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Gadgets

GPD Micro PC: Can a 6-inch Ubuntu Laptop Really Be Usable?

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Ubuntu
Gadgets

It’s not that GPD, a China-based hardware outfit, aren’t skilled at creating diminutive devices that appeal to gadget heads like myself as, clearly they are: both the GPD Win 2 and the GPD Pocket 2 were warmly reviewed by many.

It’s just that I thought that a laptop this small simply wouldn’t be usable.

6-inch screen? What a squint fest! Blackberry phone-style keyboard? Typo city! Intel Celeron processor? What is this, a Chromebook?!

And yet…

After a week of using the GPD MicroPC (with Ubuntu MATE) as a companion device alongside my regular, full-sized computers, I have to say that I totally get it.

This thing is nuts.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 now links up with Windows and Mac PCs via supercharged DeX app

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Android
Linux
Ubuntu
Gadgets

And there’s a big bonus here in the form of being able to drag-and-drop files directly from your phone to your PC, and vice versa. So you could take a photo from your Note 10 and whip it onto the PC to tweak it up in a proper heavyweight image editor, for example.

Furthermore, as XDA Developers observes, Linux on DeX is available via the DeX app, allowing you to create a container and run an Ubuntu Linux image, giving you even more flexibility and options here.

It’s not clear what Samsung intends to do in terms of giving users with older Galaxy handsets backwards compatibility, but at the moment, this is strictly a Galaxy Note 10-only affair, as mentioned.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the app does warn that your phone might get hot running the DeX application, although exactly how hot likely depends on what you’ve got the hardware doing, of course.

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Librem 5 August Update

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GNU
Linux
GNOME
Gadgets

We are preparing everything for the Librem 5 to be delivered soon, and its software will focus on the most critical applications a phone needs: calls, messages and web browsing. There are supporting projects that will be delivered too, like GNOME Settings, the shell, GNOME Initial Setup, and GNOME Contacts. So without further ado, let’s take a tour through the software we will deliver–as well as some other applications that have seen some major changes.

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7 of the Best IoT Projects Using Arduino

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Hardware
Gadgets

If you’re an electronics hobbyist, chances are you’ve heard of the Arduino. It’s a tiny computer that you can use to do surprisingly complex things. It also happens to be behind a fair number of Internet of Things projects.

While some people reach a for Raspberry Pi or something even more powerful, an Arduino or Arduino Uno might be all you need. We’ve put together a list of IoT projects that prove this to be true.

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Also: mDash Cloud platform for IoT Devices Targets ESP8266/ESP32, STM32, and TI CC3220 Wireless MCUs

The ClockworkPi GameShell is a super fun DIY spin on portable gaming

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GNU
Linux
Gaming
Gadgets

Portable consoles are hardly new, and thanks to the Switch, they’re basically the most popular gaming devices in the world. But ClockworkPi’s GameShell is something totally unique, and entirely refreshing when it comes to gaming on the go. This clever DIY console kit provides everything you need to assemble your own pocket gaming machine at home, running Linux-based open-source software and using an open-source hardware design that welcomes future customization.

The GameShell is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, which began shipping to its backers last year and is now available to buy either direct from the company or from Amazon. The $159.99 ( on sale for $139.99 as of this writing) includes everything you need to build the console, like the ClockworkPi quad-core Cortex A7 motherboard with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 1GB of DDR3 RAM — but it comes unassembled.

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System76’s First 4K OLED Linux Laptop is Here

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Gadgets

System76 launched its latest high-end Linux powered laptop – Adder WS.

System76 – the american computer manufacturer introduced the first 4K OLED Linux powered laptop. Named Adder WS, this device targets to the content creators, gamers and researchers who needs high performance hardware with Linux. Powered by Intel i9 series 8-core CPU and 64GB ram, this device includes a 15″ 4K OLED display with RTX 2070 graphics.

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Purism and e Foundation take on the smartphone duopoly

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OS
Gadgets

For years, the devices and services we use have ever more aggressively monitored our activities and mined our data. But as consumers have grown increasingly attuned to privacy concerns, solutions have been appearing to help them evade tracking. Browsers such as Brave and search engines such as DuckDuckGo play up their privacy-first design. When it comes to the dominant mobile operating systems, Google has talked about preserving privacy by providing more transparency and exposing opt-out controls. Apple, on the other hand, has sought to create services that remove the opt-out requirement by not collecting data in the first place, turning privacy preservation into a key differentiator.

But many users aren’t comfortable even with Apple’s approach. Recently, two groups have created new platforms that avoid sharing data with Google, Apple, or any other entity behind the scenes. Nevertheless, their product-development approaches parallel the market strategies of Google and Apple, with some striking differences.

One of these is the e Foundation. Its eOS aspires to be a Google-free version of Android that has a wide range of device support. It’s not a new idea: One existing alternative to Google’s flavor of Android is LineageOS, a fork of what had been the leading Google Android alternative, CyanogenMod. However, according to Gaël Duval, head of e Foundation, producing a version of Android that is completely Google-free requires far more effort than just stripping out Google apps such as Gmail; even LineageOS sends some data through Google’s servers or relies on its services.

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Samsung DeX missed its chance to make a big splash

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Android
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The Galaxy Note 10 has just broken cover and, just like its predecessors, it has something new for Samsung DeX users. To be fair, the convenience of being able to not just control your phone but access the “DeXtop” from any Windows or Mac computer is a major step forward, but it may have fallen short of what fans of the platform have been expecting or even requesting for a few months now. Samsung DeX definitely has a lot of potential but Samsung may have missed the boat on that one this year.

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Librem 5 Smartphone – Final Specs Announced

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Gadgets
  • Librem 5 Smartphone – Final Specs Announced

    We are proud to unveil the final specifications for the Librem 5 smartphone, set to begin shipping in Q3 of 2019.

  • Librem 5 privacy-focused Linux phone specs finalized as pre-orders begin

    Despite the growing number of evidence and cases of mobile software that blatantly violate user privacy, it’s almost impossible to imagine life these days without a smartphone. While hardcore privacy advocates might be able to ditch their mobile device for good, there are some that try to promise the best of both mobile and privacy worlds. One of those is Purism who has finally finalized the specs and features of its crowdfunded privacy-respecting Librem 5 phone.

    [...]

    The question now is whether all of that is enough to justify a $699 price tag. For those who answer a resounding “yes”, an early bird pre-order will shave $50 off that price for $649 only until July 31. As for the shipping date, that is still unannounced for both those pre-orders and, more importantly, the original backers back in 2017.

  • Purism Reveals Final Hardware Specs of the Privacy-Focused Librem 5 Linux Phone

    Purism, the company behind the powerful Linux-based laptops known as the Librem computers, announced today the final hardware specifications of their upcoming Librem 5 Linux smartphone.

    As you probably are already aware, Purism is working for some time on a Linux-powered smartphone, which the company calls Librem 5. Designed from the ground up to be privacy and security-aware, the Librem 5 Linux phone is currently scheduled for launch in Q3 2019, after it's been delayed a couple of times.

  • Purism Finally Announces The Firmed Up Specifications For The Librem 5 Smartphone

    It still remains to be seen if Purism will be able to ship the Librem 5 Linux smartphone this quarter as is their current revised target, but at least today they are publishing the finalized specifications for the phone's hardware.

    While we've long known of their plans to use the i.MX8 SoC and other components, items like the phone's cameras, battery capacity, and even RAM were not known until now.

Consent Matters: When Tech Takes Remote Control Without Your Permission

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Gadgets

In my previous post I talked about why consent matters when it comes to privacy; and yet, privacy is only one of the areas where tech companies take advantage of users without their consent. Recently, tech companies have come to a troubling consensus: that they can change your computer, remotely (and often silently) without your knowledge or permission.

[...]

Anyone who has ever worked for a large company in the computer age has experienced first-hand the authoritarian, controlling, and restrictive policies that IT employs to manage company computers. Starting with centralized systems like Active Directory, IT teams were able to create policies that controlled what sorts of passwords employees could use and whether employees could install applications, access printers, and even, in some cases, insert USB drives.

These centralized tools have evolved over the years: they can now add and remove files, install new software and software updates, remotely control machines over the network in order to view what’s on their screens and access local files. This controls extends into Active Management Technology features embedded into the Intel Management Engine, that lets administrators remotely control computers even if they are turned off. Now that smartphones are critical tools in many organizations, MDM (Mobile Device Management) tools are also often employed at enterprises to bring those devices under a similar level of control–with the added benefit of using GPS to track employee phones even outside the office.

The most common justification for these policies is convenience. If you are an IT department and have thousands of employees–each with at least one computer and one smartphone that you need to support–one of the ways to make sure that the appropriate software is on the systems, and updates get applied, is to push them from a central location. Companies often have custom in-house software their employees rely on to do their jobs, and throughout the life of the company more tools are added to their toolbox. You can’t expect the IT team to go desk-by-desk installing software by hand when you have thousands of employees working at offices all over the world: when an employee’s computer breaks, these same tools make it easy for IT to replace the computer so the employee can get back to work quickly.

The main justification for the strictest–and most controlling–IT policies isn’t convenience, though: it’s security. IT pushes software updates for protection against security bugs. They push anti-virus, anti-malware and remote monitoring tools, to protect both employee and company from dangerous email attachments, from software they might download from their web browser. IT removes local administrative privileges from employees in the name of protecting them from installing malware (and, practically speaking, from installing games and other time-wasting apps). They disable USB storage devices so employees can’t insert disks containing malware or copy off sensitive company documents. Each of these practices have valid reasons behind them for companies facing certain threats.

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Also: Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches Don’t Correctly Track Heart Rate of People with Darker Skin

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