Updated: November 30, 2022 | Category: Linux, Internet

Firefox, AppArmor & self-update rule

Several weeks ago, I wrote an article that provided a basic overview of the AppArmor hardening tool, explained how it works, and showed you a practical example on how to confine and harden the Firefox browser. But wait, not just any which Firefox, but specifically the tarball version that you can download from Mozilla. I'm talking about the tar archive. Grab, extract, run.

So far so good. Using the AppArmor profile (template) from my Kubuntu installation, I was able, with small modifications, to create a custom ruleset for the Firefox tar version running from my home directory. Things are fine, but there be one problem. By default, it cannot update. We shall fix that now.

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Updated: November 19, 2022 | Category: Linux

Foxit Reader in Linux

All right, it is time for another tutorial in my Windows to Linux saga. Today, I will focus on Foxit Reader, a versatile PDF viewer (and to some extent, editing software), with lots of interesting and useful capabilities. If you're pondering a move from Windows to Linux, then you may be thinking, hey, will this run, too?

For a change, unlike most of my previous tutorials of this nature, the answer here is a bit more convoluted. However, we shall explore and answer everything. Once again, I will call upon WINE to install Foxit Reader, but then, let's get to it. After me.

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Updated: November 10, 2022 | Category: Linux

IdeaPad Y50-70 with Linux only

For those of you not familiar with Dedoimedo's adventures, here's the gist of it. I would like to attempt to get rid of Windows in my home setup. When? Around 2025-ish, when Windows 10 goes EOL. Why? Because its successor, Windows 11 is totally pointless, and I have no intention of running my computer like a two-digit IQ chimp. Hence the attempt to go full Linux.

This is something I've started earlier this year, and even written at quite some length. I've also shared with you roughly half a dozen tutorials outlining what you need to do to deploy various Windows-only applications in Linux, like say SketchUp Make 2017 (the last proper free non-cloud version) or say Notepad++. As part of this journey, I have also installed Kubuntu on my IdeaPad Y50-70, which is going to be the scapegoat for today's experiment. Indeed, I want to expand this endeavor, significantly. Follow me.

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Updated: October 29, 2022 | Category: Linux

Plasma 5.26 review

As you well know, the Plasma desktop is awesome, and simply the best Linux offering there is. Looks, ergonomics (yup, that ole thing), customization, elegance, speed, all there, all ahead of the competition. And every few weeks, the KDE team unleashes a new version of their desktop unto the world. By and large, these are mostly decent, and usually an improvement over what came before. But not always. This is what makes today's article reasonably interesting. The suspense!

I fired up KDE neon User Edition - equipped with the stable release of Plasma 5.26 - on my test machine, the triple-boot IdeaPad with a Ryzen processor and associated Vega graphics. I didn't install the distro, and kept my work limited to the live session. But that was more than enough to give me a good glimpse and impression of what this new Plasma 5.26 can do. Let us talk.

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Updated: October 22, 2022 | Category: Linux

Unity desktop in 2022

Human memory is tricky, be it collective or individual. The reason is, we tend to forget the fine details of past experiences, which sort of grants us an average "picture" of these recollections. This means we normalize all but the most extraordinary events in our memories. However, because instinctively we also pay more attention to negative things surrounding us right now (as they could be dangerous), ergo bad stuff, and the future is uncertain, ergo possibly more bad stuff, we automatically associate positive values to things that have already happened, i.e., not so bad stuff. Hence, we all have our share of "good ole days".

This also applies to software. One could say, by and large, the new stuff is better. Well, spoiler, it isn't really, especially not in the realm of code, but let's pretend the world is better than it is so you can actually enjoy this article in the fullest. Indeed, in some cases, justifiably, old software ideas and concepts, programs and desktops included, might have been better in various ways than what we have today. Thus, a simple question: Is the Unity desktop any good, for real, still? To answer that, I took Ubuntu Unity for a spin. Follow me.

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Updated: October 7, 2022 | Category: 3D art

3D design: Slavster

'Tis time for a new spatial challenge. Having completed a 1:1 re-design of the FREMM frigate, using visual clues only, I needed a fresh idea to stimulate my cranial glands. I sat idle, wondering, until a combination of two factors fused into just the right sort of inspiration. One, I wanted to go back to an old concept and improve it. Namely, I've done a number of tracked armored vehicle designs in the past, but always elegantly skipped a most crucial element - the tracks themselves. So I thought, I ought to have a new model done, and it should feature a complete, fully detailed set of tracks.

Two, with that in mind, I still wasn't quite sure what the model ought to look like. Something futuristic? A vehicle more like a snowmobile rather than a tank? Perhaps an engineering vehicle? Then, Wifey had a wild idea and she uttered an almost precognizant name for me design: Slavster. And thus, a brilliant concept sparked in my brain, and today's model was born. To wit.

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Updated: September 23, 2022 | Category: Car reviews

Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI review

Once upon a time, SUVs were either used for heavy duty work or for lugging offspring to their favorite past-school activity. Nowadays, this category of vehicles is becoming more and more popular among ordinary folks for all manner of tasks, usurping and pushing out other classes. In fact, if you think about it, why would you not have a car that does it all, the only difference being a slightly elevated (and arguably superior) driving position and some extra head room?

I always ask myself that question when faced with the choice of driving an SUV. And driven a fair share of them, I have. Now, a fresh new contestant has chanced itself upon me, one T-Roc by Volkswagen, powered by a solid 2.0-liter diesel and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Italian roads, here I come. Commence to begin this little review.

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Updated: September 1, 2022 | Category: Other software

RescueZilla - review & tutorial

System imaging is a nerdy topic. But it is an important topic. If and when you introduce big changes to your operating system baseline, you want to have the ability to roll those changes back in case of an error or some odd incompatibility. Different operating systems - and filesystems - resolve this quandary in various ways. The most prevalent, common among them is system imaging - you grab a time snapshot of your system state, and later on, restore it if you need to.

In Linux, the quintessential tool for the job is the powerful CloneZilla, an awesome, versatile tool about which I wrote a complete tutorial back in 2011. It works great, but it has one caveat. It's nerdy even for nerds, and requires a far deal of expertise to use with confidence. Enter RescueZilla, a open-source disk management suite designed to provide the full CloneZilla functionality with a convenient GUI on top of it. Well, let's explore.

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Updated: August 23, 2022 | Category: Windows

Windows 10 & remove keyboard layouts

The topic of today's guide isn't something many people will encounter. But some will, and they will want answers. So, here's the deal. Over the years, I have purchased hardware in various countries, for various reasons. Sometimes, the devices would come preconfigured (fully or partly) by the vendor (OEM), which also entailed first-time setup or pre-delivery testing. In the case of one specific Windows machine, it was built and then stress-tested in the UK, and then delivered into my hands. So far so good.

On this machine, I use Windows (as it happens), and I use English (US) as my language of choice, because I strongly believe all and every machine interface should be configured thus. But then, I had a need to type in a different language (as I happen to speak and use a bunch), so I added a few keyboard layouts. Then, I discovered that my system now had TWO versions of English - the American and the British (UK) one (hint, earlier mention), and that the latter could not be removed. Ironically, this sounds similar to my Firefox niggle from a few days back. Well, let us troubleshoot.

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Updated: August 15, 2022 | Category: Internet

Firefox & remove language packs

Computer problems are, on both the micro and macro scale, quantum mechanism problems. In other words, unless you take a look, you won't know whether you have one or not. This happened to me when I, for a reason that currently eludes my conscious memory, decided to check the addons page in Firefox on one of my Linux machines. Casually, I went through the different categories in the sidebar, and then clicked on Languages, and here, lo and behold, I discovered that my Firefox has two extra language packs installed in addition to my default one, English (US).

These were English (CA) and English (GB) packs. I wasn't sure why there were there, but I also knew I wanted them removed, because a) there's no reason to use more than one dialect of English really, even if you might end up trying to spell things in various different ways b) the only acceptable version of English for computer interfaces is American English. Only, I discovered next, they couldn't be removed. Hence, this tutorial.

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Updated: August 8, 2022 | Category: Linux

Firefox & AppArmor tutorial

Arguably, browsers are the weakest link in one's overall security stack, other than the user, that is. In other words, should something naughty happen to your computer, it's most likely going to involve your browser. To that end, browser vendors as well as operating system companies pay a lot of attention to making this delicate piece of software robust, secure, and isolated from the rest of the system.

A few days ago, I had some spare time, and I sat wondering if there was a way to make browsers in Linux extra secure, especially if one uses custom installations or setups? This led me to tinker with AppArmor, a security framework available in a bunch of Linux distributions. In this article, I want to show you what you can do to make your browser (Firefox) extra hardened. Let's go.

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Updated: July 14, 2022 | Category: Linux

OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Plasma review

With my distro-testing mana running low, I am being quite sparing and careful in choosing which new releases to sample and write about. So far this spring-summer season, I've only really touched Kubuntu and Fedora, and both were sort of average, at the end of the day. Well, it is time for a fresh round of testing, and I've decided to go for openSUSE. Leap 15.4, to be more precise, yes.

OpenSUSE has always held a special spot in my heart, as SUSE 9.2 (or so) was my first distro. And it was a brilliant Linux player until about version 12 or so. Since, things haven't been that brilliant. But ever anew, my hope kind of flares up, and I wonder if openSUSE can recapture the majesty of its golden era, and perhaps take the whole of the stagnating Linux desktop up with it. Begin, we shall.

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Updated: July 11, 2022 | Category: 3D art

3D design: FREMM frigate

One must challenge oneself, all the time. When it comes to 3D models, I recently faced a wee conundrum. Having created a whole bunch of new (and hopefully) interesting designs, like my monster truck or perhaps the steam locomotive and the VSTOL aircraft, I felt I needed to try something new. Yes, I could keep doing more of the same, but that's not as quite stimulating as it can be.

So I went for a twist. How about something real, something that actually exists and is not just a fruit of my imagination? In other words, I wanted to see if I could visually recreate an existing concept, without using any plans or design files. I decided to try to recreate the French FREMM Acquitaine-class frigate, simply by looking at photos and then drawing in SketchUp in parallel. The end result is this model, this gallery, and this article. After me.

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Updated: July 8, 2022 | Category: Linux

Kubuntu 21.10 to 22.04 upgrade

Operating system upgrades are not a fun activity. Like the annual tax report, or mandatory HR training, you want them done as quickly and smoothly as possible. Over the years, I've found myself mustering less and less patience for everything software, and look at any major system change with a considerable amount of dread. Not the fear that I won't be able to resolve it, but the knowledge that I simply don't have the desire to play with unnecessary things.

On the Linux side of the pond, surprisingly, system upgrades have been relatively smooth. Still, they weren't always perfect. Well, today we need to see how things have changed since my last attempt, on the elderly Vivobook. My guinea pig will be the newish test system, an IdeaPad with its Ryzen processor and NVMe storage, which I use for Linux distro explorations and disappointments. The box runs a triple-boot setup, including one Kubuntu 21.10. And now, we shall nudge that instance to the latest LTS. Begin to commence.

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Updated: July 6, 2022 | Category: Other software

SketchUp Make 2017 & console log

If you are rather diligent about the state of your computers and operating systems, then, by and large, you pretty much know where every file or folder belongs. Which means that if you suddenly discover a file or folder that don't quite belong, you experience a heightened sense of alarm, or at the very least, wonder.

I had such a moment several months ago. On one of my data drives, there was a new file nestled among my data folders. Something like H:\console.log. Weird. Now, I could instantly correlate the creation of this file to my recent installation and use of SketchUp Make 2017 on this particular Windows machine, but I still wasn't happy about the whole thing. So let me tell you more about this, and also how you can get rid of this file, and make sure it doesn't get recreated. After me.

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Updated: July 4, 2022 | Category: Linux

Linux perf trace tutorial

The title of this tutorial is a bit vague, but I couldn't help myself. Also, I don't care if the "AI" search engines somehow miss it in the sea of dross, it doesn't matter much to me, strawberry Tux forever. So, we're here to talk about Linux troubleshooting and debugging, on how to identify problems with application execution and detect possible bottlenecks.

This isn't the first such tutorial I've written - there's an almost endless series, which you ought to discover by perusing my Linux section. But specifically, you want strace, which is an awesome tool, and you want perf, which is also extremely useful in figuring out where and why your system might be misbehaving. Then, as it turns out, you can combine the power of these two functions by using the somewhat less known perf trace option. To wit, this guide. Begin.

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Updated: June 24, 2022 | Category: Linux

Notepadqq review

Native applications. Among the various emails I received as a response to my Moving away from Windows software checklist article, the insistence on native programs was the biggest one. In other words, people wondered why I'd use anything via WINE when there are (acceptable) native options available. By and large, this is indeed a valid claim, but it assumes one thing. Functional parity.

Not one to dismiss feedback lightly, I decided to actually test pretty much every program mentioned in these email responses, to see whether they can actually do the job - and you shall be seeing those reviews in the coming months. So we want to check the following. One, if they offer functional parity, because without it, the other arguments are irrelevant. Two, are they useful in their own right, if not as a primary tool then as a secondary or backup option. Three, to explore new ideas and tools and whatnot, which can lead to some pretty fun discoveries. My topic of interest today is Notepadqq, a text editor designed to be like Windows-only Notepad++. So let us proceed.

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Updated: June 22, 2022 | Category: Other software

XnView review

This article should have probably been written twenty years ago. But then, Dedoimedo only came into being in 2006, and by that time, I was heavily entrenched in my love and use of IrfanView as my favorite image viewer. The passion extends beyond its native Windows environment; 'tis my favorite in Linux, too, and I find it superior to the native crop. Of course, when I wrote more extensively about this in my Windows-Linux migration saga, a bunch of folks emailed me, questioning my choices, and brining XnView into focus.

And then, I thought, well, I ought to give this program its due respect. Now, there is no cliffhanger moment here. I've tried and used XnView before, and I've always liked it. This means today's article will be contention and drama free. But I would like to give XnView its proper review, maybe do a little bit of comparison to my favorite, and mostly redress a long, outstanding gap in my writing history. To wit, let us talk about XnView in depth and detail. After me.

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Updated: June 20, 2022 | Category: 3D art

3D design: Mechanical dragonfly

About thirteen years ago, I posted the one and only guest blog post on Dedoimedo, created by my friend Mr. D, no puns intended. It featured a 3D model of a giant mechanical spider, inspired by the steampunk contraption from Wild Wild West and the Stargate TV show. Very nice.

A few days ago, deeply entrenched in my recent 3D drawing and rendering spree, I decided to revisit this idea, the artistic part, that is. I decided to create an insect of my own, a large, combat-capable, pseudo-modern yet somewhat steampunk in spirit, mechanized dragonfly. The concept is very similar to Spiderbot, the inspiration largely the same, but with some twists and extras. Well, let us explore, shall we.

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Updated: June 10, 2022 | Category: Linux

Fedora 36 review

Mr. Grumpy reporting for duty, sir. Today, my chore will be the review of Fedora 36, clad in Gnome. I will conduct the testing on my triple-boot IdeaPad, which is powered by AMD Ryzen + Vega graphics and has a small but fierce NVMe for I/O operations. Indeed.

Recently, in my rather carefully and sparsely sampled spring distro testing season, I tried Kubuntu 22.04. It was okay, but there was no LTS bite to it, as if I needed anything to improve my already vastly cheerful mood and disposition toward Linux lately. But now, I want to try something less KDE, and there's nothing better than Gnome in its vanillaest form, Fedora. Commence we do.

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Updated: June 8, 2022 | Category: Containers

Docker Desktop

I like intuitive software solutions. Y'know, products that are so easy to use you don't really need a manual, and if you do have to consult the documentation, then you will definitely find the answers you're looking for. In my experience, Docker stuff definitely qualifies in this domain.

Recently, I came across a new Docker thing - Docker Desktop. This is meant to be the GUI for Docker container management, intended as a cushty frontend for things you would normally do on the command line with the Docker engine. Well, sounds quite interesting, so let's see what gives.

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Updated: June 6, 2022 | Category: Hall of Fame

Greatest sites

The Internet ain't a fun place. But it does not have to be that way, which is why I've added two more excellent page to my Greatest sites list. And so, do you like computers? Do you like history? Do you like fascinating tidbits of technological trivia? If the answer to any or all of these questions is a resounding yes, then you might want to hop over to The Digital Antiquarian, a site dedicated to the history of computer entertainment and digital culture.

Now, let me ask you a few more questions. Do you like combat aircraft? Do you like data? How about you read about aircraft while digesting some aerodynamic statistics? Yes, there is a site that can satisfy those needs indeed. MIGFLUG is your one-stop shop to flying ex-East German warplanes, commenting on the best air force in the world, past or present, swashbuckling air kill statistics, and gazing upon some fancy airplane footage, still and motion, in that order.

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Updated: June 1, 2022 | Category: Linux

Plasma System Monitor custom graphs

As you probably know, I'm not very happy with the new Plasma System Monitor. It came around a couple of years back, hailed as a successor to the venerable KSysGuard, a badly named but otherwise most capable tool shipped with Plasma desktops since the dawn of humanity. The refreshment wouldn't be bad if it didn't harm the very essence of what it's meant to do - display data in a meaningful manner.

I've discussed this and then some in my article above, and throughout various distro reviews here and there, lamenting the rather toyish car-rev slash dial/pie graphs on the main page, the truncated CPU legend labels, the CPU graph grouping, the lack of meaningful axes information, and all the rest that makes graphs true art. Well, with my Kubuntu 22.04 review stowed away, that still stands. However, I do want to actually show you how you can turn the Monitor's pointless defaults into something a bit more useful. After me.

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Updated: May 30, 2022 | Category: Linux

How to install IrfanView in Linux

My Windows to Linux migration saga continues. We're still a long way off from finishing it, but it has begun, and I've also outlined a basic list of different programs I will need to try and test in Linux, to make sure when the final switch cometh that I have the required functionality. You can find a fresh bouquet of detailed tutorials on how to get SketchUp, Kerkythea, KompoZer, as well as Notepad++ running in Linux, all of them using WINE and successfully too, in my Linux category.

Today, my focus will be on IrfanView, a small, elegant image viewer for Windows, which I've been using with delight for decades now. It's got everything one needs, and often more than the competitors, hence this bold foray of using it in Linux despite the fact there are tons of native programs available. But let's proceed slowly and not get too far ahead of ourselves. After me.

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Updated: May 16, 2022 | Category: 3D art

3D design: VSTOL gunship

I'm on a spree. But not the river. More like digital art stuff. Recently, I've started doing 3D designs again, and the experience has been a thoroughly fun one. I would also like to believe that my models are precise and realistic, but then, you ought to judge. There's a new ship, a monster truck, and a steam locomotive. To wit.

The fourth model takes on a brand new concept I've not tried before. A VSTOL/tiltrotor plane similar to MV-22 Osprey, but also inspired by the fictional Y-32 gunship from the ArmA 3 first-person shooter. So I decided to see what I can do here, making sure everything looks the part. Let us commence to proceed, shall we?

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Updated: May 13, 2022 | Category: General site news

Site information

Some of you may have noticed, and in fact contacted me about this, that occasionally, Dedoimedo is not available. Specifically, when you try to access the site, you get an SSL certificate warning from your browser. I would like to inform you that I am aware of the issue, and I have been trying to get my hosting provider to resolve this for a while now.

In more detail, the problem is that when the issue occurs, the certificate warning tells you that you're trying to connect to *gridserver.com rather than my site, ergo dedoimedo.com. The aforementioned grid is part of the shared hosting environment where my site resides.

My guess is that the hosting provider has a fault with one of their loadbalancer or Web server nodes, which does not properly terminate SSL. I have contacted them numerous times about this, wit no resolution provided yet. As to you, my dear readers, if you encounter this, the fix is simple. Just wait 2-3 minutes, and then refresh the page. You will then most likely land on a different grid node, with correct SSL termination, and everything will work fine. On my side, I will look at perhaps using a different hosting provider. Thank you for reading.

Until next time ...

Updated: May 13, 2022 | Category: Linux

How to install Notepad++ in Linux

The most difficult part in my recently started Windows to Linux migration, initiated (after more than 30 years of steady use of Windows) due to the inefficiency and pointlessness of Windows 11, is in having a sufficiently engaging opening sequence to an article, without repeating myself. It ain't easy, but I'm trying.

Anyway, if you've just turned on your TVs, Dedo is starting a process. It will take three or four years, maybe longer. The mission is to use Linux 100% of the time, no more Windows, reasons ere outlined. In a long series of articles, I will be detailing the progress of this mega-project. We've already covered a whole bunch of nice programs, including SketchUp, Kerkythea, and KompoZer. Great success. Now, we need to tackle Notepad++, a most splendid and Windows-only text editor. Follow me.

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Updated: May 11, 2022 | Category: Linux

Kubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish

Spring. Flowers. Hay fever. Linux distros aplenty. This is how one can summarize the doings in the northern hemisphere this year, and every year. A fresh crop of Tuxies has hatched, and with modest reservation, stoicism, skepticism, and a lack of delusion, I shall set about sampling the harvest. Carefully, sparingly, because things ain't as rosy as they once used to be. Today, I will try Kubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyish, the new LTS.

My test rig will be the brand-newish IdeaPad 3, equipped with AMD processor plus graphics and adorned with three operating systems, one of which the aforementioned 22.04 will displace today. Hopefully, it will be a rather fun process, because I was super-happy with Plasma 5.24, and I'd like to believe, against all odds, that the lucky stream will continue for a while longer. I would also like this distro to become my next production system. To wit, let's commence to start.

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Updated: May 9, 2022 | Category: 3D art

3D design: Steam locomotive

When it rains, it pours, and the drains get clogged. Or something. After several years of quiet in the 3D space, I'm back in the proverbial business of creating and rendering fancy models. With SketchUp Make 2017 and Kerkythea Echo Boost as my tools of choice, I've recently made a destroyer ship and a monster truck. Next on the menu is a steam locomotive.

My initial thought was, well, this ought to be quite simple. A cylinder, some wheels, job done. Then, I started doing the model, and I realized I couldn't really breeze through it. So I spent a good week or two painstakingly drawing every element of it, every wheel, every lever, every pipe, everything. The result is quite pleasing, which I shall now attempt to demonstrate and prove.

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Updated: May 6, 2022 | Category: Linux

Meld

Comparing files, not a difficult task, easy peasy. Comparing files visually, not so much. Now and then, almost everyone will have a need to look at two versions of the same document and try to find the subtle differences between them. Sometimes, the application you're working with will have a built-in comparison feature, which makes things simpler. Sometimes, you will have to figure it out on your own, or use a dedicated program.

In Linux, there is a wealth of file comparison tools and utilities available, most of them built on top of the command-line diff program. They all follow the same basic principle of showing you two versions of the same file, side by side, and highlighting the changes and differences (hence the name). But one program stands out in this domain, and it's meld. To wit, we shall review.

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Updated: May 4, 2022 | Category: Game reviews

Assetto Corsa & unknown icon

Here we go. A technical problem with me favorite racing simulator. As it happens, I tend to play with a small selection of cars, trying to improve my skills slowly, gradually, meticulously. One car, one track, and let the lap times go down. Over and over. Now and then, I do go for a little change of repertoire.

Several days ago, I noticed a weird bug in the Select Brand menu. Alongside the usual names and logos, there was an ugly missing-icon type of logo, and when I'd hover with a mouse over it, the text at the bottom of the screen would read unknown. Well, I decide to get rid of this problem, because my OCD demons demand it.

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Updated: April 27, 2022 | Category: Windows, Linux

Moving away from Windows, disk management

Today, I'd like to break away from my recent template of Windows-to-Linux tutorials, which have focused on showing you how to install, configure and use a variety of programs, typically designed or intended only for Windows, using frameworks like WINE. What we shall discuss today is the juicy topic of disk and drive management.

Beyond applications, there's data to reckon with. And data is critical to everything. Things become extra complicated when one considers the cardinal differences between Windows and Linux. The former uses NTFS, and data is organized in drives (C:, D:, etc). Linux stores everything under one filesystem tree (root, /), and uses different filesystem formats (like ext4), although it can handle NTFS. So then, what gives if you're trying to move your stuff over? This tutorial is a neat suggestion for those looking for order, simplicity and clarity.

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Updated: April 25, 2022 | Category: Other software, 3D art

SketchUp Make 2017 & colors

A while back, I encountered an interesting little problem. One of my more complex models required more than 100 different colors or textures. Not an issue in itself, but I soon found myself struggling to remember what material I've applied where. Even if you use color names rather than generic labels, it's still hard figuring the difference between red, firebrick, maroon, crimson, or brown, or the reasons why you'd want to use them with a particular model part or component.

The other imperative driving my decision was the fact I wanted to render my SketchUp model(s) in Kerkythea, and make sure that I could individually select each material separately, and apply the right texture to them, even if they seemingly used the same color codes. The thing is, Kerkythea treats same-name materials as one, and so, even though several components had the same "color", they weren't necessarily the same material. Red plastic and red metal don't behave the same. I think I've found an neat way around this. Let me share.

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Updated: April 22, 2022 | Category: Other software, 3D art

SketchUp Make 2017 & helix shape

Recently, I started doing a while bunch of new models in SketchUp, and I always try to only use my own components, never anything from the 3D warehouse. This means extra work, but also more satisfaction when you succeed. But then, I did face one big challenge. How to make a helix, a three-dimensional spiral, that most elusive of shapes.

In essence, most of 3D design is just figuring the intricate intersect of planes in three dimensions. Sounds trivial, but sometimes, you end up scratching your head, not quite sure what to do. I decided to check a number of online tutorials, and while they do accomplish the task, I found them impossible to reproduce. The actual steps needed in SketchUp baffled me more than the concept of how a helix should look like. Well, eventually, with great satisfaction, I worked it out. It's not the prettiest or most efficient method, but it's dead simple. Let me show you.

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Updated: April 20, 2022 | Category: 3D art

3D design: Monster truck

As you well know, I've started doing 3D design and renders again, after quite a long pause. Having finished my most complex model yet, a destroyer ship inspired by the American Arleigh Burke and Russian Kirov classes, I wanted to try something completely different. And it all started with, how do you make a ridged wheel in SketchUp?

So I spent some time and figured how to design a tractor-like tire with giant traction pads around the rim. Then, I looked at the tire and thought, what if I put four of them together, and then assemble a car chassis on top of them? Thus, the idea for a monster truck was born. Fast forward some ten days of rigorous drawing and another week or so of rendering, and here we are. Behold.

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Updated: April 15, 2022 | Category: Linux

How to run KompoZer in Linux

Welcome. This article is another part of my ongoing series on moving away from Windows as my primary operating system. A few months back, I realized that the simplicity and user-focused control of the classic desktop so far present in Windows will most likely be gone, or at least, become severely reduced in the coming years, and that I don't want to partake in that journey. Instead, I will be having my own journey.

I told you about my rough plan, and I already outlined how you can get SketchUp and Kerkythea working in Linux. Now, I want to talk about a lovely, highly useful relic. KompoZer. It's a WYSIWYG HTML editor that's last been updated some fourteen years back. And yet, it's still around, and I still use it, because it does the job. Now let me show you how you can get it working in Linux.

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Updated: April 13, 2022 | Category: Game reviews

Assetto Corsa & track days

With the world travel less optimal than it should be lately, I found myself spending insufficient time inside a car cabin, in the driver's seat, be it casual cruisin' or race track days. This is unfortunate, because I really love driving. So what does one do when they are afflicted thusly? They seek adequate alternatives.

As it happens, several years ago, I bought Assetto Corsa, a serious racing simulator, and I found it delightful. Accurate, difficult, unforgiving, splendid. And then, as it also happens, there was my G27 racing wheel and pedals set, waiting to be assembled and used. Well, I thought, let's recreate that track day feel.

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Updated: April 11, 2022 | Category: Office

LibreOffice 7.3 review

A bunch of months back, having finished testing LibreOffice 7.2, my overall conclusion was one of mild, cautious optimism. Mild, because as often as not, things happen rather whimsically in the open-source world. Cautious because I've been burned before. And optimistic, because I felt that LibreOffice had managed to overcome a long series of usability bugs and problems that had plagued it for years, and that from now on, it would be smooth sailing.

With that in mind, turn our eyes onto LibreOffice 7.3, we must. I did wait a bit, for that first dot-dot release, so the very initial bugs would be quickly identified and fixed, and I could then submit this quintessential libre office suite to a rigorous set of tests. After all, there is igor in rigor. Indeed.

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Updated: April 8, 2022 | Category: Linux

How to run Kerkythea in Linux

Welcome. This article is part of my ongoing series on moving away from Windows as my primary operating system. Several months ago, I've come to the conclusion that the days of the sane, classic desktop computing in Windows are numbered, and I must migrate away ere it's too late. Now, there's no panic. The real problems will most likely start around the EOL of Windows 10, which means 2025 at the earliest. Till then, I promised to do a long series of Windows-to-Linux migration guides around this topic, and create a functional, productive alternative setup for myself, with Linux and the Plasma desktop as my choice.

So far, I've told you about my generic plan for this adventure. There are some good news already. A fair deal of my favorite software is already cross-platform and/or native to Linux. Other stuff works through WINE. The whole thing will, predictably, boil down to office and games. Now, I want to show you how you can use Kerkythea, a photorealistic, 3D rendering program, in Linux. Follow me.

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Updated: April 4, 2022 | Category: Linux

Slackware 15 review

Sometimes, you may disagree with a person or an entity, but also sometimes, you gotta respect them when they stick to their values, no matter what. Slackware is a good example of this behavior. While the Linux desktop world has been gripped in much drama over the past two decades, one distro stayed true to its original mission, for better or worse. No drama, no fanfare, no great missions statements, just pure tech for nerds.

With the recent release of its 15th major version, I decided to test Slackware 15, to see how an old, classical Linux distro copes with the modern challenges. Now, I was a little apprehensive of what the test would include, so I forayed with a virtual machine experiment. This doesn't necessarily reflect a complete real-life usage scenario, but it should still be good enough for our purpose. Let us commence and ponder .

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Updated: April 1, 2022 | Category: Other software

Android 12

Every once in a while, my Nokia X10 phone will tell me to reboot so it can apply an update. When I saw a notification for this action a few days back I did not suspect my phone would bump its operating system by a whole integer. But bump it did, and the first indicator something was new was the absolutely huge clock applet on the lock screen. After a moment of mild shock, I figured what had transpired and started testing.

Of course, you don't really need me to tell you about Android. I'm not a phone person, and my usage patterns are so completely different from the common swiper. Even so, if you're in a mood for some light entertainment, then let me tell how I feel about Android 12. Follow me.

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