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Latest articles & site news

MX Linux MX-17 Horizon - Shaping up beautifully

updated January 13, 2018, category: Software & security

MX Linux MX-17 Horizon
From an underdog to a kennel master. That's probably the best, most succinct way to describe MX Linux. While you still may be confused about its heritage, with words like Mepis and AntiX slipping in, it's one of the more refined Xfce distros around, and I have been thoroughly impressed by the last version, MX-16. As it turns out, I proudly crowned it the Best of Xfce 2017 distro. It also notched very high on the overall annual best-of competition.

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

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How to deploy Meltdown patches - in Windows 7/8/10

updated January 12, 2018, category: Software & security

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

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

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Kubuntu 17.10 upgrade - Should you?

updated January 10, 2018, category: Software & security

Kubuntu 17.04 to 17.10 upgrade
Predictably, Ubuntu Autumn Release was underwhelming, bringing in a whole plate of regressions to the table plus some fresh new bugs and issues to make the experience even less pleasant. It seems inconceivable that there should be several successful distro releases in a row. Consequently, the entire Ubuntu family suffers, and Kubuntu is no exception.

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

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How to access iPhone (6s) with iOS 11 in Linux

updated January 8, 2018, category: Software & security

Linux & iPhone 6s (iOS 11)
A couple of years ago, I wrote a detailed tutorial on iPhone mount & use compatibility in Linux across multiple distributions. KDE/Plasma struggled with this the most, not seeing and/or not mounting the device automatically. But we did have a relatively neat solution in the form of idevice and ifuse utilities, with some command line hacking.

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

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Lotus Exige S at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

updated January 6, 2018, category: Car reviews

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

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

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Mozilla & Mr. Robot - Insert Freedom Here

updated January 5, 2018, category: Software & security

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

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

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Lenovo laptop read-only BIOS/UEFI - Solution

updated January 3, 2018, category: Software & security

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

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

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Dedoimedo visual theme change (coming soon)

updated January 3, 2018, category: Dedoimedo

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

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

Stay tuned ...

UMatrix extension usage guide

updated January 1, 2018, category: Software & security

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

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

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And the best distro of 2017 is ...

updated December 29, 2017, category: Software & security

Best distro of 2017
Onward we must make haste. Time to submit another Linux distribution to a test, and today, we shall explore the wonders and pitfalls of Mint 18.3 Sylvia. For many years, Mint has been one of my favorite distributions, scoring most highly in reviews as well as annual best-of wrap ups. Less so in recent years.

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

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ArmA 3 Apex - Tanoa - Welcome to the jungle

updated December 27, 2017, category: Computer games

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

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

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Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia - Very nice

updated December 25, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Best Xfce distro of 2017

updated December 23, 2017, category: Software & security

Best Xfce distro of 2017
One more. After exploring the ups and downs of the Gnome and KDE/Plasma crop of this year, we now focus on what Xfce can deliver us. Arguably, this is the third largest, most important desktop environment in the open-source universe, straddling the chasm between the two opposing philosophies of the G and K worlds.

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

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Maybe it's you? Nope, Ubuntu Trusty tells us.

updated December 22, 2017, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty & LG RD510 laptop
What if the results in your recent reviews are a result of changing your test laptop from Lenovo G50 to LG RD510? This is a very smart question that one of my readers asked. What if some of my findings are indeed hardware dependent?

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

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Windows 10 exploit protection - Tutorial

updated December 20, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Holidays ... Celebrate

updated December 20, 2017, category: Free books

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

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

Read more ... (external link)

Best KDE/Plasma distro of 2017

updated December 18, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Dedoimedo tests iPhone 6s

updated December 16, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Make Ubuntu 17.10 usable - Tutorial

updated December 15, 2017, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 17.10 usability tweaks
Recently, I've tested Ubuntu Artful Aardvark, and I was not impressed. It's buggy, it's not visually impressive, and the underlying Gnome 3 framework makes things very difficult for the end user. So I thought, let's cobble together a guide that helps achieve the most from this Ubuntu release.

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

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Installation workaround for read-only UEFI NVRAM

updated December 13, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Dedoimedo interviews: Tuxmachines

updated December 11, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Best Gnome distro of 2017

updated December 9, 2017, category: Software & security

Best Gnome distro of 2017
Following in the best of traditions, it is that time of the year, when we wrap up the previous twelve months of hard work, software scrutiny, pain, tears, joy, and hope, all mixed and blended inside one big, scalding cauldron that we call Linux. We shall commence with the Gnome desktop environment.

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

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Fedora 27 Gnome - Downhill and down

updated December 8, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora 27 Gnome
Snow, chestnuts, holiday festivities. Or perhaps, darkness, smog and dry cough. For me, the distro testing recently is definitely heading in the wrong direction, with release after release od mediocre, underwhelming, zero-QA-ed systems. But maybe Fedora can redeem us all?

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

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POP!_OS - Ubuntu, bang, curtain

updated December 6, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Build 1709 review

updated December 4, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows 10 Build 1709
Several weeks ago, Microsoft released the fall edition of their so-called Creators Update, build number 1709. After waiting for the noise and dust to settle, I embarked on testing the new version of the operating system. Technically, it's supposed to be the same product, but with the whole agile-mantra product cycle, you never know.

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

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Able2Extract PDF Converter 12 review

updated December 2, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Chrome vs Vivaldi - Raw elements

updated December 1, 2017, category: Software & security

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

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

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - Old tablet, new times

updated November 30, 2017, category: Software & security

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
The age is strong in this one. I bought my Samsung Galaxy tablet back in 2013, and at first, I found it quite adorable. But over time, I realized there were diminishing returns in the touch factor, making it useful only for casual Internet stuff. Phones make sense, because you have no expectations. So do laptops. But tablets are a false hope.

And yet, it's my duty to please that ... to conduct reviews. Indeed, I've recently converted my Ubuntu-powered Aquaris M10 machine to Android, and spent some time playing and testing. The change has given it a fresh new - and fast - beginning. So I figured, let's see if the Samsung tablet can also benefit from some airing and dusting. Shall we?

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Ultimate openSUSE Leap 42.3 usability tutorial

updated November 27, 2017, category: Software & security

openSUSE Leap 42.3 tweaks
Today, we shall pimp. Pimp this distro into submission. Make it good. My review of the situation reveals many glaring problems - hardware issues all over the place, problems with media playback, software conflicts, system hangs and freezes, and many other annoyances.

In this guide, I would like to show you a long series of tricks, workarounds and changes you will need to exact upon your openSUSE Leap 42.3 box so that it appears modern, fully cooperates with your hardware, and offers you all the delights of day-to-day stuff. Let us begin the ordeal.

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Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet - With Android

updated November 26, 2017, category: Software & security

Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet & Android
Once upon a time in the West, the hopes were high. The man with no name rode into town, promising Linux for all, on desktop and phone alike. Later on, we learned the man's name was Harmonica, and I got confused. But I really loved the dream that Canonical tried to create, and I bought myself an Aquaris phone and an Aquaris tablet. I believed this could be big.

But then, the dream was dashed, and I was left with a pretty nifty, decent, mid-range tablet gathering proverbial dust, and real dust, and nostalgia. With the choice of keeping it as is for memorabilia sake, or converting the now irrelevant Ubuntu Touch device into something with more day-to-day relevant, I opted for going Android.

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Xubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark - The winter is ... meh

updated November 24, 2017, category: Software & security

Xubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
Let's take a look at another member of the Ubuntu species. This autumn, we have a series reboot, with a fresh alphabetic start. With Ubuntu, the change was more than symbolic, including a shift from Unity to Gnome, with some rather disappointing results. Then, I tested Kubuntu 17.10, and again, the regressions and problems were aplenty, to my great chagrin, dismay and sadness.

It's time to see if the Xfce beastling can deliver - I am bracing myself for bugs that ought not to be there, even though technically, Xubuntu should not have experienced any major disruptions. It's also been relatively stable and true, with good pace of innovation without losing grip on its identity. Aardvark, show me the light please.

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Firefox 57 & Noscript 10 usage guide - 1st edition

updated November 22, 2017, category: Software & security

Noscript 10
Firefox 57 is out. And so is Noscript Security Suite 10, the first WebExtension version of this highly popular and successful Firefox addon. The redesigned addon brings in a whole range of changes and frustrations. So if you feel surprised, taken aback or just confused by the way Noscript works post 5.x series, I will try to unravel some of the fog in this tutorial.

Please note that this is the first edition of this guide - there will be updates and follow ups, as Noscript will inevitably change and improve. I will try to provide the simplest explanations and hints, so that your journey, and mine, can be more pleasant. I believe Noscript is an essential part of the Web, the primary reason to still stick with Firefox, and this is why I decide to compile this howto. Follow me.

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The Fox Hunt - Firefox and friends compared

updated November 20, 2017, category: Software & security

Firefox family comparison
Are you familiar with the lyrics of The Reflex, by Duran Duran? The reflex is a lonely child, who's waiting by the ... and so on. Well, Firefox is not a lonely child. In fact, the Firefox family has many members, and now that we're facing the crucial moment of truth, whether to use Firefox or not, at all, given the radical change a-coming' with Firefox 57, it is time to give the entire series some extra spotlight.

In other words, let's try to figure out which of the Firefox siblings is the most suitable for everyday use. We're talking look, compatibility, the ultra-important extensions, security, performance, and such. Today, we'll have a wrestling match between Firefox, Waterfox and Pale Moon. As requested by you, readers. Shall we?

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Dedoimedo Black Friday: Three Days of The Betrayed

updated November 20, 2017, category: Books

The Betrayed - Black Friday deal
Let us have some pre-holidays holiday festivities! Next week, Friday to Sunday, November 24 from midnight till November 26 11pm (2300 hours), The Betrayed, the first book in The Lost Words series, will be available at a nice, discounted price of only USD0.99. This is a very neat 67% saving compared to the original tag, so you may want to pencil the dates down and take advantage of this nifty little Kindle Countdown Deal.

As always, I welcome feedback, suggestions - and of course - reviews, so should you read it, please jot down your thoughts, whatever they may be. Either way, I hope you will find this deal valuable, and stay tuned for more news, updates and special offers as we approach the inevitable conclusion of 2017. Peace.

Read more ... (Amazon link)

Open Linux - Beyond distributions, regressions and rivalry

updated November 18, 2017, category: Software & security

Open Linux
I love Linux. Which is why, whenever there's a new distro release and it's less than optimal (read, horrible), a unicorn dies somewhere. And since unicorns are pretty much mythical, it tells you how bad the situation is. On a more serious note, I've started my autumn crop of distro testing, and the results are rather discouraging. Worse than just bad results, we get inconsistent results. This is possibly even worse than having a product that works badly. The wild emotional seesaw of love-hate, hope-despair plays havoc with users and their loyalty.

Looking back to similar tests in previous years, it's as if nothing has changed. We're spinning. Literally. Distro releases happen in a sort of intellectual vacuum, isolated from one another, with little to no cross-cooperation or cohesion. This got me thinking. Are there any mechanisms that could help strengthen partnership among different distro teams, so that our desktops looks and behave with more quality and consistency?

Read more ... (external link)

Kubuntu 17.10 review - Hello darkness my old friend

updated November 17, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
ABCDEF U Kubun-tu. Yes, it's time to embark upon yet more autumn season distro testing, and we shall continue with the freshly released Aardvark edition wearing the KDE uniform. I was highly unimpressed by the new Ubuntu. It was buggy, underwhelming, just sad really. So it's interesting to see how Plasma will fare, and how much badness shall drift over across the family tree. It's happened before. When 'buntu goes down, they all go down.

This test is going to be even more intriguing because: 1) I was immensely impressed with Kubuntu Zesty, and I even crowned it the perfect distro, and it worked beautifully on my HP Pavilion laptop, equipped with Nvidia graphics 2) Plasma has just been such a stable and elegant delight recently, showing great promise and quality. To wit, we will be testing on an Nvidia-powered laptop, my older LG RD510 machine, which has recently seen a slew of reviews. Let us.

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Plasma secrets: Remove shadows in screenshots

updated November 15, 2017, category: Software & security

Plasma secrets - screenshots without shadows
Do you occasionally take screenshots in your Plasma desktop? You do? Well, then you may have noticed that the created images (PNG) come with a relatively large transparent border, which makes image manipulation somewhat quirky. Say you want to be able to make screenshots without any borders, like Gnome or such. What now?

In this tutorial, I will actually show you three or four different methods that can help you make your images prettier, easier to use, and without any need to handle the transparency. Follow me.

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Intel microcode & Atomic update failure

updated November 13, 2017, category: Software & security

Intel microcode & Atomic update failure
The golden rule of computing is, you should never check your system error log for errors if your system is working fine. That's the quick route to madness. You will end up trying to figure out solutions to trivial issues that do not affect your day-to-day usage. But then, you may suddenly have your desktop freeze. If you're lucky, it recovers. If not, you will have to reboot to gain back your session.

Now that you should check the logs, you discover the following error in the logs just prior to the problem: *ERROR* Atomic update failure on pipe A ... Sounds ominous, and it is the topic of our article today. Let's see what gives here and how we can fix this.

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GTA Vice City Steam version - Startup errors and saves

updated November 11, 2017, category: Computer games

GTA Vice City & Steam
We all know that GTA Vice City is one of the finest games ever released. I reviewed and praised this excellent title in one of the first three or four articles ever written on Dedoimedo some eleven years ago. It's a game that blends style with nostalgia in a supreme manner, and I still play it often. In fact, recently I purchased the remastered Steam version.

Alas, I discovered a bunch of problems in trying to get the game going. One, it would crash on startup. Two, the old save games from the Retail version are not compatible with the Steam version. Now, I did battle some issues with running Vice City on Windows 7, mostly around mouse control, as I've shown you in a neat little tutorial, but this was a new set of problems. Not to worry, there's a solution to all this. Let us fix the issues and enjoy GTA!

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Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark - Art eater

updated November 10, 2017, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
Fresh start. A new alphabetic series, a new desktop environment. With the unfortunate demise of Unity as its user interface, Ubuntu has now embraced Gnome 3 as the thing what users ought to experience when they use this operating system. I find this quite troubling, and with a heavy heart, I am commencing this review.

But perhaps not all is bad. This is an opportunity for Canonical to revitalize itself, to show a bold new face and take us forward. After all, the Linux desktop has been stagnant for a good few years, and a radical initiative is needed. Perhaps this might be the beginning of that adventure. Perhaps not. Let us explore.

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VLC & Playlists - Little known party tricks

updated November 8, 2017, category: Software & security

VLC playlists & skins
A question that I often get to hear is - how does one go about having a pretty interface in VLC, replete with a dope playlist and whatnot? Not in so many eloquent words, but you get the gist. People usually only get to see the one face of VideoLAN, that of a fairly utilitarian if extremely versatile media player, which hides most of its nerdy functions beneath the hood.

Today, I'd like to show you how you can make VLC ever so slightly prettier, more accessible and more fun to use. We'll focus on two major features - playlists and skins. Both these can help transform VLC into something more like a typical flashy player that you'd expect, without sacrificing any of the awesome functionality. Let us.

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Open Source Summit Europe 2017 & Dedoimedo

updated November 6, 2017, category: Software & security

OSS Europe 2017
If you've noticed a brief absence of wisdom and rant on Dedoimedo in the previous week or so, that was because I was busy attending and presenting at the Open Source Summit in Prague, Czech Republic. For those wondering, yes, this is the new unified event combining the likes of LinuxCon and CloudOpen and similar venues under a single umbrella.

So let me give you a somewhat longer overview of how it went and what it was like, and finally, tell you a bit more about my own presentation. Images, philosophy, chocolates, the whole nine yards, and whatnot. After me.

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PCLinuxOS 2017.07 KDE - Majestic and horrible

updated November 4, 2017, category: Software & security

PCLinuxOS 2017.07 KDE
PCLinuxOS. Once upon a time, this was the distro. Super friendly, unique, loaded with awesome features. But then, as years went by, my experience with it became less and less successful, until I declared a big goodbye with the 2014 Full Monty release. It was a sad moment.

Recently, I achieved rather decent results with Mageia 6 on my old-new LG RD510 laptop, so I thought this could be a good opportunity to give PCLinuxOS another shot. After all, both these are based on Mandriva, both very similar in spirit and behavior, so why not. Hence, we're testing PCLinuxOS once again, the 2017.07 KDE release. Let's do it.

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Mageia 6 review - Very refreshing

updated November 3, 2017, category: Software & security

Mageia 6
I have not tested Mageia in a long time. The primary reason is, at some point, this distro stopped booting on most of my test hardware, a range of laptops really, and I just never got around to really nailing it down. My last attempt was the unsuccessful endeavor with the third release.

However, now, with my Lenovo G50 on the blink, so to speak, I decided to give it a shot on a much older piece of hardware, a 2009-era LG RD510 machine with an Nvidia card. So let's what Mageia can do. It should definitely be an interesting experiment.

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Just a Silly Robot published in Allegory ezine

updated November 1, 2017, category: Books & short stories

Just a Silly Robot
Let's continue the month of November with some really good news. Just a Silly Robot, a sci-fi themed short story of mine, has just been published in Allegory ezine, a bi-annual online magazine of science fiction, fantasy and horror, Volume 32/59, Fall/Winter 2017.

What is the story about? Well, let's keept it short and sweet, no spoilers. Here's the pitch: The purpose of life is to be. To survive. On a space colonization mission to Epsilon Eridani, a robot faces the question of his existence - and that of his human comrades. Without further ado, take a look and enjoy!

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Fix Windows 10 time sync offset - Tutorial

updated November 1, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows 10 time sync offset
I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. On my Lenovo G50 machine, which multi-boots Windows 10 with a host of Linux distributions, every time I launch the Microsoft operating system, the time is off by one hour. The timezone is set correctly, but the little digital widget in the right bottom corner fakes it by 60 minutes.

I started exploring, reading and checking, and realized that I should write a little tutorial on this. Now, the problem may also affect people who use Windows 10 standalone, without any reference to other operating systems. Either way, we will focus on the solution on the Windows side of things, and how we can work around the issue.

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