Alternative App Stores for Linux

"It's clean, sleek, and does what it says on the tin; however, as a FOSS enthusiast you might be looking for something different. If that's the case, then we have for you a list of alternative app stores for Linux that will help you get the software you need instantly."

Android 4.4 vs. iOS 7

"The reason both iOS and Android are the top is solely because of their amazing operating systems. That's why no Apple vs. Android fight is complete without a comparison between their operating systems. So, here we are with a sweet comparison between Android 4.4 KitKat and iOS 7."

How to Install Netflix on Linux

"As omnipresent as Netflix is, it is not officially available on Linux yet. Thankfully, though, developers have come up with unofficial versions of the app. In this article, we'll show you ways to get Netflix working -- using these unofficial versions -- on your Ubuntu or Fedora desktop."

Ubuntu Phone OS vs. Mozilla Firefox OS

"Other minor players are also emerging; however, the ones most people are watching out for are Ubuntu Phone OS and Mozilla Firefox OS. These two operating systems, which offer completely different approaches to mobile computing, are almost ready to cause a disruption in the mobile market. But which one is the better of the two? Well, let's find out."

Get the Flat UI Look on Your Ubuntu Desktop

"If you're a Linux user, you might have noticed that your Ubuntu setup doesn't really live up to the flat trends. While some elements of Nautilus have moved in that direction, it isn't really the "look" you're looking for. Thankfully, in the Linux world, there's an answer to your every prayer."

As far as cloud-based applications go, the market seems to be very competitive. With the recent OneDrive controversy, users are becoming much more conscious about how and where they invest their valuable data. Pricing changes or changes in business models have started to backfire against companies pretty quickly. In other words, cloud-based applications are no longer second-class citizens on the desktop. In fact, they have become a solid business model that big companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple heavily rely on.


Now that the cloud has become an end-user commodity rather than a product that was meant for data giants, companies are trying hard to increase the outreach of their cloud services to clients across all platforms. One such attempt is to bring more Linux users to the party by treating Linux-based desktops at the same level as their Windows and Mac counterparts. Many cloud-focused companies have already made available well-supported Linux clients for their services. This, in turn, has made Linux as a lucrative platform for people who dual boot or switch their computers a lot. That way, they can enjoy all their important files on Windows at work and Linux at home. It's a win-win situation for both parties.

Today, we will be focusing on a few such cloud-based applications that work natively on Linux without any major glitches or bugs. 


Insync

While we waxed eloquent about the cloud-based applications available on Linux right now, we would be more than glad to leave out Google's name in this case. The search giant has already angered a lot of Linux users lately over their lack of support for the penguinian desktop. While the Google Drive client seems to be well-supported on Windows, Mac, and Android, the Linux desktop has largely been ignored for more than a year.

Thankfully, some great alternatives have emerged to make sure that Linux users don't miss out on the amazing service. Insync is one such alternative. The application comes with a host of features that even the official Google Drive client doesn't offer. Features like command-line usage, Raspberry Pi usage, feed of file changes, and multiple accounts are present in this application. However, unlike Google's client, it's not free. The developers charge about a one-time $20 fee for downloading and installing the application. If you are someone who relies heavily on Google Drive and your Linux desktop, this is worth paying for.

More about Insync HERE.


Copy

Copy is an often-forgotten application in the small list of cloud-based services on this platform. What separates this app from its competitors is its focus on providing a cross-platform syncing solution with a focus on security and privacy. While it is not as secure as SpiderOak, it does, however, make security a priority. Another great thing about Copy is that it is generous when it comes to providing storage space. While Dropbox offers a meager 5 GB for starters, Copy gives you 15 GBs of storage space to begin with. Overall, it is a great backup solution if you're looking for something new and fresh.


Dropbox

Dropbox is the tried and tested solution for Linux users that has worked well in the past and continues to work well even now. It offers a stable and powerful interface that is at par with its clients on Windows and Mac. Furthermore, the support and the steady stream of updates the Linux client gets makes it a great default cloud solution for many users. Whether you are a new Linux user or a penguinian ninja, you'll have no trouble getting used to Dropbox.

More about Dropbox HERE.


SpiderOak One

These days, securing the data you store on cloud has become a number one priority for many uses. Furthermore, there is one more area where companies are a bit nebulous in their offerings towards their customers, and that is privacy. SpiderkOak is a company that plans to change that. Their service has a strong focus on keeping your data safe and secure and making sure that no one other than you can access it. By providing adequate security measures, SpiderOak is designed in such ways that not even the company's employees are allowed to access your data. The best thing about SpiderOak is that it works perfectly on Linux and can even be accessed via command line (for those terminal junkies out there).

More about SpiderOak HERE.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

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Popular Hollywood Movies that Utilizes Linux

Posted by jun auza On 3/10/2016
Hollywood, with all its glitz and glamour, seems like the last place you'll find the mighty penguin's influence. Well thankfully for all Linux fans, the truth is quite the opposite. The open source operating system has played a key role in turning many directorial dreams into silver screen successes. What attracts the billion-dollar industry to this 'free as in free beer' operating system is not its price. In fact, it is Linux's unmatched performance is what makes it the preferred choice over some of the top-of-the-line operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X.


Be it screenwriting, animation, editing, or post production, Linux can be used in pretty much every department involved in the making of a major motion picture. If you're wondering where exactly the mighty penguin has impacted Los Angeles, sit tight as we list some of the most prominent examples of Linuxian influence in Hollywood movies.


Scooby-Doo (The Movie)

Scooby-Doo was a popular 2002 flick by Warner Brothers starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. Adapted from the popular cartoon series, this was the first live action movie in the franchise. Since the success of the movie relied on portraying an animated dog, and not just any dog, but the mighty Scooby Doo himself, the pressures were high. And this, my friends, is the scene wherein Linux steps in to save the day.

Animators of the post-production studio Rhythm & Hues used about a hundred Linux desktops to make the popular Hannah-Barbara look as realistic as possible. Using Film Gimp (now Cinepaint http://www.cinepaint.org/ ) and other proprietary Linux-based tools, the open-source desktop was a key contributor to the movie's success. No wonder, Scooby-Doo was the 15th most successful film of 2012 with an official box-office gross of more than $275 millions.




Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 Oscar-nominated movie that has grossed over $122 million so far. On June 3rd 2002, in a press release, HP announced that Linux played a critical role in the production of the movie. It was also the first movie to place Linux in the hands of animators giving them power to create a unique blend of 2D and 3D animation. Furthermore, it also helped power Dreamworks' proprietary 2D animation software Toonshooter thanks to HP's high-power Linux workstations. 

Karen Duffin from HP had the following to say about Linux:

"This deal also signifies a larger emerging trend - the shift in Hollywood
from proprietary (a la SGI's IRIX systems) to open source platforms, and
HP's leading role in this evolution.  Many of the major studios are moving
over to Linux, but DreamWorks is pioneering this movement. The evolving
relationship between HP and DreamWorks and the movies emerging from the
multi-year alliance is indicative of this movement."

Source: https://lwn.net/Articles/1712/


 

Shrek the Third

Shrek the Third is another great movie where Linux was involved in the making. Released in 2007, the third installment of the popular animated movie franchise grossed over 322 million dollars at the box office. DreamWorks with their powerhouse animation backend of more than 1,000 desktops and more than 3,000 server CPUs relied heavily on Linux for bringing the movie to fruition. What was more important was that Shrek pushed the limits of where animation can go with the accurate detailing of the models' hair and flow dresses. Furthermore, the movie also included lighting and effects that were rarely found in movies at that time. You can read more about the involvement of Linux in the movie on a Linux Journal article.




Titanic

Probably one of the biggest movies ever made, Titanic ranks amongst the movies with the best special effects. According to Box Office mojo, the current worldwide gross of the Oscar-winning masterpiece stands at a whopping $2,186,772,302. And yes, here too, Linux had a big part to play in the making of the film. Titanic, as you may know, relied heavily on the use of visual effects. A risky move at that time considering they had to create a complete ship from the ground up and everything from the water to the flag on the ship was to be pure CGI. Despite having a lot of choices in the operating systems department, no other OS proved as powerful as Linux to give birth to one of the biggest cinematic experiences of the decade.  

Digital Domain, the company responsible for the visual effects of Titanic had the following to say about Linux:

"The Linux systems worked incredibly well for our problems. The cost benefit was overwhelmingly positive even including the engineering resources we devoted to the problems. The Alpha Linux turned out to be slightly more difficult than first expected, but the state of Alpha Linux is improving very rapidly and should be substantially better now.

Digital Domain will continue to improve and expand the tools we have available on these systems. We are engendering the development of more commercial and in-house applications available on Linux. We are requesting that vendors port their applications and libraries. At this time, the Linux systems are only used for batch processing, but we expect our compositing software to be used interactively by our digital artists. This software does not require dedicated acceleration hardware, and the speed provided by the Alpha processor is a great benefit to productivity." 



Conclusion

Time and again, Linux has played a huge role in successes of many Hollywood blockbusters and continues to do so till this day. It is not just the low cost that has made Linux such an attractive choice for high-profile media studios, it is also the unmatched performance it offers that easily outshines what Apple or Microsoft offers.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.


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When it comes to taking notes on the go, there are many solutions you can try out. You can carry a small notepad, you could take notes in a simple text file, or you could try out any app from the thousands of choices the Android Play Store offers. While there seems to be no dearth of good choices in this department, apps that are truly cross-platform are hard to find. That's why, in today's article, we'll help you find apps that you can use to take notes and refer to them from everywhere.


OneNote

OneNote is Microsoft's heavily publicized note-taking application. It is a simple, easy-to-use service that ties in perfectly with MS Office Suite of desktop tools. Compared to Evernote, OneNote stacks up quite well with its easy-to-use interface and cross-platform capabilities. You can take and access your notes on desktop, web, mobile, and tablets. The interface conforms to Microsoft's popular ribbon UI and anyone who has used MS Word or MS Excel (2013+) would have no trouble getting started with it. The best thing of all is that OneNote is entirely free to use with no premium tiers or restrictions.  Much like Evernote, there isn't a Linux version for OneNote. However, having tried the web version myself for about a few months now, Linux users won't be missing out on much.

Pricing: Free
Publisher: Microsoft
OpenSource: No
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Web, Mobile
Website: www.onenote.com



Evernote

Evernote is a frontrunner in the race for being one of the best cross-platform note-taking applications out there. It is stable, works across all major platforms, and has excellent features that are useful for users from all backgrounds. What's great about this application is that it seamlessly syncs all your data across all platforms. Be it bills, receipts, or even a complete novel, you can store pretty much everything in your Evernote account without having to worry about data loss. While there isn't a Linux version for this service yet, there are a couple of third-party applications you can try that will let you access your notes on Ubuntu and other distributions. Once such application is Nevernote, an open-source clone of Evernote ( http://nevernote.sourceforge.net/). The app provides a basic interface for accessing your notes and creating new ones. Other than that, you won't find any bells and whistles you usually find on the Windows or Mac application. The basic version is free to install and use and is enough for anyone who's looking for a solid cross-platform note taking solution.

Pricing: Free for Basic, $24.99 per year for Plus, $49.99 per year for Professional
Publisher: Evernote Corporation
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Web, Mobile
Website: www.evernote.com



Simplenote

Simplenote has been around for quite a while now. However, it never really got the attention it deserved. Its lightweight, clean interface is something that makes it stand apart from other feature-heavy applications and services. The application has a web-based interface and has apps that work perfectly well on iOS and Android. Simplenote, by living up to its name, ensures that you get the bare minimum features you need from a cross-platform note editor. That said, as simple as it is, the service supports Markdown thus letting you publish your notes on the web and share them with your friends and coworkers. Overall, Simplenote stands apart not only as a great note-taking tool but also an effective productivity app.

Pricing: Free
Publisher: Automattic
Platforms: Mac, Web, Mobile
Website: www.simplenote.com



Google Keep

Google Keep is the search giant's way of letting you know that it has its tentacles spread across all areas of your life. Just kidding. If you're an avid note-taker and are looking for something that ties in well with the Google ecosystem, this is an app you must try. It's simple, colorful, and does the job pretty well. You can group your notes in categories and tag them with different colors. Furthermore, it also allows you to show notes based on your location, thus letting you remember anything you have to buy whilst going out shopping.

Pricing: Free
Publisher: Google
Platforms: Web, Mobile, Chrome-based apps for Windows, Mac, Linux
Website: https://keep.google.com/



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5 of the Best Raspberry Pi Projects Out There

Posted by jun auza On 1/03/2016
Raspberry Pi, when first launched about two years ago, became an instant phenomenon. After all, who could have thought of a $35 computer that lets you browse the web and does most of your office work? What is even more surprising is the reception it got from average users. Usually, one would expect a bare-minimum $35 board computer that runs Linux to be popular only among developers or geeks. However, as many as 100,000 Raspberry Pi units were sold on the day of its launch eventually selling more than 2.5 million units till date.


Completely open-source, Raspberry Pi lets you do most of the basic tasks you'd normally do on a full-fledged desktop. You can browse the web, you can create documents, and you can even play music and watch videos. When it comes to desktop computers, Raspberry Pi is a veritable "Starter's Edition."  Since its inception, the project has made common computing available to parts of the world where owning a desktop was once considered a luxury. Moreover, it has also spurred a flurry of interesting projects that take this tiny superboard to a whole new level. If you are ready to show your creative, geeky side, then read on as we cover some of the best Raspberry Pi projects out there.


1. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Low-cost Coding Tutor for Kids

We've already covered a list of the best programming courses out there. However, as good as these courses are, learning programming can be a tough ordeal for kids who need a more hands-on approach to code. Instead of letting them mess up your production computer, you can buy them a little Raspberry Pi box, hook it up to a monitor, and let them code their heart away. A good programming language that's up to this task is Scratch that turns programming into an activity that's geared towards kids, making the whole process fun and enjoyable to them. In fact, this combination of Pi and Scratch can make programming accessible to places where kids who don't have the privilege of owning a computer, thus making it easy to spread knowledge everywhere.


2. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Media Center

Did you just say media center? Yep, there's a lot this little board can do that you won't usually expect it to do. What's great about Pi is that it supports 1080p out of the box with a tiny-but-powerful GPU running behind the scenes. Combine that with the Xbian project, you got a full-fledged media center on your hands. XBian is a small, fast and lightweight media center distribution that is designed for Raspberry Pi that brings the latest of XBMC to your mini-computer. It's a great, cheap investment if you're someone who likes watching a lot of movies.


3. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Car Computer


A very interesting blog post by developer Andrei Istodorescu shows you exactly how you can turn Pi into a PC that sits in your car. This means that you'll be able to watch your favorite movies or TV shows in your car. While that's a perfect idea for a romantic date, just make sure that you're not doing Game of Thrones marathons while driving. The blog post explains pretty much everything you need to do in order to install, configure, and get it up and running. The approximate cost of the parts requires comes down to about $200. However, as costly as that sounds, compared to the $25 board, it's a worthy investment for every geek who also loves her car.


4. Make a Wearable Raspberry Pi Computer

Envious of your Google Glass-sporting friends? Or maybe you're too privacy conscious to try the search giant's latest wearable. Whatever the case maybe, geeks and privacy enthusiasts can make use of Pi to create a DIY wearable that they can brag about to their friends who are busy drooling over Android Wear, Google Glass, and other wearables. While no way near perfect, this project can provide a full-powered desktop computer that you can use wherever you are. Even while walking. Although the cost of this project is about $400, it's a justified investment for every geek out there who wants to have a great learning experience.


5. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Universal Remote

Instructables has another cool guide on turning your Pi computer into a universal remote. Though you'll need some parts to get that working for you, those little investments are worth it if you're a lazy geek who loves to control everything from the couch. Also, it's a great learning experience for anyone who's interested in knowing more about the LIRC or tinkering with electronics. A bit tough to get working overnight, this project can be treated as a huge learning experience more than just a way to create a universal remote. You can also pair this off with XBMC and then create an ultimate media center with remote and everything at a very low cost.

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Best Bitcoin Applications for Linux

Posted by jun auza On 11/28/2015
Bitcoin is, if many industry experts are to be believed, the future of currency. Everyone from expert coders to entrepreneurs is banking on it thus making it one of the hottest topics. We already discussed a lot about bitcoins in our earlier article and we believe that it does have a potential to cause a huge disruption in the market. For our FOSS supporters out there, bitcoin means a great deal. The reason for this is that this digital currency is entirely open-source. Which means, if Bitcoin ever reaches public adoption, it will be the most popular use of open-source technology.


If you are a Linux user, managing your bitcoins and even mining them is a piece of cake. The penguinian platform offers some great tools for bitcoins enthusiasts to manage their digital currency.


CGMiner

CGMiner is a multi-thread multi-pool miner for bitcoins. It works from the command line and can help you mine bitcoins in a way that makes maximum usage of your resources. The commands are pretty simple and straightforward thus making it easy even for non programmers (with a little bit of help, of course) to get started with bitcoins. What makes CGMiner popular is the fact that it gives you complete control over the mining process. If you are new to Bitcoins and want to get started with mining, a fantastic guide that teaches you how to mine Bitcoins on a Xubuntu desktop with CGMiner can be found HERE.



Bitcoin QT 

Bitcoin QT is the official Bitcoin app that provides you with the ability to manage your coins. It has a simple interface that works across most Linux distributions and makes it easy for you to handle all your bitcoin transactions from one place. Though there are better Bitcoin applications out there, this one may be a preferred choice if you are looking for something more official.



MultiBit

MultiBit is a free application that serves as a wallet for your Bitcoins. Open-source and easy to install, MultiBit works across all major platforms. Once installed, it lets you manage your Bitcoin transactions from one single place. The application is very lightweight and quick to install. It even stores your data in files of really small size, thus making it easy to work with on computers that have low resources. This also means that you can backup your data onto a pen drive or even your smartphone's SD card and not have to worry about computer crashes. MultiBit is fast and keeps all your private keys encrypted on your machine. Overall, it is a great lightweight application for Bitcoiners.



BitMinter

If you are someone who wants to make money mining Bitcoins, BitMinter is a mining pool that allows you to do just that. The aim of this mining pool is to make mining accessible to everyone so that they too could be a part of this open-source phenomenon. Of course, mining coins using a regular computer is not really profitable. It will not only tax your resources but will also send you a huge electricity bill. However, if you have a powerful graphics card, you can surely use it to mine coins as much as you want. And, for that, you'll need to install the BitMinter application. Built on Java, BitMinter works across all major platforms out there. 



Electrum Bitcoin Wallet

Electron is a Bitcoin wallet that lets you store your coins in a safe place. One of the striking features about this app is its simple user interface. Working perfectly well across all major platforms, Electrum stores your data in a secret phrase so that even if your computer gets stolen, only you would have access to your stuff. Also, apart from security, Electrum also offers a lot of convenience for users who like to travel. It does so by letting you use your wallet offline. If you are an Android user, Electrum will also work on your smartphone.



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From blocked videos to annoying ads, there are many things about YouTube we don't like. These restrictions and distractions only dampen the amazing experience that the video-sharing website is meant to provide. If you are a Firefox user, however, you won't have to worry about such things. Firefox offers a variety of add-ons that let you fix pretty much any annoyance that YouTube has. Furthermore, they also let you download videos right to your desktop so that you can watch them whenever you want, even without a connection.


So, without much ado, here are some of the best Firefox add-ons that help you have a better YouTube experience. 


1-Click YouTube Video Downloader

What makes this downloading app so special is purely its simplicity. Once installed, you'll find a small button below the video you are watching. This will let you choose the quality of the video you want to download, and then once you click it, the video starts downloading automatically. The add-on supports a wide variety of major formats like MP4, FLV, WebM, 3GP thus letting you watch the video later on any device you like. While it doesn't add any fancy functions to the mix, its simplicity is the only reason, which will probably make you start using it right away. 



Ageless for YouTube

If you are over 18 but still find it annoying that you have to sign in to watch age-restricted videos, then this next add-on is just for you. Once installed, you won't have to sign in every time you watch an age-restricted video. This is great for people who don't have a YouTube account or don't want to sign up for one. 



CleanTube

If you are someone annoyed by some of the unwanted elements on the YouTube page then this extension will come in handy. By simply a single click you can hide the comments section, the sidebar, ads, and other parts of YouTube that you find annoying. What gives this add-on the upper edge is that it lets you customize the look of your YouTube page the way you want it to. If you prefer, you can customize it till the only thing you see is your video and nothing else. It is really a great tool for minimalists. 



Download YouTube Videos as MP4

Much like the aforementioned 1-click YouTube Downloader, this one too puts a simple download button below your videos. What is great about this add-on is that it doesn't require you to restart the browser. As far as restrictions go, this one is limited to MP4s only. However, if all you do is watch videos on your desktop, this addon fits the bill.



YouTube Unblocker

If you are not living in the United States, watching videos that are blocked in your country can be quite a trouble. Though there are many workarounds for that (like VPN), there isn't a convenient solution that just works. Thankfully, though there's a simple extension to remedy that problem. YouTube Unblocker does exactly what it says, it automatically unblocks disabled videos like VEVO by enabling proxy that directs to the US website. So instead of completely using YouTube with a proxy server, this addon intelligently queries the video so that you will be watching only the blocked videos through a proxy. There are no VPN or shady sites involved here.

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7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know

Posted by jun auza On 11/19/2015
VLC started as an academic project in 1996 and back then it was called "VideoLAN Client", and hence the name VLC. Soon, however, it grew to become a client as well as server that can be used to stream videos across the network. Its popularity showed steady growth leading up to the development of Version 1.0 that was released in 2009. In other words, the project took 13 years of development to reach its first major release, something that shows us how stable the open-source tool has indeed become.

Be it Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, VLC still remains the undisputed king of media players. From playing YouTube videos and MP3s to helping you enjoy Blu-ray movies, this open-source tool is regarded as one of the indispensable tools every desktop user should have installed. If you are using Linux right now, chances are you are a VLC user too. And if you are, we've got some useful tips for you that will help you get the most out of it.


1. Taking Screenshots of the Currently Playing Video

Whenever you are playing a video, you can grab a quick screencap without even pausing. All you have to do is press the combination Shift + S and your screenshot will automatically show up in the Pictures folder. If, however, you are using Mac OS X, use the shortcut Cmd + Alt + S and the snapshot will be waiting for you in the Pictures folder. 


2. Bookmark a Position in a Video

Imagine you are busy watching your favorite movie and suddenly your smartphone rings. It is a bummer right? Start the video again and then seeking to the last position you were on. Thankfully, VLC saves you the trouble by letting you bookmark a position in the video so that you can come back to it whenever you want.

All you have to do is go to the menubar and then Playback -> Custom Bookmarks -> Manage. A new window will pop up. Here, simply click on the button that says "Create" and you will have the bookmark at your disposal whenever you want.

Note that you can also use this for listening to audiobooks as well where bookmarking plays an important role.


3. Record the Currently Playing Video/Audio

If you listen to streaming audio or watch a lot of online videos natively, this next tip will help you keep the best bits to yourself. By recording a currently playing song or video, you can re-listen to it whenever you want.

To start recording, simply go to the menu bar and navigate to View -> Advanced Controls. Once you do that, a small red button will show up below the video or audio. Click on it and the stream will be saved to your default Videos or Music folder.


4. Record from a Webcam

If you are a wannabe rising YouTube star, this tip might help you a lot. VLC, apart from playing your favorite movies, also lets you do a recording from the webcam. Simply go to Media -> Open Capture Device. There, you'll find a dropdown menu. There, select DirectShow to select your webcam. Once that is done, start recording by hitting the red button. The video will be stored in the default videos folder.


5. Play Video Files in .zip and .rar Archives

The next time someone hands you a bunch of video files packed in a .rar archive, simply open it in VLC and it will play. VLC reads through the archive letting you play the video files contained in it.


6. Watch a YouTube Video Without a Browser

Instead of watching a YouTube video in a distraction-ridden webpage, you can use VLC to watch it on your desktop. Simply click on the menu bar -> Media and click Open Network Stream. There, paste the URL of your favorite video and it will start playing automatically. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + N anytime and paste the video directly.


7. VLC Does Podcasts Too

VLC can do a lot more than playing videos and music. It also acts as a full-fledged podcast downloader and player. Open VLC and if the playlist view isn't showing up yet, press Ctrl + L or hit the playlist button at the bottom. In the left pane under Internet, you'll find an option that says Podcasts. Hit the grey button besides it and paste your favorite podcast URL.

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Windows 10: Is it Really Worth Ditching Linux for?

Posted by jun auza On 10/17/2015
For many years, Linux desktop held the bragging rights for being free as in free beer. It was going swell until Windows 10 came along. Microsoft's latest desktop offering, apart from being a move towards convergence, ushers in a new model of operating system licensing. In July 2015, the Redmond giant in what is considered a bold move, decided to upgrade every Windows 7 and 8 user to the latest and greatest version -- for free. What's more, the development of the operating system was more community-oriented and focused on taking valuable feedback from testers and implementing into the OS. The result was a perfect blend of the familiarity of the good ol' Windows 7 and the modernity of Windows 8.1. 

Though we won't call Windows 10 the perfect desktop OS, it is certainly an eye-catching offering packed with features that are hard to resist, even for Mac users. The homely start menu, the sharp Cortana, and Linux-esque features like virtual desktops all blend in to provide a seamless desktop experience that, for the first time, matches up with the prowess of the Mac OS X desktop experience. While Ubuntu's growth remaining stagnant and no new 'big' announcements on the Linux front this year, many penguinian users are considering migrating to the dark side. While some have already crossed the threshold, others are reflecting on the pros and cons. For them the following article will shed light on some of the tempting features of the OS and how they compare to what Linux currently offers. 


The Search Experience

One of the biggest changes in Windows 10 is the integration of search with Cortana, local files, and content from the web. This combination makes search a powerful addition to the Windows 10 experience. With the ability to look through files, folders, and content on the web, the need for opening the web browser time and again becomes redundant. 

The search experience on Linux, however, is still mediocre as compared to what Windows or Mac offers. On Ubuntu you can search through files; but searching on the web through the Dash is still flaky. If you are someone who wants a unified desktop and web experience and online search is a big deal for you, switching to Windows 10 might not be such a bad move. Otherwise, the good ol' Dash works perfectly for the normal desktop user.


The Start Menu

Yep, it's back. After hearing the complaints of millions of users from around the world, the Redmond giant finally decided to bring the Start menu back. Though it is not the same as what Windows XP and 7 had, it still retains the functionality of its predecessor. You can search, browse through programs, and even pin tiles to your start menu. This is a welcome change from the gaudy Windows 8 start screen that took up useful real estate. For Linux users, there has always been an equivalent of the start menu. In Mint for example, the start menu is reminiscent of the Windows 7 start menu and on Ubuntu we have the Dash, which is the right blend of modernity and functionality. If you are looking to ditch Linux for the Windows 10 start menu, unfortunately, it might not be worth it.


Free as in Free Beer, but not Freedom

Windows 10 is free. Yes, completely free. Well, almost. If you own a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can upgrade to the latest desktop without paying a single penny. If you don't, you'll have to pay the retail price for a new copy of the operating system. So, if you are already on an earlier version of Windows, probably dual booting with your tux desktop, there are no reasons not to upgrade to Windows 10. However, it is essential that you backup your data before making the switch as the upgrade has been known to cause some issues. 


Always Updated

Both Linux and Windows rely on updates to provide a secure and up-to-date desktop experience. Windows, however, goes a step further with this process. Switching to a software-as-a-service model, the latest version of the desktop will deliver all future updates and upgrades online. This means no Windows 11 or 12 and every new feature or major change will be delivered to your desktop via a simple over-the-air update. The only problem, though, with this model is that you can't opt out of it. If you upgrade to Windows 10, there's no official way of disabling those updates. So, if you have a limited bandwidth, just think a couple of times before upgrading. Compared to Linux, this might feel like an intrusive move, but Microsoft plans to make money as a service rather than an operating system that is quite different from the way Linux operates.


Privacy Issues

Last, but not the least, one of the controversies surrounding Windows 10 is quite a biggie for Linux users and that is of privacy. Despite clarifications by Microsoft on this matter, Windows 10 is known to collect a huge amount of data that is quite unsettling for a desktop user. If there's one big deal breaker Linux users have to face while installing Windows 10 is this one. Even though you can tweak the settings, having complete control over your data is something only a Linux user can enjoy in its full glory.


Conclusion

So, is it worth ditching Linux for Windows 10? While it is a great update to Windows 8, the one that fixes it all, upgrade problems and privacy issues are main reasons Linux users should be wary of the upgrade. However, if you want the latest and greatest, it should be a no-brainer. Our advice is to wait till Microsoft settles the issues plaguing the OS and then give it a shot. Till then, penguins are always your friends.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

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Creating a simple Android app that calculates the amount of tip you have to pay at a restaurant is easy. Creating a fully functional messaging app with third-party integration, not so. Android app development is such a big area that the possibilities for you are practically endless. You can create very basic apps that make you enough money to pay your rent and then you can create those big apps like Snapchat, which make you a billionaire. Android marketplace isn't just an app store anymore; it's a playground for showcasing your best abilities and creating something valuable for millions of mobile users.

That said, good apps do need some extra effort, some manpower, and more importantly some solid tools that help speed up the process. That's why today we've listed some of the best tools out there for helping you create your next big Android app. These will help you get through some of the most common hurdles that show up when you create, deploy, and test your app. 


Android Studio

This is the most basic stuff you'll find in an Android developer's repertoire. Android Studio replaces Eclipse as the official IDE for Android and comes with all the libraries and developer tools that will help you create your app right from scratch. The whole bundle works across all major operating system platforms. The huge download also gives you access to a version of Android system image for the emulator. This means that you can write your app then test it right on your desktop. You won't even need an Android device at any stage of the development process.



Titanium SDK

If you have strong aversion to Java and prefer coding in languages like HTML, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby and Python, this SDK is for you. Instead of sticking to a native SDK like Android SDK, you can develop apps for multiple platforms at the same time. In other words, you can create apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows from the same codebase. If you are a small business or a budding startup that needs to get apps up and running across multiple platforms, Titanium is a great choice. It has been used by many developers from around the world and many apps are created using it. 



Genymotion

The default Android emulator, despite being distributed by Google, itself happens to be quite slow and buggy. Genymotion remedies that problem by providing a blazing fast Android emulator that does much more than what the default Android emulator does. Moreover, apart from providing an Android emulator, Genymotion also provides more than 10 virtual devices so that you can test your app across all the major platforms out there. If your app or game has special features that make use of the motion sensors or requires connecting to a big display, Genymotion handles that too by providing specialized features to test your app. If you are developing a small app, the default emulator is good enough. But for big apps that need to be deployed to millions of users (in case of startups, etc.), there's nothing better than Genymotion out there.


Rhomobile

Much like Titanium, Rhomobile lets you build apps for multiple platforms without requiring you to become a Java ninja. What makes it so special is that Rhomobile focuses more on enterprise clients. We've already written a lot about Enterprise apps on Android and if your next app is one then Rhomobile might come in handy. You can code in HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and Ruby yet be able to deploy a single app across multiple platforms. The basic suite is free but if you're a company then go for the Silver or Gold plan depending on your needs.



Ubertesters

If you are building a big app that needs to be tested aggressively, Ubertester is a service that will definitely come in handy. It lets you organize and monitor your app's beta testing process much more efficiently. It doesn't matter if you have 4 or 400 testers Ubertester gives you a lot of flexibility, which the usual testing process doesn't allow. You can send OTA updates (much like Google does) to your testers and get quick feedback. Among other features, Ubertesters also allows you to do in-app bug editing which comes in very handy if you are reiterating on the go. Overall, it is a great service for testing and improving your Android app.


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5 Best Calendar Apps for Google Chrome

Posted by jun auza On 9/11/2015
Managing time has become so important these days. You have a meeting at 10 am, then lunch at 2 pm, and a lot of things in between. It is hard to manage so many things in one day. Thankfully, these days we have so many time management apps that it is barely a hassle anymore. As humans, we should be grateful to the wonderful technology we have at our disposal.

Technology, in many ways, has saved us from the hassle of being late to meetings, forgetting important birthdays, and missing out on some great parties. Be it an app, a web-based service, or a nifty command-line trick, never before has time management become so easy. One of the biggest proofs of this advancement is the way our calendars have been reinvented. From simple sheets of papers that we used to hang on the walls to the omnipresent "apps" we carry with us anywhere we go, Calendar has come a long way. If you're a person who lives in their browser, however, nothing comes more handy than these calendar apps. 

So, if you are looking to ramp up your productivity this week, read on as we list some of the best calendar apps for Google Chrome:


Google Calendar

Undoubtedly the most popular web-based calendar service out there, Google Calendar's omnipresence is hard to deny. Be it a corporate meeting or a family gathering, this nifty service makes sure that punctuality will be the last thing you need to worry about. What's great about Google's calendar service is that it allows you to share your calendar with your coworkers and friends. This means that they won't have to call you up every time they want to schedule a meeting with you. They can simply add an event to a calendar and you can choose whether to accept or to deny the invite (much like Facebook events). 

Another good thing about Google Calendar is that it syncs with most of your desktop applications thus helping you access it no matter where you go. This app for Chrome, though almost identical to the web app, lets you have a quick access to the service. 



Boomerang Calendar for Gmail

While this might not be necessarily an app, it does give you some great functionality if you are someone who gets lost in a myriad of appointments and commitments to keep. Once installed, you'll be able to schedule your meetings with just one click. Whenever you get an invite, the extension goes through your schedule and checks for any available spots. If it finds any, it will let you book that spot in just one click. The add-on is pretty simple and straightforward and works quite well with Gmail. 



Zoho Calendar

Zoho Calendar is part of the Zoho suite, a well-known competitor to Google Docs. While neither as popular or as feature rich as Google Calendar, Zoho seems like a perfect choice for those who want to unshackle themselves from Google's huge ecosystem. As far as the UI goes, the app looks pretty similar to Google Calendar, almost as if it is a clone. However, the fonts and many other UI elements do a good job at reminding you that this is a different application you are using. Also, Zoho allows you to embed your calendar on any website or blog. This can be very useful for bloggers who like putting out schedules and future post announcements on their site. 

Apart from being a solid, Google Calendar alternative, Zoho makes itself stand apart from the web giant by allowing you to integrate the calendar with various CRM applications.



Memo Calendar

This app stands apart from others on this list by focusing on simplicity rather than features. Memo Calendar acts and feels much like the memo calendars we used to (or still do) hang on our walls. On each date, you can stick a small note so that it could help you remember something important that you have to do that day. Be it a birthday, a meeting, or an award show, just write it down on the memo calendar and you'll be fine. If you are looking for a simple, clean alternative to Google Calendar, this is your pick.



Sunrise Calendar

Compatible with the aforementioned Google Calendar as well as iCloud, Sunrise calendar is what Wunderlist is to a plain-old to-do list. Gorgeous design coupled with all the essential features you'd want from Google Calendar or any other calendar app, Sunrise is probably the best calendar app out there (Yes, it's even better than Google Calendar). What makes it so special is the fact that it integrates with many of the important services that have similar features built in. In other words, you don't have to open Facebook to check your distant cousin's birthday, Sunrise brings your Facebook Events and GCal events together thus removing the necessity for you to keep checking multiple sites at the same time. Much like Google Calendar, Sunrise works offline and allows you to add maps to a particular event. If you are already using Google Calendar, try this. 



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