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HomeBank 5.4.2

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Software

omeBank is a free software (as in "free speech" and also as in "free beer") that will assist you to manage your personal accounting. It is designed to easy to use and be able to analyse your personal finance and budget in detail using powerful filtering tools and beautiful charts. If you are looking for a completely free and easy application to manage your personal accounting, budget, finance then HomeBank should be the software of choice.

HomeBank also benefits of more than 19 years of user experience and feedback, and is translated by its users in around 56 languages.

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Storage: ScyllaDB, PostgreSQL and Economics Of Decentralized Storage

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  • ScyllaDB Announces 4.0 Release of Its Open Source NoSQL Database

    ScyllaDB today announced Scylla Open Source 4.0, the latest major release of its high-performance NoSQL database for real-time big data workloads. This release marks a significant milestone, as the company has moved beyond feature parity with Apache Cassandra, now also serving as an open source drop-in, no-lock-in alternative to Amazon DynamoDB.

    Scylla Open Source 4.0 builds on Scylla’s close-to-the-hardware design, which enables optimal use of modern server infrastructure. Written from the ground-up in C++, Scylla delivers performance of millions of OPS on a single node, scales out to hundreds of nodes and consistently achieves a 99% tail latency of less than one millisecond.

  • Why businesses are choosing PostgreSQL to drive digital transformation

    While many factors go into choosing the ideal database management system, flexibility and interoperability should be non-negotiable.

    In agile projects, especially at the beginning of the project, not everything is known – not even the cloud infrastructure. Being locked into a platform or vendor inhibits developers from considering specific database capabilities, such as stored procedures, data types and advanced operators.

    To overcome this issue, many developers now limit themselves to standard ANSI SQL and Object Request Brokers, and recreate many database capabilities in the application logic, such as transactional consistency, data management and queries.

    This approach, however, may lead to large portions of custom code, significantly lowering performance and introducing transactional inconsistencies.

    What organizations and developers need are flexible and interoperable systems, or, open source databases – but not just any type of open source databases.

  • Economics Of Decentralized Storage

    So, if you never access the data, Tardigrade is twice as expensive as the centralized competition. If you access 50% of the data each month, it costs $32.50/TB against Wasabi's $5.99, so more than 5 times as expensive. What exactly is the value Tardigrade adds to justify the extra cost to store data? Simply "decentralization"?

    But, like all these cryptocurrency-based systems, Tardigrade's "decentralization" is more a marketing term than a practical reality. The money isn't decentralized, because customers pay Storj, who then pays a little of that money to the storage node operators (SNOs): [...]

Audacity 2.4.0 Released

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Software

We’re pleased to announce release of Audacity 2.4.0 which replaces all previous versions for Windows, macOS and Linux.

We’ve put a lot of time and work into it.

Catalina?

We have now caught up with Apple’s ‘notarization system’. Audacity on Mac is notarized and runs on Catalina.

Time Toolbar:

We have split the recording/playing time off from the selection toolbar and it can now be dragged to make it larger. This is particularly for people recording themselves playing a musical instrument, where they will typically be further from the screen when playing, and benefit from a larger numerical display.

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Also: Audacity 2.4 Released with Multi-View Mode, Larger Time Toolbar, and New Effects

Linux at Home: Reduce and prevent repetitive strain injury

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Software

In this series, we look at a range of home activities where Linux can make the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged. The change of lifestyle enforced by Covid-19 is an opportunity to expand our horizons, and spend more time on activities we have neglected in the past.

Given that we are told its our “civic duty” to avoid public transport, working at home is going to remain commonplace for a long time. Employers have a duty to assess the health and safety risks faced by their workers. An employer must systematically check for possible physical, mental, chemical and biological hazards. This inevitability entails a risk assessment. Part of this risk assessment involves ensuring that workers are protected from repetitive strain injuries (RSI).

It’s much harder for an employer to conduct a proper risk assessment in an employee’s home. They can issue guidelines, best practice, and advice. But ultimately the employee needs to ensure they don’t injure themselves when working from home. Home workers face a lot of challenges. Prolonged user of computer equipment can result in upper limb disorders, notably in the wrist or the back. RSIs are a subset of musculoskeletal disorders. It’s easy for home workers to forget to take breaks.

Fortunately, there’s excellent open source software that help to combat RSI. Here’s our recommendations.

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WWW and Mozilla: Greasemonkey, "Hey Hi" (AI) Hype and Distractions

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Software
Moz/FF
  • Stuart Langridge: Remediating sites

    The way I do this is with Greasemonkey. Greasemonkey, or its Chrome-ish cousin Tampermonkey, has been around forever, and it lets you write custom scripts which it then takes care of loading for you when you visit a specified URL. Great stuff: write your thing as a Greasemonkey script to test it and then when you’re happy, send the script file to the client and you’re done.

    There is a little nuance here, though. A Greasemonkey script isn’t exactly the same as a script in the page. This is partially because of browser security restrictions, and partially because GM scripts have certain magic privileged access that scripts in the page don’t have. What this means is that the Greasemonkey script environment is quite sandboxed away; it doesn’t have direct access to stuff in the page, and stuff in the page doesn’t have direct access to it (in the early days, there were security problems where in-page script walked its way back up the object tree until it got hold of one of the magic Greasemonkey objects and then used that to do all sorts of naughty privileged things that it shouldn’t have been able to, and so it all got rigorously sandboxed away to prevent that). So, if the page loads jQuery, say, and you want to use that, then you can’t, because your script is in its own little world with a peephole to the page, and getting hold of in-page objects is awkward. Obviously, your remediation script can’t be relying on any of these magic GM privileges (because it won’t have them when it’s deployed for real), so you don’t intend to use them, but because GM doesn’t know that, it still isolates your script away. Fortunately, there’s a neat little trick to have the best of both worlds; to create the script in GM to make it easy to test and iterate, but have the script run in the context of the page so it gets the environment it expects.

  • Request for comment: how to collaboratively make trustworthy AI a reality

    A little over a year ago, I wrote the first of many posts arguing: if we want a healthy internet — and a healthy digital society — we need to make sure AI is trustworthy. AI, and the large pools of data that fuel it, are central to how computing works today. If we want apps, social networks, online stores and digital government to serve us as people — and as citizens — we need to make sure the way we build with AI has things like privacy and fairness built in from the get go.

    Since writing that post, a number of us at Mozilla — along with literally hundreds of partners and collaborators — have been exploring the questions: What do we really mean by ‘trustworthy AI’? And, what do we want to do about it?

  • How to overcome distractions (and be more productive)

    Distractions tempt us at every turn, from an ever-growing library of Netflix titles to video games (Animal Crossing is my current vice) to all of the other far more tantalizing things we could be doing instead of doing what actually needs to be done. Is there any hope to focus on the things that matter in a world that wants us to do everything all the time?

    [...]

    Pocket features prominently in my book Indistractible. I think it’s a fantastic way to use “temptation bundling.” Temptation bundling is when we take something that we like to do and we bundle it with something we don’t really like to do, so for me listening to Pocket articles (I love the text-to-speech feature) is the way that I incentivize myself to go on a walk or to do exercise. I listen to articles while I do those things and it has a few benefits. It not only gets me outside (whether it’s exercising outside or indoors), but maybe even more beneficial is the fact that I don’t have to waste time reading articles online because I have a rule that I never read articles online. I only read articles in Pocket or listen to them in Pocket. So there’s a big time win there. I’ve been using Pocket for a very, very long time and I love it.

CopyQ Clipboard Manager for Keeping a Track of Clipboard History

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How do you copy-paste text? Let me guess. You either use the right click menu to copy-paste or use Ctrl+C to copy a text and Ctrl+V to paste the text. The text copied this way is saved to ‘clipboard’. The clipboard is a special location in the memory of your system that stores cut or copied text (and in some cases images).

But have you ever been in a situation where you had a text copied and then you copy another text and then realize you needed the text you copied earlier? Trust me, it happens a lot.

Instead of wondering about finding the previous text to copy again, you can use a clipboard manager.

A clipboard manager is a handy little tool that keeps a history of the text you had copied. If you need to use the earlier copied text, you can use the clipboard manager to copy it again.

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Be More Productive By Analyzing Your Screen Time in Linux with ActivityWatch

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ActivityWatch is an open-source privacy-friendly app that tracks how you spend your time on a desktop computer or on a mobile device.
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Software: LibreOffice, Tracker, Kid3, Xdman, Kid3

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  • LibreOffice: All the best extensions for the free Word alternative

    As well as just built-in features, however, LibreOffice also offers access to an extensive library of useful extensions, add-ons, and plugins that offer even more functionality to LibreOffice users. That is what we are here for today. In this article, we are going to walk you through the best extensions for LibreOffice that will help you be more productive and how you manage them using the extension manager. Whether you’re working from home or heading into the office, this guide will help make your life easier.

  • Tracker 2.99.1 and miners released

    Sometime this week (or last, depending how you count), Tracker 2.99.1 was released. Sam has been doing a fantastic series of blog posts documenting the progress. With my blogging frequency I’m far from stealing his thunder Smile, I will still add some retrospect here to highlight how important of a milestone this is.

  • Kid3 Tag Editor 3.8.3 Released, How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04

    Kid3 audio tag editor released new version 3.8.3 today. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 19.10, Ubuntu 18.04, and Ubuntu 16.04.

    Kid3 3.8.3 comes with new keyboard shortcuts to navigate between the file and tag sections, 2 new scripts to apply English title capitalization to tags and transliterate ID3v1 tags to ASCII.

  • Xdman

    There is a new tool available for Sparkers: Xdman.

  • VLC is Bloated | Use These Video Players Instead

    I have used VLC for 10+ years and it is time to change to something better.

  • Why I Don't Like VLC

Wine 5.8 Released

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Software
  • Wine 5.8 Released

    The Wine development release 5.8 is now available.

    What's new in this release:

    Support for Plug & Play device notifications.
    More support for building with Clang in MSVC mode.
    Still more progress on the WineD3D Vulkan backend.
    Initial implementation of a GIF encoder.
    Vulkan spec update.
    Various bug fixes.
    The source is available now. Binary packages are in the process of being built, and will appear soon at their respective download locations.

  • Wine Announcement
  • Happy hour has arrived at bar GOL with the Wine 5.8 release and it's a real corker

    Did you miss our Wine release day puns? Well good news! I've pressed them into service and aged them to perfection so they have returned along with the Wine 5.8 release that's now available.

    Hold up. What's this Wine then if not an incredibly tasty liquid that you need to drink responsibly? Wine is a compatibility layer that can enable Windows software (and plenty of games) to run on Linux.

  • Wine 5.8 Released With GIF Encoder, More WineD3D Vulkan Progress

    Wine 5.8 continues the recent CodeWeavers work on plumbing the Vulkan back-end for the WineD3D code path as an alternative to the default OpenGL code-path. This WineD3D Vulkan approach is akin to DXVK but is still very much a work in progress and not nearly as mature as DXVK.

    In addition to the WineD3D Vulkan work, there is now support for plug-and-play device notifications, support for building with the LLVM Clang in the MSVC mode, an initial implementation of a GIF encoder, updating against the latest Vulkan spec, and various bug fixes.

WirePlumber, the PipeWire session manager

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Software

My colleague Julian blogged about PipeWire earlier this year, mentioning that at Collabora, as part of our work for Automotive Grade Linux, has been developing a PipeWire session manager called WirePlumber. In this post, I will attempt to explain a bit more about WirePlumber and give some context for future blog posts on this subject.

[...]

In traditional setups, applications have direct access to devices. This means they need to choose themselves the device they want to open and set it up according to their media requirements (i.e. choose an audio sample rate, a format, a video resolution, etc). While system configuration can exist to have a “system default” device (ex. in ALSA), in some setups this is not the case, burdening the application developer to provide a way to configure device selection. Furthermore, such setups do not allow transparent switching of devices (ex. switch audio playback from laptop speakers to a bluetooth headset while music is playing), unless the application implements the complex operations required to do so. In some cases, another issue is that devices are controlled exclusively by a single application, not allowing more complex use cases where sharing a device is required. Last but not least, accessing devices directly increases the complexity of the applications’ media pipelines in order to handle multiple device formats or deal with mis-behaving / non-standard devices.

PulseAudio has improved this situation significantly for audio applications. In PulseAudio, audio devices are opened and configured internally and audio applications can just create streams of any desired format and request to play or capture from the “default” device. Application developers no longer have to provide a means to configure which device to use, although they still can if they want to. PulseAudio maintains this “default” device preference internally and automatically creates the necessary internal links to make things work when a new stream comes in from an application. This default device preference can be changed at runtime and application streams can be transparently redurected to another device, abstracting away all complexity. The problem here, however, is that while this logic is great for most desktop applications, it does not scale well to other use cases. Also, PulseAudio does not handle video streams…

On the other side there is JACK, which deals with a specific use case as well: professional audio. JACK similarly allows applications to just create a stream and forget about the device. But unlike PulseAudio, it implements no connection logic internally. This is left to an external component: the session manager. The session manager watches for applications connecting or disconnecting and uses its own logic to link them to a device or a peer application. This may involve a “default” device target, but it normally follows a set of more complex user-configurable rules that allow flexibility in setting up the audio processing stage for professional audio applications. The problem here, however, is of course that JACK does not handle well the typical desktop use case and is complex to use for a non-professional.

Which brings us back to PipeWire… Combining parts of all these designs together, PipeWire provides a flexible media server that can be used to implement desktop, embedded, professional and non-professional use cases for both audio and video. To its best interest, PipeWire is also powered by a session manager, similar to the one in JACK, but with even more powers available.

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