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For Gentoo Linux Initiates, Iron Penguin May Be Too Heavy
October 16, 2014
Gentoo Linux can be either an experienced Linux user's ideal desktop choice or a new user's worst computing nightmare. I am not talking about being new to the Linux OS. I mean just plain and simple new to Gentoo Linux. The Linux OS has many dozens of specialized distributions. Many of them are easy to install and need only a few settings adjustments to perform as desired.
Cylon Linux Gives GNOME Fans Glamour Galore
October 09, 2014
Cylon Linux Delivers GNOME Design with Glamour Galore Jack M. Germain Cylon is a classic Linux distro preconfigured with lots of tweaks -- kind of a Unity-less Ubuntu with bling. Cylon runs the classic GNOME 3 desktop on almost any hardware configuration made since 2007, but it is more suited to seasoned Linux users. Newcomers to Linux may not make an easy transition.
Elementary OS 'Freya' Is Worth the Wait
October 02, 2014
Elementary OS is a new style Linux distro that wraps its own sophisticated desktop design around a solid Ubuntu core. This distro first appeared in 2011, and the second major version came out last year. The latest weeks-old beta release -- the third major version, called "Freya" -- shows that Elementary OS continues to offer Linux users a dependable alternative to popular desktop options.
'Data Divination: Big Data Strategies' Is a Great Hip-Pocket Tool
October 02, 2014
Most of today's books about Big Data delve into highly technical tools, cloud technology, and high-level computer-assisted math calculations and algorithms. For most people in the business world, this is far from motivating readers to appreciate just what Big Data does and how to let it get you there. However, that's not so with Data Divination: Big Data Strategies by Pam Baker.
Scribbleton Has a Ton of Potential
September 30, 2014
Scribbleton is a very infant -- as in alpha -- release of an innovative note-taking app for Linux that provides cross-platform access with Windows and Apple computers. It creates a personal wiki for storing everything from quick notes to detailed checklists to outlines. It creates links between pages in Scribbleton. Think of this as an easy-to-use database to link words, phrases and pages.
Pale Moon Shines for Classic Firefox Fans
September 25, 2014
The Pale Moon Web browser project gets rid of a problem that many Mozilla Firefox users would like to solve. The Pale Moon browser is a fork of Mozilla's official browser developed by Moonchild Productions. It provides users with access to all of their favorite Firefox extensions but eliminates the Australis interface, which some dislike. Firefox debuted the new UI in late April.
Opera Sings for Linux Users, With Just a Few Sour Notes
September 18, 2014
Opera offers an interesting alternative to the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox Web browsers, but its recent Linux release leaves some room for improvement. Opera previously enjoyed a reputation as the go-to browser of choice for mobile environments. However, Opera Software, the developer, ignored Linux users for quite a long while until now. Opera's Version 12.16 is a very usable release.
Early iPhone 6 Reviewers Might as Well Be Rating Vacuum Cleaners
September 18, 2014
With every new iPhone release, Apple delivers a handful of new iPhones to a select few industry journalists to review. How are those journalists and publications selected? First, they are known to appreciate the Apple aesthetic -- they have written dozens of positive reviews. No Apple haters allowed, which makes sense. It's important to set the stage for positive vibes.
Springseed Cultivates Note-Taking Simplicity
September 09, 2014
Springseed is a simple note-taking app for Linux that features full Markdown language support. Most Linux note and text-editing tools do not incorporate Markdown symbols. The real beauty of this feature is that you do not have to use it. You still have a minimalistic yet very efficient note-taking tool that doubles as a Markdown editor. The Markdown language lets you easily format plain text.
SparkyLinux GameOver Is a Winning Work-Play Combo
August 20, 2014
The SparkyLinux GameOver 3.4 Edition may be one of the best Linux distros catering to game players you will find. It is a full-service specialty Linux OS with a focus on gaming. Linux distro developers usually do one of two things about games. One, they provide none or only a few low-impact card and puzzle titles. Two, they build in links to the PlayOnLinux and Steam websites.
OpenMandriva Lx: Not the KDE You Knew
August 14, 2014
OpenMandriva Lx 2014 is a KDE-only Linux distribution that has some rough edges but is otherwise a solid and reliable choice for user-friendly computing. This latest version, dubbed "Phosphorus," is based on the Mandriva Linux project and ROSA, a Russian Linux distro. ROSA forked from Mandriva Linux in 2012. It integrated many of Mandriva's original tools and utilities with its own enhancements.
Peppermint OS 5: Light, Refreshing Linux
August 08, 2014
The Peppermint OS is built around a concept that may be unique among desktop environments. It is a hybrid of traditional Linux desktop applications and cloud-based apps. This innovative approach puts the latest release, Peppermint OS 5, well ahead of the curve. It brings cloud apps to the Linux desktop with the ease and flexibility of a Chromebook, and it supports installed software as well.
MyNotex Strikes an Almost Perfect Note
July 31, 2014
Note-taking applications in Linux are a dime a dozen. It can be difficult to sort through the feature sets to find the best solution. MyNotex has a near-perfect combination of features and uniqueness to put it into a class of its own. MyNotex is a multipurpose tool to take notes, file documents, and manage information or research. It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit Deb and RPM packages.
Skype for Linux Redesign Is Ugly but Functional
July 23, 2014
If you do not mind having a free non-open source Microsoft product on your Linux computer, the latest Skype for Linux release catches up to the Windows and Mac versions, providing most of the features they've had for some time. Microsoft rolled out Skype version 4.3.0.37 in mid June. The catch-up release has an updated user interface, some additional features, and lots of bug fixes.
Amazon Fire Phone Wins Respect, if Not Raves
July 23, 2014
Early reviews for Amazon's first foray into the smartphone market are mixed, with a general sense that the device is a good phone overlaid with some flashy features. Amazon announced the Fire Phone last month, trumpeting its 3D display, which uses facial recognition and front-facing cameras to shift perspective, depending on where the user's head is.
KaOS Calms Down KDE
July 15, 2014
KaOS is an interesting and very efficient Linux distribution built around a refined KDE desktop environment. The KDE integration is much more controlled in KaOS than in other Linux choices. The latest release for this 14-month young Linux distro came in late June. KaOS is a bit of a rarity. It is independent of other distros -- not a direct relative of other Linux offshoots.
Dell's Latitude 12 E7240 - in and Beyond the Office
July 03, 2014
A confluence of recent events has gotten me thinking about laptops. First, IDC and Gartner released PC market surveys that suggest a significant slowing in the declines plaguing PC sales for the past few years. Then last week, due to "stronger than expected demand for business PCs," Intel said it was raising Q2 and full-year revenue and gross margin expectations.
Linux Mint 17: Fresh and Long-Lasting
June 30, 2014
Linux Mint 17, dubbed "Qiana," is one of the best releases from this community since Linux Mint 13 arrived in 2012 with the Cinnamon desktop. Qiana is filled with extensive improvements and embellishments to all five desktop editions. It is available in Cinnamon, Xfce, KDE, Mate and LMDE. Regardless of which desktop you favor, the core improvements are well worth the upgrade.
All Things Appy: Top 5 iOS Utilities and Tools
June 24, 2014
While Apple's mobile operating system does hold users' hands when it comes to device management more so than competitor Android, there are additional steps you can take to optimize your iOS device. Free third-party utilities are available in app form to beef up battery management, cloud storage and camera backup, as well as to find lost phones, among other things.
LXQt Desktop Could Be a Real Beaut
June 19, 2014
If you like the economy of working in a lightweight desktop environment such as LXDE, you no doubt will love the tweaked performance of the LXQt desktop. It is a fusion of the LXDE and Razor-Qt desktop environments. The LXQt hybrid is the next generation of the popular Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment. The result is a lightweight, modular, very fast desktop environment that is user-friendly.
Pinguy OS Makes Gnome Desktop as Good as It Gets
June 13, 2014
The Pinguy OS is a solid Linux distro with a focus on simple and straightforward usability for the non-geek desktop user. This approach may disappoint those who favor newer user interfaces, but if you consider yourself a normal computer user who does not like to tinker with settings and various desktop environment options, Pinguy OS could be a good choice.
Instagram Adds Subtlety to Its Editing Repertoire
June 09, 2014
Instagram, Facebook's popular free mobile app for editing and sharing photos, has never had a reputation for subtlety. It's image-editing tools and filters have had more in common with a palette knife than a fine sable paint brush. That's changed, though, with the latest version of the app. Version 6.0 of Instagram, which has an estimated 200 million users, was released last week.
RoboLinux Smooths the Linux Migration Path
June 05, 2014
RoboLinux is an impressive traditional Linux desktop distro. It could be an ideal vehicle for both enterprises and SOHOs to make the migration to Linux. RoboLinux comes with a few extra features that solve some of the potential problems of leaving other desktop platforms. One of its more enticing migration tools is a preconfigured virtual machine add-on.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Android Launcher Apps
June 05, 2014
One easy way to refresh an aging Android smartphone phone is to replace the home screen with a Launcher. Launchers are skins with themes and unique behaviors, like transparency and scrolling styles. Our No. 1 pick is Nova launcher, an extremely customizable launcher app designed to speed up performance. Neat tricks include substituting KitKat-styled icons for the aging Ice Cream sandwich versions.

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