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Spotify for Linux - In the friendzone

updated October 26, 2016, category: Software & security

Spotify & Linux
Spotify is arguably the most popular music streaming service out there. Apologies to any diehard fanboys who may have been offended by this statement. With 100 million users and tight social media integration, it sure plays in the big league. You can also go premium and this will render your interface ad-free and fidelity-high.

But what about Linux? As it turns out, Linux has never been high on the list of priorities for the Spotify team, and at some point, the support was discontinued, then it was revived recently, which prompted me to give it a try. Seeking originality and uniqueness in my work, I opted for Fedora, only to learn that only builds for Debian-based distributions are available. In other words, Ubuntu and friends. Very similar to my experience with Sayonara. Anyhow, let's see what gives.

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Zorin OS 12 Beta - Flat white, no sugar

updated October 24, 2016, category: Software & security

Zorin OS 12 Beta
Zorin or GTFO. That was the email I got. No, just kidding. No one likes me, so no one sends me any emails. But yes, it is time to review Zorin OS 12, Beta version mind, based on Ubuntu 16.04, the sum of all our hopes, dashed and shattered. But perhaps the derivative might be better than the integral of its parts?

I will be testing on the G50 box. I know what you're going to say. Cursed Realtek network. Yes, but what about everything else. Can this little operating system deliver the smooth and friendly and consistent experience that we used to expect from Ubuntu and family? Can it be the answer to what Windows users might be looking for?

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Powershell on Linux - Early taste

updated October 22, 2016, category: Software & security

Powershell & Linux
Once upon a time, I wrote an article on Powershell admiring its Linux-like properties. I even had a nice animation therein, to everyone's merriment. Fast forward several years, Microsoft decided to open-source Powershell and make it available on Linux (!), and it is now available for early testing.

I like this idea for many reasons. It allows a more common ground in development and system maintenance, especially since there's also Bash for Windows, so we can see a nice mirroring of efforts. In the long run, this should make the two operating systems cooperate more effectively, and the real winners will be people doing administration, developers, but also end users. Let's see how it works.

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Systemd - Progress Through Complexity

updated October 19, 2016, category: Software & security

Systemd problems
A play on the Audi slogan: Vorsprung Durch Technik. Except we're going to talk about something that is clearly not progress. Systemd. Roughly 6 years ago, Systemd came to life as the new, event-based init mechanism, designed to replicate the old serialized System V thingie. Today, it is the reality in most distributions, for better or worse. Mostly the latter.

Why would you oppose progress, one may say. To that end, we need to define progress. It is merely the state of something being newer, AKA newer is always better, or the fact it offers superior functionality that was missing in the old technology? After all, System V is 33 years old, so the new stuff ought to be smarter. The topic of my article today is to tell you a story of how I went about fixing a broken Fedora 24 system - powered by systemd of course, and why, at the end of, my conclusion was one of pain and defeat.

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How to run graphical apps in BASH in Windows 10

updated October 17, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & BASH & X11
Hello hello, I don't know why you say Windows, I say Linux. Until recently, the concept of running Linux on top of Windows was only possible through the graces of virtualization. But now, Windows 10 offers a native implementation of Ubuntu. Rejoice.

We saw this in action recently, and we are all amazed. But one thing that we did not succeed in doing was to run graphical applications. The Ubuntu image comes without the graphical component. You can install the X11 server stuff, but you will not be able to launch it. You need an external X server for your graphical apps. Let's try that.

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PlayOnLinux second review - The magic man?

updated October 15, 2016, category: Software & security

Roughly five years ago, I tested PlayOnLinux. My first reaction was, blimey, was it five years ago? Damn. It feels like only a few months back. Anyhow, this program is a very nice wrapper for WINE, allowing you to install Windows software with more ease and a higher chance of success than just manually. In Linux. Need I say that?

Back in 2011, PlayOnLinux did an okay job, but as I aptly titled the article, there are no miracles. Some of the stuff simply did not work. Fast forward a lot, WINE seems to have stagnated, at least in my experience. Winetricks looks outdated. Which leaves us with PlayOnLinux, and recently it did an excellent job of getting Sketchup 3D to run on Ubuntu. So, we are giving it a second chance. Five years is a long time in the binary world. Let us see if and how PlayOnLinux has changed. Perhaps there will be a miracle this time. To wit.

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Elementary OS 0.4 Loki - Ragnarok

updated October 14, 2016, category: Software & security

Elementary OS 0.4 Loki
It is elementary, dear readers. The formula for creating the perfect distro. If only so. But people are trying, and among the many who are striving to transform Linux is the bunch behind elementary. Prettiness be their middle name, and they even have a rad (not) .io domain for their website. Silly stuff aside, you can even buy the distro if you want.

In the past, elementary OS seems to have charmed my readers more than it did me. You kept on asking, and again, we have a recurring pattern of emails hitting my inbox. Well, let us test again, then, shall we. G50 machine, Loki release. Go!

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SuRun on Windows 7 - Worth trying?

updated October 12, 2016, category: Software & security

SuRun & Windows 7
Many moons ago, I tested a nifty little tool for Windows XP called SuRun, which emulates the concept of sudo in Linux, except you do in a Microsoft operating system, with grace and elegance. I've always advocated setting up systems as a limited user, but it often presents an administrative challenge, due to the overhead associated with running multiple accounts.

SuRun solved the problem, and eight years later, I'm still using it in my virtualized Windows XP, to see how well this operating system weathers the challenges of modernity. But you may ask, what about Windows 7 and onwards? Well, looking at the project site, it does not mention anything, but the Sourceforge page seems to cover all recent Windows releases. And so we're testing.

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Ubuntu 16.04, re-tested six months later

updated October 10, 2016, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 16.04.1, six months later
It is time to re-test Xenial. Why? Because it's been a while since I did it the first time, and boy was I not pleased with the high and mighty promise of an LTS release. And because we now have 16.04.1 lined up, and that means a slew of improvements, supposedly, which ought to fix all them initial bugs. Finally, 16.10 is coming soon, so.

Anyhow, let me tell you a short story about how I feel now, roughly six months since I've first encountered and tested the disappointing Xenial Xerus release, which killed my hopes and dreams that Linux was actually slowly becoming a dominant desktop player. Now that I am a man without illusions (in French, homme sans illusiones), we shall submit Xerus to the tribunal one more time. After me.

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Ubuntu tablet, Oct 2016 - We need more!

updated October 8, 2016, category: Software & security

Ubuntu M10 tablet, Oct update
Recently, I gave you a fresh review of my BQ Aquaris E4.5 phone with the Ubuntu OTA-12 update. It was a decent experience. More speed, better overall performance, a bit more capability, but also the big question around the small and still not powerful enough app ecosystem.

Now, let's take a look at the M10 tablet. My initial impression was lukewarm, but then it got better when I tested the Convergence Mode with a real keyboard. So what's new with the recent update? Let us explore. And remember, children, there's the Dedoimedo Ubuntu tablet contest running till roughly the end of this year, so don't you miss on that one!

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LinuxCon Europe 2016 - Veni, Vidi, Vici

updated October 7, 2016, category: Software & security

LinuxCon Europe 2016
Hello everyone. The reason why you see me report so early on my participation at LinuxCon Europe this year is because I have not been able to attend the full three days of conference. Alas, unfavorable circumstances forced me to fly in just for my session, deliver a quick if neat little presentation, and then fly back. The shortest country visit ever.

But let us not lament! Let us enjoy ourselves. To wit, please take a moment or three to read and reflect on my experience at the European version of the arguably most important open-source event of the year, which took place in Berlin, Germany. Alles klar after me, kommissar.

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Docker Engine swarm mode - Intro tutorial

updated October 5, 2016, category: Software & security

Docker Engine swarm mode
Sounds like a punk rock band. But it is the brand new orchestration mechanism, or rather, an improvement of the orchestration available in Docker. To keep it short and sweet, if you are using an older version of Docker, you will manually need to setup Swarm to create Docker clusters. Starting with version 1.12, the Docker engine comes with a native implementation allowing a seamless clustering setup. The reason de jour.

In this tutorial, I will try to give you a taste of what Docker can do when it comes to orchestration. This article is by no means all inclusive (bed & breakfast) or all-knowing, but it has what it takes to embark you on your clustering journey. After me.

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Mount LVM filesystems in live session

updated October 1, 2016, category: Software & security

LVM mounts & live CD
Several days ago, I gave you a tutorial on how to recover from a borked glibc, using tools available inside the installed system. We mentioned booting into a live session as the last but always viable option. Then, I thought of a little snag that may come your way. What if the installed system uses LVM?

Normally, you would just mount the root partition and then fix files and folders as needed. But what happens when you're running LVM? The procedure as you know it no longer applies, and we need a new method. Let's see what gives here.

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How to fix slow Windows 7 updates - Tutorial

updated September 30, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 7 & slow updates
All right, this has been one of those unfinished businesses that kept me awake day and night for months. Well, not really, but this is something that I have sought to resolve for a long time, and I finally have. The topic at hand: slow Windows 7 updates.

The symptoms you may have noticed: very high CPU utilization while the Windows is checking for updates, and a very long time for the check to complete, sometimes ranging in the tens of hours for unlucky users. This is obviously a waste of time. We tried to fix this before, and I gave you a less than promising article on the topic. We also discussed some alternative, unofficial tools to help with this rather annoying but persistent problem, in the guise of Autopatcher and WSUS Offline. Now, we will resolve this once and for all, using official Microsoft patches. Let us.

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Getting jiggy with Busybox and LD_PRELOAD

updated September 28, 2016, category: Software & security

Busybox & LD_PRELOAD
What is the most important component of an operating system? Well, arguably, it is the kernel. And if something goes wrong with the kernel and its associated files, you will not be able to your box, right? Example, the initrd problem we talked about a few years ago.

But what about glibc? What happens if you delete some of the important C libraries that power your booted system? How would you go about recovering from such a fiasco? In this tutorial, I am going to engage in some semi-mild hackery and teach you all sorts of nice self-rescue methods for fixing turbo-broken systems using busybox and a few other fancy tricks. If you're still wondering, this be a Linux guide. After me.

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Say not Goodbye, say Sayonara

updated September 26, 2016, category: Software & security

Music goes beyond the sum of all notes and lyrics. There's also the presentation layer, and when you are working on a desktop, a Linux one in particular, the digital component of how the music is delivered unto you does count. You want to enjoy your songs with style.

As simple as it sounds, nailing the equation is very difficult. Every few months, a new music player is born, and it promises the ultimate audio experience to its users. Anything from lyrics via cover art to live streaming. Throw in half a dozen skins and plugins, and you have the perfect juke box. Except, it does not quite work like that. I've given the likes of Amarok, Rhythmbox, Clementine, Tomahawk, VLC, and several other players their due attention on many occasions, but now, we need to do it again. Users, say hello to Sayonara. Sayonara, say hello.

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Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 MATE - Fairly solid

updated September 24, 2016, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 MATE
You asked, I deliver. So. Let's have another CentOS 7 review, in case you felt I have not given this operating system enough attention in the last few months. The thing is, I am enjoying my CentOS experiments very much. Especially since they were not supposed to succeed in the first place.

But then I got the distro booting on the Lenovo G50 machine, and before I knew it, I had the KDE and the Gnome and the Xfce versions all lined up, all working, with their own foibles and idiosyncracies, their own ups and down and whatnot. Now, let's explore what the MATE version can do, shall we.

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Let's bash Windows 10. I mean BASH on Windows 10!

updated September 23, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & BASH
Yes. Windows 10 is nothing special. We have established that, both when the operating system was released, in my review on G50 a year ago, and more recently in my article on the Anniversary Update. Neither good not bad. Just average.

However, what makes is rather interesting is that you can run BASH. Yes, proper Linux, essentially. Not as a virtual machine. It's a user-mode implementation of Ubuntu, through the use of Pico kernel drivers that translate Linux syscalls into NT APIs and emulate the Linux kernel. Wicked. Clever. It's called Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), and it is as native as it gets. Quite compelling for us nerds. Let us explore.

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Rotate videos in VLC - Tutorial

updated September 21, 2016, category: Software & security

VLC & rotate video
A friend of mine sent me a 253MB video file, created on a mobile phone, and recorded with the phone device positioned upside down. Ipso facto, the output was also inverted, and it looked like I would have to either rotate my head ever so uncomfortably, turn my monitor around, flip its display using keyword fury, or I had a better idea, summon VLC to my aid!

This little guide is not about video processing. That's a separate topic, and we have covered it a few times, including my original tutorial and the Frankenstein video prep stuff. Today, we will learn how to use VideoLAN for one-off changes to video clips, so that you can enjoy them without a lengthy process of, well, um, processing. After me.

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The Amazing Dietrich of Free Kindle Downloads

updated September 19, 2016, category: Books and gadgets

Dedoimedo 2016 contest
Gentle reminder, dear fellas! I am running an Ubuntu tablet contest, pitted against the gory chore of YOU reading my books and giving them a truthful appraisal. He who reads dares. And he who dares wins. Maybe. At the beginning of December, we will tally up all the reviews and one shall go home with an Aquaris M10 FHD tablet as a prize for doing some honest literature. Why is this of particular interest today? Because come September 28-29, I will actually be giving away The Amazing Adventures of Dashing Prince Dietrich for FREE. Yes. You will be able to download the Kindle version of the book free of any charge, and still be eligible to participate in the contest. Need I say more?

2016 tablet contest Amazon page (external link)

Ubuntu Phone, Sep 2016 - Vorsprung durch Touch

updated September 19, 2016, category: Software & security

Ubuntu Phone Sep update
Every few weeks, months, I pick up my BQ Aquaris E4.5 phone and do some fresh new testing to see how well it behaves. My last experiment actually involved my progenitors, and they were subjected to roughly a week of using the phone on their own. They liked it quite a bit, and did not dislike it much, and that's a good sign.

Recently, I noticed a fresh new firmware update, and once I had it installed, the look and feel of my Aquaris phone had changed. Which merits yet another review, another look at how Ubuntu Touch OTA is progressing and whatnot. Version 12, based on 15.04.6, but there might be a new and revolutionary LTS just around the corner. Let's see.

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Donington Park, Caterham and fog

updated September 17, 2016, category: Car reviews

Donington Park & Caterham R300
Time to go a-race trackin'. Our next destination is Donington Park, a 3.2-4.0 km long MotoGP and BTCC racing circuit in the middle of England, close to a bunch of castles, roads, airports, and other monumentia what make the British proud. Indeed, after having driven a Renault Clio Cup round Grobnik, Croatia and briefly stinted in a Megane RS 265 at Spa-Francorchamps in wet and fun conditions, we shall now step into a spartan two-seater open cockpit of one Caterham R300.

There is also a roadtrip element to this journey, which thou shalt read in a separate article. Hither, we shall mostly focus on what happened at the circuit. Cold weather, moisture, fog. Not quite the best friends forever of anyone keen on speed, especially when you need to strap yourself into a roofless 50s-tech roadster, still, it ought to be exciting. Hopefully. Maybe. Follow me.

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Fedora 24 - From 0 to Fun in 10 minutes

updated September 16, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora 24 pimping
Ladies and gentlemen, it's pimping time. We shall now transform a tame Fedora installation that is not designed for mass consumption into a beautiful and majestic fun box. This means adding codecs and pretty stuff and extra software that people crave. We shall do this quickly and easily, and I will be your shepherd.

Recently, I've discovered or rather rekindled my passion for all things Red Hat and Gnome, and Fedora has joined the list, after a long season of dreadful releases. It works well, it's fun and stable and fast, and all it's missing is some flavor and spice. Let us.

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How to tame and pimp Xfce on CentOS 7

updated September 14, 2016, category: Software & security

CentOS 7 Xfce tweak & pimp
Hello children of the Internet! Recently, I've taught you how to setup Xfce on CentOS 7, and then slowly transform the system into a near-perfect production combo. However, in the original article, I skipped on most of the Xfce tweaks and changes. You only ate the cake, but you knew nothing of the recipe.

Today, I would like to teach you about all the little steps required to achieve a beautiful, modern and elegant Xfce desktop on CentOS 7. Should your appetite kill the curiosity cat, then you might want to hang around and read some more. This fine little guide covers all my troubles with the Xfce setup, and then how I managed to overcome every single one, and finally enjoy a supreme CentOS 7 desktop. Dr. Distrolove, or: how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Xfce. Which is even more amazing as this is a server distro. Follow me.

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The hunt for the perfect CentOS theme

updated September 12, 2016, category: Software & security

CentOS 7 & perfect theme
You all know my not so secret fetish for using CentOS as a home distro. Yes, it's never meant to be consumed in that fashion, but with the help of some extra software repos and some additional pimping, it makes for an elegant, fast and stable operating system for daily use. Plus, it's pretty.

But can it be prettier? I set about searching for the ultimate combo of icons, fonts, window decorations, and themes that would transform the KDE4 package into a supremely tasteful product, the last missing piece, with a very poetic Clancyesque title, in my larger CentOS equation. If you have no other purpose or need in life than to read articles like this, please do proceed onwards.

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KDE neon - Weak lighting

updated September 9, 2016, category: Software & security

KDE neon
The one email title that has featured prominently in my inbox for the past two months contains the words kde and neon. Review, it, why don't you review, please review it, take it for a spin, I will bear your children, etc. All right, I get the hint. KDE neon it is.

But what is it? Well, it's a KDE distribution au naturale, based on Kubuntu 16.04 and blessed with the latest and greatest in the Plasma world. Sounds intriguing but also worrying, because lately, Plasma has lost its early charm and became just another run-of-the-mill bag of bugs and fragmentation. Yet hope is never lost. We test.

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Open365 mail - You've got ... something?

updated September 7, 2016, category: Software & security

Open365 mail
Ladies, gentlemen, everyone else. Not that long ago, I reviewed Open365, a free, open-source, cloud-based productivity suite based on LibreOffice, with some nice spicy additions. I liked it. It's a pretty decent product, with a lot of potential. But there's still a lot more work to be done.

The one aspect of the five-app combo you get in Open365 that I missed in the earlier article is the mail functionality. You have the three power programs - LibreOffice Writer, Calc and Impress - plus GIMP, with the mail client as the fifth element. Get the joke? Oh my. Well, it is time to right all past wrongs and give the final piece of the cloud suite its due review. Rhyme. Word.

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The new and brave Skype for Linux ... calls, too

updated September 6, 2016, category: Software & security

Skype for Linux alpha
As it happens, Skype is one of the more popular IM/VoIP programs out there. It is also available for Linux, yay, but the not-for-Windows version has always lagged behind the original thing, leaving distro dancers in a bit of a techno lurch. Ladies and gentlefolks, not any more! Ta-dam!

Yo, Sherlock, there's a brand new edition out there. It's WebRTC-based, which is supposed to thrill you down to your bones if you happen to wear Star Trek or Star Wars themed shirts voluntarily, and it available for alpha testing on Linux, both in the DEB and RPM flavors. This means, Fedora, here we go. Let's see what gives, shall we?

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VirtualBox & unknown version of X Window system

updated September 3, 2016, category: Software & security

VirtualBox & X Windows errors
Here's my story. As it happens, I was testing Fedora 23 in VirtualBox one day, and as a very first step to enjoying myself, I decided to install the Guest Additions. However, after a few brief, tense moments, VirtualBox told me that it had detected an unknown version of the X Window System installed and was not installing X Window System drivers.

A quick search on the VirtualBox ticketary lists this as a five-month old bug for VirtualBox 4.3, even though I was running 5.0.6, and it mentions upgrading to a newer version of the virtualization software as a fix, which I could not do at this point. So what now?

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LibreOffice save error - How to fix

updated September 2, 2016, category: Software & security

LibreOffice save error
What I'm going to talk about today used to be a big problem in the past. There was a bug in version 4.X of LibreOffice, which would lead to weird save errors, causing people to lose data and whatnot. Now, since this is a thing of past, you might not consider it relevant anymore to your daily usage. But what if this happens again, and your LibreOffice cannot save the changes you made to a document?

Indeed, I was working on a file on a host that has LibreOffice 4.X, and for some reason, autosave caused the lock file to vanish, after which the program started complaining about save errors. To be more specific: error in writing sub-document content.xml. If you ever encounter this, how do you not lose data?

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How to change timezones in Linux - Tutorial

updated September 1, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux timezone setup
This seems to be a rather trivial topic, defined by a rather trivial question. But then, it is not really. Say you have a host that uses a specific timezone, and now you want to start using a different one. What do you do at this point? How do you reconfigure the system without making extensive, painful modifications?

I asked myself this question while fiddling with a bunch of CentOS servers, and then after some online hunting and reading, I realized that most if not all guides on this topic have a singular, copy & paste approach that is neither 100% foolproof nor correct. For that reason, you are not enjoying this howto. Follow me please.

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Linux guru talks about the Linux desktop

updated August 29, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux guru talks
World-renown Linux expert Risitas, the CTO of the highly prestigious Spanish open-source company Las Paelleras S.A., speaks about the state of the Linux desktop.

This is an important video, and it touches many important aspects of the Linux desktop, including performance and stability, recent technological changes, past versus future, and more. Please take a few minutes of your time and watch the clip. Snippets from the interview with one of the greatest tech minds of our age. Enjoy.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update - Not too bad

updated August 27, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 10 Anniversary Update
A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft released a new build of Windows 10, to coincide with the one year of general availability of their latest operating system. The milestone also marks the end of the GWX upgrade pestering, so people can actually sleep more soundly, knowing there's a super-hero ... without being bothered by unnecessary prompts.

So far, my experience with Windows 10 has been okay. It's neither bad nor good. Just average. Works fine most of the time, and there are no compelling reasons to switch or upgrade really. The biggest issues are around privacy and telemetry, but we have guides on how to manage those. Now, let's see if this new build can introduce any fresh charm into the Windows 10 arena.

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WSUS Offline - Update thy Windows

updated August 26, 2016, category: Software & security

WSUS Offline
Recently, I have begun exploring alternative tools to Windows Update, in order to help solve the issue of slow updates. My quest took me down the shadowy path of several official patches, which had not yielded the desired results - more to come on this with some good results, stay tuned. Then, I tried Autopatcher. The tool was mostly safe for use, but it is not 100% accurate, and there is some small risk associated with possible future complications.

WSUS Offline is another such tool. It is designed to give you a relatively fast offline capability for Windows and Office updates, similar to what the standard WSUS tool does. Anyhow, let's see how well it competes against Autopatcher, and if it provides the right amount of safety, ease of use, and good, solid functionality to become our favorite updater. Commence to follow.

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Disable the new Firefox 48 location bar - Tutorial

updated August 24, 2016, category: Software & security

Firefox 48
Here I go again on my own. Disabling things in Firefox we've never known. Like a drifter I was born to tweak alone. But I've made up my mind. I'm not Chroming no more time. Indeed. A change for the sake of change. Perfectly sane functionality being ruined for the sake of a meaningless, pointless visual change that does not contribute in any actual way to the content. Just silly moronity. Anyhow.

To give you a little more context, if you're using Firefox, and you may have just recently updated the browser to the next version (48), you may have noticed your address bar search has changed. The results no longer come in a drop-down list that matches the width of the browser address bar - let's call it URL bar or location bar for the sake of this article, but instead, it comes full width, or rather, if I may borrow a phrase and without sounding disrespectful, full retard. And as Tropic Thunder has taught us, you never go full retard. This little guide will show you how you can restore the Firefox address bar functionality to what it roughly was in version 47. After me.

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AppImage - One app framework to distro them all

updated August 22, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux is highly portable. Fact. On the other hand, Linux software is the least portable technology in the world. Try running Firefox designed for Debian on Fedora. In fact, try running Firefox designed for one version of Fedora on another Fedora, perhaps a slightly older version. Godspeed, Captain Jack Sparrow.

The fanatical rigor with which the Linux backward compatibility is maintained in the enterprise flavors, SUSE and Red Hat, is inversely proportional to all other incompatibilities that exist in the Linux space. This ain't no news. I have most artfully elaborated on this problem in my illustrated Linux guide. But now, there's a thing that promises to solve all these problems forever. AppImage.

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SoundHound - Music search galore?

updated August 20, 2016, category: Software & security

As you all know, I am not too keen on mobile use. It's not because I reject technology, change and such, it's because I embrace comfort and efficiency, and working on a mobile device is as efficient and comfortable as pleasing yourself while wearing oven gloves. However, there are exceptions.

One such is when a bunch of readers email you and swear by their unborn children that there's this app what does wonders, and may you please test it, pretty please. The name of the game is SoundHound, and it comes in two flavors. The first, Hound, is a voice search assistant, which was likened to Cortana, and which we will explore separately. The second one is a namesake tool for guessing and finding music for you, in case you don't know the lyrics and whatnot. Well, readers swear, I test. As simple as that.

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Autopatcher - Fix for slow Windows Updates

updated August 19, 2016, category: Software & security

Normally, I am the very first person to tell you NOT to use third-party tools for system administration, in any operating system. If you think the base functionality is lacking, it is still most likely better than tampering with unofficial tools that try to compensate for system issues. There's the obvious accountability and support factor, but also, especially with Windows, the simple matter of being able to access and use the closed-source system in a fully transparent and safe manner.

But is this really the case? Well, after having encountered and not really solved the issues of slow Windows Updates - although the recent batch seems to behave with speed and frugality of resources - I wanted to try several third-party programs, which promise a faster, more streamlined patching. Of course, with all the necessary disclaimer, damage and warranty clauses, and the need for a high level of nerdiness. But since I have a test box I can easily afford to sacrifice and lose, I set about exploring, for your sake. Our first candidate is Autopatcher. Follow me.

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Open365 - Clouding with style

updated August 17, 2016, category: Software & security

Office, suite, cloud. Sounds familiar. Google Docs. Yup. Microsoft Office 365. Yup. LibreOffice. No. Wait, what? Buzzwords around modern technology concepts are all too easy to ignore, but this one actually caught my attention beyond the almost-too-cliche dotIO domain, the blue design very reminiscent of Docker (hint), and optimistic text that promises wonders.

Anyhow, Open365 is an all-in-one productivity suite, based on KDE, Seafile, LibreOffice, Docker, and Jitsi. That's enough buzz to keep you warm till 2020, but is it any good? Or rather, can it compete with the proven giants out there? I decided to explore and see what gives.

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More reading comprehension issues in Linux

updated August 15, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux reading comprehension
Several weeks ago, I published an article titled Linux 2017 - Road to Hell in OCS-Mag. Predictably, the piece was met with stiff resistance from diehard fans, bullet-focused Linux users who are unwilling to admit the fact that our favorite operating system has been flaking lately. Like a lot. The linux desktop is not in the bestest of shape.

But that's not why we are here. Disagreeing is fine. It's healthy. What really shocked me, like OMG WOW WTF like is the level of reading comprehension difficulties, yet again. We are talking Distrowatch comments, Reddit comments, organic article comments. Even though I'm possibly giving undue attention to things that need not be repeated, we do need to look at this phenomenon once more. It is the primary reason why the Linux desktop sucks. Because if you are unable to accept feedback, you can't progress.

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Lexus IS 300H review - All glitter but no gold

updated August 13, 2016, category: Car reviews

Lexus IS 300H
As you know, non-European cars are somewhat under-represented on Dedoimedo. It is not intentional, as most of my driving takes me where the likes of Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, or Skoda are much easier to come by. Plus, in general, given my past (and vast) experience, I find the overall formula to how cars are realized and how they behave on the road on the Old Continent to be superior to the American, Japanese or Korean concepts.

Which is why it is fascinating that I happened to drive a Lexus IS 300H for a few days. Lexus is a premium Toyota-owned brand, and it aims at the executive market normally reigned by the holy trinity of Audi, Mercedes and BMW. But there's always the question of snobbery and badge appeal. Or perhaps, not. Let us see what Lexus can do for us.

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Docker on Windows 10 - Introduction guide

updated August 12, 2016, category: Software & security

Docker for Windows
Docker has been riding the media wave for some time now, most masterfully managing the crests and dips of the tech ocean, providing an excellent balance between technology, service, business, and accessibility to those lusting for the new rave of containers. In a way, it has become synonymous with the latter, and recently, it's stepped even deeper into the commercial world by offering orchestration mechanisms that companies crave. Indeed, so what's the next logical step? Windows.

Having a container mechanism that also works in Windows guarantees more attention, more serious, grown-up, adult attention from businesses and enterprises, especially if they cannot commit to the cloud or Linux journey that easily. Which is why Docker is now also available as a beta demonstrator both on the Windows server and client editions. This article is an intro guide for getting started with Docker in the Microsoft world.

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HERE versus Microsoft versus Windows ... maps!

updated August 1, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows Phone navigation apps
Hear, hear. Here I am, will you send me an angel. Anyhow, today I would like to discuss the pros and cons of the three offline navigation suites available for Windows Phone, and how they stack against each other. Because HERE Maps are no longer available on WP10 and no longer updated on WP8, and you must use either Microsoft Maps or Windows Maps, whatever chance giveth. Now, why would you care about my opinion on the matter?

Because I'm a Linux user who hates smartphones and loves Windows Phone, and I don't like either Android or iOS, that's why. I'm really pleased with the Lumia line, which I've been using for three years, including Lumia 520 and 535, plus I've tested Lumia 640 LTE, and found it to be quite decent. Now, these phones come with their respective operating systems and their own navigation applications. This is a core selling point in my vocabulary, hence this article. Follow me.

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Fedora 24 - And we represent!

updated July 20, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora 24 Gnome
All right. Let's Fedora. The background story is as follows: On the dark side, this testing season has been awful. Regression after regression. On the bright side, I have found a new liking for the Red Hat skunk works test bed, especially the Gnome edition. Holy. Yup. I have officially unhated the Gnome.

And this is why I'm going to test Fedora in its original guise today. It should be interesting. The Debian-based distros, the LTS Ubuntu and Mint in particular, are waning in quality and fun lately, but to compensate, I've developed a mega-liking for CentOS 7, and in its Gnome and Xfce editions, it's the blast. So let's see what Fedora does.

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Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Xfce - As good as it gets

updated July 18, 2016, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Xfce
CentOS 7, Lenovo G50, third time lucky. Recently, I was able to make some huge progress in getting CentOS to run on modern hardware, and then, change this server-made distro so it behaves like a proper home darling. We started with KDE, and it was quite good. Then we tried the Gnome edition, and it was even better. Now, we will attempt to use the Xfce version.

I am still hunting for the perfect distro combo, and I think this should do it. Xfce kind of blends the good sides of both Gnome and KDE, or Plasma if you will. We have already tamed the distro quite well. It has no beef with UEFI or the dozen odd systems installed on the internal disk. The network works well. We have all the codecs and applications. Smartphone support is great in Gnome. The UI still needs tweaking. Hence this test.

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CentOS 7 - Daily papercut fixes

updated July 16, 2016, category: Software & security

CentOS 7 & papercuts
CentOS 7 is a really good system. It is an almost perfect choice for home use, even on dodgy modern hardware with misbehaving network, as I've shown you both in the KDE and Gnome reviews. Lovely jubbly. But perfect proper, not quite.

I had encountered some problems while setting up the distribution on the G50 laptop, mostly with the KDE environment. And I made sure to document all these little flaws and issues, and tried to resolve them. This guide is a compilation of that long, sustained attempt. Think of it as the final piece needed to tame or polish or beautify CentOS into a truly perfect desktop. While it may never be as popular as some Debian-based derivatives, in the long run, it offers a peace of mind that is unparalleled. Let us explore.

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Lumia 640 LTE & WP10 review - Very decent

updated July 15, 2016, category: Software & security

Microsoft Lumia 640
Long story short, a friend of mine - yes, I do have friends - lent me his Lumia 640 for a few days, so I could sample of its goods and give you an honest overview of what the phone can do. More importantly, what Windows Phone 10 can do.

My previous experiences with touch-blessed Windows have been polar. Bi-polar. On the desktop, Windows 8 was horrible, but it kicked ass on my Lumia 520 and Lumia 535. Then, again, on the desktop, Windows 10 is just okay, nothing more, nothing less. To make it all ever so slightly confusing, despite its touch nature, it sure did not blow me away on the HP Stream tablet, and I actually reverted to Windows 8. So let's see what gives on a phone. Is WP10 any good? After me.

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Linux 2017 - The Road to Hell

updated July 13, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux in 2017
Also known as a really good song by Chris Rea. Also known as, ladies and gentlemen, I am terrified. What will become of Linux in 2017? Will it even boot? Now, now, please, relax. I am not trying to be an attention person of fiscally questionably nature. I am just trying to share my fears with you.

And I'm also a man of science. Of numbers. The way I move through space with minimum waste and maximum joy is all about mathematical probabilities. I look at things happening around me and try to extrapolate what they will be like in the future. I seek patterns in the numbers, and what I see ain't pretty. Linux is slowly killing itself.

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Windows makes USB disconnect-connect sounds - Fix

updated July 11, 2016, category: Software & security

USB disconnects
The problem you are facing is probably trivial but annoying. Randomly, Windows is making the da-dam dam-dam sounds that are normally associated with USB devices being unplugged and then plugged back in. However, you are not connecting or disconnecting anything, and there is no apparent loss of functionality. This is driving you crazy.

Let me show you how you should go about troubleshooting an issue like this. The solution will often be quite easy once you know where to look. But if you're wondering if your Windows has gone mental, the answer is, follow me.

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Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Gnome - Perfection asymptote

updated July 9, 2016, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Gnome
Listen very carefully, I will say this only once. Recently, I had an epiphany, a breakthrough, a revolution. I managed to boot CentOS 7 on my evil Lenovo G50 laptop, and boy was it glorious. Using my own hacks to get the perfect desktop experience, I had the CentOS purring and meowing in the best fashion of modern, sleek desktops.

But the experience wasn't perfect. Some things were missing, most notably smartphone support, there were some niggles and glitches with multimedia and volume management and such. And then I asked myself, rather than solving this entirely in KDE, maybe all I need is the Gnome environment? Since my recent Fedora test, this desktop is back in the game and a viable option for use. Let us explore the possibilities.

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SketchUp running on Ubuntu 16.04 - Tutorial

updated July 8, 2016, category: Software & security

SketchUp & Linux
As you know, (Google) SketchUp is my 3D design tool of choice. I haven't published any new recent art galleries, all planned, worry not, but the claim stands. Whenever I am in the mood to draw some new models and then render them into beautiful creation using a dope program called Kerkythea, SketchUp is there at the beginning of the journey.

But so is Windows. Because ultimately, this program is not meant for Linux. And yet, I tried. Back in 2010, I showed you how to get SketchUp running using WINE. It worked fairly well, but then, things have changed, and it's been a rough journey since. Now, I will show you again how to get SketchUp working in the latest Ubuntu release, and we will call on the power of PlayOnLinux to help us. Follow me.

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Mint 18 - Forgetting Sarah Linux

updated July 6, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 18 Sarah Cinnamon
All right. Let's see if we can brighten my mood a little. Time to test Linux Mint 18 Sarah, the latest LTS in the Mint family, based on Xerus. This spring season has been dreadful, so I'm really hoping there will be some joy in this review. But given the results so far, that does not seem likely.

Mint has always been one of my favorite distributions, and overall, it has held steady, keeping in the high nines, often perfect, often the end-of-the-year winner, if not quite always the toppest of notches. Sarah might just be the thing we need, because things have been rolling downhill like avalanche on Teflon. Join me. Join me.

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