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EU Gives Nod to 'Big Brother' Biometrics Database
April 24, 2019
The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved two measures that would integrate the region's fragmented law enforcement and home affairs databases into a centralized one that would include biometric information on some 350 million EU and non-EU citizens. It approved creation of the new system on two votes -- one to merge border control systems, and one to merge law enforcement systems.
Apple's Looming Nightmare
April 22, 2019
The big news last week was that Apple finally agreed to settle its fight with Qualcomm. Kudos to Tim Cook, because I've known a lot of CEOs rather who would have fought to the death than admitted they were wrong -- and not only wrong but acting disingenuously the entire time. Fighting this to the death would have been far worse. What spurred the settlement likely was he defense Qualcomm mounted.
Condres OS Conjures Up Pleasing Arch Linux Transition
April 18, 2019
Condres OS, a distro much like the defunct Apricity OS, could be a speedier replacement for Linux OSes that have turned slow to no-go in recent new releases. Condres OS is an Arch-based distro that offers many pleasing usability traits similar to three popular Debian-based distros: Linux Mint; Peppermint; and Zorin, which bundles ICE and Wine accouterments. Condres OS, as is typical of Arch distributions, comes with a rolling release upgrade model.
Everyone's a Winner in Apple-Qualcomm Settlement
April 18, 2019
Apple and Qualcomm unexpectedly announced a settlement as their case entered the second day of a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Diego. In related news, Intel announced it was getting out of the 5G smartphone chip business. The Apple-Qualcomm settlement provides an unspecified one-time payment from Apple to Qualcomm, among other terms.
Apple to Focus on Productivity With Next macOS, iOS Releases
April 17, 2019
The ramp-up to Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference this June has begun, with reports circulating about the goodies the company will include in the next generation of its desktop and mobile operating systems. The latest revelations include macOS support for the iPad as an auxiliary display, native to desktops and laptops, and iOS support for multiple windows within apps.
Qualcomm: Rethinking AI in a 5G Quantum World
April 15, 2019
It is expected that 5G will move aggressively into the market, with near-complete major metropolitan coverage by the end of the year. This technology is a game-changer, but it doesn't come without issues, one of which is the massive change in network loading. 5G will shift the bottlenecks from the wireless networks to the backhaul, where the expected massive increase in traffic will force some rather impressive network upgrades.
Q4OS and TDE: A Juicy Little Linux Secret
April 12, 2019
Q4OS and the little-known Trinity Desktop Environment are an unbeatable combination that provides a powerful and flexible computing platform. I periodically revisit releases of interesting Linux distros and developing new desktops in my weekly quest for exciting and innovative choices. I am always looking to tweak my Linux OS productivity. Some of these weekly forays turn up unexpected delights.
Google Presents a Cornucopia of Cloud Goodies
April 11, 2019
Google announced a host of new services, features and partners at Google Cloud Next '19 Day 2 in San Francisco. The new unveilings followed its announcement of Anthos, an open source platform powered by Kubernetes, on Day 1. Anthos is "a single platform for developers and operations; it is for on-premise and multicloud installations," said Google SVP Urs Hölzle.
Report: Apple Is Gearing Up to Debut Mini-LED Display Tech
April 10, 2019
Apple plans to introduce a number of new products in the next two years that will sport a new display technology, according to master Apple watcher Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities. Based on Kuo's predictions, which were reported widely on Tuesday, Apple will use new "mini LED" technology in three new products: a 31.6-inch monitor, a new iPad, and a new MacBook.
Zuckerberg Tries, Tries Again
April 6, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg's most recent effort to change the conversation about Facebook seems like just another attempt at self-justification. In a recent op-ed, he places the onus squarely on the shoulders of government to regulate how social media works. "I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," Zuckerberg wrote.
With More Than 8 Billion Things, Where Are the IoT Privacy Laws?
April 4, 2019
No one knows for sure how many "things" are connected to the Internet, but the Federal Trade Commission reported last year that it was more than 8 billion, and that it would exceed 20 billion by the end of 2020! Astonishing as it seems, it turns out that U.S. privacy laws do not apply to all of those devices and the data they collect. So, for the third time in three years, the Senate has proposed a new law.
Best Open Source Tools for Staying on Top of Projects
April 3, 2019
The type of organizing tools you use to plan your projects can make your work routine more efficient and improve your productivity. A project management application is an essential tool in some business environments. This week's Linux Picks and Pans takes a deep dive into some of the best project management software solutions available for the Linux desktop.
New Zorin OS 15 Beta Is Worth the Wait
March 28, 2019
The Zorin OS 15 series, released last week in beta, introduces many changes to its desktop interface and utilities. It keeps Zorin on track with its goal of maintaining a Linux OS for everyone, not just advanced Linux users. Zorin OS 15 beta is the first major release since Zorin OS 12 in late 2016. This edition is well worth the wait. Major releases of Zorin OS come only once every two years.
FTC Eyeballs ISPs' Data Privacy Practices
March 28, 2019
The United States Federal Trade Commission has announced an investigation into the privacy policies, procedures and practices of seven Internet broadband providers and related entities: AT&T Inc., AT&T Mobility LLC, Comcast Cable Communications doing business as Xfinity, Google Fiber Inc., T-Mobile US Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Cello Partnership dba Verizon Wireless.
SparkyLinux Incinerates the Hassle Factor
March 21, 2019
SparkyLinux is a Linux distro that can ignite your daily computing experience. Its spark is pushing me to rethink my computing priorities. Regularly reviewing so many Linux operating systems for Linux Picks and Pans has a serious consequence for my computing sanity. Normally, I have a flirtatious episode with a new release each week. I'm always on the lookout for something new and shiny.
Google Stadia: Future of Gaming or Pie in the Cloud?
March 20, 2019
Google has pulled the wraps off Stadia, a new cloud-based gaming platform. Using the power of Google's global information infrastructure, Stadia can stream the highest-quality games to any screen, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in announcing the platform, which is expected to come online later this year. Stadia represents Google's vision for the future of gaming.
MOREbot Introduces Kids to Robotics Using 3D Printed Parts
March 19, 2019
MORE Technologies last week launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for development of its open source robot ecosystem. The company will fund the project if it reaches its goal by April 21. It teaches real tech skills to the next generation of innovators and problem solvers using MOREbot -- a series of open source, customizable robotics kits.
Apple Boosts Performance in New iPad Air and Mini
March 19, 2019
Apple has announced a new 10.5-inch iPad and a refresh of the iPad mini. The iPad Air, which will sell for $499, offers 64 gigabytes of solid state storage and WiFi support. It has Apple's latest mobile processor, the A12 Bionic chip, and supports Apple Pencil and the company's smart keyboard. The 7.9-inch iPad mini, which will sell at a base price of $399 with WiFi support also has an A12 chip.
8 Great Linux Time-Tracker Apps to Keep You on Task
March 14, 2019
Time-tracking software records the time you spend on tasks. The time-tracking helps you create billing reports, prepare invoices, and analyze your workflow for better efficiency. This week's Linux Picks and Pans product review highlights some of the best free time-tracking applications for Linux. The apps included in this roundup are not rated or presented in any quality order.
The Strange Tech Wars of 2019
March 11, 2019
The tech market is defined by its battles: Microsoft vs. IBM; Apple vs. Microsoft; Netscape vs. Microsoft; Google vs. Microsoft. If Microsoft were a person, it likely would have PTSD. Then there was Apple vs. Google, and now the big one is Apple vs. Qualcomm. The screwy thing for me is that Huawei represents a far greater threat to both companies than they represent to each other.
Parrot Home: Enjoy the Privacy Extras
March 8, 2019
Parrot offers several options for running a Linux OS that pays much closer attention to security. If you already are handy with digital forensic tasks and want a state-of-the-art system to handle pentesting and privacy issues, check out Parrot Security, which offers a complete all-in-one environment for pentesting, privacy, digital forensics, reverse-engineering and software development.
Structural Shifts in Semiconductor Industry Spawn New Trends
March 8, 2019
Long-term trends in the technology segment are often the result of structural change. One such change in the semiconductor space was the shift to outsourcing specialized functions, including technology development in the form of intellectual property, chip design, fabrication, and packaging and test. That change has sparked a trend toward customization.
End of the Line for Windows 7: Open Road for Hackers
March 7, 2019
Microsoft has been urging customers to upgrade from its Windows 7 operating system, while attempting to ease the transition with several options for extended support. It will stop providing routine fixes and security patches effective January 2020. Regular support for Windows Server 2008 also will end at that time. Windows 7 enterprise customers can subscribe to Extended Security Updates.
Breaches: Fix the Issue, Not the Blame
March 5, 2019
Following a natural disaster that causes property damage to businesses and homes -- say a hurricane, fire or flood -- how often do you hear suggestions that the victims were at fault for their misfortune, or that they could have done something to prevent the event from occurring in the first place? Not often, right? We all know that events like that are possible. We plan around those possibilities, and we don't blame the victims.
EasyOS Teaches an Old Dog New Tricks
March 5, 2019
EasyOS is an experimental Linux distribution that either will renew your passion for using something different or leave you disappointed in its oddball approach to computing. EasyOS is a blend of the best ideas from Puppy Linux and the now discontinued Quirky Linux. I have used several of the popular Puppy Linux variants over the years. I adopted Quirky Linux a few years ago as my go-to Linux distro on a USB stick.
Why Children Should Learn to Code
March 1, 2019
Learning to code, regardless of the path a child chooses to take, is crucial today. Research shows us that this knowledge will be important in any career. As both a female leader in technology and a mother of a 10-year old boy, I am acutely aware of its critical importance in both my professional and personal life. Coding is a necessary literacy in this technological age.
B0r0nt0K Ransomware Threatens Linux Servers
February 27, 2019
A new cryptovirus called "B0r0nt0K" has been putting Linux and possibly Windows Web servers at risk of encrypting all of the infected domain's files. The new ransomware threat and the ransom of 20 bitcoins -- about $75,000 -- first came to light last week in a forum post. A client's website had all its files encrypted and renamed with the .rontok extension appended to them, the forum user indicated.
Why You Should Source Foreign Talent for AI, IoT and ML
February 27, 2019
The artificial intelligence revolution has been going on for a while, but that does not mean all of software research and development is part of it. It is, nonetheless, an interesting example of what pushes the software industry forward. The ideas and techniques that brought machine learning into existence were developed over the span of several decades.
Android Addition Opens FIDO Password Killer to Billions
February 26, 2019
The FIDO Alliance hammered another nail into the passwords coffin with the announcement that devices running Android 7.0 or higher will be compatible with FIDO2, the latest version of its authentication solution. Certification of Android 7.0+ means devices running those versions of Google's mobile operating system will support FIDO2 out of the box or through a software update.
GhostBSD: A Solid Linux-Like Open Source Alternative
February 21, 2019
The subject of this week's Linux Picks and Pans is a representative of a less well-known computing platform that coexists with Linux as an open source operating system. If you thought that the Linux kernel was the only open source engine for a free OS, think again. BSD shares many of the same features that make Linux OSes viable alternatives to proprietary computing platforms.
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What is the state of the Linux desktop?
It's edging its way into the mainstream.
It's wildly popular -- but only with open source fans.
It's in trouble due to fragmentation.
It never had a shot in a Windows-dominated PC world.
It's too cumbersome for most computer users to bother.
I'm not familiar with the Linux desktop.
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