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Linux Distros Gone Today, Here Tomorrow
February 21, 2014
It's long been the case that the world of Linux distributions offers at least one compelling choice for virtually every taste and purpose, but -- much like those dissatisfied with the weather in New England -- users who don't see a distro they like need only wait a few minutes. You win a few, you lose a few -- but the overall pool of choices remains rich and diverse.
Old-School Event Management Approach Hampers ETM
February 20, 2014
Etm, an acronym for "Event and Task Manager," is a very useful calendar and planning tool. However, it is a bit cumbersome to learn and far less convenient to use than alternatives. It has an intuitive task-entry format, once you learn its plain text shorthand. Etm stores events, tasks and other user-generated notes and data in text files. You can create, modify and view entries using two primary methods.
Raising Linux to Grow Open Source
February 19, 2014
The open source business model has an inherent ability to bring software rivals together. This approach to developing and distributing software keeps expanding the usefulness and success of the Linux operating system as well. Linux has not yet come close to replacing Windows on the desktop, but open source is much more than Linux. Its "co-opetive" nature is spreading through the enterprise.
Google's Dirty Little Android Secrets Leaked
February 14, 2014
The Android operating system, which Google touts as open, isn't. Google imposes strict restrictions on smartphone manufacturers and app developers in its Android mobile application distribution agreement, according to excerpts of documents revealed by Ben Edelman, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School. The information was obtained from two MADAs admitted in open court.
BlackBerry Sweetens BBM for Android and iOS
February 14, 2014
After releasing its BlackBerry Messenger chat app for Android and iOS devices to considerable fanfare last fall, BlackBerry on Thursday announced that it had expanded the app's functionality on those platforms with two key features. Previously available only to users of BlackBerry's own mobile platform, BBM Voice and BBM Channels are now part of the company's offerings for Android and iPhone.
Distro Astro Is a Stunning Star Voyager
February 13, 2014
The Linux desktop offers distributions for many diverse interests and specialties. Distro Astro is for astronomy enthusiasts. The latest version, Distro Astro 2.0, is dubbed "Pallas." It was released Nov. 20, 2013, at the South East Asian Young Astronomers Collaboration conference in Bandung, Indonesia. It is a major upgrade focusing on refinements for professional astronomers.
Two's Company in Global Smartphone OS Market
February 13, 2014
Google's Android and Apple's iOS led the global smartphone operating system market in 2013, a year in which worldwide shipments surpassed 1 billion units for the first time, according to IDC. The two OSes accounted for 93.8 percent of global smartphone shipments for the year. Together, they made up 95.7 percent of the smartphone shipments in the final quarter of the year.
Microsoft Accidentally Applies Chinese Censoring Outside of China
February 13, 2014
Microsoft cited an "error in our system" for quirky results given to users making searches in Chinese on the company's Bing search engine. Chinese-language searches outside of mainland China were yielding results that mirrored those inside mainland China, where Bing filters in accordance with the whims of Beijing. This resulted in wildly different results for English vs. Chinese language searches.
Has Linux Conquered the Cloud?
February 12, 2014
Linux on the desktop may have missed its adoption time line, but Linux in the cloud is a win-win proposition for the post-PC movement. Microsoft's Azure may be the only real threat to Linux cloud dominance -- all other major cloud software platforms are based on Linux and open source software. Some enterprise Linux distros are showing up as cloud-based offerings.
US Diplomat Caught Red-Tongued Dissing EU
February 07, 2014
The United States' top diplomat for Europe was caught saying, "F*ck the EU," in a now-viral recording. The diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, made the comment in a thought-to-be private telephone call that later was leaked online. She has apologized to EU officials, but her remarks figure to live in infamy online.
New Asus Chromebox Sports Shiny $179 Price
February 05, 2014
Asus on Tuesday announced a new Chromebox device priced at just $179, a full $150 less than the Samsung product that's currently its principal competition. Powered by either a fourth-generation Celeron 2955U chip or an Intel Core i3, the diminutive Chrome OS device offers integrated Intel HD graphics, 2 GB or 4 GB of DDR3 memory, and HDMI and DisplayPort for dual display support.
The Perils of Mobile App Insecurity
February 04, 2014
Smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous -- and so convenient that we often download apps and approve permissions without giving them much thought. Such behavior exposes the data we store on our prized devices to increasing risk. That blind trust is just what app makers count on. Android users, especially, are complacent about synchronizing apps on multiple devices.
LXLE Gives New Zest to Old Machines
January 31, 2014
Just when you think you have found the sweet spot with an ideal Linux desktop distro, along comes yet another version to tug at your computing heart strings. In this case, it is LXLE. Lubuntu eXtra Life Extension, aka LXLE, is based on Lubuntu, a version of Ubuntu running LXDE. If you have yet to experience the LXDE desktop, prepare yourself for a wonderfully smooth computing experience.
Installing Linux: The Good, Bad and Ugly
January 29, 2014
Good or bad, useful or not, implementation of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface and Microsoft's Secure Boot extension might well foul the fuel driving consumer migration to the Linux desktop. It was not until I attempted to do a Linux installation on a new Gateway Series DX desktop with Windows 8 installed that I stared that UEFI monster down.
The Case of the Missing OS, or Did Apple Eat Pear?
January 27, 2014
Here in the Linux community, it's no secret that there are more flavors of our favorite operating system than most of us can keep track of. That doesn't mean, however, that one can just up and disappear without anyone noticing. Case in point: Pear OS. One day it's freely available for download, offering a remarkably Mac-like experience that's nevertheless based on Linux.
Quirky Linux Gets More Pep Out of Puppy
January 23, 2014
Quirky is a very interesting Linux distro that is a developmental sideline of the main Puppy Linux family. I expected some quirks in Quirky's design and performance, despite its mature growth to version 6.1 released on Jan. 1. However, the few quirks I found did not mar its performance. Quirky was easy to set up and fun to run. It is just as reliable and complete as the main Puppy Linux distro.
How to Slim Down a Bloated Android Device
January 22, 2014
It's a good idea to prune an Android device periodically, for a few reasons. A mishmash of apps, some aging, have all kinds of on-device routines running that can negatively affect performance. Worse, some are continually accessing the Internet and eating into your data cap -- unlimited wireless Internet on mobile devices is practically nonexistent these days.
HP Urges Consumers to Give In to Their Win 7 Cravings
January 21, 2014
HP launched a marketing campaign over the weekend advertising that Windows 7 was "back by popular demand." On its website, HP highlighted a handful of devices that run on the older version of Microsoft's OS, and it is selling the Core i5 and i7-powered machines at a $150 discount. The marketing campaign caters to consumers who aren't ready to embrace Windows 8's significant changes.
Can Android Challenge Embedded Linux?
January 21, 2014
Is the Android OS morphing into a new form of embedded Linux? Android is a Linux OS derivative perched to make inroads beyond its growing user base in smartphones and tablets. Some auto makers are considering the potential for Android-connected communications systems in their vehicles. The Android OS is already available as an all-in-one desktop computer powered by System on a Chip circuitry.
What's Up With Tizen?
January 15, 2014
Consumers might soon have access to cheaper, more talented smartphones that could challenge the market dominance of Android and iOS. At least that is the promise from the Tizen Association. The growing group of phone makers and application developers recently launched a partner program with 36 companies from all segments of the mobile and connected device ecosystems.

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