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LINUX PICKS AND PANS

Puzzle GNU/Linux: Integrated Pieces Create an Intriguing OS

Puzzle GNU/Linux is a strange OS distribution that shows the value of open source ingenuity. It is built around a hybrid desktop that is highly customizable. You might get the impression when you start using it that the desktop environment is a new creation. That would not be completely accurate. Pu...

NotCompatible Mobile Malware Gets Badder

A new version of the NotCompatible malware, which first appeared in 2012, is bigger, badder and pretty much indestructible, Lookout Security reported. And it can compromise corporate networks, thanks to the BYOD trend. The malware, called "NotCompatible C," focuses on Android devices. "Given this is...

Jolla’s Open Source Tablet Gets Crazy Crowd Love

Jolla, the company set up by former Nokia executives to keep the Meego operating system alive, raised more than $841,000 on Wednesday, the first day of its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. That's 221 percent of its goal of $380,000 -- and the campaign has 21 days to go, closing Dec. 9. Nearly 5,3...

REVIEW

Kano: The Can-Do Coding Kit for Kids of All Ages

"So simple a child could do it" -- I have heard that expression abused often in advertising. Yet it aptly applies to the Kano computer kit. Kano is a computer and coding kit that is suitable for all ages. Well, to be truthful, Kano's step-by-step instructions in the included booklets and its simplif...

The Power of Linux (Almost) Everywhere

Linux -- the free open source operating system for enterprise, small business and home computing use -- is not used everywhere yet. However, its user base crosses nearly every industry. Linux is in many places today. It's in consumer products like TVs and computer networking gear. Linux drives servi...

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Kano’s Alejandro Simon: If This, Then Do That

Imagine a world where playing Pong and Minecraft gives people the power to program their computers. That world is Kano. It took the idea behind Lego to teach computer programming by playing first-generation computer games. Kano launched on Kickstarter in November 2013. More than 13,000 people from s...

The Connected Car, Part 2: Wired For Wireless – It’s All Business

The connected car is a battlefield among technology purveyors fighting to get their hardware plugged into the vehicle's network bus. Open source technology is becoming a key contender. OEMs are sorting through a garage full of options from versions of embedded Linux to the Automotive Grade Linux dis...

New IoT Group to Get Devices Talking Among Themselves

Half a dozen companies this week launched the Open Interconnect Consortium to define the connectivity requirements and improve the interoperability of some 200 billion devices expected to make up the Internet of Things by 2020. The consortium will focus on defining a common communications framework ...

The Novena Open Hardware Laptop: A Hacker’s Dream Machine

Would you buy a high-end laptop built completely around open hardware and the Linux distro of your choice? Novena offers that opportunity, but it comes with an out-of-the-box experience that might be beyond the reach of the typical computer consumer. That said, the Novena laptop's experimental techn...

Researchers Find Android Security on Par With iOS

The open source Android operating system long has been considered by security experts to be the mobile OS most vulnerable to security threats, but iOS is just as vulnerable, Marble Security has found. However, the two OSes expose users to different types of threats. The perceived greater security of...

Samsung to Try Out Tizen Smartphone in Russia

Samsung this week officially launched its long-anticipated Tizen phone, at the Tizen Developer Conference being held in San Francisco through Wednesday. One description of Tizen is that it's an open source Linux-based operating system from Samsung -- but that might be open to debate. The Samsung Z T...

Heartbleed-Weary Tech Firms Show OpenSSL a Little Love

Remember Heartbleed? Several weeks ago, the exposure of this security bug chilled the Internet, highlighting once again that even the seemingly unbreakable can be hacked. In the case of the Heartbleed vulnerability, encrypted data was at risk of theft. Sites potentially vulnerable to Heartbleed urge...

Snowden’s Beloved Tails OS Reaches v1.0 Milestone

The volunteers who developed Tails, the open source operating system used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, this week released v1.0. This is the 36th stable release of the OS since the first public version, then called "Amnesia," was released in June 2009. Various security and bug fixes have been i...

REVIEW

Android-x86 Just Might Make a Good Linux Desktop Alternative

Working with the Android OS on a desktop computer environment takes personal computing in a new direction. How many will follow it remains to be seen. The release of Android-x86 version 4.4-RC1 (KitKat-x86) by the Android-x86 Project brings the viability of an Android distro as an alternative deskto...

ANDROID APP REVIEW

Aqua Mail Pro Beats Native Android Email Hands Down

If you've been thinking that there must be a better way to handle email than the email client supplied natively in Android, I bring good news: There is, and it's called "Aqua Mail." As things are right now, my on-device solutions are a bit of a mess. I have my Gmail-produced work emails appearing in...

APP REVIEW

Be-Bound Offers a Sip of Web in Data-Dry Deserts

As someone who regularly explores the back-roads of desert-adorned Southern California, I'm acutely aware of massive, gaping holes in wireless network coverage as soon as you leave blacktop in rural America. You can sometimes off-road all day out west with no mobile data coverage. Moments of connect...

ANDROID APP REVIEW

Setup’s Sharp Edges Don’t Mar TinCan’s Network-Free Messaging Potential

One lesson that's easy to learn if you've been through any natural disaster is that you shouldn't rely on classic means of communications like land lines, cellphones or Internet. Capacity gets challenged; infrastructure gets destroyed. Where I live, in brush-fire and earthquake-prone Southern Califo...

AllSeen Alliance to Standardize Internet of Things

The Linux Foundation on Tuesday announced the formation of the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry consortium working on a standard of interoperability among devices connected to the Internet of Things. LG will incorporate the Alliance's technology into the smart TVs it offers next year. The alliance...

ANDROID APP REVIEW

If You’re Jonesing for a 2nd Screen, Air Display Is a Nifty Fix

I was intrigued when I came across Air Display, an Android app that lets you use your tablet as a second screen. Second PC displays definitely boost work productivity. I've been using two displays for years, keeping my email client open all the time on the left screen -- a laptop display -- and work...

How to Back Up Data on Your Android Smartphone

We all back up our PCs, right? Okay, well, we should back up our PCs, right? Well, smartphones and tablets have become so ubiquitous that we need to back them up now too. It's time. Important photos, videos, contacts and music are now strewn across small, easy-to-lose, easy-to-break, highly...

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