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Fedora 23 & Nvidia - Are we gonna have a good time?

updated February 8, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora 23 & Nvidia
As you recall, a most remarkable thing happened about two months ago. Gnome 3 rejoined the circle of trust after being outside of it for a bunch of years, weeping, scratching at the glass like a zombie. Now, on top of Fedora 23, it is once again a rather decent, usable if not quite amazing desktop environment. Which means that Fedora has potential to be a distro de jure for me. Maybe, hopefully, finally, someday.

But for that to happen, we must have Nvidia's proprietary drivers installed. We talked about this before. I want to repeat the experiment, and see if Fedora 23 can deliver the same way some of its predecessors did. Given the fickle nature of the autumn crop, it makes for a very dire exercise. Let us. Let us.

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Windows 7 + USB 3.0 external hard disk disconnects

updated February 6, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 7 & USB 3.0 disconnects
The problem you are facing is as follows. You have a Windows 7 box, most likely a desktop, and you have a brand new external USB 3.0 hard disk, which is entirely powered using a cable. When you plug it into the computer, it's properly recognized, however it disconnects and then reconnects during sustained large file transfers. What now?

The bigger issue is that everything worked for a while, without any issues. And you can also successfully connect the hard disk using back USB ports on your motherboard. The problem only comes to bear when using the front ports. Anyhow, this is the long story short of your woes, and I'd like to give you a solution.

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SuperTuxKart - A simple recipe for simple fun

updated February 5, 2016, category: Computer games

SuperTuxCart
It's been a while since I've done a proper Linux game review. The reasons being, we now have Steam, so there's less of a distinction between Windows and Linux. That division is now blurred, and we're past the free-only, indie-only games of yore. Good. That, however, does not mean you can't be having fun for free.

SuperTuxKart is one such title. It's nothing more than a point-and-shoot racer, arcade all the way, with you taking helm in one of the many funnily shaped vehicles and racing down some crazy tracks. Then, it's about taking on some opponents, in-game traps and perks, and gradually unlocking new levels as you make progress in the existing set. But let us explore in more depth.

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Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa Xfce - Absolutely fantastic

updated February 3, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa Xfce
Rosa and I had a rough start. Network-related regressions made the live session on my Lenovo G50 with its Linux-unfriendly Realtek card nigh impossible, I lost temper, and the distro scored zero. A few weeks after this fiasco, I calmed down, and upgraded the Rafaela setup, which turns out to be a top distro of 2015, to Rosa, without any issues.

Now, I want to give Rosa another chance. Xfce, and this time, on my older HP laptop, which still has a respectable 4 GB of RAM, four CPU threads, an Nvidia card, and a Broadcom Wireless adapter. In the distant past, it would sometimes give me trouble with this and that Ubuntu-based distro, especially when installed to external disks, so this is a great opportunity for Rosa to redeem herself. Let us.

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Rescue a FAT32-formatted disk with Linux

February 1, 2016, category: Software & security

FAT32 recovery, Linux
Here's a nice little story for you. Several days ago, while copying data from one of my Windows computers onto an external, USB-powered hard disk, the system suddenly threw an exception, complaining about an I/O error on the external device. The copy procedure failed, and when I re-plugged the disk back in, it showed as formatted.

Does this sound familiar? Well, it's usually how every and any story with a failed disk begins and often ends. The data is forever lost, and the disk goes to its special resting place in the digital heaven. But sometimes, you might be lucky. Let me tell how you I went about reviving this FAT32-formatted disk, using some neat Linux tools. Follow me.

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Opera 12 for Linux, I had to try

updated January 30, 2016, category: Software & security

Opera 12 for Linux
Strange, looking at the official website, the version for Windows reads 32. The version for Linux reads a whole 20 integers less. I wonder how, I wonder why, yesterday you told me, ah nevermind. I guess it's much like the Adobe (R) Flash Player thingie. Version 19 versus version 11.2 sort of thing. Linux is most likely not considered a priority, and it gets an older, outdated version. Skype, the same thing, too.

Well, that's not the point. What I wanted to do is, after many years of not using Opera, try and see if it could somehow show value worthy of inclusion in one's daily software repertoire. But then, if you've read my articles in the past decade, you know that I used Opera for a brief while and then dumped it after a few aggressive, borked updates. So I'm going to test a build that is probably irrelevant, and yet, it's all we have for Linux.

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Manjaro 15.12 Xfce - It started almighty but then

updated January 29, 2016, category: Software & security

Manjaro 15.12 Capella Xfce
I don't have too much luck with Arch-based distributions, it would seem. Netrunner Rolling failed me completely, and it wouldn't install. Several week after that first fiasco, Apricity OS did the same thing. Distro did a bad bad thing.

Now, I'm faced with a dilemma, as I'm about to test Manjaro 15.12 Xfce on my G50 laptop, which comes with UEFI, Secure Boot, GPT, and the rest of the uncanny stuff what trumped all these other distributions. But we shall not succumb, and we shall test on the beaches and in the fields. Avanti.

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More Windows 10 privacy with W10Privacy

updated January 27, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & W10Privacy
The more time I spend testing and exploring Windows 10 - so you don't have to - the more I realize how displeased I am with the overall package. Yes, in a nutshell, it's the same old stuff. You can just let it be, and that's it. In fact, for most people this is the sensible solution, and in general, if you don't trust a product, don't use it.

Still, as a proud member of the geek community, I do find the whole online integration, tracking nonsense detestable. It's not so much about whether anyone will be spying on your pointless existence, it's more the matter of principle. And since we like to invest energy in being angry for the sake of it, let's learn how we can make Windows 10 even less intrusive.

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Apricity OS 12.2015 review - Apre Trouble

updated January 25, 2016, category: Software & security

Apricity OS 12.2015
Linux, the final frontier. A fellow named Mehdi emailed me the name of this Linux distro for sampling, testing and review. Having already recommended a bunch of software in the past, with pretty good results, I thought this could be another enjoyable exercise.

To make everything all the more mindboggling, Apricity OS tell us it is based on Arch Linux, which means goats and blood and the essence of virgin nerds. Archy Arch and the Funky Byte. But maybe the dreadful can be abstracted into a nice and friendly product. Anyhow, version 12.2015 Beta, underway!

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Super Trouper, Take a Chance on Volvo XC60

updated January 20, 2016, category: Car reviews

Volvo XC60 T5 FWD R-Design
You must, you must forgive me my blatant cliche use of song lyrics in the title, but I just could not resist it. Anyhow, we are gathered here for a review of Volvo XC60, which we have seen in action in the Netherlands, taking us back and forth across the lowlands a merry number of times. We discussed the country, the roads, the driving experience, but we didn't delve too much into the car itself, which is why we have this article.

So, if you are wondering, Volvo XC60 T5 FWD is our test model, and it comes with the most elegant of trim levels, R-Design, which adds a sporty bite to the serene and classy image of what this car is meant to be. Indeed, if you are looking for a high seater with character and uniqueness, and you don't seem too keen on something like Toyota RAV4, whereas BMW X3 is either too posh or too mainstream for you, then maybe this could be a good choice. But we shall discover that soon. Please follow me.

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Cyberfox - Imitation of life

updated January 19, 2016, category: Software & security

Cyberfox
I thought making a punny joke combining words cyber, sex and fox. Instead, I will just ask, what does the fox say. If you feel like kicking me in the face, I probably deserve it. Anyway, Cyberfox is a Windows-only derivative of Firefox, designed to address a variety of real and perceived gaps in Firefox, available in stores near you.

Indeed, if you've read my Firefox diatribe, which includes the article on its future, the Australis and Firefox 29 fiasco, as well as the directory tiles thingie, you must have noticed that I'm not quite pleased, however with a very happy development that brings hope to the game. But alternatives are far and few in between. Which is why we must gaze upon Cyberfox the way Sauron gazed toward Shire.

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Linux Mint: from Rafaela to Rosa

updated January 16, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa
You know I love Linux Mint. It is one of my favorite distros. Which made the Rosa disappointment all the more shocking. It was so bad it was almost a Rosawell Accident. See what I did there? Never mind, I have calmed down since, and now we're trying Mint 17.3 once again. Only this time, in a slightly different fashion.

Rather than booting from a live USB or whatnot, I am going to attempt an in-vivo upgrade, which is something that usually didn't work quite that well in the past. Linux Mint abstained from this thorny path for many years. Its parent Ubuntu sucked for a while, with dodgy upgrades, and then eventually Ubuntu worked just fine. So this is going to be a rather interesting exercise. Shall we?

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Netrunner 17 Horizon - Event Plasma

updated January 15, 2016, category: Software & security

Netrunner 17 Horizon
Tough is the life of a distro reviewer, at least has been in the last months of 2015. One bad distro after another. What is distro, baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more. That bad. Seriously, nothing good happened this autumn. Crazily, Fedora 23 with its GNOME desktop was the closest to being a sensible distro. A few others delivered okay, but when you expect mega wow, okay just isn't good enough. Oh yes, Netrunner Rolling scored zero.

So you can imagine my apprehension ere this review, wondering if I'm going to have another bad day fighting technology, regressions and retardation all combined. But let's be optimistic. The glass is half-full, even if I like to drink from the bottle. To wit, Netrunner 17 Horizon, tested on my G50 machine, alongside Windows and many a Linux.

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Assetto Corsa - Is this the real life?

updated January 9, 2016, category: Computer games

Assetto Corsa
Once upon a time, I used to be a fanboy for Live For Speed, a supremely cool and realistic racing simulator. Despite its age and humble graphics, I still merrily play the game quite often, enjoying the plethora of physics it offers. But then, quite recently, I discovered a new simulator called Assetto Corsa, and now I've become a fresh new fanboy yet again.

Why you ask? Because I've just cashed in USD300 dollars for a Logitech G27 steering wheel and pedals for a game that costs roughly USD50. This is equivalent to installing a 3K boombox in a 1994 Fiat Panda. I'm that much of a fanboy. And for a good reason, because Assetto Corsa is a blast.

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iPhone & iTunes sync - Don't want

updated January 8, 2016, category: Software & security

iPhone & iTunes
The singular great advantage of having a dedicated test machine is that you can afford to load it with potentially unwanted software without having to worry about changing or damaging your production setup. In my case, the Lenovo G50 laptop with its Windows 10 installation, among many other Linux distros residing on the disk, is the perfect test bed to try iTunes.

Why? Well, I have an iPhone 6. I got it as a gift, ergo free, and for the past 7-8 months, I've been testing and trialling it, conducting technology experiments as much as deep anthropological study into the human psyche and glamor affection. So far, I found it very much not to my liking. It's a great opportunistic camera, the hardware is great, but the day-to-day use is average. One aspect of vicious struggle is music, as I have briefly illustrated in my Rhythmbox article recently. Therefore, I decided to bite the bullet and try iTunes, to see if this software really makes that much of a difference when working with an Apple product. Follow me.

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Rhythmbox & iPhone sync - Improving

updated January 6, 2016, category: Software & security

Rhythmbox & iPhone
If you remember, roughly a year ago, I complained about Rhythmbox being useless and dangerous when it comes to syncing music on and off smartphones. Back then, I tested with my Lumia and an older S4 device, and in both cases, the media player did an awfully awful job. Fast forward a bunch of time.

Recently, during my Zorin OS 10 test, I was pleasantly surprised to notice the media player showing my gadgets more love. Most notably, iPhone, which is well known for being notorious when it comes to anything non-Apple. So here's a more detailed report.

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Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa - A wilted flower

updated January 4, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa
The R naming tradition continues. Linux Mint 17.3 comes with Rosa as its official title, and it is the latest release in this rather successful family of distros. Steady, stable, quite predictable, Mint has been in the top of the chart for a while, and quite often Dedoimedo's favorite. Rafaela, the previous edition, did quite well, almost taking the perfect score in the review.

Time to see if Rosa can deliver. After all, this distro season has been awful so far. Pretty much all and every release sucked big time, with some monumental regressions all over the place. Even openSUSE with Plasma couldn't redeem the situation. Horrible. But maybe Mint can save the day? Shall we?

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Pimping through the Netherlands in Volvo XC60

updated January 2, 2016, category: Car reviews

Eurotrip in Volvo XC60: The Netherlands
Let us drive across another country in Europe, shall we. This time, our destination is the Netherlands, not the Caribbean islands part mind, although that could be awesome, just north and west of Germany and Belgium, which we visited the last time. A flat country, with no driving obstacles, it should be fun.

Our transporter is Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design model, a compact luxury crossover, with a four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine, and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission going to the forward pair of wheels. We shall discuss the car in more detail in a separate review, as it merits all sorts of mention and gossip, but for the time being, let's focus on the country experience. Like that Dire Straits song. These mist-covered autobahns are a road now for me, but my home is the low lands and always will be. Yes, follow me. Three days, 771 km. Off we go.

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Firejail - Sandbox for Linux, wanna build a castle?

updated January 1, 2016, category: Software & security

Firejail
When it comes to Linux security at home, things can be quite uneventful. So if you happen to switch from Windows to Linux, suddenly, you are left with this big gap in your sense of completeness, and you start looking for tools to relieve your unease. One such product is Firejail, a sandbox program designed to limit what processes can do.

The concept isn't new. You have SELinux, AppArmor, and Chrome, which comes with its own sandbox mechanism. The Linux kernel contains a whole bunch of cool features that help further segregate and isolate tasks from one another, and if you tap into this space, you end up with enhanced security. Or do you? Let's see what gives.

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And the best distro of 2015 is ...

updated December 30, 2015, category: Software & security

Best distro of 2015
Year 2015 was one of the most turbulent, troubling periods for Linux. It started with so much hope, so much goodness, and then it all crashes come the autumn season, with distros failing one after another, almost like trees succumbing to a flood. Whatever emotional metaphor works for you.

Now, though, we must put the pain and elation aside, and focus on voting the best distributions of 2015. There have been many, and while we did not have any great revolutions like the last time, it was an interesting year overall. So let's separate the wheat from the chaff, and the wit from the chav. Shall we?

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Social media will destroy your career

updated December 28, 2015, category: Life topics

Social media
Honestly, I tried to find a less sensational title for my article, but this was the only one that truly and simply summarizes the idea behind what we're going to discuss today. And it applies to the current generation of youngsters, people currently undergoing education or just starting their career in this world. Why? Because they are the first generation in human history that has or can have their entire lives documented. In digital format. Forever and ever.

Without sounding old and wise and all-knowing, although I am at least two out of three, I would like to shed light onto a phenomenon, perhaps even a problem, that is going to affect the lives of hundreds of millions for at least another twenty or thirty years. After that, it may go away or transform into something else. The problem? Social media being used to disqualify you.

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Best Xfce distro of 2015

updated December 26, 2015, category: Software & security

Best Xfce distro of 2015
The fall of one empire usually signals the rise of another. Five years ago, if you asked a typical Linux desktop user what environment they favored, the answer would most likely be KDE or Gnome 2. But today, the answer is probably Unity, Cinnamon, maybe Plasma. And Xfce. The underwhelming underdog has taken upon itself to exploit the gap left by the turbulent change in the Linux desktop world and ascertain itself as a top player.

The exploits (not in the security sense) of Plasma leave even more room for aesthetic maneuvers and dominance by Xfce. This desktop environment holds a very interesting market position. It's a product of old, trying to captivate the modern user, with focus on performance and stability, but without having to lag behind the fancy, modern rivals in terms of style and elegance. So let us, like we did the year before, vote on the one Xfce distro that does its job the bestest.

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Best KDE/Plasma distro of 2015

updated December 25, 2015, category: Software & security

Best KDE/Plasma distro of 2015
The end of the year best-distro nomination is approaching fast. But before that, let's narrow it down a bit and focus on what KDE and Plasma had to offer the Linux user in 2015. Undoubtedly, it was a very tough year, with some really awesome distributions released in the spring, some rather awful editions coming out earlier this autumn, the birth of Plasma and its attempt to win my heart.

Last year, the winner was openSUSE 13.2, coming back strong after many years of lukewarm performance. Alas, the brief spell of hope was again broken by the Leap release, so it will not come as any surprise to you that you won't be seeing it in the short list today. But enough spoilers. Let's focus on what KDE and Plasma - we shan't discriminate - did for us. What have the Romans ever done for us? That kind of thing.

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Two more awesome sites added to the most sacred of lists

updated December 23, 2015, category: Greatest sites

Greatest sites
I've got two more awesome sites for you to enjoy. Le first: OGLAF. In a nutshell, OGLAF is a raunchy comic strip laced with sexual innuendo, fantasy-themed story lines, and good general humor that goes beyond squirrels, magical beasts, mythical tales, witchcraft, village gossip, fairytale bravery, and overall silliness. NSFW, mind.

Candidate Deux: The Daily Mash. Insert squirrely reference here, The Daily Mash is unto the UK what The Onion is unto the USA. In other words, a satirical news site that takes parody to the extreme. However, the geopolitical affiliation does not mean you cannot appreciate the humor and tone, you just need the right mental frequency to tune in to the nonsense and fun.

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WINE 1.7 review - Alcoholics Anonymous

updated December 21, 2015, category: Software & security

WINE 1.7
Several weeks ago, I read a quick but thoroughly interesting news snippet about a, well, ahem, new (not anymore) WINE release, which included additional experimental DirectX 11 support. Wait, what? DirectX 11 support? Sounds massively cool.

This made me revive my desire to retest the WINE framework and see how far it's progressed since my last serious attempt to use it, sometime back in 2011. I have always been intrigued and equally disappointed by the Microsoft application and game support in Linux. It's no one's fault really. Desire and goodwill aside, it never quite worked. Maybe this new version can do wonders? Note: I KNOW WINE 1.8 has just been released, but I still felt I ought to publish this article, given the invested effort and its results, future work and conclusions notwithstanding.

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Fedora 23 Workstation review - Decent

updated December 19, 2015, category: Software & security

Fedora 23
The autumn quest continues. Nothing but pain so far, really. A lone distro shone through the smog, but the rest are there coughing and sputtering and crawling through the miasma of erratic, unpredictable, heart-wrenching failure. Next on the menu, Fedora 23. Lo and behold, I will be testing the GNOME edition. W00t!

As you know, I've lost all interest in Gnome once the integer flipped from 2 to 3, as it marked a transition from efficiency and style to over-sized touch-hyped nonsense that continues to this day. But after Zorin's optimistic success, plus the monumental failure of Kubuntu and Netrunner, both with Plasma, I thought I might try to break the awful jinx cycle by doing something new and radical. And so we shall see what gives. Relevant links further below. After me ladies and gents!

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War on Inconsistency - K vs M vs U vs X

updated December 18, 2015, category: Software & security

Linux, war on inconsistency
What is that we humans fear the most? No, it's not reality TV or snakes. It is the unknown. Not being able to predict the outcome brings out the worst in us, in our imagination. If someone told you, you will die in a nuclear holocaust, you will merely try to get the best shot of your final moment. But if someone told you, something horrible is going to happen to you, you'd actually start worrying.

This brings us to our topic of the day. Linux! As it turns out, I happened to be testing all the major Ubuntu flavors this autumn, starting with the main version, then branching toward the Plasma edition, the Xfce-flavored one, and finally the MATE desktop. All of them exposed me to an extremely worrying problem in the Linux ecosphere. Inconsistency. Hereby, I declare war on inconsistency!

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OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 - Leap? More of a plunge.

updated December 16, 2015, category: Software & security

openSUSE Leap 42.1
Dig if you will the picture. Of SUSE and I engaged in a kiss. The smell of Plasma covers me. You get the point. But honestly, try to imagine the excitement. A new openSUSE release with the bestest number evar. Kernel 5, Plasma 5, my own unmistakable nostalgia and liking for openSUSE, the very first distro that made it onto my systems back in 2004.

Then, to make it all the more interesting, Kubuntu Werewolf and Netrunner Rolling 2015.11, both with the Plasma desktop, recently scored a magnificent zero points each in their own separate reviews. So, it's a matter of honor. Can SUSE exonerate the Plasma family? Could it be the best distro of this year? Yes, that's how much I'm betting on it.

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Vivaldi browser - The Four Tabs

updated December 14, 2015, category: Software & security

Vivaldi browser
If you don't get the reference in the title, then you need to find a rusty metal ruler and start furiously spanking yourself with it. Cuz Vivaldi, that's why. Anyhow, Vivaldi also happens to be a new browser, designed by some former Opera guys, and based on Chromium. In its young heart, it blends open and closed source components, and it's aimed at power rangers, I mean users.

I decided to see if this new browser can offer a fresh new take on the Web, especially since Firefox has been misbehaving lately - but there's hope yet! - and we are in a dire need of a true hero. But alternatives aren't really available, which makes this experiment all the more interesting. Let us commence then, Technical Preview 4, tested on CentOS. Before you stab me, yes I know, old versions, beta, whatnot. When I tested, this was the latest edition, and this is what this review features with all the necessary disclaimers. Now, finally, follow me.

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Best distro of 2015 poll

updated December 12, 2015, category: Software & security

Best distro vote 2015
Let's do it again. Last year, in a first-of-its-kind Dedoimedo best distro vote poll, I asked you about your favorite operating system, and you responded in kind. With exactly 1,900 votes, you opined on the state of the Linux. It's that time of the year once more.

I am going to post an article reflecting my own view on how this year of distro testing went, but I would also very much like to hear from you. Like in 2014, I used the THP on Distrowatch and selected the top ten entries for the poll. But there's also a free field for you to add any other distro you like, as well as comments. It ought to be interesting, and hopefully not too quiet. After me.

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Holiday gifts, free books!

updated December 12, 2015, category: Books

Free books
I am feeling benevolent. 'Tis the holiday season, and that means free gifts for all. If you feel like reading some decent fantasy-themed prose, you might want to visit the Amazon domain in the coming two weeks. Starting December 16 all the way till New Year's, the Kindle edition of the four books in The Lost Words series will be free for download, one after another, a couple of days at a time.

Apart from spiritual enrichment, the reason why you should bother downloading, reading and then honestly reviewing this series is that I am going to host yet another gadget contest in 2016. All those of who participate will be eligible for a raffle, and you might end up with a semi-expensive computing device in your pocket as a reward for your efforts. That happens next year, but the reading time is now. Enjoy.

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I accidentally openSUSE

updated December 12, 2015, category: Software & security

openSUSE 13.2 + Plasma
Yes, I used this title before, when testing Nexenta. But it's so appropriate. Indeed, lemme ask you a question. How difficult is it for someone like Dedoimedo, a person who normally has anywhere between 20 and 50 images in a given distro review, to do one without a single image?

This is going to be the case with this little adventure here, I'm afraid, save for an odd teaser picture that does not fully reflect what happened. Plus some extra art just to keep you entertained. But the story is, I tried upgrading openSUSE 13.2, installed on my G50 test box, with the Plasma 5 desktop, and the end result wasn't very pretty. Not to worry, the full Leap review is coming soon. Consider the two unrelated.

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Dedoimedo has won the best software blog award!

updated December 11, 2015, category: Software & security

Dedoimedo, best blog award
Awesome news! Two weeks ago, I announced that Rocky Bytes, an independent offering downloads and reviews on free Windows software, was running its annual Bytes that Rock! Software Awards 2015. Lo and behold, in the software blogs category, your humble collocutor was a nominee among twelve shortlisted domains! And it won!

Dedoimedo has been selected as the best software blog in the 2015 Software Awards. This is a custhy little achievement, and I am pleased to share it. The Rocky Bytes competition had some 15,000 votes altogether, so it was a busy event. Many thanks to all who have participated, and for your vote of confidence. Party on!

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Cities: Skylines - Mod up!

updated December 11, 2015, category: Computer games

Cities: Skylines mods
Okay, I bored you already with two admittedly lovely articles on Cities: Skylines. The first one was a review, and I've not been so enthused about a new game in many years. The second one was more sort of a tutorial about how to battle and tame the network in Cities: Skylines and make your city flourish and grow. Roundabouts seems to be the answer. Almost fanatically so.

Now, I want to touch on another aspect of this fine little urban simulator, and that's the mods. The one piece that brings the community together, and in the darkness binds them, in the land of Gabe, where the discounts lie. Yes, as it turns out, the original urban simulator, THE simulator, SimCity, had the mods, and they proved to be ultra popular, a fantastic addition that made a great game divine. NAM, Radical Ordinance, Clean Air, Industry Multipliers, Functional Landmarks, without them, the history would be different. Now, Cities Skylines.

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Audi S4 quick review - Are you hungry for power?

updated December 9, 2015, category: Car reviews

Audi S4 3.0 V6 TFSI Quattro
I'm driving on the wrong side of the road again. And this time, Audi S4. This ought to be interesting, for several reasons. One, Audi A4 has just had a new model come out, and it will be a few more months before we see the successor S4 in action. Two, this gives you a great opportunity to sample from the old, compare to the new, and then get the right understanding where you stand with a posh saloon sportmobile.

Anyhow, this is going to be a quick review, akin to my Octavia vRS and Peugeot 208 GTi tests, so don't expect too much depth and color. Still, with a 3.0-liter V6 supercharged petrol, dual-clutch seven-speed auto, and Quattro, the S4 promises to be a jolly good package. Let's see how it worked out for us.

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No more ads in Firefox Tiles - A new hope

updated December 7, 2015, category: Software & security

Firefox & Tiles ads
For the past three or four years, I have been one of the unhappiest Firefox fans. Even since the parent company decided to ape Chrome, it went downhill. A steep slope full of rusty metal spikes, mines, bears, wolves, dragons, trolls, acid, and death. One bad news after another.

Now though, something really good has happened. Mozilla has officially announced they are going to remove advertisement from the Tiles. If you're wondering what this is about, we're talking little thumbnails shown in a dial-like fashion when you open a new tab. If you have blissfully missed all the drama, I have a bunch of articles that can help you get up to speed. Good news, indeed. So let's elaborate.

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Netrunner Rolling 2015.11 - Downhill

updated December 5, 2015, category: Software & security

Netrunner Rolling 2015.11
Netrunner Rolling is a weird distro. Unlike the bi-annual main release, it does not rely on Ubuntu and its siblings for the majority of its code. Rather, it wanders into the darker, less popular corners of the Linuxosphere, where Arch and Manjaro lurk. But we don't mind. Plus, it's the distro testing season!

I've tested this flavor twice, both times last year, and my impressions were mixed. The first time, the distro was quite decent, less so the second time around. Armed with a brand new test laptop and passion, I set about giving Netrunner Rolling a third chance. Let's see what gives.

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Zorin OS 10 review - Looking even better

updated December 4, 2015, category: Software & security

Zorin 10
Kneel before Zorin. Uh, I messed that up a little, but never mind. Autumn time! Distro reviews! Zorin! That be the distro we are going to review today, after having looked at no less than four specimens of the Ubuntu genera, with the somewhat lukewarm and rather inconsistent results. High low high low, sort of.

On the other hand, Zorin is one of those Ubuntu derivatives that tries to be different. More so than Mint, as it strives to capture the flat looks and behavior of Windows and give its users a retro-feel. It does aim at new users and fresh converts. But can it deliver?

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CentOS 7 & Nvidia kmod tutorial

updated December 2, 2015, category: Software & security

CentOS + Nvidia + kmod
Ladies and gentlemen, you know I like CentOS quite a bit. It's really a dandy operating system, for home use as well as work, or if you want, the other way around, and it really surprises with its simplicity and flexibility. True, we started on the wrong foot due to a rather severe lack of extra repos and stuff, then we fixed it, and pimped it to the max.

With the release of build 1503, things are looking even brighter, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to refresh my Nvidia guide for this fine distro, and this time show you how it's done using the ELRepo kmod package, so you don't have to manually reinstall the driver every time there's a kernel upgrade. Let us.

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Feel like tagging your music? You might as well buy fresh.

updated November 30, 2015, category: Software & security

Music tagging
If you happen to have been born before the digital revolution, and you were old enough to listen to music back then, you probably own a sizable collection of music tracks that have not originated from cloud stores. This means that when you play these songs or tracks in a typical media player, they often show up without any fancy art or tags.

I happen to belong to this camp, and I thought it could be a nice idea to tidy up the multi-decade collection. But how does one go about arranging and properly cataloging songs ripped and transcoded from old, dusty CD into a spotless digital library?

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Ubuntu 15.10 MATE - The wolf that cried sheep

updated November 28, 2015, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf + MATE
Or befriended a sheep in the best of Balkan fashion, and they got married and lived happily ever after. Or something. But it is high noon, to spare more time and scrutiny to the MATE edition of the Werewolf breed. Maybe it will give us that extra something that the other three haven't?

So far, it's a mixed bag of fleas, lucky charms, and an odd sweet. Ubuntu was meh, Kubuntu was don't want, and Xubuntu was okay, which means a solid triple failure, as we've seen all these perform so much better. Let's see if Gnome 2 reincarnate can help bring back some of that old joy. After me.

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How to smartly manage your passwords

updated November 27, 2015, category: Software & security

Password management
One of my readers asked me, hey, Dedoimedo, how do you manage your passwords? This question became the idea behind this article, in which I'd like to give you my perspective on password management. Similar to my backup guide, the purpose of this piece is not so much to tell you what to do, but more sort of help you come up with the best solution that matches your needs. Almost like going to a psychologist. Only better.

And so, I will not really tell you what I'm doing with my passwords. That's not relevant. Because the only person who needs to know your passwords is you, and so my methods and ways won't help you in that regard. Which is why I will mostly be asking questions. Okay? After me.

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Chkrootkit Suckit rootkit INFECTED message - What now?

updated November 25, 2015, category: Software & security

Chkrootkit & Suckit
This is the second article in my rather unexpected chkrootkit series. The first one, published roughly four years ago, discussed a problem that is similar to the one we have today. For some reason, probably because you are a Windows user and you can't help it, you decided to install a couple of rootkit scanner tools in Linux, named chkrootkit and rkhunter. You ran them, and you got an error.

The alarming message displayed by chkrootkit reads: Searching for Suckit rootkit... Warning: /sbin/init INFECTED. This does not sound good, especially since init is sort of a big daddy in your Linux. What now? You read this article to get a better understanding of how to interpret these kind of messages, as well as how to approach the Linux security question.

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Windows 10 & Control Panel - Going away?

updated November 23, 2015, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & Control Panel
Controversy is the bread and butter of modern journalism. So when a company like Microsoft announces or alleges to announce or rumors to announce or hints that it may consider announcing that it plans to retire the 20-year-old Control Panel from its flagship product, controversy hits like an elevator fart.

Today, I'd like to discuss just that. Much the same way I gave you my reasonable and absolutely accurate dissertation on why touch can never conceivably and effectively replace the keyboard and mouse on large devices, ergo the return of the Start Menu in Windows 10, we will take a stab at the Control Panel vs Settings menu. Follow me, please.

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Xubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf - Not a silver bullet

updated November 21, 2015, category: Software & security

Xubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf
Xubuntu is our third test bunny for the season. We've tried Ubuntu, and it was okay. Too many regressions to make it a palatable choice. Then, Kubuntu was a total disaster, and an emotional disappointment. Both exhibited a strong degree of inconsistency compared to previous versions, which annoys me more than you can imagine.

Now, Xubuntu has been steadily improving for the past 2-3 years, and it's almost become my favorite distro. It's raked the best-of Xfce title last year, and came second in the annual distro competition. 15.04 was also quite good, and I use it pretty much daily. Which means that today's test will be of cardinal importance. Shall we proceed?

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Dedoimedo is nominated for the best software blog!

updated November 20, 2015, category: Software & security

Dedoimedo, best blog nomination
Some great news. Rocky Bytes, an independent offering downloads and reviews on free Windows software, is running its annual Bytes that Rock! Software Awards 2015. Lo and behold, in the software blogs category, your humble collocutor is a nominee among twelve shortlisted domains!

I am pleased and honored to see Dedoimedo featured in the competition. If you recall, we had a similar thing with the FOSS Force and Linux Journal nominations of 2013. Always a happy occasion. Indeed, if you truly believe that I have entertained you enough with my technical and non-technical topics in the past year, as well as hopefully given you some actual useful advice, then I would kindly ask you to vote for me. And if you can, spread the word, too. Thanks for participating.

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Ubuntu Phone is getting better

updated November 20, 2015, category: Software & security

Ubuntu Phone, six months later
Several months ago, after years of waiting and missed deadlines, I had finally managed to lay my hands on an Ubuntu-powered phone, a BQ Aquaris E4.5. I was so jubilant, and my expectations were so very high that when I finally got to test the device, the end result wasn't so spectacular. For near six months, the little phone was relegated to collecting dust.

Then, in October, there was this big, cumulative update available, and I decided to upgrade, to see whether the new version of the Ubuntu Phone operating system could change my earlier impression. This time around, the end result was much more refreshing. Hence, this article.

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Cities: Skylines - It's all in the roundabout, stoopid

updated November 18, 2015, category: Computer games

Cities: Skylines traffic guide
Several months ago, I discovered Cities: Skylines and fell in love with it. After so many years, SimCity 4 had a worthy successor, one that is colorful and realistic and fun and big. Really big. Not as big as it can be, but still quite awesome. Immediately, I started building some cities, failed a bit, and then hit it off with a solid, well balanced 125K urbanville.

One of the things that really came to bear during my grid-like explorations was that the square-corner, perfectly lined street design wasn't really working. All my attempts to create vivid cities with large population always ended up with massive traffic jams. I would then spend a lot of time adding more and more streets, sort of trying to fix the problem. To little avail. Then, I remembered, roundabouts.

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Kubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf - Pretty useless

updated November 16, 2015, category: Software & security

Kubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf
Now that we have slain Ubuntu, it is time to go a-huntin' after another magical beast. Today, yes, you guessed it right, it's Kubuntu. Looking back a few releases, this particular member of the Canonical family has not really shown any great innovation, passion or quality. Perchance the autumn rain shall wash away the filth and expose a beautiful creature of code and elegance?

Lenovo G50 shalt be my test system, and my test system shall be Lenovo G50, which currently hosts about seven or eight different operating systems in one big happy family, Windows and Linux included. And to make it all the more interesting, all the world's digital conspiracies come together in a bundle aptly defined with UEFI, Secure Boot, and other technologies. It will definitely be a worthwhile hunt. I hope. After me.

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Do you feel brave enough to try OpenStack? OSAD!

updated November 14, 2015, category: Software & security

Openstack - OSAD
This is a very good question. For many reasons. One, OpenStack is a sort of a big, fancy buzzword nowadays, and anyone who thinks they are someone will tell you that you should be using this thing. Like the word cloud, the resistance is futile. Two, it's got something to do with virtualization after all, so maybe you should learn more about it.

Three and four and so on, the reasons shall become apparent later on this article. But the basic premise is, can you - and should you - dabble in OpenStack? Now, I am asking this question from the perspective of a person with natural technical intuition and significant experience dabbling in the likes of OpenStack. Today's article slash guide will show you how to get underway with this technology.

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Linux per-application firewalls - Doable? Douane.

updated November 7, 2015, category: Software & security

Douane
In general, I am not too worried about privacy or security. I find these topics to be hugely blown out of proportions by the mass media, as a means of generating fear, controversy and clicks. However, recently, after the GWX thingie, even I started thinking a bit more about Windows updates and patches.

Once trust is broken, it is very hard to heal. And so now I am carefully screening through each and every patch in the Windows Update screen. Which made me think, and finally, compile this article. If you want to know what you should do to minimize your exposure to operating system upgrades, i.e. Windows 10, telemetry tracking, and other bits and pieces, please read on.

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Audi S3 versus Volkswagen Golf R

updated November 6, 2015, category: Car reviews

Audi S3 vs VW Golf R
I distinctly remember the date. May 1990. It was my first encounter with BMW 850i, which looked like a spaceship blessed with wheels. Powered by a 5.0-liter V12, it developed a most mighty 300 PS, had a six-speed manual gearbox, and could accelerate 0-100 km/h in about five seconds and limited top speed of 250 km/h. That was a glorious moment.

Fast forward to 2015, and today, you have hot hatches with 2.0-liter fourpot engines, coupled to some serious turbo and superchargers, and they develop a similar rating, with similar acceleration and performance figures to the BMW of yore. Two of these lovely specimen are Audi S3 and VW Golf R, both with Haldex 4MOTION four-wheel drive system and 6-speed DSG gearbox, which I had the pleasure of driving around for a brief while. Better yet, brace yourselves gents and ladies, ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! Yup, I get to play with these awesome machines in the UK, and this is where have a full head-on test, side by side. The two cars share their DNA, they are practically identical, but really, are they? Let's see.

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All you need to know about Windows telemetry, upgrades

updated November 4, 2015, category: Software & security

Windows telemetry & upgrades
In general, I am not too worried about privacy or security. I find these topics to be hugely blown out of proportions by the mass media, as a means of generating fear, controversy and clicks. However, recently, after the GWX thingie, even I started thinking a bit more about Windows updates and patches.

Once trust is broken, it is very hard to heal. And so now I am carefully screening through each and every patch in the Windows Update screen. Which made me think, and finally, compile this article. If you want to know what you should do to minimize your exposure to operating system upgrades, i.e. Windows 10, telemetry tracking, and other bits and pieces, please read on.

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What About My Humanity? published in Allegory ezine

updated November 2, 2015, category: Books & stories

Allegory ezine
More awesome news! A short story of mine, titled What About My Humanity has been published in Allegory ezine, a tri-annual online magazine of science fiction, fantasy & horror, Volume 28/55, Fall/Winter 2015. Yippie.

What About My Humanity? tells a story of one's man coping with the terrible legacy of his life in a post-apocalyptic, Dystopian world, where big corporations preside over mankind, and where people are valued only by their usefulness as cheap labor. Kind of like today, is it not? Anyhow, worth checking out, I think. Especially since it's free to read or download. Plus, there's a lot more great stuff there, too, so you should clear your schedule, lean back and enjoy!

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Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf review - Fast and spurious

updated November 2, 2015, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf
Distro time! After a quiet distro slayin' period here in Dedowood, we embark on the great hunt once more, and we pay an excessive amount of time to Ubuntu and its derivatives, starting with the original beast. If you've followed my reviews lately, you know that I found Trusty to be excellent, and Vivid was also rather cool.

Let's see what the latest in the series can do. Our test machine will be Lenovo G50, which comes with the modern obstacles of multi-boot, Windows 10, UEFI, Secure Boot, and other things that make Linux folks raise a skeptical brow. Let us. Let us!

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Minime? No. Minitube? Yes.

updated October 28, 2015, category: Software & security

Minitube
Several days ago, while testing SMPlayer and its Youtube-specific add-on, SMTube, I started thinking about some other cool, useful software that can stream second-person-metro content. Minitube has been on my list on and off, and it's featured in various distros across the years. I have never given it a proper standalone review. Till now.

If you feel enthused, you might power on your distro's software manager and try to install Minitube. Don't. The chances are, most distros won't have the latest version, and you might end up with an older edition that does not have all the good stuff, and worse, might come with a broken API. This is what happened to me in Linux Mint. All of the Ubuntu-based distributions ship with an outdated version.

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Cities: Skylines - Finally, a worthy successor to SimCity 4

updated October 26, 2015, category: Computer games

Cities: Skylines
Until not that long ago, for me, SimCity 4 was, and largely, still is the ultimate city-building game simulator. In a twist of magic and style, it set the standard for urban building, offering huge areas with interconnected regions and limitless god-like fun ability to terraform and architect the perfect city. You also had mods, which made the awesomeness even more so. Then, in 2015, I purchased Cities: Skylines.

After almost a decade searching for a game that could match SimCity, there finally seemed to be one that might deliver the promise. The challenge was immense. I had spent 3.5 intense years creating my San Francisco region in SimCity 4, with its 60+ districts and 4.5 million people. And with the new HD version on Steam, which fixes a ton of CPU and graphics related problems, the challenge became almost impossible. But I gave Cities: Skylines a chance.

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