Dedoimedo is currently undergoing a visual theme change; during the transition period, if you see different articles with the old and the new looks, it's perfectly normal. Enjoy your reading.

Updated: February 24, 2018 | Category: Greatest sites

Greatest sites

Two more awesome websites join the list. Number one, Michael O. Church and his blog. Are you or have you ever been employed in the tech industry? Then you probably have watched Office Space and realized the absurdity of your work environment. But that was then, the old Y2K Bubble era. A lot has changed since, and by that, I mean there are many new acronyms and methodologies to make your IT life ever more miserable than it already is. Most people keep silent, suck it up, and enjoy the quiche they get paid. Some do not.

Number two, NewsThump. I do not like politics. But I do like political spoofs. What I call Realpolitik. My top-three favorite TV series is Yes, (Prime) Minister, and it's such a delight to watch, you feel like you've stepped out of a classical music concert, all blissful and serene. So where I'm going with this? NewsThump.

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Updated: February 23, 2018 | Category: Hardware

BQ Aquaris E4.5 phone

Oops, I did it again. I decided to convert (in a nice peaceful way) my one remaining Ubuntu touch device to Android, as it sat there, doing little, collecting memories and dust. Thus beginneth the sad saga of how I stopped hoping for an Ubuntu Phone and learned to love Android.

Anyway, just to bring you up to speed, if you think I be tripping, long time ago, I was really hoping Ubuntu would make it big in the mobile space. First, we had the Edge and then we had Aquaris E4.5, and I ran a couple of contests, trying to promote the idea far and wide. When the Aquaris M10 tablet came out, I bought that one without hesitation, and several months ago, I installed Android there on. Dust versus nostalgia, right. Anyway, it proved to be the right choice, because the tablet has proven its worth since. Can the phone do the same?

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Updated: February 21, 2018 | Category: Linux

KDE neon 5.12

Several days ago, I published a long and detailed review of Plasma 5.12, the new KDE LTS release. It was a very decent experience. Now, Plasma still packs a lot of issues and has some cardinal functionality problems, mostly with network shares and smartphones, but it's a very polished, smart and elegant desktop environment, and the next five years of KDE will have a pretty solid foundation.

But then, the KDE quality does vary between distributions. Kubuntu Aardvark is one example, my last review of KDE neon another. Which is why we must embark on another neon testing journey, off the back of my Plasma test. Some of the stuff will be similar, but now, I will be judging those from the context of an operating system, and the user perspective rather than just looking at the desktop environment in isolation. In other words, if you fancy Plasma, should you neon? After me.

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Updated: February 19, 2018 | Category: Linux

KaOS Linux 2017.11

It has been two years since I last tested KaOS Linux. My last impression was fairly negative, not having been able to complete the installation. All in all, the distro had a lot of beta-quality qualities, and it did not feel robust enough. Two years later, we are testing again.

I decided to deploy KaOS on my Nvidia-powered LG RD510 laptop rather than the newer Lenovo G50. Even though, the IdeaPad is back in action after I successfully managed to fix its read-only NVRAM, I was hesitant trying KaOS in this setup, both because it did not perform back then, and also because I didn't want to risk the Lenovo box going AWOL that quickly after having been healed. It's not that there's anything particularly sinister about KaOS, it's just that I feel like the effort should warrant extra risk, and so far, KaOS has not proven itself. So we start humble, and if it delivers, we test on the Lenovo, too.

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Updated: February 17, 2018 | Category: Linux

Amazon Linux 2

In mid-December, Amazon Web Services have announced the availability of the Release Candidate of their own custom operating system called Amazon Linux 2, based on Red Hat Linux Enterprise, with five years of support and some neat, modern features that should help people test - and hopefully get even more interested - the AWS compute technologies.

AWS also released AL2 as a virtual machine appliance, so it is available for testing outside the AWS domain. Which is where this article comes into play. I downloaded the VirtualBox vdi and set up a virtual machine, to see what, how, where, and when. Let us commence.

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Updated: February 16, 2018 | Category: Linux

Plasma bugs

Call it bias, call it taste, I like the Plasma desktop environment. After many years, I feel KDE is finally regaining some of that solid pro feel it used to have back in the olden days. But then, the feeling of satisfaction is not guaranteed. Quality is a fickle thing in the Linux world, and KDE is not immune to regressions, especially when compounded by distro permutations and hardware dependencies.

Now, one might claim that a great operating system – and a great desktop – are immune to tiny variations in the operation setup. I agree. And so, I’d like to compile a list – with the necessary discussion of course – of some (of the many) things that I currently think are missing in Plasma. Things that could and should and would make it a professional contestant in the desktop world, currently a VIP club mostly reserved to Microsoft and a few other members. Then, some of you have expressed a view that I’m too biased when it comes to Plasma, but the lack of criticism (perceived as such) comes from the fact that Plasma is actually a genuinely good desktop environment. But it’s not perfect. Not yet. And here’s why.

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Updated: February 14, 2018 | Category: Internet

Firefox & Sponsored stories

Well, well, remember when I told you - the more desperate Mozilla gets vis-a-vis its market share, the more aggressive they will get with pushing "quality" content onto its users? I did, I did. Well, the bonfires of the Mr. Robot fiasco have hardly cooled, and now there's a new drama developing. Mozilla will start rolling a pilot that tests sponsored stories in the Pocket recommendations section on the New Tab page.

Since I'm usually a blithely cheerful chap, I'm actively looking for stories to sour my mood, and so I was excited (this is sales lingo, we will get to that) to read this announcement. After all, writing about how everything is peachy and efficient and good in the tech world is boring, we need these little burdocks of greed to make things complicated. After me, pioneers.

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Updated: February 12, 2018 | Category: Life topics

Fake news

Welcome! We shall debate a hot potato today. I am hearing this term "fake news" more and more recently, and for the ordinary homo sapiens out there, it has become synonymous with anything they do not like or agree. Like any pointless trend or fashion, it grips the low-IQ masses with frenzy. But that's only one half of the story.

The more important part is - how is this thing going to affect our lives in the coming years and decades? This has become relevant, especially since we have the chivalrous brigades of Internet morality working hard to make sure people receive filtered information that ought not to upset, challenge or change the masses. But there's another angle. Let us indeed debate some more.

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Updated: February 10, 2018 | Category: Windows

Windows Phone offline navigation

Many a moon ago, I wrote a comparison article between HERE Maps, Microsoft Maps and Windows Maps. This article was rather important following an announcement by Microsoft that they will no longer offer HERE WeGo on WP10. And then, software updates for the same program on WP8.1 would also stop. This mandated a test.

In that article, I did write that my testing was limited at the time, and I never offer any advice without in-depth research. Now that I've finally had a chance to clock several thousand km navigating by foot and car abroad, across several European countries, I can finally offer a proper verdict.

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Updated: February 9, 2018 | Category: Linux

MX Linux MX-17 Horizon & Lenovo G50 laptop

My Lenovo G50 laptop is back in business. After having its UEFI gently bricked by whatever dodgy QA-less mechanism in any which one distro that I've tested in the past year (but definitely NOT Ubuntu 17.10, it happened before), installing a new kernel helped resolve the issue. So we're testing distros on this machine once again, and the first candidate is MX-17 Horizon.

Now, I have already tested the distribution on the old LG machine that I have, and found it to be an excellent performer. Slick, fast, elegant, everything you need for fun and productivity. But will it shine on the G50 box? Let's check.

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Updated: February 7, 2018 | Category: Office

LibreOffice & Plasma fonts

If you're using the Plasma desktop, well you should because it's dope, and you happen to be using LibreOffice, which you most likely are, after all, let's face it, 'tis the most popular office suite for Linux, then you may have come across an annoying bug. Everything looks peachy but the LibreOffice interface has that grainy 2006 feel.

In this short guide, I will show you how you can improve the look & feel of LibreOffice so that it fits more naturally into the Plasma desktop environment. Moreover, the tweak also applies to a wider range of programs, and it should give you ever so slightly better fonts. Having read my Fedora font saga, you know what I'm talking about. After me.

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Updated: January 29, 2018 | Category: Hardware

BQ Aquaris M10 FHD road test

Once upon time, I gleefully purchased a BQ Aquaris M10 FHD Ubuntu tablet, believing this would be one of the technology platforms to take the Linux operating system big and mighty. However this never happened, and I ended up with a device that had little day-to-day use. So I upgraded it to Android, to see if this would make a difference.

However, early tests in the cozy comfort of my home are one thing. Actually using the tablet is another. Luckily, I had a chance to see how well it performs in a real-life situation, hence this article. It will also give us an opportunity to compare to my Samsung Galaxy Note device, which I also recently refreshed for new use. Follow me.

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Updated: January 27, 2018 | Category: Linux

Plasma 5.12 review

Roughly a year ago, I wrote my fairly lengthy State of Plasma article, which examined the KDE’s fifth major desktop environment incarnation in great detail, focusing on the many facets of goodness and badness that imbue it. Fast forward, there’s a new LTS coming, with final touches being added to a largely baked beta release. Styled 5.11.95, it’s what we ought to expect to be the cornerstone of KDE distros in the coming days.

The importance of Plasma is (subjectively) ever so greater these days, as I feel its chief rival in the Linux world is taking more and more steps away from simple, sane ergonomics that people expect in the desktop. Then, the reactions to my article have been rather positive, and I have also seen a lot of traction in the KDE circles, aimed at addressing the shortcomings in the desktop environment. It is with great pleasure and added focus to detail that I’m commencing a renewed examination of Plasma. Has it reached the Utopia state of perfection? Let’s see.

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Updated: January 26, 2018 | Category: Virtualization

VirtualBox 5.2 overview

Every few months, there's a major VirtualBox update, bringing in a range of visible changes and improvements to this handy, free hypervisor product. I'm an old time user, and have written about VirtualBox many times in the past. Recently, I had the chance to test the new version, 5.2 (actually 5.2.2).

The official list of enhancements is quite impressive - the GUI now features revamped virtual media and host network managers, easier snapshot management, and unattended guest installations. Sounds neat. So let us see what gives.

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Updated: January 24, 2018 | Category: Windows

Meltdown patches & performance impact

Several days ago, I showed you how to install the January 2018 Meltdown patches for Windows, even if you do not have an anti-virus installed, as Microsoft decided to blacklist certain non-compatible anti-virus programs for the time being, but didn't bother explaining that this also affects people with NO anti-virus. I guess such radical departure from sheep mentality is unheard of.

Now that the patches are installed and running - I tested this on SIX systems - infinitely more than the "tech media" that simply went about repeating what Microsoft said without actually checking anything, the next thing to examine is performance and stability. Are Meltdown and Spectre patches good for you? Most importantly, do they slow down your computers?

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Updated: January 22, 2018 | Category: Linux

Plasma & multiple version app launchers

Here's a rather unusual problem, if you will. On my most splendid Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty, I use the icons-only task manager. Now, as it happens, while merrily testing the Firefox 57 nightly build and comparing how it worked against the current version (which would be Firefox 55 when I compiled this), I noticed that the system uses the same icon both for the stable build and the nightly build. Well, after all, Firefox is Firefox, right. But I wanted to pin two different launchers to the task manager, one for each different version.

Playing around with what KDE can do, I couldn't find anything simple and straightforward that would let me achieve this. Then I remembered my rather nifty, unique setup with custom WINE applications launchers, which I had successfully added to the list against all odds, and I thought, I sure can figure this one out. Let me show you how you can have multiple icons for multiple versions of the same programs added and pinned to the task manager. To work.

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Updated: January 20, 2018 | Category: Internet

Firefox & Personas import

Here's an odd topic. Let's say you have multiple devices on which you run Firefox, without any sign-in or sync functionality enabled. You also have multiple profiles. But you being you, you still have a certain taste, and you happen to be using a number of personas, or lightweight themes, if you will, in your browser. Some of these are no longer available for download, but you want to migrate them between different profiles.

You tried copying portions of your profile contents, like extensions and such, to no avail. A full profile clone will do the trick, but this is not what you want. You're only after a specific theme. At a first glance, it seems there is no way to do this. What now?

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Updated: January 19, 2018 | Category: Hardware

HP Stream 7 & Windows 10

If you recall, a couple of years ago, I did an impulse purchase of an HP Stream 7 Signature Edition tablet, configured with Windows 8.1, and used it for a brief while, trying to come to terms with its touch nature and its not-so-touch operating system. The experience was somewhat underwhelming.

Then I had the device upgraded to Windows 10 and back - like the Hobbit story, to the Shire and back - because the newest version of the Microsoft flagship operating system was not behaving well. After that, I played with this tablet a handful of times, tried the Windows 10 upgrade again, and then it just sat on a shelf, doing nothing. So I decided to have it donated to an elderly person, with a need for accessibility tools. Hence the Windows 10 again, and this review. Let's see.

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Updated: January 13, 2018 | Category: Linux

MX Linux MX-17 Horizon

From an underdog to a kennel master. That's probably the best, most succinct way to describe MX Linux. While you still may be confused about its heritage, with words like Mepis and AntiX slipping in, it's one of the more refined Xfce distros around, and I have been thoroughly impressed by the last version, MX-16. As it turns out, I proudly crowned it the Best of Xfce 2017 distro. It also notched very high on the overall annual best-of competition.

Now, there's a new version out. I will first conduct the test on the old LG laptop, but now that I've managed to fix the read-only UEFI on my Lenovo G50 machine, I will conduct a second test on that laptop - provided everything works fine in this first review. So we have ancient hardware, Nvidia graphics, dual boot. Commence.

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Updated: January 12, 2018 | Category: Windows

Windows & meltdown upgrades

Meltdown. Spectre. You must have heard of these recent vulnerabilities in Intel's processors. As a consequence, there has been a flurry of security updates everywhere, in an attempt to patch these issues. Microsoft also released its own set, and warned users that they would not receive the updates if their anti-virus software is incompatible.

Hundreds of "tech" websites hurried to parrot this message, including copying the registry key hack that can work around this, in an attempt to scrape an extra click from this would-be drama. Not a single site actually bothered to ask: what if you run NO anti-virus software? I guess in the herd mentality world (the so-called fake news audience), there's no place for critical thinking. In this tutorial, I would like to show you what you need to do to obtain the January 2018 patches for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, and how to remain up to date even if you run no anti-virus programs. After me.

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Updated: January 10, 2018 | Category: Linux

Kubuntu 17.04 to 17.10 upgrade

Predictably, Ubuntu Autumn Release was underwhelming, bringing in a whole plate of regressions to the table plus some fresh new bugs and issues to make the experience even less pleasant. It seems inconceivable that there should be several successful distro releases in a row. Consequently, the entire Ubuntu family suffers, and Kubuntu is no exception.

All that said, I decided to upgrade the Zesty instance on my Nvidia-powered Pavilion laptop, to see whether my experience was going to be any different from the afore-linked lukewarm and mediocre product called Aardvark tested on the likewise Nvidia-powered LG RD510 laptop, which also happens to be a year older than the HP box. Let us.

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Updated: January 8, 2018 | Category: Linux

Linux & iPhone 6s (iOS 11)

A couple of years ago, I wrote a detailed tutorial on iPhone mount & use compatibility in Linux across multiple distributions. KDE/Plasma struggled with this the most, not seeing and/or not mounting the device automatically. But we did have a relatively neat solution in the form of idevice and ifuse utilities, with some command line hacking.

With the release of iOS 11 (and possibly one version earlier) things seem to have changed somewhat. And I have only run and tested iPhone 6 with iOS 8/9. To wit, here's another tutorial to help you work around this. At the moment, I have an iPhone 6s model for testing, and I cannot guarantee this method will work well with newer models, but overall, the procedure should be identical for the rest of the Apple smartphone range. Anyway, after me.

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Updated: January 6, 2018 | Category: Car reviews

Lotus Exige S at Spa racetrack

Here's a 12-minute video clip of me driving a Lotus Exige S at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on a track day, in dry conditions. You've already had an article detailed that experience, and now, you also get moving pictures.

For those with foggy memory and/or a lazy finger, a brief recap of what you're about to see: Lotus Exige S is a rather UNSAFE car. The example that I drove had two mechanical failures. Several times, I received WRONG and dangerous directions from my instructor - left instead of right and alike. I was faster in the Megane in the WET than in the Exige in the DRY. The previous time, I was merrily overtaking Porsche 911s. This time, it was nothing more than pointless, expensive frustration. There's a spinout, too.

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Updated: January 5, 2018 | Category: Internet

Firefox & Mr. Robot extension

Countries that feature the adjective Democratic in their official title rarely exhibit the traits you expect from a nation state run in a democratic fashion. Similarly, companies that keep frequently reminding you that they are committed to freedom and privacy probably are not quite as liberal and open-minded as they seem.

Case in point, Firefox and the Mr. Robot shield study fiasco. Several weeks ago, Mozilla pushed a promotional advert for a TV series in the guise of one of its studies to millions of Firefox users, doing all this nice and remote like and without user consent. Now that the dust has settled but the smell of a fresh turd remains, let us debate.

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Updated: January 3, 2018 | Category: Hardware

Lenovo G50 & UEFI/BIOS read-only NVRAM fix

Several weeks ago, I reported that my Lenovo IdeaPad G50-70 laptop, which I mostly use for multi-boot Linux distribution testing, has had its UEFI (BIOS) NVRAM go read-only, refusing to boot from external media. It would also not allow any UEFI settings to be changed.

A few days ago, I finally managed to resolve this issue, by using the mainline kernel 4.14.10, which offered a new set of (affected) drivers that unbricked the UEFI memory. I would like to show you the full sequence of steps you need to undertake to resolve the problem. After me.

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Updated: January 3, 2018 | Category: About

Dedoimedo theme change

Ladies and gentlemen, in the coming weeks, Dedoimedo will undergo a slight to moderate visual theme change. The new looks will include a pure HTML5/CSS3 theme, mobile support, and should prove even easier to read and search for content. Speaking of content, it remains the same. Do not worry, Dedoimedo is not reforming, mellowing down, or anything like that. Same stuff, just a small decor revamp.

During the transition phase, as I slowly and carefully test everything, you may notice different articles sporting different themes, the old and the new one. Do not be alarmed, that's perfectly normal and expected. Thank you for your support, and I hope you will be pleased with the change. If not, start compiling your rants.

Stay tuned ...

Updated: January 1, 2018 | Category: Internet

UMatrix usage guide

For those of you wondering, uMatrix is a point-and-click matrix-based privacy tool, offered in the form of a Web extension for both Firefox and Chrome, and it can be used to control what domains can do while you browse. In essence, it is somewhat similar to Noscript, although the primary focus is not specifically on blocking scripts.

After having written a tutorial on how to use the new WebExtension Noscript 10, I wanted to do the same with uMatrix. The main reasons are: 1) I am currently checking whether this add-on merits further use, also possibly as a backup and alternative to any issues that may arise with Noscript following the migration to the new WebExtensions framework 2) the usage model is not straightforward. So let's see what uMatrix can do. And how.

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Updated: December 29, 2017 | Category: Linux

Best Linux distro of 2017

Onward we must make haste. Time to submit another Linux distribution to a test, and today, we shall explore the wonders and pitfalls of Mint 18.3 Sylvia. For many years, Mint has been one of my favorite distributions, scoring most highly in reviews as well as annual best-of wrap ups. Less so in recent years.

Still, the last version - 18.2 Sonya - was really decent, and alongside Kubuntu Zesty, it remains one of the top pickings of the otherwise fairly dismal 2017. Now, let's see if can sustain the momentum. I will be testing on an older system - the LG laptop that comes with an Nvidia card, so there ought to be snags. But then, Sylvia is based on the LTS edition of Ubuntu, which means it shouldn't have any of the nonsense we have seen recently. Follow me.

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Updated: December 27, 2017 | Category: Game reviews

Best Linux distro of 2017

I have been playing Bohemia Interactive's Operation Flashpoint and ArmA franchise for a good 16-17 years now, and still going strong. ArmA 3 is the latest current installment, and even though its continuous DLC model is rather annoying, the game itself is superb. And so, when the company does release proper expansion packs, I am willing to part with my hard-earned money and get the extras. In this case, the APEX bundle.

It looks like an interesting deal - it is a sort of cumulative update, so you get all those other DLC that you skipped on principle, but most importantly, the game features a brand new island archipelago of Tanoa, several new factions, some new weapons, and a co-op multiplayer campaign mode. We are exploring.

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Updated: December 25, 2017 | Category: Linux

Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia Cinnamon

Onward we must make haste. Time to submit another Linux distribution to a test, and today, we shall explore the wonders and pitfalls of Mint 18.3 Sylvia. For many years, Mint has been one of my favorite distributions, scoring most highly in reviews as well as annual best-of wrap ups. Less so in recent years.

Still, the last version - 18.2 Sonya - was really decent, and alongside Kubuntu Zesty, it remains one of the top pickings of the otherwise fairly dismal 2017. Now, let's see if can sustain the momentum. I will be testing on an older system - the LG laptop that comes with an Nvidia card, so there ought to be snags. But then, Sylvia is based on the LTS edition of Ubuntu, which means it shouldn't have any of the nonsense we have seen recently. Follow me.

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Updated: December 23, 2017 | Category: Linux

Best Xfce distro of 2017

One more. After exploring the ups and downs of the Gnome and KDE/Plasma crop of this year, we now focus on what Xfce can deliver us. Arguably, this is the third largest, most important desktop environment in the open-source universe, straddling the chasm between the two opposing philosophies of the G and K worlds.

Back in 2016, I found Xfce to be a very vibrant, healthy, innovative technology, with a good string of successes, and a range of balanced, practical distributions. There were no cardinal revolutions, but then also, there were no wild swings in quality, either. It was all rather stolid. Now, let's see what 2017 can tell us.

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Updated: December 22, 2017 | Category: Linux

Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

What if the results in your recent reviews are a result of changing your test laptop from Lenovo G50 to LG RD510? This is a very smart question that one of my readers asked. What if some of my findings are indeed hardware dependent?

My first argument is that products must be resilient enough to account for variance in hardware. My second argument is that my test methods are consistent. My third argument is that it's no so much that things don't really work in recent Linux distributions, it is that they do not work consistently. If the same thing works with one distro and does not work with another, it's not the hardware. All that said, I decided to test Ubuntu 14.04, which I found to be amazing in all scenarios, on the LG laptop. Let's see what gives.

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Updated: December 20, 2017 | Category: Windows

Windows 10 exploit protection

With the release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Build 1709), the most superb and elegant Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) is no longer available or can be installed on this operating system. Instead, these mitigations are now an integral part of Windows 10.

Since I'm a huge fan of EMET, and I'm using it on all my Windows machines, I decided to write a detailed, practical and real-life use guide on how to deploy and tweak the new mitigations in Windows 10. Please follow me.

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Updated: December 20, 2017 | Category: Books

Free book giveaways

It's the end of the year as we know it, it's the end of the year as we know it, and I feel benevolent. Commencing December 18 through December 31, ALL of my Kindle format books will be free for grabs on Amazon. D'you hear? All of them! Different books on different days, but in essence, you get two full weeks of free giveaways. Now that is what I call a holiday gift.

Now, I'd like to ask you for a favor. Actually, two favors. Please spread the word. And if you do get a freebie, and you do happen to read it, then please write a review on either Goodreads or Amazon, or both. There you go. Happy festivities and whatnot.

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Updated: December 18, 2017 | Category: Linux

Windows 10 exploit protection

Plasma me, Plasma you, a-ha, there was nothing we could do. But wait! Yes we can. Let us glimpse back upon Year 2017, and try to figure out which Linux distribution delivered the best overall user experience whilst adorned with the Plasma desktop environment. Continuing what we did with Gnome, we will now focus on the other other side of the fence.

Last year, Plasma was an okay player, but it kept to the shadows. I was cautiously optimistic, feeling that the environment had a lot of potential, but it has not been utilized to the max. Back then, Kubuntu Yak took the crown with best overall performance if still a somewhat lukewarm outcome. What shall this end-of-year summary bring us?

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Updated: December 16, 2017 | Category: Hardware

Apple iPhone 6s review

With the media aswirl with the news of iPhone 8 and iPhone X, any talk about a device two versions old - at the very least - probably means very little to hardcore fans and users. However, in my case, it's the simple matter of getting access to a device I've not really used before, and writing a review of my experience, trends and media hype notwithstanding. In this case, Apple iPhone 6s.

You will recall that I did test iPhone 6 and used it for a long while, writing a follow-up six-month review about it. I was rather impressed with the build quality and the camera, less so by the extremely restricted ecospace that forces you to tune into the world of Apple. With the operating system bumped to iOS 11 and the hardware spec upgraded nicely, iPhone 6 is an interesting little product. I'm betting: not my cup of tea, but still, worth exploring. With all the reserved judgment of an Apple shareholder that I am, follow me.

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Updated: December 15, 2017 | Category: Linux

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark

Recently, I've tested Ubuntu Artful Aardvark, and I was not impressed. It's buggy, it's not visually impressive, and the underlying Gnome 3 framework makes things very difficult for the end user. So I thought, let's cobble together a guide that helps achieve the most from this Ubuntu release.

So, in a similar fashion to what we've done with openSUSE Leap 42.3, let's try to make Ubuntu better, nicer, smarter, more efficient, and more productive. I'll give you a handful of pointers and tips on how to achieve this without going over the top, or any extensive system hacking. Let's begin.

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Updated: December 13, 2017 | Category: Hardware

UEFI/BIOS RO NVRAM workaround for installations

I was really thinking hard what the best, most descriptive and useful title for the topic today could be, and I came up with this. Long story short, my Lenovo G50 test laptop, which runs an eight-boot setup with Windows and various Linux distributions, has recently had its NVRAM go read only. I cannot change any UEFI settings, and therefore, I also cannot boot from external media and install any new systems.

However, I still want to somehow be able to make changes to the existing setup, so I spent a bit of time thinking, is there a way around this? Yes there is! What I'm going to show you today is a somewhat dangerous (data wise) trick that allows me to install new systems despite the obvious hardware limitation I'm facing. Follow me.

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Updated: December 11, 2017 | Category: Linux

Dedoimedo interview: Tuxmachines

Spotlight corner! Dedoimedo prowls the many corners of the Web, searching for textogenic faces for a fresh new interview. Truth to be told, finding the candidate for today's slot wasn't too difficult. Roy Schestowitz is a familiar name round the Tux block. Nowadays, you will most likely find him on, a community-driven news site.

News aggregation can be tricky; finding the right balance of quality content isn't easy, but even with the relatively recent change of ownership, tuxmachines marches on with solid consistency, ardently trying to offer its readers the best the open-source world has to report. I have always been a great fan and supporter, and I approached Roy for an interview. He agreed.

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Updated: December 9, 2017 | Category: Linux

Best Gnome distro of 2017

Following in the best of traditions, it is that time of the year, when we wrap up the previous twelve months of hard work, software scrutiny, pain, tears, joy, and hope, all mixed and blended inside one big, scalding cauldron that we call Linux. We shall commence with the Gnome desktop environment.

If you look at my last year's summary, I was somewhat moderately enthused about Gnome, with decent results from the Fedora branch. In fact, Red Hat flavors dominated the article, with multiple Fedora versions and forks. This does not come as a surprise, given the fact Gnome is closely tied to Red Hat. But then, it was a surprise, as Gnome is not among the most efficient or ergonomic desktop environments, nor have I ever really been fond of its third reincarnation. And yet, I was rather pleased overall. This year? Let's see.

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Updated: December 8, 2017 | Category: Linux

Fedora 27 Workstation Gnome review

Snow, chestnuts, holiday festivities. Or perhaps, darkness, smog and dry cough. For me, the distro testing recently is definitely heading in the wrong direction, with release after release od mediocre, underwhelming, zero-QA-ed systems. But maybe Fedora can redeem us all?

My impression of the predecessor was not good. Fedora 26 is definitely not as polished and smart as Fedora 26 minus one, so I'm worried. We'll be running the experiment on the olden but golden LG RD510 machine, with 4 GB of RAM and Nvidia graphics. Sit down, relax and read.

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Updated: December 6, 2017 | Category: Linux

POP!_OS review

System76 is a known player in the Linux world - one of the few vendors that choose to ship their hardware with Linux preinstalled. So far, they've done it with Ubuntu, but now, there's a custom new operating system bearing a funky name POP!_OS. It still has Ubuntu blood underneath, but it tries to be different. The words minimalistic and developer focused are mentioned, and I'm wary. But professional Linux offerings are far and few in between. So this could be refreshing. Or maybe not.

Well, given the ultra-lukewarm performance by Ubuntu 17.10 and its siblings, I am actually quite looking forward to this test. Perhaps this new and shiny POP!_OS will be able to redeem the family and offer something nice to the users come the winter. Let's see how it goes.

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Updated: December 4, 2017 | Category: Windows

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Build 1709 review

Several weeks ago, Microsoft released the fall edition of their so-called Creators Update, build number 1709. After waiting for the noise and dust to settle, I embarked on testing the new version of the operating system. Technically, it's supposed to be the same product, but with the whole agile-mantra product cycle, you never know.

So far, my impression of Windows 10 is okay - not too good, not too bad, in line with the predecessors, albeit with some extra annoyances, a less productive UI, more online and touch nonsense, and decent security. The previous Creators Update didn't bring anything too drastic to the table. Let's see what this one does. After me, brave people.

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Updated: December 2, 2017 | Category: Windows

Able2Extract PDF Converter 12 review

Over the past few years, I have had a chance to test and review different versions of Able2Extract PDF Converter, a professional document conversion software, each time invited by the company's office to examine their product and write an article about it. This year, it's even more interesting. I have been asked to take a look at the pre-release edition of the latest version, PDF Converter 12.

With the expected disclaimer that things may not be 100% polished or ready in the RC spin, I set about testing. Like the last few times, I will focus on the speed and quality of conversion of various PDF documents, the batch processing, and other features. Follow me.

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Updated: December 1, 2017 | Category: Internet

Chrome vs Vivaldi

As I've written once upon a time, like Alien vs Predator, only completely different and totally unrelated. Several weeks ago, I birthed an article pitting a number of Firefox-based browsers against each other, testing their overall goodness for daily consumption - but in a good way - especially given the radical changes introduced by Firefox 57.

You asked, so it's time to do the same for Chrome and Vivaldi. Not a browser benchmark. Again, as I've outlined in the review above, testing browser speed is not an exact science, it's an approximation that requires thousands of users, and it can never be accurately done in a lab. Even Google will tell you so. Besides, that's not the reason why we're here. More sort of, Chrome and the most popular Chromium-based browser, what gives?

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