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Showing posts with label Software. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Software. Show all posts

Linux Mint 19.2 released to the general public




Following a two-week beta phase, the team behind Linux Mint has announced the final release of Linux Mint 19.2. Three editions of the release are available and include the Cinnamon desktop, MATE desktop, and the Xfce desktop. Cinnamon is the main edition while Xfce is oriented toward less powerful computers. MATE is good for those people who prefer the more traditional GNOME 2 experience.

The Cinnamon edition ships with Cinnamon 4.2 which comes with better performance, improved handling of Flatpaks in menus, updated scroll bar settings, better Samba support, and file pinning. The MATE edition comes with MATE 1.22 which brings improved stability and bug fixes, support for metacity-3 themes, better systemd support, desktop notifications for long-running file operations, and a handful of other small tweaks that add a bit of polish to the desktop experience. The Xfce edition ships with Xfce 4.12 which is the same as what shipped in Linux Mint 19.1 so you shouldn’t see much difference with this edition.


There are several changes that apply to all of the editions. The Update Manager now handles kernels better, users can see how long kernel are supported for, you can queue multiple kernels for installation and removal, rather than one by one, and a remove kernels button was added to remove old kernels quickly. There are some other nice additions in the Update Manager such as 90-day warnings before your Linux Mint version expires giving you time to upgrade.

Other changes include XApps improvements, the addition of the Boot-Repair tool to ISO images making it easy to fix boot configuration issues, and theming improvements for better readability. Finally, 22 new wallpapers were added, as is customary, giving you the option to further refresh the look of your desktop.

If you’d like to download the newest version of Linux Mint, head on over to the project website and follow the links through to the edition you’d like to download. If you are planning to upgrade from an older version of Linux Mint, an upgrade path will be made available shortly.

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Google's new Android Auto experience will roll out in the coming weeks


Earlier this year, ahead of its I/O developer event, Google revealed a new update for Android Auto, featuring many improvements to the interface. Today, the Mountain View giant has announced that the update will begin rolling out to cars with support for Android Auto over the coming weeks.

The new Android Auto experience includes a series of improvements, starting with a new app drawer that makes it easier to get to your favorite apps faster. You'll also notice the Google Assistant badge next to some apps, which means you can tap them and interact with the app using your voice. For example, you can add a calendar event using the Assistant.

Android Auto will do a better job of resuming your experiences, too, so whenever you start the car, you'll be right back where you left off, so you can continue listening to a podcast or a specific playlist. it can also present you your preferred navigation app as soon as you connect to your car, and if you already have directions ready to go on your phone, your car's display will show you those, too, and start guiding you to your destination.


Other UI improvements include the new navigation bar at the bottom, providing quick access to playback controls or navigation directions, while also giving you access to your notifications, app drawer, and Google Assistant. Speaking of notifications, there's a new place to view and manage them, and you can use voice activation to send messages, make calls, or ask to hear your notifications. Finally, the UI will also adapt to wider in-car screens, using the additional space to house playback controls, for instance.

Most of these enhancements had been announced already, and the real news is that it's rolling out in the coming weeks. Additionally, Google has revealed that this Android Auto experience won't be on your phone's screen. Instead, Android Auto on your phone is evolving into the new driving mode for Google Assistant, which was also announced at I/O this year.

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Nvidia releases hotfix driver to fix disappearing mouse cursor



Nvidia has put out a hotfix driver update for the 431.60 WHQL Game Ready drivers that were released last week. According to the release notes that accompany the hotfix, the reason for the updated driver is because the "Mouse cursor may render incorrectly after exiting a game." which is pretty important, and as far as we can see, the bug only appears to have affected Windows 10 devices.

The driver update is being offered in two flavors: the Windows 10 64-bit Standard Driver and the Windows 10 64-bit DCH variant, with Nvidia further pointing out that the the method of packaging the driver is the only difference.

In addition, the hotfix, which is based off last week's 431.60 drivers, is optimized for Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, Madden NFL 20, as well as the first DLC for Metro Exodus. The Madden game also has an updated SLI profile. Those drivers also included support for three new G-SYNC Compatible monitors from HP and AOC.

You can grab the hotfix at the links below, this doesn't appear to be coming through GeForce Experience yet, and the driver is also not listed when you search for it at Nvidia drivers page, so if you're affected, update.

GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 431.68: Windows 10 - Standard / DCH

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Microsoft could be working on a new automated quick task system for Cortana


In recent months, we've reported on a couple of Cortana-related Microsoft patents being published. These include a patent for silent voice commands, and one that envisions voice-input integration for the digital assistant with third-party apps.


In other Cortana-related news, a new app for the digital assistant was discovered on the Microsoft Store last month, and it began working for Insiders last week. The big difference it offers in terms of experience is that its not attached to the Taskbar, as in its current form, and that it will be updated separately from Windows 10.

Now, a newly published patent may offer some insight as to what features Microsoft plans to introduce to the digital assistant. The patent describes an automated quick task notification system that can make it much easier for users to respond to task requests. Notably, however, a number of references have been made to the tech being leveraged through a personal digital assistant, though its usage isn't only limited to that.



Microsoft believes that managing tasks on any device can be quite an inefficient process since there's no single user interface that can help users quickly attend to the growing backlog of pending tasks. For this reason, the tech giant has patented an an audio channel quick task system that essentially handles notification and subsequent actions for all tasks that need to be performed.

It initially extracts quick task from a variety of digital content, that could include emails, text messages, social media posts, to-do lists, word-processing documents, and the like. Users are then informed through an audio message that a certain item requires their attention, and depending upon the response, various actions could immediately be executed. Microsoft has specifically noted its usage alongside digital assistants. As an example, one technique that could be employed would be Cortana prioritizing tasks based upon pre-decided metrics and presenting users with higher-ranked tasks first. It could also provide these services based on the information it has gathered regarding a user, making the actions more personalized.

The major difference to note here is, that while some applications or digital assistants do already offer the capability to remind users about tasks, and to perform actions based on the reminders, there's no single system that not only recognizes required engagements from a variety of applications, but also enables user to respond to them using the same interface. A description of how this process would occur can be observed in the diagram below.


However, this doesn't simply serve as a solution for handling of all possible tasks. The system will itself only select the ones that can be further processed upon by users in the form of a limited amount of actions, or in other words, quick tasks. Other metrics that could satisfy this threshold include the amount of data that would need to be presented. For example, a report that requires approval may also need the user to thoroughly review an accompanying document. In this case, the audio quick task system obviously won't be a suitable tool to help perform this task.

A slightly similar idea was patented by Microsoft a couple of days ago, though that had more to do with collaborative work, rather than a system incorporated with personalized digital assistants. In any case, this patent was filed last year, and it may still end up getting integrated with the new Cortana app. But, there's currently no guarantee that the company is working upon or plans to work upon it any time soon.

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Apple releases iOS 9.3.6 and iOS 10.3.4 for older devices


Today, Apple released a round of minor updates for all of its supported devices, including iOS 12.4, macOS 10.14.6, watchOS 5.3, and tvOS 12.4. As it turns out though, some older devices - devices that aren't supported by the latest updates anymore - are getting some love as well.


According to MacRumors, iOS 9.3.6 and iOS 10.3.4 are now available. The report states that the former is only available for cellular models of the iPad mini, iPad 2, and iPad 3, all devices that used an A5 processor or a variant of it. It's worth noting that the third-generation Apple TV also got an update today, as that also included an A5 chipset.

As for iOS 10.3.4, that was made available for the cellular variant of the iPad 4 and the iPhone 5. Notable devices left out would be the iPhone 4s, which had an A5, and the iPhone 5c, which was nearly identical to the iPhone 5.

According to the report, the new updates fix an issue with GPS that could lead to the date and time being incorrect. As you'd expect, you can download the updates by heading to Settings -> General -> Software Update.

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