Perfect Storm for Microsoft, Perfect Wave for Linux

By Tom Ledford | The Practical Computer 

2010 Mavericks Surfing Competition. - Wikimedia Commons

Ok. I'm sorry about the melodramatic headline. It's easy to laugh at the idea of Microsoft in trouble. After all, they are entrenched in the enterprise and corporate world. And they have billions and billions in cash.

I'm not betting against them to weather the storm, but...

How to Stream Netflix Movies on Linux

The Practical Computer | By Tom Ledford

The Yards
Netflix, Firefox 29, Linux Mint 16 w/Cinnamon Desktop

C'mon Netflix. Give us a Linux video player!

As of yet, NetFlix doesn't have a video player for Linux. NetFlix uses Microsoft's Silverlight video player. Silverlight is available for Windows, Mac, Android tablets and phones, iPads and iPhones. It isn't available for Linux. Ergo, no native NetFlix player. However, all is not lost! You can use the Linux, Windows emulator software, Wine to run a special version of Silverlight called Pipelight. It's a good workaround. 

To be fair to NetFlix, they have finally decided to stop using Silverlight and begin using their proposed HTML5 premium video extensions. They are available now if you are using Internet Explorer 11, and Windows 8.1. 

Until Firefox or Chrome implement these extensions in their browsers¹². Linux users will need to use the work around explained here...

Goodbye Windows XP - Hello Linux Mint!

By Tom Ledford | The Practical Computer

Linux Mint 16 "Petra" with Cinnamon desktop 

It's been a great ride!

Microsoft gave ample notice of when they would stop supporting XP. Even so, Windows XP is still installed on millions of computers. When Microsoft announced that all versions of Internet Explorer had a zero day vulnerability, they made an exception to make the patch available to XP after it's end of support date. 
"A zero day vulnerability refers to a hole in software that is unknown to the vendor. This security hole is then exploited by hackers before the vendor becomes aware and hurries to fix it—this exploit is called a zero day attack." - PC Tools by Symantec
That gave me the push to install Linux Mint. There are many reasons people are clinging to XP, but my reason was simple. I don't want to buy another new PC. I only recently bought a new Windows 7 desktop. But I have another desktop and two laptops. My other desktop and one of my laptops were still running Windows XP and neither one had the specs to run Windows 7 or Windows 8. Or to run them well. Enter Linux! 

Linux is ready for the everyday computer user

I know this seems like a departure from "Practical advice about technology for the everyday computer user," but I think Linux is ready for the everyday computer user. And what can be more practical than free? The new versions of Linux are easy to install and easy to use. Here is how...