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

Updated: December 15, 2018 | Category: Linux

Best KDE distro of 2018

Let us Plasma. A few days ago, we talked about the bestest Xfce distro of 2018. It was an interesting but also somewhat predictable experiment, as things haven’t changed that much on the Xfce scene, with most distros slowly moving along, well set in their grooves, some oiled, some rusty. Now, we need to examine another desktop environment, and the choice de jour is KDE.

Looking back at yesteryear, there was a flurry of activity including the more than solid 17.04 Zesty, which turned out to be a turning point [sic], one of the most refreshing and complete operating systems to hit the Tux market in a long while. Then, I also wrote, perhaps with mild prophetic genius, that KDE seems to be on the right path, and that good things ought to continue into the future. And today, that future is our past. And explore and judge we must.

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Updated: December 14, 2018 | Category: Linux

Slimbook Pro2 & Kubuntu 18.04, report 3

More proverbial miles (well, kilometers really) on the digital road, more findings. New experiences ready to be reported. A couple of months ago, I got meself a new laptop, one Slimbook Pro2, and it is now serving a noble cause. It's being used in a real, production setup, doing all the things that I'd normally do on a Windows box. The goal is to see whether Linux can be used for everyday desktop work. Every facet thereof.

I'm a pragmatic fella, and I like everything to work clockwork, including games, office work, whatnot. At the moment, this is mostly a Windows domain, and Linux still isn't quite ready to usurp it. True, I've been using Linux for some serious productivity desktop stuff for many years, but never 100%. And I'm still not doing it. But I'm trying. This Slimbook journey is an attempt to examine this case, plus it's fun. So far, you've had two merry reports on my experiences with this machine and its operating system - Kubuntu Beaver. Here's a third installment. After me.

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Updated: December 12, 2018 | Category: Linux

Fedora 29 Gnome

Here we go. As you've already seen, I completed one Fedora 29 test so far. It was an in-vivo upgrade of a Fedora 28 instance on my Lenovo G50 laptop with UEFI and Intel graphics. The experiment went well, although it was a bit slow - paradoxically, it always takes less time to do a fresh install than an upgrade - and everything worked well. But let's not forget, I re-used my system and tweaks, and we're talking hours of fine-tuning and polish that went into making the distro nice.

Now, I want to start fresh. A clean install in a dual-boot configuration on an old (2009) laptop with Nvidia graphics. This should be doubly interesting, as we will be able to witness how well the new Fedora handles the hardware stack, how accessible the distro is out of the box, given its Gnome heritage, and lastly see how it works in general. Follow me please.

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Updated: December 10, 2018 | Category: Linux

Elinks text browser & Linux rescue

I contemplated long and hard what title to use for this article, because the topic is somewhat convoluted. So let me explain. Say you have a Linux box that suddenly refused to boot into the desktop environment. For instance, you may have just installed graphics drivers, but they are not loading, and you don't get any graphical interface. Only a text shell. The old runlevel 3 stuff.

At this point, rescuing the system will usually require three things: skill, access to the Web, and some extra files, like updated drivers, new kernel, whatever. The first one comes with you, but the two other two, well, for most people, going about the Web is not doable without a browser, which means UI. Except, not really. You can use a text browser, and in this article, I'll show you how to use Elinks to search the Web, grab packages and drivers, and fix your box. After me.

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Updated: December 8, 2018 | Category: Windows

SyncBack Free

I cannot stress enough how important data backups - and system images, if you will - are. There are many reasons for having your data safely replicated to another location. Hard disks can fail, hardware can get stolen, you can accidentally corrupt your files. Unlike real life, where you can't have a clone of yourself, not yet anyway, software gives you easy ways to create copies of your data.

In the Windows environment, my favorite data backup (and replication software) is Karen's Replicator. Alas, since the author unfortunately passed away several years ago, it has not been maintained, and it does not work well with Windows 8 and above. A change in the NTFS data structure sometime in 2017 made Karen Replicator unable to create new folders. I began a hunt for an heir, and found out that there's too much focus on cloud backups. Eventually, I found a bright spark among the ashes - a program called SyncBack Free. Hence, this review.

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Updated: December 5, 2018 | Category: Linux

Best Xfce distro of 2018

The current calendar year is slowly converging toward its end. That means one thing! Well, two things. Festivities and liver stress testing for most people (that’s one thing), and Linux distro evaluation. Indeed, the past almost-year has gone by with many an ISO etched and booted. Following the tradition from the previous few years, we shall examine the annual landscape and do some awards, and the first desktop environment to undergo the verbal treatment shall be Xfce.

Before we begin, please remember. This is an entirely subjective article. It is also an article with a limited scope, because there are so many distros and only so few Dedoimedos – Highlander style, there be only one. Hence, I will focus on the systems I’ve tested and tried. If you don’t see your favorite Linux here, don’t go all crusading on me right away. Instead, comment down your own experience, and perhaps next year, I may choose those over and among the many samplings and delights out there. Now, let us peacefully and civilly proceed.

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Updated: December 3, 2018 | Category: Internet

Firefox cookies sqlite corruption

A strange problem befell one of my computers running Windows, with Firefox being the default browser, utilizing a profile that goes back a good decade or more. One blue Monday, I opened the browser, went to one of the sites I frequently visit and use, and noticed that I'd been logged out. Another site, same thing. It would appear all my login sessions were gone.

Since I keep multiple backups of everything, I restored the Firefox cookies database - cookies.sqlite file into the Firefox profile, and I was back to normal. Several days later, the issue happened again. Intrigued, I started exploring this somewhat obscure and not-well-documented problem. I believe I know why, and I have a solution.

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Updated: December 1, 2018 | Category: Linux

Fedora 28 to 29 upgrade

It is time to take a little break from Ubuntu-focused distro reviews and talk about Fedora. Now that it's had its 29th release unveiled, I ought to test it. And test it I shall, twice. First, I'd like to upgrade my existing instance of Fedora 28 sitting in the eight-boot setup on my Lenovo G50. Then, if that goes well, I will test the distro on an older laptop with Nvidia graphics, because why not.

Also, why not a fresh install on your Lenovo? Well, I wasn't too impressed with Fedora 28, but after a while, I had the distro really nicely set up - new repos, all the media codecs and extras apps, tons of cool extensions, and a lot more besides, and you can glimpse the evidence of this hard labor (re: pimpage) in me article on this subject. It would be a shame to trash all this, plus it's a great opportunity to test the Fedora upgrade process once more. So far, it's worked well for me. Anyway, let's continue.

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Updated: November 30, 2018 | Category: Linux


Space. The final frontier. But what if you run out of space? Sometimes, you may end up hogging your hard disk partitions with data, and you might not even be fully aware you're doing that until the moment you actually need some free storage. Well, not to worry, we shall clean up.

That's not quite as simple as it sounds. First, most if not all distros distinctively lack a self-cleanup mechanism that will remove - in a safe way - unnecessary stuff. You can cleanup your software packages and browser temp files, but there may be other stuff you want to get rid of, but you don't know how. Experienced users may point out the old, familiar df and du tools, but there's an even better way. Ncdu.

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Updated: November 28, 2018 | Category: Linux

Slimbook Pro2 & Kubuntu 18.04, report 2

More testing, more experiences, more results. But more does not necessarily mean MOAR. Or does it? Anyway, the background story to this ongoing tale is, I bought myself a Slimbook Pro2 machine and promptly installed Kubuntu Beaver on it, to much delight and whatnot. Then, I started testing this system in earnest, trying to use it in a production-like manner as frequently as possible, to see whether Kubuntu can offer the necessary daily delights that are needed. Hence, the first report. There.

Now, we have this second report. It's been another few weeks - worry not, I do not intend to assail your senses with unnecessary drama too often. More sort of, get enough meaningful stuff each time and then give you the summary, so you can judge for yourself how the things are going. Anyway, let's go into more detail.

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Updated: November 26, 2018 | Category: Linux

Kubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish

For testing is what we do. And today, we shall expand the mission to include Kubuntu. We've seen two Cosmic fishes (find the fish, Monty Python style), Xubuntu and Ubuntu MATE, thus far, and they were relatively all right, the latter rather more so. Still, we've seen better. Integration, fun element, quality, whatever you fancy. Not quite there with the current offering.

This makes the Kubuntu test extra interesting, especially since I've recently gone to the dark side and started using this distro in my production setup, and that's a big thing, because I don't commit lightly to operating systems. But that's LTS stuff there. So this 18.10 thingie is more of a timely test to see how consistent and stable Kubuntu is, whether the Kubuntu/KDE team can maintain their sweet momentum of innovation, and it's a weather gage on how much hope we ought to have come the winter storms. Proceed we shall.

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Updated: November 24, 2018 | Category: Linux

Gnome apps

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about KDE apps. I went through the default stack of programs available in the desktop environment, and examined their suitability, maturity and fun for everyday use. The next logical step is to examine the Gnome desktop environment and its bundle from the same angle.

If I think about my Linux usage over the years, I can’t really say I’ve ever had a pure experience over the years. I started with KDE, used Gnome (mostly through Ubuntu) for a long while, sidelined KDE3 and largely ignored Gnome 3, sailed happily with Unity, and been having a lot of fun with Plasma recently. But my app stack was never either this or that. And today’s article, together with the KDE piece, should be an interesting examination of why that is. Follow me.

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Updated: November 21, 2018 | Category: Linux

Kate text editor save session

Here's a scenario for you. As a Linux person, you happen to be using the Plasma desktop environment, and your text editor of choice is Kate. You have multiple files open, i.e. multiple document tabs, and you want to preserve them for your next session. In the Kate settings, you did find the option that allows you to save the session, which you've promptly marked. However, on next app start, you only get a single, blank document.

This turned out to be a problem that I had to face after I configured Kubuntu on my new Slimbook Pro2 machine. The quest for answers soon turned into a neat and non-trivial tutorial that you're reading right now. So let's have it. I'll show you now how to make Kate remember and preserve your work sessions.

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Updated: November 19, 2018 | Category: Linux

KDE neon upgrade

The Plasma desktop environment household demonstrator is KDE neon, a distro that prefers not to be known as a distro, based on Ubuntu and loaded with Plasma. Until recently, the system used Ubuntu 16.04 LTS as its foundation, but now, a new version has been released, with 18.04 running through its veins.

We've already sampled of this fine beast a few days ago, when I showcased Plasma 5.14. I told you I'd continue the testing with my installed version of neon, and here we are. This distro sits in an eight-boot setup on my Lenovo G50 machine. Now, I shall attempt to upgrade, and the results shall flow like treacle? Or blood? You choose.

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Updated: November 17, 2018 | Category: Various

Convert PNG to SVG

The world of pixels comes in two big forms - raster graphics and vector graphics. Plainly speaking, rasters or bitmaps are your ordinary photos - a grid of X-Y information, where each dot (pixel) represents a three-color value. Vector graphics do things differently - they use mathematical functions to represent graphical information. This is like true-type fonts versus ... eh ... not so true-type ones.

Why is this important? Well, when you resize (scale up) bitmaps, you lose information. When you do so with scalable vector graphics, you don't, which is why vector graphics images always look nice and smooth, regardless of their size. OK, so you may want to have a logo or such, and you have it in JPEG or PNG format. Now, you want to convert it to SVG. You realize that this is not quite so trivial. Free image manipulation programs like Krita and GIMP cannot do this. What now?

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Updated: November 16, 2018 | Category: Linux

Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish

Time to continue our distro season testing. The volunteer what we got here is Ubuntu MATE 18.10. It's a very curious breed of system. It self-brands as a system for a retrospective future, and I tend to agree, because there's a mad, brilliant simplicity to the old Gnome 2 layout. And today, we must sample again.

Overall, I liked MATE Bionic, even though it had some problems. The basic idea is sound, there's a strong momentum of innovation in this distro, but like all small projects, it simply can't control everything, and this is where things go unfocused. Therefore, this review is of astronomic [sic] importance. Hi hi. And we shall also compare to Xubuntu Cosmic, recently tested, because it's a nice indication of how these two rather similar desktops behave, and whether there's consistency in the overall desktop. After me.

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Updated: November 14, 2018 | Category: Linux

Linux Mint Cinnamon theme edit

I came across an interesting, frustrating problem while testing Linux Mint 19 Tara. Namely, the Cinnamon edition of this distro uses the new flat Mint-Y theme. While pretty, it's also ergonomically bad. It comes with a low font contrast (pale gray on white), making it very hard to distinguish elements or spend any spell of time reading. I wanted to fix this right away, and I realized the solution wasn't trivial.

Similar to what I've shown you in my Gnome theme editing tutorial, I'd like to give you a very similar take on Cinnamon. This will not be a very long guide, but it should save you a lot of trouble. If you want to use this desktop environment, and you find the existing theme/font color choices are inadequate, follow me.

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Updated: November 12, 2018 | Category: Windows

Windows 10 admin tools

Working with Windows 10 is an interesting phenomenon. Often, functionality is hidden or purposefully obfuscated, making administration work that much harder compared to earlier editions of Windows. Then, because this operating system is so popular, there are always many clever ways and workarounds for pretty much every problem.

Finding the right tools is almost as important as knowing what the issue is. But assuming you're following sound principles of problem solving, then having the adequate toolbox will help resolve problems quickly and efficiently. In this article, I'd like to present some of the most handy programs an advanced Windows user should always have in their proverbial IT drawer. Follow me.

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Updated: November 10, 2018 | Category: Internet


Here's a mind-blowing but obvious realization: the Internet is one giant shopping litmus test lab, with billions of voluntary participants helping big corporations fine-tune their products and marketing strategies. This is done without the use of elaborate, interruptive questionnaires. All it takes is some Javascript running behind every visible Web page, and Bob's your uncle.

The most pervasive form of marketing is, you guessed right, online ads. Shown to you in all sorts of shapes and colors, they not only peddle wondrous solutions, they also directly and indirectly measure (i.e. track) the human response to the shown content, and this wealth of statistical data is used to make future products and future ads work even better for the selling party. On its own, this might not be bad, except people are greedy. What might have been just innocent marketing has become one giant data harvesting industry, going way beyond simple browsing habits. If you are not so keen on participating mind and soul, you are probably using an ad blocker tool of some sort. We talked about Noscript, we talked about UMatrix, we talked about Adblock Plus. Today, we will talk about Ghostery.

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Updated: November 3, 2018 | Category: Linux games

TrackMania Nations Forever

Arcade is not really my thing. But sometimes, when you're really tired and your brain is buzzing by on fumes of intelligence and borderline paranoia that comes from extreme exhaustion, arcade can be a lifesaver. Sometimes, you just want something simple, raw and straightforward.

TrackMania Nations Forever is exactly that - a simple, no-nonsense - actually yes-nonsense - arcade racer, which lets you compete solo (Han Solo) against the computer or play against other humans, on your local network or online. Strap into a sled on wheels and start racing. Don't worry about physics. Worry about besting your foe as you hockey-puck through, around and over mad, delirium-architected tracks. Let's do a review, shall we?

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Updated: November 2, 2018 | Category: Linux

Ubuntu & Deja Dup backups

What has more umlauts than lebkuchen? Deja Dup. Properly spelled with a whole bunch of accents, this is a simple but versatile backup tool, included in Ubuntu by default. Normally, I have my own backup methods, but while playing with Ubuntu 18.04 Unity, I had the tool pop up and prompt me to configure some redundancy for me files and folders. And I thought, all right, this is a fairly non-aggressive offer - it does not pop up right away, it lets you use your system for a few days before gently raising its head.

And so I am going to show you how to use Deja Dup, as well as outline the various interesting feature it has. I was not expecting much, but then, as I clicked through the GUI, I realized there's more to this than just a seemingly bland interface. Follow me.

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Updated: October 31, 2018 | Category: Linux

Xubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish

Let the distro testing season begin! It's that time of the year again, and me first volunteer is Xubuntu 18.10, the Xfce flavor of the family. My journey with Xubuntu has been a colorful one. I wasn't pleased with it for a long time, but then it suddenly soared, becoming really good around 2014-2017. This past year though, there's been less enthusiasm and innovation in the distro. I don't know why.

The previous edition, Bionic Beaver, was sort of average, which isn't a good result for an LTS, offering the familiar, understated Xfce look and feel but without the extra zest and fun that we had only a year prior. So it shall be most interesting to see how Cosmic behaveth today. The test box will be the eight-boot UEFI/GPT Lenovo G50, with Intel graphics. Let us merrily proceed.

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Updated: October 29, 2018 | Category: Linux

Plasma apps

What is the one big advantage that Linux distributions have over Windows? If you ask me, that would be the fact that distributions come as complete bundles containing the kernel (i.e. operating system), the drivers, the desktop environment, and on top of that, a stack of applications that allow users to be productive from the first moment they power on the system.

The thing is, in Linux, the software bundles are aligned to desktop environments and NOT to the operating system. For instance, there’s more similarity between Kubuntu, Fedora KDE or openSUSE KDE than there is between Kubuntu and Ubuntu. And that is because the app stack differs so much between the two. As it happens, I’ve been having a lot of fun with Plasma lately – Slimbook Pro2 and Plasma 5.14 being some of the many examples. But the software I use isn’t necessarily pure KDE. Hence this article. I’d like to take a deeper look at the default and/or official Plasma applications and see how good and useful they are if you were to commit yourself to a 100% Plasma experience.

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Updated: October 27, 2018 | Category: Various


For many years, TrueCrypt was one of the most popular cross-platform encryption tools. Simple, flexible, powerful. Then, suddenly, the project team decided to EOL their work in a rather abrupt manner, releasing decrypt-only version 7.2. This left version 7.1x and earlier in a predicament. Well, the thing is, TrueCrypt is still a safe and practical product, and you can use version 7.1a. But if this whole affair makes you somewhat uneasy, you may want to try a different solution.

Rising from the ashes of TrueCrypt is VeraCrypt, a program designed to continue the legacy of TrueCrypt while also adding new functionality, address existing problems, and allowing users the same flexibility and peace of mind that TrueCrypt gave them so far. Let's see what gives.

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Updated: October 24, 2018 | Category: Linux

Slimbook Pro2 & Kubuntu 18.04, report 1

It has been a few weeks since I purchased my lovely Slimbook Pro2 and installed Kubuntu 18.04 on it. A few weeks during which I put the laptop and its operating system through a series of real-life usage tests, just as I've promised. I do use Linux in my production setup, but only sparingly, mostly because the domains of gaming and writing are not as good as on the Windows side of things.

This attempt is a no-nonsense approach to using Linux fully and completely for serious tasks, without any glamor and fanboyism. While Linux has always served me superbly in the data center space, on the desktop and in the office, it's always taken a second place to Windows. Well, Slimbook + Kubuntu might shatter my preconceptions and exceed my expectations. Might. Also, henceforth, I shall call my machine Slimbuntu. Or not. Anyway, after me.

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Updated: October 22, 2018 | Category: Various

Old man

I often wonder what is the definition of an old person. Is it their age? Their mental age? Their attitude to life? Their ability to perform physical work? Their willingness to tolerate bullshit? Their willingness and capacity to learn new things - or even try new things? A combination of all these factors?

Well, I guess I'm one of the few people who thinks about this, it seems, because if you look around, the world of modern technology is all about fashion and youthful fads, from a new streaming platform to a new chat service to a new this or that. Everything's peachy, and the concepts of age and aging are a far and distant, maybe even nonexistent worry. But this is probably the greatest economic threat to modern, developed societies. They are getting older, and there's nothing to stop that.

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Updated: October 20, 2018 | Category: Windows

Policy Plus

If you wish to enable, restrict or control certain administrative functionality in Windows, there are multiple ways you can implement tweaks. But in the end, it all comes down to registry changes. You can make these manually, with a registry editor (regedit.exe) or you can make them using Group Policies. The latter is a set of administrative templates that allow system functionality to be shaped and then replicated across multiple nodes, simplifying management. Although changes still happen in the registry under the hood, Group Policies are exposed to users via a friendly human-readable UI editor, and they are safer than manual registry work. The only problem is, you don't get Group Policies in Windows Home.

Indeed, I've noticed a lot of people clamoring over the fact that Windows 10 Home does not have this magical group policy editor, which comes with a handy name of gpedit.msc. This is nothing new. Going as far back as Windows XP at the very least, Home editions of the Windows operating system did not have the group policy editor, and people who wanted to make changes had to make registry tweaks. Which is where the utility named Policy Plus comes in. After me.

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Updated: October 17, 2018 | Category: Internet

Google Chrome update error

Over the years, for me, Google Chrome has worked, largely, without major problems. There were some snags here and there, including a few Aw swap issues and a rare incompatibility with EMET. Other than that, it's always worked fairly reliably, and I had no reasons to complain. Especially not regarding its self-update functionality.

That changed while I was testing Windows 10 update 1804. Not having powered on the box for a few weeks, Chrome was lagging behind a couple of version, so I thought, let's fire up the browser and make it update. The attempt failed with the following text: An error occurred while checking for updates: Update check failed to start (error code 3: 0x80080005 -- system level). What now?

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Updated: October 15, 2018 | Category: Linux

Plasma 5.14

Linux is much like the stock market. Moments of happiness broken by crises. Or is the other way around? Never mind. Today shall hopefully be a day of joy, for I am about to test Plasma 5.14, the latest version of this neat desktop environment. Recently, I’ve had a nice streak of good energy with Linux, mostly thanks to my experience with Slimbook Pro2, which I configured with Kubuntu Beaver. Let’s see if we can keep the momentum.

Now, before we begin, there are more good news woven into this announcement. As you can imagine, you do need some kind of demonstrator to test the new desktop. Usually, it’s KDE neon, which offers a clean, lean, mean KDE-focused testing environment. You can boot into the live session, try the desktop, and if you like it, you can even install it. Indeed, neon is an integral part of my eight-boot setup on the Lenovo G50 machine. But what makes things really interesting is that neon has also switched to the latest Ubuntu LTS base. It now comes aligned to the 18.04 family, adorned with this brand new Plasma. Proceed.

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Updated: October 13, 2018 | Category: Linux

OpenSUSE, mount busy error

The issue you facing is as follows: you are trying to mount a partition on the command line. You've done this a thousand times before. Only now, for some odd reason, the system informs you that the particular partition you're trying to use is already mounted or mount point busy. This is an annoying and unexpected error.

I've encountered this issue while merrily testing OpenSUSE Leap 15. I wanted to check the contents of two specific partitions, in order to figure out which one was which - two different distros, and one had to be sacrificed for the upcoming openSUSE installation. But the installation wizard didn't have any labels, so I had to manually mount. Except I could not do this. I decided to explore the issue in more detail, and so this tutorial was born. After me.

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Updated: October 12, 2018 | Category: Various


I was thinking, BIMP My GIMP, but then, the article title would have been too much like my PIMP My GIMP review, and we don't want that. All right, so GIMP is a very neat, powerful image processing program, with tons of options, filters and plugins. But there's one thing it does not do well - and that's automated operations. You can't really record a set of image processing actions and then repeat them at will.

Or rather, this is doable, but it takes expertise, command line and tears. Instead, in this little guide, I'm going to show you a superior way of performing repetitive bulk actions on your images, which should help shave off a fair amount of time, reduce errors and eliminate tears. The name of the game: BIMP, and so we commence.

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Updated: October 10, 2018 | Category: Game reviews

Cities Skylines - best traffic guide

Here we go again. Third time lucky. I've already gently bored you with half a dozen articles on Cities Skylines traffic management, offering ideas and solutions to make the game's engine and somewhat incomplete pathfinding algorithms work with you, rather than against you. After all, urban simulation is meant to be fun!

All my previous guides so far had one problem - they were expensive. The recent ones focused more on making the monetary side of things tick, too, but proposed infrastructure still came with a hefty bill, making my cities less profitable. So I got me thinking. Can I be cheap - but also make kickass 100K+ cities with high demand, stunning layout and efficient roads? The answer is, yes.

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Updated: October 8, 2018 | Category: Linux

Plasma desktop window position

The Plasma desktop has many virtues. It's elegant, stylish, and you can customize the living daylights out of it, if such a need grabbeth thy heart. But then, side by side with this modern, sleek look, you get some rather odd ergonomic choices. Like the fact that Plasma does not have a simple toggle to allow you to save window positions for your applications. Start a program, and it's always placed in the top left corner.

In this tutorial, I will show you how you can work around this issue. And that way, you will achieve the expected functionality, which exists elsewhere, of being able to have your programs start with the size and position that you want, every time, whether you choose to save the desktop session or not. After me.

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Updated: October 6, 2018 | Category: Windows

Windows 10 updates

The Windows Update functionality has changed a lot over the years. I remember you needed the Internet Explorer and ActiveX to download stuff in XP. Then, come Windows 7 and 8.1, we got a dedicated browser-less utility that would - will - do this for you, relatively quickly and elegantly. Windows 10 introduced yet another change - the updates are nestled inside the immersive control panel (the new settings), and you get them in a cumulative fashion, and with less tweaking than before. Oh, they also got much, much longer. And also far less stable than they used to be.

In this article, I want to talk about these changes - and what they are harmful to the user. And then, talk about what Microsoft plans to do to address user complaints (partially). And then, there's the overarching story, and this is one of the regressive nature of agile development that has taken the Internet by storm, and not in a good way. Follow me.

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Updated: October 5, 2018 | Category: Office


Nine years ago, I reviewed Abiword and loved it. Small, fierce, full of goodies. This frugal, elegant and powerful word processor offered a staggering range of tools and options from a very modest footprint of only about 25 MB, with things like cross-platform support, portable version, Computer Modern fonts, and many other highlights. I've kept using it ever since, especially on my less-capable devices like the Asus eeePC netbook.

It is time for another review. A lot of summers have passed since, LibreOffice was born and became the de-facto workhorse of the open-source office world, with significant improvements in performance and memory footprint, especially in version 5.x onwards. Now, AbiWord had the last stable release two years ago, and it might actually be on its way to retirement, but I still felt I ought to write a fresh review. Let's see what gives.

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Updated: October 3, 2018 | Category: Internet

URL proposal change

Recently, Google started enforcing its new looks onto Gmail users, without the ability to switch back to old (classic) Gmail. Until a few days ago, you could go back to the older version. Not anymore. The problem is, the new interface is designed primarily for mobile use. It is aesthetically pleasing but ergonomically inferior.

Like any mobile product, everywhere, throughout the galaxy, once it's applied to the desktop, it does not work or look as well as it should. Here, the main reason is - the use of the Roboto fonts. In this guide, I will show you several tricks you can use to recreate the classic looks and enjoy improved visual clarity on the desktop.

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Updated: October 1, 2018 | Category: Internet

URL proposal change

You may have heard about this. Google is considering an idea of changing how people interact with websites. More specifically, how people interact with URLs, the human-readable Web addresses by which we largely identify and remember websites we go to. The ripple effect around this proposal has been quite interesting, to say the least. And it got me thinking.

One, the actual backlash against the change is more revealing than the change itself. Two, is there really any real merit in trying to make URLs somehow more meaningful and/or useful than their current form? To that end, you are reading this article.

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