Linux Mint Update

I consider myself a longtime novice Linux user. I have enjoyed using Linux OS’s since I discovered them 20 years ago and I always watch to see what is changed with each upgrade of the various distributions of it. For years now I have found Linux Mint to the be the best for me, it just works from the start and always has.

Today I decided to update the programs in it and I found a new (to me) button in the update program, Update to Tricia. (Linux Mint uses names for each new version) In the past it was not possible to update the distro without re-installing the whole system and it was not suggested for stable system users. But this new button offered to update the whole distro to the newest version and did so quickly, took me less than 15 minutes.

I can’t say I saw all the changes, I had updated many of the program changes myself before doing this. But it does seem to have cleaned things up a bit and the boot time is less and the icon and artwork is cleaner. I like it!

Bitwarden Password Manager

Bitwarden

A few months ago I wrote about LastPass. My view for the need of a password keeper hasn’t changed but I have changed a little about LastPass and discovered Bitwarden an open-source program it does the same thing.

Some years ago last pass was bought by LogMeIn and it increased its yearly rate from $12 to $36 for the paid version. I used to pay $12 a year and found that reasonable but 36 is a stretch. A short search for reviews of Logmein shows that it has been behaving much like the old AOL it’s hard to stop their service once you begin paying for it. Basically, the only way to stop is to cancel whatever credit card was used to pay for it.

Bitwarden is an open-source program. For me that’s a plus. And after using it several weeks I found it behaves pretty much the same as Lastpass. When you register at a new site it offers to keep your information, and also offers a password generator to create a secure password for you.

Lastpass

lastpass

On any system there are tools I feel I always need, Lasspass is one of those tools.

Using computers means using security and that means passwords. And good passwords are about impossible to remember, so, Lastpass. Make one GOOD password you will remember and Lasspass will help you make good ones for all the sites you visit and it will remember them. Even better once it has your login information and you have logged into it visiting a site will just mean opening the site and hitting Login, the information will already be in their fields.

My new (used) Chromebook

It’s been two weeks now since I bought a Chromebook on Craigslist. I have thought about it for some time, one I had seen at my PC User group meeting looked like it might be useful. I was waiting to see one for less than $100 and a Samsung showed up and I bought it.

The first thing I noticed was how quickly it started. Flash memory replaces the hard drive, no moving parts!

The second was the keyboard is not a normal PC board. The F keys are not labeled, there are no pgup and pgdn keys, no Home or End keys. It took a a while to discover ctrl-alt-/ would bring up a help screen including key combinations to handle these functions.

Now that two weeks have passed I found I really like this little thing. It does all that a good Android does but it has a keyboard. It runs any app the Play Store has so I can log into my desktop and run Linux or Windows programs with them but most of what I need to do works in a web browser and using Google’s Suite and drive I can handle all I need to do.

liveusb-creator 

As windows gets further from simple, Linux is becoming more viable for the “rest” of us. This is a simple way to make a bootable USB of Fedora or Sugar On A Stick for trying or installing these systems.

If you use a computer a lot it is worth considering these options.

Source: liveusb-creator

Windows Tradeup

Windows Tradeup

Right now Microsoft wants you to upgrade to Windows 10 so much they will buy your old computer (or MAC!) to get you to use 10 in a new computer. Follow the link above to read the details. If one of the reasons you have been delaying your Windows 10 upgrade has been concern your machine may not be new enough to work well with it, here is an opportunity to get a discount on a new machine.

Offline Blog Editing Tools

If you are not already keeping a Blog of your own you may be finding you are soon to be a minority.

It has become so easy to create one now the complex part is actually wring in it, and this article is about new ways to create or edit Blogs from other programs, offline so to speak.

The first I’ll describe is one I am trialing to make this part of this post. It’s a freebie from Microsoft called Windows Live Writer.

 

windows_live_writer_thumbI am trying to demonstrate how it will handle images very nicely, it even adds the show effect on the graphic you see.

Because it is a Microsoft product it handles inserting info from all the Microsoft services (which I am not a big fan, MS maps, video sites instead of YouTube and Flickr and Google Maps).

For a Windows product, it’s not bad.

Google Reader Upgrade

Google Reader (100+)

Today Google updated their page format of Google Reader. It now can look much more like Bloglines or Pluck in addition to its old style of display.

Personnaly I think this is a great improvement once again making Google the big bully on the web, M$ is falling backward again.

Consider this a top recommendation from me, I think Google really made something useful here!

Folder View

Folder View – Official Home

Folder View is a free (freeware) add-on for Windows that drastically enhances the way you browse the folders on your system. Files are often scattered around many different folders on the harddisk and locations on the network. Every time you want to copy, move, open or save a file, this situation leads you to a quest through levels of folders.
Click for large view

I haven’t tried this yet, but only becuase I have been using Windows Explorer replacements for some time. If Eplorer did these things I might use it again. (Linux has had this all along. )

Make Firefox Faster at Forever Geek

Make Firefox Faster at Forever Geek

If you aren’t using firefox and you have been reading my blogs, you have learned nothing. 🙂

If you are this link from forevergeek.com has a very good suggestion on how to speed firefox’s browsing. It is for broadband (cable/DSL) connections and basically tells you haw to make Firefox load more than one page file at a time, much like the download Managers do. So instead of pulling in the HTML page, and each graphic one at a time you will pull in up to 30 items at once.

It works!

I made the move to Firefox/Thunderbird

I actually moved to using Firefox back in version .8 and I *HIGHLY* recommend it. For many reasons, security, features, speed, to name a few I find Firefox browser much better than MS Internet Explorer or it’s derivatives. (I used Netcaptor which was a fuller featured IE instead of IE before I upgraded to Firefox.)

Several months ago I switched mail programs from MS Outlook to MozillaMail, part of the Mozilla Suite. I liked Mozilla and wondered what the value of switching again to Firefox/Thunderbird would be. About a month ago I began switching to Firefox as Browser and kept using MozillaMail. The only drawback I found was clicking a weblink in MozillaMail always uses the Mozilla Browser, even when Firefox was ‘default’ browser.

Now I have everything working in the latest Firefox/Thunderbird combination and I’m finding I like it a lot.

The one thing I liked about MS Outlook was its calendaring ability. The Mozilla Suite has a Calendar that I found adequate and it is now available as a stand-alone program, Sunbird. It is an ical compatible program (meaning it uses a format MAC’s have used all along) and while I’m not yet as accustomed to it as I was the Outlook Calendar, I think its going to work for me.

All programs are under constant development and this Open Source program I will call ‘Ready for Prime Time’ and are recommendations from me. 🙂

Miranda Instant Messenger

Miranda Instant Messenger

If you use Yahoo IM or AOL IM or MSN IM or ICQ or Jabber or just want in house network IM this is one handy Open Source (No Charge!) Internet Messenging client.

I have a few people on each service that I like to stay in touch with but its memory (resource) intensive to run all the brand name clients so I was looking for some way to have them all in one.

Actually I have been using Trillian for this purpose for several years and it has a free version which works well but you really need to buy their Pro version to get full use of it. It is very good, but my $ is going to medicine and food these days, so a little more searching led me to Miranda.

Miranda has loads of Plugins that will not only let it interact with other IM servers but has added features for RSS feeds, Weather feeds, Stock feeds and more. It’s not as easy as prehaps the Yahoo IM itself to set all this up, but its not unreasonable either.

This is now one of my standards for OS Setups.