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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Updated: March 30, 2022 | Category: Windows

Delete files with special characters in Windows

Every few years, I face this wee problem. I try to delete a file in Windows Explorer, and it throws an error, telling me it cannot find (and delete) the file specified. OK, happens. So I go to the command line, and do the deletion there. However, this time, I encountered a fresh snag. The usual deletion action wouldn't complete, with the command prompt saying: The system cannot find the file specified.

I encountered this issue with a lock file created by my Xerox B215 printer on a Samba share. For some odd reason, the printer truncated the actual filename, and instead of it being "Xerox_Scan.pdf", it was named just "Xerox_Scan." Ha, but was it really?

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Updated: March 28, 2022 | Category: Linux

Dolphin & customize look and feel

At the risk of repeating myself, I must say that Plasma is the best desktop. Period. It is also extremely customizable, but in a fun way. You can use the defaults, never worrying about any tweaking, or if you so desire, you can make visual changes to pretty much anything and everything, with a great level of detail. A good example is Dolphin, Plasma's default file manager, our topic for today.

In this article, I want to show you how you can go about changing the look & feel of Dolphin. And to satisfy the bombastic title I used above, I intend to go beyond the pure basics. As in, I won't talk about changing the size of icons in the sidebar, or removing certain categories and alike. That's too easy. We'll actually tweak the look and feel. Follow me.

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Updated: March 25, 2022 | Category: Linux

Gnome 40 theme editing

You can't edit Gnome themes, no more, someone wrote me in an email. And I replied, what what. The person pointed out that the instructions I laid out in my Gnome theme edit guide no longer worked. Specifically, the gtk.css file, which is supposed to contain the necessary clauses to make theme changes, like font color for instance, simply weren't there anymore.

I decided to explore this further. I powered on CentOS 9 Stream, which comes with a modern version of the Gnome desktop environment, and I looked what gives under the Adwaita theme folder. Indeed, the old method of customization seems no longer applicable. Which is why we need this tutorial. Begin, we must.

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Updated: March 23, 2022 | Category: Linux

Linux disk cleanup

If you were old enough to use computers in the mid-2000s (just the decade right), and you happened to be running Windows and Linux, and, being a nerd, you also participated in discussions around the benefits of this operating system over that, then you must have come across the following statement: you don't need to do any system maintenance on Linux, it's smart enough to handle it all by itself.

Indeed, on the Windows side, there was often talk around systems getting slower over time, dire need for defragmentation (in NTFS as opposed to Ext3), cleanup of temporary files, and such. Linux was often touted as maintenance-free. Now, the question is, how true is this statement really? I actually had a chance to test it for myself, all through temporal chance.

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Updated: March 21, 2022 | Category: Game reviews

Wreckfest

Reuse titles much? Yes, indeed. But there is a reason to that. What do you get when you combine the powers of Carmageddon and BeamNG.drive (for which the aforementioned title was already used)? You get Wreckfest! A game dedicated to wholesale competitive vehicular deformation in a splendid display of soft physics arcade. Childish enthusiasm for wanton destruction intensifies.

My Steam wishlist popped a notification. There's this game you added, y'know, back when you bought BeamNG, so maybe you want to try it? And try I did. Fast forward about 300 hours of crash, boom, joy, and here I am, writing a review of this splendid mind-and-body detoxifier. Let us delve into details.

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Updated: March 9, 2022 | Category: Windows, Linux

Moving away from Windows, software checklist

After using Windows for some 30 years as my primary operating system, I have come to a difficult realization that I will need to wean myself off it for good sometime soon-ish. This isn't a trivial decision, and the outcome won't happen overnight. In fact, I don't expect my plan to be fully realized until 2025-2026, when Windows 10 goes EOL. But I must start somewhere.

What prompted me was the news that Windows 11 Pro will (most likely) need an online account to complete the installation process. Even if this doesn't happen or gets retracted, the very notion of a classic desktop formula being mangled so badly to serve some cloud-mobile greed model angers me. I have zero intention of using my PC like some smartphone chimp, on top of and beyond the technical inadequacies of Windows 11 itself. And then, later on in the future, an even more pointless idea of "desktop as a service" looms big. Nah. Not gonna play that silly game. And so, I am slowly starting the migration journey.

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Updated: March 7, 2022 | Category: Linux

Plasma & custom shortcuts

After I wrote my review of Ksnip, a handy screenshot tool, someone commented that they would like to be able to associate this program with their shortcut for capturing screenshots. In particular, they also said they would like to be able to take rectangular areas rather than fullscreen or windowed area. This got me thinking, and I figured, perhaps there is some tutorial material here?

The answer is, yes. Now, my mission today is twofold. One, show you how you can assign custom shortcuts to custom actions in Plasma. Two, showcase yet again the amazing and neverending flexibility of the Plasma desktop environment, because nothing else does it half as good as Plasma. In fact, the whole thing reminds me of that catchy, cheesy song The Spy Who Loved Me, the theme sequence from the namesake 007 Bond movie. And it opens with the following lyrics: Nobody does it better, I feel sad for the rest ... Indeed, let is commence this tutorial.

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Updated: March 4, 2022 | Category: Virtualization

VirtualBox & NS_ERROR_FAILURE

Recently, on one of my systems, VirtualBox stopped working. No matter which virtual machine I tried to launch, it would throw the same error. The popup window would read: Failed to open a session for the virtual machine [Whatever the name is]. In the details box, it would say: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005).

Weird. The message is cryptic and generic, and doesn't really give you a clue as to might be wrong right away. Well, I set about troubleshooting, and after some trial and error, this little guide was born. Now, in all likelihood, it won't solve ALL your problems (with the same error code), but you might get just enough guidance to figure out what in your specific system is not working. Follow me.

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Updated: March 2, 2022 | Category: Windows

Windows 11 & Explorer performance

It is funny and tragic that, in 2022, a man should be writing an article explaining how to fix a slowness issue in the file manager of a flagship desktop operating system product, and yet here we are. As it happens, I have a test system that runs Windows 11, and there, Explorer windows take time opening, and then yet more time showing the contents of various drives and folders. A modern machine with an NVMe disk, mind.

No such problem affected Windows 10 prior to the upgrade, affects no other Windows 10 machine that I use, or the Linux distributions installed side by side with Windows 11 on the aforementioned IdeaPad 3 laptop. When I tested the Windows 11 Dev Build last year, I did write a tutorial on how to improve Windows 11 performance. Now, we need to go one step further and make Explorer even snappier. Follow me, nerds.

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Updated: February 28, 2022 | Category: Linux

Plasma 5.24 review

You all know I love the Plasma desktop environment. Why? Because it's factually awesome. It's the most consistent, visually pleasing, ergonomically efficient, and customizable UI for the classic desktop, hands down. Nothing comes even close, inside and outside the Linux world. Now, there's a new version, 5.24, and its existence is very important.

Why? Because it is the new Plasma LTS, and it will adorn the upcoming Kubuntu 22.04. In other words, it will shape the next two or three years of stable, semi-pro and serious KDE usage. The other reason is, I've recently become disenchanted with Windows, and I will be moving away from it in the coming years. This is why Plasma 5.24 ought to be superb, so it gives me the boost of confidence and fun I need for my journey ahead. And so, begin, let us.

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Updated: February 25, 2022 | Category: 3D art

3D design: Battlecruiser

Lo and behold. Something rather interesting happened a few days ago. After an artistic pause of about six years, during which I made no new 3D models, a sudden urge to design grabbed me, and I powered SketchUp and shortly thereafter Kerkythea, and started turning the fruit of my imagination into a photorealistic product. This time, a combat ship (yet again).

The effort turned to be quite fun, in many different ways. I "relearned" my way around the two programs, and even got better along the way. I mastered new tricks in SketchUp 2017 Make edition, the last free and ultimately the best version of the program before the cloud thingie. I also re-realized that the ancient 2013 edition of Kerkythea remains the friendliest free 3D renderer around, hands down. And I also created a lovely new model, which I'm going to share now with pride and joy.

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Updated: February 23, 2022 | Category: Internet

Firefox 97 & CSS tweaks

I use Firefox as my primary browser. Fact. I intend to do so until one of us is gone. Fact. But I do find the new UI style pointless. That one is called Proton, and it landed in Firefox several months ago. For a while, you could disable it with a toggle, but now, there ain't no toggle no more.

To gain back a sane, productive UI layout, I resorted to making manual changes to Firefox through a series of CSS file changes. This lovely adventure is detailed in my guides on how to disable Proton. I made the tabs more visible, added color to the container tabs, sorted out the URL bar, and then some. So far so good, but then, in version 97, just recently released, I noticed that my container tabs are a bit messed up. The CSS rules no longer work quite as well as they did. This article shows a small set of tiny fixes needs to make my modified interface look cool again. If you're already using my anti-Proton tweaks, then this should be useful.

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Updated: February 21, 2022 | Category: Windows, Linux

Moving away from Windows

A couple of days ago, I came across a forum post that pointed to a Web article that linked to the Windows 11 Insider preview Dev channel release notes, which mention a new requirement for Windows 11 Pro setup. Not Home edition, mind, but Pro. Internet access and Microsoft account will (or most likely will) be needed to finish the system setup. And I decided, that's it, I had enough stupidity for one lifetime.

This pointless cloudification of the classic PC desktop formula will never stop. It won't stop until desktop as a service is a reality and all that nonsense. No. I'm not going to cooperate with that plan. And so I've now finally decided that I'm going to properly start moving my production workflows away from Windows. That won't be an easy task. After all, I've been using Windows since 1992. But I have zero intention of using Windows 11, as it's pointless in its own right, and I have even less intention of being a subscription monkey. Services yes, products never. This article is a start of a journey whereby I plan to wean myself off Windows. Let's begin.

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Updated: February 18, 2022 | Category: Game reviews

ArmA 3 & silly speed record

As it happens, ArmA 3, a war simulator and first person shooter, has two distinct qualities. One, it is indeed the finest computer game in its category, allowing for some really serious, engaging action. Best, most realistic shooter, hands down. Two, it is also blessed with a whole range of (potentially intentional) bugs and quirks, which lead to great merriment. Among these bugs and quirks, the quirkiest of all is the collision system.

For instance, take any two vehicles and make them touch. The end result is unpredictable. The outcomes ranges from nothing to wheel damage to players dying to vehicles suddenly exploding and flying like billiard balls all over the map. The incident angle, the speed of the collision, the type of the vehicle, and who knows what else determine the spectacular display of physics on your screen. The big question is, well, how far can one take this phenomenon?

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Updated: February 14, 2022 | Category: Linux

Slimbook Pro2 & Kubuntu - Combat Report 14

It's been quite a while since I last wrote a Slimbook Pro long-term usability report. More than a year in fact. By now, my Slimbook laptop is more than three years old, approaching 3.5 years, and I've been using it daily, for serious productivity tasks, for fun, when traveling abroad, all of it. A real attempt to see if and how a Linux machine can be relevant for everyday use, beyond the usual stories focusing on just developers writing code.

For those of you wondering what this is all about, a few summers ago, I got myself a Slimbook machine, and since, I've been writing about this experience in a series of "combat" reports, summarizing the good, the bad, and the weird of using a Linux-powered laptop. No glamor, no nonsense, and no fanboyism. Well, it is time for another story. To wit.

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Updated: February 11, 2022 | Category: Linux

SketchUp Make 2017 & Linux

This is a very important tutorial. It brings closure to a five-year-old technical problem that I've had. As it happens, I tried running SketchUp in Linux thrice, through WINE. In 2010 and 2016, this effort yielded good results. In 2017, it was a failure. Now, finally, I was able to overcome the problem.

SketchUp Make 2017 is the last free offline edition of this lovely 3D program line. Since, if you want to do some nice design, you can either pay for the Pro version or use the rather limited in-browser free edition. This makes the 2017 version highly valuable to me, but I had struggled getting it running properly in Linux for a while now. Let's amend that.

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Updated: February 9, 2022 | Category: Windows

Windows 11 review, six months later

Early in July 2021, I reviewed the Dev Build of Windows 11. I was underwhelmed on so many levels. The new operating system, if it can be called that, was raw, unfinished, and came with a slew of bugs and ergonomic annoyances. But that was then. Since, this thing has been officially released, and it even received a handful of big, critical patches, designed to help resolve some of the early problems.

With optimism, nay jadedness of heart, I set about testing Windows 11 with a fresh outlook. After all, six months and change is a lot of time to resolve various issues, and give users, hopefully, a decent experience. The reason why I'm doing this so-called milestone article rather than a more "streamlined" update is that I feel no need whatsoever to be using or testing Windows 11. I find it totally unnecessary, and will not be using it on my serious systems. But test we shall, and report thus.

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Updated: February 7, 2022 | Category: Game reviews

ArmA 3 & Global Mobilization

Willkommen! It's time for you to return to the Cold War. These are the first two sentences from the Global Mobilization DLC for ArmA 3, the latest in a series of major third-party DLCs available for this fine first person shooter. Oh, sounds interesting. Just a few weeks ago, I talked about Prairie Fire, a Vietnam-era bundle, and also went slightly philosophical on the whole concept of DLC vs Expansion Pack, the value in these extras, and such. TL;DR: Looking good, why not. And so, today, we'll just focus on the game.

Regardless of when or where you were born, and whether you actually experienced the whole GDR/DDR thingie, you can still enjoy the tension of the Cold War, fighting as either a West or East German faction on the brand new, big Weferlinger map, a fictitious yet modeled-after-real-world terrain added in this DLC. In a take somewhat similar to how Operation Flashpoint did it, you can blend nostalgia, old tech (not as old as the 60s but still) and the uncompromising realism of ArmA 3 for a fresh dose of milsim zeitgeist. Or something.

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Updated: February 4, 2022 | Category: Linux

Plasma look like Gnome guide

I see a great disturbance in the force. I see hordes of fanboys on both sides of the Tux camp whetting their pitchforks, ready to storm Castle Dedo. As it happens, the Plasma and Gnome desktop environments have completely opposite value propositions, or at least, usage models. One classic, one not. But that doesn't mean we can't cross streams.

The big difference between Plasma and Gnome is that Plasma is extremely customizable, so if you feel like going for a visual refresh, you can do this relatively easily. Gnome can also be tweaked, but it needs extensions and then some. And so, I want to show you how, should you feel like making your Plasma desktop mimic Fedora or perchance Ubuntu with its Yaru theme, this is how you do it. After me.

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Updated: February 2, 2022 | Category: Other software

Standard Notes review

Note taking. This is one of those things that everyone does, and often, in a rather unique, individual way. Some people leave themselves reminders using physical sticky notes glued to the door of their fridge. Others have reminders in their calendar. Others yet keep information in text files on their desktop. Or you hire a person whose job is to do it for you. Many ways indeed. How about a dedicated tool?

With the philosophical debate of the subtle differences between notes applications and text editors aside, I want to focus on Standard Notes. This program grabbed my attention a while back, and I sort of tested and tried it on and off recently, trying to figure out if indeed I need a piece of software like this. My method of in-yer-face desktop files has worked well for me for the past two decades, so I'm wondering if a standalone tool can create the same sense of order and urgency. To wit, we explore more.

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