffed.

However, there's a third option. The game works perfectly well, but then you get new stuff - maps, scenarios, campaigns, units. At no point are you asked to do any sort of upgrades or purchases. A very passive approach to DLC. When the game in question is Age of Empires, a legend kept alive 18 years after its inception, then I am more than willing to spend money on an expansion pack. Rise of the Rajas, here we go.

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Fedora + Plasma + Unity = Nice looks?

updated August 16, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora + KDE + Unity theme
Hybrid things aren't usually the best option around. Like hybrid cars, for example. Technically, when you marry concepts, you change the energy state, and while this could make sense in that you blend the best of several worlds, when this is done in a forced manner over a short period of time rather than eons of evolution, you end with the worst bits as the product of your mutation.

I read about the United theme for Plasma a few months ago, and given that I've spent a fair deal of time fiddling with themes and icons and fonts and making different desktop environments look prettier than their defaults, I was intrigued. So I decided to see whether the notion of having Plasma look like Unity is a sane option. Let us.

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Some interesting Ubuntu themes and icons

updated August 14, 2017, category: Software & security

Ubuntu themes & icons
Sorry. I should probably say icons and themes that are most likely suitable for the wider range of Ubuntu siblings and other kin, including all and any GTK-based desktop, and that covers Gnome 3 in general and even Cinnamon. But the thing is, I've done some extra decorative work in Ubuntu lately, including some essential pimping and thoroughly testing the super-awesome Macbuntu transformation pack for the third time, with rather good results, that is, so I'm in the mood for some more fun.

Today, I will show you a few more themes and icon packs that I've put through my aesthetic grinder, and which ended up gracing my box. Which means you may not find them tasteful enough. Or you may go, what about XYZ? Well, I cant possibly cover all of them, and some refused to install, some installed but did nothing, others yet were not suitable enough for this article. But let us proceed.

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Zazu App - Intelligent artificialness

updated August 12, 2017, category: Software & security

Intelligent desktop helper tools are not a new thing. Long before cloud-powered assistants with sexy female voices came about, we had these applications trying to help us make smart decisions. Clippy, for instance. Then, Mozilla had Ubiquity. More recently, Ubuntu unleashed a product of its own, and they named it Dash. This thing was popular before the Internet became hot, and it will be with us till the planet goes kaput.

Zazu App is another attempt to make an intelligent launcher, except it aims to please hackers, nerds and tinkerers, people who want to do things semi-dev-like rather than just click shiny buttons in a shinier GUI. Well, as a man on a holy mission of efficiency, I had to take this utility for a spin. Plus, it came about as a recommendation from Joe, and you don't argue when Joe writes.

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Rclone - Rsync for cloud storage

updated July 28, 2017, category: Software & security

Here's a bunch of interesting concepts. Rsync is the data moving workhorse of the Linux world, and I've blessed you with a detailed tutorial on this topic a while ago. Then, cloud is a new and brave concept where you can have your stuff saved to remote servers. You do this through a browser or a dedicated app.

But then, what happens when you have multiple cloud providers? The plot thickens and the complexity, uh well, biggens. Which is where programs like odrive come into play, except I never really got to master the finer side of things with this one. So, we need a browser, a dedicated app, and maybe command line? Aha. Enter Rclone.

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Decay has been published!

updated July 28, 2017, category: Books

Ladies, gentlemen, zombies et al, it's alive, it's alive! Decay, it's out there. Both paperback and Kindle editions are available, affordably and justly priced. Decay is a first-person zombie-themed novella, told from the perspective of a zombie. Hopefully, it justifies the narrative and the theme.

I've never done first person before. Zombies are another first. And telling the story from the perspective of a living dead is yet another novelty for me. Thrice the hype, thrice the risk, but you may yet be entertained. This is the first installment in the Humanz series, or more aptly, Humanz 1.0, one of many to come. If you are interested in reviewing the book, drop me a note, and I will gladly send you a copy. Onwards, readers, onwards!

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Linux Mint 18.2 "Red" Sonya - Distro the Destroyer

updated July 17, 2017, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya
Let us a-go distro-testing! Today, we focus on Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya, freshly released with a nice sprinkling of Cinnamon on the proverbial distro pudding. For years, this was one of the best performing distributions, offering a complete experience to the Linux user. Lately though, the experience has been slightly less amazing. Serena was just ok.

But then, this spring testing season - slowly moving into the summer, cue Vivaldi music - has been pretty good overall. The Ubuntu flock seems to be behaving reasonably, with the Flagship Ubuntu and in particular the KDE-flavored Kubuntu offering a splendid revival of hope and quality. Armed with this foreknowledge, we commence.

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Solus 2017.04.18.0 review - Second time lucky?

updated July 15, 2017, category: Software & security

Solus 2017.04
It is time to give Solus another shot. Approximately six months ago, I tried Solus 1.2. The test commenced with a promise of many good things to come, but then it was cut short by an installation error. Solus was unable to setup the bootloader, and subsequently, my system was rendered inoperable until I applied some rigorous fixing.

There's a new Solus out, and it carries the 2017 version label. I will try to get Solus running, because I liked what I've seen so far. Elegance, style, easy access to goodies, and continuous improvement of a solid baseline, with some rather impressive results from Budgie, a desktop that is growing to be an interesting contender in the Linux space.

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NitroShare - Simple file sharing solution for all

updated July 14, 2017, category: Software & security

Sharing is caring they say. But what do you do when you have a heterogeneous operating systems environment, with Windows and Linux and maybe other stuff, too, all different versions, filesystems, protocols?

For most people, the answer is not trivial, as you need to setup sharing services, install drivers, do all sorts of nerdy magic to get files copied from one machine to another. Most often, you will be hosting stuff on Windows boxes, as Linux has it easier accessing files on Windows systems than the other way around. Or you could try NitroShare.

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Debian 9 Stretch - Not by a long stretch

updated July 12, 2017, category: Software & security

Debian 9 Stretch
In my long history as a distro tester, I've only tried pure Debian twice, version 5 in 2010, and then version 6 (Squeeze) in 2011. The former was an okay exercise, somewhat similar to my early endeavors with CentOS. The latter was an absolute flop. In both case, the network side of things was terrible, but it was a dealbreaker the second time around.

Fast forward to 2017, I am inclined to say Debian is a great foundation, like a great recipe, but a recipe and a tasty cake are two different things. If you're wondering, then by this analogy Arch Linux is harvesting your own corn and milking your own cow. Anyway, my tolerance levels for un-PnP features of the Linux desktop have dropped significantly, and so I was reluctant to try Debian. But a new version is out. Let's give it a try.

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Kubuntu Zesty is shaping up to be a perfect distro

updated July 10, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu, perfect distro
Some articles serve no higher purpose. Normally, when I write, I try to achieve a goal, usually an educational one. I try to teach people or help them work around their problems, and there's usually an issue at hand, which needs a solution, or a product that mandates a review. Either way, I follow a relatively familiar and predictable pattern.

Today, I have no such agenda. I'm merely sharing how I feel about Kubuntu 17.04, which I've been using with extreme delight for the past few months. True, it still graces a test box, but the more I'm running it, the more I'm pleased with the results. Hence this article, which is nothing more than a deluge of fanboyism. Enjoy if you will.

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Fedora fonts: The Font Strikes Back

updated July 8, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora fonts
If you happen to be a person who finds the Linux font rendering to be good enough for your ocular sensors, you are a happy bunny. If you are like me, then it's only Ubuntu that gives you the right sharpness and contrast, and all other distros be heavily lacking in this space. Fedora, first and foremost, which is why I've spent months trying to perfect its layout and reading clarity.

I ranted about the whole font problem in Linux some time ago, and then we also discussed the use of Ubuntu fonts on top of Fedora a couple of months back in another OCS-Mag article. Now, I want to revisit the topic for a third time, and see if we can somehow improve on Fedora's stock Gnome look, and the way it draws text on the screen. Let us commence hence forth.

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ArmA 3 2017 SITREP - Still bloody awesome

updated July 7, 2017, category: Computer games

ArmA 3: 2017 SITREP
As big as the game industry is, in the past 17 years, the ONLY company making serious war simulators has been Bohemia Interactive. Everything else is just heavily-scripted movie-like arcade. It all started with the legendary Operation Flashpoint. Then we had ArmA 2, and now ArmA 3. A game that will test your soul, your persistence and your keyboard. Not necessarily in that order.

I've already written a handful of reviews on ArmA 3, most notably my first encounter plus a nice zombie mission, so it would seem another article is unnecessary. You'd be wrong. Having recently invested several hundred hours more in ArmA on private servers, with friends and whatnot, all ex-military, just like Bohemia's dev team, I found fresh passion and interest in this amazing first person shooter slash combined-arms simulation. So let's salivate a bit more.

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Etcher - Etched in Linux

updated July 5, 2017, category: Software & security

What's the color of the boathouse at Hereford? This question has the same implication as asking someone, what's the best USB image writer for Linux? Since there can be no single definitive answer, one must embark on a quest of trial & error, frustration & glee.

Almost every distro has its own tool, different desktop environments have their own utilities, and each one comes with its own level of reliability. All of them work, but then, not quite. And yet, all you want to do, once you've downloaded an ISO file, is to have it committed to a USB thumb drive, so you can actually boot and run that particular distro. A way out of this confusion? Etcher.

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How to turn Kubuntu into a perfect desktop

updated July 3, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu & pimp
Here's a little wannabe guide. Shiny, happy, full of adjectives and superlatives but no laxatives. With a good reason. I'm psyched, and this without ingesting any chemicals. The reason being, the very recent Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus is a mighty good little distro, and I'm pleased to actually be using it on a daily basis, something that hasn't happened with KDE for at least 5-6 years.

To commemorate this revolutionary moment, we have this little pimping guide, akin to my many other pimping guides, which should help you make your Kubuntu into a mean, lean productivity machine. Let's see what you can or should do. Voluntary, optional and fun.

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Macbuntu - Spice up your desktop

updated June 30, 2017, category: Software & security

Macbuntu is no stranger to Dedoimedo. We first used this lovely project slash transformation pack in Gnome 2 many years ago and then again about three winters counter clockwise with a Salamander edition of Ubuntu. Now we shall attempt this lovely work again on top of Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak. I've written this just before the Zesty release, but the idea is 100% identical and valid.

Before we continue, you may ask, why you do dis, I feel no pain. Wait, I got confused. That's a Zohan line. What I meant is, why touch the default Ubuntu setup? Well, we've already done some work in my essential tweaking guide, so we're notching up to the next level. This will give you some serious street credit in your local coffee shop. Probably not, but worth a try.

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Nomad desktop - You'll never walk alone

updated June 29, 2017, category: Software & security

Nomad desktop
If you've been using Linux for a while, you have probably heard or even played with various desktop environments; Unity, Gnome, Plasma, Xfce, Cinnamon, and others. A personal quest of finding the most suitable interface between YOU and the system. But I bet you half a shilling you have not yet had a chance to experiment with Nomad.

Nomad Desktop is the face of a new Linux distribution named Nitrux. The naming choice is a little tricky, because Nomad is already heavily used to brand a range of software products, and the domain name for Nitrux has the magical NX combo in there. But it does look very interesting. The JS-heavy homepage offers a lot of visual candy, the screenshots are shiny, and Nitrux aims to carve its own niche in a small world saturated with desktop environments. The backbone behind this effort relies on Ubuntu and Plasma and cutting-edge Qt5 solutions, similar to KDE neon. Let's see what it does.

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Birthday ... Celebrate ... Free books

updated June 26, 2017, category: Books

Ladies and gentlemen! Dedoimedo celebrates 11 years of operation - of fun, lunacy, reviews, tutorials, and other collectible memorabilia, for your pleasure and mine. What started as a humble little blog has transformed into a dope site with bling-bling and some 2,000 articles to date. Thanks to you, there's someone actually reading them, forever not alone.

To wit, and in direction violation of birthday traditions, where I'm supposed to be getting gifts, you'll be getting gifts. Two of my books, The Betrayed and The Amazing Adventures of Dashing Prince Dietrich will be free for download on Amazon Kindle from June 30 till July 5. So why don't you do some mouse clicking and stuff? Enjoy.

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AOMEI Backupper review - Needs more resilience

updated June 26, 2017, category: Software & security

AOMEI Backupper
I was approached by AOMEI staff, asked if I could review Backupper, a for-Windows backup & restore suite, capable of system imaging and cloning, file sync and replication, designed to be simple and intuitive to use even by non-experts. Sound like a fair deal, so I added the program to my uber-long writing queue, and many weeks later, here we are.

AOMEI Backupper has a funny but noticeable name, and it comes in three flavors, including the free Standard edition, a USD49.95 Pro license, and then the much more expensive server and technician editions. Life-time upgrades roughly double the cost. I decided to evaluate the free offering at first, and then see if the professional leveling up merits the cost hike. Let us begin. Program version 4.0.2, for those asking.

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Liri - Loves me, loves me not ... at all

updated June 24, 2017, category: Software & security

Liri desktop
What does the world of Linux need more? Desktop environments? Nope. Ah, well, you'd be surprised, because a fresh new challenger appears! Its name is Liri, and it is the presentation layer for the namesake operating system being baked in the forges of community creativity as we speak. Sounds potentially interesting, but then we must be wary.

I've trawled through the obscure, uncharted waters of Budgie, Razor-Qt and more recently, and with much greater attention to detail, LXQt, and in all of these cases, I was left rather dissatisfied with the end product. Not enough cohesion, quality, future roadmap, and most importantly, the finesse that you expect from polished, professional products. Then again, building a desktop environment is a huge undertaking, probably even more complex than spinning a new distro, and so, it's not a coincidence that there are few serious contenders in this space. But Liri comes with enticing artwork, a promise of Material Design for the desktop, and so here we are, trying to get the first feel of what it does.

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Manjaro 17.0.1 Gellivara (Che Guevara) - Pretty decent

updated June 23, 2017, category: Software & security

Manjaro 17.0.1 Gellivara Xfce
It is time to arch our backs and explore the distroverse some more. That's a horrible pun, I admit, so I'll chase to the cut. Manjaro. It's a nerdy operating system, powered by sacrificial goats, curdled blood, enthusiasm, and heaploads of nerdiness. But then, over the years, it has slowly grown on me, becoming almost usable on a daily basis.

A new version is out, carrying the numerical identifier 17.0.1, and there are several desktop flavors available. In order to test the progress and change in Manjaro, I decided to continue with the Xfce version, and so we can compare to previous editions. Now, the system has a rolling update nature, so I could have just upgraded the installed instance on my Lenovo G50 box, but I decided to go for a full, fresh experience. We commence.

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Fedora version upgrade - Laptop with Nvidia

updated June 22, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora upgrade & Nvidia
Several months ago, I wrote an article on the Fedora in-vivo upgrade mechanism using dnf. The upgrade went smoothly, going from version 24 to version 25 on my G50 laptop. Now, let us make this thing more challenging.

Today, I shall attempt to upgrade Fedora 23 to Fedora 25, a two-version skip, on my somewhat antiquated LG RD510 notebook, which also happens to have an Nvidia graphics card, and also using the relevant proprietary drivers. As promised, here we go. Let's see if we can match the success of the previous adventure.

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Fedora & EFI mount problem = failed boot

updated June 19, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora & EFI boot problems
Madonna sang, once upon a time: Fedora don't boot, I'm in trouble deep, Fedora don't boot, I've been losing sleep. But I've made up my GRUB o-oh, I'm keeping my distro, hm, I'm gonna keep my distro hm. As you may have guessed, one day, I fired up one of my two instances of Fedora 25 on the G50 laptop, and it stopped booting.

Out of the blue, just like that. Now, remember the recent successful upgrade? Well, now I had one less healthy instance and a whole lot of paranoia, and then I also remembered how systemd made another Fedora go wonk, and how I was unable to recover from the problem. Time to investigate and see what can be salvaged.

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Plasma secrets - Tips and tricks for the KDE desktop

updated June 17, 2017, category: Software & security

Plasma tips and tricks
I used the word secret. Well, it's a bit misplaced. It's not like Plasma really hides its options from the users so that only a select elite can enjoy its full range of capabilities. But then, some of its many virtues are a little obscured from the common user by the proxy of subtle failings in design, ergonomics, intuition, as well as the vast array of settings and features that Plasma offers.

We've already talked about Plasma's goodness at length. It was my favorite desktop for a brief, fickle while, then it waned, but then it again picked up speed and quality with the fine release of Kubuntu Zesty Zaphod. Moreover, we've talked about the State of Plasma, in great detail, and I've also given you a handful of practical tips and tricks on what this desktop environment can do, and we discussed the omni-potent Krunner. Now, we're gonna delve deeper. Let's do some honest Sherlock Holmes work and unravel a few of these usability mysteries.

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OpenIndiana 2017.04 Hipster - Temple Gloom

updated June 16, 2017, category: Software & security

OpenIndiana 2017.04 Hipster
I don't want to brag or sound like a badass, but sometimes I like to play it risky. Like trying to run and test a UNIX operating system. This is easier said than done, because the market offerings are far and few in between, and you have to sample carefully.

One of the candidates is OpenIndiana, which I've tested a good six years ago, as a DistroWatch feature story. It wasn't very noob friendly, but it did fairly well, given the circumstances. Fast forward to 2017, I want to see whether UNIX has any viable merit for the desktop masses. This time, our scapegoat is OpenIndiana 2017.04 Hipster, the dev branch.

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Linux, Wireless printing, scanning and HPLIP

updated June 14, 2017, category: Software & security

Linux & wireless printing
How well does Linux handle Wireless printing? This is a questions that billions ask themselves every morning before their first shot of coffee, and hopefully, today, I will be able to answer this question. A few weeks down the trouser of time, I bought myself a new printer, and it comes with Wireless connectivity.

If you've read my reviews and printing tutorials, so far, they have mostly revolved around Samba printing, often with a less than perfect record. Now though, I have a new device, so it will be interesting to see how Linux distros cope with this thing. Shall we?

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Ubuntu & UKUI desktop - Not a good idea

updated June 12, 2017, category: Software & security

UKUI desktop
When I first read the name of this desktop environment, I thought it was some new political party in the UK. But then I realized it stands for Ubuntu Kylin User Interface. Now, this is an unofficial spin of Ubuntu, featuring a forked MATE-based desktop, previously Unity, designed to be an alternative to the default Ubuntu experience, created in China, mostly for the local audience, with a distinct Windows-like feel. Deep breath. That's the lengthy official definition, but does it work?

With Zesty Zapus testing behind us, with some relatively favorable results and a renaissance in hope, I decided to dedicate a handful of hours testing this new desktop in parallel to Unity, this as a precursor to a potential full-blown desktop evaluation. Shall we begin?

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More Gnome 3 pimping - Highway to sanity

updated June 10, 2017, category: Software & security

Gnome 3 & more pimping
If Gnome 3 was a person, it would be a generic mannequin in a clothing store, with no visible eyes or a belly button. Those come as extensions, but you can only have eyes fully closed, mind. Welcome to another article that tries to make Gnome 3 more palatable to normal people.

Over the years, I've gone from total scorn to mild disdain and some modest fun when it comes to this particular desktop environment, thank Fedora for that, but it still fails in so many simple, trivial areas I sometimes have to listen to Aqua's Barbie Girl for a few hours on constant loop in order to keep myself from committing acts of violence. Let us tweak.

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Windows 10 Creators Update - Let there be light

updated June 9, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows 10 Creators Update
And Microsoft said, for it is Windows 10, and it needs an update. And so they released one, and they were all amazed, for it was new, with a bunch of stuff in it. What shall we name it, the engineers asked? Lo, the marketing department said, it shall be used to create stuff, and henceforth, it shall be known as the Creators Update.

Fast forward a month or so, I decided to upgrade my Windows 10 instance on the test-hungry Lenovo G50 machine to the latest edition. After all, there's been enough time for other people to discover critical problems and bugs. Let's see if this new version brings about any substantial or important changes that can make the desktop more fun.

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Deepin 15.4 review - All that glitters is not gold

updated June 7, 2017, category: Software & security

Deepin 15.4
If you follow Dedoimedo, then you know I've had problems with Deepin. It just would not boot on my Lenovo G50 machine, which is a shame, because I was really looking forward to the test. I was forced to resort to using one of my older, non-UEFI laptops, a near seven-year-old HP Pavilion, recently used for a in-depth Fedora test.

So today, I will attempt to run this Chinese Debian-based distro, and see what it can offer. In the past, it has shown some really nice results, the most notable being a very colorful and unique desktop setup, markedly different from most so-called Western systems, and with a touch of appeal and aesthetic one notch above the rest. Shall we?

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ArmA 3 - The Last Hope - Abandoned

updated June 5, 2017, category: Computer games

ArmA 3: The Last Hope
If you ignore the ever-so-nagging DLC suckfest, ArmA 3 is an excellent game. Sorry, scratch that. It's a gritty, accurate, realistic, brutal, grim, slow-paced, not-for-kids, top-notch combined-arms war simulator, a worthy continuation of the finest and really only FPS series - everything else is just silly arcade for 10-year-olds - which had started with the most legendary Operation Flashpoint, continued with the utterly sharp and splendid ArmA 2, and now we have this third installment. No new news here per se. But.

I play the game quite often with friends in privately hosted servers, and we go about testing and trying different mods and scenarios available in the Steam workshop. We look for engaging, high-quality, bug-free content that can be installed without too much fussing, and mostly through the game's integral interface. Recently, we came upon a magnificent mission called The Last Hope - Abandoned. It's so good that I decided to write a complete review. Follow me.

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Kubuntu: Enable write access to Windows Phone

updated May 26, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu & Windows Phone
Say you have a Windows Phone, like for instance, Lumia 950. Say you have Kubuntu or any which KDE/Plasma distro installed on your system. Say you want to mount your phone in this system, for the sake of some simple image/video copying. Say you encounter errors trying to do this, being unable to write files to the phone but also copy files from the phone onto your hard disk. What now?

I encountered this issues while testing Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus, which turned out to be a lovely thing, and it comes with a significantly improved support for mobile devices. In the past, just being able to see your phone in Dolphin was virtually impossible, but now we have it. However, read/write with the Windows Phone is still buggy. Let's unbug it.

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Activities Activities Activities

updated May 24, 2017, category: Software & security

Plasma Activities
Several weeks ago, my colleague Bruce posted an article on KDE/Plasma Activities, and this got me thinking again about this rather interesting and often overlooked functionality. On paper, it is supposed to be a killer feature; make your desktop fully customized to your specific needs. In reality, most people have no idea it exists, and Plasma makes it even more difficult to discover and use than in KDE4.

Emboldened, my curiosity piqued, I decided to run my own test and see how useful and practical Activities really are, compared to the classic - and static - setup featuring an interactive desktop with icons and widgets, a multi-purpose panel, and a live search menu. Shall we?

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Rejection report 4: BunsenLabs Linux & deepin

updated May 22, 2017, category: Software & security

Rejection report 4
More Linux testing, more distributions that don't like my hardware. Welcome to the fourth report on failed attempts to enjoy Linux on my UEFI-powered G50 laptop. This has been my main test box in the last two years, and still, being able to boot from it is not a given.

True, there were more issues early on. For example, openSUSE and Red Hat distros didn't like this box at all, but a few releases and a few firmware updates, things seem to be in a slightly better shape. And yet, occasionally, I am forced to write these sad compilations, telling of those gloomy afternoons where I expected to have some fun, and ended up frustrated, angry and abandoned. Fourth report, here we go.

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CloudReady - Chromebook re-experienced

updated May 20, 2017, category: Software & security

Are you ready for the cloud? Are you? Well, um, no? All right, no matter, let's take it one step at a time. To wit, I will showcase CloudReady, an operating system based on Chromium OS and designed to run on non-Chromebook systems. If you'd like to have a simple, locked down, secure and entirely Google machine that isn't a mobile phone or a dedicated piece of hardware, then you might want to give this a go.

I deliberated how to proceed with the test. Use a physical box, because that's the best option? Well, no. I wasn't 100% sure how well CloudReady could handle multi-boot systems like my G50 laptop, so I decided to start with some basic virtual machine testing. That should give us an indication of where we stand. Let us proceed.

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Wireless printers & security

updated May 19, 2017, category: Software & security

Wireless printer security
I've used quite a few printing devices in my life, but never a Wireless printer. Recently, though, I decided to buy myself a somewhat cheapish, or should I use the more accurate term, budget all-in-one printing device, HP DeskJet 3630 All-in-One, which, among many things, also comes with Wireless connectivity.

Going cable free sounds like an interesting concept, so I decided to configure the device to be accessible using its Wireless functionality. Midway through the setup process, I began wondering what kind of security this printer might have. It all sounds so mysterious, and there might be implications to end users. Hence, this guide.

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How to edit Gnome themes - Tutorial

updated May 17, 2017, category: Software & security

Gnome 3 & edit themes
Like the Rolling Stones song, I see some pale font and I want to paint it black. This is the primary motivation for me writing this article. How does one go about editing Gnome themes to make them more usable, i.e. better clarity and contrast, higher productivity, less eye and soul wear?

While Plasma offers a very simple and straightforward way to make theme changes through the system GUI, Gnome completely hides the functionality inside obscure files, with little to no standard on how they should look like or behave. Worry not, we will unravel the mystery today.

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Change document background color in MS Office Online

updated May 15, 2017, category: Software & security

Microsoft Office Online, color
Recently, I tested the rather nice and friendly Microsoft Office Online suite in Linux, showcasing that you can actually use the most prevalent and de-facto standard office programs in your favorite Linux distro without having to go full Windows. This is quite important, as it has monetary and professional considerations.

But there was one thing that annoyed me - and that's the fact the document background in the online version of Word is gray. To be more precise, it's transparent, but the particular shade of gray (get the joke) is quite heavy on the eyes. It Ain't Heavy, It's My Color. I actually have another half a dozen song cliches here, but I will politely stop for your sake. Anyhow, gray color, bad, eyes tired, bad. But there isn't a UI option or button to change this. So let me show how you can temporarily tweak this while you're working online. In other words, we will change the Microsoft Office Online document background color to whatever you fancy. After me.

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Okular - An eye for an eye

updated May 12, 2017, category: Software & security

Documents, documents, documents. Didn't Steve Ballmer shout that at some expo some time ago? No? Never mind. Let's talk about Okular instead, then. This is a document viewer for Linux and THE document viewer available in the KDE/Plasma desktop environment. It's been around for a long time, it's survived quite a few seasons of ever-changing desktop versions and tool, and its name doesn't even begin with the letter K, which tells you how robust it really is.

Having embarked on a journey of leaving no stone unturned in the Linux desktop world, it is time for me to take a deeper look at Okular. We started with the rather comprehensive State of Plasma report, we talked about Amarok and whether it will ever see revival, and now we will do this. After me.

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Windows 10 & new processors policy - The explanation

updated May 10, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & new processors
Here's an interesting one. Recently, Microsoft announced they will not support pre-Windows 10 operating systems on the new generation of Intel and AMD processors, known by their popular names Kaby Lake and Ryzen, respectively. This sounds like a scary scenario.

As always, the Internet is afire with righteous fury and indignation over big corporation evils, not that different from the initial noise around telemetry and spying, and of course, the UEFI conspiracy for Linux people. So let's try to clarify things and understand really if Microsoft is pulling a bad one on its users. Read on.

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Xubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zorro - Vigorous

updated May 8, 2017, category: Software & security

Xubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus
I'm listening to Brahms and writing this review. A good start. Indeed, this distro testing season has had a very reasonable and promising beginning. Firstly, Ubuntu 17.04 behaved very nicely, redeeming itself somewhat and infusing hope into a bleak, Dystopian landscape of open-source code. Then, Kubuntu Zesty followed with an even more impressive performance. Stylish, professional and rad. Awesome.

It's time to test the third in the holy triumvirate - like Rush the band, only different and less progressive - Xubuntu. Once again, you must admit my naming convention is better than the original. But for the sake of it, Zapus it is. Recipe: G50, UEFI, 16 partitions, a complex setup of Windows and Linux, let us begin.

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Motorola Moto G4 review - Extremely refined

updated May 6, 2017, category: Software & security

Motorola Moto G4 Plus
My wife (pronounced Wi-Fi) and I had a big row. She said she wanted an Android phone. I said, whaaat. Are you abandoning our love child, the Windows Phone? She said, nay. She just wanted another baby - all that she wants is another phone, with dual SIM, all that she wants is Android, oh-oh. Ahem. So, in addition to her Microsoft Lumia 535, she be getting a Motorola Moto G4. Hence this review.

This should be interesting. For many reasons. First, I'm going to tell you my story of how I bought and tested this USD229.99 phone, and more importantly, how I feel about Android nowadays. It's been a while since I played with this operating system, and who knows, it may no longer be the chaotic little thing of the past. Let's see what gives. Dedoimedo Does Moto.

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Windows 8.1 gets stuck searching for updates

updated May 5, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows 8.1 + stuck WU
This is a rather weird problems that I've been battling lately. If you've followed my recent Windows related articles, I had issues with the Windows Update (WU) functionality on my relatively brand-newish Lenovo Ideapad Y50-70 laptop, which necessitated a complete system image back to an older state, a worthy lesson of its own. However, this on its own posed a big problem with the combo of UEFI, ATI and Windows 8.1, but we managed that hurdle just fine.

Several weeks after this incident, I noticed the laptop was noisy, with the CPU fan working overtime. Not without due cause, as the processor was running at 13%, roughly all of one logical thread, and this was the svchost.exe process that also controls the WU service. I knew I was facing botched updates again, and indeed, Windows 8.1 would never complete the search for updates, no matter how long I left it running. I decided I needed to fix this.

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Asus eeePC + Xubuntu 16.04 - Engage!

updated May 3, 2017, category: Software & security

EeePC & Xubuntu 16.04
The story of my brave little Asus eeePC continues. In its lifetime, spanning eight years of heavy-duty use all over the world, this netbook has undergone a handful of upgrades, with the notable mention of Xubuntu Pangolin and more recently Trusty, both of which had served their purpose extremely well. But now, it is time for another upgrade.

So we have a single-core, two-thread Atom processor, plus 1GB RAM, on a platform that is almost eight years old. Tons of legacy data on the hard disk, including some semi-exotic software obtained outside the official repos. Intended operating system? Xubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus, which was merely decent the last time I tested it. But 'tis an Xfce distro, and it's an LTS. Challenge accepted.

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Gnome 3 + Dash to Panel extension - Turbo efficiency

updated May 1, 2017, category: Software & security

Gnome 3 & Dash to Panel extension
Once upon a time, I simply adored Gnome 2, then I hated Gnome 3, and then I stopped hating Gnome 3 and began using it more extensively, largely thanks to Fedora, which undid my negative emotions and opened a new world of Linux fun for me.

A significant part of this revolution was the humble little extension called Dash to Dock (D2D), which transforms the Activities Dash with your favorite application shortcuts into a proper panel, so you need not waste time on extra mouse clicks. In other words, you get the sane behavior with a taskbar slash panel like any other desktop environment. Now, there's another extension - Dash to Panel. Let us review.

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Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zaphod - Kawabuntu!

updated April 29, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus
Let us continue with the spring season distro testing. Next on the menu: Kubuntu. After many years of offering bland, emotionless releases, we had a cautiously reasonable Yakkety Yak edition, so me hopes are high for today.

And for today, we will examine the latest Kubuntu, which officially bears the name of Zesty Zapus, but once again, like my recent Ubuntu review, my version of the distro's name is totally better. So allow me to ask thee, what is the answer to Linux, multiverse and constant forking?

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