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Introducing my new Linux test laptop: Lenovo G50

updated March 28, 2015, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50-70
This be a major event. Recently, I have retired a total of four laptops used for testing and reviews, including the well-known T61 and T400 machines. This means I needed a new computer to do all my Linux installs and such. Ergo, Lenovo G50.

We will continue using the older LG hardware, as it comes with the Nvidia card, so it's still useful in that regard, despite its age and weak specs. But most of my distro testing will now focus on this brand new beastling, and there's cardinal importance here, because we're talking UEFI, Secure Boot and whatnot. If you thought my reviews were complicated and brutal, wait till we get started with these new so-called evil technologies. Anyhow, let's begin. First things first. An overview of what Lenovo G50 can do.

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Eurotrip continues - Ford C-Max in Italy

updated March 27, 2015, category: Car reviews

Ford C-Max 1.6 Duratorq TDCi
It's time to continue our Eurotrip thingie. The last time, we did a solid 2,000-km trip in eight days round Croatia in Opel Insignia estate. Now, we will pick up the baton with Ford C-Max, a compact five-door, five-seat family MPV, powered by a 1.6-liter Duratorq TDCi engine. Location? South of Italy, from Rome to Salerno and back, in six days, with a total of 1,164 km of roads covered. Oh naturally, we drove down the famous Amalfi coast road.

So let's take a look at what Italy has to offer, with its average-speed camera-clocked three-lane highways, narrow-shoulder 80 km/h motorways and B roads, ultra-tight and curvy coastline tarmac looking down at some rather scenic little towns where no parlo Inglese, and finally, some proper and totally insane town driving. As bas as rumored? We will see.

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Windows 10 & Classic Shell

updated March 25, 2015, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & Classic Shell
If you've followed my Windows 10 Preview articles, including the almost latest Build 9926 edition, then you know there's a bit of a problem. It has to do with the system search functionality. It does not show in the menu anymore. Instead, it's integrated into the taskbar, and you get forced advertising and suggestions there, at least at the moment. This may yet change in the official version.

If you turn Cortana on, you can get away from that, but you need an online account. Then, you can disable the new search, and you will have a popdown search field in the menu, and this is both ugly and inefficient. You want to solve this by using Classic Shell, a super cool menu program for Windows 8 and friends. In fact, it's the program that makes Windows 8 usable. Only in some situations, it may not be installable on Windows 10. If you have been affected, please glimpse here. P.S. Build 10041 review coming soon.

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Netrunner 15 Prometheus - I'll take you to burn

updated March 23, 2015, category: Software & security

Netrunner 15 Prometheus
Netrunner 15 Prometheus is the last edition of the Ubuntu-based branch of the Netrunner family, as opposed to the rolling siblings that come with more Archy and Manjaroy DNA. While the release itself definitely begs attention and review, what makes it special is the fact it's the first distro, that I know of, to officially feature Plasma 5 as its desktop.

So we will be testing, not only the desktop itself, but also the new environment. We will be doing that on my older LG laptop. But the beauty there is that it comes with the Nvidia graphics card, so it should be extra interesting. Please follow me.

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Dedoimedo contest, update

updated March 21, 2015, category: Software & security

Dedoimedo contest
All right. As you can see, we are past the official end date for the competition, and yet, it is still running. There are two good reasons for this. One, I have tardied a bit sending the physical copies to readers, because I have myself received them late. Therefore, I want to give people more time to finish the books.

Two, so far, eleven people have pledged their hearts and minds to the competition, but only two have writ their reviews online. Hurry up folks. This is a gentle reminder to get underway with my prose. Three, most importantly, Ubuntu phone is a reality now. Which means one thing.

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Some cool Plasma tips and tricks

updated March 21, 2015, category: Software & security

Plasma tips and tricks
Several days ago, we talked about how Plasma 5 is awesome, and how it's the cure to all worries in this world, particularly those related to aesthetics, functionality and desktops. All fanboyism aside, Plasma shapes up to become the most modern and relevant Linux desktop environment, with a very intelligent sense of order and efficiency not seen elsewhere.

So I've shown you a whole bunch of cool things, but how some more cool things? In this guide, I will reveal a few hacks that can make you happier and more productive with Plasma. Sure, you can explore on your own, and experienced users probably won't find this piece remarkable, but for new users and fresh Windows converts, this article is like someone holding your hand during your first trip to Tijuana, Mexico.

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Lubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn - No, not really

updated March 18, 2015, category: Software & security

Lubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn
It has been a long while since I've last played with Lubuntu. My Ocelot review was not very favorable. While LXDE did kind of work, it failed to impress me. It also failed to cause the disruptive change, either by dislodging the big, supposedly heavy desktop environments like Unity and Gnome 3, or by stopping the development of rebellious successors.

Naturally, it comes down to the desktop setup, because Ubuntu is Ubuntu. As we've seen not that long back, LXQt came to replace it, but then it did not. LXDE lives on, and it graces a bunch of desktops. Then again, Lubuntu does not seem to work as expected, because there's LXLE Linux building upon its flaws, making them less. Indeed, today, we shall see how well Lubuntu Utopic stacks against the original version, as well as LXLE. And in general, we must not forget the crucial existential question of necessity for lightweight desktops, given the presence of the likes of Xfce and MATE, both adorning Ubuntu. Follow me please.

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Virtualbox CERT_E_REVOCATION_FAILURE - How to fix

updated March 17, 2015, category: Software & security

Virtualbox & certificates
This is going to be a very weird tutorial, today. Namely, we will fix a problem with the Virtualbox startup by using something approaching magic. Indeed, the issue you are facing reads as follows. Recently, you've upgraded your Virtualbox installation to version 4.X or something. Then, all of a sudden, it no longer starts. Instead, it throws an error.

The error message reads something like CERT_E_REVOCATION_FAILURE, and you feel like slitting your wrists. But don't. Let me show you how this kind of problem is debugged properly and smartly, and it will also give you insight into a hundred other, similar phenomena you may encounter. It's also a good lesson in Windows command line.

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Apple TV quick review

updated March 14, 2015, category: Software & security

Apple TV
Brace yourselves. This is the very first time ever that Dedoimedo reviews an Apple product. Now, I am familiar with Apple hardware, and my various family members have been using tons of them over the years. However, I have never really spent any serious time fiddling with any of these. Now that my friend has loaned me his Apple TV appliance, I must.

Anyhow, my quest for the ultimate home media player continues. So far, nothing really fits the bill. On the software side, XBMC might be the desired software component, but neither the RaspBMC nor openELEC really wowed me, especially when paired with the Raspberry Pi board, price and functionality wise. The same goes for Rikomagic and Chromecast. When it comes to watching TV, I just use whatever smartness my LG box has to offer, out of the box [sic]. Maybe Apple TV could make it happen? Let's see.

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Plasma is my new favorite desktop

updated March 13, 2015, category: Software & security

Plasma 5
Being a fanboy always helps when you want to draw attention to your articles, and in this, it's my turn to sound all gooey, agog and completely enamored by Plasma 5, the next generation of the KDE desktop framework. But the thing is, the more I'm using it, the more I'm loving it. Which is why I couldn't leave you with just the overview from several weeks back.

I spent several more days playing with Kubuntu Vivid dev branch, testing Plasma, to see what more it can do. Sure, there are bugs and niggles, the repositories are sometimes quite slow and bits and pieces go missing, so you have to wait a few hours or days before you can have a successful update cycle. Some of the functions still do not work, some work inadequately, there are visual inconsistencies and other problems. But all in all, Plasma is progressing nicely, and it's about to kick some major ass very soon. Let me show you. A sample of what I had the pleasure of doing one Saturday evening.

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LXLE Linux 14.04.1 review - Champagne without bubbles

updated March 11, 2015, category: Software & security

LXLE 14.04.1
Ubuntu derivatives are many and varied. Most build on the same base, and then add a new work environment in order to infuse the distro with a unique spin. LXLE 14.04.1 does this by applying an almost namesake desktop environment on the latest LTS Ubuntu release, and so a new fork is born.

Is this any good, you may ask? Well, that's a good question. We shall soon find out. My test will take place on a T61 machine, with its two SSD and Intel graphics. Rejoice, for the laptop is soon going to be retired, and we will have a brand new machine take its place. Let us begin.

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MiniTool Partition Wizard review

updated February 23, 2015, category: Software & security

MiniTool Partition Wizard
Several weeks back, I reviewed AOMEI Partition Assistant, a pretty decent disk and partition management software. Now, I am going to do it again, test and review another program designed to make the disk handling tasks easier for Windows folks. This one is called MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Much like before, I was contacted by the vendor and asked to check their product. And so here we are. I will try to avoid too many comparisons to AOMEI or GParted, but it is inevitable. Tested, version 8.1.1, professional edition. Let's go.

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The ultimate guide to ArmA

updated March 7, 2015, category: Computer games

ArmA guide
You all know I simply love the ArmA franchise. It all started with Operation Flashpoint, the most legendary first person shooter ever conceived by human race. By a twist of ultra-uber-super serious Soviet-inspired Czech no-Hollywood-nonsense magic, Bohemia Interactive makes computer games that are simply nine orders of magnitude above all and everything else. Beware, though. Once you've played one of Bohemia's splendid titles, you will never, ever be able to even remotely enjoy silly arcades, for as long as you're alive.

I've written many articles and reviews of the ArmA family games, and you are most welcome to take a look at all of them. But that's not the reason why we are here. The reason is, Andrew Gluck, also known as Dslyecxi, a former US marine who has compiled the most thorough tactical guides on ArmA. He may yet discover that I have decided to dedicate an entire article to his work, and indeed, let's explore the finest piece of the ArmA bible out there.

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Deepin 2014.2 - Mindbogglingly unique

updated February 23, 2015, category: Software & security

Deepin 2014.2
Linux Deepin is a Chinese penguin product, built on top of Ubuntu and using its own desktop environment, which, well, no matter what you say or think, is based on Gnome 3. My previous experience with the distribution was extremely positive, and I really liked the art work, the special touch and approach to old, proven ideas. While such attempts are usually doomed to fail, Deepin rallied and delivered.

Now, it's time for another round of testing, with the latest edition 2014.2. We will be doing the standard quad-boot game, with an aging but raging T61 plus Intel graphics and SSD. Indeed, let's see.

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Budgie Desktop - A new kid on the block

updated February 21, 2015, category: Software & security

Budgie desktop environment
Every few months or years, a new desktop environment is born in the Linux world, sometimes as an act of rebellion, also known as cutlery (forking), sometimes in order to replace an outgoing technology, and sometimes because. Several days ago, I came across Budgie, a new project and the flagship desktop for the Evolve OS Linux distribution. In general, Evolve OS is a brand new operating system. Rumors tell it has some roots in Gentoo, Pardus and friends.

We are going to discuss the latter at a later time, but for now, it is time to explore Budgie. It is based on Gnome, so it should not be a complete stranger. Anyhow, baby steps, beta, so everything you see and hear today must be taken with a big, fat disclaimer. Tested from a Ubuntu PPA on an existing, running instance of Utopic.

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More awesome sites added to the Hall of Fame

updated February 18, 2015, category: Greatest sites

Windows 10 network access
That time again. We're adding excellent new content to the slowly but surely growing list of the greatest sites on the Internet, as judged by your significant brother, me. And like the last time, we are verging into the realm of foreign languages, so you might have to exercise your translator skills. To wit, Heise Online, a site dedicated to popular technology, operating systems, three-letter agency news, and such.

The second one is LWN.net, a geeky yet visually unassuming portal of Linux stuff. Written in English, it will trouble you less vis-a-vis translations, but it should provide you with a decent, balanced dose of highly in-depth articles on kernel internals, software reviews, free software discussion, security updates, and such. Quite useful. Enjoy.

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Windows 10 & network share access denied - Solution

updated February 18, 2015, category: Software & security

Windows 10 network access
Your problem might be as follows. You have recently upgraded your Windows 10 Preview to the new Build 9926, and all of a sudden, network shares, like other Windows machines you may have in your environment, are no longer accessible. Best of all, they worked fine right up until the upgrade.

I have outlined this issue in my review, and now, I'm sharing the promised tutorial that solves the problem. Get it? Sharing. I'm sharing a solution to a sharing problem. That's so damn witty. Now, follow me.

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LibreOffice 4.4 review - Finally, it rocks

updated February 16, 2015, category: Software & security

LibreOffice 4.4
LibreOffice is the flagship office suite for Linux. It's also quite popular with Windows users. As a free, open-source and cross-platform solution, LibreOffice allows people to enjoy the world of writing, spreadsheets, presentations and alike without having to spend hefty sums of money. The only problem till now was that it didn't quite work as advertised. Microsoft Office support was, for the lack of a better word, lacking.

Version 4.4 is out, and it promises a great deal. A simplified interface, new looks, much improved proprietary file format support. Sounds exciting, and as someone who has lambasted LibreOffice for this very reason in the past, I felt compelled to give this new edition its due rightful try. On top of Plasma 5 no less. So let's see.

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Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTI ecoFLEX review

updated February 14, 2015, category: Car reviews

Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTI ecoFLEX
Several days ago, we had the extra long and beautiful Eurotrip article. And while we did review Opel Insignia, that's Vauxhall for you Brits and colonists, we did not really review the car. We focused on the road and driving conditions and how well the car blended into the environment. Now, we shall rectify this.

To wit, here's a proper car review, which mostly ignores how red sunsets are in certain parts of the world, the speed limits on highways, but in a safe way, and other conditions that bring out the inner child in you. We will do the interior and exterior expose, then delve deeper into problems, comfort, price, options, and such. Then, finally, we will revisit the driving part, but without repeating ourselves or being boring. Follow me.

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On the topic of global warming

updated February 13, 2015, category: Hillbilly physics

Global warming scandal
Back in 2011, I wrote my global warming article, calling it what it is. Bollocks. I received a fair dose of flak for my insight, as some of my readers found my skepticism regarding the human-inflicted increase in temperature on a global scale too much to handle.

In early February 2015, articles started floating around the Web, talking about the greatest scientific scandal of all time. The topic? Global warming. Or rather, artificial tampering with data points collected by numerous weather stations round the world, in order to create the necessary trends that prove the planet is heating up as a result of human-generated carbon emissions. Oops. I wrote back then that it isn't all scientific. Indeed, when people make changes to numbers, it isn't science. And yes, as always, I'm 100% right.

Read more and more and more (external link) ...

Google Chromecast quick review

updated February 13, 2015, category: Software & security

Chromecast
Remember my XMBC tests on top of a Raspberry Pi board? Good. Last year, after purchasing my LG smart TV, I started playing with various low-cost appliances, trying to find the optimal hardware and software set for a home media center. In the end, I chose nothing, because the television itself is good enough for all my daily needs. Now, though, a couple of my friends have loaned me their stuff, including Apple TV, Chromecast and Odroid. Yay, I have friends! Just kidding. Imaginary friends.

We will begin with Chromecast. This is a tiny, low-cost HDMI dongle, designed to transform your regular TV into a smart, network-capable device. For only USD35, you get a media player that can stream all sorts of contents from your mobile devices and computers directly onto the large screen. Sounds cool, so let's see what gives.

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LibreOffice Viewer for Android

updated February 11, 2015, category: Software & security

LibreOffice Viewer for Android
An interesting moment, don't you think, the official announcement by the Document Foundation about the availability of LibreOffice for Android. Now, this is only a beta, and this is only a viewer, allowing you to read but not yet create office documents on an Android device. Like they say in The Wheel of Time series, it was a beginning.

A full suite is planned much later down the road. But for now, you can test the Viewer. The application is available in the Play Store, and side by side with the remote control Android utility for LibreOffice Impress, it gives you an early set of official tools for the most popular open-source and free office suite out there. I did my share of testing and screenshots. Just a sampling, but let's see.

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Windows 10 & Cortana - In-depth tour and message

updated February 9, 2015, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & Cortana
So far, I've interested you with a very long review of Windows 10 Preview Build 9926, which brings Halo-game Cortana nerdonics to your desktop. Imagine that, geeks getting all shivery by listening to a slightly robotic female voice. Oh, the subtle pointlessness of human existence.

I want to explore this technology some more, because it's not just about AI and voice search and other buzzwords like cloud. It's also about the future direction of operating systems and somewhat forced integration of moronity and remote computation into your everyday devices. Internet of Things (IoT) becoming Idiots of Tomorrow (IoT). Let's see if there's any merit to a digital woman bossing you around.

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Plasma 5.2 review - Fire all weapons!

updated February 7, 2015, category: Software & security

Plasma 5 review
Today is going to be an exciting day. We will be testing the official release of Plasma, on top of an early version of Kubuntu. This shall be a teaser of what we might expect to see in April. Given my excellent experience with a beta release on top of Utopic last year, my hopes and expectations are very high.

Plasma 5 has the potential to revitalize the Linux world, it's that important and meaningful. Of course, we must not forget that applications play their critical role, but if you need to sell your product, the first look, the very first impression is important. And in that regard, Plasma has everything to gain and lose. After what happened with Gnome, it's the one remaining bastion of sanity in the Linux desktop world. And so we begin.

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Eurotrip in Opel Insignia

updated February 6, 2015, category: Car reviews

Eurotrip in Opel Insignia
The phrase Eurotrip hints heavily at some kind of a trip across Europe. Which is exactly what we are going to do, only on a smaller scale. We won't roam across the whole continent surely. We will do less. A single country. In Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTI ecoFlex estate edition.

The country of choice is Croatia, with eight days and 1,977 km traveled on pay-to-use highways, B roads, C roads, macadams, country lanes, twisty serpentines, seaside magistrales, coastal cities with the unblemished charm of Austro-Hungarian rule and Italian terracota rooftops. In later articles, we will follow up with some German and Italian experience. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's see what gives here.

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Far Cry 4 review - Meh. Overrated. Arcade.

updated February 4, 2015, category: Computer games

Far Cry 4
Today, I am going to write this fine, negative review of the latest Far Cry release, because I have paid USD59.99 for the title, just a day before the big Christmas sale and thus missed the 20% off promo, and because it's not worth its price tag, as you shall soon discover.

Anyhow, I did pretty much the same mistake as with Call of Duty, another super overrated shooter. Just like back then, after purchasing my latest high-end laptop, I kind of got enthusiastic about playing several fresh games, and against my better judgment and experience, I actually read some of those rave reviews praising Far Cry 4 and its open-ended nature and elephants and such, and decided to give it a try. End result, this article.

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Windows 10 Preview Build 9926 - Awesome and horrible

updated February 2, 2015, category: Software & security

Windows 10 Preview
As you know, I have already reviewed Windows 10 a while back, and I liked it. Which meant I wasn't expecting to spend too much time fiddling with the latest release of the preview build, numbered 9926, when it came out in late January. And yet, I found myself hands deep in testing and troubleshooting, and this is the first of many articles on the topic.

This new edition brings us that much closer to what the official product ought to look like. On paper, it sounds glamorous. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and above, you get Cortana integrated in your desktop, and other cool tricks. Enough to convince people that Microsoft is back on its feet. Truth to be told, I did purchase some of its shares, but if you expect bias in this article, you're wrong. I'm going to praise and then lambaste Windows 10. While the reaction is not going to be as cheerful as my Windows 8 reviews, it gets close enough. A doomsday warning. Now read.

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