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Also see: GNOME or KDE? The Old Question Is New Today

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with GNOME since its early days, from its fledgling beginnings up to its current state as the GNOME 3 desktop we all know today.

As a long time XFCE fan, I tinkered off and on with GNOME 3 in hopes of making the switch a permanent one. After finally settling on running GNOME full-time, it turns out the switch was much easier than I had anticipated.

I think the best thing I did when I decided to make the switch a permanent one, is to stop comparing it to other desktop environments. This allowed me to fully experience the GNOME 3 desktop without comparing it with KDE, XFCE and so on. With this new mindset, I found that the integration and work-flow were actually quite refreshing.

So, what do I mean by comparing it to other desktop environments? Allow me to break this down a bit.

XFCE: When I was considering GNOME 3 as a replacement for XFCE, I was looking at GNOME as it used to be – designed for absolute simplicity. Easy access to Applications, Places and System were the first on my list. Second up was expecting a non-flashy desktop experience. XFCE lacks the cool compositing effects found under GNOME, so once I realized that on a modern computer these effects weren’t actually “hurting” my ability to run programs or play games, I was then able to better enjoy what GNOME had to offer.

KDE:Without question, KDE is a powerful and very customizable desktop. But KDE is not going to appeal to those who prefer to avoid an over abundance of GUI options within the various menus.

While this has improved over the years, I still prefer to handle most of my configuration via a configuration file or from the terminal. Obviously this is not a good match for everyone, but it’s something I happen to prefer myself. To be clear, I’m not saying one can’t do this in KDE, rather the flow of the desktop prompts one to use tools I prefer to avoid myself.

Like GNOME 3, KDE also has neat compositing effects that provide a very modern feel to the desktop. But after spending time with both desktops, I’ve found that GNOME is better at matching my vision of what I want to use in my desktop environment. At this time, KDE simply isn’t a match for me personally.

When I first switched to GNOME 3, I found myself using a tweak tool to provide the functionality I had become accustomed to in XFCE. One of those tools gave me the ability to minimize applications. Sometime later, I decided to fully embrace the desktop and try using the GNOME desktop features to switch between various applications. For me, it turned out the left corner “hotspot” area, was a useful alternative to minimizing applications.

After trying this approach a few times, I was shocked at how easily I was able to re-train my brain to accept this approach to application switching. Even more recently, I’ve been revisiting Alt-Tab, which with the coverflow Alt-Tab extension looks like it may be an even bigger hit with me personally.

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I Switched From Lastpass To Bitwarden And I’m Not Going Back

And on that note: LastPass. I was a happy user of LastPass for years, and an evangelist of the service for my less technical friends and family. (No, Aunt Laura, you can’t just have “password1” as your password for everything.) But if you’ve been following the news lately, you know that LastPass and its parent company GoTo have been getting an absolute shellacking among users of all levels after a series of high-profile hacks. 

LastPass deserves no sympathy 

Now, a company getting hacked isn’t necessarily its fault, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate any kind of deficiency. After all, criminals are criminals, and they’ll hack any high-profile target that they can. But in the case of LastPass, the hacks absolutely were its fault — a series of lax security standards and vulnerabilities to targeted phishing attempts were how the malefactors got in. 

LastPass did not nail it. And with the scope of its failure, it’s hard to see how anyone can trust the company ever again. If you need a reason to get rid of software you’ve been using for years, it’s hard to think of a better one than putting every single bit of your online life in danger. 

A few alternatives

But I’m still human, and I have [checks notes] one hundred and forty-two different websites and services that I have to log in separately at this point, and that list is only growing. So a password manager, and moreover, a password manager that’s both reasonably secure and cross-platform, is a necessity for both my personal and professional lives. 

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At this point there are several options if you want to ditch LastPass. I tried 1Password, and in full disclosure, I did this because the company offers free upgrades to its premium service for members of the press. But unlike LastPass, there’s no free version of 1Password, just a free trial, and I felt like that makes it something very difficult to recommend to the average user. I ran into the same issue with PCWorld’s pick for the best overall password manager, Dashlane, which only offers access on one device on its free tier.

Rob Schultz/IDG

Enter Bitwarden, PCWorld’s favorite free password manager, and the password manager that sells itself on being open-source. That doesn’t actually matter to me personally, since I can code software about as well as I can practice alligator dentistry. But there’s a bit of comfort knowing that there’s an army of nerds that can check Bitwarden’s work if they want to. And since, again, this is a company you’re trusting with the keys to your proverbial castle, they’re motivated to do so. 

The ups and downs of Bitwarden

“Open-source” comes with a few expectations. One is that it’s free, or at least has a free option. Check: Bitwarden’s free personal tier gets all the basic functionality of storing and recalling passwords, plus the essential extra of a randomized password generator. (This is absolutely something you want, unless you’re great at inventing 14 randomized characters at the drop of a hat.) And as a plus over both LastPass and 1Password, the free tier includes access via apps and browser extensions on unlimited devices. That’s hard to beat. 

Bitwarden’s free tier is extremely generous compared to other password managers, and its premium options are cheap too. 


Another expectation of open-source is a somewhat lackadaisical attitude towards the user interface. Alas, this too is the case. Bitwarden’s UI is frankly ugly and a bit janky next to its competition. But after using it for a few months you get the ins and outs of its mostly menu tree-based system…if only by dint of going through each and every menu looking for that one little tweak.

Bitwarden’s all-menus, all-the-time interface (Chrome extension left, Android app right) isn’t exactly welcoming. 


Bitwarden is also missing a few creature features. For example, though the Windows app is more or less redundant if you have a browser extension, you can’t set up access to your vault via Windows Hello fingerprint or face scanning without it. That’s despite the fact that Chrome can handle Windows Hello authentication on the web just fine. Bitwarden’s mobile apps are similarly unintuitive — at least once a week I have to manually copy and paste my credentials into some app or another. 

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But despite that jank, it’s hard to argue with Bitwarden’s value proposition. You only need to pay for some extra authentication features and premium access to support, and even that’s shockingly cheap at just $10 a year. So I’ll continue to use Bitwarden for myself, and recommend it to my friends and family, except for those few who are willing to pay for a good-looking menu interface. 

…and even then, I’ll recommend 1Password over LastPass, at least for the foreseeable future. Because 1Password has yet to have a catastrophic hack or leak…that we know about. That’s how you change a nerd’s habits: Give them something free, functional, reliable, and when it comes to security software, something trustworthy. 

Why Should I Backup Data? What’s The Importance

According to recent study, around 1,40,000 hard drives fail each week in the US. Of course, hardware failure is just one piece of the puzzle. 

When you factor in human error, hackers and viruses, and natural disasters, it becomes evident how common data loss actually is. And yet, ironically enough, backing up data regularly is still not common practice.

As with most things in life, people don’t place much value on data until it’s gone. But with how accessible backups are these days, we strongly believe this shouldn’t be the case anymore.

As such, in this article, we’ve detailed the most important reasons to backup your data, the benefits that come with it, best practices, and other similar topics.

For the average user, protection against data loss is undoubtedly the main selling point of backups. But if you consider the importance of backups for businesses, there are quite a few more benefits.

Hard drives, or whichever other medium you’re currently using to store your data, have a lifespan like anything else. Depending on the device and its usage conditions, this will typically vary from 5 – 15 years.

Hardware failure is the primary threat to your data, but it’s not the only one. According to Surfshark, over 212 million users were affected by data breaches in 2023. And that’s in the US alone. Furthermore, stats from Kensington show that Americans lose 70 million phones annually.

Data loss isn’t limited to malicious acts either. Tales of users accidentally formatting their entire drives is surprisingly common, as are tales of businesses losing critical data due to acts of nature, then failing to bounce back because they never backed up anything.

But that’s enough about the causes. What’s really of significance is what happens after the data is lost. Be it decades-old personal photos or important official documents; most people only regret not having backups after they’ve already lost their valuable data.

As Warren Buffet once said, “It’s good to learn from your mistakes, but it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” In the case of backups, this statement rings even truer with how simple and accessible they are these days and the sheer variety of solutions available.

According to Unitrends, 94% of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss either never reopen or close within 2 years. We’ve already talked about data loss, so the importance of backups, especially for businesses, should be clear by now. But additionally, there are also several benefits worth mentioning.

In the event of data loss, backups will minimize the time it takes for your business to bounce back to usual conditions. Without backups, you’d have to spend a ton of time, money, and effort for data recovery – all with no guarantees of success.

Minimal downtime and the fact that you don’t need to worry about data recovery primarily means one thing – huge expense cuts.

Backups are also valuable for data management. Making sure you don’t lose your client, and business data is important for maintaining client relations and audits.

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you to start backing up your data. The section below will answer some common backup-related queries and serve as a brief intro to backups.

Ideally, a daily backup schedule would be best. If the data is highly dynamic, it might even be worth opting for a more aggressive schedule with an incremental backup approach. This is especially true in the case of businesses.

However, for the average user, these options aren’t always viable. As such, a more practical schedule might be to back up your data on a weekly basis.

Hard drives are the go-to storage options when it comes to backups. There are a few important things to keep in mind with these, which we’ve discussed in the next section.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is another very popular mode of storage in environments with large amounts of data, such as large company networks.

Alternatively, you could also ditch the physical drives entirely and go for cloud storage. In addition to easy data syncing, cloud backups also benefit from being offsite.

The biggest backup mistake that most people make is never backing up to start with. Assuming this isn’t an issue in your case, here are some common mistakes to watch out for when backing up data:

Saving Backups on the Same Device

Backing up your system and saving the backup on the same drive pretty much renders it pointless. After all, this makes the backup just as prone to corruption, data loss, and other threats. 

Not Testing the Backup

Backups fail surprisingly often, so it’s important to test your backups from time to time to ensure they can fulfill their purpose.

Relying on a Single Backup

Backups remind me of a riddle; if you have one, you have none. It’s best practice to have a second copy offsite, ideally on the cloud.

Not Replacing Storage Drives

Hard drives, the most popular backup storage media, generally have a lifespan of around 10 years. It’s not as if they’ll immediately stop working after this point, but they’ll definitely be much less reliable and prone to issues. The same applies to any other storage media like CDs or SD Cards; the time frame varies, but replacing them after a point is still important.

Not Backing Up Data Regularly

Backing up once or twice a year is still better than nothing. But with how convenient the whole backup process is these days, users should really be aiming for monthly backups at the minimum.

Not Backing Up Before Upgrading / Updating

Data loss when upgrading systems is actually quite common, so it’s a good idea to backup your data before performing such tasks.

Additionally, here are some best practices to keep in mind when backing up your data:

Follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy where you have three copies of your file, with the first copy being the original. Store the other two copies on different storage mediums, and try to store at least one copy offsite.

Aim to backup weekly or monthly at the minimum.

Setup automated backups so that you don’t have to deal with the hassle every time.

Test your backups from time to time to ensure they aren’t corrupted.

In the case of physical storage media, it’s important to pay attention to their lifespan and condition and replace them accordingly.

I Hate Android: Why? – By A Hardcore Android Lover!

Like millions of people around the world, I am an Android fanboy. Recently I though about sharing some of my  aspects which I don’t like about Android.  Eventhough being Android has gotten better over the years but there are still many things I dont like about it. To put it bluntly, I hate Android, at least some of its features. I have used Linux for a few years since Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon and fell in love with the open source movement. Ive come to realize that all the hype about being open and portraying Apple and RIM as the evil closed platform was all a deception. . Theres a list(I love lists). Lets go through them. I hate some of the UI. Customization is nice but it allows for more things to break. These include themes and design. At first, the UI was cool and beautiful. I felt like I had a computer in my hands, literally. Icons were nice to touch and scrolling was smooth(at first). After using it for a while, I started to experience the pains of using the touch screen. Mistypes, and mistaps were frequent. The Android experience varied depending on manufacturer. All the different flavors of Android pushed by their respective hardware developers all look different. OneUI, TouchWiz, and MotoBlur are all different. OneUI is probably the best(IMO) out of all these. TouchWiz makes me feel like Im using an iPhone and MotoBlur is a mess with all their social networking widgets. These skins load on top of Android making it slower than its vanilla stock core. When I get my phone, I hate all the bloatware that comes with it. All carriers seem to do it. They push Vcast, SprintTV and other bloatware that I dont want. The Chinese manufacturers Xiaomi,Oppo,Vivo are the notorious ones feeding bloatware just to compnsate for the cheap price they offer in some countries. Not only that, but I hate that I cant delete them. I hate knowing that they are on my phone and the only way for me to get rid of them is by rooting my phone. Why do I have to jump through hoops just to get rid of this crapware? Im not scared of rooting my phone. In fact, Ive done so and install a few custom ROMs but there is always a risk of bricking your phone and leaving it useless. Average users dont want to risk the warranty by rooting their phone. Not only are there crapware on the phone, but there is/was malware on the Market. I hate Andoid memory management, being an old Symbian OS user.Symbian was the most efficient Mobile Os in memory management, followed by iOS. My old Nokia 808 Pureview had just 512MB RAM which was handling the Mammoth Camera, the 41MP beast with Xenon flash. I know that comparing a Symbian Phone with very limited apps and strict developer requirements with Android which has an ocean of apps and simpler developer standards is not fair. But are these crazy RAM of 12GB,16GB etc etc in many high end Android Phones really necessary? Or are they worth the performance they offer compared to iOs? Expanding from the 1st and the 3rd reasons, I hate Androids software fragmentation. I hate that Motorola’s flavor is different from Samsung’s. I hate that the buttons are different in all manufacturer, and even sometimes, within the same manufacturers. And I hate that I cant install certain apps because I my phone doesnt have the latest and greatest version of Android. Notoriously all my Samsung Phones from Galaxy S3 to Galaxy S9 Plus started showing sluggishness after 1 year of usage. The problem being whenever I update an app, the hardware is not able to cope with newest software. Android isВ recognized as the open platform and that unadulterated Android experience does not come standard. It only comes standard on Googles Nexus phones  and Selected flagship phones from other manufacturers. But most people dont own these flagship devices. Most people get their Droids from their carriers. Not only are these phones locked down with carrier bloatware but they are also locked down from performing specific tasks. People have gotten around this issue by a process called rooting. This grants the user superuser status allowing him to do anything he wishes with the phone. The Nexus phones are relatively easy to root but carrier phones are harder. Android phones are great if you want the phone to be your hobby, if you dont mind tinkering with the device, rooting it, or if youre just a techno buff.  

Can I Use Python As My First Programming Language? Why?

In today’s world, everyone is upgrading their skill by learning to program. As the market is challenging and competitive as well, knowing how to code gives you an upper edge in your workplace. However, selecting the best language is also a challenge to start with. Fortunately, Python has got your back.

But can Python serve as a suitable introduction to programming? This article will go into that very issue and examine the factors that contribute to Python’s appeal to novice programmers.

Let’s have a look at the following factors before opting for a programming language such as Python −

Python has raised its popularity since its introduction in 1991. Beginners should choose this high-level, interpreted language since it is simple to read and write. Python is surrounded everywhere. Whether it is data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, or web development, Python has a major role to play here. A perfect choice for giant or small applications to start with.

Python has reached a greater height because of its straightforward and simple-to-read syntax. The program’s logic may easily be understood thanks to the indentation-based code layout. As a result, without becoming mired down in complicated grammar rules, you can pick up the fundamentals of Python rather quickly. Python is more user-friendly for beginners because its grammar is frequently compared to that of the English language.

For beginners starting to code, Python’s modular architecture is another benefit. Developers can save time and effort by using the language to create compact programs that can be applied to bigger projects. Complex software development is made simpler by Python’s great modularity, which enables you to build on prior work. The reuse of code is a tremendous choice for those studying the fundamentals of programming.

In addition to its simplicity and modularity, Python is common for its brilliant and lively community. This community is made up of programmers who collaborate and share knowledge, presenting beneficial sources and aid for beginners. You can discover a variety of online tutorials, forums, and documentation that makes studying and programming with Python plenty easier. Moreover, Python boasts a massive library of modules and packages that enable you to solve common coding troubles and create environment-friendly and high-quality code.

Python has turned out to be a well-known language for machine studying and facts research. Python has established itself as the go-to language for facts analysis, generally due to the fact of its sizable library and tool collection. Data evaluation libraries in the language, including Pandas, NumPy, and Matplotlib, make it simple to work with big datasets and current information visually. Complex machine-learning mannequin building is made simpler via Python’s machine-learning packages, such as TensorFlow and Scikit-learn.


Programming is a beneficial capability to have in the current digital era, and Python is a top-notch preference for freshmen who prefer to research programming. Python is a remarkable language to look up to due to the fact of its simple and simple-to-read syntax, modularity, and sizable community. It is a precious Genius to have in a variety of fields, from web development to statistics science and laptop learning, due to the fact of its popularity and adaptability. Python is absolutely a language to take into consideration if you’re thinking about gaining knowledge of code.

How To Connect Your Android Phone To Gnome Desktop With Gsconnect

Linux and Android users will probably be familiar with the KDE Connect app that allows you to connect your Android phone to your Linux desktop. If you are a Gnome user, GSConnect now provides the ideal way for you to integrate your mobile devices with your desktop as an alternative to KDE Connect. GSConnect gives users a wealth of options such as sending files between the desktop and the device, syncing the clipboard for those important notes taken in a hurry, browsing files over Wi-Fi and more.

What Is GSConnect?

GSConnect is an extension that sits within the GNOME Shell and uses the KDE Connect protocols written in GJS for GNOME Shell 3.24 and above. The concept is that it allows users to avoid the KDE dependencies, although the KDE app is still required for your mobile device. Just as with solutions like Airdroid, both the GNOME device and mobile device need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network in order to work correctly. GSConnect integrates with the file manager and Chrome or Firefox through extensions.

Just as with KDE Connect, here are some of the things you can do:

Sync notifications between your GNOME Shell desktop and mobile device. You can choose to only send or receive notifications or both

Receive notifications for phone calls and SMS messages

Send/receive files or links from a GNOME Shell desktop to a mobile device and vice-versa

Display the mobile device battery level and charging state on your GNOME Shell desktop

Define local commands that can be executed by remote devices

Install GSConnect

Configure GSConnect

Once installed, it will allow you to set some options. You can access this directly through the Software Center, or you can use the small icon which appears next to the notification icons for networking, mail, the clock and the like.

The options let you tune GSConnect to your liking:

Shell changes the appearance, with sliders for Display, Show Offline Devices, Show Unpaired Devices and Show Battery Icon.

Service lets you configure whether the device is set for discovery or not and to restart the service.

Other gives you access to additional features where you can install the necessary files for Remote Filesystem, Sound Effects, Desktop Contacts or Files Integration. You can also find the extensions for Firefox and Chrome.

Pairing Devices

Once connected, you will be presented with the following screen where you can use some of the features.

Now you can connect your phone or device to your PC. Here is my Wileyfox connected with all the options specific to the device.

Matthew Muller

Matt has worked in the tech industry for many years and is now a freelance writer. His experience is within Windows, Linux, Privacy and Android.

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