My new epic biblical mythology novel I Shall Slay the Dragon! has been published. Go get it.

Updated: April 15, 2019 | Category: Linux

Solus 4.0 Fortitude (Budgie)

If distributions had personalities, then it would be fair to say that Solus and I never got along on. I liked the promise of Solus and what it could deliver, but somehow, this never translated into successful, prolonged usage, mostly because it used a custom bootloader, and things weren't that simple on that front.

I got a blizzard of emails from you, asking, demanding and cajoling me to try the latest version, one merrily and optimistically named Fortitude. Well, that sure sounds promising, so I grabbed the Budgie version and went about a-testin'. But then, instead of going for my Lenovo G50 machine, I decided to try running it on the old RD510 machine, which has recently seen credence revival in the form of MX-18. But that's just a side point, because we want to see how well Solus stands on its own, and there's a Nvidia card in the mix, too. Let's do it.

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Updated: April 13, 2019 | Category: Linux

10-year-old laptop & MX-Linux MX-18 Continuum

Time to try reviving another old machine with Linux. This time, a 10-year-old LG RD510. You will surely recall my escapades from yesterdecade, with four Ubuntu 9.04 installations in parallel, gaming with a nice Nvidia card to do all the hard work, the fun, the thrill, the memories. But age does takes its toll.

Recently, I've used this laptop for testing, primarily to see how well distros handle old hardware, and more importantly, Nvidia graphics. In my Fedora 29 review, I noted some performance sluggishness, and I thought, well, we're approaching the usability limit, in that I have to be mindful OF systems I use on this box. But then, only a few weeks ago, I went through a similar ordeal with my equally ancient and even more under-powered Asus eeePC. I upgraded the operating system, and it wouldn't run well. Then I tried MX Linux on this sweet little relic, and it gave new life to the netbook! Amazingly so. Encouraged, I decided to repeat the experiment here. After me.

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Updated: April 12, 2019 | Category: Best of the best, sir!

Greatest sites

So what do we have today? Numero uno: Rarely do I come across personal blogs that are really captivating. I'm talking honesty, insight, engaging writing styles, inherent tragedy of those programmatically inflicted, and disillusionment with the buzzwordy nonsense that we call technology today. Now and then, a gem surfaces up, and Tonksy's digital memoirs happens to qualify.

Numberskaya dva: New action, old action, action action. The Action Elite! I mean seriously, how wrong can you go with a website that has Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme on its front page? Indeed, The Action Elite is a website dedicated to movies packed with blazing guns, exploding things, car chases, and tons of sweet 80s cliches. Ergo, let off some steam Bennett.

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Updated: April 10, 2019 | Category: Linux

Slimbook Pro2 & Kubuntu 18.04, report 7

When I started my Slimbook & Kubuntu journey, I didn't know where it would end. And I still don't. But half a dozen reports later, I am much more confident into what kind of experience awaits me day in, day out. What I really value in software are two main qualities: stability and predictability, the kind of stuff one must have for their production setup. So far, this laptop and its blob of code are delivering nicely, reliably.

Another facet of this journey is its randomness. I typically have a very strict routine when it comes to distro reviews, but here, I'm letting the challenges surprise me. I am using the system, and if and when a use case occurs, I handle it. For better or worse. Well, you can definitely read all about that in the previous articles. Now, let's see what happened over the last handful of moonrises.

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Updated: April 8, 2019 | Category: Virtualization

VirtualBox NAT sharing & port forwarding

I have a rather interesting problem for you. It's also quite convoluted. Say you're using VirtualBox as your preferred virtualization tool. Say you're having trouble with 3D acceleration - black screen and all that. As you've seen in my tutorial, the fix is to use repo-provided guest additions. But this repo set, as provided by the distribution, unlike the additions provided by the official ISO, does not contain a shared folder driver. This means you don't have this functionality available.

To make things even more complicated, say you want to share stuff. We talked about this in another tutorial, aptly named network & sharing, but you're using NAT rather than bridged networking, so the guest machine is not accessible from your host by any normal means. And you don't want to use Samba or alike, so the whole situation is even more complex. Okay, so let me show you how you can transfer files from host to guest without having shared folders while using NAT. No Internet tomfoolery. We're doing it all local. After me.

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Updated: April 5, 2019 | Category: Linux

KDE Cantor

Education and science go hand in hand with Linux. The academy likes open-source in general, and there's a pretty good chance you'll find Linux software in research laboratories worldwide. So if you happen to dabble in sophisticated mathematics tools, you might as well dabble in Linux. Alas, most desktop environments don't have their own edu-sci applications. Well, KDE does.

Cantor is a multi-purpose scientific analysis tool, with support for multiple backends. You can use the program to run Python, R, Octave, Scilab, KAlgebra, Qalculate, Maxima, and other engines. This makes it useful as a single interface for all your mathematics needs. And I like the unique angle. But does it work? Let's find out.

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Updated: April 3, 2019 | Category: Linux

Shellcheck

Writing good scripts is difficult. There's the obvious PEBKAC skill, of course, but also ancient magic and history, with legacy conventions going to Plan 9 and FLOW-MATIC, which most people don't really understand or care about when writing their software. Then, the lack of a Dostoevskian crime & punishment in software development also means codes can be lazy and write however they like.

A bunch of moons ago, I've come across a neat little program designed to make your shell script suck less. It's called ShellCheck, it's available as an online console, and you can also install it in pretty much any distro and then integrate in your workflows or whatnot. Intrigued, I went about a-explorin'.

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Updated: April 1, 2019 | Category: Linux

Asus eeePC & MX Linux MX-18.1 Continuum

Several weeks ago, I upgraded my 10-year-old Asus eeePC from Xubuntu 16.04 to 18.04. The previous LTS was coming to an end, and so I let the system bump itself to the latest release. I then tested the behavior of the old netbook, and the results weren't good - either with the Xfce or the Plasma desktop I installed thereupon. It seemed like an end. But then you emailed me.

I've never received so many emails on any topic - and I have to thank you all for your suggestions. Some of you recommended hardware tweaks - more memory and SSD, but I felt investing in a decade-aged platform would not be wise. Most of you said - try a different frugal, lightweight distro. Your chief candidate was MX Linux, which has shown some great promise in the past two years. So I thought, well I ain't got nothing to lose. Indeed, when you have no choice, it can be quite easy sometimes. You do things you wouldn't normally contemplate, like perhaps marrying your cousin or introducing a brand new Linux distro in your production arsenal. I tried the latter.

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Updated: March 30, 2019 | Category: Linux

Asus Vivobook + Ubuntu 18.04 + Unity

Somewhat similar to my Asus eeePC story, where I upgraded the resident operating system from Xubuntu 16.04 to 18.04, and then tested the behavior and performance, with some rather interesting and sad results, I am going to try the same approach with my five-year-old Asus Ultrabook. A few days ago, after much deliberation and emotion, I moved the Trusty instance to Bionic via two upgrade hops.

Now that we have the Bionic running on this machine, it's time to select the desktop environment. I am not inclined to use Gnome in my production setup, hence it needs to be something else. There are two choices here, Unity, as I've shown you last year, and Plasma, which is gracefully gracing my Slimbook laptop. We will start with the former, and then follow up with a KDE-flavored sequel. After me.

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Updated: March 29, 2019 | Category: Game reviews

Euro Truck Simulator 2 review

I have to admit, when I first heard about a game that is essentially a truck simulator, my first reaction was, what the hell? Why would anyone bother developing - let alone playing - a game where you lug heavy workloads across Europe at moderate speeds, snail-pace acceleration, and with long, boring slogs of roads between your source and destination? Ah, little did I know how crazy and addictive this idea was.

Unsuspecting, I installed the game and went about exploring. After finishing the rudimentary tutorial showing me how to operate the user interface, I started doing quick jobs. Minutes turned into hours turned into more hours. I was sitting here, sweating, fretting, CARING about my truck business. Whatever the game developers did, it's a mind trick of the highest order. After me.

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Updated: March 27, 2019 | Category: Linux

Shutter review

Screenshot taking is one of those bi-polar activities. Either you do very little of it, or you do tons. There's no middle ground. If you're like me, reviewing software quite often, then you fall into the fabulous category, and you need reliable tools that will let you take screenshots quickly and efficiently.

You might say, that's what the PrntScn key was invented for, but what if you need only active windows, or parts of the screen, or maybe decorations? Or no mouse pointer? Over the years, I've tried many screenshot tools, and I talked about this at length in my KDE apps review piece. There are many a screenshot program, but somehow, they all have one little flaw that prevents them from being really cool. Recently, though, I've cast my eyes on an oldie and hopefully goldie - Shutter. It's been dormant for a while, but now it's come back, and so we are testing.

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Updated: March 25, 2019 | Category: Linux

Home dir backup

Say you're a Linux user. No, seriously, say it. OK. Now, you are a Linux person, and you would like to backup your personal data, because it's very important. Indeed, having a solid backup plan is a smart thing. If you're about to make a big system upgrade, try new software or anything else that might bork up your files, a copy of the data will help prevent any undesired tears or panic.

There are two ways you can go about this. One, you can use a tool of some sort, like Grsync or Deja Dup, and that's perfectly fine. Two, you can write your own little script. Normally, there's no reason to bother with the latter method, but it's good to know what to do come the need. Today, I'd like to show you how you can make flexible and encrypted (yes, encrypted) archives of your data, with exclusions and whatnot, and then be able to save them anywhere you like, another disk, another system, cloud, whatever. After me.

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Updated: March 23, 2019 | Category: Internet

Android privacy guide

Several weeks ago, I bought myself an Android phone - a rather lovely Moto G6. The primary purpose for this purchase was to test the feasibility of having to use Android for everyday needs as an alternative to the unfortunate and seemingly inevitable demise of Window Phone, like my ultra-awesome Lumia 950, which remains the most graceful and elegantly designed mobile operating system, decent privacy included.

The switch to Android also comes with a lot of questions around privacy. While I'm not too bothered by the whole big brother nonsense, I do understand the focus around this topic. Almost daily, there's an article telling of this or that privacy breach, or how user data gets shared without consent, or similar. So I wanted to take this opportunity and share my approach to a privacy-oriented Android setup, without compromising too much on usability or going over the top. A sensible middle-of-the-road thing. Follow me.

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Updated: March 22, 2019 | Category: Linux

Ubuntu 14.04 upgrade

It's time for drastic changes. With only about a month left into Trusty's five-year life, I decided to finally upgrade my dual-boot Ultrabook. This laptop has been my only serious Linux production machine until very recently, when I purchased the rather sweet Slimbook. From day one, it's only given me good stuff, working reliably and without any issues. A large part of that experience goes to Trusty, the most excellent of operating systems ever made.

Now though, it's going away. An upgrade beckons. So let me show you what I did. In fact, it's not going to be one upgrade, but two. We'll go from 14.04 to 18.04 via 16.04. Along the way, I shall entertain you with bits and pieces from this experience, each step of the way. Commence, we must.

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Updated: March 20, 2019 | Category: Linux

KDE neon 5.15 review

Just recently, I reviewed Plasma 5.15, and it was a good, pleasant experience. Throughout my review, I tried to avoid making explicit mentions of the underlying test framework - KDE neon - in order not to confuse the improvements in Plasma with the system itself. Now, it is time to give neon its due.

So today, we will look at KDE neon as a whole, system plus desktop. While a lot of the stuff I covered in the desktop environment test still holds, there's the facet of general usability that goes beyond specific versions of Plasma. My test box be Lenovo G50. Now, follow me.

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Updated: March 18, 2019 | Category: Windows

Windows 10 OneDrive shortcut

As far as operating systems go, Windows 10 is a fairly in-yer-face one. The aggressive marketing approach makes it visible and intrusive, and advanced users who want a quiet, peaceful desktop without any bells and whistles and modern nonsense that makes low-IQ crowds happy worldwide need to go through a bunch of hoops to get things in order. One such example is the OneDrive icon in Windows Explorer.

Now, all in all, not using OneDrive is relatively easy. You can ignore it. You can disable the startup entry. You can even remove it. I've explained all these steps in my Windows 10 ultimate privacy guide. But the one thing that needs extra rigor is a leftover OneDrive icon that shall remain lingering inside Windows Explorer, whether you use the service or not. To wit, we need to remove it and make peace with our OCD demons. A variety of guides shows how to do this, but what if the standard registry hacks don't work? Aha. Follow me.

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Updated: March 17, 2019 | Category: Linux

Slimbook Pro2 & Kubuntu 18.04, report 6

Here we are gathered, for another episode of drama, thrill and technological escapades in the land of Tux. Starring one Slimbook Pro2 in the main role, with a trusty sidekick called Bionic Beaver of the Kubuntu clan. We've had quite a few episodes so far, and they tell a rather colorful story of progress, beauty and bugs.

Over the past few months, I've detailed my usage of the laptop and its operating system in serious, real-life situations, with actual productivity needs and challenges. This isn't just a test, this is running the machine properly. Many things work well, but then, there are problems, too. Of course, you can read all about those in the previous articles, and again, for the sake of simplicity, I'm only going to link to only the last report here. If you're truly intrigued, I'm sure you can find your way around. Now, we continue.

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Updated: March 15, 2019 | Category: Linux

GSConnect

A couple of months back, I wrote my state of Gnome apps article on OCS-Mag. One of the readers commented on the piece, and suggested that I look at GSConnect, a Gnome version of the popular KDE Connect tool. Intrigued, I set about exploring, and after a brief perusal, testing this program.

Now, GSConnect is a Gnome Shell extension and a complete implementation of KDE Connect, with browser integration and whatnot. The utility does not require KDE to work, or the desktop application. But it does comes with all the goodies that its spiritual inspirator provides. Well, time to fire up a Fedora box and commence to start testing. Let's see what gives.

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Updated: March 14, 2019 | Category: Linux

Plasma 5.15 review

It's that time of the year - there's a new Plasma release, this one labeled 5.15. If you've followed my Plasma escapades of late, then you're aware of my enthusiasm for this desktop environment, plus the fact I've been using the environment in a serious, real-life production mode on my Slimbook machine, trying to ascertain whether Linux can be mustered for everyday activities, the whole plethora of it. This quest comes with its own deck of articles, aptly dubbed combat reports, now at number five and counting.

This means I am rather fanboyishly enthused about this latest version, as I'm always keen to discover new features, and better yet, learn about all the fixes and improvements added to the existing stack. There is a lot of great momentum in the Plasma world, and the desktop is speeding toward the Pro Station like an unstoppable bullet train. Let's see what 5.15 brings to the table.

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Updated: March 11, 2019 | Category: Linux

Asus eeePC & Bionic Plasma

Show must go on. A couple of days ago, we talked about my old eeePC netbook, and how it copes with modern operating systems and modern needs. Following an upgrade from Xubuntu 16.04 to 18.04, I am rather sorry to say this ancient, decade-scarred machine is struggling with the gluttony that is the present-day software.

But not all is lost. There is still some hope. And it comes in the form of the Plasma desktop. I am more than pleased with Plasma, and its low, frugal footprint makes it ideally suited for an underpowered platform like my netbook. So once again, we commence, full of emotions and dedication. Let's see if the Plasma desktop can give this old box a fresh life. After me.

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Updated: March 9, 2019 | Category: Short stories

The Man Who Sold the World short story

"What is your name?"

"Vasher of Dannath."

"And what is your trade?"

"I'm a unicorn hunter."

There, that look, Vasher thought. He always got that look when he told people what he did for a living. "Among other things," he continued as he spotted a breach in the clerk's defenses. "I am renown for hunting all things magical. Dragons, faeries, goblins, you name it. I've seen them all, and I've hunted them all."

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Updated: March 8, 2019 | Category: Hardware

Motorola Moto G6 review

At the end of 2019, something really awful is going to happen. Windows Phone is officially going to be kaput. And that means my super-awesome Lumia 950 will have become a collector's item. The dwindling arsenal of usable applications is already felt, and things won't improve as time ticks by. Which is why I decide to prepare and start considering the inconsiderable. Using an alternative mobile device.

I've been a proud Nokia and then Lumia user my whole life - at least the portion that applies to mobile devices, that is, and the notion of having to go with Android or iOS does not make me too happy. But then, things might not be that bad. Hence, Motorola Moto G6. You've already read my review of the Moto G4 dual-SIM model a couple of years back, so I thought testing a successor model might be a sensible idea for a future eventuality. All in all, Android has made some rather serious progress since I've first tested it roughly seven years back (and to be fair, iPhone is also less annoying than it used to be), and if anything, this could be the right no-choice for me. So let's see what gives.

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Updated: March 6, 2019 | Category: Linux

Zorin 12.4 review

It's been some three years since I last tested Zorin OS, and back then, it was a beta version. I hadn't been too impressed, and the experience was rather bland. But three years is half an eternity in Linux terms, so it's time for another review. Besides, I was looking at the list of potentially interesting distros to test, and I do have to say, it does feel rather quiet, maybe even slightly despondent.

Today, Zorin stands at version 12.4, but that on its own does not say too much. Lots of Ubuntu under the hood, a heavily customized Gnome theme, and now, there's also a payware option. You can purchase Zorin Ultimate, which comes with software, games, new themes and wallpapers, and even a support channel. If you don't like this venue, you can use the free (Core) edition. That was my choice for the test - with Lenovo G50 being me scapegoat. We roll.

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Updated: March 4, 2019 | Category: Linux

Plasma X server recovery

Here's an interesting little problem. I was merrily using my Plasma desktop when suddenly it went kaput. But kaput in a bad way, not a good way. This translates into windows decorations being all gone and nothing really responding to mouse clicks. And here comes the conundrum train, nonstop to Foobar. I wanted to restart the Plasma shell and just get back to working - after all, I mentioned this workaround a couple of times in the past, like my Slimbook & Kubuntu combat reports. Indeed. Except ...

This didn't work. In the virtual console (the only thing that actually was working), I had the kstart: cannot connect to X server error. At this point, a reboot or magic were needed, and I really wanted to have to avoid rebooting. In general, rebooting is a lazy way of fixing issues, and it should be done sparingly. So let's talk about a better, less destructive way.

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Updated: March 2, 2019 | Category: Linux

Asus eeePC & Bionic Xfce

The sturdy little Asus eeePC is one of my best purchases ever. This 10-inch machine has served me loyally for almost a full decade, going to places, and I mean going to places. I've used it heavily for travel, and it's done pretty much everything. I wrote books on it, edited media, used encryption, synced 100+ GB datasets with rsync, and it would give me 7-10 hours of battery, even with Wireless turned on. But age takes its toll.

My latest experiment with this machine was upgrading the Trusty instance to Xerus, in both cases with the Xfce desktop. You should really read those two articles first to get the understanding of how time and system change affected this, er, system, rolling from 2015 to 2017 to present day 2019. To-day, I'd like to invite you to a most interesting experiment - to see whether a 10-year-old lowly netbook can still be relevant.

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Updated: February 28, 2019 | Category: Office

LibreOffice 6.2

The world of documents, spreadsheets and presentations is roughly divided into two. There’s Microsoft Office, and then, there’s everything else. In the second bunch, LibreOffice features prominently, often touted as a free alternative, with a wealth of tools, options and features. I am a mostly happy user myself, although I’ve never been able to fully commit to it, for various functional as well as practical reasons. And yet, whenever there’s a new release, especially a major one, my hope soars up, thinking this could be it, the moment of truth.

With version 6.2 freshly launched, I set about testing, to see whether I could perhaps upset the status quo and shift the balance away from a proprietary, payware solution to a free, cross-platform suite. After all, LibreOffice has many merits, but it is not without flaws, either. Anyway, let’s see what gives.

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Updated: February 25, 2019 | Category: Virtualization

Docker & name resolution issues

Hopefully, you will never really need to be reading this article, and you only happen to be here because you are bored or did a wrong kind of search. Or you might actually be facing an issue where your Docker containers do not have Internet access anymore, even though they used to work well, just recently, and you've made no changes to your environment.

This sounds like a very vague problem statement, but this is what I was facing all of a sudden. My containers did not have network access, with the error like Temporary failure resolving URL. It looked like an issue with name resolution, and it bugged me extra, because it was not supposed to happen. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Test host: Ubuntu with systemd - important for latter. Let's proceed slowly.

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Updated: February 23, 2019 | Category: Linux

Plasma menu update

Fellow KDE users, the problem you are facing is as follows: For some odd, sudden reason, the Plasma menu is no longer updating to correctly reflect the state of your installed (and removed) applications. It is showing old, invalid entries, and new programs are not being added. It has also stopped responding to its customary keyboard shortcut.

I've encountered this issue in Kubuntu 18.04 on my Lenovo G50 machine. I don't know what triggered the problem, or when, but it was suddenly there. I spent a while debugging this, and the gist of it be this fine tutorial, which should help you regain your menu functionality back without too much hassle. Follow me.

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Updated: February 16, 2019 | Category: Linux

Xfce apps

Last year, I decided to do a thorough analysis of the KDE and Gnome application stacks, separately, to figure out how complete these two desktop environments really are. I looked at the different application categories, weighed the major advantages and flaws in the popular software, examined some unique entries, and then also talked about what’s missing, the obstacles that keep these environments from being fully independent and 100% user ready, so to speak.

I’d like to examine Xfce next. After all, this is the third most popular Linux desktop environment, barring forks of the other two, and so it merits its own moment of spotlight. But at the same time, Xfce has never really deliberately prided itself at what it can do and offer. It’s always hung to the back, sort of shying away from publicity, being modest and frugal in all aspects. So when you think about Xfce, you don’t normally think about the application stack. You could say it’s a lightweight, simple desktop, but can you name five pure Xfce programs? Aha. Let’s see.

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Updated: February 15, 2019 | Category: Virtualization

VirtualBox & disk resize

Long time ago, I wrote a tutorial showing you how to shrink and expand VirtualBox hard disks. Back in the day, shrinking was easy, but growing disks required imaging. How the tables have turned. Sort of. Starting with VirtualBox 4.X, this virtualization product now allows you to grow disks as well.

Indeed, I had a virtual machine running low on space, so I thought, let's give it a try. The command succeeded, but my disk wasn't growing. I then realized I was using snapshots, and this is something that I've highlighted even in the original guide from ten years ago. Well, this much needed and updated tutorial will show you how to safely and elegantly expand disks even if you do have machine snapshots. After me.

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Updated: February 13, 2019 | Category: Office

Able2Extract Professional 14

PDF time. A few weeks ago, I was asked by the Investintech team to review the latest release of Able2Extract, a versatile conversion software designed to transform PDF documents into a whole range of target formats, including Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, HTML and AutoCAD files, images, and more. I've done several review of this program in the past, the last being Able2Extract 12. Here we go again.

There's a whole bunch of new, interesting features available. Version 14 comes with improved OCR engine, supports Linux, plus it can also create PDF files rather than just convert them. This makes for a nice basket of options, and a solid test case. All right, let's see what gives.

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Updated: February 11, 2019 | Category: Internet

Firefox pinned tabs

Here's a curious corner case for you. About a year ago, Firefox Quantum introduced a whole bunch of radical changes in how it works and behaves, the biggest among them the switch to WebExtensions. This move made a lot of friendly, powerful extensions not work anymore, including a range of tab management addons. On the upside, Firefox also brought about the integrated tab pinning feature. It works nicely. But.

Pinned tabs will detach from the tab bar and position themselves to the left, somewhat like a typical desktop quicklaunch icon area. So far so good, but the corner case be here! As it happens, the pinned tabs are relatively narrow, which means quick stab 'n' open action isn't quite possible. You need to be accurate positioning your mouse cursor, and that could slow you down. There does not seem to be a trivial option to change the width of the pinned tabs. Hence this guide.

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Updated: February 9, 2019 | Category: Internet

Firefox Quantum session manager

Back in the good ole days, Firefox had a wealth of excellent, powerful extensions. Among them, Tab Mix Plus with a superb built-in session manager. Come Firefox Quantum (57 onwards) and WebExtensions, a lot of goodies have gone away, forever. We are left with diminished functionality.

One of the things that I've been hunting after the most is a flexible session manager akin to the old stuff, with the ability to manage multiple sessions in a smart, simple, elegant way. I think I've finally found an addon that does the trick. It's called Session Sync, and I'm happy enough to actually write a whole article about this.

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Updated: February 8, 2019 | Category: Windows

Windows 10 Build 1809 upgrade

The article you're about to read has two purposes. One, show you (and possibly entertain you with) my experience around the upgrade to Windows 10 Build 1809, and all that it entails. Two, review the new version of this operating system and highlight the changes and differences from the previous edition. Now, you may ask, why only now?

Well, first, you should never rush updating your system. You should wait at least a month, let others play the ignoble role of the Charge of the Light Brigade. Then, once the issues are solved, you can then update without fearing problems. I've advocated this approach forever, and turns out, the Build 1089 update proved me more than right. It was released with so many issues - the modern software thingie, right - that Microsoft actually paused the update for a while, before restoring it. Still, three months down the road, I still didn't have it. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

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Updated: February 7, 2019 | Category: Linux

Slimbook Pro2 & Kubuntu 18.04, report 5

Let us continue our testing saga. Long story made longer: I got meself a Slimbook Pro2 and installed Kubuntu on it, and then started using it in earnest, earning and burning, shake and bake. Over the past few months, I delighted you (maybe) with real-life, no-nonsense, production-setup reports on this experience, parts one through four. I'm just gonna link the last, fourth report, 'cause if you like, you'll read more, right?

I find this journey important and useful, for myself - and for you, too. Linux is often mentioned as an alternative to Windows, but that's a throwaway statement. There are a lot of things one must consider to be able to use an operating system in their production setup. This article is the continuation of my noble attempt to do so, and expose all the ailments along the way. Today, I'll shed some fresh light on yet more findings, new bugs, new issues - and new delights, too. After me.

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Updated: February 4, 2019 | Category: Office

Google Docs review

When people talk about online office suites - cloud included - they often focus on relatively simple use cases, mostly the use of storage for photos and videos, some sharing, mail, and an odd document or two. But there isn't enough mention of what happens when you actually do use online suites in anger. And by anger I mean volume and quantity.

As oft happens, necessity is the father of all excuses, which is how I came about using Google Drive office suite functionality (let's call it Google Docs) and G Suite for more than just casual stuff. I got meself writing a new technical book on system administration ethics, and this meant collaboration across oceans and continents, frequent online word exchange and such. A splendid opportunity to trial, test, evaluate and judge. To wit, this review.

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Updated: February 2, 2019 | Category: Internet

Firefox 65 slowness

Well, well, I've encountered a new, interesting and - ultimately - annoying problem. On one of my Windows machines, I upgraded Firefox to version 65. Then I noticed that the close sequence for the browser takes a very long time. Previously, this would be a very short thing - 1-2 seconds max. Now, it was taking a whole minute and eating one core worth of CPU. So I decided to dig into this issue more deeply and figure out whether this is something in my own setup or a fresh issue in Firefox.

As always, the Internet wasn't very helpful. I had the usual slew of recommendations - update drivers, refresh this, refresh that. The worst kind of suggestions that completely ignore the problem or the reasons why it manifested. After all, if you don't understand the issue, making changes only masks the whole thing in the long run. To that end, I set about doing this the right way. Follow me.

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Updated: February 1, 2019 | Category: Linux

MX Linux MX Tools review

Several weeks ago, I tested MX Linux MX-18 Continuum, a lightweight Xfce-clad distro that aims to be uber friendly, nice and useful. The aim is well on target, because MX Linux has been gaining a lot of momentum in the past couple of years. It's become a hot cake among the distros, and for a good reason. It works really well.

Part of the charm is having all the fun bits out of the box. But there's another little sweet in the jar, and that's MX Tools. A combo of utilities that help you manage your distro in a newb-tender fashion. I've dipped my fingers into this proverbial bowl a few times, and I really liked it. My 2018 report was all superlatives and whatnot. Which means, we ought to retest. And so we are.

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