Every six months, I re-evaluate the configuration of my home office workstation for improvements and enhancements. Admittedly, my specific needs skew to the higher end that the typical home office worker would require. I host a video podcast every week and need simultaneous and convenient access to both my MacBook Pro and Dell Minitower.

While I spend most of my daily time using my MacBook Pro for video editing, blog creation, presentation development, and other productive work, I use a Dell Minitower because it’s the only one on the market for its Nvidia video card and awesome Broadcast app. is the current solution. Correcting eyesight during video podcasts.

From my point of view, the ability to make eye contact is an essential ability that enhances my professionalism. No comparable solution exists in the macOS world, although Apple may address it at its upcoming WWDC event in early June. But for now, I’ll have to use a Windows-based system with a suitable Nvidia graphics card.

Still, switching display inputs back and forth between these two systems using the manual physical buttons on the back of my existing 38-inch monitor is a significant pain point. This inconvenience is compounded by the need to use a second keyboard and mouse to operate the Windows system, which creates widespread clutter in my office.

Enter HP with its new E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor, which I received about a week ago. It’s hard to overstate the positive impact this extra-large display had on my overall work productivity, after only using it for a week.

The HP E45c is usefully ultrawide

One screen really is enough for many productivity power users. An ultrawide monitor may be needed to meet your demands, but more home users need regular access to multiple PCs, whether it’s a home and company-supplied laptop or, in my case, Mac and Windows PC both.

The latest HP flagship display, the E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor features a 45-inch dual QHD display. It includes a single curved widescreen panel with a resolution of 5,120 by 1,440 pixels, essentially two 2,560-by-1,440-pixel displays combined. You’ll need a significant amount of desktop space to use it, preferably in a corner of your home office.

The monitors act like two 24-inch displays, without the split or bezel in between that you’d find with a traditional twin-display arrangement. The size, shape and 32:9 aspect ratio of this monitor offer plenty of screen area that lends itself easily to really useful multitasking.

The 1500R curvature of the E45c helps you become more immersed in your work by taking in a larger field of view. However, HP’s Super Screen has other tricks up its sleeve beyond its sheer width.

It is at this point that the fun begins. Although ultrawide displays are nothing new, some are designed to work with laptops, particularly those that employ Thunderbolt 4 or DisplayPort over USB-C.

The HP E45c is the first device of its size and resolution to support dual-display input via a single USB-C connection. When plugged into a wall socket, it supplies power to the laptop via the USB connection, charging it while it works.

HPE45c G5 DQHD Curved Display Rear Ports

The HP E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor has two USB-C ports that provide up to 65W of power each to two computers, or 100W of power to one computer and 30W to a tablet or phone. (Photo by the author)

When I plugged both my MacBook Pro and Dell PC into the monitor’s respective USB-C and HDMI ports, I automatically displayed both system desktops in a 24-inch side-by-side format (as shown above). is) back-panel buttons without the need to fiddle with it as is the case with other widescreen displays.

But it does more.

Device Bridge is a home run

The HP E45c also features Device Bridge 2.0, an updated version of a function that was previously only available on HP’s premium display range. Device Bridge is a version of what the industry calls KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) functionality, although I’ve never seen it implemented so smoothly and seamlessly.

Clearly, HP is showing off its software development and implementation chops. Using a single keyboard and mouse, I could operate the desktops of the different computers displayed on the screen. I transferred files and data to my MacBook Pro and Dell PC by dragging and dropping them between the side-by-side displays. Additionally, the update has a security feature that disables Device Bridge when necessary.

Using this functionality, you can control two Windows PCs, a macOS system, or one of each machine.

Although I haven’t tried this for a final workspace, HP claims you’ll be able to daisy chain another UltraWide monitor to mimic up to four displays on two screens.

Sonos Era 100 speakers level up your home workstation

Truth be told, Sonos speakers were never targeted at the PC market. When used with a TV or as part of an entertainment system, the company’s soundbars, subwoofers and even portable ROMs sound quite enjoyable, as do the older Play Series speakers.

However, the technology hidden behind the Sonos speaker’s grille is its major selling point. Its multiroom system functionality is the most practical way to hear everything, everywhere. It boasts connectivity with Alexa, Apple, Google and practically any music streaming service.

Now, with the New Era 100, Sonos finally crushes rivals from a sound quality perspective.

sonos era 100 speaker

The Sonos Era 100 is a single speaker that easily competes with anything but more expensive two-speaker systems thanks to dual tweeters and more refined room adjustment capability. (Photo by the author)

When used as a pair, the Era 100 is undeniably the most incredible little all-in-one speaker I’ve ever heard.

I was concerned that its Bluetooth connectivity would create latency challenges, but I never experienced any video/audio synchronization issues streaming video or editing for my podcasts, even when I didn’t have speakers connected directly to my MacBook Pro audio port .

The Era 100 speaker is available in black or white. You don’t need to take out your phone to perform basic functions as it has a volume slider and a play/pause button. The rubberized bottom of the speaker is an improvement as it adheres to almost any surface and helps reduce acoustic vibrations.

A button on the back of the speaker next to the USB-C connector allows you to manually turn off the built-in microphone if you don’t like the voice assistant.

Impresses Easy Setup

Setting up and pairing two Era 100s is fairly simple. Both speakers work together when paired, though only one needs to be physically connected to the 3.5mm audio port on my MacBook Pro with the Sonos USB-C to Audio Port Adapter, which costs $19 and It is sold separately.

Easy setup only required taking out my phone, installing the Sonos app, and registering the speaker with my account. The Sonos app allows you to connect to all your favorite streaming services, create groups of multiple speakers, and specify where the Era 100 is located in your home.

I appreciate the simple integration with my streaming provider, the voice assistant, Spotify, and Alexa. The Era 100 replaced an older Amazon Echo speaker in my nearby kitchen, and it picked up my orders better than it did when it was farther away. The speaker also has a great mic for voice control.

Like advanced microphones, many of the Era 100’s best improvements are hidden from view. Still, you’ll notice them as soon as you start playing music and participating in video conference calls.

Sonos boosted the woofer by 25% and added two angled tweeters for authentic stereo sound. Previously Sonos speakers of a similar size and shape could only play mono music.

The speaker includes a 47% faster CPU, which may extend the time it takes this speaker to receive software upgrades compared to previous versions.

Interestingly, Sonos claims to have “over-built” the processing into these speakers to potentially improve performance in the future. Although I’ve tested several Sonos speaker models side-by-side over the years without ever detecting any latency, it’s comforting to know there’s room for improvement.

closing thoughts

While the overall PC market continues to struggle with top-line unit growth that won’t subside for several quarters, if not a year, the peripherals category for large, widescreen displays and docking stations remains a bright spot. happened.

Manufacturers are beginning to understand that workers need multisystems at home. While it may not be uncommon to have multiple displays in an office, home users have limited desktop space in their home offices and prefer to avoid cable clutter.

At $1,099, the HP E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor is more affordable than you might think when considering the typical cost of two premium 24-inch displays. This monitor’s superb Device Bridge functionality avoids the need for a secondary keyboard and mouse input device that multisystem workers will drool over.

The plethora of integrated ports on the HP E45c will provide docking station-like capabilities for all but the most advanced users. This monitor has changed the way I work at home and has dramatically increased my productivity.

As for the Sonos Era 100 speakers, I didn’t anticipate how its great sound would enhance my overall work productivity experience. Especially with the regular videoconferencing calls I participate in over the course of several hours during the day, I found the Era 100 speakers to deliver surprisingly distinct and clear sound from each speaker during the call.

On top of all those items, the Sonos Era 100 is more than satisfactory for streaming music and video. The speaker has some features to adjust its output depending on the acoustics of your room, as is the case with most premium speakers on the market, and its clean and balanced sound makes it suitable for listening to different music genres .

At $249 each — or $498 for a pair — Sonos is targeting these speakers to compete with Apple’s new $299 HomePod, announced in January. Still, as mentioned above, they are more suitable and functional for home office users.

Frankie, it’s hard to overstate the impact these new HP and Sonos accessories will have on your home work productivity. With hybrid working likely to be with us in the near future, these products are modest investments that make working at home more efficient, affordable and enjoyable.

I was on a call with Broadcom last week. A representative from a bank was also on the call and talked about how their use of mainframe computers ties into their commitment to security, reliability, and availability for their customers. In earlier IBM calls with some of the banks, they all indicated that the use of the mainframe also helped them make better decisions.

These conversations made me wonder if the recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank had anything to do with their use of mainframes. Although this is a small sample, none of the failed banks (as of this report) use mainframes, while JPMorgan Chase & Co., the bank that bought First Republic, does.

There is a good chance that banks using mainframes have a lower risk preference, while banks that do not may be more willing to take undue risk. With people currently being concerned about where to keep their money safely, one of the questions you should be asking is, “Do you use a mainframe for your mission-critical applications?”

Let’s explore the relationship between mainframe and banking risks. Then we’ll end with my product of the week, a tiny device that can make your smartphone battery last indefinitely. I was skeptical, considering how the device looks, but it performs as advertised.

Mainframe Administration Challenges

The first big company I worked for was IBM. This was true at the birth of the PC, and then, compared to the PC, mainframes sucked. Do not get me wrong. Mainframes were far more reliable and secure, but you needed an MIS (now called IT) to do everything for you. The organization seems to enjoy getting every request wrong and using an execution schedule measured in years.

We used to joke that getting anything from MIS involved sacrificing a chicken and dancing naked around a fire, although HR shied away from doing so, so we never accepted the theory. With a PC and later, a server, you can get things done more quickly and meet your deadlines.

But with that improvement in resilience, we moved from uptime measured in years to uptime measured in hours. Both platforms changed over time: mainframes became more flexible without sacrificing security, reliability, and availability, and PCs remained easy to use, but security, reliability, and availability improved significantly, although they still lagged behind mainframes. Are.

Mainframes are more expensive and difficult to administer because of the talent shortage, but IBM, Broadcom, BMC and others have taken aggressive steps to increase training. While the lack of trained people has eased somewhat, finding good mainframe staff in general is still harder than finding good x86 server staff.

mainframe and bank

Mainframes exist in critical mass in three verticals: banking, health care, and government. But banking has been the most aggressive in protecting this technology overall. Why? Because typically, banks need to maintain a solid reputation and meet heavy regulatory requirements, and mainframes are better at balancing cost and risk than most other segments.

Therefore, the selection and continued use of a mainframe by a bank can be a direct indicator of how well the bank manages risk internally. In other words, banks that have mainframes put risk mitigation in front of the cost, while banks that don’t can put the cost on risk mitigation.

The recent failures of both Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank not to manage risk properly suggest the relationship between risk mitigation and technology selection is at least anecdotally linked. While it is clearly neither the only nor an absolute indicator of strong risk management, mainframe utilization may be one of the most easily derived indicators of a bank’s risk versus return priorities.

Unreasonable risk behavior is difficult to identify

I’m an ex-internal auditor, and I can say from experience that, even while inside a company, identifying inappropriate risk behavior before disaster strikes is challenging. What you’re looking for are things like rapidly increasing food and entertainment expenses, dating between managers and subordinates, unusual acquisitions, or executive pay and expenses in line with industry norms.

But I think mainframe usage may be a better indicator because mainframes are a capital expenditure high enough to be important to a bank, and the reasons for buying and maintaining mainframes closely match the high focus on risk mitigation. is added. A bank chooses to take the profit hit to reduce risk.

As I write this, I checked to see if the financial institution I use (which I won’t mention for personal security reasons) uses mainframes. It does, and suddenly I’m less worried that it might go down – not that I ever worried before with its recent setbacks.

wrapping up

The use of mainframes is directly linked to prioritizing reliability, availability, and security over overall profitability. Given that recently failed banks have prioritized short-term profitability, I think this is one of the ways to determine whether your bank is prone to making high-risk decisions that you don’t know about. Have to find out if they use mainframes.

Given the recent bank failures, like many of you, I worry that my retirement funds are safe. Knowing that they are at a company that has chosen to use a mainframe gives some extra peace of mind. I’m not saying that a bank not using mainframes is vulnerable, only that this decision may indicate a more significant problem with the priorities of the bank that will now be related to the recent failures.

tech product of the week

Charge-Check by Lava

Lava Charge - Check to avoid overcharging the Lithium-Ion battery.

My personal favorite phone is the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, which I’ll soon be replacing with the new Lenovo Thinkphone. Part of the reason for this is that I usually plug my phone into a fast charger at night, and battery life has been steadily getting worse over time.

So, when LAVA approached me to charge-check a device designed to prevent battery degradation, I was skeptical, though interested. I was the leading battery analyst around the world for many years and I found that gadgets like this are often scams.

That said, I’ve been using Charge-Check for several weeks now, and it does exactly what Lava said. Initially, it charged the device to peak and then shut down. I was concerned that you would often end up with a healthy but dead battery, but that was because I didn’t read the instructions (my boy genes were kicking in, of course).

If you use the button, which sets the charge time-out between, I suggest pressing the button twice and holding after the final push for 10 seconds for a two-hour cooling time. However, if the display is on while charging, an hour gap will better ensure you don’t have a dead battery. Your phone will almost always be close to capacity, and your battery should last indefinitely.

Considering that new phones can cost well over a thousand dollars and that battery replacement can cost $100 or more depending on the phone, this little $29.99 device is a good investment.

I will add that LAVA, the parent company, is Ukrainian and Canadian owned, and I love doing whatever I can to help Ukraine, which has led me to choose LAVA Charge-Check as my product of the week. Decision made easy. Plus, it keeps me from burning through phones too quickly because I hate changing phones.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Canonical released Ubuntu 23.04, aka Lunar Lobster, on April 20 to enhance the Ubuntu desktop for work and play with a new installer, Active Directory login, and gaming performance.

This latest release is important for enterprise users and consumers alike for several key reasons. For enterprises, it enhances large-scale deployment and customization, and for consumers, it provides a desktop option missing from Ubuntu’s collection – Cinnamon.

The new installation engine, Subiquity, supports the same autoinstall configuration workflows for both desktop and server. Ubuntu Desktop version 23.04 is the first and only Linux distribution to enable Basic User Authentication with Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical’s CEO, said, “This milestone release of Ubuntu demonstrates our progress in raising the bar for the enterprise developer desktop, our best-in-class Linux integration with Active Directory Domain Services and now Azure Active Directory.” Thank you.” “Our extended investment in Ubuntu Gaming means your downtime is just as satisfying.”

Major enhancements under the hood

The development goal of this release was to make the Linux desktop accessible to all. According to Canonical, the Ubuntu 23.04 installer sports a refreshed user interface with a modern yet familiar first-time user experience and new enterprise management capabilities.

Lunar Lobster has a better workflow for cross-platform development. It offers the latest toolchains and runtimes for Python, Java, Go, C, C++, Rust and .NET, ensuring the most up-to-date experience for innovators and enthusiasts.

QEMU allows developers to emulate their applications on multiple architectures. This latest release includes new hardware support for a range of armhf, arm64, Risc-V, and s390x devices to ensure that the local development environment matches the target deployment architecture.

meets all needs

Business and personal users gain more control for apps and snap installation. For example, Desktop Snaps has a new refresh wake capability.

Updates while running Snaps are downloaded in the background and applied automatically when the app is closed. Users and administrators can now pause the automatic update of specific Snaps for as long as they want.

Ubuntu 23.04 includes GNOME 44 with more usability improvements. These include a focus on Bluetooth device management and new quick setting options for dark mode. The new installer is built using Flutter (a cross-platform UI framework), and leverages Subbiquity, Canonical’s CLI installer for Ubuntu Server, and Curtin.

Gamers also stand to win big in terms of their gaming experience. Steam Snap has now been promoted to the stable channel in this release.

Steam Snap bundles key dependencies to run both new and old titles without the need to enable and manage additional PPAs, including 32-bit libraries and state-of-the-art Mesa drivers.

upgrade highlights

Ubuntu’s new installer is built using Flutter, a cross-platform user interface framework. It leverages Subbiquity, Canonical’s Command Line Interface (CLI) installer for Ubuntu Server and Curtin.

The default desktop is GNOME 44, the latest stable release. It also comes with a host of new features and design updates. For example, the latest login and lock screens use a larger user avatar and wider password entry box.

GNOME designers improved the look and functionality of the quick settings menu. Split buttons make it easy to see which features have sub-menus, and you can also open sub-menus using the keyboard.

New subtitles relay contextual information. These include seeing at a glance which Wi-Fi network is connected and which power mode is active.

A new version of the Nautilus Files app restores the ability to expand folders in list view for faster navigation. The Ubuntu Dock now displays a count badge for all unread notifications generated by an application in the Dock.

New Desktop Flavor Recipe

After several years of behind-the-scenes efforts, Ubuntu 23.04 now includes an additional desktop option. The inclusion of a newly updated Cinnamon environment could attract more users to the front ranks of Ubuntu.

Until now, enthusiastic Cinnamon desktop users had no choice but to rely on other options for their desktop fixes, even when they used cousins ​​of the Ubuntu family such as the Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix distro.

Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is ​​a community-driven remix of Ubuntu Base combined with Ubuntu’s Linux Mint flagship Cinnamon desktop.

ubuntu cinnamon remix

ubuntu cinnamon remix

Remix began in 2019 when then-11-year-old developer Joshua Pisach announced his dream of developing a stand-alone Cinnamon desktop version based on Ubuntu.

Cinnamon takes a more traditional approach compared to earlier Linux desktops like GNOME 2 and MATE, similar to Windows 7. Ubuntu Cinnamon comes with Cinnamon 5.6.7 and the rest of the desktop suite.

still separate entities

Both Canonical and Peisach recently announced the addition of the Cinnamon desktop to Ubuntu 23.04. In an April 23 blog, Peisach announced the release of version 23.04 “Lunar Lobster” of the Ubuntu Cinnamon distro.

That announcement confirmed that his remix distro wasn’t going away. Instead, it will continue to maintain a separate desktop option using Ubuntu Base Advances. There are two options for users favoring the Cinnamon desktop on top of the Ubuntu underpinnings.

In his blog, Pisach said that his goal was to make Ubuntu Cinnamon the best it could be in an eight-release series in 2023. They promised that the user experience would remain the same or better. New developments in Ubuntu Software, such as the new Flutter-based installer, will contribute to some of the innovations in upcoming releases.

Download and Install Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster

A modern user interface and advanced configuration options in Ubuntu 23.04 reflect its mission to make Linux accessible to all. View the installation process:

Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster brings notable updates and improvements to the Linux experience. With its new features, it’s an interesting release to explore for both experienced and new users.

Download Ubuntu 23.04

Infineon Technologies last week introduced the automotive industry’s first LPDDR flash memory to support the development of new E/E (electrical and electronic) systems for semi-autonomous vehicles. Secure, reliable and real-time code execution, which is essential for automotive zone and domain control, is provided by the Infineon SEMPER X1 LPDDR flash solution.

Infineon Semper X1 LPDDR Flash

According to Infineon, the device enables 20 times faster random read transactions for real-time applications and up to eight times better performance than traditional NOR flash memory. It is no exaggeration to describe this type of performance improvement as remarkable.

Typical NOR flash memory is often called non-volatile storage, meaning that storage devices with that type of flash memory retain data without a battery or other powered voltage supply. This capability has made it possible for software-dependent cars to offer state-of-the-art features with improved safety and architectural flexibility.

Next-Gen Cars Are Computers on Wheels

As I’ve noted in previous columns, modern cars have evolved over the past 20 years into computers on wheels. The next generation of cars depend on state-of-the-art multicore computers built using modern manufacturing techniques.

Because autonomous driving scenarios require intelligence and real-time connectivity to meet the safety and dependability requirement, high-density integrated non-volatile memories are no longer a financially viable option. However, these sophisticated automotive real-time computers require more exceptional performance than current memory solutions offer.

Infineon built the SEMPER X1 with a proven LPDDR4 interface running at 3.2 GB/s and a multi-bank architecture to meet the performance and density needs of domain and zone controllers.

Infineon LPDDR Flash - for Automotive: Diagram

Traditional Safety-Critical Functions in Next-Gen Cars (Source: Infineon Technologies)

The resulting value proposition is quite compelling. Infineon duets flash memory with a LPDDR (Low Power Double Data Rate) interface to allow for more dramatic performance and scalability than xSPI NOR flash to meet the new requirements of automotive zone design. Infineon’s choice to use this interface is smart, given that the interface has been on the market for years and has a low-risk implementation reputation.

From a vehicle perspective, the transition to software-defined vehicle architecture has caused a memory challenge for next-generation auto designs. Traditional xSPI NOR flash memory is insufficient for a number of reasons, cost being the primary one. SEMPER XI leverages the LPDDR interface method from the DRAM industry to meet new computing requirements in the automobile industry.

Key Automotive Demands: Increasing Performance, Density Demands

The next generation of semi-autonomous automobiles require increasingly more flash memory and faster performance. For some time now cars have been moving towards zonal design without compromising real-time processing. These demands for higher performance cannot be met by what typical NOR flash storage provides today.

The growing number of domain and zone controllers appearing in next-generation semi-autonomous vehicles must process massive amounts of data in near real time while consolidating multiple safety-critical functions.

These zone controllers have intensive real-time computing requirements. While these controllers send information to the main ECU (Electronic Control Unit), these zonal controllers must also manage steering, engine, and other critical safety functions.

Automotive zone controllers are constantly being pushed to provide greater performance levels to meet these real-time processing requirements. A controller with integrated embedded memory on board cannot handle this increased level of complex processing.

Needs quick access to external flash

The processing requirements of next-generation automobile designs have driven a shift from real-time processors with a few CPU cores and onboard flash. At a high level, one could reasonably say that the development of semiconductor technology has led to a mismatch between CPUs and memory.

Given the cost pressures in the smart car and EV markets, adding onboard flash is not economically viable using today’s advanced semiconductor process nodes employed by those processor solutions.

The reality is that fast, real-time multicore processors that operate from external flash memory are necessary to meet the requirements of the next generation of automotive designs.

Automotive-qualified embedded flash technologies have difficulties with high cost (large die area) and lack of scalability on advanced manufacturing nodes. In addition, the industry required additional flash memory to accommodate the expanding code size and complexity.

xSPI is not scalable and runs out of gas

All of these factors influenced Infineon’s role in developing LPDDR flash memory.

Sandeep Krishnagowda, VP of Infineon Marketing and Applications, explained that the company has taken the initiative to help define the LPDDR memory range as the right solution to address the growing need for real-time compute capability for code execution by multicore processors. Used high-profile OEM feedback for. , This approach makes sense because fast random access is at the heart of LPDDR flash.

Undoubtedly, this method speeds up the execution rates. According to Infineon, when compared to a typical octal (x8) xSPI NOR flash chip, using LPDDR flash results in an astonishing 20x increase in performance. Conversely, toggling from real-time computations inside the CPU to those in external memory requires this performance improvement.

With its LPDDR interface, the SEMPER X1 flash can deliver throughput rates of up to 3.2 Gb/s. Its multi-bank design allows for over-the-air firmware changes without downtime, which is important in autonomous driving scenarios. The device also includes advanced error correction and other security measures, and is ISO 26262 ASIL-B compliant.

Other factors come into play in driving the replacement of XSPI with LPDDR flash.

First, xSPI, as a legacy interface, is not only very sluggish but does not scale well enough to meet future needs. This important factor is also propelling the demand for LPDDR Flash. In addition, the xSPI devices on the market today use a Low Voltage Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (LVCMOS) approach that cannot exceed 200 MHz, requiring high-bandwidth solutions.

Given that context, traditional octal xSPI flash devices are unsuitable for code execution because they cannot accommodate today’s gigahertz multicore processors.

closing thoughts

Infineon’s SEMPER X1 is an essential step in that direction as it features more complex engine control and real-time decision making supported by a memory architecture that can evolve independently of the CPU.

This new non-volatile memory category will be fascinating to watch as the ecosystem grows. My recent podcast with Krishnagowda provided some interesting insight into the disruptive implications of this new announcement.

Infineon has been a bit coy about market categories beyond the auto space that LPDDR flash memory could appeal to.

Linus Wong, director of product management for Infineon’s SEMPER X1, acknowledges that storage, security and medical applications could see tremendous interest in this new storage capability. “When we look at these secondary markets, it really comes down to the enhanced value proposition [usage models] that can take advantage of latency improvements measured in thousandths of a second,” he said.

Finally, it is not unimportant that Infineon has taken an industry leadership role in releasing this new memory solution. Company pride, a long-standing reputation for design-in excellence, and a history of solid execution that is critical to high ASP next-gen autos are all tailwinds that favorably support market acceptance of LPDDR flash memory.

According to Infineon, the SEMPER X1 is now undergoing sampling, with a commercial release slated for sometime in 2024.

CachyOS is more than just a fun name to attract the attention of potential users.

It shows an attempt to do what most Arch Linux distributions fail to achieve. It tries to turn its core premise into a beginner-friendly operating system that also meets the needs of experienced Linux users.

First appearing on July 3, 2021, this newcomer has a ways to go before he fully reaches his goal. However, it’s off to a solid start to compete against some of the other more seasoned Arch distros trying to do the same thing.

Making Arch Linux easy to use is a challenging endeavor. Other Linux developers have tried, and LinuxInsider has tested some of the leading contenders in recent years. See the pros and cons of Arch Linux, along with easier distributions like Garuda Linux, RebornOS, and EndeavorOS.

Two things make traditional Arch Linux systems challenging for new users. There is an installation process. The second is configuring the settings for the OS to maintain. If you want an easy-to-use Linux, typical users eschew Arch in favor of other architectures such as Debian, RedHat, Suse, Fedora, and Ubuntu.

Once you get beyond installing and configuring Arch Linux, using the warehouse of applications stocked in the Arch repositories makes little difference to how the same desktop design works in other distros. In that regard, Linux is Linux is Linux…

That said, CachyOS delivers fast and stable performance, which says a lot about its potential considering its relatively young age. It offers some important features that may make it a more suitable distro option for those wanting to experience Arch Linux.

what’s inside

CachyOS focuses significantly on performance, customization, and ease of use. These three factors make it worth trying because this combination is not often found together in most Arch Linux variations.

Much of the credit goes to its optimized desktop package, improved security and performance enhancements that set CachyOS apart from other “easier” Arch alternatives, strategic Linux kernel tweaking.

For example, the advanced BORE (Burst-Oriented Response Enhancer) CPU scheduler and a variety of options include CFS, PDS, BMQ, and TT kernel optimization.

In simple terms, CachyOS tweaks all kernels by compiling with optimized x86-64-v3 and x86-64-v4 instructions and link-time optimization (LTO) for optimal speed, reliability, security flags, and performance improvements.

CachyOS displayed on dual monitors

Dual monitors don’t always go well in Linux. CachyOS makes mastering the experience right out of the box.

Arch distros update via rolling release. It is an essential part of the feature architecture. Rolling releases are not a universal approach in non-Arch Linux families, meaning that system software and application packages are frequently refreshed in Arch-based OSes. This can reduce digital breakdown and improve maintenance on a large scale. CachyOS has a good track record for staying stable amidst the digital update flood.

All this technical talk can be head-spinning to casual Linux users, but it helps to differentiate what the CacheOS developers do that other Arch Linux makers don’t.

too much to think about

One of the highlights of CachyOS is the variety of popular desktop environments. As a new distro, it’s rare to let users choose a desktop from among KDE, GNOME, XFCE, i3, bspwm, LXQT, Openbox, Wayfire, and Cutefish.

You can choose your preferred environment during the online installation process or by downloading a specific ISO file to install without the aid of the Internet.

I chose the GNOME desktop option for testing this new distro because it is one of my least favorite desktops in the collection. I wanted to be really impressed with the uniqueness of CachyOS without the influence of more custom desktops.

I was pleased with the integration of GNOME here. Its elegant, user-friendly and contemporary design has a clean and sleek look.

cachios gnome desktop

CachyOS is an Arch distro designed to be unconventional. Its GNOME desktop provides a solid computing experience in a simple presentation.

You can also choose two installer types. For Linux (or just Arch) newcomers, the user-friendly GUI version based on the Calamares installer simplifies the process. For more advanced users, a better option may be to use the streamlined command line interface (CLI)-based option for a satisfactory non-graphical installation experience.

The included desktop wonderland can be overwhelming, especially for inexperienced Linux users. The wide range of environments offers something for everyone. However, unless you have a favorite, some desktop options are non-traditional and somewhat experimental.

CachyOS Installation Insights

As already mentioned, you can choose either offline (via ISO file download) or online (via Internet) installation. The latter downloads the latest packages and is similar to a regular Arch install which eliminates the need to update newly installed installations.

Initially I had no problem playing the ISO from a DVD to test out CachyOS in a live session. The live session does not make any changes to the host computer’s hard drive or existing OS.

But this option didn’t work when I tried to install the OS on a virtual machine. Typically, the VM reads the installation code from the ISO file to complete the virtual installation. Live Session lets you load (in this case) CachyOS to test the OS before running the included Calamares installer.

Installing directly to the computer’s hard drive instead of a virtual drive works fine. But attempts to run this distro on virtual machines on several of my test PCs failed.

Other Cacios Gifts

Making Arch easier to use primarily required modifying system files that control user options. Sometimes it also involves adopting established applications. This is known as forking code.

For example, the default Cache-Browser is a fork of Firefox with greater security and enhanced performance. It also comes with patches from the LibreWolf browser, a customized independent version of Firefox with a focus on privacy, security and user freedom.

One of the big bugaboos of Arch is the package management system; Pacman. Pure Arch relies on terminal commands, and Pacman has a GUI app that simplifies the process.

This utility displays the proposed packages ready for update. Check and uncheck only selected packages.

The Kiss Principle in Action

One cool feature the devs built into CachyOS is an easy way to maximize tiling. One tick of the toggle is needed in the welcome screen display. Now that’s Keeping It Simple, Stupid.

The catchy welcome screen is like a mini settings panel and an easy way to enable system-specific settings and change application and kernel configurations.

The tiling option gives you an added desktop element not found in the i3 desktop environment – i3 is a tiling window manager written completely from scratch.

ground level

CachyOS is well organized and better implemented than many other Arch wanna-be distros out there. It also supports Nvidia graphics cards out-of-the-box.

Clearly, other Linux alternatives are more suitable for less experienced users. Even more experienced Linux practitioners don’t need the extra security layers and fuzziness that Arch required.

But that is the beauty of Linux OS. It’s not a thing for all users. Rather, it is the ability to adapt, personalize and engage with operational challenges.

CachyOS lets you more easily navigate Linux your way, with some computing experiences not available in other family distributions.

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It’s time to tackle the growing problem of your personal data being removed from uncontrolled online display, and there are solutions within your grasp.

Let’s face some hard facts about life online. We spend a lot of time with our electronic devices connected to the Internet. Websites track our movements, and mobile apps follow us everywhere we go and what we do. Data brokers are constantly on the lookout for little pieces of information that allow them to maintain a high-risk individual profile on us.

Like it or not, this is business. Businesses are targeting you with personalized sales pitches, hooking you up with online fraud scams, and reaping clues to your Internet identity. According to various industry reports in recent years, more than 4,000 data broker sites are collecting data from more than 500 million consumers.

Plus, you’ve probably painted a convenient picture of yourself using social media with lots of clues to your online identity. So never doubt that your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is exposed to hackers and people trackers, putting your personal and financial security at risk.

This article will help you become more aware of the rogue’s tactics to digitally track and attack you as they attempt to steal your data and online identity and make you a prime target for ransomware. . Familiarize yourself with these strategies for removing your data from public records websites and other online hotbeds of disparity.

clean yourself off the internet

Typically, personal data is harvested, bought, and sold over and over again. It’s hard to know who has access to your information, so it becomes a constant game of monitoring where your data resides, often only to find that it’s somewhere new.

Information on the Internet is so vast that it is nearly impossible to attempt to clean up your information with a broad-stroke solution. Search engines – Google has the largest footprint in this regard – are constantly gathering information about people and businesses. Add to that your social media and website presence. All those bits and pieces of data about you make it nearly impossible to prevent your name from appearing in search results.

Many data broker sites harvest your personal information, gleaning details of your life from public records and your online activity. It is a good practice to periodically search for news about yourself because once deleted, the data may pop up again elsewhere.

You can make the task of cleaning up your online identity more manageable by taking smaller, more targeted strokes that reduce the information available about you. Do what hunters do — search your name and see what descriptions and web sources appear in the results. Start with the biggest, Google, and make a list of where you get the most detailed data about yourself.

Next, make yourself less findable. Start the process from your default web browser. Go to the browser’s Settings panel and look for the Data & Privacy heading, then turn off the History setting and Record Web & App Activity. Repeat the process in any secondary browser you use.

Review your profile details in the “About Me” sections of the apps you use and in the privacy and security settings in social media apps and business listings. Consider removing as much personal, complex information as possible from everything you do and say online. This includes photos and other family pictures, as well as apps like Facebook and LinkedIn to restrict who has access to your most sensitive information.

Remove your personal data from public records sites

The growing focus on personal privacy online is forcing businesses to make changes in the way they wheel and deal with your data. Some of the barriers and stall tactics used by data brokers and search engine companies to make it harder for you to steal your personal information from their online warehouses have softened.

Here is a list of major data collection websites to consider targeting with deletion of information requests to help protect your privacy:

You can approach these online personal information mills and ask them to extract at least some personal details about you. Sometimes, you can even refuse to allow them to sell your information.

Often, one only has to check their websites to find their contact instructions for sending an email to request removal. Some offer an online form to request deletion of your information.

External help to get control of PII

When it comes to tracking your personally identifiable information online, the more you see, the more you find. Launching a mole-mole privacy campaign could bring down all but the most staunch defenders.

To take down the lone ranger approach, you can take the help of data deletion services. These companies use their own servers and search tools to automate the process for you. Subscribing to removal services that continually scrape and remove personal data can be a good investment.

Some data removal companies excel at doing this better than others. Beware of free services or services that offer bargain basement discounts. If you’re not happy with the results of one company, try another. The monthly or annual fee may be worthwhile to help your data disappear from the web. Some of these data deletion services offer free trials to give you a chance to assess their effectiveness.

In no particular order of preference, here are some of the services to check out:

  • OneRep claims to remove your personal and family information from Google and over 190 other websites.
  • BrandYourself is an online reputation management and privacy company providing solutions for individuals and businesses.
  • DeleteMe is a privacy information removal service that specializes in removing your personal information from Google’s vast search reporting network.
  • Incogni deals directly with data brokers, so you don’t have to spend hours guarding a display of where you live, your phone number, and where you prefer on the weekend to avoid falling into the wrong hands. It uses applicable privacy laws to compel data brokers to remove your personal information from their databases.
  • Privacy Bee helps to opt out of data broker databases and marketing lists.

Do It Yourself Privacy Options

If you’re more comfortable scrubbing the web yourself, a number of websites can help you achieve your privacy goals. Check out these handy web-based tools to fight your personal data privacy campaign.

  • Mine lets you find out where your personal data is located on the web. It can help you curate your online exposure to better ensure you are in control of your data ownership.
  • Unroll.Me is a toolbox for tackling the clutter that often builds up with online subscriptions. It automates the process of managing and revoking your digital trail with the possible sharing of your contact information. Note, however, that Unroll.Me is owned by e-commerce measurement firm NielsenIQ, so read their data collection and use policies when evaluating the service for privacy purposes.
  • Jumbo Privacy is a mobile app that helps you take control of your digital presence. It monitors the content of messages you send to limit unrestricted personal data sharing. This can be a tool to help you reduce the digital fragments that have already been shared. It constantly scans the Internet for signs that your data may have been compromised.
  • Just Delete Me is a website and browser extension that helps you delete your accounts from multiple web services. It uses a color-coding system to show whether the deletion process is easy, not so easy, or difficult on some 100 web services.

We hope these tips for limiting exposure to your personal data will help you secure your digital experience and protect your identity, your reputation, and your assets.

Puppy Linux is a niche computing solution that reflects the flexibility and usefulness of open-source tools and the staying power of the Linux operating system.

Usually in this column, I focus on new versions of Linux distros that introduce new tricks and features. But the current version of Puppy Linux, FossaPup64 version 9.5, is not a new release. It replaced the Precise Puppy version in 2020.

FossaPup64 provides a safe and secure Linux platform optimized for single-user settings. It is a modular distribution, which very few Linux distros offer. You can seamlessly swap out newer versions of the Linux kernel, firmware, and apps to keep the installation fresh. Its lightweight design packs full functionality, no matter how many ways you choose to use it.

One of the main features of Puppy Linux is its ability to provide a reliable and fast portable computing platform. Pop Puppy Linux into any computer’s USB drive to boot straight into your last computing session. Or do a thrifty install on your desktop or laptop computer to boot from a USB stick or CD and save settings and data without disturbing the existing operating system.

FossaPup loads into the computer’s RAM. It runs Linux and apps much faster than the old computer could otherwise handle. When you turn off the computer and remove the USB stick, no trace of your computing session is left behind.

This Pocket Linux approach is a great way to revive an older computer that no longer runs the updated Microsoft Windows. It also empowers newer, more powerful computers to improve their operating speed. Running in RAM is fast on any computer.

longevity matters

Barry Kauler, the founder of the Puppy Linux project, introduced the original Puppy Linux distro in July 2003. He developed the concept into various experimental variants. A few years ago, Kauler moved out of the Puppy Linux development role to release other Linux systems. In the meantime, the Puppy Linux community keeps Puppy Linux playful and barking.

I stumbled upon Puppy Linux in 2006 when I started my crush on using Linux. For years, I relied heavily on its pocket computing power. It remains an invaluable backup tool and keeps many older computers up and running.

A recent encounter with an ailing computer—which I mention below—reminded me that well-designed OSes don’t always have to be upgraded two or three times a year. Many Linux distros only upgrade infrequently.

I’ve used various versions of the mainline Puppy Linux distro over the years. Its ability to boot from a 2GB USB disk was a great solution for dragging my heavy laptop around or using someone else’s non-Linux computer.

what’s inside

Today, installing FossaPup Linux on a large-capacity USB stick is child’s play. It remains my primary go-to Linux OS whenever I need a quick fix to revive an ailing PC or perform tasks elsewhere on site.

Puppy Linux has a different look and feel. Several versions—called puplets—remain in circulation. They cater to different user and hardware needs.

Puppy Linux uses a combination of JWM (Joe’s Window Manager) and ROX-Filer to create a uniquely fast and easy-to-use desktop environment, making FossaPup – and other Puppy Linux variants – one of the most lightweight Linux OS out there.

Puppy Linus FossaPup Desktop

Puppy Linux uses a unique combination of JWM and Rox-Filer to create a powerful, lightweight Linux desktop.

FossaPup64 is built using the Ubuntu focal fossa (64-bit) package. This gives it binary compatibility with Ubuntu and access to the Ubuntu focal Fossa repository.

FossaPup is not an unofficial derivative of the Ubuntu software family. Like other Puppy projects, FossaPup is completely built from the ground up with an in-house distro construction tool called Woof-CE. It bears no resemblance to the traditional Ubuntu skin.

remedy for dead hardware

A recent panic call from a neighbor reminded me why I prefer Puppy Linux, despite the vast majority of Linux distros I use.

A work-at-home neighbor, which means no tech support, suffered a seriously bad computer just hours before a work project.

Yes, it was Windows! But in fairness, sometimes the same thing happens with Linux.

The computer wouldn’t boot once it was on, and all the digital content my neighbor desperately needed was locked inside an inaccessible hard drive.

I caught my FossaPuppy on a stick and hooked it up to the sick computer. After a while, Good Ol’ Puppy Linux boots into the computer’s RAM.

An icon for the Windows partition on the hard drive popped up on the desktop. After a few clicks, I found the important files and saved them to another USB stick for safekeeping.

Puppy Linux setup setup tool GUI

FossaPup’s separate setup tools offer a number of personalization options with a graphical user interface (GUI).

a new linux believer

My now enthusiastic neighbor was amazed that he could stick to completing the project using my Fossapup OS on his “broken” computer. He could still work on PNG images, Microsoft Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets that I retrieved from my hard drive.

Puppy Linux Apps let it get the job done. Before this machine encounter, my neighbor didn’t know what Linux was. Using the built-in Puppy remastering tool, I cloned a copy for that. A few days later, I used another Linux boot repair tool to fix the corrupted files on his Windows computer.

Yes, you guessed it. My neighbor is still using FossaPup Linux and is “transitioning” from Windows.

Why use FossaPup on a stick?

Puppy Linux isn’t the only Linux-on-a-stick distro out there. Some distro developers now let you install the ISO file on a USB drive instead of a DVD to view the live session and start the installation.

Some distros have a complicated way of creating persistent memory partitions to save data. PhosApp goes further. It lets you save a particular module on a USB drive and even save multiple system setups.

FossaPup Linux is different because its persistent memory feature is better integrated and works more reliably. You can use this Puppy Linux version as a more than “live” session environment.

fosapp spread

Puppy’s code-building system maintains compatibility with the classic Puppy PET packages and Ubuntu repos. The Quickpat interface installs applications and updates the system to a lesser extent.

FossaPup Linux comes with Ubuntu and the in-house-built Puppy Linux applications.

FosaPup Linux comes with a mix of Ubuntu and in-house-built Puppy Linux applications.

Puppy distros lack user logins. Even if you have another OS installed on the hard drive, all Puppy Linux distros bypass the startup routine installed on the hard drive. But you can encrypt important content files with password access.

The advantage – even if you have to “pocket protect” the USB drive – is the ability to bring your personal desktop and apps to any computer you encounter. When you exit Puppy Linux, the OS and all your files go back to your pocket, closed desk drawer, or wherever.

ground level

FossaPup is worth a try. It’s a fun way to learn about Linux. Plus, it offers an interesting alternative to the traditional Linux OS.

The Puppy Linux line has several in-house applications such as Pburn, PuppyFone, Find’n’Run, Take a Gif, UExtract, Packit, dunst-config, pycom-gtk, Transtray, and Junkie Bluetooth. Puppy Package Manager (PPM) provides a mix of Puppy-specific .pet files and Ubuntu focal-fossa packages.

Besides the USB method, you can install this distro on a hard drive in two ways. Puppy Universal Installer offers to perform a full install that uses an entire hard drive partition. The second is a thrifty install, which installs only several core Puppy files with the 4FS file extension.

With thrifty installations, Puppy automatically saves all changes to the Puppy save file during a computing session and when you shut down the OS. A handy feature lets you set up multiple save files based on your needs, so you can load different Puppy Linux configurations in one place instead of maintaining different Puppy sticks.

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Have a Linux software application or distro you’d like to recommend for review? Something you love or want to know?

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The inability to easily and reliably share data between a smartphone, laptop, or desktop has been a source of annoyance for Windows PC users who also own an iPhone.

Apple has reinforced a strong ecosystem reputation with its products and core device operating systems, highlighting the benefits of enabling files, text messages and even Continuity experiences between its Mac computers, iPads and iPhones. Have done

Apple reportedly has about 1.2 billion active iPhones at the end of 2022, and Microsoft says there are about 1.4 billion Windows 10 or 11 users.

Given Microsoft’s massive market share in the PC space, this will translate to hundreds of millions of Windows users with iPhones who can’t participate in Apple’s ecosystem, especially through shared text messaging using Windows PCs. Together.

The ability to seamlessly integrate the PC and mobile experience so that all of our devices work together with minimal friction provides nearly endless user benefits. Multiple mobile and client PC operating systems must work together to fully enable maximum consumer interoperability.

To bridge this gap over the years, some PC makers, notably Dell, have made valiant attempts to do so with varying degrees of success. With its Link to Windows app for mobile and Windows Phone Link app, Microsoft has tried to make iOS devices a more compelling component of the Windows ecosystem. My experience with these solutions has been a mixed bag of irritation with minor usefulness.

Flash forward to 2023: Intel recently released Unison, which desktop and laptop PC OEMs hope to embrace.

benefits of unison

I recently downloaded Intel’s Unison software from the Microsoft App Store and tested it on my Evo-certified HP Elite Dragonfly G3 laptop. Pairing it with my iPhone 14 Pro Max only required scanning a QR code and following on-screen instructions to grant the PC client access to my contacts, message log, etc.

Because Apple has refused to provide the software support needed to integrate iOS devices directly into the Windows ecosystem, companies such as Microsoft and Intel have been “creative” to bring the Windows and iOS device ecosystems together without Apple’s explicit permission. (Translated: Workaround) Looking for ways. Help.

With Unison, users can access and manage their smartphones from a single laptop, reducing production disruptions that can result from frequent device changes.

If you try to focus on work on your laptop while managing phone calls, SMS and app alerts on your mobile device, you may get distracted. Consolidating those distractions onto your laptop screen can be helpful if it’s not possible to suppress them completely.

The Unison app has a Do Not Disturb (DND) toggle that can block all app notifications, allowing users to focus on work without being distracted by their phone.

Users of Unison can do several things, including detaching their phone that is connected by Unison to their laptop, and then making and receiving calls and sending text messages from the computer. While some of this capability isn’t new, the functionality is nice because it works with phones running iOS and Android and has a wide range of network configurations.

screenovate on core

The technology involved in Unison comes from Screenovate. In 2021, Intel bought the Israeli business that pioneered smartphone-to-display projection and is developing various cross-device experiences.

Some system OEMs had already incorporated Screenovate’s background technology and rebranded it into their own solutions, including Dell with its Dell Mobile Connect (which, incidentally, is sunsetting) and HP with Phonewise is included, which the company shut down in 2019. The irony is that you may already be using the Screenovate technique without even realizing it.

Intel says that during the integration of Screenovate’s architecture into Unison, it placed significant emphasis on platform power savings and improvements to UI and networking behavior. Power-related efforts have emphasized that Unison won’t be a huge battery drainer on the host laptop as it runs naturally in the background.

complex connectivity

Various hardware and communication technologies are now associated with many hybrid and remote workers switching from office to home-based work and shifting between Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth connections, and cellular-only settings.

Although Intel promises a seamless experience across WAN, Wi-Fi, cloud, cellular, and Bluetooth connections, and requires a link to a Unison-compliant PC with Android or iOS devices, Unison’s actual connectivity Nuts and bolts are a bit complicated. ,

The text messaging window of the Intel Unison app displayed on a laptop screen

intel unison text messaging window

This is important because equivalent technologies from companies like Samsung or Dell Mobile Connect can only be tailored for a specific set of Android phones. While targeting Android, the Your Phone utility in Windows 10 and the Connect to Phone app in Windows 11 only offer a fraction of Unison’s capability.

In this case, the Unison should cover a wide range of phones currently on the market, regardless of your current connection setup. Intel supports calls, SMS, alerts, and photo/file transfers as the four main types of phone-on-PC activities with its initial release of Unison.

With Unison on my Evo-certified HP laptop, I could use it to initiate and answer calls. I could send and receive SMS messages on my HP laptop, view them on my laptop through the Unison app, and reply to them there. I can even start sending messages from the Windows desktop as if I’m using my iPhone.

Intel Unison Gallery

Intel Unison Gallery

Last but not least, technology has made it easy to share files and photos between a smartphone and a laptop, allowing me, for example, to view photos in Unison’s Gallery on my laptop app.

Acer, HP and Lenovo are Intel’s initial launch partners with Unison, now available on Evo Designs running 13th generation Intel Core processors.

What is the difference between unison?

As mentioned earlier, such solutions already exist in Windows 10 and 11 from phone and PC makers. Still, Unison has a particularly bold ambition to provide the same functionality on both iOS and Android.

Unlike what is currently available, Unison is based on open and standard APIs and interfaces. The user interface (UI) of the Unison app makes a difference, especially in the file-transfer experience.

For all practical purposes, the contents of Unison Gallery are refreshingly simple to use after syncing up as any other file on your desktop because a lot of thought has gone into the design and ease of use. Kudos to Intel in that department.

There’s a reason Intel is launching Unison on the Evo first. The company wants to improve the experience, and it starts with the kind of people who will buy an Evo PC: highly mobile, highly connected productivity hunters. For example, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi stack elements are being intentionally implemented to ensure a smooth, high-quality experience.

In addition, connection flexibility is important but difficult to work with both wired and wireless technologies. A Bluetooth connection between devices would be ideal for handling smartphone conversations via your Evo laptop, although Wi-Fi makes more sense for file transfers.

There is also an option to use the phone’s cellular network in specific circumstances when interacting with Unison via the cloud. Some options, for example, may be a phone and a laptop connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

You will need to download the Unison app from the App Store or Google Play. You’ll need iOS 15 or Android 9 or later for your phone’s operating system.

Theoretically, Unison could be made available as a download for other devices as Unison is not tightly tied to the hardware features of the 12th or 13th generation Core Evo platforms. So, even though Unison may be a limited release technology, once the quirks of the technology are worked out, it may be implemented on other, perhaps older, instruments.

closing thoughts

First, it’s important to give credit to any company trying to solve a problem that has plagued the Windows PC space since Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. I can talk about the joy and benefits of being part of the Apple ecosystem with the MacBook Pro, iPhone. , iPad, and Apple Watch are all playing an important integrated role in my daily work.

As the “quasi-CIO” of my extended family spread across the country, I am often called upon to resolve my family members’ tech support issues. Everyone using Apple-branded products makes it a much easier burden to bear.

I wish I could report that Intel Unison delivered on its ambitious promise to integrate the iPhone into the Apple ecosystem without compromise. Unfortunately, I can’t, because you’ll have to make some compromises.

While SMS text messaging is a step in the right direction, Unison still doesn’t feature full-fledged rich media such as video files and rich content previews, so text messaging from Windows-based laptops is relatively primitive. MacOS users know the joy of messaging from their Mac desktop or laptop using a traditional keyboard, not a touchscreen. Unison has a lot of work to do in this area.

Furthermore, any existing iMessages on your phone will not be available on your Windows PC using the Unison app. After you install the software, it only works with new text messages you’ve sent or received. If you have long threads of existing iMessages stored on your iPhone then you are out of luck.

Finally, if you close the app, you lose all the text messages on your PC that you synced with when you reopen the app. This aberration is going to be problematic for many iPhone users.

Apple continues to lead the charge

Other limitations exist, such as in order to use Unison, you must have your iPhone connected to your Windows PC, and it must be constantly by your side to enable connectivity functionality. In terms of the Apple ecosystem, you can send and receive iMessages on your macOS device or iPad with an Internet connection, even if your iPhone isn’t on without you.

Intel Unison is a work in progress at this point. While it’s certainly better than nothing for Windows users (an admittedly low bar), the overall ecosystem experience is nowhere near what Apple continues to offer without compromise.

I may be the eternal optimist, but it may ultimately be up to Apple to make a business decision on providing native support for Windows PC integration, which it could easily do. Although I struggle with what Apple’s upside might be in this scenario, given its massive market share in the smartphone space.

The indisputable fact is that Apple needs more than Intel or Microsoft to fix this problem. Until that dynamic changes, Windows users won’t have the world-class cross device integration experience that Apple users enjoy primarily in the text messaging arena.

A friend of mine with decades of experience in tech made an apt comment that I’ve been thinking about lately.

When discussing how to overcome a complex technical hurdle that most desktop OS users have been hindered from addressing, he quipped that Linux was easily up to the task because “Linux is a Real Operating System.”

Immediately, I knew exactly what he meant. But I found that expressing it was a whole lot more challenging. After battling with it, I thought I’d give it a go.

Kevin Garnett of Operating Systems – Anything Is Possible!

Linux is the most widely deployed desktop OS which provides full operation of the system to the users with ease. True to its Unix heritage, everything is a file, and nothing is locked or hidden. You can access the UEFI firmware registers as files without any difficulty. For example, if you have installed a Linux system on a device that shipped with Windows, you can dump the Windows license key without any problems.

Linux also lets you read and write files representing input/output hardware devices. For example, your laptop screen brightness appears as a file containing an integer value, and you can change the backlight intensity immediately by changing the value in the file.

Because everything is a file, you can feed the output of one file into the input of another, practically linking any two functionalities together. Want to play audio on video call? Simply take the file representing audio playback and re-route its output to the file representing the microphone input.

We’ve only scratched the surface, but hopefully, this gives a good sense of how versatile Linux systems are.

This penguin: reproduces rapidly and without natural predators

Linux is by no means the only Unix-y OS, but it has the distinction of unexpectedly taking over the world.

I don’t find it all that surprising that a Unix-like system became so prolific. Unix has stood the test of time because of its elegance and flexibility, and has formed the backbone of our digital architecture along the way. But by a strange confluence of historical, technical, and legal reasons, Linux — and not the more central branch of the Unix family tree — took root and flourished like an invasive species.

The result is that Linux has arguably become the most widely used OS today. Every Android device is Linux. Reliable figures are difficult to find, but estimates suggest that anywhere from one in eight to four in five server installations are Linux. On top of that, 100% of the top 500 supercomputers run on Linux.

Cloud deployment figures are even harder to come by, but Linux’s market share should be much higher, as the vanilla OS for AWS’s cloud compute service, EC2, is “Amazon Linux.” Linux has seen a massive uptake for installation in cars and has also entered the gaming space with Valve’s Steam Deck.

many relatives, one family

In its many guises, Linux is Linux: if you (deeply) know one, you know them all.

It is easy to mistake the external appearance of a thing for the thing itself. Beginning Linux desktop users usually begin by perceiving the desktop environment, the clicky desktop UI, as “Linux”. I’ve definitely gone through this phase. Then when users start to delve into the Unix-like structure beneath the desktop via the Bash shell (the most common default shell for Linux desktops), He What often happens to Linux users. I have been there too.

But Linux is really the structure and contents of the filesystem, the myriad kernel modules available, and how everything works together. Granted, the composition can vary a fair amount from distribution to distribution. For example, is init system systemd? Sis V? anything else? Where are executable binaries stored? Are they under /usr/local? Are they directly in the /bin? Both (and do they use symbolic links)?

Once you understand these differences, you’ll be at home on any Linux system. Does it have zsh when you prefer bash? Annoying, but manageable (just kidding, my zsh friends). A shell is a shell is a shell. You’ll probably have to break out the man pages for systemd, but you’ll survive (no systemd fan to apologize, so I’m good there). Snap will fill your block device with virtual entries when you run lsblk, but that’s what grep -v does.

Reading the manual doesn’t make a system foreign to you. If you know Linux, you know what you should look for in a Linux system to work. Worst case, you have to load a kernel module. But because Linux is the kernel, from an architectural point of view, it is always open to you if you have root access.

compatibility in its DNA

By now, it should be clear that Linux is not one thing, but it is. Its ability to adapt itself to your hardware and use case context while maintaining a consistent internal structure Is what is linux

Adaptability is part of its DNA. In short, not all Linux systems are created equal, but they are all Linux equally.

Want to run a full Linux desktop installation on your Chromebook without leaving ChromeOS? This change will give you access to both full operating systems running side by side so you can switch between them with keyboard shortcuts.

You can already use a “crostini” partition to run different Linux apps with ChromeOS. This method forces users to rely primarily on the command line without the added functionality that a full Linux desktop environment provides. So installing an entire Linux distribution — desktop and all — might be a better option for you.

A few years ago, I used a halfway house to run the KDE desktop on a Chromebook in a Crostini environment. However, that method was buggy. Earlier, I toyed with running GalliumOS from a USB drive to turn a Chromebook into a Linux box without removing ChromeOS.

Crostini, Google’s umbrella term for building Linux applications in ChromeOS, installs a command line version of the Linux OS for running Debian Linux apps on supported Chromebooks.

The built-in Crostini partition lets Chromebook users run Linux apps like Android apps in a virtual-machine-like sandbox running on top of ChromeOS.

An alternative approach involves using croutons. It provides the environment for a full Linux installation, desktop and all. Crouton is a set of scripts that automatically installs the components that make up the Chromium OS-centric chroot generator. The word “chroot” is geekspeak for “change root”.

learn lingo

In theory, Chromebook users should be able to use the chroot utility to install most Linux distributions. However, those Linux communities require someone to create scripts based on where each distro stores its files.

As of now, the chroot utility script available for Chromebook caters to Debian Linux and Ubuntu Linux distros. Installing Linux distros on some Arm-based Chromebooks may not work. Expect better results using a Chromebook running an Intel processor.

Crouton installs the current Ubuntu Xenial release and your choice of four desktops — LXDE, Unity, Xfce, or Gnome — depending on the commands you enter. See details in the Step Four section.

I installed the Xfce desktop and preferred its feature set and configuration options. Although I own several newer and more powerful Chromebooks, I did the installation on the Asus Chromebook Flip model C213S.

First released in July 2017, it runs Intel Celeron CPU N3350 on 4GB of RAM. The unit never bogged down under the stress of running ChromeOS with multiple open browser tabs, Android apps in separate windows, and multiple Linux apps under Crostini.

Set up the preliminaries

It’s safe and reliable to install a full Linux distribution on your Chromebook using the instructions below. It is completely reversible.

Before you begin, we recommend that you back up your existing Chromebook setup. You can restore it with a powerwash or a recovery USB stick. See Google’s help files for details on doing both procedures here.

But generally, all you need to do is go to the Settings menu and toggle off the Linux partition if something unexpected happens. This will remove all traces of the incorrect Linux installation, and there will still be intact ChromeOS waiting for you.

To start, make sure you’re running a current version of ChromeOS. To check the Chrome OS version or update a Chromebook’s operating system, go to Settings > About Chrome OS. Then make sure Linux Partitioning is turned on in the Advanced Settings menu.

Getting Ready for Crouton Alternatives

The built-in Crostini partition cannot handle the Linux desktop. It runs Linux commands through the Command Line Interface or CLI and launches installed Linux apps by clicking on their launcher icons.

Crouton, as in “Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment”, is beyond that limit. Basically, you have to replace Crostini with Croutons.

Don’t rush this process. Double- and triple-check that you’re following the directions exactly.

It’s unlikely that a misstep will harm the core operation of the Chromebook. But a mistake will generate an error message. If it does, redo the failed step until it works.

Be patient while the process progresses. It will take time to download and install the files. The internal hardware of the Chromebook and the speed of your Internet connection are factors.

Chromebook preparing system for developer mode

The installation should take about 30 to 45 minutes to complete, provided you get everything right.

Step 1: Set up Developer Mode

Close your Chromebook. Then turn it back on by pressing and holding the Esc, Refresh, and Power keys simultaneously. Release all three keys once the prompt for powering on appears on the screen.

When the Chromebook screen is fully displayed, it will show the recovery process screen instead of the ChromeOS screen. Select Advanced options and then select Developer mode. Or you can press Ctrl+D.

ChromeOS Alert: OS Verification is Off

Next, you may see a message asking you to verify the operating system. If so, press Enter.

Then use the arrow keys to scroll down to Advanced options and choose Developer Mode or just press the Ctrl and D keys. The Chromebook should now start in developer mode.

note 1: From this point forward, every time you turn on the Chromebook, it will load into the OS verification warning screen. There is no problem. Just wait 30 seconds for the device to automatically start in ChromeOS or press Ctrl+D to boot immediately.

note 2: You can disable a Chromebook’s developer mode state at any time. do this:

  • First of all, turn it off. Then press the power-on button or lift the clamshell lid from its closed position.
  • When the Chromebook boots up and displays the OS verification message, press the Space bar.

Your Chromebook will be factory reset and returned to its standard configuration. Very easy!

note 3: After reset, you will need to go through user setup for the first time. This is where the above mentioned backup files come in handy. If you had the desktop feature enabled in your previous configuration, you’ll need to reset those flags again to access the desktop. But all your Chrome browser tools and settings will be installed.

Step 2: Download Crouton

This part of the process is quick and straightforward. Download the Crouton file to build the Crouton environment. This will create a pure Linux environment on the Chromebook.

Follow this link to download the crouton files.

Be absolutely sure that you point this to your Chromebook’s Downloads folder and not your Google Drive storage.

Step 3: Completing the Installation

Shut down the Chromebook and restart it. Remember, the Chromebook just won’t load into the expected ChromeOS web browser screen. Instead, it will display the Developer Mode screen. Just press Ctrl+D keys. When the screen updates, press Ctrl + Alt + T to open the Chrome OS terminal and press Enter.

Krosh is welcome

Now type the word “shell” (without the quotes) and press Enter.

important: Be sure to enter the command exactly as shown. Omitting or adding spaces not indicated will result in error messages.

Next, enter or paste this command in Terminal to download the Crouton text file to automatically convert it to an executable file:

sudo install -dt /usr/local/bin -m 755 ~/Downloads/crouton

Press Enter.

Krosh is welcome

You can encrypt the chroot partition with a passphrase for added security. Add -e to the end of the installation command before executing it.

Be aware, however, that this will require that you type in the encryption password you created each time you enter the chroot environment.

Step 4: Choose Your Desktop Pleasure

This is where you have to decide which desktop environment you want to run Ubuntu Xenial. The main command to enter in the terminal is:

sudo crouton -t XXXX

Press Enter. Or, if your Chromebook has a touchscreen, use the following instead:

sudo crouton -t touch, XXXX

Replace XXXX after -t with the desktop you want to install (all lowercase).

As the installation nears completion, you will need to set a password every time you want to enter the Linux distro.

install crosh

Don’t worry about the UNIX reference here. Simply create a password and repeat it at the next prompt.

Croton User Tips

Congratulations! You have successfully changed the configuration of your Chromebook to run a full Linux distribution and desktop. Familiarize yourself with these basic procedures to ensure a hassle-free Linux experience on your Chromebook.

I. To login to the Linux distribution, follow these steps:

  1. When you turn on the Chromebook, press Ctrl+D on the first screen (OS verification off).
  2. press Ctrl+Alt+T
  3. Type: shell and press Enter
  4. Type: sudo enter -chroot startXXXXX and press Enter

important: Do not use XXXXX. Instead, enter the name of the installed desktop in lowercase, with no space after the word “Start”. For example:

sudo enter -chroot startxfce4
sudo enter -chroot startgnome
sudo enter -chroot startlxde
sudo enter -chroot startunity

Linux running on the Asus Chromebook Flip model C213S

Second. Cycle between Chrome OS and Linux desktops without rebooting your Chromebook.

The keys involved differ slightly depending on the architecture of your device:

  • For arm-based machines, use Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Forward and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Back.
  • For Intel-based machines, use Ctrl+Alt+Back and Ctrl+Alt+Forward; Then Ctrl+Alt+Refresh. (I didn’t have to use the refresh shortcut on my Intel-powered Asus Chromebook.)

How to Remove a Crouton Installation

If you decide that having a full Linux installation on your Chromebook isn’t for you, you can easily remove it. One method was mentioned above, hitting the space bar when the OS verification screen appears. Here’s another option:

Press Ctrl+Alt+T to enter the ChromeOS shell. Then enter this command:

cd /usr/local/chroots

Press Enter. then type:

sudo delete-chroot *

Press Enter. then type:

rm -rf /usr /local/bin

Press Enter.

Chromebook restore options

If something goes wrong along the way, you can restore your Chromebook by retrieving backup files stored on Google Drive. But this method only works if you have already configured your device to automatically back up.

Enter recovery mode by pressing and holding the Esc + Refresh keys simultaneously. Then press the Power button and release it.

last note

Many variables can affect the way a Linux distro loads. These include the make and model of your Chromebook and interim updates to the Crouton installation files that interfere with these current directions.

If you’re unable to enter the chroot partition or load Ubuntu, search the Internet for help, as your Chromebook’s manufacturer or even Google’s support won’t be able to answer your questions.

GitHub is the starting point for researching a solution.

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