Dr. Bill.TV #428 – Video – “The Controversy Can Be Fun Edition!”

Google Home ignores Jesus, Alexa loses her voice? A Geek Project for RSS Feeds, Malwarebytes product patch brings down PCs, GSotW: WebCam On-Off, Guru99 Linux tutorial, moving to Linux from Windows, kids learn Open Source, LibreOffice for small business.

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

Webcam On/Off


Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)








Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!

 

Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo

 


Dr. Bill.TV #428 – Audio – “The Controversy Can Be Fun Edition!”

Google Home ignores Jesus, Alexa loses her voice? A Geek Project for RSS Feeds, Malwarebytes product patch brings down PCs, GSotW: WebCam On-Off, Guru99 Linux tutorial, moving to Linux from Windows, kids learn Open Source, LibreOffice for small business.

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

Webcam On/Off


Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)








Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!

 

Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo

 


A LibreOffice Cheat Sheet from TechRepublic

LibreOffice SuiteI love LibreOffice! LibreOffice is a cross-platform, open source office suite. If you’re looking for a free alternative to Microsoft Office or G Suite, read about LibreOffice to discover if it will meet your needs.

Cheat sheet: LibreOffice

TechRepublic – By: Jack Wallen – “LibreOffice is an open source alternative to Microsoft Office. LibreOffice comes with every productivity tool you need, making it fully capable of serving as a free replacement for the costlier alternatives, such as Microsoft Office, Apple Pages, G Suite, and more.

LibreOffice is a powerful tool with a very user-friendly GUI interface that enables you to keep your creativity and productivity flowing—all from within one tool. LibreOffice includes the following:

  • A word processor
  • Spreadsheets
  • Presentations
  • Formulas
  • An image editor
  • A fully functioning database tool

This LibreOffice smart person’s guide is a quick way to get up to speed on the office suite. We’ll update this resource periodically when there is new information about LibreOffice.

Executive summary
What is the LibreOffice office suite? LibreOffice is a free, open source office suite that includes all of the productivity tools you and your office needs. It can work with nearly any file format (which means you can work with or collaborate on Microsoft Office documents) and defaults to the open document format. LibreOffice is freely available to install on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Why does the LibreOffice productivity suite matter? LibreOffice is the go-to office suite for the open source platform Linux. Because LibreOffice is a cost-effective solution, it is most often the tool used when Microsoft Office is not an option. LibreOffice is also the one office suite that best follows the guides and regulations laid out by the OpenDocument Format (an XML-based file format for spreadsheets, charts, presentations, and word processing documents developed with the aim of providing an open file format specification for office applications).

Who does LibreOffice affect? LibreOffice affects any Linux desktop user needing an office suite; yes, there are alternatives, but LibreOffice is the de facto standard for the open source platform. But LibreOffice doesn’t only affect Linux users; for anyone (regardless of platform) who is looking for a powerful office suite and wants to avoid the cost of Microsoft Office, LibreOffice is an outstanding alternative.

When was LibreOffice released? LibreOffice was originally forked from Apache OpenOffice in 2010 and is currently in version 5.4.
How do I install and use LibreOffice? LibreOffice comes pre-installed on many Linux desktop operating systems or can be installed from within most Linux application stores such as GNOME Software or Synaptic. LibreOffice can also be installed on Windows or macOS via easy to use installer packages from the LibreOffice Download page.

What is the LibreOffice office suite?
LibreOffice is a full-featured office suite program that consists of:

  • LibreOffice Writer – a word processor
  • LibreOffice Calc – spreadsheets
  • LibreOffice Impress – presentations
  • LibreOffice Math – formulas
  • LibreOffice Draw – image editor
  • LibreOffice Base – database
  • LibreOffice Charts – charts

Besides having zero learning curve (thanks to a very familiar user interface), one of LibreOffice’s best features is that it is compatible with a wide range of document formats, including the Microsoft Office native format (.doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, and more). LibreOffice also includes native support for the modern OpenDocument Format (ODF), so any document saved in LibreOffice can be opened in Microsoft Office and Google Docs; in fact, Google Docs support for LibreOffice native documents far surpasses those of Microsoft Office native formats.

LibreOffice offers a number of very compelling features, such as a highly flexible interface (you can easily switch from the old-school menu-based interface to more modern and even very minimal interfaces). No matter how you like to work, LibreOffice can conform to that need. LibreOffice is also highly extensible, with the help of a number of extensions and templates.

According to information on the LibreOffice site, these are some of the users of LibreOffice:

  • LibreOffice is used by MIMO, France’s inter-ministerial working group on free software, on more than 500,000 PCs.
  • The administration of Valencia has installed LibreOffice on more than 120,000 PCs.
  • Italy’s Ministry of Defence is transitioning to LibreOffice onto more than 100,000 computers.
  • Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance has installed LibreOffice on more than 24,000 PCs.
  • Estadual Paulista (Brazil) has transitioned more than 10,000 PCs to LibreOffice.

Although LibreOffice is an incredibly powerful, user-friendly office suite, it’s not perfect. The biggest issue some people face with the tool is that it’s not 100% compatible with Microsoft Office. Yes, you can open and save files in the default Microsoft format (.docx, .xlsx, etc.), but there may be instances when the formatting isn’t an exact conversion. Chances are, this won’t be a problem for most users.

LibreOffice users will also be glad to know they can digitally sign and password protect their documents. To sign a document, you only need to open the file in question and click File | Digital Signatures | Digital Signatures. The one caveat to this is that you must have a tool like GnuPG installed and a certificate generated. To password protect a document, open the file, click File | Properties | Security and then click the Protect button. Once a document has been secured, it cannot be opened without the assigned password.

Why does the LibreOffice productivity suite matter?
For anyone looking to use a full-featured office suite, without either having to spend precious budget dollars or be limited to proprietary offerings (and the offerings’ narrow scope of functionality), LibreOffice is the perfect alternative. But the importance of LibreOffice goes well beyond price and features.

Aside from the Linux operating system, LibreOffice is one of the the most popular open source projects. As of 2016, LibreOffice has been downloaded more than 120 million times since its inception, and more than 1,000 developers have contributed to the software, making it one of the largest open source collaborations on the planet. The fact that Microsoft finally includes support for native LibreOffice formats is telling that the open source alternative matters.

To make matters more interesting, for anyone that uses the Linux operating system, LibreOffice is your best bet for collaboration with other platforms, as LibreOffice documents can be easily opened from nearly all other office suites.

Beyond that, LibreOffice has become a crucial leader for the open source community. Besides Firefox, many other open source desktop applications have struggled to find their way onto the average user’s desktop—LibreOffice has managed that feat on a global level. Apache, NGINX, and Docker have proved open source belongs in the enterprise data center, and LibreOffice has proved open source can function on the desktop.

Another very important reason LibreOffice matters lies in its portable version. With LibreOffice Portable, you can carry around a full-fledged office suite on a USB drive. And if you’re looking for an online version of LibreOffice, look no further than Collabora Online, which supports all major document, spreadsheet, and presentation file formats.

Who does LibreOffice affect?
LibreOffice will be of interest to anyone who is looking for spreadsheet and document alternatives.

If you’re a Linux user without access to Microsoft Office, LibreOffice is your de facto standard office suite. If you’re a Windows user, LibreOffice offers an alternative to the costlier Microsoft Office. If you’re a macOS user who doesn’t like the idea of working with Microsoft products, LibreOffice is a much more flexible alternative to the built-in office suite.

SEE: 20 quick tips to make Linux networking easier (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

If you’re a student or a home user on a tight budget, you can be just as productive with LibreOffice as you would be with Microsoft Office. Plus, you will be able to produce documents that are compatible with the Microsoft equivalent.

Because LibreOffice is the office suite that best adheres to the ODF specifications, anyone looking for a tool that creates files with the most standardized open format would be remiss for not using this open source tool.

When was LibreOffice released?
LibreOffice was born as a fork of Apache OpenOffice, which was based on the now-defunct StarOffice. StarOffice originated as StarWriter, by Marco Börries, in 1985 and soon became StarOffice and StarSuite (which included language support for Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese). Börries eventually created StarDivision and began development of StarOffice. In 1999, Sun Microsystems purchased StarOffice for $73.5 million and renamed both StarOffice and StarSuite to Oracle OpenOffice.

On September 28, 2010, it was announced that The Document Foundation would serve as the host for the newly-forked LibreOffice. LibreOffice is fully open source (source code download instructions are here).

There has been speculation in the open source community for some time that, at some point, LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice might merge back into one project, but there is no proof to support this rumor. However, this LibreOffice/OpenOffice merger needs to happen. Pulling the two projects together would give more resources to the singular project, which means it could advance faster.

Main competitors to LibreOffice
The main competitors to LibreOffice are open source and proprietary solutions, which include:

Microsoft Office
iWork
WPS
Calligra
Google Docs
WordPerfect

How do I install and use LibreOffice in Linux, Windows, and macOS?
If you’re a Linux user, chances are LibreOffice came pre-installed on your desktop; if not, you can easily install LibreOffice from your desktop’s ‘app store.’ If your Linux distribution doesn’t include the latest release of LibreOffice (e.g., Ubuntu tends to be a bit behind the curve on this), you can download either the .deb or .rpm packages for your distribution and install from the command line. Because some distributions include versions of LibreOffice that may not be the ‘latest release,’ I often recommend downloading the installer file from the LibreOffice website and installing the application manually.

SEE: Linux distribution comparison chart (Tech Pro Research)

After you download the necessary file, extract it, change into the LibreOffice-XXX/ directory (XXX is the release number), and then change into either the DEBS or RPMS directory depending on your distribution, and install from the command line like so:

sudo dpkg i *.deb
or

rpm -i *.rpm

If you’re a Windows or a macOS user, download the installer file from the LibreOffice Download page and double-click to run the installer (according to your platform of choice) to open the user-friendly installer.

You’ll find that using LibreOffice is incredibly intuitive. In fact, if you’re familiar with any office suite, you’ll be instantly familiar with LibreOffice.”

Kids Learn the Wonders of Open Source!

Students Learn LinuxA Middle School innovates by teaching kids the exciting world of Open Source and Linux! A middle school’s Tech Stewardship program is now an elective class for science and technology students. (Image courtesy of Affordable Tech for All)

Refreshing old computers with Linux

OpenSource.com – By: Don Watkins – “It’s nearly impossible to enter a school these days without seeing an abundance of technology. Despite this influx of computers into education, funding inequity forces school systems to make difficult choices. Some educators see things as they are and wonder, ‘Why?’ while others see problems as opportunities and think, ‘Why not?’

Andrew Dobbie is one of those visionaries who saw his love of Linux and computer reimaging as a unique learning opportunity for his students.

Andrew teaches sixth grade at Centennial Senior Public School in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, and is a Google Certified Innovator. Andrew said, ‘Centennial Senior Public School hosts a special regional science & technology program that invites students from throughout the region to spend three years learning Ontario curriculum through the lens of science and technology.’ However, the school’s students were in danger of falling prey to the digital divide that’s exacerbated by hardware and software product lifecycles and inadequate funding.

Although there was a school-wide need for access to computers in the classrooms, Andrew and his students discovered that dozens of old computers were being shipped out of the school because they were too old and slow to keep up with the latest proprietary operating systems or function on the school’s network.

Andrew saw this problem as a unique learning opportunity for his students and created the Tech Stewardship program. He works in partnership with two other teachers, Mike Doiu and Neil Lyons, and some students, who ‘began experimenting with open source operating systems like Lubuntu and CubLinux to help develop a solution to our in-class computer problem,’ he says.

The sixth-grade students deployed the reimaged computers into classrooms throughout the school. When they exhausted the school’s supply of surplus computers, they sourced more free computers from a local nonprofit organization called Renewed Computer Technology Ontario. In all, the Tech Stewardship program has provided more than 200 reimaged computers for students to use in classrooms throughout the school.

The Tech Stewardship program is now an elective class for the school’s science and technology students in grades six, seven, and eight. Not only are the students learning about computer reimaging, they’re also giving back to their local communities through this open source outreach program.

A broad impact
The Tech Stewardship program is linked directly to the school’s curriculum, especially in social studies by teaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The program is a member of Teach SDGs, and Andrew serves as a Teach SDGs ambassador. Also, as a Google Certified Innovator, Andrew partners with Google and the EdTechTeam, and Tech Stewardship has participated in Ontario’s Bring it Together conference for educational technology.

Andrew’s students also serve as mentors to their fellow students. In one instance, a group of girls taught a grade 3 class about effective use of Google Drive and helped these younger students to make the best use of their Linux computers. Andrew said, ‘outreach and extension of learning beyond the classroom at Centennial is a major goal of the Tech Stewardship program.’

What the students say
Linux and open source are an integral part of the program. A girl named Ashna says, ‘In grade 6, Mr. Dobbie had shown us how to reimage a computer into Linux to use it for educational purposes. Since then, we have been learning more and growing.’ Student Shradhaa says, ‘At the very beginning, we didn’t even know how to reimage with Linux. Mr. Dobbie told us to write steps for how to reimage Linux devices, and using those steps we are trying to reimage the computers.’

The students were quick to add that Tech Stewardship has become a portal for discussion about being advocates for the change they want to see in the world. Through their hands-on activity, students learn to support the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. They also learn lessons far beyond the curriculum itself. For example, a student named Areez says he has learned how to find other resources, including donations, that allow the project to expand, since the class work upfitting older computers doesn’t produce an income stream.

Another student, Harini, thinks the Tech Stewardship program has demonstrated to other students what is possible and how one small initiative can change the world. After learning about the program, 40 other schools and individuals are reimaging computers with Linux. Harini says, ‘The more people who use them for educational purposes, the more outstanding the future will become since those educated people will lead out new, amazing lives with jobs.’

Joshua, another student in the program, sees it this way: ‘I thought of it as just a fun experience, but as it went on, we continued learning and understanding how what we were doing was making such a big impact on the world!’ Later, he says, ‘a school reached out to us and asked us if we could reimage some computers for them. We went and completed the task. Then it continued to grow, as people from Europe came to see how we were fixing broken computers and started doing it when they went back.’

Andrew Dobbie is keen to share his experience with schools and interested individuals. You can contact him on Twitter or through his website.”

People are Moving to Linux!

Moving to Linux

Lot’s of folks are catching the Free and Open Source vision!

Moving to Linux from dated Windows machines

OpenSource.com – By: Michael Korotaev – “Every day, while working in the marketing department at ONLYOFFICE, I see Linux users discussing our office productivity software on the internet. Our products are popular among Linux users, which made me curious about using Linux as an everyday work tool. My old Windows XP-powered computer was an obstacle to performance, so I started reading about Linux systems (particularly Ubuntu) and decided to try it out as an experiment. Two of my colleagues joined me.

Why Linux?

We needed to make a change, first, because our old systems were not enough in terms of performance: we experienced regular crashes, an overload every time more than two apps were active, a 50% chance of freezing when a machine was shut down, and so forth. This was rather distracting to our work, which meant we were considerably less efficient than we could be.

Upgrading to newer versions of Windows was an option, too, but that is an additional expense, plus our software competes against Microsoft’s office suite. So that was an ideological question, too.

Second, as I mentioned earlier, ONLYOFFICE products are rather popular within the Linux community. By reading about Linux users’ experience with our software, we became interested in joining them.

A week after we asked to change to Linux, we got our shiny new computer cases with Kubuntu inside. We chose version 16.04, which features KDE Plasma 5.5 and many KDE apps including Dolphin, as well as LibreOffice 5.1 and Firefox 45.

What we like about Linux

Linux’s biggest advantage, I believe, is its speed; for instance, it takes just seconds from pushing the machine’s On button to starting your work. Everything seemed amazingly rapid from the very beginning: the overall responsiveness, the graphics, and even system updates.

One other thing that surprised me compared to Windows is that Linux allows you to configure nearly everything, including the entire look of your desktop. In Settings, I found how to change the color and shape of bars, buttons, and fonts; relocate any desktop element; and build a composition of widgets, even including comics and Color Picker. I believe I’ve barely scratched the surface of the available options and have yet to explore most of the customization opportunities that this system is well known for.

Linux distributions are generally a very safe environment. People rarely use antivirus apps in Linux, simply because there are so few viruses written for it. You save system speed, time, and, sure enough, money.

In general, Linux has refreshed our everyday work lives, surprising us with a number of new options and opportunities. Even in the short time we’ve been using it, we’d characterize it as:

  • Fast and smooth to operate
  • Highly customizable
  • Relatively newcomer-friendly
  • Challenging with basic components, however very rewarding in return
  • Safe and secure
  • An exciting experience for everyone who seeks to refresh their workplace

Have you switched from Windows or MacOS to Kubuntu or another Linux variant? Or are you considering making the change? Please share your reasons for wanting to adopt Linux, as well as your impressions of going open source, in the comments.”

New to Linux?

The Evil EmpireDo you want to learn Linux to be free of the Microsoft Evil Empire? Well, there are tutorials that you can use to learn about Linux! Here’s one to get you started from Guru99:

https://www.guru99.com/unix-linux-tutorial.html

Here is a synopsis of the curriculum for this FREE course…

Linux/Unix Tutorial for Beginners: Learn Online in 7 days

Training Summary

Linux is the most popular server OS. Linux is a clone of UNIX. Knowing one is as good as knowing the other. In this tutorial series, we will be using Linux as it’s freely available. The training will require you to execute certain commands. Make sure to practice them!

What should I know?

Nothing. This tutorial is for absolute beginner’s guide to Linux. You don’t even have to buy a new PC to learn Linux. You can run Linux, right within your existing Windows or Mac OS systems! (Detailed steps are given in tutorials).

Syllabus:

Linux Fundamentals
Tutorial Introduction to the Linux Operating System
Tutorial Linux Distributions & Installation
Tutorial Linux Vs. Windows
Tutorial Terminal V/s File Manager
Getting Started
Tutorial Must Know Linux/Unix Commands
Tutorial File Permissions in Linux/Unix
Advance Stuff!
Tutorial Redirection in Linux/Unix
Tutorial Linux/Unix Pipes, Grep & Sort Command
Tutorial Linux – Regular Expressions
Know the OS!
Tutorial Linux – Environment Variables
Tutorial Communication in Linux
Tutorial Managing Processes in Linux
Tutorial The VI Editor
Let’s Code!
Tutorial Introduction to Shell Scripting
Tutorial Unix – Virtual Terminal
Tutorial Unix/Linux Administration

Geek Software of the Week: WebCam On-Off!

Web-Cam On/OffA handy little utility to turn off your webcam!

WebCam On-Off

“Webcams allow us to stay in touch with family and friends, or perhaps record and stream video from your computer to the internet or to a file. When not in use, you may wish to disable your webcam to ensure it is not making unwanted recordings. Malware can take over webcams, so there is potential for spying. Hackers can utilize trojan-horse attacks, enabling them to take control of your webcam, allowing them to record you or take pictures of you without your knowledge.

If you’re a parent, you may also wish to disable your webcam for safety reasons. Instant messengers and websites that utilize video aren’t always safe for children, thus disabling your webcam may be the best course of action. If the camera is external, you could always unplug it and hide it, but this can become tiresome if you are frequently in need of it. And what if, as on most laptops, you have a built in camera?

The Washington Post highlighted an unnerving study published at Johns Hopkins University which found that a laptop webcam can function in relative secrecy – a slightly more subtle Eye of Sauron, if you will. Webcam spying, particularly the variant that involves disabling LED indicator lights, takes quite a bit of effort, but the practice isn’t limited to the realm of academics. The FBI has publicly acknowledged its ability to employ such techniques when investigating criminal activity.

As you can see, disabling your webcam completely is the safest way to protect your privacy. Because of this, we have created “Webcam On-Off” which is both portable and freeware. With it you can easily disable or enable your webcam. Don’t let your home become someone else’s reality TV!”

Malwarebytes Patch Bug Causes Slowness

MalwarebytesWith Malwarebytes, it is: “What have you done TO me lately?”

Malwarebytes product patch pummels user CPUs

ZDNet – By: Charlie Osborne – “20,000 perfect patches may be under the belt, but it only takes one or two poor ones to raise the ire of users, as Malwarebytes has discovered.

However, users quickly swarmed the Malwarebytes forum to complain of sudden spikes in CPU and RAM usage, sometimes severe enough to crash or freeze their systems.

Screenshots and customer complaints included sudden gigabytes of RAM usage, real-time web protection turning itself off and failing to restart, and jammed systems due to resource usage overloads.

The failed update impacted Malwarebytes for Windows Premium, Malwarebytes for Windows Premium Trial, Malwarebytes Endpoint Security (MBES), and Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection (Cloud Console).

According to Malwarebytes’ analysis (.PDF), the issue was caused due to web protection blocks. The company has been working to improve this area of web protection and added ‘enhanced detection syntaxes’ to include block categories in product definitions.

However, an ‘oversight’ caused a failure. Syntax controls were not implemented in the new detection syntax, deforming detection procedures and spiking resource usage.

‘The root cause of the issue was a malformed protection update that the client couldn’t process correctly,’ Malwarebytes administrator Marcin Kleczynski said. ‘We have pushed upwards of 20,000 of these protection updates routinely.’

‘We test every single one before it goes out,’ Kleczynski added. ‘We pride ourselves on the safety and accuracy of our detection engines. To say I am heartbroken is an understatement.’

Customers have reported that the fix is no longer destroying their CPU and memory usage and appears stable.

Users impacted by the update must install the latest fix and may have to restart their systems a number of times to resolve the issue.”

Geek Project: How to Derive the Actual RSS Feed from iTunes

To find an iTunes core RSS feed URL for a podcast in iTunes, go into iTunes and locate the iTunes screen for the podcast, for instance, if you search in iTunes podcasts for: “Dr. Bill.TV” you will see my podcast screen, then click on the “down arrow” to the right of the “Subscribe” button, and select “Copy link“, this will copy the iTunes URL to your clipboard.

As shown below:

iTunes URL

You can then use this link:

https://itunes.apple.com/lookup?id={podcast_id_number}&entity=podcast

Where “{podcast_id_number}” is the number in the URL for the iTunes entry, as in this example:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dr-bill-tv-video-netcasts/id212215323?mt=2

The “{podcast_id_number}” is the number after “id” in the URL and before the “?“, as in this example: 212215323

So, you would enter: https://itunes.apple.com/lookup?id=212215323&entity=podcast
in your browser. You will get a downloded file called “1.txt“, it is a json code file, in it you will see, among the code:

“feedUrl”:”http://www.drbill.cc/category/dr-bill-netcasts/feed/”,

The actual RSS feed URL for the podcast is:
http://www.drbill.cc/category/dr-bill-netcasts/feed/

You can now use the actual RSS feed URL in any “podcatcher” software, like “BeyondPod”, available here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mobi.beyondpod&hl=en

or, in “Podcast Republic”, available here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.itunestoppodcastplayer.app&hl=en

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