Xubuntu’d a Netbook

Managed to revive an old Acer Netbook using Linux Xubuntu this weekend. It’s run Linux since new, previously upgraded from Linpus Lite to Ubuntu NBR. Working flawlessly so far: Wi-Fi, touchpad, alt function key controls. All very snappy and slick looking. Very happy.

Xubuntu is the lighter-weight flavour of Ubuntu, perfect for older machines. Xubuntu LTS version comes with security updates for 5 further years, which is phenomenal. If you have any old machines laying around, I recommend giving it a try.

Thanks to updates it can run the latest version of Firefox (v53 at time of posting). So I will be able to get some occasional netbook use for old times sake, for the foreseeable future. Now if only the battery could be revived as easily.

The Great British Bee Count 2017

Our bees are in trouble – can you help? Join Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count from 19 May to 30 June 2017, and our free app will get you off to a flying start in identifying and recording different species.

By taking part, you’ll learn more about our brilliant bees and easy ways to help them. It’s also a great nature activity to do with children – encouraging them to get up close with these wonderful insects.

You’ll be helping experts build our understanding of different species. For example, how they’re coping with impacts such as climate change and habitat loss – so that ultimately we might reverse their decline.

via The Great British Bee Count

MP3, the format that revolutionized the way we consume (and steal) music since the 90s, has been officially retired — in a manner of speaking. The German research institution that created the format, The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, announced that it had terminated licensing for certain MP3-related patents…in other words, they didn’t want to keep it on life support, because there are better ways to store music in the year 2017. Rest now forever, MP3.

via MP3 is dead, long live AAC

iTunes in Windows Store

iTunes in Windows Store

One of my first thoughts about the recently announced Windows 10 S, was the lack of iTunes being an issue. Apple is not known for bringing their apps to other platforms.

I imagine there was a back and forth chat playing Apple and Spotify off against each other.

I hope they do it properly but I have a suspicion they will do the minimum. I’d like to see something new with Live Tiles and covert art. I imagine when they break out iTunes into Apple Music, Videos and Podcast app on the desktop, they will eventually come across as Windows UWP apps.

Spotify and—no joke—iTunes are coming to the Windows Store

Higher, cheaper, sleeker: wind turbines of the future

With the UK government ending subsidies for onshore wind and the Trump administration pushing for a return to coal, you might think the wind power revolution had run out of puff. Far from it. The cost of energy from offshore wind in Britain has fallen by a third since 2012, and wind accounts for over 40% of new capacity in the US, representing an annual investment of $13bn. Now next-generation wind technologies promise to make wind energy safer and more affordable – if they can make the difficult jump from research prototypes to commercial products

via Higher, cheaper, sleeker: wind turbines of the future – in pictures | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian