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Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus - Oh Shucks ... it's Schuster!

updated May 4, 2016, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus
April 2021. This is when we'll see the very final end of support for the most weirdly named Ubuntu release yet, provided you stick with it that long. Will you, though? This is the cardinal question we will try to answer today.

Ubuntu is no stranger to Dedoimedo, with big ups and downs, fickle consistency, and overall, pretty good hardware support. The previous LTS, Trusty, behaved - and still does - really nicely, and has its beloved spot on my production systems. Can this new kid on the block usurp the throne from its papa? We shall see. The official list of surprises is long, but theory and practice don't always co-align. Let us rock.

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BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet - The heat is on

updated April 29, 2016, category: Software & security

Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet
Some investments are financial. Some are emotional. When it comes to Linux on tablets, my motives are mostly of the latter kind. I was super-excited to learn BQ was launching a tablet with Ubuntu, something that I have been waiting for a good solid three years now. We had the phone released last spring, and now there's a tablet. The cycle is almost complete.

Now, as you know, I was only mildly pleased with the Ubuntu phone. It is a very neat product, but it is not yet as good as the competitors, across all shades of the usability spectrum. But this tablet promises a lot. Full HD, desktop-touch continuum, seamless usage model, and more. Let us have a look.

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Taming Plasma

updated April 28, 2016, category: Software & security

Taming Plasma
How does one go about taming Plasma? Well, that seems to be a recurring question I get asked in the emails. People are really interested to know about theme, font, icon, and window decoration management in Plasma, and how it compares to the good ole KDE4. A valid question.

We already know quite a bit about this desktop environment. I was extremely keen on Plasma last year, and even crowned it my favorite for a while. We also talked about some neat tips and tricks on managing the desktop, so it's not a stranger. Now, we shall delve deeper into the aesthetics side of things.

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Rejection Report 1: Antergos and Neptune

updated April 25, 2016, category: Software & security

Rejection report 1
I really hate doing this, but I must. Having wasted about two hours of my life trying to get a bunch of distros to boot means I have to let that negative energy get released, and the only way is to write an article. And so begineth a new series, Rejection Report.

In this saga, I will report on all the different distros that giveth me grief and not alloweth me to boot them properly, either from USB or DVD or both. In any case, since I won't be able to give you all the goodies, I will give you a few baddies. And that's fair. Follow me.

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Windows 10 & GWX Control Panel

updated April 23, 2016, category: Software & security

GWX Control Panel
I have already shown you, not once but twice, how to get rid of the GWX popups offering free upgrades to Windows 10. You do that by assuming ownership of the namesake folder and files, changing their permissions, and then either deleting or renaming the objects. Then, we followed up with some registry tweaks and such. Advanced work, mostly.

But what if you're not comfortable with the steps above? You do not want to manually tamper, and that's a perfectly legitimate point of view. But you still do not wish to have that popup. To wit, let me introduce a tool called GWX Control Panel. Follow me.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick review - Half the price half the joy?

updated April 22, 2016, category: Software & security

Amazon Fire TV Stick
Not that long after purchasing Amazon Fire TV, I got an email telling me of a pre-release price for the Amazon Fire Stick, a Google Chromecast like competitor. With the price of only USD49.99 back then, and now USD39.99, I did the impulsive thing and bought it, much like I did with the HP tablet.

I sure didn't need it, and I wasn't all too impressed with Amazon Fire TV, mostly because of the very high cost of content, but I decided to give a try. Hence this little review. Let's see if the Stick can deliver the same experience as the Fire TV for about half the price. Or perchance, half the price half the delight?

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April security sensationalism and FUD

updated April 20, 2016, category: Software & security

Security sensationalism
If you happen to follow the security scene, you must have noticed a lot of buzz around various security issues discovered this month. Namely, a critical vulnerability in the Microsoft Graphics Component, as outlined in the MS16-039 bulletin, stories and rumors around something called Badlock bug, and risks associated using Firefox add-ons. All well and good, except it's nothing more than clickbait hype nonsense.

Reading the articles fueled my anger to such heights that I had to wait a day or two before writing this piece. Otherwise, it would have just been venom and expletives. But it is important to express myself and protect the Internet users from the torrent of pointless, amateurish, sensationalist wanna-be hackerish security diarrhea that has been produced this month. Follow me.

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Cities: Skylines - Let's go underground

updated April 18, 2016, category: Computer games

Cities: Skylines, underground
Cities: Skylines is my new favorite game. It's a modern reincarnation of SimCity, and it gives me great joy to partake in its chaotic simulation, fighting traffic demons and catering to my never-happy citizens. While there is still a lot of room for improvement, and the game has yet to reach that metropolis builder stage, it is an almost perfect little title for the entrepreneuring nerd in me.

One of the core challenges in Cities: Skylines is indeed urban traffic. You start small, humble and smart. You plan. At first, seemingly, everything is under control. But then, your city explodes, the population skyrockets, and all of a sudden, your highways can't cope, your trains are late, your industry is clamoring for raw material and services, and it's getting worse by the minute. Indeed, I dedicated a whole article to trying to solve traffic network issues, but we've only scratched the surface. Now, we will go below the surface.

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ROSA R7 Desktop Fresh review - Thorny fun

updated April 17, 2016, category: Software & security

ROSA R7 Desktop Fresh
ROSA is a distro with little love for Dedoimedo. Back in 2012, I was unable to achieve a happy ending while testing ROSA Marathon, as it flaked in the hardware detection space, precluding any further testing. This sort of does not come as a surprise, because Mandriva slash Mageia and subsequently ROSA stopped liking my laptops roughly five years ago.

If you recall my distro tests back in the T61 days, at some point, Mandriva, OpenMandriva, Mageia, PCLinuxOS, and a few other related distros, all stopped booting on my boxen. ROSA was a refreshing change, but it failed the Wireless test. I hit the hardware compatibility problem yet again with my new Lenovo IdeaPad. Today? Let's see.

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Universal Install Script by XKCD - Combat test

updated April 16, 2016, category: Software & security

Several days ago, I was gazing at the Universal Install Script comic by Randall Munroe, wondering if he may not have solved all the world's problems, save for the usual famine, war, poverty, education, corruption, and so on. But there's a certain appeal to having THE one script to rule them all, and in BASH-ness bind them. Yes, I was bored, so I thought, let's try it out.

This is going to be my attempt to run the Universal Install Script (UIS), not to be confused with the Unwarranted Self-Importance Syndrome, an affliction of many an Internet user, and then modify the script so it works smoothly, elegantly and without errors. Safely too. Let us.

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Renault Captur review - Captur the imagination

updated April 13, 2016, category: Car reviews

Renault Captur 1.5 dCI
I apologize for being cheesy. Now, a question. What do you get when you stretch a Renault Clio vertically? You get a mini SUV called Captur, which is the object of our scrutiny today. As it happens, during one of my visits to the British Empire, I got to drive a Renault Captur 1.5 dCI, a car designed to stimulate youthful and fun spirit in the modern urban driver, someone looking for the snug comfort of a small vehicle and the driving position slash status of an SUV/CUV owner.

While you will have to suffer as much as I did for the mere fact the steering column is located on the wrong side of the car, we can still try to make this a fun and engaging review. Let's see if this little thing can be a cool and exciting purchase. Follow me.

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Windows 10 GWX upgrade removal - second guide

updated April 11, 2016, category: Software & security

GWX removal, second guide
Hello children of the Internet. As you may well recall, sometime in mid-2015, Microsoft started offering free upgrades to Windows 10 for eligible Windows 7 and 8.1 users through a system tray utility called GWX. So far so good.

However, the one big issue with this tool was that you can't really defer or reject upgrades. The lack of user freedom and choice annoyed me so much that I wrote a thorough, angry guide on how to get rid of it, by changing ownership and permissions of its folders and files. Then, not that long ago, several readers emailed me, telling me my method was failing. Worried and alarmed, I set about testing and verifying. Hence this article.

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Linux Mint security - 28 days later

updated April 9, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint & security
Ignore the actual time count. Answer me this: When would you feel more secure, knowing that your favorite distribution has been attacked and is now under scrutiny, or thinking - or rather not thinking - that your Linux may have been a target of a dedicated attack? In other words, if there's a security problem, and you're not aware of it, are you not in fact a happier camper?

These two philosophical questions relate directly to the Linux Mint website breach in February, which resulted in a compromised ISO being served from the official domain. Since, the problem has been addressed, various security measure put in place to improve and ensure the robustness of the Mint domain, and normal operation resumed. But . is that good enough?

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How to remove Skype ads - New tutorial

updated April 7, 2016, category: Software & security

Skype & ads
Approx. three to four years ago, I wrote an article telling you how to remove the pesky Home screen and disable ads. The highlight of the previous guide was in changing your language settings to a user-defined one, as the company had no ads targeted at a geographically and culturally undefined demographics.

A lot has changed since. Skype has incremented its version to 7.X, we have Windows 10, there's more forced integration of commercially-flavored online features, and lo and behold, my quiet and peaceful Skype was showing ads all of a sudden, at the top of each and every conversation screen. This won't do. After me.

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Windows security updates with ads - Continued

updated April 4, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows security updates & ads
Several weeks ago, a big storm erupted over the Internet sea, after we learned that Microsoft has decided to bundle non-security fixes into their cumulative Internet Explorer patch. This was a first, and it created a rift in trust between the company and its users, already eroded by the Windows 10 shenanigans and whatnot.

I decided to do some testing of my own. So we have a precedent, and we have workarounds, but we don't have any real proof how this Windows 10 promo stuff fits into the cumulative updates, and how it's presented to users. Rather than let rumor and fear reign supreme, I expanded my testing to yet a third Windows box, this one without any protection from GWX. Let us see what gives.

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Pisi Linux 1.2 Xfce don't love me none

updated April 1, 2016, category: Software & security

Pisi Linux 1.2 Xfce
Several weeks ago, I was asked to review Pisi. This distro is a continuation of what the Pardus project was, which, for a brief while, I considered one of the most successful KDE4 versions on the market. Then it was gone.

Pisi came in its stead, and continued the work. As always, you get a very unique spin, and lots of custom-developed tools and features. On the one hand, admirable, on the other, somewhat tricky and confusing for mainstream users. Worth a shot? Let's take a look.

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Fedora 23 finally running on Lenovo G50-70! Results.

updated April 1, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora on Lenovo G50-70
I've done something I really really hate. No, I've not worn Crocs. I flashed the BIOS, or rather UEFI, on my Lenovo G50, which happens to be my test box de jour for most Linux distros out there. Except, as I've reported a while back, it's not fully supported by all operating systems.

The RH family was the most notorious among the bunch, and so I never got the chance to try Fedora on the laptop, which is a shame, because I really liked it, and I found it quite fun to use and play and whatnot. Only it never would boot. Just hang there like a frozen toad. But that has changed recently.

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Slow Windows Update? Here's a fix. Maybe.

updated March 31, 2016, category: Software & security

Slow Windows updates
Me haz noticed that, sometimes, quite often, the initial Windows Update discovery process takes a long time to complete. It depends on how many updates are available, how long it's been since the last full patch cycle, and what kind of hardware you have. But often as not, it takes a good 60-90 minutes to give you the list of updates you can install. During that entire time, svchost.exe sub-process of the WU executable eats a full CPU core worth of processing power. After that, the actual install is usually faster, if not really fast.

This rather inconsistent and somewhat annoying behavior of the WU discovery prompted me to try to find a solution to this issue. Searches, queries and forum questions led me to two rather long and exhaustive threads on Wilders and DSLReports, offering a wealth of suggestions and options. With a spare box awaiting testing, I set about exploring.

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I just pre-ordered the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet!

updated March 25, 2016, category: Software & security

Ubuntu tablet
Ladies ans gentlemen, I've just completed my pre-order for a spanking brand new full-HD BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet. This little gadget is going live in mid-April, and I think it will be an awesome little device, which shall provide much pleasure and joy to us geeks and Linux lovers.

This pre-order closes the loop on my long-standing desire to see Ubuntu devices take hold in the market, and last year, I got myself an Ubuntu smartphone, and shipped another to a winner of the Dedoimedo 2015 contest. You can read more about these endeavors in a separate bunch of articles in the Software section. Speaking of contests, I am going to release another book shortly, and there will be another read-to-win event coming soon, and yes, you guessed it, the winning prize will be an Ubuntu tablet! Stay tuned for updates.

2015 Contest Pre-order (external link)

Why not Arch Linux?

updated March 25, 2016, category: Software & security

Why not Arch Linux
Among billions of emails that I receive daily, a frequently recurring theme is that of my willingness, or rather, lack thereof, to test and review Arch Linux. Not a derivative with a nice and fancy GUI but the stock vanilla distro. Which made me write this article.

So, without sounding high and mighty, I'd like to discuss the more philosophical question of how and why and when certain distros get to enjoy my grace, and why Arch Linux in its naked, pure form has never gotten its due review. Not only will you get an answer to your question, but you may also learn something new extra in the process. Shall we?

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Opera 35 - A Swan Song?

updated March 26, 2016, category: Software & security

Opera 35
My recent review of Opera 12 was received with mixed feelings. Some people criticized me for using the highly outdated version available in Ubuntu/Mint repositories, while others used it as an opportunity to affirm their belief that this was the last true Opera.

Indeed, a lot has changed since early 2014. Two years have gone by and Opera has moved away from being a Jack o' all Internet Suites to a more streamlined, browser-only Chrome-a-feel product. The rendering engine has changed to WebKit, the feature set slimmed down, and, like Firefox, a big and unhappy loss of identity has happened, including little rejoicing and much forking. But does this matter? Let's find out.

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Fedora 23, Nvidia & Steam - Problems and fixes

updated March 25, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora & Nvidia & Steam
Recently, I've been hammering out a bunch of Fedora-related articles, and this is because I happen to be using this distro more and more, and liking it more and more. I have sort of tamed it, and while Gnome 3 still remains a challenge, it is no longer a painful nuisance.

We discussed Skype setup, extensions, and more. But the problem you are facing is as follows. You recently installed Nvidia drivers in your Fedora 23. Now, Steam no longer launches. It complains about libGL error: No matching fbConfigs or visuals found. What do you do now? This is a very important tutorial, so please pay attention. After me.

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Windows disk space usage - unknown files

updated March 23, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows disk space - unknown files
Where has all the good space gone, and where are all the bytes? Where's the street-wise nerd to free up my disks? Anyhow, recently, I've come across a rather bizarre disk usage problem on one of my Windows 7 boxes. The 120GB SSD was suddenly running short of space, even though it was supposed to be only about 50% utilized. I set about exploring.

The obvious choice for this kind of task is Windirstat, which we have seen in use about 18 months ago. It's a simple, no-nonsense tool, and it will display a detailed map and listing of all the files and folders. Except in my case, it wasn't really helpful. The presented data only amounted to about 60GB. But there was a big chunk, labeled unknown, occupying 55GB of its own. I had no idea what this was, but it looked like something that should not be there. So I set about exploring some more.

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Fedora 23 & Skype

updated March 21, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora & Skype
Fedora and I have recently had a breakthrough. We started talking again, and this happened because Gnome 3 decided to become an okay desktop environment that can be used, especially when pimped up with some extra extensions.

In my review, I used some third-party repos, and eventually easyLife, a tool for managing proprietary software under Fedora, to beef up the basic and rather boring installation. We crammed some fresh stuff into the system, including media codecs, GIMP, VLC, and even Steam. The one thing missing was Skype. We shall do that shortly.

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BMW 330d xDrive M Sport review - Fantastic

updated March 20, 2016, category: Car reviews

BMW 330d xDrive M Sport
True friends are hard to come by. True friends are far and few in between. There's a saying, a good friend will help you move. A true friend will help you move the bodies. The bestest and truest of friends will let you test-drive their ultra-brand new car. In this case, BMW 330d xDrive M Sport. As pimp-dope car as cars get.

And so we have this super-extensive review of this fine four-door saloon, tested on three separate occasions, with almost 2,000 km under its wheels. More than enough for a thorough and detailed impression. It should be interesting, because the car is powered with the same straight-six 2,993cc twin turbodiesel we saw in X3, delivering all its might to four wheels. If you ever thought diesels are slow and boring, think again.

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Windows security updates come with ads? Let's check.

updated March 18, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows security updates & ads
Sounds like a horror story. But this is exactly the premise of an article posted on Ghacks a few days ago. As it goes, there's a brand new cumulative security update for Internet Explorer 11, and it seems to come with a bunch of non-security updates, potentially designed to entice Windows 7 and Windows 8.X users to try Windows 10. If true, this would be a first.

Having non-essential, advertisement-laden content bundled with security updates is a sure way to invoke the wrath of the tech community, alienate users, and cause total and utter mayhem. But wait. Most people simply don't give a shit. However, the same way I gave you the GWX removal guide, I must give this rumor its due focus. Let's see if this is something you will need to worry about. After me.

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Leopard Flower firewall - Protect your bytes

updated March 16, 2016, category: Software & security

Several months ago, I decided to explore a somewhat obscure topic of outbound per-application firewall control in Linux. A concept that Windows users are well familiar with, it's been around for ages, providing Windows folks with a heightened sense of - if not practical factual - protection against rogues residing in their system and trying to phone home.

In Linux, things are a little different, but with the growing flux of Windows converts arriving at the sandy shores of open-source, the notion of need for outbound control of applications has also risen, giving birth to software designed to allay fears if not resolve problems. My first attempt to play with Leopard Flower and Douane was somewhat frustrating. Now, I'm going to revisit the test, focusing only on the former.

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Fedora, Gnome 3 & extensions - A quest of usability

updated March 14, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora & extensions
Late last year, I had an epiphany. Or rather a revelation. What happened was, cor, I tried Fedora 23 with Gnome 3, and it was so much better than I expected. Crivens, things were really working out nicely, the desktop was presentable, and the combo of external repos, Gnome Tweak Tool and some imagination lent some cool results.

But maybe we could be doing more. So much more, than falling in love. We're an all time Gnome, we'll change all that's sucked before. If you don't get the James Bond reference, please slap yourself. Indeed. Let's see how well my exploration into Gnome 3 extensions went. Yes. On Fedora. Follow me.

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KaOS 2016.01 review - The fallen angel

updated March 12, 2016, category: Software & security

KaOS 2016.01
It has been roughly a year since I last reviewed KaOS, a distro that is both independent as well as inspired by Arch and friends. In other words, it's one of those systems that defies logic, exists on nerdology, and still tries to be nice and friendly. A difficult task.

Last year, I thought KaOS was the second best Arch derivative, but things have changed since, and Manjaro has definitely made some really nice progress in this area, trading bugs and geeks for sensible usability. With the G50 laptop and its dreaded UEFI in hand, I set about exploring.

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Make Linux more professional: The list

updated March 11, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux & professionalism
After writing my War on Inconsistency article, and having gone through a bunch of Arch-based distro tests, all of which exhibited the same lack of coherence, stability and predictability, I thought about what should be done in the Linux space to make it more appealing to the wider audience. Not just from the application perspective. From the brand and image angle.

Diversity and uniqueness are important and possibly even conducive to progress and success, up to a point, but then, you cannot disregard all the things that people expect from a consumer product. Which, to a large extent, Linux isn't today. However, making everything work the exact same isn't really an answer either. We do need our KDE and Xfce and Gnome, but perhaps they can all behave less erratically and radiate a tiny bit more professional air. This is my current short list of what we can do, without compromising on all the little things that make Linux so special. 2016 edition. Yes, same old, same old, blah blah, we have seen this kind of list emerge every few years, etc. True. You do not need to read. If you do want, the rest of the text awaits you.

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The MX Toolbox: Big Tools for a Little Distro

updated March 9, 2016, category: Software & security

MX Tools
One of the most exciting things in the Linux world is discovering cool new things, especially when you do not expect them. For me, one such moment happened while testing the MX distro a while back, and finding out about the namesake toolbox of goodies packaged with the distro. And then again, recently, after my pleasant and positive experience with MX-15, the latest version of this system.

I was so engrossed with the concept and what the toolbox could do that I realized writing only a brief stint inside an already long and exhaustive review would diminish the value of the MX Tools. Which means there was a need for a separate article, and here we are.

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Partition Master review - Or maybe a servant?

updated March 7, 2016, category: Software & security

Partition Master
Four score and seven days ago, I was politely asked by the EaseUS team to review their partition software called Partition Master, a partition management program touted as a free alternative to Partition Magic. I've used the word partition too many times in this paragraph, I guess.

Why are you here? Yes, you might be considering a disk and partition management tool other than the basic set available in Windows, and this is one of the options on your list. Anyhow, let's see what gives. As with any commercial review, the necessary disclaimer is in place, and now we need to see whether the program is actually worth its price tag and all other accolades. To wit, after me.

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Sun is love, sun is life - AKA UV light freckles bullshit

updated March 5, 2016, category: Hillbilly physics

UV light experiment nonsense
The only thing that infuriates me more than people having pictures of their own children as a wallpaper on their work computer is when people with minus seven knowledge in physics and biology start preaching health and doom advice. To wit, the experiment where we see people under UV light, to supposedly prove how harmful sun can really be to our skin. I purposefully won't link to this crap.

Because I absolutely hate populistic topics without any solid background in science, I thought it would make sense to write this article. Rather than urge people to hide from the sun, I'd like to do quite the opposite. Highlight how ignorance breeds unnecessary fear, and point them into the lovely and glorious embrace of our star. Let us.

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Able2Extract PDF Converter 10 review

updated March 4, 2016, category: Software & security

Able2Extract PDF Converter 10
What's the defining characteristic of greatness? The ability to accept feedback. In other words, when you ask a reviewer to test your product, and they come back with a less than positive article, you do not balk. Instead, you read through, figure out whether the criticism was based on hard facts, and improve.

Which is why I was more than happy to give Investitech a second chance when they contacted me again. My initial impression with PDF Converter 9 was rather lukewarm, focused on the product's high price, slow conversion speed, various errors when converting to DOCX and ODT, and a few other niggles. This time, we have version 10 at our disposal. Let's see how it fared.

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Power Data Recovery review - Get your bytes back

updated March 2, 2016, category: Software & security

MiniTool Power Data Recovery
As you may or may not know, my review request queue is getting longer by the day. Most of the time, it takes me months, and sometimes even years to finally accommodate some of the stuff you ask, which could create an impression that you are being ignored. Far from it. Power Data Recovery by MiniTool is one such example.

I was asked by the dev team to take their software for a lengthy spin. Elevenish months later, I had the chance to install the program and start fiddling about. For those of you wondering, Power Data Recovery (PDR) version 7.0 is a tool designed to help Windows users, well, recover lost files and folders from damaged partitions, SD cards, find lost files, and such. Any good? Let's find out.

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MX-15 review - Highway to rad

updated February 29, 2016, category: Software & security

MX Linux MX-15 Xfce
My experience with sidux slash Mepis slash AntiX has been one of the more interesting road trips in the history of Linux. As they say in Latin, per contumelia ad laudem. At first, my honest opinion was ridiculed, but then people figured out I mean well, and they took my advice to heart, and MX got into the 2014 end of the year distro vote, and then kind of rose in popularity. And kept on rising.

The latest release I tested, version 14.3, was rather average, but there was a steady, promising incline of improvement. Now, we're about to embark on the test trek again, with some extra hurdles. Xfce against Lenovo G50, with UEFI, Secure Boot, GPT, 16 partitions, Windows and six or seven Linux distros - or in Latin, distra. Follow me.

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Reading comprehension is a big problem in open-source

updated February 24, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux & reading comprehension
Houston, we have a problem. Linux users can't read good [sic]. Zoolander reference. Word. What am I on about, and where can you buy some of the stuff, you be asking? You can't, it's all au naturale, Dedoimedo freerange extract.

To be serious, this topic is about the flow of information in the Linux world. After having a rather horrible autumn season of distro testing, I happened to come across commentary about my reviews on various forums and portal. It's always when the negative is being discussed, because articles that praise products never ever get any reaction from the wider community. To put it bluntly, the message was not coming across.

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The Hall of Fame expanded with a couple of new heavyweights

updated February 22, 2016, category: Hall of Fame

Greatest sites
Two more sites immortalized. Numero uno, Damn Interesting. As the site name claims, this domain is all about interesting, fascinating, mindboggling stories from science, history and philosophy, with occasional engineering. Which sounds like something practiced in dark alleys somewhere. The layout is unassuming, the frequency of updates quite low, but the deficiencies are more than compensated for with good content, and that's what matters.

Then, the second candidate. If you read British car magazines, two things will have become apparent to you over the years. No matter what vehicle is being reviewed, nothing drives as good as Mini, and nothing is as refined as Jag. This national pride creeps in almost everywhere, making objective judgment difficult. Not so with What Car? That's not a question, the question mark is an essential part of the site's name. Ahem. Yes.

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Stellarium - Space, the final frontier

updated February 20, 2016, category: Software & security

Six and a year years ago, I reviewed Stellarium for the first time, and I was quite impressed with the program. This educational piece of software is a free, cross-platform planetarium, offering fans of science and the Universe the unique ability to explore the sky without buying expensive equipment or lurking in and around observatories through long, cold, lonely nights.

Six years is infinity in technical terms, and just about the distance in light years to our nearest neighboring star, give or take a few odd trillion km here and there. And so, I've decided to review Stellarium once again, and see how it behaves and what it can do. WARP speed, engage!

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Ubuntu Gnome 15.10 - A pot of cold

updated February 19, 2016, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf Gnome
Something amazing happened after I tested Fedora 23. I stopped hating Gnome 3. For the past few years, I purposefully ignored it, unless testing a heavily veiled derivative like Zorin or Deepin, but now, I have no more beef, veal, or mutton with Gnome, and this is why I decided to give Ubuntu 15.10 with the Gnome desktop its chance.

As you already know, the autumn season has been more or less merde, so my expectations aren't too high. But perhaps this distro can redeem the family. Plus, it's been two months since, so we might as well see some of those ugly regressions fixed. Follow me.

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Remix OS 2.0 Alpha review

updated February 17, 2016, category: Software & security

Remix OS 2.0 Alpha
Can you think of a dangerous software combo? I can. An alpha version of Android-x86, available for testing. Now, to make things more complicated, the actual software is 64-bit, you can use it in both persistent and non-persistent modes, so your data is preserved between reboots, and I'm not sure what happens to your hard disks underneath.

Which is why I was very keen to test Remix OS, again based on a recommendation from a merry fellow named Mehdi, but I was hesitant to try it on any one of my production or even test laptops. Plus, Android, as a PC concept, has never quite captured my heart. To wit, we'll be having a virtual machine experiment, not so much to test performance and hardware compatibility, but more to showcase what Remix OS can do as an operating system. After me.

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More distro tests on Lenovo G50

updated February 15, 2016, category: Software & security

Lenovo G50 & distro support
If you are following my distro reviews, you have a pretty good understanding of how well different Linux distributions support a relatively brand-new laptop that comes loaded with a bunch of modern techno obstacles like UEFI, Secure Boot, GPT. To a point. Sometimes, correlating all that info can be tricky. Plus you may also think this article could be a boring rehash. Think again.

Some of it will definitely cover my experiences with the laptop in the last 7-8 months, but it will also mention a few new names, and also give you a broader perspective of the state of Linux hardware support toward the end of 2015, beginning of 2016. If anything, that's the one lesson that could be useful today. Shall we?

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Unixstickers sent me a package!

updated February 13, 2016, category: Software & security

There's an old, popular saying, beware geeks bearing gifts. But in this case, I was pleased to see an email in my inbox, from, asking me if I was interested in reviewing their products. I said ye, and a quick few days later, there was a surprise courier-delivered envelope waiting for me in the post. Coincidentally - or not - the whole thing happened close enough to the 2015 end-of-the-year holidays to classify as poetic justice.

On a slightly more serious note, Unixstickers is a company shipping T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, posters, pins, and stickers to UNIX and Linux aficionados worldwide. Having been identified one and acquired on the company's PR radar, I am now doing a first-of-a-kind Dedoimedo non-technical technical review of merchandise related to our favorite software. So not sure how it's gonna work out, but let's see.

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Cameyo V3 - Application virtualization, not this time

updated February 12, 2016, category: Software & security

Cameyo V3
Roughly four score and eight years ago, I mean a year and a half ago, I reviewed Cameyo, an application virtualization software that neatly packages Windows program installations into self-contained executables you can run on any machine. Sounds damn good, does it not. Indeed, I liked what Cameyo could do back then, as you may learn should you feel curious enough to follow the link.

Recently, I've been asked to test the new version, Cameyo V3. Which I did. As you will read in this review. Test platform, Windows 10 on my G50 laptop, after I've submitted it to a free upgrade from Windows 8. Not that I like it, but I'm doing all these things for you. I am doing everything for you, like Brian Adams. Only with operating systems rather than music. Follow me.

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Fedora 23 & Nvidia - Are we gonna have a good time?

updated February 8, 2016, category: Software & security

Fedora 23 & Nvidia
As you recall, a most remarkable thing happened about two months ago. Gnome 3 rejoined the circle of trust after being outside of it for a bunch of years, weeping, scratching at the glass like a zombie. Now, on top of Fedora 23, it is once again a rather decent, usable if not quite amazing desktop environment. Which means that Fedora has potential to be a distro de jour for me. Maybe, hopefully, finally, someday.

But for that to happen, we must have Nvidia's proprietary drivers installed. We talked about this before. I want to repeat the experiment, and see if Fedora 23 can deliver the same way some of its predecessors did. Given the fickle nature of the autumn crop, it makes for a very dire exercise. Let us. Let us.

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Windows 7 + USB 3.0 external hard disk disconnects

updated February 6, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 7 & USB 3.0 disconnects
The problem you are facing is as follows. You have a Windows 7 box, most likely a desktop, and you have a brand new external USB 3.0 hard disk, which is entirely powered using a cable. When you plug it into the computer, it's properly recognized, however it disconnects and then reconnects during sustained large file transfers. What now?

The bigger issue is that everything worked for a while, without any issues. And you can also successfully connect the hard disk using back USB ports on your motherboard. The problem only comes to bear when using the front ports. Anyhow, this is the long story short of your woes, and I'd like to give you a solution.

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SuperTuxKart - A simple recipe for simple fun

updated February 5, 2016, category: Computer games

It's been a while since I've done a proper Linux game review. The reasons being, we now have Steam, so there's less of a distinction between Windows and Linux. That division is now blurred, and we're past the free-only, indie-only games of yore. Good. That, however, does not mean you can't be having fun for free.

SuperTuxKart is one such title. It's nothing more than a point-and-shoot racer, arcade all the way, with you taking helm in one of the many funnily shaped vehicles and racing down some crazy tracks. Then, it's about taking on some opponents, in-game traps and perks, and gradually unlocking new levels as you make progress in the existing set. But let us explore in more depth.

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Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa Xfce - Absolutely fantastic

updated February 3, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa Xfce
Rosa and I had a rough start. Network-related regressions made the live session on my Lenovo G50 with its Linux-unfriendly Realtek card nigh impossible, I lost temper, and the distro scored zero. A few weeks after this fiasco, I calmed down, and upgraded the Rafaela setup, which turns out to be a top distro of 2015, to Rosa, without any issues.

Now, I want to give Rosa another chance. Xfce, and this time, on my older HP laptop, which still has a respectable 4 GB of RAM, four CPU threads, an Nvidia card, and a Broadcom Wireless adapter. In the distant past, it would sometimes give me trouble with this and that Ubuntu-based distro, especially when installed to external disks, so this is a great opportunity for Rosa to redeem herself. Let us.

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Rescue a FAT32-formatted disk with Linux

February 1, 2016, category: Software & security

FAT32 recovery, Linux
Here's a nice little story for you. Several days ago, while copying data from one of my Windows computers onto an external, USB-powered hard disk, the system suddenly threw an exception, complaining about an I/O error on the external device. The copy procedure failed, and when I re-plugged the disk back in, it showed as formatted.

Does this sound familiar? Well, it's usually how every and any story with a failed disk begins and often ends. The data is forever lost, and the disk goes to its special resting place in the digital heaven. But sometimes, you might be lucky. Let me tell how you I went about reviving this FAT32-formatted disk, using some neat Linux tools. Follow me.

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Opera 12 for Linux, I had to try

updated January 30, 2016, category: Software & security

Opera 12 for Linux
Strange, looking at the official website, the version for Windows reads 32. The version for Linux reads a whole 20 integers less. I wonder how, I wonder why, yesterday you told me, ah nevermind. I guess it's much like the Adobe (R) Flash Player thingie. Version 19 versus version 11.2 sort of thing. Linux is most likely not considered a priority, and it gets an older, outdated version. Skype, the same thing, too.

Well, that's not the point. What I wanted to do is, after many years of not using Opera, try and see if it could somehow show value worthy of inclusion in one's daily software repertoire. But then, if you've read my articles in the past decade, you know that I used Opera for a brief while and then dumped it after a few aggressive, borked updates. So I'm going to test a build that is probably irrelevant, and yet, it's all we have for Linux.

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Manjaro 15.12 Xfce - It started almighty but then

updated January 29, 2016, category: Software & security

Manjaro 15.12 Capella Xfce
I don't have too much luck with Arch-based distributions, it would seem. Netrunner Rolling failed me completely, and it wouldn't install. Several week after that first fiasco, Apricity OS did the same thing. Distro did a bad bad thing.

Now, I'm faced with a dilemma, as I'm about to test Manjaro 15.12 Xfce on my G50 laptop, which comes with UEFI, Secure Boot, GPT, and the rest of the uncanny stuff what trumped all these other distributions. But we shall not succumb, and we shall test on the beaches and in the fields. Avanti.

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More Windows 10 privacy with W10Privacy

updated January 27, 2016, category: Software & security

Windows 10 & W10Privacy
The more time I spend testing and exploring Windows 10 - so you don't have to - the more I realize how displeased I am with the overall package. Yes, in a nutshell, it's the same old stuff. You can just let it be, and that's it. In fact, for most people this is the sensible solution, and in general, if you don't trust a product, don't use it.

Still, as a proud member of the geek community, I do find the whole online integration, tracking nonsense detestable. It's not so much about whether anyone will be spying on your pointless existence, it's more the matter of principle. And since we like to invest energy in being angry for the sake of it, let's learn how we can make Windows 10 even less intrusive.

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Apricity OS 12.2015 review - Apre Trouble

updated January 25, 2016, category: Software & security

Apricity OS 12.2015
Linux, the final frontier. A fellow named Mehdi emailed me the name of this Linux distro for sampling, testing and review. Having already recommended a bunch of software in the past, with pretty good results, I thought this could be another enjoyable exercise.

To make everything all the more mindboggling, Apricity OS tell us it is based on Arch Linux, which means goats and blood and the essence of virgin nerds. Archy Arch and the Funky Byte. But maybe the dreadful can be abstracted into a nice and friendly product. Anyhow, version 12.2015 Beta, underway!

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Super Trouper, Take a Chance on Volvo XC60

updated January 20, 2016, category: Car reviews

Volvo XC60 T5 FWD R-Design
You must, you must forgive me my blatant cliche use of song lyrics in the title, but I just could not resist it. Anyhow, we are gathered here for a review of Volvo XC60, which we have seen in action in the Netherlands, taking us back and forth across the lowlands a merry number of times. We discussed the country, the roads, the driving experience, but we didn't delve too much into the car itself, which is why we have this article.

So, if you are wondering, Volvo XC60 T5 FWD is our test model, and it comes with the most elegant of trim levels, R-Design, which adds a sporty bite to the serene and classy image of what this car is meant to be. Indeed, if you are looking for a high seater with character and uniqueness, and you don't seem too keen on something like Toyota RAV4, whereas BMW X3 is either too posh or too mainstream for you, then maybe this could be a good choice. But we shall discover that soon. Please follow me.

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Cyberfox - Imitation of life

updated January 19, 2016, category: Software & security

I thought making a punny joke combining words cyber, sex and fox. Instead, I will just ask, what does the fox say. If you feel like kicking me in the face, I probably deserve it. Anyway, Cyberfox is a Windows-only derivative of Firefox, designed to address a variety of real and perceived gaps in Firefox, available in stores near you.

Indeed, if you've read my Firefox diatribe, which includes the article on its future, the Australis and Firefox 29 fiasco, as well as the directory tiles thingie, you must have noticed that I'm not quite pleased, however with a very happy development that brings hope to the game. But alternatives are far and few in between. Which is why we must gaze upon Cyberfox the way Sauron gazed toward Shire.

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Linux Mint: from Rafaela to Rosa

updated January 16, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa
You know I love Linux Mint. It is one of my favorite distros. Which made the Rosa disappointment all the more shocking. It was so bad it was almost a Rosawell Accident. See what I did there? Never mind, I have calmed down since, and now we're trying Mint 17.3 once again. Only this time, in a slightly different fashion.

Rather than booting from a live USB or whatnot, I am going to attempt an in-vivo upgrade, which is something that usually didn't work quite that well in the past. Linux Mint abstained from this thorny path for many years. Its parent Ubuntu sucked for a while, with dodgy upgrades, and then eventually Ubuntu worked just fine. So this is going to be a rather interesting exercise. Shall we?

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Netrunner 17 Horizon - Event Plasma

updated January 15, 2016, category: Software & security

Netrunner 17 Horizon
Tough is the life of a distro reviewer, at least has been in the last months of 2015. One bad distro after another. What is distro, baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more. That bad. Seriously, nothing good happened this autumn. Crazily, Fedora 23 with its GNOME desktop was the closest to being a sensible distro. A few others delivered okay, but when you expect mega wow, okay just isn't good enough. Oh yes, Netrunner Rolling scored zero.

So you can imagine my apprehension ere this review, wondering if I'm going to have another bad day fighting technology, regressions and retardation all combined. But let's be optimistic. The glass is half-full, even if I like to drink from the bottle. To wit, Netrunner 17 Horizon, tested on my G50 machine, alongside Windows and many a Linux.

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Assetto Corsa - Is this the real life?

updated January 9, 2016, category: Computer games

Assetto Corsa
Once upon a time, I used to be a fanboy for Live For Speed, a supremely cool and realistic racing simulator. Despite its age and humble graphics, I still merrily play the game quite often, enjoying the plethora of physics it offers. But then, quite recently, I discovered a new simulator called Assetto Corsa, and now I've become a fresh new fanboy yet again.

Why you ask? Because I've just cashed in USD300 dollars for a Logitech G27 steering wheel and pedals for a game that costs roughly USD50. This is equivalent to installing a 3K boombox in a 1994 Fiat Panda. I'm that much of a fanboy. And for a good reason, because Assetto Corsa is a blast.

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iPhone & iTunes sync - Don't want

updated January 8, 2016, category: Software & security

iPhone & iTunes
The singular great advantage of having a dedicated test machine is that you can afford to load it with potentially unwanted software without having to worry about changing or damaging your production setup. In my case, the Lenovo G50 laptop with its Windows 10 installation, among many other Linux distros residing on the disk, is the perfect test bed to try iTunes.

Why? Well, I have an iPhone 6. I got it as a gift, ergo free, and for the past 7-8 months, I've been testing and trialling it, conducting technology experiments as much as deep anthropological study into the human psyche and glamor affection. So far, I found it very much not to my liking. It's a great opportunistic camera, the hardware is great, but the day-to-day use is average. One aspect of vicious struggle is music, as I have briefly illustrated in my Rhythmbox article recently. Therefore, I decided to bite the bullet and try iTunes, to see if this software really makes that much of a difference when working with an Apple product. Follow me.

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Rhythmbox & iPhone sync - Improving

updated January 6, 2016, category: Software & security

Rhythmbox & iPhone
If you remember, roughly a year ago, I complained about Rhythmbox being useless and dangerous when it comes to syncing music on and off smartphones. Back then, I tested with my Lumia and an older S4 device, and in both cases, the media player did an awfully awful job. Fast forward a bunch of time.

Recently, during my Zorin OS 10 test, I was pleasantly surprised to notice the media player showing my gadgets more love. Most notably, iPhone, which is well known for being notorious when it comes to anything non-Apple. So here's a more detailed report.

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Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa - A wilted flower

updated January 4, 2016, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa
The R naming tradition continues. Linux Mint 17.3 comes with Rosa as its official title, and it is the latest release in this rather successful family of distros. Steady, stable, quite predictable, Mint has been in the top of the chart for a while, and quite often Dedoimedo's favorite. Rafaela, the previous edition, did quite well, almost taking the perfect score in the review.

Time to see if Rosa can deliver. After all, this distro season has been awful so far. Pretty much all and every release sucked big time, with some monumental regressions all over the place. Even openSUSE with Plasma couldn't redeem the situation. Horrible. But maybe Mint can save the day? Shall we?

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Pimping through the Netherlands in Volvo XC60

updated January 2, 2016, category: Car reviews

Eurotrip in Volvo XC60: The Netherlands
Let us drive across another country in Europe, shall we. This time, our destination is the Netherlands, not the Caribbean islands part mind, although that could be awesome, just north and west of Germany and Belgium, which we visited the last time. A flat country, with no driving obstacles, it should be fun.

Our transporter is Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design model, a compact luxury crossover, with a four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine, and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission going to the forward pair of wheels. We shall discuss the car in more detail in a separate review, as it merits all sorts of mention and gossip, but for the time being, let's focus on the country experience. Like that Dire Straits song. These mist-covered autobahns are a road now for me, but my home is the low lands and always will be. Yes, follow me. Three days, 771 km. Off we go.

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Firejail - Sandbox for Linux, wanna build a castle?

updated January 1, 2016, category: Software & security

When it comes to Linux security at home, things can be quite uneventful. So if you happen to switch from Windows to Linux, suddenly, you are left with this big gap in your sense of completeness, and you start looking for tools to relieve your unease. One such product is Firejail, a sandbox program designed to limit what processes can do.

The concept isn't new. You have SELinux, AppArmor, and Chrome, which comes with its own sandbox mechanism. The Linux kernel contains a whole bunch of cool features that help further segregate and isolate tasks from one another, and if you tap into this space, you end up with enhanced security. Or do you? Let's see what gives.

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And the best distro of 2015 is ...

updated December 30, 2015, category: Software & security

Best distro of 2015
Year 2015 was one of the most turbulent, troubling periods for Linux. It started with so much hope, so much goodness, and then it all crashes come the autumn season, with distros failing one after another, almost like trees succumbing to a flood. Whatever emotional metaphor works for you.

Now, though, we must put the pain and elation aside, and focus on voting the best distributions of 2015. There have been many, and while we did not have any great revolutions like the last time, it was an interesting year overall. So let's separate the wheat from the chaff, and the wit from the chav. Shall we?

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Social media will destroy your career

updated December 28, 2015, category: Life topics

Social media
Honestly, I tried to find a less sensational title for my article, but this was the only one that truly and simply summarizes the idea behind what we're going to discuss today. And it applies to the current generation of youngsters, people currently undergoing education or just starting their career in this world. Why? Because they are the first generation in human history that has or can have their entire lives documented. In digital format. Forever and ever.

Without sounding old and wise and all-knowing, although I am at least two out of three, I would like to shed light onto a phenomenon, perhaps even a problem, that is going to affect the lives of hundreds of millions for at least another twenty or thirty years. After that, it may go away or transform into something else. The problem? Social media being used to disqualify you.

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