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Barcelona Kicks Out Microsoft in Favor of Linux and Open Source   

Barcelona city administration has prepared the roadmap to migrate its existing system from Microsoft and proprietary software to Linux and Open Source software.

A Spanish newspaper, El País, has reported that the City of Barcelona is in the process of migrating its computer system to Open Source technologies.

According to the news report, the city plans to first replace all its user applications with alternative open source applications. This will go on until the only remaining proprietary software will be Windows where it will finally be replaced with a Linux distribution.

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Published on January 11, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Google quietly buys UK startup Redux that turns surfaces into speakers   

Redux developed technology that eliminated the need for small speakers in mobile phones

Alphabet's Google has quietly acquired a UK startup focused on technology that turns surfaces such as phone displays into speakers.

Redux developed technology that eliminates the need for small speakers in mobile phones, freeing up space for batteries or other components, the Cambridge based startup said on its now defunct website.

It is unclear when Alphabet  via an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google  acquired the company, but the transfer of shares of Redux's holding company, NVF Tech, to the US technology giant was confirmed on 13 December, according to UK regulatory filings.

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Published on January 11, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Windows security updates released January 3, 2018, and antivirus software   

Microsoft has identified a compatibility issue with al number of antivirus software products.

The compatibility issue arises when antivirus applications make unsupported calls into Windows kernel memory. These calls may cause stop errors (also known as blue screen errors) that make the device unable to boot. To help prevent stop errors that are caused by incompatible antivirus applications, Microsoft is only offering the Windows security updates that were released on January 3, 2018, to devices that are running antivirus software that is from partners who have confirmed that their software is compatible with the January 2018 Windows operating system security update.

If you have not been offered the security update, you may be running incompatible antivirus software,

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Published on January 9, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Protect your Windows devices against Spectre and Meltdown   

Microsoft is aware of new vulnerabilities in hardware processors named "Spectre" and "Meltdown". These are a newly discovered class of vulnerabilities based on a common chip architecture that, when originally designed, was created to speed up computers. The technical name is "speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities". You can learn more about these vulnerabilities at Google Project Zero.

Who is affected?

Affected chips include those manufactured by Intel, AMD, and ARM, which means all devices running Windows operating systems are potentially vulnerable (e.g., desktops, laptops, cloud servers, and smartphones). Devices running other operating systems such as Android, Chrome, iOS, and MacOS are also affected. We advise customers running these operating systems to seek guidance from those vendors.

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Published on January 9, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
The Best Linux Distributions for 2018   

It's a new year and the landscape of possibility is limitless for Linux. Whereas 2017 brought about some big changes to a number of Linux distributions, I believe 2018 will bring serious stability and market share growth for both the server and the desktop.

For those who might be looking to migrate to the open source platform (or those looking to switch it up), what are the best choices for the coming year? If you hop over to Distrowatch, you'll find a dizzying array of possibilities, some of which are on the rise, and some that are seeing quite the opposite effect.

So, which Linux distributions will 2018 favor? 

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Published on January 8, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Meltdown and Spectre chip exploits: What’s the difference?   

Multiple millions of computing devices worldwide are affected by two security vulnerabilities in processors, known as Meltdown and Spectre.

The fundamental flaws are present in chips manufactured by Intel, ARM and AMD, which are used in Apple, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Linux and Lenovo smartphones, computers and operating systems, among others.

Both flaws exploit a specific processor performance feature called speculative execution, but do so in slightly different ways. They also have the potential to affect data centres and devices that connect to the cloud.

There is currently no evidence anyone has abused either of the exploits.

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Published on January 6, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
What Users Must Know About Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Impacting CPUs   

Meltdown and Spectre are two vulnerabilities that impact almost all computers, tablets and smartphones on the earth. Does it mean you can be hacked? What can you do about it?

If you think 2017 was the year of security nightmares, 2018 looks to be even worse. The year has just started and we already have two major vulnerabilities impacting almost all the processors made in the last 20 years.

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Published on January 5, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Linux Mint 19 Release Date and Codename Has been Announced   

Linux Mint 19 Release Date and Codename

Brief: This is a continually updated article to inform you about Linux Mint 19 release date, features and everything important associated with it. 

Linux Mint 19 codename has just been released. The first release of the upcoming Linux Mint 19 series will be called "Tara".

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Published on January 4, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
INTEL WARNING - Security flaw discovered, but fixing it could MAJORLY slow PCs down   

Windows 10, Apple Mac and Linux fans have been warned about a security risk that reportedly affects Intel processors.

A "fundamental design flaw" was allegedly discovered with Intel chipsets, and it will spark major updates from operating software creators.

The Register reported that Microsoft are readying a Windows patch to address the issue as are Linux.

The Redmond-based tech giant is expected to launch a Windows fix in an upcoming Patch Tuesday.

However, it's claimed these patches will have a massive impact on performance - with the updates slowing down PCs by up to 30 per cent.

It's also claimed Apple's macOS will need to be updated to address the issues.

Apple's line of MacBooks all boast Intel processors, with their MacBook Pros featuring the Kaby Lake chipsets.

While Windows 10 laptops invariably have Intel processors instead of rival AMD chipsets. 

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Published on January 3, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Microsoft’s annual Laziness Tax on you   

Everyone hates taxes, but most people pay Microsoft's Laziness Tax every year.  Here's how to avoid paying extra.

Office 365 annual tribute fee for the Home plan is US$99.99 but you can pay around $75 for renewals.  The difference of around $25 is Microsoft's Laziness Tax.

It's the extra you pay for buying direct from Microsoft for Office 365 new and renewals without shopping around for a better price.

Renewals too

You don't have to renew direct with Microsoft.

Office 365 Home or Personal plans can be renewed by buying elsewhere and adding to your existing account.

Microsoft doesn't like to mention this, because they make too much extra from their Laziness Tax.  It's definitely allowed according to Microsoft's own Terms and Conditions for Office 365.

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Published on January 2, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
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