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Taiga Project Management: Open-source Kanban board is packed with features for developers and non-devs alike

Kanban and scrum make managing development projects much easier, but what about projects of another nature? Jack Wallen found an open-source kanban solution that makes it possible to manage nearly anything.

3 ways project planning cycles have changed since COVID-19

Approaches to project planning and cycles have changed for many companies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Project managers and teams have to adapt to stay on track.

Change leadership vs. change management: Helpful methods for helping teams through transformation

Most in the business world have likely heard of change management, but not necessarily change leadership. What's the difference, and how can each be applied in your organization?

15 highest-paying certifications for 2021

The top certification on the annual Skillsoft list has a salary of more than $171,000. Find out what certifications you should be working toward.

How DevOps teams are taking on a more pivotal role and improving responsiveness to change

DevOps teams have the skills, knowledge and mindset to align projects and daily operations in ways that can close gaps and address challenges.

How product management incentives may be hurting customer experience

Commentary: Sometimes our best intentions to help customers go awry, says Tim Bray. The problem might be how we reward PMs.

5 factors for success in cybersecurity projects among shifting priorities

As more companies are considering the shift to a fully or hybrid remote workforce, accelerating plans to acquire digital and cloud services to address increasing cybersecurity risks is necessary.

Can IoT eliminate the need for ERP and MES in manufacturing?

How a simple understanding of how systems work can pave the way to IoT and manufacturing success.

A simple-to-deploy, easy-to-use Kanban board for project management: Kanboard

Kanboard is an in-house Kanban solution that is as easy to deploy as it is to use. Learn how to install and customize this project management tool.

Project management: Develop the skills you need with this training

Get all of the training you need to become an in-demand project manager at your own pace and at an affordable price.

How to Easily Install a Full Bitcoin Lightning Node on a Raspberry Pi

I recently installed a full bitcoin node on our home network, and lucky for me, I got everything up and running quickly without bumping into some issues. Before I will show you the steps on how to install a full bitcoin node, allow me to explain some of my reasons why I ended up doing this. 

As some of you may already know, bitcoin is a network composed of thousands of nodes. A record of every bitcoin transaction is verified and maintained inside a node. So if you are running one, you will essentially be hosting and sharing a copy of the bitcoin blockchain and you will help maintain the network decentralized. 


What are the benefits of running a bitcoin node?

Unlike mining, you will not be rewarded with a bitcoin when running a node because you are simply giving support to the network instead of solving complex computational math problems. However, one of the main advantages of running your own node is that you can do some transactions on the Bitcoin network without the need for a third party provider thus allowing you to save money for the fees. For added peace of mind, you can connect your wallet and forward all your transactions through your own node, making sure that every transaction is safe and secure.


For me, another reason for running a node is for educational purpose and taking a deep dive on the blockchain technology. I am very passionate about this emerging tech because it is already shaping up to change the world for the better.


Without further ado, here are some of the steps that I have followed to easily install and run a bitcoin node:


Step 1: Prepare the hardware


You donat need an expensive mining rig to run a bitcoin node. I bought the following items, but you can always use your existing hardware provided that you have all the recommended system specs:


1. Raspberry Pi Model 4 (Particularly, I bought the Model B with 4GB RAM starter kit that includes the power adapter, 16GB microSD card, and case)


2. 1 TB SSD (SanDisk SSD Plus 2.5a 1 TB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive)



3. SSD Enclosure (SENDA Transparent USB 3.0 SATA III 2.5 HDD/SDD Enclosure)



Note: I bought all the items at Lazada and the total cost is around 10,000 Philippine Pesos (200 USD).


Step 2: Download the software


Download Umbrel OS HERE and extract the file. Download Balena Etcher HERE and install it on your computer.


Note: For downloading the software, obviously you will need a laptop or desktop computer. A microSD card reader is needed for flashing the software to the microSD card. 


Step 3: Flashing Umbrel OS


Put the microSD card on your card reader, open Balena Etcher, and flash the downloaded Umbrel OS to your microSD card. After flashing, remove the card and insert it into the Raspberry Pie.


Step 4: Plug it up


Put the SSD drive into the enclosure and plug it into any of the blue colored ports (USB 3.0) of your Raspberry Pi. Connect the Raspberry Pi to your Internet connected router via ethernet cable. Connect the power supply and power up your Raspberry Pi. 


Step 5: Starting up


Around 5 minutes after powering up, Umbrel OS can be accessed at http://umbrel.local on the web browser of your device (smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop) that is connected to the same network as the Raspberry Pi.  



Follow the initial set up of Umbrel and enjoy running your very own bitcoin node. 





I am still exploring some of the features of Umbrel and might write a quick review about it soon, so watch out!


The Bitcoin Revolution is Here

Since 2014, Iave been talking about bitcoin here (read: Is Bitcoin The Next Open-source Software Revolution?, Best Bitcoin Applications for Linux). Back then, bitcoin was still very much in its infancy and our articles about it were some of the least popular posts weave ever had. However, I have already seen its potential and proclaimed that it could become a revolutionary open-source software project and that it has the potential to be bigger than Linux. 


Today, bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general have already gone mainstream in terms of popularity. Although widespread adoption could still be a few years away, different personalities like social media icons, hip hop moguls, top athletes, famous actors, financial gurus, and several billionaires are already talking about it incessantly. 


Speaking about widespread adoption, different countries have already started recognizing the value of cryptocurrency. In fact, one country has recently passed a law to make bitcoin its official currency. I believe more countries will follow after we will all be able to clearly see the positive economic impact of having a legal tender in bitcoin.


Recently, we have witnessed institutional investors or publicly traded companies that have started filling their balance sheets with bitcoins. To name a few, thereas Tesla  (invested around 1.5 billion dollars worth of bitcoin), Microstrategy (250 million dollars), Galaxy Digital Holdings (176 million dollars), and Square (50 million dollars). 


Although I am not a financial advisor and this site is not about making money, I encourage you to consider investing it bitcoin. Forgive me for not telling you this in 2014 when 1 bitcoin was equivalent to around 500 dollars. At that time, buying and selling cryptocurrency was difficult because there were very few trusted exchanges and wallets so the possibility of losing your investment was enormous. If ever you decide to invest in cryptocurrency today, I suggest that you do your own research first because, like all others investments, there are still risks involved, albeit much lesser than before. 


After promoting Linux and other free and open-source software in the past, I have decided from now on to focus most of my time here in writing about bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and other interesting blockchain projects. I think it is about time to enlighten people that bitcoin is not purely a speculative asset, but something that is more valuable because of its capability to empower people from around the world. Like most of you, I find joy in freedom and for me bitcoin is freedom. Now, I can safely say that the cryptocurrency revolution is underway, and we are just getting started. 



25 (More) Funny Computer Quotes

I have been reading some of my old posts here and noticed one that is still quite popular simply because a lot of us love humor. If you are a new site visitor, kindly check out "My Top 50 Funny Computer Quotes" post to know what I mean. Inspired by that one and since itas been a long time that I wrote or posted some funny stuff here, I decided to collect a few more amusing quotes.

So without further delay, here is a brand new collection of funny computer quotes:
 

25. What if one day Google got deleted and we could not Google what happened to Google?

24. Never trust a computer you canat throw out a window.

23. The attention span of a computer is only as long as its power cord

22. Microsoft has a new version out, Windows XP, which according to everybody is the amost reliable Windows ever.a To me, this is like saying that asparagus is athe most articulate vegetable ever.

21. Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain.

20. "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." - Pablo Picasso

19. If you think patience is a virtue, try surfing the net without high-speed Internet.

18. The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.

17. aThe Internet?  We are not interested in it.a - Bill Gates, 1993

16. The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards.

15. "Being able to break security doesnat make you a hacker any more than being able to hotwire cars makes you an automotive engineer." - Eric S. Raymond

14.  I'm sorry that I'm not updating my Facebook status, my cat ate my mouse.

13. "I am not out to destroy Microsoft, that would be a completely unintended side effect." - Linus Torvalds

12. Dear humans, in case you forgot, I used to be your Internet. Sincerely, The Library.

11. My wife never gives up. She is so insistent that she entered the wrong password over and over again until she managed to convince the computer that she's right!

10. Computer dating is fine if you're a computer.

9. I love my computer because all my friends live inside it!

8. The only relationship I have is with my Wi-Fi. We have a connection.

7. The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back.

6. Why can't cats work on the computer? They get too distracted chasing the mouse around.

5. My wife loves me so much, she tries her best to attract me to her. The other day she put on a perfume that smells like a computer.

4. I changed my password everywhere to 'incorrect.' That way when I forget it, it always reminds me, 'Your password is incorrect.'

3. A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history--with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila."

2. Life is too short to remove USB safely.

1. Passwords are like underwear: you donat let people see it, you should change it very often, and you shouldnat share it with strangers.


I hope you enjoyed our latest list of amusing computer quotes!


How to Install Raspbian OS on Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

After my Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ First Impressions, allow me to share with you how I installed Raspbian OS on this tiny computer as promised. But first a quick introduction about Raspbian. This lightweight Unix-like operating system is based on Debian Linux and is highly optimized to run on Raspberry Pias ARM CPU. Its desktop environment is called PIXEL (Pi Improved X-Window Environment, Lightweight), which is made up of a modified LXDE desktop environment and the Openbox stacking window manager. It comes pre-loaded with useful applications such as web browser, office suite, programming tools, and several games among others.

Now, letas get down to business and give you some of the requirements needed to install Raspbian OS. If your Raspberry Pi is not bundled with a microSD card you should get one with at least 8GB of space. Some of the basic PC accessories required for setup are USB keyboard, USB mouse, and a computer or TV monitor (preferably with HDMI port). The Raspberry Pi Model B+ has an HDMI port  for video output. So if your monitor has DVI or VGA port, you should have an HDMI-to-DVI or HDMI-to-VGA cable. You will also need an extra desktop or laptop computer for downloading the OS and then flashing it to the microSD card.

The next thing that you should prepare is the installer. You can download it from HERE. It is recommended to Download the NOOBS version, but if you are adventurous enough you can go for the full Raspbian version of the installer. The file that you will download is compressed in ZIP format so you will need to extract the OS image (.img) to use it. After extracting, you may now proceed to flash the OS image to your SD card. To do that, you will need to download the recommended tool for the job HERE. Install it, and then follow the simple step by step process of flashing the OS image to your microSD card. It is also worth noting that you will need an SD card adapter and an SD card reader if your laptop or PC donat have one built-in.

Finally, the Raspbian OS is now installed, and all you have to do is eject the microSD card from your computer and plug it in your Raspberry Pi. Connect all the needed Raspberry Pi peripherals and power up your tiny but very capable Linux desktop machine.


Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ First Impressions

I have always been curious about the tiny computer called Raspberry Pi but I didnat have the time or opportunity to buy one until now. I got the latest version (Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+) along with bundled accessories from AliExpress for $65. I think it was a good deal considering what I got which I will explain to you later on. But before that and for your convenience, here are some quick facts about Raspberry Pi that I got from Wikipedia:

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

* The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation

* It aims to promote teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries.

* The original model became far more popular than anticipated, selling outside its target market for uses such as robotics.

* According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, more than 5 million Raspberry Pis were sold by February 2015, making it the best-selling British computer.

* In March 2018, sales reached 19 million.

* On the CPU level, the first generation Raspberry Pi is similar to a 300 MHz Pentium II of 1997a99. While its graphical capabilities are roughly equivalent to the performance of the Xbox of 2001.

* More info about Raspberry Pi including tech specs can be found HERE


First Impressions

I have only seen a Raspberry Pi in photos before so I was quite in awe of its size when I finally opened the box. It measures just 85.60mm by 56.5mm or around 3 by 2 inches.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ beside my iPhone 6 and glasses for size comparison

As I said, I got the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ rather cheap since it is bundled with a case, power cord, 32GB micro SD card + adapter, HDMI cable, heatsink, USB cable, and 3.5 inch touchscreen display. It is loaded with a 1.4 GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, 1 GB RAM, gigabit Ethernet, on-board dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, Power over Ethernet (PoE) feature, and USB and network boot capabilities.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ running Raspbian OS

The first thing that I did after unboxing the package was placed the Raspberry Pi inside the included plastic case. The plastic case needs to be assembled and it didnat come with instructions so I had to figure it out myself. Next, I searched on Google on how to install an OS into my Raspberry Pi. So, I downloaded Raspbian, a Debian-based OS highly optimized for the Raspberry Pi and installed it. On my next post I will be sharing with you more about Raspbian and will guide you on how to install it and give you tips on some of the things that I did after installation.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ setup alongside my iPad Pro

As you can see from the photos above, I now have a full-pledged desktop powered by a tiny computer. I connected my Raspberry Pi to my 13-inch HD display and it runs smoothly without lag or graphics issues. I also connected a wireless mini keyboard with built-in touchpad and an external hard drive to complete the setup. As of now, I am using my Raspberry Pi as file and VNC server (set up my iPad Pro as VNC viewer). I also intend to use it for testing Linux distros and for doing a bit of Python programming.

As Iave said, my next post will be all about installing and setting up Raspbian on Raspberry Pi so watch out.   


Dark Mode on Appleas macOS? Linux did it First

Last year, Apple introduced the highly anticipated adark modea feature on their macOS (Mojave) desktop operating system. Many Apple fans regarded it as a cool and useful enhancement to their desktop user interface. It allowed users to turn on the system-wide dark color scheme and encouraged third-party app developers to offer a dark mode for their Mac apps. If you are thinking that Apple is the first to use this feature on the desktop, think again.  

As far as I can remember, Linux is the first desktop OS that lets users easily customize the UI and provided plenty of dark theme options. I think Ubuntu started the trend in using darker themes out of the box several years ago, and they did it in a more elegant way when compared to other Linux distros. Elegant in a way that the dark scheme UI was consistently used and built-in apps were using dark themes. 

Apple macOS

When customizing my Linux desktop, I always prefer dark themes since it is easy on the eyes and it looks good. Dark background also allowed me to focus more on the job at hand because there is less visual distraction. Using dark mode on my Mac desktop right now, I canat help but think about the endless customizations I did before on my favorite Linux distros to achieve that perfect dark look.

Ubuntu Linux

So to all the Mac users out there who also enjoyed using the dark mode on their desktop, perhaps you can thank Linux for showing the guys at Cupertino that dark mode UI is not just cool but also usable. However, correct me if Iam wrong through the comments below if you think that Linux did not have any influence whatsoever in this new macOS feature.  


My Top 10 PlayStation 4 (PS4) Games of 2018

2018 was an awesome year for PlayStation 4 (PS4) gamers. Top game developers have released several exciting titles that made us stay on our couch for much longer periods of time :-)


So letas get started. I made here a list of my favorite PS4 games last year.  Do please note that my choices of games are mostly action, simulation, survival, sci-fi, fantasy, first-person shooter (FPS) shooter, and role playing games (RPG). These games only made it through the top ten list because of their cool realistic graphics, amazing storyline, and of course their highly engaging gameplay.

So now, here are my top ten PS4 games of 2018:

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

10. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Made by Warhorse Studios, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a single player, open world action role playing game set in the Medieval Kingdom of Bohemia in 1403. Although this game barely made it to the top ten, it is an awesome game with a fantastic storyline. This game takes place during a war in Bohemia where you will be playing as Henry, a common blacksmithas son who lived a very normal life until the Cuman mercenaries (the gameas main enemy) attacked and destroyed his village and killed (almost) everyone he knows and loves. Luckily, Henry escapes and soon joins Sir Radzig Koblya who leads a resistance movement against the Cumans.

The Game has a pretty long main storyline with lots of side quests and amazing characters for you to discover. Its combat mechanics are a little bit hard to master and its realism is a bit high because the armor can offer a lot of protection. The swords and gear can break and get dirty and with the armor offering heavyweight protection, you really need to search for weak spots in order to defeat your enemy. It also gets very frustrating when your shiny plate armor gets bloody and dirty after a long journey or a fight because you have to clean it frequently. But still the gameplay is enjoyable and and above all, it does not need Internet connection to be played.

Ratings:
Gameplay - 7/10; Graphics - 8/10; Realism - 10/10; Content - 8/10


Jurassic World Evolution

9. Jurassic World Evolution

This is a Business Simulation game created by Frontier that lets you create your own Jurassic Park. It is a very nice simulation game that takes place on the six islands based on the movie Jurassic Park. It is a fun game because you can observe your dinosaurs roam around your park. You also get to take care of your dinosaurs by feeding them and giving them a perfect home with lots of buddies, and another exciting feature is, you can create your very own dinosaur arena and watch your dinos fight or might I say rip each other to pieces.

The game also features main missions, side missions, and of course your very own sandbox, so that you can create the perfect park with unlimited cash and without your dinos attempting to break out. The only thing that is quite disappointing about this game is the short dino lifespan, but of course in the sandbox mode you can let your dinos live forever perhaps even longer than you. Thus, overall this game is very entertaining especially to those who are a fan of dinosaurs, But Dino fan or not, this game is definitely worth a try and it does not need Internet connection to be played.

Ratings:
Gameplay - 7/10; Graphics - 10/10; Realism - 9/10; Content - 8/10

Monster Hunter World

8. Monster Hunter World

Developer by Capcom, this game is the newest installment in the Monster Hunter series. In this game you can create your own custom character and you are tasked to track down, kill, or capture any monster you see. The plot of the main story of the game is that you are one of the hunters of the new world. You are sent to hunt and capture monsters for your colony. Although some of the old monsters are returning to the game, there are a lot of new monsters, some even bigger and scarier than the old ones. The game also features a lot of new weapons for your hunter such as swords, spears, bows, and even guns, along with a lot of very customizable armor pieces so that you can kill monsters in style. Overall, the gameplay is surprisingly fun and worth your dime. You can play this alone or with friends for more fun and theyall definitely be amused. This game does not need  Internet connection to be played.

Ratings:
Gameplay - 9/10; Graphics - 9/10; Realism - 8/10; Content 9/10

Far Cry 5

7. Far Cry 5

Created by Ubisoft, Far Cry 5 is an open world FPS game that sets place in Hope County. The main story lets you start as a deputy trying to stop a cult from taking over hope county. After a failed attempt, you are saved by freedom fighters and you join them in the fight against the cult. In Far Cry 5 you can create your own character and equip him or her with various weapons, vehicles, and customizations, and you can also bring in guns for hire in the fight against the cult. This game also features a map creator so you can create your own levels and even play with your friends.

You can play Far Cry 5 in singleplayer or multiplayer mode and it does not need Internet connection to start. This game is really entertaining and gut-busting, but I think that the main story goes a bit too fast. And although this game is single player and does not need Internet connection to play, but you can connect online and look for challenges or online players to make the game even more exciting.

Ratings:
Gameplay - 9/10; Graphics - 9/10; Realism - 9/10; Content - 8/10

God of War

6. God of War (2018)

God of War is an action adventure game that is developed by Santa Monica Studios. The latest game is the eighth installment of the God of War series, and it continues the story of Kratos years after he killed his father Zeus and destroyed all of the Greek World. In God of War you play as Kratos who is now in Norse Mythology, and his son Atreus. In the main story Kratos and Atreus will journey throughout the nine realms to fulfill their promise to Kratosa second wife and Atreusa mother to spread her ashes in the highest peak in the nine realms.

The latest God of War has a fantastic and highly moving storyline. Most of the characters are fun to interact with, and the game features lots of enemies, jaw-dropping boss fights, and a variety of enjoyable characters. The graphics of this game is really cool and realistic, and the monsters look awesome, so it is definitely worth checking out. God of War is a single-player game and does not need Internet connection to play.

Ratings:
Gameplay - 8/10; Graphics - 10/10; Realism - 9/10; Content - 9/10


Soulcalibur VI

5. Soulcalibur VI

Soulcaliber VI is a Fighting Game Produced by Bandai Namco Entertainment. In this game you can play with more than 20 existing characters to choose from or you can create your own custom characters. It also features a lot of cool weapons for your custom character and a lot of other customization options.

Soulcaliber VI is a very fun fighting game that features 2 campaign modes, soul story (the original story mode), and Libra of Souls (the story of your own custom character). The gameas fighting is very detailed and is highly realistic because your armor can break, you can roll if you are knocked down, and you can push your enemy off a cliff for an instant kill. The characteras fighting style is also diverse because each weapon has its own moves, special skills, and fighting style.

Overall, the gameas graphics is superb. Though there were times the capes clip with the armor, and the story mode isnat the best out there, but itas the fighting strategies that really made Soulcaliber VI an awesome game and worth it. Although this game is single player and does not need Internet connection to start, you can still play this on split screen in online multiplayer mode.

Ratings:
Gameplay - 10/10; Graphics - 8/10; Realism - 9/10; Content - 9/10


Spider-Man

 4. Spider-Man

Created by Insomniac Games, Spider-Man is an awesome game based on the super hero Spider-Man. In this game you play as Peter Parker, or should I say Spider Man who spends his time swinging all over New York stopping crime wherever he goes. This game features most of Spider-Manas enemies such as Kingpin, Shocker, Doctor Octopus and more. It also lets you craft a whole lot of cool gadgets and high tech suits to help you bring those bad guys down. It even has these cool skins a the Avengers Infinity War Iron Spider suit, Spider-Man Homecoming suit, and the Homecoming Stark suit.

In this game you will not only take down common street criminals but super powered minions as well. These super powered minions can either have dark demonic powers, high tech jet packs, rock hard skin, and more making the game very enjoyable than ever. You will also face many challenges, find cool collectables, and even visit the Avengers Tower. The game also has one of the best main stories, you will want to keep playing until the very end because it gets more exciting and you will even meet a lot of interesting characters along the way. The game also has side missions, challenges, and a whole lot of landmarks. Overall, Spider-Man is an awesome game and is definitely worth it. The game is single player and does not need Internet connection.

Ratings:
Gameplay - 10/10; Graphics -10/10; Realism - 8/10; Content - 9/10

Assassinas Creed Odyssey

3. Assassinas Creed Odyssey

This game is an open world action RPG game created by Ubisoft and is probably one of the best in the list. In this game you play as either Alexios or Kassandra and the story takes place in Greece during the Peloponnesian War, a war between Sparta and Athens. In the game, no matter what character you choose you start off as a common mercenary that wields the blade of Leonidas (who is your grandfather) the former king of Sparta and has a pet eagle named Icarus who looks out for enemies and helps you hunt for materials. Your main weapon is the blade of Leonidas that serves as your hidden weapon in the game (sadly there are no other hidden blades in this release compared to the previous) and gives you incredible powers such as bull rush, hero strike, and the good old Sparta kick.

In Assassinas Creed Odyssey you are on the hunt for the people who destroyed your family, which is the cult of Kosmos (the main enemy) while at the same time trying to bring your family together again. The game has a nice main story and has a lot of interesting side quests all over Greece. It also offers your character a lot of weapons such as axe, swords, daggers, hammers, bows (but sadly no shield), and a lot of armor for your characters protection and style. It even has a few mounts to buy and unlock. In this game you also have your own boat where you can customize your crew members and add special lieutenants to improve ship power. Overall, the game is magnificent and is worth every penny.

Ratings: 
Gameplay -10/10; Graphics - 8/10; Realism - 9/10; Content - 10/10


Just Cause 4

2. Just Cause 4

Just Cause 4 is an open world action game created by Avalanche Studios and Square Enix. In my opinion, this game is probably one of the best games of 2018. In it you play as the badass former secret agent, Rico Rodriguez who (after killing Di Ravello and avenging his family) went to the fictional South American country known as Solis to search for his fatheras secrets, only to find that his father left a weather machine capable of unlimited destruction. This game, like all other Just Cause games, features a lot of guns, vehicles, and a lot of destruction. It also offers a whole lot of tech, explosion, and awesomeness. Like for example you can have a gun that shoots drones and lasers or a boat that can make the enemy base rain with lighting. Just Cause 4 also lets you create an army of chaos that you can use to help yourself in the fight against the Black Hand, which are the gameas main enemies. Overall, the game has fantastic graphics, storyline and is highly engaging.

Ratings: 
Gameplay -10/10; Graphics - 9/10; Realism - 9/10; Content - 10/10


Red Dead Redemption 2

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is my top favorite game of 2018 and it may be the best game I played since 2016. It was developed by Rockstar Studios and for me it is just perfect, a flawed masterpiece. I could play this game for a month and could not still get enough of it. In Red Dead Redemption 2 you play as Arthur Morgan, an outlaw in 1899 America who just escaped a place called Blackwater with his fellow gang members after a failed heist, and has a mission to make his gang rich again (after losing all their money in Blackwater) and to ensure that he and his gang survives with the law chasing them.

In terms of graphics, this game is just amazing and the realism is excellent that guns look like the real thing. The game also has some realistic survival elements because your character can get sick, hungry, tired, dirty, and even your hair can grow in this game which is so cool. You can also hunt 100 plus animals in the game for food.  The NPCs of this game also feels so alive and breathing you almost donat want to kill them.  In addition, the environment details of the game are very realistic like the snow, the dirt, even the water.

In Red Dead Redemption 2, horse riding is probably the best means of transportation and the horses are very detailed that their sizes, speed, and faces differ. The horses are your most valuable companions and they can even kill some enemies if you are lucky. This game also offers your character a lot of outfits and guns to use, and you can even go bounty hunting or go rob a train if your money is low. In the game, you also have a special ability called deadeye that allows you to slow down the time and then you shoot the life out of multiple enemies like a pro.

Overall, Red Dead Redemption 2 is so close to perfection that it is my top pick for 2018. You just have to get your hands on it and for sure youall be hooked. Please note that even if the game is single player and does not require Internet connection to play, there is always an online mode if you want to play with friends.

Ratings: 
Gameplay - 10/10; Graphics - 10/10; Realism - 10/10; Content - 10/10


Written by: Marco Auza. Note: This is Marco's first article for TechSource. He will be writing game reviews during his free time since he is still in Junior High School.


The Essential Smartwatch: From Motorola MOTOACTV to Apple Watch

Although I am not a watch enthusiast, I have a soft spot for smartwatches. They have tons of features that ordinary wristwatches donat have and as a techie, I think they look way cooler than your average watch. Since 2011, I realized I have not been using my conventional wristwatches that they are already gathering dust in my closet. The reason? I bought my first smartwatch that year - the Motorola MOTOACTV.


For $300, I got a brand new Motorola MOTOACTV and wearing it felt like having the most awesome watch in the world. At that time, smartwatches are not yet popular but I enjoyed using it because it has features that I thought was ahead of its time. Powered by Android, it features built-in fitness apps, accelerometer, Bluetooth, music player, FM tuner, capacitive multitouch LCD display, ANT+ for connectivity to fitness sensors (eg. heart rate sensor) and has the capability to connect to smartphones to display calls and text messages. 

Motorola MOTOACTV

Although I love the MOTOACTV, it was far from perfect. In terms of design, it looks bulky and there was really no room for customization. As for the software, it was stable at first but was later on plagued with buggy updates. It was also not as durable as I thought it would be since it was made by Motorola. It took just one waist-high drop that shattered the LCD display of my MOTOACTV, and so I was quickly in search for my next smartwatch. 

For around $100, I got the very first version of Pebble. Considered at that time as the most funded project in Kickstarter history, I never regret purchasing that smartwatch. The original Pebble had some of the features that I want such as Android and iOS app support, notifications (calls, texts, emails), water resistance, aalways ona display, 7-day battery life, and array of sensors (magnetometer, accelerometer, ambient light). One of the best things about the Pebble was its app store that contains tons of free downloadable applications and watch faces. In terms of design, the Pebble looks plain and simple but you can customize it by replacing the 22mm wrist strap or using some skins to cover the bezel.

Pebble

The Pebble was definitely better than the MOTOACTV but it also had some crucial issues. Iave been using it for around 3 years and had experienced several buggy software updates that became really annoying. The most recurring issue Iave encountered was constantly losing connection to my phone hence the notifications feature was a hit or miss. In addition, the first version of Pebble had no built-in GPS and heart sensor, which for me was a major caveat since Iam a fitness buff. Lastly, although it can control the music from a connected smartphone, it didnat have a stand-alone music player like the MOTOACTV.   

Using it on a daily basis, my Pebble looks good as new even until today so there is no question about its durability. I just got tired of the look and its limitations so I decided to hunt for my next smartwatch.

In September 2016, Apple released the Series 2 version of their smartwatch. Aimed at enhancing the iPhone experience, I considered the Apple Watch way better than the MOTOACTV and two steps ahead of the original Pebble.  For around $400, I bought the Series 2 (aluminum, space grey, Nike+) in January 2017 and Iave been using it almost every single day since then. 

Apple Watch Series 2 (Nike+)

The first thing I liked about the Apple Watch is its sleek and highly customizable design. I bought a few cases for protection and plenty of bands (wrist straps) for styling and comfort. After constant usage, I begin to appreciate the Apple Watch for its stable hardware and software integration. Connecting to my iPhone is a breeze and it runs flawlessly that I didnat have to worry about not receiving important notifications. I think this is the main reason why Iam still using this smartwatch.

Here is a list of features that I love about the Apple Watch (Series 2):

* Awesome display (OLED Retina display with Force Touch)
* Customizable watch faces
* Built-in sensors (optical heart, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light)
* Built-in GPS
* Water resistant up to 50 meters
* Built-in fitness and wellness apps
* Activity tracker (motivates me to exercise or stay active)
* Supports third-party apps
* Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
* Built-in music player
* Easily removable bands and plenty of cheap bands available
* Simple but good-looking design
* Durable screen and body

Some of the features that I wish Apple Watch should have:

* Longer battery life
* Always on display
* Third-party watch faces

Although the Apple Watch Series 4 has been released in 2018, I didnat find it necessary to upgrade as my Series 2 still serves its purpose well, and looking at the features of the latest Apple Watch, it didnat tick any of the wish list I wrote above.  

My Apple Watch is my constant and reliable companion. I regularly use the Breathe app when meditating, the built-in fitness app when swimming, running, cycling, weight lifting, or doing yoga, and the stand-alone music app when playing music on my AirPods. I also heavily rely on its notifications feature for calls and SMS. The Apple Watch can do all those things while looking sleek and of course showing me what time it is.

These days, there are still a lot of people who are using traditional watches compared to those who are using smartwatches. I think this is mainly because ordinary watches are more convenient to use for non-techies, as they are easy to set up and donat have to be charged all the time. As for me, I will probably stick to wearing smartwatches until my heart rate per minute goes zero.


Hello (Again) World!

Hello (again) world! After 10 years of posting here, I left without saying goodbye. Now that Iam finally back, allow me to say sorry to my loyal readers. Is it too late now to say sorry? :-) I hope not. Now, why did I take a very long break? To keep it short, here are the two main reasons why I stopped: 

Hello!

* I finally got burned out of thinking about topics to write, writing, proofreading, editing, and posting.

* The other reason is that I got into iOS app development that took most of my free time.

I lost focus, and so I started my disappearing act from the World Wide Web.

Some of you may wonder why I came back after all these years. Well, I just missed writing. Iam now more excited than ever to share with you again all the tech-related stuff that I find interesting. Although I am still quite busy with mobile app development and physical (offline) business, I have more hunger and freedom now to write so I think this is going to be fun.

So where do we go from here? Before I decided to make a comeback, Iave been thinking about ways to revive the site. Like, should I change the design of the site first? -Which I did. As some of you may notice, the site now has a new design. It is now more mobile friendly than ever and more responsive. I hope you all like it, and please bear with me if you encounter some problems as we are still making a few adjustments and site enhancements.

I have also been thinking about changing the main topic or the future content of the site. Since the beginning, I have been posting mostly about Linux and other open-source software. When I took a break and have been developing apps for iOS, I obviously have been relying on my Mac as my main computer and OS X operating system. So I have to be honest with you that I have not been using Linux for a long time now and have lost track on whatas happening in the world of free and open-source software. Some of you Linux fans out there might be disappointed but I hope youall understand. As some of you may know, I also love Apple products simply because of their excellent hardware design and software reliability. In fact, I posted here before that I run Linux on my Macbook Pro.

Moving forward, Iam still going to post tech-related stuff but I will not just focus on a particular niche. That way, I will have more freedom to share with you what I know or experienced. I just hope that the things that I will be writing about will somehow be useful to you because that has always been the main reason why I started this site.

For those of you who stick around and for those who are planning to follow this site no matter what, thank you and see you soon!

Edit: My apologies for those of you who commented using mobile devices the past few days. Comments were not published due to error. I have already fixed the issue and comments will now push through.


4 Cloud-based Applications that Work Perfectly on Linux

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.


Popular Hollywood Movies that Utilizes Linux

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." 

Source: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/2494



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.



Best Cross-Platform Note-taking Apps to Enhance Productivity

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/




5 of the Best Raspberry Pi Projects Out There

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.


Best Bitcoin Applications for Linux

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.




Best Firefox Add-ons for a Better YouTube Experience

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. 

 DOWNLOAD HERE


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. 

 DOWNLOAD HERE


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 HERE


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.

DOWNLOAD HERE


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.

DOWNLOAD HERE



7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know

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.


Windows 10: Is it Really Worth Ditching Linux for?


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.


5 Best Tools You Need To Create Your Next Big Android App

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.

DOWNLOAD HERE


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. 

DOWNLOAD HERE


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.

DOWNLOAD HERE


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.



5 Best Calendar Apps for Google Chrome

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. 

DOWNLOAD HERE


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. 

DOWNLOAD HERE


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.

DOWNLOAD HERE


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.

DOWNLOAD HERE


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. 

DOWNLOAD HERE



Using Android Apps for Keeping the Family Safe


Thanks to the GPS technology many smartphones come built with, you can easily locate your family members on a map and reach them whenever they are in need of your help. This is also a great way to keep track of teenagers when they go out to a party late at night thus keeping you up worrying about them. Furthermore, even when you are in a supermarket or a mall, you can prevent your kids from getting lost by tracking them on a map. The aforementioned safety measures don't come built-in with a new smartphone, however, there are some really good apps that provide those features at a very low cost or for free. Following is a list of few such apps:


Life360 - Family Locator 

Life360 is a well-designed and useful family safety app that is great for small or even big families. Once installed, you can view your family members' locations on a private map along with their display pictures. What's good about Life360 is that it has a "Check-in" button like Foursquare that lets your kids or you punch in their current location. Also, if there is any trouble, you can push the "Alert" button and notify your parents. Among other features, this free app is great for chatting up with your family members while you are away. 

DOWNLOAD HERE


ZoeMob Family Locator

Much like the aforementioned Life360, ZoeMob too serves as a GPS tracker for your family members. What is great about this app is that it comes with a GeoFence feature that lets you receive alerts whenever your family members arrive at school or at home. This is great for working moms who want to get notified once their kids get home from school. Furthermore, ZoeMob also features a family messenger app for chatting with other family members. 

DOWNLOAD HERE


Family Safe

Family Safe is a GPS tracking system that can be used for tracking family members' locations. The application operates on 2 modes: Guardian profile and Protected profile. Under the Guardian profile (aimed at parents), you will be able to add your kids, elders, or any other relatives to your list and locate them on the map. If they're in trouble, you can quickly drive over to them using Google Navigate. There is also an option to call your relative right from the app. Under the protected profile (aimed at kids/elders), you're able to send a quick alert to a guardian signaling any emergency. 

 DOWNLOAD HERE


Family Safety GPS Tracker

If you want to track specific members of your family using their phone's GPS tracker, this app is worth a try. It has a unique functionality that gives you your relatives' GPS position at specific predefined intervals. This means that, you can get alerts about your kids' positions every one or two hours and not every minute (which can be quite annoying for both parties). Another good thing the app comes with is the emergency button. Just press the power key (even when your phone is in your pocket) four times and it will sound an emergency alarm. Also, if you want to know your child's location using SMS only (useful for older phones), you can simply send the SMS : REQUEST LOCATION and you'll get the location. Overall, a clean and simple app that does what it says on the tin. 

 DOWNLOAD HERE


Family Locator - GPS Tracker

Family Locator is another good app for locating your family members. What's unique about this app is that you can manually set safe or danger zones in the phone. This means that if your child goes into a particular part of the town (let's say the one that's more prone to violence, robbery etc) it will sound an alarm. Similarly, in a safe zone, when your kid leaves a particular zone, it will inform you. Apart from those features, the app has pretty much all the bells and whistles from other Family safety apps like messenger, maps, and real-time location. 

 DOWNLOAD HERE


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


Keyword Selected: business

A last-minute bankruptcy filing aims to block auction of 'The One' mega-mansion

Developer Nile Niami's Crestlloyd LLC filed for Chapter 11 on Tuesday, one day before a trustee's sale of the mega-mansion had been scheduled.


Ben Simmons is selling his mansion outside Philadelphia for $5 million

After requesting a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, star point guard Ben Simmons has listed his custom New Jersey home for $5 million.


L.A. Times managing editor Kimi Yoshino named Baltimore Banner editor

The veteran editor is leaving The Times after 21 years to helm a new nonprofit news outlet in Baltimore founded by hotel magnate Stewart Bainum Jr.


Chargers star Joey Bosa buys house on the water in hometown Fort Lauderdale

NFL star Joey Bosa just dropped $5.85 million on a waterfront house in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


Column: Not all debt is collectable. Be mindful of the statute of limitations

In California, you can't be sued for consumer debt older than four years. But making even a partial payment can restart the debt clock.


Podcast: Stuck for days in L.A.'s biggest traffic jam

Sailors on cargo ships spend months at sea. Now, a shipping bottleneck and lack of access to COVID vaccines have them stuck on their vessels.


Kanye West's Yeezy brand sued over alleged shipping delays

A lawsuit filed by the state of California against West's fashion business alleges delayed e-commerce shipments violate the state's business code.


Disneyland ticket prices go up as much as 8%, with parking rising 20%

Disneyland admission prices are going up 3% to 8%, plus extra for the highest demand days.


Will those responsible for O.C. oil spill pay for the damage? It could be a battle

With lawsuits and cleanup costs mounting in the Orange County oil spill, some fear the pipeline's owner may not have the resources or desire to pay the costs.


Pain at the pump: California gas prices are sky high, with one town charging almost $8 a gallon

Prices are so high a and consumers are so perplexed a that a Google search of "Why are gas prices going up?" has spiked this month.


Shaq finally sells Florida mega-mansion for $11 million

After three years of relists, NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal has finally sold his Shaq-sized mansion outside Orlando for $11 million.


California's job growth took a hit as the Delta variant spread

California's job growth slowed last month and its unemployment rate remained high as the state struggled to recover economic momentum.


Workers are fed up. But is this really #Striketober?

After decades of stagnating wages and diminishing pension and healthcare benefits, many U.S. workers are fed up. A small but growing number are organizing.


For a 'bizarre thrill,' visit an open house at an L.A. mega-mansion. Here's how, even without mega-bucks

Nile Niami's "The One" ultra-mega-mansion won't be hosting an open house, but plenty of other super-luxe homes will. Here's some, and how to find more.


Southern California will soon have the tallest single-track roller coaster in the world

An upcoming Wonder Woman ride marks the 20th roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain


Pandemic spurs young families to leave big cities for the heartland. Will they stay?

New telework opportunities could slow exodus from rural America, but housing and lifestyle challenges abound.


Column: Democrats are talking about means-testing more social programs. What a terrible idea

Means-testing social programs can doom them to failure. Here's why.


When truckers voted to unionize, their employer retaliated with illegal layoffs, judge rules

Mere weeks after a group of port truck drivers voted to unionize, they opened their mailboxes to find termination notices from their employer. That letter was a violation of federal labor law, a judge ruled Tuesday.


El Segundo semiconductor maker goes public in billion-dollar deal amid chip shortage

For faster charging and more efficient use of energy, Navitas thinks gallium nitride beats silicon.


Column: Facebook, fooling no one, may be going for a new name

Facebook is reportedly considering a name change. Marketing experts say the move makes sense, both as damage control and as an evolution of the brand.


Column: The IRS wanted a new tool to go after tax cheats. Republicans and bankers blocked it

President Biden wants to step up the war on tax cheats, so of course the GOP and banks object.


Offers due on Halloween for L.A.'s famous 'Nightmare on Elm Street' house

In Spaulding Square, the famous house from the 1980s horror hit 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' is listing for sale at $3.25 million.


Podcast: Unclogging America's biggest ports

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest in the U.S. Their massive backlog is affecting the economy.


Hot, hot, hot ... warm: SoCal home values hit new record, but price rises are slowing

The Southern California housing market is hot, but cooling. Home prices rose nearly 13% in September a the smallest jump since January.


Can TSA vaccinate enough screeners before the Thanksgiving travel rush?

Only 60% of TSA employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. It could mean trouble for Thanksgiving travelers.


'You're so L.A.': What lies behind tourists' perception of Angelenos

When tourists see Angelenos acting "so L.A.," it may say more about the expectations they bring with them.


Column: Strikes and strike threats a what's behind the new worker militancy and why it's a good thing

In a welcome development, strikes are breaking out all over the country.


Column: Hertz refused to let facts get in the way of an unwarranted late fee

An L.A. man can prove he was on a plane awaiting takeoff when Hertz says he returned his rental car. Nevertheless, Hertz imposed a late fee.


In Florida, baseball star AsdrAobal Cabrera sets record with $7.41-million sale

After building a modern mansion in Southwest Ranches, Fla., baseball star AsdrAobal Cabrera has sold it for $7.41 million.


Keyword Selected: world

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi testifies in court but a gag order prevents her defense from being made public

Myanmar's ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi testified in court on Tuesday for the first time since she was overthrown in a military coup.

German ISIS bride sentenced to 10 years in prison over death of Yazidi girl left to die in sun

A German woman who joined ISIS was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday over the death of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl.

Australia officially allows vaccinated residents to travel outside the country

All fully-vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the country without a special exemption from November 1, authorities said on Wednesday, October 27, as Australia eases coronavirus restrictions amid a rise in vaccination rates.

US has few good options if China seizes islands close to Taiwan, war game concludes

If China were to seize one of Taiwan's outlying islands, the US would have few good options to respond without risking a major escalation and a war between the superpowers, according to the conclusions from a recent war game conducted by foreign policy and defense experts.

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin wants to build a tourism space station nearly as big as the ISS

Blue Origin, the rocket and space tourism company founded by Jeff Bezos, is proposing a massive new commercial space station called "Orbital Reef" that could be used to host science experiments, vacation getaways, and potentially even in-space manufacturing.

Oil surpasses $85 for the first time in seven years

The oil rally hit another milestone Monday, with crude topping $85 a barrel for the first time in seven years.

Energy crisis will set off social unrest, private-equity billionaire warns

Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman warned Tuesday that high energy prices will likely set off social unrest around the world.

2 million Brits get a raise as minimum wage jumps to $13 an hour

Up to 2 million UK workers will be getting bigger paychecks starting in April following a hike to the minimum wage.

Attacked, rejected and harassed: Asians around the world speak out on workplace discrimination


US cities are losing 36 million trees a year. Here's why it matters

If you're looking for a reason to care about tree loss, the nation's latest heat wave might be it. Trees can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a recent study.

Miami's Little Haiti wasn't a target for developers. Until the seas started to rise


How rich people could help save the planet from the climate crisis

Rich people don't just have bigger bank balances and more lavish lifestyles than the rest of us -- they also have bigger carbon footprints.

Denis Villeneuve on why he cast TimothA(c)e Chalamet in 'Dune'

"I know you," murmurs Paul, the young protagonist of Denis Villeneuve's "Dune." He's referring to a beautiful woman who has wandered in his unconscious, all windswept hair and piercing gaze, halfway between dream and perfume advert. Now she stands before him, flesh and blood; a vision no more. Yet she's flintier than anticipated, brusquer than the fantasy. Expectation, meet reality.

The South Korean artist who spent three decades on a single painting

It was the late 1980s when South Korean artist Myonghi Kang began work on her painting "Le temps des camA(c)lias" ("The Time of Camellias"). Living in Paris' 19th arrondissement at the time, she would periodically revisit the then-vertical canvas to add strokes of color or floral forms.

Historic music venue to re-open in London after $100 million revamp

Historic London music venue KOKO, where the likes of Madonna, Prince, Amy Winehouse and Coldplay have performed, will re-open next spring following a $100 million revamp.

Michael Jordan's sneakers sell for record-breaking $1.47M

A pair of Nike Air Ships sneakers worn by Michael Jordan have sold for a record-breaking $1.47 million (APS1.07 million) at auction.

Emma Raducanu is the new face of Dior

Emma Raducanu has been named a Dior ambassador just over a month after winning the women's singles title at the 2021 US Open.

Large-scale nude photos highlight disappearing Dead Sea

With desert peaks stabbing the sky and a thin blue ribbon of Dead Sea shimmering in the distance, the ghostly figures of around 200 men and women -- painted head to toe in white -- began appearing from behind an outcrop.

Striking photos capture the Arctic's remotest buildings

The Arctic invites images of emptiness. Harsh temperatures lead to barren, sparsely populated landscapes beyond the reach of most travelers. This inaccessibility is what first drew Austrian photographer Gregor Sailer to the region.

Meet the luxury travel agent who plans trips for former US presidents and world leaders

On a personal trip to Ethiopia in 2015, former US President George W. Bush encountered a pleasant surprise.

Royal Caribbean announces nine-month world cruise

It would've been unthinkable 12 months ago as the cruise industry reeled from the effects of Covid, but one operator is now offering an epic new voyage that will last nine months and take travelers to more than 150 destinations.

The A380 superjumbo is back. Here's where it's flying

When Airbus announced plans to cease production of its A380 aircraft back in 2019, heartbroken aviation fans found solace in the fact that the superjumbo wasn't set to stop flying anytime soon.

The world's most spectacular airport landings

There's a lot to love about travel. Experiencing a new culture. Eating great food. Staying in top notch hotels... and landing in a new airport.

Why a Mach 5 passenger plane is a crazy idea that might just work

Almost two decades since Concorde retired, interest around supersonic travel has been picking up pace, and several super-fast planes are under development. Airlines seem interested: United has already committed itself to offering supersonic routes as early as 2029.

World's most powerful passport revealed

The global gap in travel freedoms has never been wider, says the latest report by London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners.

The police officer took a bruised toddler from an abusive home. She took his heart.

A Christmas tree full of ornaments inside Lt. Brian Zach's office tells you Christmas is his favorite time of year.

How a CNN Hero inspired people in Bali to collect nearly 500 tons of plastic for recycling

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck Indonesia's island of Bali, tourism -- the driving economic force in the region -- just about came to a halt.

The homecoming queen gave away her crown to comfort a grieving family

Brittany Walters made a promise to her mother the day she passed away from cancer: Brittany and her father would go to homecoming, where the high school senior was nominated for queen.