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Los Angeles schools need to think outside the iPad

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Mac

Foisting computers on schools has been a lucrative business, one easily disguised as charity. Among Pearson’s allies is the Gates Foundation, which works alongside Microsoft’s education arm to promote the Common Core in schools and support libraries, with Microsoft software in hand. Gates’ competitor for the richest-person-in-the-world slot, Mexican telecom monopolist Carlos Slim, has proposed to bypass schools altogether by bankrolling the online-only Khan Academy. Now Rupert Murdoch is trying to enter the education tech business with a tablet of his own.

[...]

One might, for instance, consider replacing the iPad with a little device called a Raspberry Pi. About the size of a credit card, it’s a fully featured computer, though a keyboard and screen need to be plugged in separately. It comes as a single circuit board with no casing, which reflects its philosophy; the basic parts of the machine are plain for a student to see — the video card, the CPU, the power system, the USB ports. The nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation sells it for as little as $25, compared with $299 to $929 for an iPad. One Laptop per Child (OLPC), another nonprofit project, produces low-cost laptops and tablets with education in mind.

Software can be even cheaper. The Raspberry Pi and OLPC run on Linux, a free, open-source operating system, which is constantly being improved and expanded by thousands of programmers around the world. An enormous variety of free, community-developed programs, including fully featured office suites, graphics tools and games — as well as popular commercial programs such as Skype and Dropbox — can be installed on the device. Apple and Microsoft often tell us that open-source software is unreliable and unfriendly to use, but that hasn’t stopped Linux from being the basis of Android phones, many everyday appliances and most of the Internet. The computer I used to write this article runs Linux.

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Google plans multiple Android Wear updates as Apple's wearable looms

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Android
Google
Mac

Google's first update to Android Wear is coming this week, and several more will follow it before the end of the year as Google moves to quickly iterate on its new wearable software platform. In an interview with CNET, two leading Android engineers lay out what we should expect to see in some future updates. This first one sounds as though it may not be much — just some navigation and voice control improvements — but a few useful features are coming down the road. That includes Google officially beginning to support custom watch faces from third-party developers: some developers have already figured out how to build them, but Google is working on a toolkit for developers that will allow watch faces to easily be made. Google previously teased details of this in a Google+ post.

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Ten Linux Desktops Showing Just How Far Behind Mac OS X and Windows Designs Are

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Linux
Microsoft
Mac

Linux doesn't have any kind of PR, and in the collective mind of the people, there is still an impression that Linux users spend their time inside the terminal and in dreary desktops. In fact, most of the current Linux desktops are much better than anything made by Apple of Microsoft.

When a new operating system is launched from Microsoft or Apple, it stays pretty much the same as long as it's supported, and even when updates are released, the desktops change very little. On the other hand, Linux developers are pushing the boundaries of what can be done in an operating system every day, and new ideas and applications that enhance the desktop experience are popping up all the time, regardless of the OS devs are doing on their front.

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Android L vs. iOS 8: The Battle for the Best Mobile OS Begins

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Android
Mac

While Android users everywhere are rejoicing at the announcement of what is perhaps the biggest revamp to the open-source mobile operating system, Apple users are impatiently twiddling their fingers for iOS 8 to land on their smartphones. Following its own major revamp last year with iOS 7, Apple seems to have found its voice by letting go of skeuomorphism and following a more holistic design that measures up to the latest trends of "flat design". Also, iOS 8 is a huge stepping stone for "convergence" the big utopia major operating systems are aiming for today. Where does Android L stand on all of this? Well, it matches iOS 8 in pretty much every department. And that is what makes this mobile OS battle so exciting.

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The top 14 hidden features in Windows, iOS, and Android

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OS
Android
Microsoft
Mac

You may think you're a high-tech power user who knows all the nooks and crannies of Windows, iOS, and Android, but let's be realistic: There could be at least a few undocumented (or poorly documented) commands, control panels, and apps that have slipped by you—maybe more than a few.

We've dived deep into each OS to uncover the best hidden tips and tricks that can make you more productive—or make common tasks easier. Got a favorite undocumented tip to share with readers? Add them in the comments section at the end of the article.

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The OS LinuX Desktop

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Mac

Reader Oliver wanted to make his Linux Mint desktop look as much like a Mac as possible so others would find it easy to use. Given some of our previous Linux featured desktops, we know it wasn't tough, but the end-result still looks great. Here's how it's all set up.

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Android, iOS gobble up even more global smartphone share

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Android
Mac

According to IDC, the total combined market share of Android and iOS swelled to 96.4 percent during the second quarter, up from 92.6 percent a year ago. That left just 2.5 percent of the market to Windows Phone, down from 3.4 percent in a year’s time.

In part, that’s because the worldwide smartphone market swelled to 301.3 million phones, moving past 300 million phones for the first time in its history, according to IDC. That represents 25.3 percent growth from a year ago.

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Teachers explain why they’re ditching iPads for ‘much more useful’ Chromebooks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
Mac

As popular as the iPad has been for end consumers, schools have also been a major part of the tablet’s success. Ever since Apple launched the iPad in 2010, schools all over the country have experimented with placing them in classrooms or giving them to students to bring home with them. The Atlantic reports that although many institutions were initially satisfied with the results, many are now beginning to see the potential upshot of affordable laptops over expensive tablets.

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With Android L and iOS 8, is Ubuntu Phone OS Too Late to the Party?

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Android
Mac
Ubuntu

The party has begun. Everyone has arrived. The good ones, the bad ones, the pretty ones and the not-so-pretty ones are already here. Except for one. Yes, and it is the most promising one too. Android and iOS both have reached a level of maturity that has given them a huge stronghold over the mobile OS market space. Both of them have been for years, have millions of apps, and have a formidable presence that has managed to ward of competition even from big companies like Microsoft.

This battlefield for mobile operating systems is so heated up that even Samsung, who is one of the biggest mobile device makers in the world is having a hard time catching up with the latest trends. From flat design trend to perks for low-spec devices, both iOS and Android have conquered some of the major challenges that come in the way of making a great mobile operating system.

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China Issues Ban On iPad, MacBook Pro, And Other Apple Products For Government Use

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Mac

China seems to be on a mission to isolate itself from the world, at least in terms of technology. After banning Windows 8 on government PCs and raiding several of Microsoft's offices in China as part of an anti-trust investigation, Chinese officials have now prohibited to purchase of several Apple products for government use.

Reportedly, the list of banned Apple products include the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and half a dozen other items, all of which were left off of a final government procurement list distributed in July. Interestingly, they appeared on the same list in draft form just a month ago. It's no surprise really, when you consider the Chinese state media already declared the iPhone a "threat to national security."

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More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Making your OpenStack monitoring stack highly available using Open Source tools
    Operators tasked with maintaining production environments are relying on monitoring stacks to provide insight to resource usage and a heads-up to threats of downtime. Perhaps the most critical function of a monitoring stack is providing alerts which trigger mitigation steps to ensure an environment stays up and running. Downtime of services can be business-critical, and often has extremely high cost ramifications. Operators working in cloud environments are especially reliant on monitoring stacks due to the increase in potential inefficiency and downtime that comes with greater resource usage. The constant visibility of resources and alerts that a monitoring stack provides, makes it a fundamental component of any cloud.
  • InfraRed: Deploying and Testing Openstack just made easier!
  • The journey of a new OpenStack service in RDO
    When new contributors join RDO, they ask for recommendations about how to add new services and help RDO users to adopt it. This post is not a official policy document nor a detailed description about how to carry out some activities, but provides some high level recommendations to newcomers based on what I have learned and observed in the last year working in RDO.
  • Getting to know the essential OpenStack components better
  • Getting to know core components, speed mentoring, and more OpenStack news
  • Testing LibreOffice 5.3 Notebookbar
    I teach an online CSCI class about usability. The course is "The Usability of Open Source Software" and provides a background on free software and open source software, and uses that as a basis to teach usability. The rest of the class is a pretty standard CSCI usability class. We explore a few interesting cases in open source software as part of our discussion. And using open source software makes it really easy for the students to pick a program to study for their usability test final project.
  • [Older] Drupal member sent out after BDSM lifestyle revealed

    Drupal, like many other open source projects, has a stated goal of welcoming and accepting all people, no matter their heritage, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors.

  • Controversy Erupts in Open-Source Community After Developer's Sex Life Made Public
    Drupal is a popular open-source content-management system, used to build websites. Like many other open-source projects, Drupal is guided by several committees that are supposed to be accountable to the community and its code of conduct, which enshrines values like "be considerate" and "be respectful." Also like many other open-source projects, Drupal attracts all sorts of people, some of whom are eclectic. Last week, under murky circumstances, Drupal creator Dries Buytaert banned one of the project's technical and community leaders, Larry Garfield. Buytaert attributed the decision to aspects of Garfield's private sex life. Many Drupal users and developers are up in arms about the perceived injustice of the move, exacerbated by what they see as a lack of transparency.
  • HospitalRun: Open Source Software for the Developing World
    When open source software is used for global health and global relief work, its benefits shine bright. The benefits of open source become very clear when human health and human lives are on the line. In this YouTube video, hear Harrisburg, Pennsylvania software developer Joel Worrall explain about HospitalRun software – open source cloud-based software used at developing world healthcare facilities.
  • Scotland emphasises sharing and reuse of ICT
    Scotland’s public administrations should focus on common, shared technology platforms, according to the new digital strategy, published on 22 March. The government says it wants to develop “shared infrastructure, services and standards in collaboration with our public sector partners, to reduce costs and enable resources to be focused on front-line services.”
  • [Older] OpenSSL Re-licensing to Apache License v. 2.0 To Encourage Broader Use with Other FOSS Projects and Products

    OpenSSL Launches New Website to Organize Process, Seeks to Contact All Contributors

  • Austria state secretary promotes open data
    The State Secretary at Austria’s Federal Chancellery, Muna Duzdar, is encouraging the making available of government data as open data. “The administration must set an example and support the open data culture by giving society its data back”, the State Secretary for Digitalisation said in a statement.
  • Study: Hungary should redouble open data initiatives
    The government of Hungary should redouble its efforts to make public sector information available as open data, and actively help to create market opportunities, a government white paper recommends. The ‘White Paper on National Data Policy’ was approved by the government in December.
  • Williamson School Board OKs developing open source science curriculum
    Science textbooks may be a thing of the past in Williamson County Schools. The Williamson County school board approved a proposal Monday night to use open source science resources instead of science textbooks. The switch will require a team of nine teachers to spend a year developing an open source curriculum.
  • How Elsevier plans to sabotage Open Access
    It was a long and difficult road to get the major publishing houses to open up to open access, but in the end the Dutch universities got their much awaited ‘gold deal’ for open access. A recently revealed contract between Elsevier and the Dutch research institutes lays bare the retardant tactics the publishing giant employs to stifle the growth of open access.
  • #0: Introducing R^4
  • RcppTOML 0.1.2

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Monday
  • FedEx Will Pay You $5 to Install Flash on Your Machine
    FedEx is making you an offer you can’t afford to accept. It’s offering to give you $5 (actually, it’s a discount on orders over $30) if you’ll just install Adobe Flash on your machine. Nobody who knows anything about online security uses Flash anymore, except when it’s absolutely necessary. Why? Because Flash is the poster child for the “security-vulnerability-of-the-hour” club — a group that includes another Adobe product, Acrobat. How unsafe is Flash? Let’s put it this way: seven years ago, Steve Jobs announced that Flash was to be forever banned from Apple’s mobile products. One of the reasons he cited was a report from Symantec that “highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009.” Flash security hasn’t gotten any better since.
  • Every once in a while someone suggests to me that curl and libcurl would do better if rewritten in a “safe language”
  • An insecure dishwasher has entered the IoT war against humanity

    Regel says that he has contacted Miele on a number of occasions about the issue, but had failed to get a response to his missives, and this has no updated information on the vulnerability.

    He added, bleakly that "we are not aware of an actual fix."

  • Monday Witness: It's Time to Reconize a Civil Right Not to be Connected
    Along with death and taxes, two things appear inevitable. The first is that Internet of Things devices will not only be built into everything we can imagine, but into everything we can't as well. The second is that IoT devices will have wholly inadequate security, if they have any security at all. Even with strong defenses, there is the likelihood that governmental agencies will gain covert access to IoT devices anyway. What this says to me is that we need a law that guarantees consumers the right to buy versions of products that are not wirelessly enabled at all.
  • Remember kids, if you're going to disclose, disclose responsibly!
    If you pay any attention to the security universe, you're aware that Tavis Ormandy is basically on fire right now with his security research. He found the Cloudflare data leak issue a few weeks back, and is currently going to town on LastPass. The LastPass crew seems to be dealing with this pretty well, I'm not seeing a lot of complaining, mostly just info and fixes which is the right way to do these things.

Lightroom and Darktable: the verdict two years after switching

In summer 2015, I posted a detailed account of my tentative switch from Windows7 and Lightroom to Linux and Darktable. This was sparked by sudden crashes that were afflicting my system, but in a deeper sense grew from frustration with Windows and, to a lesser degree, with Lightroom. Once I headed for Linux, I decided to plunge in fully and commit to using Ubuntu and free, open-source photo software for several months – at least until the end of that year. That would give me a chance to see whether I could actually run my photography business on the new system. Read more

7 Linux Mainstream Distros Alternatives

Linux Mainstream Distros are quite popular as they have a large number of developers working on them as well as a large number of users using them. In addition, these distros also have strong support system. People often search alternatives for Linux Mainstream Distros but often get confused about which is the best one for them. So listed below are 7 best Linux mainstream distros alternative choices for you. Read more