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Updated: 9 min 46 sec ago

Celebrate Chromecast’s first birthday with 3 months Google Play Music free

Thursday 24th of July 2014 10:14:04 PM

Today marks the first birthday of Chromecast and by all estimations it seems to have been a very good year for the baby device. Google claim the device has been ‘cast’ over 400 million times in its first year and is currently on sale through 30,000 stores across 20 countries.

For those of you who don’t know about Chromecast, put simply, it is a small HDMI dongle which allows users to stream content from the likes of Netflix, HBO GO, Hula, WatchESPN and other media apps directly to their HDTV. Chromecast allows streaming from Android, iOS devices as well as directly from laptops.

It also seems Chromecast has big plans for the year ahead too.

We’re not done yet. In the coming months, we’ll be making more updates, like the ability to allow others to cast to your TV without needing to be on the same WiFi network, and a customizable homescreen with personal photos or beautiful art”.

To celebrate its first birthday Google today announced they will be offering all Chromecast owners three months of their Google Play Music subscription absolutely free. The subscription typically costs $9.99 per month and as standard all new users are offered the first month free. So in effect you will only be getting two additional months free. The offer is open to all owners who have purchased the unit within the last year and can be redeemed by clicking here. If you have not already purchased the device than don’t worry. Google also announced that the offer will run from today until September 30th 2014 and all purchases in this time will be able to redeem the free Play Music subscription.

The only caveat is this offer is ONLY available to those who do not already have an All Access (Play Music) subscription. If you have already signed up to the subscription than sorry folks it seems like you won’t be taking part in the celebration – even if you did purchase the Chromecast. Also do bear in mind that after the free 90 days you will automatically be converted to a paid subscription and billed the $9.99 per month. So make sure you cancel before the 90 days unless you want to pay to continue.

 

The post Celebrate Chromecast’s first birthday with 3 months Google Play Music free appeared first on The Mukt.

OnePlus AOSP stock ROM for those who don’t want CyanogenMod

Thursday 24th of July 2014 09:52:48 PM

OnePlus have developed quite a buzz over the last few months with the release of their first device the OnePlus One. Part of the allure is the incredibly low asking price of $300 – which is typically half the cost of its on-spec rivals. However another feature which has greatly attracted attention is the OnePlus One comes with CyanogenMod (CM) custom ROM as stock out of the box.

For most users this is a selling point. Many Android fans are very much into the open-source nature of CyanogenMod and will relish the opportunity to own a device which is pre-installed with CM and especially without the need for flashing. However OnePlus seem to be trying to cover all of their bases and today announced the release of their own AOSP stock Android ROM. This move is definitely targeted at users who may have been interested in purchasing the OnePlus One but did not want a ‘custom’ ROM installed.

This in some ways does feel a step away from the OnePlus ethos “Never Settle” as OnePlus were very prominent in using the CM branding and its inclusion as a distinct and ‘different’ selling point. With the introduction of their own stock ROM OnePlus may very well be laying the groundwork to become more like the traditional companies they were trying to move away from.

Are OnePlus ‘Settling’?

Today, we’re launching our own version of AOSP for those who want that 100% pure Android feel. We’ve worked hard at this so we hope you’ll enjoy it, but keep in mind it is a work in progress

More curiously, the stock ROM at present is not available pre-installed on new devices and instead (ironically) requires flashing to install the stock ROM. So if you are rooted, know how to flash and want to try the OnePlus take on AOSP then you can by downloading and installing the zip in the normal way you would with CM.

We understand this is currently Android 4.4.4 and updates are expected OTA. According to the OnePlus thread there are minor issues as listed below.

  • Gyroscope may not work for all devices
  • Encryption features and VPN do not work

The thread also advises that installing this ROM will not void your warranty ALTHOUGH curiously the thread clearly states “If you brick your phone, however, you’re on your own. We will repair it, but that’s not covered by warranty

You can download the zip directly by clicking here or if you want to read the thread in full then follow the link to head over to the OnePlus posting.

The post OnePlus AOSP stock ROM for those who don’t want CyanogenMod appeared first on The Mukt.

City of Toulouse moves to LibreOffice, saves €1 million

Thursday 24th of July 2014 08:50:52 PM

The United Kingdom recently made an announcement about its decision to adopt the Open Document Format (ODF) as its in-house standard for all new documents. And now, Microsoft has lost another important fight in yet another European city.

Toulouse, France’s fourth largest city, has ditched Microsoft Office in favor of LibreOffice.

Toulouse has migrated all its desktops to LibreOffice — an open source suite of office productivity tools — and saved 1 million euro in the process.

“Free software and open source in general is now an established part of the city’s comprehensive digital policy, and the open model promotes economic development and employment in the region,” according to an article published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository today.

Over the last couple of years, more and more European cities are making a move away from Microsoft’s proprietary solutions to open source alternatives in order to save money. Cities from Italy and Germany have already adopted various open source solutions, thus getting people to benefit from free applications.

“Moving to LibreOffice is one of the key projects in the city’s IT strategy. Currently several thousand people out of the 10,000 who work for the city and Toulouse Métropole use LibreOffice daily. The migration started in 2012, following the political decision in 2011. The switch took a year and a half, and 90 per cent of the desktops now run LibreOffice,” the article notes.

“Software licenses for productivity suites cost Toulouse 1.8 million euro every three years. Migration cost us about 800,000 euro, due partly to some development. One million euro has actually been saved in the first three years. It is a compelling proof in the actual context of local public finance,” says Erwane Monthuber, the person responsible with Toulouse’s IT policy.

The post City of Toulouse moves to LibreOffice, saves €1 million appeared first on The Mukt.

Google targets students with new Chromebook ad

Thursday 24th of July 2014 04:26:23 PM

Google is all geared up to push Chromebooks to students in the US. They have uploaded a new ad on YouTube targeting students. The video titled Chromebook: For Students shows student lockers and a very clear text ‘everything a student needs in a laptop’.

According to a Google blog, “Schools bought more than 1 million Chromebooks in the second quarter of 2014.”

I am really excited to see Chromebook’s entry in schools however there is one huge drawback of Chromebooks, their pathetic support for ODF which means such students – the new breed of users will be locked into Microsoft messy docx format, which doesn’t work well with Google’s own Docs.

I hope Google will make ODF support its priority as it seems committed to get rid of proprietary or non standard media formats. I hope Google will not lock the new breed of PC users locked into a non-standard messy format and make ODF the default file system across its properties.

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GOG to offer 50 games for Linux! It’s huge

Thursday 24th of July 2014 03:39:37 PM

If you have been following our coverage of the gaming scene, then you might remember us speculating on the possibility of Good Old Games (GOG.com) going to introduce Linux games. A few days following that article, GOG actually confirmed that they did indeed plan on getting Linux as another platform where they would introduce games regularly and promised about a 100 games by fall of this year. Now it seems that GOG managed to push their worker elves and the penguin folks hard enough that they are ready to release about 50 of the promised games for Linux.

According to an announcement on GOG.com, GOG is now ready to unveil a catalog of 50 games for Linux thus making Linux as an official distribution platform for GOG. According to the GOG announcement, GOG even goes the extra mile and added a nice little bonus discount to the games on sale, putting some of the games for a discounted price of as much as 75% till next Tuesday. According to GOG, even though they promised 100 games, they thought it isn’t really a good idea to delay the unveiling just because they aren’t at a nice three digit number and I commend them for that. People can now start enjoying something out of the 50 classics while they wait for the other half in the meantime. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be treated to even more games, as is hinted all over the announcement. Plus GOG is known to always listen to their community and even have a community wish list from which they grant wishes! In fact this Linux version support was one of the most wished for.

Also, in case you already own some of these, or maybe all of these games, the Linux version will be provided for free, as is done with popular distribution platforms, like Steam. The user area should be updated with the respective version. The games on offer are classics that were never released or meant to be released on Linux. As such the Linux versions are probably running off of Wine or some other emulators. But since these games are classics, there shouldn’t be any noticeable performance hits. (Unless of course, you get too excited and try running them on a classic PC too.) GOG promises too continue to keep Linux versions coming in the future too.

Anyways, here’s the list of games you can get for your Linux machine right away, so go get ‘em! Also let us know if you already have any of them or which games you would like in the comments below.

Anomaly Warzone Earth
Ascendant
Bionic Dues
Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold - first time on Linux!
Blake Stone: Planet Strike - first time on Linux!
Bloodnet - first time on Linux!
Braveland
CLARC - first time on Linux!
Darklands - first time on Linux!
Darwinia
Defcon
Don’t Starve + DLC
Dragonsphere - first time on Linux!
Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition
FlatOut - first time on Linux!
Flatout 2 - first time on Linux!
Fragile Allegiance - first time on Linux!
Gemini Rue
Gods Will Be Watching
Hammerwatch
Hocus Pocus - first time on Linux!
Kentucky Route Zero
The Last Federation
Legend of Grimrock
Litil Divil - first time on Linux!
Long Live the Queen
MouseCraft
Multiwinia
Normality - first time on Linux!
Pinball Gold Pack - first time on Linux!
Pinball World - first time on Linux!
Pirates! Gold Plus - first time on Linux!
Realms of the Haunting - first time on Linux!
Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender - first time on Linux!
Rise of the Triad: Dark War - first time on Linux!
Shattered Haven
The Shivah HD
Sid Meier’s Colonization - first time on Linux!
Sid Meier’s Covert Action - first time on Linux!
Sir, You Are Being Hunted
Slipstream 5000 - first time on Linux!
Space Pirates and Zombies
Spacechem
Stargunner - first time on Linux!
SteamWorld Dig
Super Hexagon
Surgeon Simulator 2013
Sword of the Samurai - first time on Linux!
Teslagrad
Unrest:Special Edition (Linux build on the way!)
Uplink
VVVVVV

Source: GOG.com

The post GOG to offer 50 games for Linux! It’s huge appeared first on The Mukt.

Know how the US government creates its terrorist watchlist

Thursday 24th of July 2014 01:26:16 PM

How do you think the US government creates its internal terrorist watchlist? Does the secret process require some “concrete facts” or “irrefutable evidence” to designate and track suspected terrorist? Well, in plain words, it does not and this is pretty evident from a key government document The Intercept obtained from an intelligence source.

Over the years, both the Obama and Bush Administrations have refrained from disclosing the secret rules that govern placing of individual names on the databases. The guidelines, however, are officially unclassified.

The U.S. government’s 166-page rulebook lets you take a look at how the government designates an American citizen or foreigner as a terrorist.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance”, issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, was produced with the input of 19 agencies including the CIA, Pentagon, NSA and FBI.

It reveals the new guidelines that “allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists,” the report said.

It spells out how government officials can “nominate” people to the terrorist watchlist based on “fragmentary information.” It also mentions that dead people could be watchlisted too (surprised, are you?).

“The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

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Apple’s best Macs yet arriving this fall

Thursday 24th of July 2014 01:24:36 PM

With OS X Yosemite about to release this fall, Apple is reportedly finishing up work on a 12-inch MacBook featuring a pixel-dense Retina display, and also a new desktop computer, either an iMac or a standalone monitor, with a 4K display.

Apple could release the pair of new Mac units around October this year.

It’s not yet disclosed whether the upcoming Retina machine will fall under the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro branding; the company may also choose to give it a new name altogether.

But it will “include a much thinner and slightly lighter aluminum body,” 9to5Mac cited anonymous sources as saying.

“Analysts and foreign forum postings previously indicated that Apple is developing a new 12-inch MacBook. While it is possible Apple will market the aforementioned 4K desktop as a “Retina” machine, the technology for true pixel-doubling of the current 27-inch iMac and Thunderbolt Display’s 2560 x 1440 resolution is not ready for market,” the report explained further.

Well, this is not the first time we are hearing about the 12-inch Retina MacBook. Back in January, Daniel Matte, an analyst with Canalys, mentioned on his personal blog that the Cupertino firm might go for a 12-inch (11.88-inch, to be exact) MacBook Air this year with a Retina-like resolution of 2,732 x 1,536.

The introduction of these new Macs with higher-resolution displays by Apple is largely being seen as a selling point for OS X Yosemite.

Mac OS X Yosemite includes “flat buttons, sharper corners, and much less of the skeumorphic design elements that have been the staple of the system since its inception.”

With the top-to-bottom redesign of the OS, app icons feature flatter designs, and the dock and windows of apps have sharper corners. The newly added user-selectable “dark mode” helps users with better focus while working as it turns the normally-light gray menu bars and dock to a darker gray.

“Those interface elements appear especially optimized on higher-resolution screens, so it makes sense for us to debut new Retina Macs around the time of Yosemite’s release,” a source said.

The post Apple’s best Macs yet arriving this fall appeared first on The Mukt.

Marvel offers 15,000 Marvel digital comics for mere 99 cents

Thursday 24th of July 2014 01:24:10 PM

Marvel Comics is kicking off an attractive promotion to celebrate the start of San Diego Comic-Con International tomorrow. The company is opening up its massive online comics archive, Marvel Unlimited—for less than a dollar this week.

It is worth mentioning here that a subscription to Marvel Unlimited usually runs $10 per month or $69 per year. Additionally, there’s also a $99 yearly subscription which gives you access to some exclusive tidbits.

You can enjoy the offer, with a simple payment of 99 cents, to access over 15,000 digital comics “featuring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the galaxy’s vilest villains – all spanning Marvel’s 75-year history” for one month.

You can view the comics on PC and Mac, as well as iOS and Android devices through a Marvel Unlimited app.

“Readers can download up to 12 comics at a time for offline reading—although like many digital subscription services, you’re paying to view and not to own. Newer comics tend to be added to the Unlimited archive after 6 months, and include comics from the recent Marvel Now! initiative that relaunched many of the publisher’s most popular titles with new #1 issues,” said a report by Wired.

Check out the promo code here to treat yourself to Marvel’s online cache of digital comics, for just under a buck.

The post Marvel offers 15,000 Marvel digital comics for mere 99 cents appeared first on The Mukt.

Share a directory quickly on Ubuntu using Boa webserver

Thursday 24th of July 2014 01:22:48 PM

When comes to HTTP servers, there are many options to choose from. Apache and Nginx are two of the most well known names. Boa is a lesser known lightweight (only ~300 KB) webserver that delivers good performance. Unlike traditional webservers it doesn’t create a new fork for each connection, or, in other words, it is a single-tasking HTTP server. It has a light memory footprint and makes it suitable for running on embedded devices. Configuring Boa is also easy.

Boa runs on desktops too. Let’s say you want to share a directory from your Ubuntu system with your colleague in a remote branch with a Microsoft Windows system but on the same office network. The files are bigger than your email attachment limit and your colleague needs to choose several files from the directory as per his needs. Boa can be a handy choice in situations like this where you would like to share a directory quickly over HTTP. Of course you can choose other options like Apache but Boa merely takes a minute to install, setup and share any directory over HTTP. This guide will show you how to do that on Ubuntu.

  • Step 1: Install Boa
    It is available in the default repositories on Ubuntu. Run the following command to install it -

    $ sudo apt-get install boa
  • Step 2: Navigate to the directory which you want to share.
  • Step 3: Copy the configuration (boa.conf) file to the directory: $ cp /etc/boa/boa.conf
  • Step 4: Change the DocuementRoot entry in boa.conf to point to the current directory: DocumentRoot /var/www to DocumentRoot
  • Step 5: As it is a temporary server, you can comment out the ErrorLog and AccessLog entries in boa.conf.
  • Step 6: Save the configuration file and run the server with the current directory as root directory of the server: $ sudo boa -c

If everything goes fine, your HTTP server should be up and running by now. Run localhost in your browser to access your site. Works great in a LAN environment. If your router/firewall settings/ISP permit, your friends can access your server over the internet using your real IP address as well. You can check your real IP at whatismyip.

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An original RPG made by Astronauts, Project Tools

Thursday 24th of July 2014 01:19:00 PM

Space and Role Playing Game (RPG) is like peanut butter & jelly, perfect for each other. Yet, having a high compatibility doesn’t assure that there are tons of games. Only a handful games have been able to create a niche for itself in this genre, namely Mass Effect and Star Wars. Project Tools is a new entrant to this field that aims to revolutionize the space RPG scene and evolve it further. To that end, the game has active contributions from astronauts and scientists from agencies like NASA integrated into the creative process.

Project Tools aims to be a cinematic 3rd person RPG with a story-telling experience that the developers believe will captivate the gamers and keep them “on the edge of their seats” as the grand story unfolds. The game is set in a science fiction future version of Earth and uses the still unsolved Origin of Life puzzle as a plot tool. According to the game’s narrative, about 2 billion years ago, an alien spacecraft crashed into prehistoric earth, carrying a very special cargo. On board the said space craft, there was a special crystal that is capable of giving off an unique radiation that causes matter surrounding it to organize itself and thus become the source of all life on Earth.

Fast forward to the year 2347 A.D. Another unidentified flying object approaches Earth vectored directly at the ancient crash site. Attempts to hail the UFO are met with silence and attempt to intercept it is met with complete destruction. The space craft hovers over the crash site and extracts a crystalline structure and departs. Within a few days there is mass extinction of micro-organisms around the world and after a short time, the world population takes a huge hit with people dying of unknown reasons. Thankfully a professor, Edward Mannings, relates that the ability of the cells to transmit information and propagate life is tied closely to the unique radiation of the crystal. He even goes further to locate a second such crystal on a distant planet’s moon. While the hunt for the crystal becomes essential to the human race’s survival, governments see this as a perfect opportunity to use this crystal to solve the problem of overpopulation and basically take control over the entire human race.

In order to do so, a program called “The All Seeing Eye” is founded with the objective of keeping the research of Dr. Mannings under wraps and obtaining the crystal and eventually take over & control the survival of the human race. You play the role of Jake Travis, an agent the program. But soon after he undertakes the mission he discovers the sinister plot behind the plan and goes rogues in order to save humanity from enslavement.

The game promises to bring the standard fare of RPG stuff that have become mainstream nowadays, including customizable armor and guns. The player will be given the choice to choose from a wide variety of combat weapons and build a character around them. As such, the players can augment their reload time or various ammo or concentrate of armor for creating a tank. Even there, they can customize it to either be tailored for specific ordinance or make it well rounded with equal negative hits. (a similar customization can be found in the Mass Effect series) Apart from these, the protagonist is has the power to teleport himself and anything nearby as well as project his mind into other intelligent beings, a la Dishonoured style. In addition, since the game is set in an expansive universe spanning from Earth to giant Armada of Space ships and other planets, the gamer can free-roam through and even grab space rides (kind of like GTA, only in space. How awesome is that!) The game UI is said to be built tightly into the game in the form holographic displays and devices projecting in the game world directly, kind of like Dead Space.

All of these features are something that made the individual games famous, so obviously, if the developers CAN in fact weave it into this one game, the game has very high potential. The developers are also consulting real astronauts and scientists at agencies like NASA to create a believable universe that will engross the gamers. As a result, the game is planned to contain sequences ranging from Earth to zero G situations to places where physics is completely and utterly disregarded.

The game currently is in the process of raising funding for its development. The goal is $500,000, of which about $8,550 has been pledged. The game isn’t on Kickstarter yet as then it would need to be able to raise the funding within a time limit. The creators plan to release the game by the end of 2015. There are a variety of packages up for sale, including physical copies, for those that like to have something tangible to limited combos where the player get to help plan an entire Alien race!

The game is set to release on Linux, Mac, Windows, Xbox One, PS4 & Wii U simultaneously. More information can be found over at the Project Tools website, along with the different game packages. Overall the game seems to have a solid concept that would excite any sci-fi lover (which would be yours truly). But the question remains whether it can raise the necessary funding to continue development. Stay tuned here as we follow this promising game as more updates are put forward in the future.

Disclaimer: This article is not a sponsored article. I came across the site and game looked promising.

The post An original RPG made by Astronauts, Project Tools appeared first on The Mukt.

“Ok Google” command works from any screen now

Thursday 24th of July 2014 12:48:27 PM

You must have felt jealous of Moto X users because they had Touchless voice control feature in their smartphones. Google has finally brought that feature to Google Now for all envious Android users. The latest update to the search app now allows it to respond to your “Ok Google” command from any screen, in fact even when the screen is off.

To enable the feature just follow the steps:

1. Open Google Now App

2. Go to settings -> Voice -> “OK Google” Detection

3. Check “From any screen”, optionally you can also check “From lock Screen”

4. Now in the ‘training”, say “Ok Google” three times to teach Google the sound of your voice.

That’s it, now you can give orders to your Android device without touching it. The only time it doesn’t is when the phone is in sleep. You can’t wake it up with “Ok Google” command. This must have been done to save battery life when the device has not been used for a long time.

The update is being rolled out to users on a per account basis and if you have received it, you can try an alternative way: Open the Google Now app and search for “Okay Google Everywhere”, you should get the detection anywhere option in settings. Then follow the above steps.

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Xiaomi unveils Mi4 flagship smartphone and Mi band fitness tracker

Thursday 24th of July 2014 12:33:01 PM

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is on a roll. The company just announced their flagship device the Mi4 in China, after launching their last year’s flagship Mi3 in India on the same day, which sold out in just 38 minutes. Xiaomi has a legacy of selling out its device within minutes after launch and it continues to carry that as it expands. CEO Lei Jun has also revealed that they have sold 26.11 million phone in the first half of 2014.

Xiaomi has been dubbed as China’s Apple for its design vision that are on similar line as the american smartphone giant: Apple. Its MIUI OS is very close in appearance to iOS, while recently launched Mi Pad looks like plastic version of the iPad Mini. Even the just launched launched Mi4 strikingly resembles an iPhone 5S, with similar shape, metal frame and even chamfered edges.

On the specifications side, Xiaomi Mi4 comes with Snapdragon 801 chipset with 2.5Ghz Krait 400 processor and Adreno 330 GPU. There’s a 5 inch 1080p Full HD display adorning the front of the device. It is a JDI OGS full lamination display which helps improve clarity while decrease the screen thickness. Fast processor coupled with massive 3GB of RAM makes the Mi4 a smartphone powerhouse.

For camera buffs there is a 13 megapixel rear camera and 8 megapixel front camera manufactured by Sony. The rear camera is capable of recording videos in 4K resolution. There is no expandable memory slot and the device will come with 16GB or 64GB internal memory. Powering the Mi4 is a 3080 mAh battery.

While Xiaomi might borrow design cues from Apple, it keeps its products priced at fraction of what Apple devices cost. The Mi4 will be available in China starting from 1999 Yuan ($320) for 16GB version and 2,499 Yuan ($400) for 64GB version. There is no word about worldwide release yet.

Along with Mi4, Xiaomi has also unveiled a fitness band, named Mi Band. It is the first step towards wearable technology from the chinese company. It acts as activity tracker, sleep tracker, alarm clock and also helps to unlock the device. It pairs with the phone via Bluetooth and is water resistant. Lack of a display allows it to have a day battery life. Even though the band lacks in features it comes with unbelievable price tag of just 79 Yuan or $13.

The post Xiaomi unveils Mi4 flagship smartphone and Mi band fitness tracker appeared first on The Mukt.

Google should switch to ODF to gain market in Europe

Thursday 24th of July 2014 02:34:33 AM

Microsoft is definitely not happy with the UK government’s decision to use ODF for government documents. The UK has made the right decision as Microsoft’s file formats create a vendor lock where only Microsoft can offer software, cutting out every single player on planet earth. Microsoft works really hard to make its documents almost incompatible with every word processor out there.

If you have created document in MS file formats, using Microsoft software, you have created document which will lose data if opened with non-Microsoft software. You may blame LibreOffice, openOffice, Calligra or Google Docs for ‘losing some data’, but the blame goes to Microsoft. So the best solution is to move away from Microsoft file-formats, so that you can break this vicious cycle.

But how many people use ODF? Not many that I know of. The reason is simple, Microsoft pushes its own X formats which it claims to implement the OOXML specification. That’s not surprising. What’s surprising is that Google also pushes X formats and has one of the most pathetic supports for ISO approved open standards ODF.

When I talked to Chris DiBona he said there is no demand for ODF, that’s why its not their priority. A company size of Google doesn’t things for demands, they create demand for their products. Google can create demand as well as make ODF the default file format of the digital world quite easily. Before we go there let’s see how broken in Google’s ODF support. In a nutshell you can’t open and edit ODF files across Google platforms including ChromeOS, Chrome Browser, Android and Google drive. If you get a file saved in ODF formats such as .odt, Google products will refuse to open the documents. Google will happily show the preview of a docx file as well as offer to edit it. When you download a file from Google Docs, the first or the default option is docx. Google doesn’t even bother to offer Open Document Format while downloading a presentation.

What Works With Google Services?
Only Microsoft’s controversial X formats. If you get a docx file, you will get a red carpet treatment in Google services. Android will show preview and allow you to read docx files, same is the case with Chrome OS and Google Drive.

If you uploaded a docx file without conversion Google Docs will show you a preview and also open and edit it. But if you upload an ODF file without conversion, Google Drive won’t offer any preview and will also refuse to open it. You will have to download it and then upload again with conversion on.

So, in a nutshell you are forced to use Microsoft’s OOXML formats if you are a Google user.

Why is Google not offering full support for ODF?
Why is Google not choosing ODF as the default file format instead of Microsoft’s messy X formats? To add insult to injury, Google’s own Docs don’t work well with Docx files and you would lose some data. I am left with puzzling questions why is Google not supporting ODF and locking users into an incompatible and vendor-locked messy format?

Google should switch to ODF to gain European markets
What ever the reason may be, Google needs to change this love for X. With UK government moving to ODF, Google will cut itself out of a huge market they are creating where European companies will be able to offer document solutions, breaking the ‘abusive’ monopoly of Microsoft. It will create a lot of new businesses any one would be able to offer solution in a market previous locked down to Microsoft.

If Google doesn’t switch to ODF it risks losing markets in Europe, as no one will bother to use a product which can’t support vendor neutral, open standard file format ODF.

Ironically even Microsoft has a far better support for ODF in its products than Google does.

Your move Google!

The post Google should switch to ODF to gain market in Europe appeared first on The Mukt.

Oracle showcases its Open Source prowess with Oracle Linux 7

Wednesday 23rd of July 2014 08:37:01 PM

Oracle, one of the largest and most profitable open source companies of the world, today announced the release of Oracle Linux 7. This release showcases the innovative edge the company has over competitors.

“We have enabled players like Red Hat to rip our work during development stage and sell it to our customers. Red Hat is doing what Google does with Amazon’s Android. They garb our source code from beta release that we push out for testing and package it as RHEL”, said Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Linux and Virtualization Engineering, Oracle.

OL7 shows the hard work the community has put in the project. OL7 is based on Oracle’s community edition called Tin Foil Hat which Red Hat clones as Fedora. Tin Foil Hat is one of the cutting edge Linux/GNU distributions which introduced technologies like systempee (which was blatantly copied by Red Hat developer Lennart Poettering) and called systemd.

Oracle said in a press statement, “As with previous releases, Oracle Linux 7 is easy to download. We have made it even easier to download OL7, just garb the source code of RHEL, remove trademark and compile it as OL7.”

When asked about suing Red Hat for copying their work Oracle’s spokesperson told Chaudhary, “We don’t believe in litigation. We have no problem with a competitor using our code or API for their products. We believe in markets and not courts.”

You can download Oracle Linux 7 from here.

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Apple opening up OS X Yosemite beta program to 1 million users

Wednesday 23rd of July 2014 06:51:03 PM

Apple is offering a rare peek into the latest version of its operating system for the Mac. The company plans to release OS X Yosemite this fall. But if you can’t wait to see the brand-new look and tons of new features that the latest version of OS X has in store for you, here’s your chance.

The first public beta of Apple’s forthcoming OS X 10.10 software update will become available to download on July 24 for testing — for the first 1 million Mac users that sign up though.

“The OS X Beta Program lets you take part in shaping it by test-driving pre-release versions and letting us know what you think. Your comments will help us make OS X better for all Mac users,” Apple says on its official website.
Apple first revealed details about Yosemite at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco last month.

Mac OS X Yosemite includes “flat buttons, sharper corners, and much less of the skeumorphic design elements that have been the staple of the system since its inception.”

With the top-to-bottom redesign of the OS, app icons feature flatter designs, and the dock and windows of apps have sharper corners. The newly added user-selectable “dark mode” helps users with better focus while working as it turns the normally-light gray menu bars and dock to a darker gray.

The Notification Center has been updated with a new “Today” view which, according to Apple, can be extended even further with widgets from the Mac App Store. Apple has also redesigned its universal search tool, Spotlight, with more functionality, including instant results for web searches.

To be a part of the OS X Beta Program, you can sign up with your Apple ID. Once the beta software is ready, you will use a redemption code to download and install the OS X Yosemite Beta from the Mac App Store.

As with any beta, Apple recommends you to proceed with caution while installing Yosemite.

“We recommend installing OS X Yosemite Beta on a secondary Mac, since it may contain errors or inaccuracies. Please be sure to back up your Mac using Time Machine before you install the beta. This is beta software that is still in development, which means some applications and services may not work as expected,” the company adds.

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How Fred the monkey can help no-budget filmmakers

Wednesday 23rd of July 2014 06:23:03 PM

Hello, my name is Dominic Kennedy and I like to make films. I’m the man responsible for last year’s ‘The Quiet Leprechaun‘….. You can stop racking your brain now, it’s not a big feature or even another Warwick Davis leprechaun film, just a wee Irish comedy I made with my Dad that’s lurking around on Youtube.

Now that I’ve introduced myself, let’s get to the point. I needed a windjammer/dead-cat for my Azden SMX-10 microphone to help deaden the wind on the west coast of Ireland where my Dad, assorted family members, friends and I will converge to shoot the sequel to the previously mentioned film. (more of the same, but better)

I quickly discarded the notion of buying a bespoke windjammer as the prices were perilously close to and over what I paid for the mic itself (80 Euros including the postage from Hong Kong – 4 years ago)

Long-haired fake fur, what’d you’d use for arts and crafts purposes was looked into, and while not all that expensive, still, it would have hurt my dwindling stock of cash. So I googled along the lines of ‘DIY Windjammer’ and tucked away in a forum were the wise words which told me to get a long-haired cuddly toy, surgically remove a limb, skin it and there you have it – a very quick and simple, but more importantly – effective solution that cost only 3 Euros.

I tested it on the wind – and it proved itself to my satisfaction by smothering those high notes.

As you have seen from the picture of Fred the Monkey – I know I shouldn’t have got attached to him and given him a name, only to then have to detach him from his limbs- because the beauty of Fred is- he carries spares.

A word of warning to all father’s out there, do what I did, I brought 2 monkey’s – one for my daughter and one for my mic. Tears were avoided thanks to my in-shop brainstorm.

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NTL – New to Linux articles on The Mukt

Wednesday 23rd of July 2014 06:20:24 PM

We are starting a section called NTL – New to Linux where we accept useful posts from readers and community members. The focus is on enabling new Linux users in getting familiar with the huge potential of Linux, while helping them in doing different things that they often need. It could range from useful commands, to useful software to do things like video conversion, to new applications and their features.

Anyone can submit the story as long as the writer adheres to these points:

Does

  • Story must be original and unpublished.
  • The focus should be on new users (try to explain terms and jargons so they get used to them)
  • Please provide us with images for stories
  • Send stories in .PDF and text format. The PDF will also us to know where you want to insert images.
  • Please provide needed links to the project pages or download locations

Don’t

  • Don’t offer download files or scripts from private dropbox or other accounts. In order to ensure integrity of the code/files always give URL to the project download page.
  • Don’t copy-paste content from other sites. You can use other sites for reference or research work but don’t steal other people’s work.
  • Don’t repost old stories from your own blog. Give us new articles.

Each accepted story will be paid some remuneration depending on the length and quality of the story (you can inquire about the payment prior to sending the story). You can send your stories to ‘swapnil.bhartiya@muktware.com’.

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Microsoft imitates Ubuntu, will create one Windows to run on all screens

Wednesday 23rd of July 2014 05:03:57 PM

Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, for long pursued a single dream — that of acheiving a unified family of experiences on smartphones, tablets, PCs, and TVs through one operating system and one interface, Unity, which will adopt to the connected device. As Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical and Ubuntu’s founder said at last year’s OSCon, “Convergence is the core story. Each device is great, but they should be part of one family. On any device you’ll know what you’re doing. One device should be able to give you all the experiences you can get from any one of them.”

Now Microsoft seems to have taken cue from Canonical’s idea of offering one operating system for any device. The software company is working to unify its different Windows operating systems into a single OS, chief executive Satya Nadella made the announcement during Microsoft’s quarterly earnings call.

What this would mean is that whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, notebook or desktop, if the device is running Windows, a user will be able to experience the same look and feel on all devices.

“We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes,” he said.

“We will unify our stores, commerce and developer platforms to drive a more coherent user experience and a broader developer opportunity,” Nadella added.

Nadella also went on to discuss the benefits of merging the Windows Phone OS with the other versions of the system. “One of beauties of universal Windows app is it aggregates for the first time for us all of our Windows volume,” Nadella noted.

“An app that runs with a mouse and keyboard on the desktop can be in the store, and you can have the same app run in the touch-first [mobile devices].

“[It] gives developers the entire volume of Windows, which is 300 plus million units as opposed to just our 4% share of mobile in the US or 10% in some countries.”

Microsoft is struggling in the post-PC era and whether one code to run on all devices will help it is something time will tell.

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Take control of your ‘cloud’ with ownCloud 7

Wednesday 23rd of July 2014 03:30:07 PM

The best cloud is the one that you own. Once ownCloud was founded I never used public cloud offered and hosted by a company to keep my files. I do use Dropbox and Google Drive, but the primary purpose is to share files with a set of people. With each release ownCloud is becoming a very serious contender to these commercial offerings when it comes to file storage, syncing and sharing. OwnCloud Documents are already an impressive alternative to Google Docs and offer full ODF support which is missing from Google Docs.

In a nutshell, ownCloud is what an enterprise, government, organization or privacy concerned individual needs. With the release of version 7 Community Edition, ownCloud has add many new capabilities to this Open Source solution.

Now ownCloud users will be able to share files with other ownCloud user (running their clouds on different servers) without share links, thanks to its unique Server-to-Server Sharing.

OwnCloud team explains, “Server-to-Server Sharing enables users on one ownCloud instance to seamlessly share files with users on a different ownCloud installation without using share links. Both users retain the privacy and control of a private, hosted ownCloud, but gain the flexibility and ease-of-use of a public cloud.”

“Server-to-server sharing is a game changer, allowing individuals – and organizations – to more easily share across private clouds, while still maintaining complete control of their data,” said Frank Karlitschek, founder and leader of the ownCloud project.

The new version also brings a more ‘Dropbox-like’ experience “complementing the security and privacy on the back end – with an entirely new web interface, mobile web browser support, file activity notifications in emails or the activity stream, and significant performance improvements.”

ownCloud Community Edition is similar to any other Free Software project whether it be WordPress, Drupal, MariaDB or Fedora where anyone can download and use the software for free of cost and get free community based support. Those who do want a commerical or paid support can simply choose the Enterprise Edition. It’s just the same code base with commercial grade support and updates.

ownCloud can be downloaded from here. I have been using it as my primary remote storage and file sharing service for over a year now. I don’t think we should be using non-free/proprietary cloud-services in the post-PRISM era.

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UK to use Open Document Format for government documents

Tuesday 22nd of July 2014 07:49:03 PM

There is a perfect script for a science-fiction or techno-thriller novel sitting in my diary where in future a government is unable to access its own achieve from way back in 1990s as it was saved in a proprietary, vendor locked format which became obsolete after the company went out of business and died. The government has ‘lost’ 3 decades of its data due to the use of a non-standard, vendor locked technology.

I remember a few weeks ago there was a post circulating on social network where an Apple user was not able to open his documents saved in Apple’s non-free format as the support for the version he created the document is had reached end of life.

Saving documents using non-standard or vendor locked technologies (no matter how popular they are at the moment) is a risk government should not take. No company has drank ‘Amrit’ or elexier. We have seen mega companies die.

UK has made the right decision by choosing ‘open standards’ for sharing and viewing government documents. The announcement was made by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.

“The standards set out the document file formats that are expected to be used across all government bodies. Government will begin using open formats that will ensure that citizens and people working in government can use the applications that best meet their needs when they are viewing or working on documents together,” said the official press release.

It means setting government documents free of vendor locked. Now UK citizens won’t need specialist software offered by only one vendor open or work with government documents.

Interchangeability is a huge mess, thanks to Microsoft’s non-standard document formats which leads to data loss when accessed by software offered by other vendors or open source projects. By moving to open standard the UK government has ensured data integrity.

The government has selected compatible standards for commonly used documents. It will use PDF/A or HTML for viewing government documents and Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing or collaborating on government documents.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said, “Our long-term plan for a stronger economy is all about helping UK businesses grow. We have listened to those who told us that open standards will reduce their costs and make it easier to work with government. This is a major step forward for our digital-by-default agenda which is helping save citizens, businesses and taxpayers £1.2 billion over this Parliament.

One of the primary objectives of this move is to create a level playing field for suppliers of all sizes. The move must put some pressure on Google to offer full support for ODF in Chrome, Android and Google Docs.

Follow Swapnil Bhartiya on Google+ to read more posts like these.

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