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Jack M. Germain
Purism's Librem 13 Linux Laptop Is Sleek, Private and Secure
11/12/15 5:07 PM PT | LinuxInsider | 1841 Words

Known Issues
My list of glitches is very small. That says volumes about the reliability of the laptop and its software.

Bluetooth connectivity is not yet working, so its function key combination does nothing.

The solution -- an...

Jack M. Germain
AV Linux Dazzles Both Eyes and Ears
05/08/14 6:18 PM PT | LinuxInsider | 1175 Words

AV Linux uses Jack for its sound control. This is a low-latency sound server. Add the preloaded Compiz support for dazzling eye candy. The combination gives AV Linux a near-perfect desktop environment that forms the basis for using it over other distro...

Jack M. Germain
Linux Mint 16: No Surprises, but Plenty of Solid Improvements
01/14/14 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1093 Words

I tend to leapfrog over every other Linux Mint release on my various computers. Overall, though, the improved performance and more mature Cinnamon make Linux Mint 16 an easy choice to replace Linux Mint 15 on my workhorse desktop and laptop computers.

Jack M. Germain
CrashPlan: A Good - but Not Perfect - Linux Backup Plan
01/09/14 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 995 Words

It's possible some of the difficulties I encountered may not occur in other platform variations, but since my primary focus was reviewing the Linux version, I did not test those other options.

The free download for Standard CrashPlan version 3.5.3 is a...

Jack M. Germain
Kazam Screen-Recording: Do Try This at Home
12/19/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1137 Words

For example, on most of my Linux distros I use the stock GNOME screenshot app for convenience. This single-frame screenshot taker tool works well on Ubuntu's Unity desktop, Linux Mint's Cinnamon desktop, Xfce and LXDE.

Recording screen sessions with other applications...

Jack M. Germain
Manjaro Smooths Out Arch's Rough Edges
12/12/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1221 Words

The latest release -- version 0.8.8, or "Ascello," which came out last month -- failed to impress me with its cantankerous loading, but once I got it running -- which did not happen on all of my gear -- I was pleased with...

Jack M. Germain
Terminator Ends the Terminal Window Blahs
12/05/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1002 Words

Using It
I installed Terminator on nearly all of my desktop and laptop gear. Some came via a distro-specific repository. Others arrived via the Synaptic Package manager. In all cases, the installation process was smooth and trouble-free.

One of...

Jack M. Germain
Task Coach Keeps You on Target and in Control
11/21/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1185 Words

Nothing prompted me to save the file with a name. I knew that the Auto-Save box was checked, so I never gave a file name a thought.

When I exited the program and returned to it for a second session, the task...

Jack M. Germain
PCLinuxOS Makes Desktop Linux Look Good
11/14/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1136 Words

Getting It
Despite my assertions that installing and using PCLinuxOS epitomizes ease and flexibility, the downloading process could be better. You need to go to the particular linked page for the version you want. A standard linked index would be...

Jack M. Germain
Ubuntu's Saucy Salamander is a Slick but Spiritless Upgrade
11/07/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1482 Words

With Saucy Salamander on one of my two main office machines over the last few weeks, I am getting used to Ubuntu's more radical desktop features and find them less jarring at this point.

One new thing visually is the face...

Jack M. Germain
Linux Lite Is Heavy on Features and Usability
10/24/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1163 Words

It is one of the few out-of-the-box experiences I have had in testing Linux distros that let me actually be up and working in under five minutes.

That is not to say I haven't spent time installing various preferred packages. That's the...

Jack M. Germain
Xnoise Makes Sweet Music - Once You Get It Installed
10/17/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1052 Words

I was able to view my library and open titles instantly without having to wade through layers of right clicks or cascading menus.

A Hassle-Free Interface
Using Xnoise is a sonorous pleasure. Its interface does not try to cram every...

Jack M. Germain
Chromium OS Vanilla Is a Plain-Jane Browser-Based Distro
10/10/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1322 Words

Its download size is around 250 MB.

Build Mentality
The builds in this OS project do not automatically update. So you must download each new release and install it anew on the USB drive.

The Vanilla build is...

Jack M. Germain
Kdenlive Delivers Near-Pro Video Editing - If You Have the Right Stuff
10/03/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1231 Words

Second, my test computer had MLT 0.8.0 installed. I needed to get MLT 0.8.8.

I followed a few links from the developer's website to track down a tarball of the needed library, but I luckily had my distro's software updater refresh. That...

Jack M. Germain
Wireless Aside, Cr OS Linux Delivers the Best of Two Worlds
09/11/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1021 Words

This is a recurring problem with one of my laptops, but I can almost always get a wireless connection from at least one of the other two.

No Chrome OS Clone
It is easy to be misled about exactly...

Jack M. Germain
CherryTree Takes the Pits Out of Pruning Your Notes
09/04/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1176 Words

Keeping track of my bits and pieces of information across several computers running Linux and Microsoft Windows has long been a problem. CherryTree is a sweet solution that keeps my information local and cloud-free. CherryTree is an outliner-style hierarchical note-taking application that features...

Jack M. Germain
Zero In on Research Control With Zotero
08/28/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1009 Words

The left column includes My Library, which contains all note items. It also holds stock details that you labeled as Duplicate items and Unified items. A trash folder is also shown so you can access previously deleted material.

The middle column...

Jack M. Germain
Gotta Access Linux Files? Paragon ExtFS Delivers the Goods
08/21/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1034 Words

When I absolutely must cross the Great Divide separating the Windows partition from Linuxland on a computer in the workplace, Paragon's Universal File System Driver in ExtFS comes to my rescue. It grants me full access to Linux partitions while running the Windows...

Jack M. Germain
Netrunner Sprints Ahead of the Linux Distro Pack
08/14/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1120 Words

I spend an inordinate amount of time testing and using different Linux distributions. My experiences with these sometimes-obscure distros and other Linux applications are the subjects right here in this weekly Linux Picks and Pans report.

After putting so many Linux distros...

Jack M. Germain
UberStudent Pushes Users to the Head of the Class
08/07/13 5:00 AM PT | LinuxInsider | 1200 Words

While my student learning days are long gone, some of these specialty applications are very useful for note taking, task planning, and project organization for the non-school things I do.

(click to enlarge) Under the Hood UberStudent is built from the Debian...

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How do you feel about Black Friday/Cyber Monday this year?
I'm excited to find great deals and plan to do some serious shopping on BFCM.
I'll watch for BFCM sales, but I intend to drastically curb my spending this year.
BFCM has become a season -- I no longer feel driven to look for bargains on those specific days.
I plan to have most of my holiday shopping done *before* BFCM.
I detest the holiday sales hype and will avoid shopping on BFCM.