Today’s Tech Tips!

Using Windows 7 or Windows 8 or Windows 10 or OS X and a bit frustrated? If not and completely satisfied, then ignore this post. However if not…

Give Linux a try.

At work I support Windows and Mac machines.

At home I use exclusively Linux for the last decade or so, and it has only gotten exponentially better in that period, till today Microsoft is incorporating Linux pieces into their newest versions of Windows, including giving away Windows 10 for free and collusion with hardware vendors in an attempt to make using Linux more difficult.

And despite all that… Linux Distros just keep getting better.

It’s fun. It’s loaded with apps and utilities and the ability to download same for free.

There are tons of tutorials to help you every step of the way.

And did I mention it was fun. 🙂

Now the biggest thing about Linux on the laptop/desktop is which version do you choose.

Distrowatch which has just celebrated its 15th anniversary, is the best place to learn about and find new Linux Distributions.

Two good ones they have recently covered are:

Gentoo Linux’s new LIVE DVD is a great place to start (The livedvd-x86-amd64-32ul-20160514 ISO which will work on 32-bit x86 or 64-bit x86_64 systems)
http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=09415

and

Debian
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=debian

Use the links to try them!

Now, I do think it is a shame that hardware vendors are releasing new laptops, that while they give us a slimmer size, do so at the expense of DVD/CD players and more importantly longevity and stability. I’ve had the chance to support these newer laptops that are coming out and they are almost across the board, ready to fail in the first year.

It’s close to criminal.

In a future update I’ll review some newer laptops that are still worth your money, but honestly get yourself an older generation Dell Latitude 6430 ATG series, wipe it and put Linux on it, and you have yourself a tank in the form of a computer that will last you years. Like a tank it’s not slim and it’s not the lightest, but hey that’s what your tablet is for. However for getting down to work, it is a reliable desktop replacement (particularly when using Linux) in a portable size.

Now that we have the basic of what you should be using, here are today’s tweaks!

Firefox version 46.0.1 is out and I probably do not have to sell anyone on using this browser.

However two features that do not come activated out of the gate that you may find useful are:

1/ The DO NOT TRACK ME feature

https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/8499/make-firefox-secure-using-aboutconfig/

and

2/ Block Tracking Attempts

Mozilla launches Tracking Protection feature in Firefox Nightly

And beyond those helpful tips, the biggest tip I can give you for security while surfing the web, keep Javascript disabled for all but trusted sites.

Your webmail, bank, paypal, school site, vendors you buy from. Firefox has an exception list you can use to just give Javascript access to those sites you trust, and the rest you let eat cake. Makes a huge difference in your browser’s vulnerability, by closing down the default attack vendor of giving everyone javascript/programming control of your browser.

If you have found this post helpful, pay it forward by supporting the Electronic Freedom Frontier and becoming a card carrying member.

https://www.eff.org/

If you use the internet, whether via desktop, laptop, tablet, or your refrigerator, these are the guys and gals fighting to keep your digital and therefore physical world, just a little more free.

I’ve been supporting them for three years now, and it’s every year some of the best money I donate. These people are Daniel’s fighting in numerous Lion’s Dens. They are doing noble work.

You can view and support them here:

https://www.eff.org/

Well that’s all for today’s Tech Tips!

Website of the Day: https://www.whatismybrowser.com/

Try it both with and without Javascript turned on and you will see a drastic difference.

Thanks for reading and safe computing!

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Today’s Winners and Losers : Microsoft, Apple and You?!

Winners and Losers

Losers:

Today’s losers are Software Patents and the companies that use Software Patents to destroy the selfsame innovation and opportunities that allowed them to flourish.

These companies, such as Microsoft and Apple, are burning the ladder that they used to climb from small company to successful giant. If IBM had used the same tactics against them, that these companies are now using against others to suppress competition, there would be no Microsoft or Apple. Frivolous and Expensive lawsuits would have crushed them before they had the chance to innovate and thrive, and the innovations they spurred would not have happened.

We would still be on the Big Blue(IBM) time-line, which largely means the PC revolution and laptop revolution and now smart phone and tablet revolution, would likely have been delayed generations, or never happened at all.

The push to computers as a consumer device and away from simply the business market, that young stupid and brash companies like Apple and Microsoft helped spearhead would not have happened in an environment of software patents and companies utilizing them to crush competition, secure market share, and generate revenue.

There’s no telling the marvelous companies and inventions that have been delayed or destroyed by this present environment of software patents; destroyed by the current short-sighted business practice of making money being the only goal, and making a great product and earning customers that way, largely a fallen idea for suckers.

So yeah today’s losers are: Software Patents, Microsoft and Apple.

And the winners…

You.

For trying the various Linux Distributions out there, for informing your representatives that you want software patents made illegal, and generally not jumping on the Windows 8 or I-phone or Itunes or Cloud bandwagon. Play around with them by all means, but buy into them not at all.

Monopolies were outlawed for a reason. And that reason is coming around again. And many who have barred up the doors, and held back the river… will be swept away when the levy breaks.

Yes they will. And I can hear it, starting… to crack.

There’s something… satisfying in that thought.

Well enough presentiment for this installment, you gals and guys have a great day and… stop by next time for more.

ANOTHER Java vulnerability puts 1 billion users at risk?!!!

Courtesy of Computer World, on the heels of a recently released patch to address a vulnerability in Java 7, a new even more serious flaw has been found affecting users of Java versions 5,6, and 7.

Read the whole article here.

But in short, if you don’t need Java on your computer, now may be a good time to disable or uninstall it.

Art from the Edge of the Sea: Images of you and Images of Me #1

I’ve been meaning to get back into the habit of drawing regularly. While I’m obviously no Kyle Baker or Kevin Nowlan, and not going to make a living at this, the goal isn’t that.

The purpose of this new segment ART FROM THE EDGE OF THE SEA is just to get back into putting down lines that hopefully day by day get better. The goal to see if a bad or rudimentary artist can progress… noticeably.

The hardest thing about doing this on the computer is controlling the line, it’s a bit harder than controlling a pencil. And I’m just using a crude basic illustration program and my touch pad (no tablet, no pen), so you can imagine it’s a bit like trying to draw with a brick.

But what the hey.

I’ll take it slowly, like this is the first day of my life. And this my first drawing. I’ll try and do one at least every other day, we’ll see how that works out.

Hope you guys will keep checking in to see if I evolve out of awful. 🙂

Here is the first drawing. Try not to scream 🙂 :