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Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 MATE - Fairly solid

updated September 24, 2016, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 MATE
You asked, I deliver. So. Let's have another CentOS 7 review, in case you felt I have not given this operating system enough attention in the last few months. The thing is, I am enjoying my CentOS experiments very much. Especially since they were not supposed to succeed in the first place.

But then I got the distro booting on the Lenovo G50 machine, and before I knew it, I had the KDE and the Gnome and the Xfce versions all lined up, all working, with their own foibles and idiosyncracies, their own ups and down and whatnot. Now, let's explore what the MATE version can do, shall we.

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Let's bash Windows 10. I mean BASH on Windows 10!

updated September 23, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & BASH
Yes. Windows 10 is nothing special. We have established that, both when the operating system was released, in my review on G50 a year ago, and more recently in my article on the Anniversary Update. Neither good not bad. Just average.

However, what makes is rather interesting is that you can run BASH. Yes, proper Linux, essentially. Not as a virtual machine. It's a user-mode implementation of Ubuntu, through the use of Pico kernel drivers that translate Linux syscalls into NT APIs and emulate the Linux kernel. Wicked. Clever. It's called Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), and it is as native as it gets. Quite compelling for us nerds. Let us explore.

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Rotate videos in VLC - Tutorial

updated September 21, 2016, category: Software & security

VLC & rotate video
A friend of mine sent me a 253MB video file, created on a mobile phone, and recorded with the phone device positioned upside down. Ipso facto, the output was also inverted, and it looked like I would have to either rotate my head ever so uncomfortably, turn my monitor around, flip its display using keyword fury, or I had a better idea, summon VLC to my aid!

This little guide is not about video processing. That's a separate topic, and we have covered it a few times, including my original tutorial and the Frankenstein video prep stuff. Today, we will learn how to use VideoLAN for one-off changes to video clips, so that you can enjoy them without a lengthy process of, well, um, processing. After me.

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The Amazing Dietrich of Free Kindle Downloads

updated September 19, 2016, category: Books and gadgets

Dedoimedo 2016 contest
Gentle reminder, dear fellas! I am running an Ubuntu tablet contest, pitted against the gory chore of YOU reading my books and giving them a truthful appraisal. He who reads dares. And he who dares wins. Maybe. At the beginning of December, we will tally up all the reviews and one shall go home with an Aquaris M10 FHD tablet as a prize for doing some honest literature. Why is this of particular interest today? Because come September 28-29, I will actually be giving away The Amazing Adventures of Dashing Prince Dietrich for FREE. Yes. You will be able to download the Kindle version of the book free of any charge, and still be eligible to participate in the contest. Need I say more?

2016 tablet contest Amazon page (external link)

Ubuntu Phone, Sep 2016 - Vorsprung durch Touch

updated September 19, 2016, category: Software & security

Ubuntu Phone Sep update
Every few weeks, months, I pick up my BQ Aquaris E4.5 phone and do some fresh new testing to see how well it behaves. My last experiment actually involved my progenitors, and they were subjected to roughly a week of using the phone on their own. They liked it quite a bit, and did not dislike it much, and that's a good sign.

Recently, I noticed a fresh new firmware update, and once I had it installed, the look and feel of my Aquaris phone had changed. Which merits yet another review, another look at how Ubuntu Touch OTA is progressing and whatnot. Version 12, based on 15.04.6, but there might be a new and revolutionary LTS just around the corner. Let's see.

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Donington Park, Caterham and fog

updated September 17, 2016, category: Car reviews

Donington Park & Caterham R300
Time to go a-race trackin'. Our next destination is Donington Park, a 3.2-4.0 km long MotoGP and BTCC racing circuit in the middle of England, close to a bunch of castles, roads, airports, and other monumentia what make the British proud. Indeed, after having driven a Renault Clio Cup round Grobnik, Croatia and briefly stinted in a Megane RS 265 at Spa-Francorchamps in wet and fun conditions, we shall now step into a spartan two-seater open cockpit of one Caterham R300.

There is also a roadtrip element to this journey, which thou shalt read in a separate article. Hither, we shall mostly focus on what happened at the circuit. Cold weather, moisture, fog. Not quite the best friends forever of anyone keen on speed, especially when you need to strap yourself into a roofless 50s-tech roadster, still, it ought to be exciting. Hopefully. Maybe. Follow me.

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Fedora 24 - From 0 to Fun in 10 minutes

updated September 16, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora 24 pimping
Ladies and gentlemen, it's pimping time. We shall now transform a tame Fedora installation that is not designed for mass consumption into a beautiful and majestic fun box. This means adding codecs and pretty stuff and extra software that people crave. We shall do this quickly and easily, and I will be your shepherd.

Recently, I've discovered or rather rekindled my passion for all things Red Hat and Gnome, and Fedora has joined the list, after a long season of dreadful releases. It works well, it's fun and stable and fast, and all it's missing is some flavor and spice. Let us.

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How to tame and pimp Xfce on CentOS 7

updated September 14, 2016, category: Software & security

CentOS 7 Xfce tweak & pimp
Hello children of the Internet! Recently, I've taught you how to setup Xfce on CentOS 7, and then slowly transform the system into a near-perfect production combo. However, in the original article, I skipped on most of the Xfce tweaks and changes. You only ate the cake, but you knew nothing of the recipe.

Today, I would like to teach you about all the little steps required to achieve a beautiful, modern and elegant Xfce desktop on CentOS 7. Should your appetite kill the curiosity cat, then you might want to hang around and read some more. This fine little guide covers all my troubles with the Xfce setup, and then how I managed to overcome every single one, and finally enjoy a supreme CentOS 7 desktop. Dr. Distrolove, or: how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Xfce. Which is even more amazing as this is a server distro. Follow me.

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The hunt for the perfect CentOS theme

updated September 12, 2016, category: Software & security

CentOS 7 & perfect theme
You all know my not so secret fetish for using CentOS as a home distro. Yes, it's never meant to be consumed in that fashion, but with the help of some extra software repos and some additional pimping, it makes for an elegant, fast and stable operating system for daily use. Plus, it's pretty.

But can it be prettier? I set about searching for the ultimate combo of icons, fonts, window decorations, and themes that would transform the KDE4 package into a supremely tasteful product, the last missing piece, with a very poetic Clancyesque title, in my larger CentOS equation. If you have no other purpose or need in life than to read articles like this, please do proceed onwards.

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KDE neon - Weak lighting

updated September 9, 2016, category: Software & security

KDE neon
The one email title that has featured prominently in my inbox for the past two months contains the words kde and neon. Review, it, why don't you review, please review it, take it for a spin, I will bear your children, etc. All right, I get the hint. KDE neon it is.

But what is it? Well, it's a KDE distribution au naturale, based on Kubuntu 16.04 and blessed with the latest and greatest in the Plasma world. Sounds intriguing but also worrying, because lately, Plasma has lost its early charm and became just another run-of-the-mill bag of bugs and fragmentation. Yet hope is never lost. We test.

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Open365 mail - You've got ... something?

updated September 7, 2016, category: Software & security

Open365 mail
Ladies, gentlemen, everyone else. Not that long ago, I reviewed Open365, a free, open-source, cloud-based productivity suite based on LibreOffice, with some nice spicy additions. I liked it. It's a pretty decent product, with a lot of potential. But there's still a lot more work to be done.

The one aspect of the five-app combo you get in Open365 that I missed in the earlier article is the mail functionality. You have the three power programs - LibreOffice Writer, Calc and Impress - plus GIMP, with the mail client as the fifth element. Get the joke? Oh my. Well, it is time to right all past wrongs and give the final piece of the cloud suite its due review. Rhyme. Word.

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The new and brave Skype for Linux ... calls, too

updated September 6, 2016, category: Software & security

Skype for Linux alpha
As it happens, Skype is one of the more popular IM/VoIP programs out there. It is also available for Linux, yay, but the not-for-Windows version has always lagged behind the original thing, leaving distro dancers in a bit of a techno lurch. Ladies and gentlefolks, not any more! Ta-dam!

Yo, Sherlock, there's a brand new edition out there. It's WebRTC-based, which is supposed to thrill you down to your bones if you happen to wear Star Trek or Star Wars themed shirts voluntarily, and it available for alpha testing on Linux, both in the DEB and RPM flavors. This means, Fedora, here we go. Let's see what gives, shall we?

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VirtualBox & unknown version of X Window system

updated September 3, 2016, category: Software & security

VirtualBox & X Windows errors
Here's my story. As it happens, I was testing Fedora 23 in VirtualBox one day, and as a very first step to enjoying myself, I decided to install the Guest Additions. However, after a few brief, tense moments, VirtualBox told me that it had detected an unknown version of the X Window System installed and was not installing X Window System drivers.

A quick search on the VirtualBox ticketary lists this as a five-month old bug for VirtualBox 4.3, even though I was running 5.0.6, and it mentions upgrading to a newer version of the virtualization software as a fix, which I could not do at this point. So what now?

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LibreOffice save error - How to fix

updated September 2, 2016, category: Software & security

LibreOffice save error
What I'm going to talk about today used to be a big problem in the past. There was a bug in version 4.X of LibreOffice, which would lead to weird save errors, causing people to lose data and whatnot. Now, since this is a thing of past, you might not consider it relevant anymore to your daily usage. But what if this happens again, and your LibreOffice cannot save the changes you made to a document?

Indeed, I was working on a file on a host that has LibreOffice 4.X, and for some reason, autosave caused the lock file to vanish, after which the program started complaining about save errors. To be more specific: error in writing sub-document content.xml. If you ever encounter this, how do you not lose data?

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How to change timezones in Linux - Tutorial

updated September 1, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux timezone setup
This seems to be a rather trivial topic, defined by a rather trivial question. But then, it is not really. Say you have a host that uses a specific timezone, and now you want to start using a different one. What do you do at this point? How do you reconfigure the system without making extensive, painful modifications?

I asked myself this question while fiddling with a bunch of CentOS servers, and then after some online hunting and reading, I realized that most if not all guides on this topic have a singular, copy & paste approach that is neither 100% foolproof nor correct. For that reason, you are not enjoying this howto. Follow me please.

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Linux guru talks about the Linux desktop

updated August 29, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux guru talks
World-renown Linux expert Risitas, the CTO of the highly prestigious Spanish open-source company Las Paelleras S.A., speaks about the state of the Linux desktop.

This is an important video, and it touches many important aspects of the Linux desktop, including performance and stability, recent technological changes, past versus future, and more. Please take a few minutes of your time and watch the clip. Snippets from the interview with one of the greatest tech minds of our age. Enjoy.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update - Not too bad

updated August 27, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 10 Anniversary Update
A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft released a new build of Windows 10, to coincide with the one year of general availability of their latest operating system. The milestone also marks the end of the GWX upgrade pestering, so people can actually sleep more soundly, knowing there's a super-hero ... without being bothered by unnecessary prompts.

So far, my experience with Windows 10 has been okay. It's neither bad nor good. Just average. Works fine most of the time, and there are no compelling reasons to switch or upgrade really. The biggest issues are around privacy and telemetry, but we have guides on how to manage those. Now, let's see if this new build can introduce any fresh charm into the Windows 10 arena.

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WSUS Offline - Update thy Windows

updated August 26, 2016, category: Software & security

WSUS Offline
Recently, I have begun exploring alternative tools to Windows Update, in order to help solve the issue of slow updates. My quest took me down the shadowy path of several official patches, which had not yielded the desired results - more to come on this with some good results, stay tuned. Then, I tried Autopatcher. The tool was mostly safe for use, but it is not 100% accurate, and there is some small risk associated with possible future complications.

WSUS Offline is another such tool. It is designed to give you a relatively fast offline capability for Windows and Office updates, similar to what the standard WSUS tool does. Anyhow, let's see how well it competes against Autopatcher, and if it provides the right amount of safety, ease of use, and good, solid functionality to become our favorite updater. Commence to follow.

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Disable the new Firefox 48 location bar - Tutorial

updated August 24, 2016, category: Software & security

Firefox 48
Here I go again on my own. Disabling things in Firefox we've never known. Like a drifter I was born to tweak alone. But I've made up my mind. I'm not Chroming no more time. Indeed. A change for the sake of change. Perfectly sane functionality being ruined for the sake of a meaningless, pointless visual change that does not contribute in any actual way to the content. Just silly moronity. Anyhow.

To give you a little more context, if you're using Firefox, and you may have just recently updated the browser to the next version (48), you may have noticed your address bar search has changed. The results no longer come in a drop-down list that matches the width of the browser address bar - let's call it URL bar or location bar for the sake of this article, but instead, it comes full width, or rather, if I may borrow a phrase and without sounding disrespectful, full retard. And as Tropic Thunder has taught us, you never go full retard. This little guide will show you how you can restore the Firefox address bar functionality to what it roughly was in version 47. After me.

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AppImage - One app framework to distro them all

updated August 22, 2016, category: Software & security

AppImage
Linux is highly portable. Fact. On the other hand, Linux software is the least portable technology in the world. Try running Firefox designed for Debian on Fedora. In fact, try running Firefox designed for one version of Fedora on another Fedora, perhaps a slightly older version. Godspeed, Captain Jack Sparrow.

The fanatical rigor with which the Linux backward compatibility is maintained in the enterprise flavors, SUSE and Red Hat, is inversely proportional to all other incompatibilities that exist in the Linux space. This ain't no news. I have most artfully elaborated on this problem in my illustrated Linux guide. But now, there's a thing that promises to solve all these problems forever. AppImage.

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SoundHound - Music search galore?

updated August 20, 2016, category: Software & security

SoundHound
As you all know, I am not too keen on mobile use. It's not because I reject technology, change and such, it's because I embrace comfort and efficiency, and working on a mobile device is as efficient and comfortable as pleasing yourself while wearing oven gloves. However, there are exceptions.

One such is when a bunch of readers email you and swear by their unborn children that there's this app what does wonders, and may you please test it, pretty please. The name of the game is SoundHound, and it comes in two flavors. The first, Hound, is a voice search assistant, which was likened to Cortana, and which we will explore separately. The second one is a namesake tool for guessing and finding music for you, in case you don't know the lyrics and whatnot. Well, readers swear, I test. As simple as that.

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Autopatcher - Fix for slow Windows Updates

updated August 19, 2016, category: Software & security

Autopatcher
Normally, I am the very first person to tell you NOT to use third-party tools for system administration, in any operating system. If you think the base functionality is lacking, it is still most likely better than tampering with unofficial tools that try to compensate for system issues. There's the obvious accountability and support factor, but also, especially with Windows, the simple matter of being able to access and use the closed-source system in a fully transparent and safe manner.

But is this really the case? Well, after having encountered and not really solved the issues of slow Windows Updates - although the recent batch seems to behave with speed and frugality of resources - I wanted to try several third-party programs, which promise a faster, more streamlined patching. Of course, with all the necessary disclaimer, damage and warranty clauses, and the need for a high level of nerdiness. But since I have a test box I can easily afford to sacrifice and lose, I set about exploring, for your sake. Our first candidate is Autopatcher. Follow me.

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Open365 - Clouding with style

updated August 17, 2016, category: Software & security

Open365
Office, suite, cloud. Sounds familiar. Google Docs. Yup. Microsoft Office 365. Yup. LibreOffice. No. Wait, what? Buzzwords around modern technology concepts are all too easy to ignore, but this one actually caught my attention beyond the almost-too-cliche dotIO domain, the blue design very reminiscent of Docker (hint), and optimistic text that promises wonders.

Anyhow, Open365 is an all-in-one productivity suite, based on KDE, Seafile, LibreOffice, Docker, and Jitsi. That's enough buzz to keep you warm till 2020, but is it any good? Or rather, can it compete with the proven giants out there? I decided to explore and see what gives.

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More reading comprehension issues in Linux

updated August 15, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux reading comprehension
Several weeks ago, I published an article titled Linux 2017 - Road to Hell in OCS-Mag. Predictably, the piece was met with stiff resistance from diehard fans, bullet-focused Linux users who are unwilling to admit the fact that our favorite operating system has been flaking lately. Like a lot. The linux desktop is not in the bestest of shape.

But that's not why we are here. Disagreeing is fine. It's healthy. What really shocked me, like OMG WOW WTF like is the level of reading comprehension difficulties, yet again. We are talking Distrowatch comments, Reddit comments, organic article comments. Even though I'm possibly giving undue attention to things that need not be repeated, we do need to look at this phenomenon once more. It is the primary reason why the Linux desktop sucks. Because if you are unable to accept feedback, you can't progress.

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Lexus IS 300H review - All glitter but no gold

updated August 13, 2016, category: Car reviews

Lexus IS 300H
As you know, non-European cars are somewhat under-represented on Dedoimedo. It is not intentional, as most of my driving takes me where the likes of Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, or Skoda are much easier to come by. Plus, in general, given my past (and vast) experience, I find the overall formula to how cars are realized and how they behave on the road on the Old Continent to be superior to the American, Japanese or Korean concepts.

Which is why it is fascinating that I happened to drive a Lexus IS 300H for a few days. Lexus is a premium Toyota-owned brand, and it aims at the executive market normally reigned by the holy trinity of Audi, Mercedes and BMW. But there's always the question of snobbery and badge appeal. Or perhaps, not. Let us see what Lexus can do for us.

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Docker on Windows 10 - Introduction guide

updated August 12, 2016, category: Software & security

Docker for Windows
Docker has been riding the media wave for some time now, most masterfully managing the crests and dips of the tech ocean, providing an excellent balance between technology, service, business, and accessibility to those lusting for the new rave of containers. In a way, it has become synonymous with the latter, and recently, it's stepped even deeper into the commercial world by offering orchestration mechanisms that companies crave. Indeed, so what's the next logical step? Windows.

Having a container mechanism that also works in Windows guarantees more attention, more serious, grown-up, adult attention from businesses and enterprises, especially if they cannot commit to the cloud or Linux journey that easily. Which is why Docker is now also available as a beta demonstrator both on the Windows server and client editions. This article is an intro guide for getting started with Docker in the Microsoft world.

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HERE versus Microsoft versus Windows ... maps!

updated August 1, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows Phone navigation apps
Hear, hear. Here I am, will you send me an angel. Anyhow, today I would like to discuss the pros and cons of the three offline navigation suites available for Windows Phone, and how they stack against each other. Because HERE Maps are no longer available on WP10 and no longer updated on WP8, and you must use either Microsoft Maps or Windows Maps, whatever chance giveth. Now, why would you care about my opinion on the matter?

Because I'm a Linux user who hates smartphones and loves Windows Phone, and I don't like either Android or iOS, that's why. I'm really pleased with the Lumia line, which I've been using for three years, including Lumia 520 and 535, plus I've tested Lumia 640 LTE, and found it to be quite decent. Now, these phones come with their respective operating systems and their own navigation applications. This is a core selling point in my vocabulary, hence this article. Follow me.

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Fedora 24 - And we represent!

updated July 20, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora 24 Gnome
All right. Let's Fedora. The background story is as follows: On the dark side, this testing season has been awful. Regression after regression. On the bright side, I have found a new liking for the Red Hat skunk works test bed, especially the Gnome edition. Holy. Yup. I have officially unhated the Gnome.

And this is why I'm going to test Fedora in its original guise today. It should be interesting. The Debian-based distros, the LTS Ubuntu and Mint in particular, are waning in quality and fun lately, but to compensate, I've developed a mega-liking for CentOS 7, and in its Gnome and Xfce editions, it's the blast. So let's see what Fedora does.

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Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Xfce - As good as it gets

updated July 18, 2016, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Xfce
CentOS 7, Lenovo G50, third time lucky. Recently, I was able to make some huge progress in getting CentOS to run on modern hardware, and then, change this server-made distro so it behaves like a proper home darling. We started with KDE, and it was quite good. Then we tried the Gnome edition, and it was even better. Now, we will attempt to use the Xfce version.

I am still hunting for the perfect distro combo, and I think this should do it. Xfce kind of blends the good sides of both Gnome and KDE, or Plasma if you will. We have already tamed the distro quite well. It has no beef with UEFI or the dozen odd systems installed on the internal disk. The network works well. We have all the codecs and applications. Smartphone support is great in Gnome. The UI still needs tweaking. Hence this test.

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CentOS 7 - Daily papercut fixes

updated July 16, 2016, category: Software & security

CentOS 7 & papercuts
CentOS 7 is a really good system. It is an almost perfect choice for home use, even on dodgy modern hardware with misbehaving network, as I've shown you both in the KDE and Gnome reviews. Lovely jubbly. But perfect proper, not quite.

I had encountered some problems while setting up the distribution on the G50 laptop, mostly with the KDE environment. And I made sure to document all these little flaws and issues, and tried to resolve them. This guide is a compilation of that long, sustained attempt. Think of it as the final piece needed to tame or polish or beautify CentOS into a truly perfect desktop. While it may never be as popular as some Debian-based derivatives, in the long run, it offers a peace of mind that is unparalleled. Let us explore.

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Lumia 640 LTE & WP10 review - Very decent

updated July 15, 2016, category: Software & security

Microsoft Lumia 640
Long story short, a friend of mine - yes, I do have friends - lent me his Lumia 640 for a few days, so I could sample of its goods and give you an honest overview of what the phone can do. More importantly, what Windows Phone 10 can do.

My previous experiences with touch-blessed Windows have been polar. Bi-polar. On the desktop, Windows 8 was horrible, but it kicked ass on my Lumia 520 and Lumia 535. Then, again, on the desktop, Windows 10 is just okay, nothing more, nothing less. To make it all ever so slightly confusing, despite its touch nature, it sure did not blow me away on the HP Stream tablet, and I actually reverted to Windows 8. So let's see what gives on a phone. Is WP10 any good? After me.

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Linux 2017 - The Road to Hell

updated July 13, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux in 2017
Also known as a really good song by Chris Rea. Also known as, ladies and gentlemen, I am terrified. What will become of Linux in 2017? Will it even boot? Now, now, please, relax. I am not trying to be an attention person of fiscally questionably nature. I am just trying to share my fears with you.

And I'm also a man of science. Of numbers. The way I move through space with minimum waste and maximum joy is all about mathematical probabilities. I look at things happening around me and try to extrapolate what they will be like in the future. I seek patterns in the numbers, and what I see ain't pretty. Linux is slowly killing itself.

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Windows makes USB disconnect-connect sounds - Fix

updated July 11, 2016, category: Software & security

USB disconnects
The problem you are facing is probably trivial but annoying. Randomly, Windows is making the da-dam dam-dam sounds that are normally associated with USB devices being unplugged and then plugged back in. However, you are not connecting or disconnecting anything, and there is no apparent loss of functionality. This is driving you crazy.

Let me show you how you should go about troubleshooting an issue like this. The solution will often be quite easy once you know where to look. But if you're wondering if your Windows has gone mental, the answer is, follow me.

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Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Gnome - Perfection asymptote

updated July 9, 2016, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Gnome
Listen very carefully, I will say this only once. Recently, I had an epiphany, a breakthrough, a revolution. I managed to boot CentOS 7 on my evil Lenovo G50 laptop, and boy was it glorious. Using my own hacks to get the perfect desktop experience, I had the CentOS purring and meowing in the best fashion of modern, sleek desktops.

But the experience wasn't perfect. Some things were missing, most notably smartphone support, there were some niggles and glitches with multimedia and volume management and such. And then I asked myself, rather than solving this entirely in KDE, maybe all I need is the Gnome environment? Since my recent Fedora test, this desktop is back in the game and a viable option for use. Let us explore the possibilities.

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SketchUp running on Ubuntu 16.04 - Tutorial

updated July 8, 2016, category: Software & security

SketchUp & Linux
As you know, (Google) SketchUp is my 3D design tool of choice. I haven't published any new recent art galleries, all planned, worry not, but the claim stands. Whenever I am in the mood to draw some new models and then render them into beautiful creation using a dope program called Kerkythea, SketchUp is there at the beginning of the journey.

But so is Windows. Because ultimately, this program is not meant for Linux. And yet, I tried. Back in 2010, I showed you how to get SketchUp running using WINE. It worked fairly well, but then, things have changed, and it's been a rough journey since. Now, I will show you again how to get SketchUp working in the latest Ubuntu release, and we will call on the power of PlayOnLinux to help us. Follow me.

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Mint 18 - Forgetting Sarah Linux

updated July 6, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 18 Sarah Cinnamon
All right. Let's see if we can brighten my mood a little. Time to test Linux Mint 18 Sarah, the latest LTS in the Mint family, based on Xerus. This spring season has been dreadful, so I'm really hoping there will be some joy in this review. But given the results so far, that does not seem likely.

Mint has always been one of my favorite distributions, and overall, it has held steady, keeping in the high nines, often perfect, often the end-of-the-year winner, if not quite always the toppest of notches. Sarah might just be the thing we need, because things have been rolling downhill like avalanche on Teflon. Join me. Join me.

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Fiat 500S review - Emotions laid bare

updated July 4, 2016, category: Car reviews

Fiat 500S
Fiat 500 is a quintessential cultural icon. Alongside Mini, Beetle and a few other legendary cars, it's one of those vehicles that has created a new trend in the automotive world, and then lived on to become etched in the public's memory, long after the last model has rolled off the production line. I chirped most happily about this way back in 2006, in one of the very first articles on Dedoimedo, and announced the upcoming release of the new Fiat 500 in the back-then future year of 2007. Fast forward a bunch of years, and I'm driving one.

Reviving classics is very tricky. It's a hit or miss game, and even though you can play the nostalgia game with quite a bit of leeway, i.e. Star Wars and friends, at some point, people may realized you've just sold then a product based on a fifty-year-old idea, and it might not work. In fact, if you look at the aforementioned Mini or Beetle, they sure don't look like they have that olden charm. Can Fiat 500 pull it off, though?

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Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 KDE - Really nice and cool

updated July 3, 2016, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 KDE
Today, I shall attempt to be bold and beautiful. Or rather, boot, install and then pimp CentOS 7.2 into a near-as-perfect desktop as conceivable on my modernest hardware, the often misbehaving and Linux-not-too-friendly Lenovo G50 host. There's a lot of background info on this one, so bear with me. Bear so much that you might as well grizzly.

Anyhow, my Lenovo box is a 2015 machine with UEFI, Secure Boot, currently set up with sixteen partitions, spanning Windows 10, a whole lot of Linux distributions, and such. It also comes with a Realtek Wi-Fi card, which has been the bane of pretty much every young man, I mean distro, that I've tested. Because the drivers suck, and no one bothers fixing them. Then, to make it even more intriguing, CentOS used to not boot on this box, until now. Follow me.

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GWX Stopper - A tool to stop Windows 10 upgrades

updated July 2, 2016, category: Software & security

GWX Stopper
With roughly four weeks left to go before Microsoft (hopefully) stops the free Windows 10 upgrade offer, it is time to explore one last tool in our arsenal that neuters the GWX stuff on our boxen. Nothing new, you've seen it all before, as I've outlined in my thorough and highly popular guide on how to disable GWX and then again in my comprehensive tutorial on how to block upgrades. Still, for the sake of completeness, explore some more we must. Yoda style.

GWX Stopper is a freeware offered by Greatis, touted with some extra software dev backstabbing on why and how this program is better than its alternatives out there. I find this approach quite unnecessary in this whole scheme, and so I will mostly focus on the pros and cons of this utility in getting rid of Windows upgrade prompts, rather than on any sort of qualitative comparison to the likes of its rivals, GWX Control Panel or Never10. The simple fact is, as an end user, whatever you choose is good, as long as it delivers the right result. Now, follow me.

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Never10 - Not likey Windows 10? No ragrets.

updated June 29, 2016, category: Software & security

Never10
I am possibly reinventing the wheel ever so slightly, but I felt my repertoire of articles on how to stop or block or remove Windows 10 upgrades on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 was not complete without mentioning Never10. I've given you a whole list of tips and tricks, but Never10 was on the todo list till today.

This little tool allows you to disable (or enable) Windows 10 upgrades. For that matter, it lets you toggle the option for ANY OS upgrade, which at the moment happens to be Windows 10. The functionality comes through a series of registry keys or group policies, and it's aimed at the enterprise market, which makes it a little obscure and slightly tricky for non-techie users. Which is why you have tools like GWX Control Panel and Never10. Let's explore some more.

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GeckoLinux 421 Plasma review - It ain't no dragon

updated June 27, 2016, category: Software & security

GeckoLinux 421 Plasma
I heard a lot of good praise about this little distro. My inbox is flooded with requests to take it for a spin, so I decided, hey, so many people are asking. Let us. The thing is, openSUSE derivatives are far and few in between, but the potential and the appeal are definitely there. Something like CentOS on steroids, the way Stella did once, the same noble way Fuduntu tried to emancipate Fedora. Take a somewhat somber distro and pimpify it into submission.

GeckoLinux is based on openSUSE Leap, and I chose the Plasma Static edition. There's also a Rolling version, based on Tumbleweed, but that one never worked for me. The test box for this review is Lenovo G50. But wait! Dedoimedo, did you not recently write in your second rejection report that GeckoLinux had failed to boot? Indeed I did. But the combo of yet another firmware update on the laptop and a fresh new download fixed it, allowing for a DVD boot. Somewhat like the painful but successful Fedora exercise back in the day. Tough start, but let's see what gives.

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10 years of Dedoimedo ... and free books

updated June 25, 2016, category: Party time

10 years of Dedoimedo
Shiver me timbers. Today, Dedoimedo celebrates 10 fine years of operation. Neat. Smooth. In fact, so smooth, he's a smooth operator. In the past decade, this site has loaded some 70 million pages to its unsuspecting readers, offering knowledge and humor, mostly the former. Time to celebrate. So what's in there for you?

Free books, my lovelies. 10 years, 10 days of free books. The Lost Words novels will be available for grabs on Amazon in the following fashion in the coming two weeks or so: The Betrayed, 1 day, The Broken, 2 days, The Forgotten, 3 days, The Humbled, 4 days. Get it? So symbolic. Sweet. Oh, don't forget the Ubuntu tablet competition. Have fun, and may we enjoy many more decades together.

2016 tablet contest Amazon page (external link)

Fight 'em, tooth and nail - Corporate greed be gone

updated June 25, 2016, category: Software & security

Fight corporate greed
While going through the motions of exploring Windows 10 user management for the purpose of the namesake article, I spent a while fiddling with software that Windows had pushed onto the newly created account. Promotional, dubious-quality, semi-adware stuff that has no value other than making someone else profit from you.

And so I thought, how should users fight this epidemics? In early 2000s, any program that phoned home was spyware, any program that sent user data out was a baddie, anything that was installed without user content was a big no-no. And today?

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Windows 10 user management - Account Savant

updated June 24, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 10 user management
A bunch of weeks ago, someone emailed me, informing of a potentially big problem with user management on Windows 10. Namely, after upgrading from Windows 8.1, the person had trouble creating additional users. Apparently, there is an issue with the user profile format and whatnot. That definitely sounds tricky.

I decided I had to test for myself, to see whether there are real problems in the process. Also, this gives us a nice opportunity to check how Microsoft handles user management in their latest operating system. So let's see what gives.

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Mp3tag - Can it redeem my songs?

updated June 23, 2016, category: Software & security

Mp3tag
Several months ago, I embarked on my music tagging quest, trying to find the one software that will auto-magically sort out some twenty years of metadata neglect in my musical collection, spanning from early CD prints all the way to the latest digital cloud stores.

Modern music is easy, but olden stuff is not. And it's not like my requirements are outrageous. Title, artist, it's all there. I just want some extras, some cover art, and all that to happen without me going through each and every file like a 15th Century laborer. My first attempt doing this in Linux wasn't too successful. I'm calling on the power of mp3tag, in Windows, to try to figure it out now.

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Rejection report 2: Korora KDE and GeckoLinux

updated June 20, 2016, category: Software & security

Rejection report 2
Picture a list if you will. It's a hate list. On it, you have driving on the left side of the road, Crocs, reality TV, and yes, you guessed it right, distros that fail to boot on my hardware and give me the pleasure of reviewing them. My timetable is planned with precision. And when I set a morning or three up for some rigorous distro testing, there's a load of energy packed in the effort. When a distro fails to boot, it takes a proverbial crap on my emotions.

I wanted to tell you a couple of nice stories, share my experience, help you decide what you ought to run or not. Not meant to be. We have two more failures freshly added to the long and growing list of malfunctioning software products. To wit, rejection report 2.

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ReactOS 0.4.1 review - Cold fusion

updated June 18, 2016, category: Software & security

ReactOS 0.4.1
Duke Nukem, Half-Life 3, ReactOS. What do they all have in common? An extremely long development time. In this article, we will focus on the last, a project that started in 1996 as an attempt to provide a free, Windows-compatible operating system to the masses.

Fast forward 20 years, ReactOS is a living, breathing entity, having recently reached a semi-mature 0.4.1 release. Lots of stuff has been happening under the hood, enough to warrant some real-life testing. Anyhow, here be Dedoimedo's first stab at this interesting little system.

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Opera Developer power saving - Magic or science?

updated June 17, 2016, category: Software & security

Opera Developer & power savings
I am not a great fan of Opera. I'm more of a ventilator. Oh, well. Anyhow, recently, this browser has come into my radar twice, first when I tested an olden version and then a more recent release. Me no impressum enough to really care or make any big changes in my production setup.

But then, I read about Opera Developer adding a new power saving mode, which promises huge improvements in battery life on laptops. As much as heady 50% compared to Google Chrome. That's a bold claim, especially for two browsers that share the same engine. Which made me power on my Lenovo G50 machine, boot into a Fedora instance with the Gnome desktop, and commence to start the experiment.

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Windows IFEO, GWX, Nirvana, and more

updated June 16, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows IFEO & Debugger
This article has a rather convoluted storyline, so bear with me. An anonymous source closely intimate with Microsoft products emailed me with a very interesting piece of information, tapping into the special ninja powers of Image File Execution Options (IFEO) and Windows debugger. To what end, you may ask? The GWX nonsense.

So, in a manner very similar to my article on WMIC, yet another highly overlooked and ultra-powered capability present in Windows since the olden days, let me show you how you can use IFEO to kick ass while using your operating system, even if programs are trying to misbehave.

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You don't need a Linkedin account

updated June 13, 2016, category: Life topics

Linkedin, no need
In recent years, Linkedin has perceivably become a rather important part of the modern business world. People use this social network to search for jobs, advertise jobs, and get their own work-related resume out there into the spotlight. Which is why I always get a funny look when people ask me to add them on Linkedin, and I tell them, I don't have one.

The same why I told you why you should not be using Facebook back in 2010, and the arguments still hold valid, I would like to tell you why you might want to entertain the idea of not having a business profile on a social media site, and why this could actually be good for your career. To wit, let us philosophize.

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Dedoimedo 2016 contest - Win an Ubuntu tablet

updated June 11, 2016, category: Software & security

Dedoimedo 2016 contest
Dear readers, we have a new contest ahead of us. The format is very similar to the two previous contests that we had, the one in 2013, which resulted in a lucky winner getting a Nexus phone, as the Ubuntu Phone was not ready yet then, and the one in 2014-2015, where I finally handed out an Ubuntu Phone to an entrepreneuring contestant. This year? The Ubuntu M10 tablet.

First, this little contest has nothing to do with Canonical. This is my personal endeavor, and it's all about you and me having a good time. You read my books, that's right, you write honest reviews, even if they be had, and by that you enter the competition. At the end of it, there will be a random draw, and someone will win a BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet, which I have tested recently, and it seems to be an okay nerdy gadget. Ready for details?

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Ubuntu M10 tablet & Convergence - Getting groovy

updated June 11, 2016, category: Software & security

Aquaris M10 & Convergence
Some relationships kick off with sparks and fireworks and ambulances and whatnot. Others have a humbler, slower, more restrained start, filled with dread and hope and anxiety. The latter scenario applies for my early hands-on experience with the BQ Aquaris M10 tablet, loaded with Ubuntu.

The initial test shows and proves the expected - this tablet is still a toy for nerds and geeks and fans, for people who want to dabble in the bold and the beautiful, but not the mainstream consumer. Then, I tried hooking it up to my LG Smart TV, to see what this Convergence mode is all about. Not bad, but then I didn't have a USB-to-micro-USB dongle to fully test my external keyboard. Now that I do, it is time for a proper rite of passage.

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How to block Windows 10 upgrades - Many solutions!

updated June 10, 2016, category: Software & security

Block Windows 10 upgrades
This tutorial is a compilation of several guides and articles I have written in the last year, all designed to help you stop and prevent Windows 10 upgrades on your systems. I want to clearly emphasize and highlight the tools, the tips and the tricks you can use to block, deny, deflect, defer, and outright reject any offer to upgrade to Windows 10.

As it turns out, Microsoft began offering their latest operating system to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 for free under the GWX campaign. But this seemingly benign proposal soon became an obnoxious, aggressive push, forcing users into a corner, and giving them little to no choice to reject these offers. It all started with the deceptively labeled recommended update KB3035583, and the ways and methods are changing all the time, every one created to make users upgrade, whether they want it or not. Let's not.

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Ubuntu Phone used by 60+ year olds

updated June 4, 2016, category: Software & security

Ubuntu Phone & elderly
I thought of using a clickbait article title, something like, Ubuntu used by a 130-year-old, which would then become two 65-year-olds, but then I thought of the many stupid articles I've seen in the past few years doing this kind of trick, and I decided, I'm better than that. Honestly, this is a true story of how two people in their seventh decade of life managed to cope with the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Phone for about a week, in strange and foreign lands.

The demographics? Well, the lady has used Ubuntu before, without too many problems, and her phone of choice is iPhone. The gentleman is known to shoot people online in various FPS, uses a Nexus device and is fond of the 'OK, Google' phrase, and also fiddles with assorted Apple gadgetry and such. Not exactly a typical pair of people dumbstruck by technology, but neither your nerdy youngster speeding through life drinking mocha and tweeting about kernel patches.

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Korora 23 Gnome - Fedora on steroids

updated June 3, 2016, category: Software & security

Korora 23 Coral
One of my dreams is to have a Fedora-like operating system with three to five years of support, plus all the goodies out of the box. Yes, CentOS comes close, but then there is a tiny penalty when it comes to running all the latest and greatest software on an enterprise distro. Most of the stuff will work just fine, but then, some won't.

Fedora, on the other hand, is all about bleeding and modern, but its life is so short, so fleeting, you hardly get to pimp the distro version before a new one is out. And that is something that bugs me. What if you could skip all the pimping and enjoy yourself right away? Once upon a time in the west, Fuduntu almost did it. Now, let's see if Korora can deliver the promise. In other words, here's a distro that could potentially wean you away from the likes of Ubuntu and Mint. Maybe. Steroids, that's what plants crave. But are they good for you? Let's test.

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Meet Franz - Alles Klar Herr Kommissar?

updated May 25, 2016, category: Software & security

Meet Franz
One of the great advantages of not having friends is not having multiple means of communication for keeping in infrequent contact with them. To wit, the lack of a need to maintain multiple IM and VoIP tools and social networks. However, if you do fail at being a total misanthrope, you will possibly discover that you require half a dozen programs to keep up with your global dispersion of friends, family and colleagues.

Not too bad, but there's a bit of administrative hassle in having all these software to chat and message and exchange photos and whatnot. So why not bundle them all under a single umbrella? Pidgin tried that back in its day, but now there's a new player in the town. It's called Franz, it's named after an Austrian emperor, it's cross-platform, and it's supposed to fix all our problems. Like in The Big Lebowski, Karl the repairman will fix deine cable. So we shall do it. Mit Franz. Get it? Mit Franz!

Read more ... (external link)

Kubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus - Not meant to be

updated May 23, 2016, category: Software & security

Kubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus
It is time to give Kubuntu its due attention. LTS, ah, the magic word. Or at least you would think so. Five years of stability and support, not. I innocently hoped and thought this latest gen of Ubuntu would be the bee's knees, and that Xerus would surpass Trusty in terms of quality and hardware compatibility. Oh how naive I was.

Regressions, regressions everywhere. Neither Ubuntu nor Xubuntu delivered as they should, giving me a more than mediocre experience. Very troubling, and with far reaching consequences. This means I'm not really expecting much from Kubuntu today. But test I must. So let's.

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It's alive, it's alive!

updated May 21, 2016, category: Books

Prince Dietrich
The Amazing Adventures of Dashing Prince Dietrich has been published! The silliest book of the year is here, and you are more than welcome to grab yourself a copy. Paperback for now, with Kindle coming in a week or two. The name of the series? Woes & Hose. How about that.

And so here be the latest novel in my colorful stash of fantasy and science fiction. This hilarious, fast-paced, gunpowder-rich grim yet fun novel takes you into a crazy world of disappointed sons of royalty, romance, sharp humor, and even sharper swords. Guns, too. Stop hatin', start participatin'. And grab yourself a copy, will ya. Contests and prizes to follow.

Read more ... (external link)



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