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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.
Wireless Charging and Our Autonomous Electric Future
February 18, 2019
One of the biggest problems for those of us who have electric cars is charging. Chargers that drop the charging time to a few minutes have been coming to market, but the cars that can use them haven't yet begun to ship. What this means for most of us is that we are talking anywhere from 45 minutes to several days to fully charge our cars, depending on the charging system we have access to.
Redcore Linux Gives Gentoo a Nice Facelift
February 15, 2019
Working with the Linux operating system offers a never-ending series of alternatives. One of the greatest benefits of using the Linux desktop is that you are never at risk of vendor lock-in or of being stranded if your chosen distro flavor suddenly sours. Take Redcore Linux, for example. Redcore is not a household name among typical Linux users. Neither was its predecessor, Kogaion Linux.
Wireless Carriers Caught Playing Fast and Loose With Location Data
February 8, 2019
AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have sold access to subscribers' real-time location data to aggregators, which in turn have sold it to about 250 bounty hunters and related businesses, according to a report. In some cases, the data allowed users to track individuals to their specific locations inside a building. Some companies made thousands of location requests to data brokers.
Linux Task Apps: Plenty of Goodies in These Oldies
February 7, 2019
If you need a task manager application to run on your Linux operating system, tap into a software category filled with options that go far beyond the to-do list app you have stuffed into your smartphone. Keeping up to date with multiple daily activity calendars, tons of information, and never-ending must-do lists can become a never-ending challenge.
E-Ticketing Flaw Exposes Airline Passenger Data to Hackers
February 7, 2019
The e-ticketing systems of eight airlines, including Southwest Airlines and Dutch carrier KLM, have a vulnerability that can expose passengers' personal data, mobile security vendor Wandera has reported. They use unencrypted links that hackers can intercept easily. The hackers then can view and, in some cases, even change the victim's flight booking details, or print their boarding passes.
Apple to Raise Barrier Against VR, AR Websites
February 6, 2019
The next upgrade of Apple's mobile operating system will come with an annoying surprise for VR and AR developers. It reportedly will block Web access to the accelerometer and gyroscope in Apple mobile devices by default. That means users will have to grant permission to any Web apps or sites that need those components to function, including those with VR and AR components.
FTC v. Qualcomm: What Really Is Going On
February 4, 2019
I've been watching antitrust cases actively since the 1980s. I had to study historical antitrust cases going back to Standard Oil and RCA, in order to ensure compliance with a related consent decree When I worked at IBM. Each of the other cases had one thing in common: Both of the companies being charged were massively and obviously monopolies. There were many questions.
Endless OS Functionality Controls Simplify Computing
February 1, 2019
Endless OS is an unusual Linux distro in that its user interface is more like an Android smartphone or tablet than a Linux desktop computer platform. Version 3.5.4, released on Jan. 17, brings parental controls and other refinements that make this distro a cool alternative to the Chromebook for home, educational and community use. Endless OS goes a long way to eliminating the Linux learning curve.
Apple Rumored Plotting a Game Subscription Service
January 29, 2019
A "Netflix for Games" type of service may be in Apple's future. Apple has been developing a subscription service that will function for games much like Netflix does for movies and TV series, according to a report. It's still unclear what the subscription fee would be or what kinds of games would be offered on the service. Whatever the fee for the offering, it could be tough for Apple to find an audience for a streaming service.
Why Intel Is in Such Horrid Condition
January 28, 2019
Intel released earnings last week. It beat expectations on the bottom line, but it missed big on the top line and the outlook was dismal. Looking under the covers, the company is a mess. The expected CEO announcement didn't occur. AMD's earnings are expected to be very strong, and AMD just made some organizational changes that suggest an increase in its competitive attack.
MakuluLinux Core OS Debuts With Impressive Desktop Design
January 28, 2019
A new Linux OS gets to the core of Linux computing with a revamped desktop environment and a new way to have fun with your daily computing tasks. Developer Jacque Montague Raymer has debuted the MakuluLinux Core OS, and hopes it becomes the crown jewel of the Series 15 release family. MakuluLinux released the latest versions of family members LinDoz and Flash several months ago.
Netrunner's Unique Blackbird Soars to New Heights
January 23, 2019
Blackbird, Netrunner's version 19.01 release, hit the download servers on Jan. 14, and this distro deserves to be considered bleeding-edge. Netrunner is a step ahead of other KDE distros, thanks to its solid integration of classic KDE desktop performance with Web-based applications and cloud services. That said, if you aren't fondness of the K Desktop, Netrunner may leave you wanting more desktop simplicity.
See More Articles in Computing Section >>
Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.
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