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Save Money Shopping Online With CouponX

Shopping online and want to save money? Coupons are a great way to apply discounts and save money, but they’re often out of date. Coupon sites typically promise much but deliver expired or irrelevant coupons.

Aiming to change this is CouponX, a site offering over 100 exclusive coupons from over 100 merchants for all types of online shopping, including major stores.

Get 100% Working Coupons

Coupons are becoming an integral part of the online shopping experience. But sometimes, they disappoint. Outdated or simply fake coupons are a huge issue for shoppers looking to apply coupons at online stores.

Although online stores almost always offer a field to apply a coupon (and some sites even give you a coupon for visiting for the first time or signing up for a newsletter), finding a working coupon to use is harder.

coupon x

To combat this CouponX confirms the authenticity of its coupons, aiming to update its collection of coupons before competitors. Its coupon content curation works to remove expired deals and coupons on a weekly basis.

The result: you get the latest, 100% working coupons.

What Is the CouponX Dealbox?

Get buying tips from CouponX

Offering coupons from major players from online health shops, designers, and even web hosts, CouponX breaks down its available coupons by category. You might find cars, bread machines, video editing tools—the list goes on.

Supporting the wealth of coupons on offer, CouponX also offers the Dealbox blog, which provides buying guides, shopping tips, and tricks. Deals here include eCard ideas, robot vacuums, subscription boxes—they are based on timely occasions and trending gift ideas.

Don’t miss an update from CouponX’s Dealbox blog—sign up to the newsletter for regular updates.

Sign Up to CouponX for the Best Personalized Deals

Another problem with finding the latest coupons for online shopping is that they’re often intended for different territories. CouponX operates for shoppers in the US, UK, Japan, France, and Russia to ensure the right coupons are used in the right regions. Non-English-speaking countries can also see the CouponX site in the regional language.

coupon x

To ensure you find the best available deals, you can sign into CouponX with Facebook or Google. This provides personalized deals and lets you save favorite coupons and stores for later.

And don’t forget to check the site around the time of big holidays and events. On days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’ll find the site bursting with personalized money-saving coupons and special deals.

Don’t Miss the Latest Coupons With the CouponX Browser Extension

Obviously, it can be a pain to have to open a new tab in your browser to find a coupon website. CouponX offers a smart solution: a Chrome browser extension that helps you find the best coupons to save money.

With your privacy in mind, the extension doesn’t track your activity online (unlike other companies’ extensions). Instead, it simply shares the best coupon to use on the corresponding website.

Find the best discounts for your with CouponX

Simply visit a site where you plan to buy from, then click the extension to list the available coupons. Click one to apply it to your shopping basket, then checkout.

CouponX Will Help You Save Money Today

Everyone needs to save money and buy as much as possible within their budget. A great way to do this is with coupons, which is where CouponX comes in.

With an easy to use site, handy search tool, and even the ability for online stores to submit their coupons, CouponX offers a comprehensive and professional couponing experience. Signing up with Facebook or Google delivers a personal aspect and the Chrome extension makes finding a suitable coupon east.

Meanwhile, if you’re short of inspiration when the holidays come around, the Dealbox will surely highlight a great gift idea.

If you haven’t tried CouponX already, head over there now and check the latest coupons and codes—and maybe bag yourself a bargain.

Read the full article: Save Money Shopping Online With CouponX

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The 7 Best Lightweight Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi

Your Raspberry Pi isn’t like a standard PC. Sure, it can act as a desktop replacement, but generally speaking, it’s a more versatile device.

One of the trade-offs is that it doesn’t have massive resources. Raspberry Pi OS is more compact than most distros with some features missing. It’s lightweight, and for good reason: many features usually found in Linux desktops aren’t required on a Raspberry Pi.

By keeping the operating system (OS) lightweight, processing power and RAM can be dedicated to whatever project you plan to run. To keep things more efficient, install one of these lightweight Raspberry Pi operating systems.

1. Raspberry Pi OS Lite

The most obvious choice for anyone looking for a lightweight Raspberry Pi distribution (“distro”) is Raspberry Pi OS Lite.

Based on Debian Buster, Raspberry Pi OS is the new name for the Raspbian operating system. The Lite build is a minimal image without the X-server window manager, related components, and other modules.

There’s also less software, fewer modules, and the operating system uses fewer system resources. The main result of this is that there is more RAM and processing power. While the full Raspberry Pi OS is a 5GB image, Raspbian Stretch Lite is just 1.8GB.

As a result, this “lite” distribution is “headless” (i.e. it has no desktop) and ideal for server use. You’ll see some performance gains, particularly if you use the Pi as a file server or for any other headless task

2. DietPi

DietPi launcher options

Another lightweight Raspberry Pi distro that has its roots in Debian Buster, DietPi is available for several single-board computers. While Odroid, Pine boards, and ASUS Tinker Board are supported, primarily this is for Raspberry Pi boards. DietPi is for all models of Pi board and is based on a compact 589MB version of Debian.

DietPi can fit on a 2GB card and comes with a software tool for installing optimized apps.

While bigger cards obviously offer more storage, with such a lightweight OS, that storage can be maximized for your project.

Optimized apps for the DietPi OS include desktops, media systems, gaming tools, cloud, file, and web servers, and more. If you’re looking for the fastest Raspberry Pi OS, DietPi is the place to start.

3. piCore/Tiny Core Linux

You’ve probably heard of Tiny Core Linux, as it regularly appears on lists of the most compact Linux distributions. Incredibly lightweight, Tiny Core Linux’s Raspberry Pi version, piCore, has a remarkably small download. It’s just under 90MB.

It boots fast, too!

The ultimate minimal Raspberry Pi OS, piCore is fast and flexible, but comes almost devoid of software. Instead, you’ll need to download and install your own web browser, email client, text editor, and other apps.

Smooth and stable, piCore comes with internet connectivity and even manages to squeeze a traditional desktop into the compact package. Without the desktop, piCore uses even fewer resources!

4. Arch Linux ARM

Arch has long been the most popular alternative to Raspbian and Raspberry Pi OS, and with good reason. This ARM-focused version of the 32-bit Arch Linux has all the features and functionality you would expect from a Raspberry Pi operating system.

The end result is a slick distro complete with the Xfce desktop. It’s fast, efficient, and ideal for the various Raspberry Pi projects you might want to run. Full access to the GPIO is also available with Arch Linux, making it a great, lightweight Raspberry Pi operating system.

5. RISC OS

This is a lightweight, non-Linux operating system that you can run on the Raspberry Pi. The original ARM-based operating system, RISC OS dates to the 1980s, and remains useful. Available for several devices, RISC OS has a compact footprint. On the Pi, you’ll need just 119MB of space on your microSD card, although a 2GB card will be needed.

As RISC OS is unrelated to Linux, you’ll need to learn a few new commands. The GUI can be a little challenging at first, as there is no “start” button or dock. Instead, applications are grouped in desktop folders, and prefixed with “!”

Meanwhile, ensure you’re using RISC OS with a three buttoned mouse—a clickable wheel will suffice as a middle button.

While not Linux, this is a good lightweight Raspberry Pi OS. See our walkthrough on installing RISC OS on the Raspberry Pi to find out more.

6. Raspup/Puppy Linux

Another extremely lightweight operating system for Raspberry Pi is Raspup, a version of Puppy Linux. With versions available for all Raspberry Pi models, Raspup brings the Puppy Linux experience to the Pi. This means that if you don’t save your session at the end of use, the next boot will be like a brand-new install.

Clearly this has some disadvantages, but it is excellent for privacy and keeping the operating system lightweight. On the other hand, if you have installed packages, you’ll need to save sessions in order to use the software on subsequent boots.

While installation is lightweight, you should be able to find most of the usual software via the Raspbian repositories.

7. Sugar on a Stick/Sugar OS

You may have heard of the OLPC project (One Laptop Per Child) which began in 2007. It’s aim was to create and distribute educational computers for the developing world, and featured Sugar OS.

The aims of OLPC aren’t that different to those of the Raspberry Pi Foundation (namely, education) so it isn’t too surprising to find Sugar OS available for the Pi. While you can run Sugar as an app on Raspbian, the full version is based on Fedora.

Called Sugar on a Stick, the user interface can take some getting used to, but it is packed with tools. Particularly ideal for younger users, Sugar on a Stick is easy to use, intuitive, and suits the Raspberry Pi perfectly.

Which Lightweight OS Is on Your Raspberry Pi?

With so many lightweight distros for the Raspberry Pi, it should be simple to run projects with maximum system resources. To recap, the lightest Raspberry Pi operating systems are:

  1. Raspberry Pi OS Lite
  2. DietPi
  3. piCore/Tiny Core Linux
  4. Arch
  5. RISC OS
  6. Raspup/Puppy Linux
  7. Sugar on a Stick/Sugar OS

Have you tried any of these out? For the lightest experience, you should look at piCore or Arch.

However, if you want something lightweight, but recognizably part of the Raspberry Pi experience, try Raspberry Pi OS Lite. You might also consider installing Android on Raspberry Pi. For a Windows-like experience, set up Raspberry Pi as a Windows thin client.

And to get more out of your Pi device, consider these top Raspberry Pi accessories.

Read the full article: The 7 Best Lightweight Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi

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What Is Puppy Linux? Everything You Need to Know

You probably know that Linux can run on most devices. You may even know that it can perform most tasks—for example, supercomputers, web servers, and even low spec systems.

One Linux distribution that is particularly adept at running on computers with minimal system specification and resources is Puppy Linux.

What Is Puppy Linux?

Originally released in 2003, Puppy Linux is a family of Linux operating systems that are fast, versatile, and compact.

The installation footprint of Puppy Linux is under 300MB, yet it comes ready with all the common daily apps you need. This makes it ready to use out of the box, which means it is suitable for everyone, whatever their age.

Further, there’s a nice macOS-style default dock to ensure simplicity on the desktop. And if you don’t like the way Puppy Linux looks, it’s customizable, with a selection of themes and desktop wallpapers.

Puppy Linux has been around for so long that it boasts considerable variety. Along with the various official versions, there are hundreds of “puplets”, custom Puppy Linux creations focused on specific requirements.

The small download size of Puppy Linux means that you can install it on an old-fashioned CD-ROM, a USB flash drive, an SD card, or any bootable storage media you can find. You can install Puppy Linux on a PC, in a virtual machine, or even a bootable USB device.

What Puppy Linux Isn’t

Now you know what Puppy Linux is. But what isn’t it?

Well, Puppy Linux isn’t like most other Linux distros. For a start off, it isn’t a single distribution. Rather, it is a collection of distributions with a shared philosophy.

These distributions are intended to “provide consistent behaviors and features” so it shouldn’t really matter which “flavor” you choose. Puppy Linux is divided in to three general groups:

  • Official Puppy Linux distributions are for general purpose and maintained by the Puppy Linux team using a system build called Woof-CE
  • “Woof-built” distributions built with Woof-CE are also available, mostly designed with specific needs in mind.
  • Puplets, meanwhile, are the third type of Puppy Linux distribution, usually maintained by the Puppy Linux community. Among these are non-English puplets and special purpose puplets.

While Puppy Linux isn’t based on a specific distro, you’ll find versions built on Raspbian Buster (for the Raspberry Pi) and Ubuntu. There’s even a Slackware version.

Key Puppy Linux Features

As a lightweight Linux distribution, Puppy Linux isn’t going to give you anything fancy. While the desktop is pleasing to look at, the default view can be tweaked with a new theme or background if necessary.

Various tools are preinstalled with Puppy Linux

In fact, one of the first things you’ll see when you boot Puppy Linux is the option to start customizing it.

Meanwhile, you can easily install additional applications. The Puppy Linux package manager delivers pretty much all the Linux software you can imagine, although many common dependencies are absent. As such, some apps and utilities may take some time to install.

What will you need to install? Well, here’s what you won’t need:

  • Abiword
  • HexChat
  • PeasyPDF
  • GIMP
  • Inkscape
  • Firewall
  • DeaDBeeF
  • Transmission
  • Claws Mail
  • Firefox (as the Light browser)

Further, Puppy Linux features a host of utilities covering everything from launchers to networking tools and media players.

Which Puppy Linux Should You Use?

With so many versions of Puppy Linux available, you might be wondering which is the best version to use.

Choose the version of Puppy Linux to suit you

Well, it really depends on what device you’re planning to use.

  • If you have a modern 64-bit PC, use the Ubuntu Bionic 64-based BionicPup64. This is compatible with Ubuntu repositories.
  • Want the benefit of an LTS (long term support) distro? Ubuntu Xenial’s XenialPup is available in 32 bit and 64-bit versions.
  • For older systems, Ubuntu Tahr has 32- and 64- bit builds of TahrPup.
  • Use a Raspberry Pi? Raspup is the obvious choice, and lighter than Raspbian Lite.
  • For a barebones Linux experience, the Slackware-based SlackoPuppy has 32- and 64-bit builds.

As Puppy Linux is so compact, it won’t take you long to download and try them all out. Just download Puppy Linux to begin.

How to Install Puppy Linux

Installing is simple. Just copy the downloaded ISO to a bootable device, load it into your computer, restart, and wait for live boot menu.

The small size lets Puppy Linux boot on any CD or USB stick and run with a weak CPU and low amount of memory. If there’s no hard drive, Puppy Linux can run from any bootable USB device.

Ready to install? Fortunately, this is one of the easiest Linux installations you’ll come across. Select Applications > Setup > Puppy Installer then follow the instructions. These are a little different to what you would normally see installing an operating system.

Install Puppy Linux

You’ll be prompted to manually create a partition, using the preinstalled GParted partition manager. Take a moment to right-click the new partition and select the root flag to save time later. With the installation target device selected, confirm all options then choose the Frugal installation.

This has several benefits, e.g., saving your personal settings in a dedicated save file, improving dual booting, etc. It’s preferable to the Full installation, which should be saved for limited systems with slow CPUs.

The Frugal installation means that you need to save your session when shutting down Puppy Linux. However, the operating system is so lightweight that this is an acceptable concession. When you do this, click Save, select a name, choose encryption, then save to your preferred location. Also, if you’ve decided to rely purely on the live environment, any changes you’ve made can be saved in the same way.

Installation is completed once you install Grub4dos to create a boot menu. This is required whether you have other operating systems installed or not.

It’s simple, and ensures your settings are retained following a system upgrade.

Can You Use Puppy Linux on a High Spec PC?

If you have a low-spec computer, it makes sense to run something with lower resource requirements. But what if you have a top-end, high specification computer?

Well, you should be looking at an operating system that runs as fast as the system will allow. From a performance point of view, this could mean everything is slick, efficient, and fast. Critical updates will be installed as necessary, reducing exposure to security issues; some of these can cause performance slowdowns. Similarly, be sure to use the built-in firewall.

While some Linux distros preinstall elaborate themes available with the slickest desktop environments, Puppy Linux doesn’t. While you have the option to make your installation look amazing, if performance is your preference, this low-resource distro is a great option.

Looking for a Lightweight Linux Distro? Try Puppy Linux

The rest is up to you. You can do whatever you wish with Puppy Linux from here on out. Many people choose Puppy Linux over traditional distributions because it works, runs fast, and has great graphics for a lightweight distribution. Therefore, you get more work done quickly and have the distro stay out of your way so that it doesn’t bog you down.

Short of space but want to install Linux? Puppy Linux is only one of several lightweight Linux distros you should consider.

Read the full article: What Is Puppy Linux? Everything You Need to Know

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Give Your Visitors Stock Information With Marketstack API

Every website needs to find a way to keep visitors and regular readers interested. One option is to provide live information that they can use. Not all data will be relevant, of course, but if its financial facts and the latest movements in the markets your readers need, marketstack API can help.

It’s a free and easy to use REST API interface that delivers worldwide stock market data to your site. You can place real-time market data from 72 global exchanges wherever you need on your site. There’s even the potential to check real-time market data and 30+ years of historical data.

How Does an API Make This Possible?

Signing up to marketstack provides free access to the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) API (application programming interface). This provides queries and operations which a developer can use to add useful data to a website or app.

APIs are in use constantly around the web and on phones. You’ll have used one to upload photos to Facebook or share a web link to a messaging service.

With marketstack API, a vast database of market data is ready to be presented to your readers. Top exchanges can be displayed as easily as regional exchanges, useful if your project requires something more specific.

Using this API gives you the opportunity to service your readers with high-quality market data

Marketstack API Features

Used by over 30,000 happy customers, marketstack API boasts big names including Amazon and Uber among its clients. The service boasts:

  • Real-time stock data
  • Intraday market data
  • 125,000+ stock tickers
  • 72 global exchanges from NASDAQ, NYSE, TYO, and LSE to less prominent exchanges such as XOSL, XWAR, XBAH
  • 30+ years of historical data
  • Scalable API
  • Free and premium subscription options

In short, you have everything you need with market API to create stocks and shares

Scalable API, With Free or Premium Options

You can use marketstack API free or pay for the privilege. It all depends on the depth of data you require and the number of monthly requests.

Get stock data for your website with Marketstack API

The Free package gives you 1,000 requests per month, access to 72 stock exchanges, a single year of history, and End-of-Day data. As you may have guessed, this package is really intended for development and testing.

The marketstack API Basic package is $9.99 a month, or $7.99 if billed yearly. You’ll get everything you find in the Free package plus 10,000 requests/month, 10 years of history, HTTPS encryption, tech support, license for commercial use, and Intraday Data.

With the Professional package ($49.99/month, or $39.99 with annual billing) you’ll get all the same features as the Basic marketstack API package, plus 100,000 requests/month, 30+ years history, and real-time updates.

The Business package is $149.99/month ($119.99 with annual billing) with up to 500,000 requests/month and priority tech support. Enterprise customers can contact marketstack for custom pricing.

Getting started with marketstack API is easy with thee Free package. Simply sign up for a free account to start using.

Integrate Marketstack Data into Your Website or App

A free marketstack API account requires just an email address, relevant personal details, and a password.

With the account set up, you can find your API key, start querying the endpoints, and begin adding market data to your project.

Find Your API Key

Find your API key by signing into your marketstack account to view the Dashboard screen. Your API key is displayed alongside the details of your selected package.

To make an API request you need the API access key. Note that this can be reset at any time to create a new key. This is useful if you accidentally make the key public.

A query begins with the base URL:

http://api.marketstack.com/v1/

A request available for basic plan users is the End-of-Day (EOD) data:

End of Day market API endpoint

Running this displays pages of data for a specific company (Apple Inc). Data in this format can be styled for presentation in your website or apps.

Note the optional parameters. These can specify sort order, date range, a limit to the query results, and an offset.

Query the API Endpoints

With marketstack API you have access to various API endpoints, each capable of delivering different data. Each of these is subject to optional parameters.

  • End-of-Day Data: look up data for one or multiple stock tickers
  • Intraday Data: data intervals as short as one minute can be queried
  • Real-Time Updates: with the high request subscription of the Prodessional plan, intraday updates can provide minute-by-minute market updates in real-time
  • Historical Updates: stock prices going back a year (Free plan), 10 years (Basic) or 30 years (Professional and above) can be displayed with this API endpoint

Incorporate ticker stock data in your site with marketstack API

  • Tickers: this displays information about a specific stock ticker symbol (e.g. AAPL)
  • Exchanges: look up data from the 72-plus stock exchanges covered by marketstack
  • Currencies: check the rate of trading currencies supported by marketstack
  • Timezones: display information about supported timezone

As with the example above, these API endpoints all have specific parameters that you can use to tailor queries to the intended outcomes.

Marketstack API Supports Six Development Languages

Six programming languages are supported by marketstack API:

  • PHP
  • Python
  • Nodejs
  • jQuery
  • Go
  • Ruby

While implementation is straightforward, extensive documentation is also provided [LINK]. This covers API response objects, GET parameters, and more.

You’ll find documented examples of the API used with each programming language, giving you an easy shortcut to incorporating market data on your website.

Show Your Readers Real Time Stocks and Shares Data

With the marketstack API you can easily service the needs of readers requiring up to the minute stock market data. A range of query types are available thanks to the wealth of API endpoints, with support for six key development languages.

Marketstack API can be effortlessly integrated with new or existing projects, making it the top choice for integrating market data on your website.

Want more features for your website or app? Consider the weatherstack API for adding weather information to your project, or aviationstack API for live flight data.

Read the full article: Give Your Visitors Stock Information With Marketstack API

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Which Linux Shell Is Best? 5 Common Shells Compared

Happy using the bash shell in Linux? Or would you prefer to try out an alternative? There’s tsch, fish, KornShell, and Z Shell to choose from. But which of these popular Linux shells is best?

What Is a Linux Shell?

Usually, when you write an application, it’s done in a high-level language that humans can understand. Examples of these are C#, Java, C++, etc. Believe it or not, your computer sees everything as 1s as 0s or, as commonly known, binary or machine code.

A compiler will then translate the high-level language into a binary file like an executable. This binary file is what you execute to launch said application.

Now, this is a very high-level view of what happens; just remember, your computer needs a translation layer. This sits between what you’re telling it to do and how it can understand that.

A shell is what’s known as an interpreter. Similar to a compiler, an interpreter translates the human code into machine code. One of the differences is that an interpreter does this one statement at a time. Meanwhile, a compiler scans the entire program and translates it all into machine code.

The shell, then, is an interface for you to interact with your operating system (OS). As you type commands into the shell, it’s responsible for interpreting those commands and making the magic happen. Operations like copying files, piping, listing files are all within a shell’s remit.

Several Linux shells are available. To find out all the shells that are available on your system, open the terminal and type:

cat /etc/shells

To find out what shell you’re currently using type:

echo $0

What is the best Linux shell

But are you using the best Linux shell? Let’s look at what is available.

1. Bash

This is by a mile the most popular shell among Linux users. It’s hard to even think about shells without the Bourne-Again Shell (bash) being a part of the equation. Many Linux distributions ship with bash as the default shell because bash is the default GNU shell. Released in 1989, it also boasts a few decades of healthy development behind it.

Bash’s predecessor is The Bourne Shell (sh) which is one of the original Unix shells. One attractive feature to sh programmers was that they could port their scripts directly to bash entirely unchanged. Bash also offers several enhancements to its predecessor:

  • Command completion
  • Command history

Often online documentation will assume you are using bash. However, it is not without its shortcomings—as anyone who has ever written a bash script can attest to! It’s not that you can’t do something, it’s that it’s not always particularly elegant to read and write.

2. KornShell

Is KornShell the best Linux shell?

Commonly known as ksh, KornShell is a popular alternative Linux shell that originated out of Bell Labs in the 1980s. There aren’t many differences between bash and ksh, but each has minor advantages over the other. Ksh, for example, has the cd old new command. If you were in the directory /Downloads/foo/bar/one/foobar and you needed to get to /Downloads/foo/bar/two/foobar you just need to enter:

cd one two

Veterans of ksh will advocate it’s superiority by mentioning its scripting benefits. These include:

  • Better loop syntax
  • Natural ways to repeat commands
  • Associative arrays

Unlike bash, it’s tough to find help for ksh online. If you want to give ksh a try you enter:

sudo apt install ksh

ksh

3. Tcsh

Tsch shell on Linux

Tcsh can trace its roots back to the early days of Unix. It’s an improved version of the C shell (csh) and features:

  • Programmable command-line completion
  • Command-line editing
  • Adding arguments to aliases
  • Easy command history access

You can run any command by typing !n replacing n with its corresponding number in the displayed history. History tab completion in tcsh works by typing:

!a<TAB>

This expands to the last command that started with the letter “a”. Comparatively, in bash, you would have to type !a:p to first see the command, followed by !! to execute it.

To give tcsh a try, type:

sudo apt install tcsh

tcsh

Tcsh is the default shell for BSD based systems like FreeBSD. The big selling point for tcsh is its scripting language, useful to anyone who is primarily programming in C. This makes tcsh useful for prototyping small C programs without getting confused over things like which brackets you’re using. This problem tends to happen if you’re continually switching between C programming and shell scripting.

4. Fish

Use the fish shell on Linux

Among all the seriousness of Linux, the team at fish have embedded a sense of humor in their project. On their website, the tongue-in-cheek title reads “Finally, a command line shell for the 90s” although fish (“friendly interactive shell”) was developed in 2005. Beyond the touted “Glorious VGA Color,” are some enhancements over other shells:

  • Commands with invalid syntax display as red
  • Correct syntax appears in blue
  • Auto-complete suggestions
  • Command completion based on the man pages on your machine.

This feature adds the syntax from the man page of newly installed software to your auto-complete suggestions. If you’d like to get more familiar with the command line, fish can be a great place to start.

To sample what fish is about, type:

sudo apt install fish

fish

5. Z Shell

Z Shell on Linux

Many would consider this to be leaving the best shell for last, which would be completely understandable. Zsh has similarities to bash and ksh and incorporates many of the features found in them as well as tcsh. Zsh features:

  • Navigable autocompletion list
  • Superior spelling correction
  • Command line completion
  • History shared across terminals
  • Globbing (wildcard characters for filenames)

Globbing in zsh is very useful. Typing:

vim /u/l/b/a<TAB>

Would open the file:

/usr/local/bin/autoupdate.sh

Zsh can take a while to configure on first use if you don’t go with the default config. To give it a try, enter:

sudo apt install zsh

zsh

Which Linux Shell Is Best for Me?

The fact that these options are available is brilliant. Each is a glimpse into computing history, where programmers decided they wanted to make things their own way.

The substantial differences between these shells can be found in the scripting syntax. Each shell has a particular set of nuances that separate them from each other. As it stands, bash dominates in terms of market share, which makes finding help much simpler. Bash is simply the best all-rounder, meeting the needs of all but the most advanced users.

When you’ve settled on a Linux shell, be sure you’re familiar with the basics of shell scripting.

Read the full article: Which Linux Shell Is Best? 5 Common Shells Compared

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Can You Really See Better At Night With a $500 Night Vision Driving Display?

Our verdict of the Lanmodo Vast 1080p Night Vision Driving Display:
Easy to install and with several positioning options, you might find the Lanmodo Vast NVS is perhaps too large and cumbersome for all but the biggest vehicles. On the other hand, the all-important night vision is good, and it’s cheaper than a showroom optional extra.
810

Driving in the dark can be dangerous. Wherever you live, there’s always a risk of driving around in pitch black conditions.

A solution that car manufacturers have been adding to vehicles in the past view years is night vision. This is a pricey optional extra that delivers a black and white representation of the road ahead for added visibility. You could pay over $1000 to have one added and installed on a new car. But there is a cheaper option: you install your own night vision system (NVS).

That’s where the Lanmodo Vast 1080p automotive night vision system comes in.

What You Can Expect from the Lanmodo Vast

With a night vision system installed in your car, you can expect to see an improved, brighter, and visible view of the road ahead.

The Lanmodo Vast does this with the Hyper-wide dynamic range camera that feeds real-time, live footage of the road ahead to the 8.2-inch IPS display. Live images are displayed in 1080p full-color resolution, a marked step up from showroom night vision systems.

Lanmodo Vast 1080p Night Vision System

It ships with the mounting options you need to keep a 1.2-kilogram display measuring 245 x 185 x 125-millimeter device safely in place.

Designed to sit relatively unobtrusively on your car dashboard, the Lanmodo Vast can be switched off when not required.

Unboxing the Lanmodo Vast 1080p Night Vision System

In the box with the Lanmodo Vast you’ll find a cigarette lighter socket adapter power cable, an OBD-II power cable, and an input cable for handling the power supply and an optional rear camera (not reviewed here).

Two mounts are included. One is a suction cup mount, with a screw attachment to secure the Lanmodo Vast. The other is a more straightforward non-slip mat for use with the included stand.

Two screws are also in the box, along with a screwdriver and a pair of adhesive pads.

What’s Inside the Lanmodo Vast?

So, how does a dashboard-mounted camera display a night vision video feed to the driver?

It starts with the 28mm 7G full glass high definition optical lens, capable of viewing up to 300 meters ahead. Behind this is a Sony MCCD photosensitive chip, and processor with full-color Hyper-wide dynamic range imaging.

With LVDS digital HD decoding, the IPS display relays real-time, live footage at 1920x1080p. The minimum illumination of the display is 0.0001 Lux.

The operating voltage is 12V 560mA-2000mA, and the device operates in most interior conditions, from -20 to 80 degrees Celsius (-4 to -176 degrees Fahrenheit).

Installing the Lanmodo Vast

As referenced above, you have two main ways to mount the Lanmodo Vast:

  1. Dashboard, mounted with non-slip mat
  2. Windscreen, mounted with suction cup

Both work well, although I had reservations about using the suction cup due to the 1.2kg weight of the device. As such for testing, the Lanmodo Vast was mounted on the dashboard with the stand and non-slip mat.

Due to the peculiarities of the vehicle (a 2011 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso), there isn’t actually a flat portion of the dashboard to rely on. This is where the adhesive pads come in useful.

Lanmodo Vast 1080p Night Vision System

With two power solutions for this night vision system, it doesn’t take long to get things up and running. I opted for the OBD-II power connector. This is a smart option if you have a dashcam already using the cigarette lighter port. However, if your vehicle’s OBD-II port supplies 24V rather than 12V, you’ll need to use the cigarette lighter for power.

Installing any type of in-car camera system comes with time spent tidying cables out of sight or securing them in place. While you should rely on routing cables behind upholstery wherever possible, this isn’t always possible. The Lamodo Vast ships with a cable of sufficient length to handle most eventualities, although you’ll need to take steps to secure it on the dashboard or windscreen. No cable hooks or clips are included in the box.

Once powered up, the Lanmodo Vast is ready to use. Whether you’re using the cigarette lighter port or OBD-II power, inserting keys in the ignition and powering on the battery (as opposed to starting the engine) will prompt the device to switch on.

The initial set up of the Lanmodo Vast revealed a strange quirk. The display revealed a weird, skewed camera angle. A few moments of investigation revealed that this was down to the position of the camera, which can be adjusted for the best view.

Controlling the Lanmodo Vast

Across the top edge of the Lanmodo Vast are seven buttons. Central and most prominent is the power button. This is the one you’ll need to use the most.

Lanmodo Vast 1080p

Other buttons either side are for signal switch (when the rear camera is connected), a menu to control screen brightness and language, and screen rotation. Two menu scroll buttons are on the right hand of the power button, along with a switch to toggle between color and black and white vision.

There are arguably too many buttons. Further, they’re largely indistinguishable, the symbols are tricky to discern from up to a meter away. While buttons naturally shouldn’t be used while driving, they can barely be accessed when stationary without detaching the NVS from its mount.

A weakness in an otherwise solid set up.

Driving With the Lanmodo Vast Night Vision System

To test the Lanmodo Vast, I took a short drive to find roads with and without streetlights. Overall, there was little difference. The HWDR image processing provides a uniform representation whatever the conditions. While some colors may seem different—for example, the shade of green in the trees, or the depth of grey of clouds—the detail and legibility of the night vision system’s display is surprising.

Passengers in the back might feel compelled to look at the display rather than the road. This can be disconcerting and possibly trigger motion sickness, so isn’t recommended. It’s smart to switch the Lanmodo Vast’s display off when using the device during daylight hours.

Adding an additional dimension of safety to your night driving, the Lanmodo Vast clearly has its place as an NVS. I was admittedly dubious at first, but the results are good enough to reconsider.

It’s worth noting that the Lanmodo Vast does not have a storage option. There is no removable storage, you can’t add storage, and there’s no video out port. In short, it’s not a dashcam, and there’s no way to save the footage.

If you Need Night Vision, Consider the Lanmodo Vast

Ultimately, the Lanmodo Vast 1080P Automotive Night Vision System offers a cheaper alternative to car manufacturer-provided night vision. Better still, it’s easier to install, so no waiting around for showroom specialists to spend three hours on a 60-minute job. You’ll even save at least $500 into the bargain.

The big question, of course, is “do you need an NVS?” Well, it depends how much nighttime driving you do away from the urban centers, and your confidence behind the wheel. With the motor accident rate so much higher at night, an NVS can certainly improve road safety after dark.

Enter the Competition!

Lanmodo Vast Night Vision Driving System Giveaway

Read the full article: Can You Really See Better At Night With a $500 Night Vision Driving Display?

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How to Use an Android Tablet as a Raspberry Pi Display

The Raspberry Pi is a great computer, but it’s not always the most convenient device to access. Unless you have it permanently connected to a display, you probably access it via SSH, VNC or RDP.

But what if you don’t have a suitable display? How will you use it? One solution is to use an old Android tablet as a Raspberry Pi display.

What You Need to Use a Tablet Display With Raspberry Pi

Looking to set your Android device up as a display for your Raspberry Pi? It’s simpler than you’d think.

Use a tablet as your Raspberry Pi display

All you need is:

  • A Raspberry Pi 3 or later (older versions will need a wireless networking dongle)
  • Both devices connected to the same network
  • A keyboard and mouse connected to the Raspberry Pi (USB, Bluetooth, or wireless)
  • A tablet stand or suitable case for your Android device to use it as a monitor

This works.

Sadly, directly connecting your tablet display to a Raspberry Pi is not possible. Neither the GPIO nor the DSI port are compatible with tablet displays. This means using an old tablet screen for a Raspberry Pi display is impossible. Even if you manage to connect the devices, there won’t be any pleasing images.

And you might need a new Raspberry Pi.

Using an Android Tablet as a Screen for Raspberry Pi

Rather than connect the Raspberry Pi directly to your Android tablet, you can use remote desktop software.

You have two options available for using an Android tablet or phone as a display for your Raspberry Pi.

  1. RDP: Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol
  2. VNC: Virtual Network Connection

Each of these options can provide full desktop access to your Raspberry Pi via Android. Fortunately, neither is difficult to set up. Both have been tested with a Raspberry Pi 3, but should work with older versions, and even the Pi Zero.

Important: you’ll need to ensure that your Raspberry Pi and the Android tablet are on the same network. Also, this won’t work if you use the Android device as a wireless access point.

(In that scenario, you would need two Android devices; one for the WAP, and another for the display.)

For both options, first ensure that SSH is enabled on your Raspberry Pi. This will make “headless” set up simpler, allowing you configuration of RDP and VNC from your PC. Then you can establish the connection from your Android device.

You can enable SSH in three ways:

  1. Via the command line: use the raspi-config screen and select Interfacing Options > SSH > OK. Reboot when prompted.
  2. Via the Raspbian desktop: go to Preferences > Raspberry Pi Configuration > Interfaces and select SSH. Click OK to confirm.
  3. With your Pi powered down, eject the SD card and open it in your desktop PC’s file browser. In the boot directory, create a new file called “ssh”, with no file extension. Safely remove the card and replace in your Raspberry Pi. When you power it up, SSH will be enabled.

Enable SSH on the Raspberry Pi

You can connect to your Raspberry Pi via SSH using the terminal app in Linux and macOS. You’ll find several good options for using SSH on Windows.

To use SSH, you’ll need to know the IP address of your Raspberry Pi, which you can find by entering

ifconfig wlan0

Make a note of the IP address, as you’ll need it later.

Connect Android to a Raspberry Pi via RDP

First, let’s try it with RDP. This is the better option, as you can do more with the remote device. For instance, graphic-intensive sessions will run over RDP, but may struggle with VNC. Linux has its own RDP software, known as xrdp.

You’ll need:

  • RDP software installed on your Raspberry Pi
  • An RDP app on your Android device

Connect to your Raspberry Pi via SSH then enter the following to update the package list and install xrdp.

sudo apt update

sudo apt install xrdp

Tap Y when prompted.

Install xrdp RDP client on the Raspberry Pi

Next, find an RDP app for Android. Microsoft Remote Desktop is a good option.

Download: Microsoft Remote Desktop for Android (Free)

To connect to Raspberry Pi over RDP from Android:

  1. Launch Microsoft Remote Desktop
  2. Tap the + button
  3. Select Desktop
  4. Input the hostname or IP address of your Raspberry Pi
  5. Click Save
  6. When you’re ready to start, tap the connection tile
  7. Observe the warning that the remote PC cannot be verified, (this is due to your Pi’s Linux OS)
  8. Click Connect

Configure RDP to use Raspberry Pi and an Android display

You’ll then see the xrdp login screen. Input your usual Raspberry Pi account credentials (the default is pi:raspberry, but you should change these) and click OK.

Connect a Raspberry Pi to an Android Tablet With VNC

The second available option to use a tablet as a Raspberry Pi screen is to use VNC software. Simply set this up on your Raspberry Pi and Android device to get desktop access. With a keyboard connected, it will feel like you’re connected directly to the Pi!

VNC is a popular option for remote connecting to a Raspberry Pi from a PC, but how does it work on Android?

For this to work, you’ll need:

  • VNC server software installed on the Raspberry Pi
  • VNC viewing software installed on your Android device

When you’re ready, install a VNC server. Although the Raspberry Pi OS ships with RealVNC built in. However, by default it is not enabled.

You can enable VNC in two ways:

  1. Via the raspi-config screen select interfacing Options > VNC > OK. Reboot when prompted.
  2. Via the Raspbian desktop: go to Preferences > Raspberry Pi Configuration > Interfaces and select VNC. Click OK to confirm.

Next, find a VNC client for Android. Several are available—the VNC Viewer from RealVNC is perfect.

Download: VNC Viewer for Android

With the app installed and the Pi booted up:

  • Open VNC Viewer
  • Click + to create a new connection
  • Input the IP address and session number (e.g. 192.168.10.21:1)
  • Click Create

Use VNC with Android as a monitor for Raspberry Pi

At this stage, you’ll be informed that the connection is unencrypted. Accept the connection (you should be safe on your home network) and then input the password. Click Continue when you’re ready, and the connection will open.

Enter a password when prompted and enjoy access to your Raspberry Pi via keyboard and your Android tablet as a display!

Use an Android tablet as a Raspberry Pi display

When you’re ready to end the connection, click X.

Add a Simple Raspberry Pi Display With an Android Tablet

Using an Android tablet as a display for a Raspberry Pi is a great way to use an old device. It’s simple to set up, and if the battery remains charged, it should be reliable. You can also look into these handy ways to power a Raspberry Pi for portable projects.

Better still, with a keyboard and mouse, and a handy battery recharger, you can make your Raspberry Pi fully portable. Having an internet connection via your Android’s 4G connection could also prove invaluable. And combining a Raspberry Pi with a tablet touchscreen gives you even more portability. Take this further with our guide to build your own Android tablet with Raspberry Pi.

Read the full article: How to Use an Android Tablet as a Raspberry Pi Display

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How to Turn Your Phone Into a PC: 7 Ways

You left your laptop at work, and you have an urgent report that needs completing and emailing to your boss. It’s the first night of your holidays.

What should you do?

Well, if your documents are stored in the cloud, you could finish off the report using your smartphone. But forget about tapping away at that little screen—you can connect a keyboard and mouse. Connect it into the hotel room TV, finish off the report, email it, and enjoy the rest of your vacation.

It’s as easy as that—with the right device. Here’s how to turn your phone into a laptop.

Why Use Your Mobile as a Laptop?

Having a portable computer in your pocket at all times—for any eventuality—makes sense. Unfortunately, pockets aren’t big enough for even the most compact ultrabooks. Smartphones, on the other hand, slip into a pocket with ease.

This means that smartphones can be used as substitute PCs in an emergency. The limits of the small screen are no longer a problem, thanks to wireless HDMI.

The real magic of this context-aware dynamic, however, is in the presentation of a desktop UI (user interface). Once displayed on a compatible TV, you won’t be looking at the phone’s current UI. Instead, a traditional, familiar desktop is presented.

How to Convert Your Mobile Phone Into a Computer

We’ve looked mostly at solutions that require a desktop UI (Android excepted). And iOS is conspicuous by its absence. But it’s fair to say that you don’t really need this. After all, your phone already has an operating system, and probably supports a mouse already.

To turn your phone into a PC, you need:

  • Bluetooth keyboard and mouse
  • Alternatively, a USB keyboard and mouse and a USB-OTG cable
  • A display supporting wireless HDMI or screen mirroring

Alternatively, you can use a dock with support for HDMI, USB, and even Ethernet. A good option is the Pluggable USB C Mini Laptop Docking Station. It’s particularly useful for Samsung DeX (see below for more information on that). Check our review of the Pluggable USB C Dock for more information.

1. Samsung Devices Boast the DeX Desktop Mode

Perhaps the best of all options to turn a phone into a computer is afforded to Samsung owners. With a Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+, Note 8 or later (as of 2020), you have the choice of DeX. Activated from the notification tray, DeX is essentially a desktop environment for Android.

Simply connect your phone to a nearby wireless HDMI-ready display, connect the input devices, and you’re ready to work. DeX gives you access to all of the usual Android productivity apps, in windowed mode.

Check our guide to Samsung DeX to find out how to use your Samsung Galaxy device as a computer.

2. Carry a Linux PC in Your Pocket With Ubuntu Touch

Ubuntu Touch handset

Ubuntu Touch is a Linux-based operating system for smartphones. Managed by the UBports team, Ubuntu Touch runs on the following devices:

Officially, Ubuntu Touch runs (and is supported) on:

  • Fairphone 2
  • LG Nexus 5 (2013)
  • OnePlus One

Several other phones can run Ubuntu Touch.

A key feature of Ubuntu Touch is the Convergence system. Like Samsung DeX, this is a desktop environment, activated when the phone is connected to an external display.

When the phone is connected over wireless HDMI to a TV, the UI is a full Ubuntu desktop. The operating system comes pre-installed with various tools, including LibreOffice. Having a smartphone that is ready to use as a desktop at a moment’s notice is excellent for productivity!

3. Turn Any Android Phone into a Desktop Computer With Maru OS

In 2016, Android overtook Windows as the most-used consumer operating system on the planet. It makes sense, therefore, to explore its potential as a desktop OS.

Maru OS is an Android fork that currently only runs on a few models. So, if you can get hold of the Nexus 5 (2013) or Nexus 5X (2015), you should get good results. Beta versions are available for the Nexus 6P and Google Pixel handsets. This is a full operating system that must be installed in place of or alongside Android.

See our guide to installing Maru OS on Android to use your own pocket-sized computer.

4. Enjoy an Android Desktop With Sentio

Previously known as Andromium OS, this solution works reasonably well as a desktop environment running on Android.

While you can use a display, Sentio benefits from the addition of the Superbook hardware. This is a sort of laptop/dock combination that uses your smartphone as its brain.

Find out more at sentio.com.

Download: Sentio Desktop (Free)

There is also a version of Sentio for older devices running Android 5 Lollipop and 6 Marshmallow.

Download: Sentio Desktop (Lollipop, Marshmallow) (Free)

5. Just Want a Desktop Launcher? Try Leena Desktop UI

Leena Desktop UI is essentially a desktop-themed launcher for Android. With a macOS-like dock, Leena features a native file manager, browser, video player, PDF viewer, and more.

It also supports connections over docking station, screen mirroring or “casting” and lets you use Android apps in desktop windows. Essentially a low-fidelity version of Sentio, Leena Desktop UI is available as a premium app.

Download: Leena Desktop UI ($2.49)

6. Basic Android Mobile Desktop Mode: Just Add Chromecast

If it all seems a bit fiddly, expensive, or a combination of the two, then consider the easy option. Need to access your Android phone’s word processor in an emergency? Well you can quickly use an Android phone like a PC if you have:

  • A USB-C or Bluetooth keyboard and mouse
  • A Chromecast or (other mirroring solution) plugged into your TV

Simply load up the document that needs attention, connect a keyboard, and share your display over Chromecast. If you’re planning on this as a solution, then you should take a look at our guide to turning a standard smartphone into a PC

7. Convert an Old Windows Mobile Into a Cheap PC

If you’ve heard of Windows 10 Mobile or Windows Phone, you probably know that it is dead. Old phones can be picked up for under $70 on eBay. While largely useless in terms of apps, some models have good cameras.

Three phones are available with Continuum:

  • HP Elite 3
  • Lumia 950
  • Lumia 950 XL

But hidden in these dirt-cheap old smartphones, however, is a secret mode: a Windows desktop. Thanks to an early version of the Continuum technology (currently this manages the switch between desktop and tablet modes on hybrids Windows laptops), you can connect your phone to a display and see a Windows desktop environment.

You get access to the apps installed on it, like Microsoft Office, and use the phone for calls while connected. A Bluetooth keyboard and mouse can be connected, but the mobile keyboard can also be used. The display can be even be employed as a touchpad.

Why Aren’t You Using Your Smartphone as a PC?

You have seven ways to turn your phone into a PC. So why do so few people use their devices in this way. Is it the complexities of wireless HDMI? Or the lack of a physical keyboard?

Whatever the case, there’s a good chance you have a suitable device. Meanwhile, corporations with shrinking IT budgets are deeply interested in the handheld desktop form factor. If you’re not using a desktop-capable smartphone device now, you soon could be.

While smartphones make versatile productivity devices in desktop mode, they don’t fulfill every purpose. Need something more powerful and just as portable? Consider these excellent lightweight laptops.

Read the full article: How to Turn Your Phone Into a PC: 7 Ways

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What’s the Difference Between the Raspberry Pi 4 and Other Models?

You’re just getting to grips with the Raspberry Pi when along comes a new model. The Raspberry Pi 4 is here, but should you buy it? What does it offer that the other boards don’t?

The Raspberry Pi 4 is a game-changer. Here’s what you need to know about the Pi 4 and how it compares to the earlier Raspberry Pi 3B+.

Raspberry Pi 4 vs. Earlier Models

The main difference you’ll find between the Raspberry Pi 4 and its predecessors is the speed. With a faster processor, more RAM, and a Gigabit Ethernet port, each indicator of performance has been enhanced.

Raspberry Pi 4 board

Some believe that the Raspberry Pi 4 is the first 64-bit version of the computer, but this isn’t true. In fact, the Raspberry Pi 2 was the first to feature a 64-bit processor. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that a 64-bit operating system was made available by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Meanwhile, the USB ports have also been upgraded. All in all, the Raspberry Pi 4 is the most powerful version of the Raspberry Pi. Better still, it retains the familiar flexibility that makes the device perfect for almost any computing project.

Choose From 3 Raspberry Pi 4 Models

The Pi 4 is the first version of Raspberry Pi to be available with multiple RAM configurations. Earlier models have been upgraded with minor revisions (such as the Pi Zero and Pi Zero W, or the Raspberry Pi 3 and 3B+). You have a choice of three versions of Raspberry Pi 4:

  1. Raspberry Pi 4 2GB
  2. Raspberry Pi 4 4GB
  3. Raspberry PI 4 8GB

The three versions of the board each has a different price point, commensurate with the amount of RAM.

(A Raspberry Pi 4 1GB model was originally released. However, following release of the Raspberry Pi 4 8GB, this has been withdrawn.)

Raspberry Pi 3 vs Raspberry Pi 4 Specifications

The most powerful version of the Raspberry Pi prior to the Pi 4 is the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, released in 2018. This boasts:

  • Quad-core Cortex-A53 1.4GHz CPU
  • Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250MHz GPU
  • 1GB
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 5mm TRRS a/v port
  • 2 x Micro-HDMI ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet port (hardware limited to 300Mbps)
  • b/g/n/ac dual band 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • microUSB power connection
  • Weighs 45 grams (1.6 ounces)

The three Raspberry Pi 4 boards share the following specifications:

  • Quad-core Cortex-A72 1.5GHz CPU
  • Broadcom VideoCore VI @ 500MHz GPU
  • 2GB/4GB/8GB RAM
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 x UBS 3.0 ports
  • 5mm TRRS a/v port
  • 2 x Micro-HDMI ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • b/g/n/ac dual band 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB-C power connection
  • Weighs 46 grams (1.6 ounces), a gram heavier than the Raspberry Pi 3 B+

Every specification here is an improvement on the Raspberry Pi 3 B+. Further, some additional enhancements have been introduced, for example additional interfaces via the GPIO and other ports.

Raspberry Pi 4 8GB board

Also, the Raspberry Pi 4 needs a dedicated USB-C power source. Repurposing an older PSU with a microUSB to USB-C adapter won’t work as the Raspberry Pi 4 requires 600mA (3W) average when idling. This requirement obviously increases under heavy loads.

Is the Raspberry Pi 4 Compatible With Existing Accessories?

If you already have cases, HATs, and pHATs, you probably want to know if they’re compatible with the Pi 4.

Over the years since its original release, the Raspberry Pi model B has barely changed. The board has remained at 85.60mm x 56.5mm, and the ports (Ethernet, power, TRRS) have remained in the same place.

Some revisions have occurred, however. Two additional USB ports were added to the Raspberry Pi B+ (2014) which have been retained in subsequent models. Similarly, the original Raspberry Pi A and B boards had 26 GPIO pins. Again, the Model B+ expanded this to 40 pins.

These board revisions have been retained with the Raspberry Pi 4, but there are some changes. Specifically, these include a USB-C power connector and two micro HDMI ports. As a result, while expansion boards probably work on the Pi 4, your Raspberry Pi case probably won’t fit.

As this is perhaps the most important accessory for the Pi, you’ll need a replacement. Check our round up of the best Raspberry Pi 4 cases for the best options.

As for HATs and pHATs, the GPIO remains unchanged. Any that you own should still fit on the Pi 4 and run as expected, although you should download updates to ensure you’re running the latest software.

What Can You Do With a Raspberry Pi 4?

While the Pi 4 is designed with backward compatibility in mind, it has several advantages over earlier models. Some of these might seem obvious. You might, for example:

  • Build a retro gaming machine with increased reliability
  • Use it for streaming media (e.g. with Kodi or Plex)
  • Manage a DIY NAS box
  • Host online games
  • Run a web server
  • Create a compact podcast studio
  • Stream PC games

It doesn’t end there. The increased system spec of the Raspberry Pi 4 and its minimum 2GB of storage introduces something new. You may know that the Pi has long been able to run LibreOffice, send email, and other desktop tasks. It is only with the Pi 4 series that it feels powerful enough to manage these tasks without hanging.

This little computer is now a sub-$100 desktop replacement. Tempted? Use the 8GB model for the best Raspberry Pi experience (the 4GB version is an adequate substitute).

Which Raspberry Pi 4 Model Should You Choose?

RAM aside, there is little to choose between the various Raspberry Pi 4 boards. So how can you choose which to buy?

If you’re looking for an upgrade for the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ or earlier, then the Raspberry Pi 4 2GB model is ideal. You get the latest board and a doubling of RAM all for a price in the same areas as the Pi 3 B+.

Building a NAS, server, or some other project with a requirement for more RAM than usual? Use the Raspberry Pi 4 4GB. It can also revolutionize your retro gaming system and handles media hosting and streaming better than ever.

Raspberry Pi 8GB with fan shim

For a Raspberry Pi experience that is as close to a desktop computer as possible, buy the 8GB board. It might be more expensive, but the Raspberry Pi 4 8GB can cope with anything the earlier models can—and more.

But what if you want a powerful Raspberry Pi but can’t afford a Raspberry Pi 4? Then the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is your best option. Struggling to afford any Raspberry Pi board? Think about buying the Raspberry Pi Zero.

Our guide to the different Raspberry Pi models will help you choose the right Pi for you.

The Raspberry Pi 4 Is Worth the Upgrade

Perhaps the great thing about the Raspberry Pi 4 is that it is a seamless upgrade. Most (if not all) existing Pi projects run on it. Meanwhile, operating system maintainers may need to make some tweaks, but otherwise they should all run on the Pi 4.

With a good choice of boards, the Raspberry Pi 4 is a platform that can handle almost anything. From robot projects to running as a reliable desktop replacement, this is a Raspberry Pi that everyone should own.

First time buying a Raspberry Pi? Check our list of the best Raspberry Pi projects to get started.

Read the full article: What’s the Difference Between the Raspberry Pi 4 and Other Models?

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XP-Pen G960S Plus Review: Entry Level Graphics Tablet in the Age of Affordable Touchscreens

Our verdict of the XP-Pen G960S Plus:
While an affordable and easy to use device, the XP-Pen G960S Plus feels the sort of novelty tech that you buy, use once, then put away at the back of your drawer.
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Getting started with graphic art has never been so easy. 30 years ago, you’d have struggled to buy a tablet and fully wired stylus for less than the price of a games console. These days things are much easier, with graphics tablets, styli, and vast choice of colors and drawing techniques supported.

It’s generally understood that for the best results you have to pay top dollar for a graphics tablet and stylus. This brings us neatly to the XP-Pen G960S Plus, a tablet and stylus kit compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and Chrome OS. A budget screenless graphics tablet with a battery-free pen stylus, the XP-Pen G960S Plus has the potential to give you an easy entry to graphic art for under $100 (also available in the UK, and the EU).

In the Box

Unboxing the XP-Pen G960S Plus, you’ll find the 12.58 x 8.25 x 0.39 inch (319.5 x 209.5 x 10 mm) tablet, PH2 unpowered stylus, and USB A to USB C cable. You’ll also find two USB adapters for type C and micro-USB to fit Android tablets.

XP Pen G960S Plus

In case your artistic style is particular rough on the pen, 10 spare nibs and a removal ring are included, along with two quick guides. One of these is for using the tablet with Android, while the other provides a general overview. There is also a download link for XP-Pen device drivers for macOS and Windows 10.

A full manual isn’t included, but you’ll find it on the website to download as a PDF.

Using the XP-Pen G960S Plus

Ideal for anyone who isn’t already using a tablet computer for art, the XP-Pen G960S Plus has a 9 x 6 inch working area. This can be used at 0, 90, 180, and 270-degree orientations, suitable for everything from signing documents to digital art.

Thanks to the multiple USB adaptors, the XP-Pen G960S Plus can be used with most devices. So, it can be hooked up to a PC running Windows 7 or later, or a Mac running OS X 10.10 and above. There’s also support for Chrome OS. While iOS isn’t supported, the XP-Pen G960S Plus can be connected to an Android phone or tablet. This is where the micro-USB and USB type C adapters come in most useful.

A wealth of software can be used with this device. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, for example, also GIMP, Krita, Blender 3D, Painter, and many others. On mobile, the XP-Pen G960S Plus works with popular Android art apps such as the Wacom Bamboo Paper.

XP-Pen G960S Plus Device Specification

The XP-Pen Star G960S Plus looks simpler than it is. Think about that for a moment: bundled inside this 9 x 6 inch working area with four customizable shortcut keys along the side is the hardware you need to bring your artistic vision to life, make notes, and everything in between. In addition to art packages, the XP-Pen Star G960S Plus works with Microsoft Office software like Word and OneNote.

XP Pen G960S Plus

The PH2 stylus is a passive pen modeled on a traditional pencil. It doesn’t have a battery, but there is an eraser at the end. Mistakes can be easily modified or deleted.

Using the PH2 stylus you get to enjoy the results of 8,192 levels of pressure and 60 degrees of tilt. This creates natural-looking lines of various width, with natural and smooth brush effects.

Setting Up and Using the XP-Pen G960S Plus With Windows

Plugging the XP-Pen G960S Plus into a Windows PC results in the device being detected, and it is usable in this state. However, if you want to use the tablet with the built-in shortcut buttons, you’ll need to download the driver and software from the website.

The settings for the tablet can then be summoned by pressing the first button, allowing you to adjust stylus sensitivity and choose some basic, system-wide shortcuts. Sadly, app-specific shortcuts aren’t available.

We tested the XP-Pen G960S Plus on Windows using Paint.NET, Krita, and Google Keep. The results were good, as you can see from the accompanying doodle. Arguably, the slate is a better device for graphics than notetaking, but the results of your artistic endeavors will be limited to the app of choice.

Draw on Android With the XP-Pen G960S Plus

Prefer to use your smartphone or tablet to create art? The XP-Pen G960S Plus also offers support for Android. All you need to do is connect the appropriate adaptor to the cable then hook it to your device.

Using the XP Pen G960S Plus on Android

Various apps will work with this device. We tried Google Keep for notetaking and Bamboo Paper from Wacom for art.

From a connective point of view, the results were good. However, using the XP-Pen G960S Plus with a tablet feels counter-intuitive at best. Sadly, unlike desktop, there is no cursor on view, which makes using the PH2 and its accompanying slate difficult.

Additionally, there’s a subconscious urge to just draw on the screen. If you’re already using a suitable tablet with a compatible stylus you may prefer to stick to that. After all, you can see what you’re drawing as you look at it. That’s just not possible with a graphics tablet.

Graphics vs. Notetaking

In testing the XP-Pen G960S Plus, I’ve used the device for graphics, taking notes, and recording my signatures for contracts. The frustrating thing about this as that while I don’t view it as a good graphics tablet, the XP-Pen G960S Plus is better at that than any of its other uses.

It’s difficult to place blame for this on the stylus. The PH2 with its vast sensitivity and tilt function is clearly not the issue. The stylus feels comfortable, is weighted close to a pencil, and naturally gives you the ability to draw at different widths. The “eraser” is useful too, and the side button not prone to accidental clicks (unlike, say, Samsung’s S-Pen).

In fact, the PH2 is at least as good as the S-Pen and Surface Pen, if not better.

Which leads me to suppose that the actual tablet component is the weaker element of this kit.

XP-Pen G960S Plus or Wacom Tablet?

Wacom is undoubtedly the most well-known graphics tablet platform. But if you have a low budget, it might not be the most ideal solution for an aspirational digital artist. So, XP-Pen G960S Plus or Wacom?

XP Pen G960S Plus

The closest device from the Wacom range in price to the XP-Pen G960S Plus is the Wacom Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet. This is a smaller device, measuring 200.7 x 160 millimeters with fewer (4,096 vs 8,192) levels of pressure sensitivity. Build quality, meanwhile, is similar, and the stylus on the XP-Pen G960S Plus is more comfortable.

Overall, it’s an easy choice. You’re almost certainly going to choose the XP-Pen over the Wacom tablet.

How Easy Is it to Draw Using the XP-Pen G960S Plus Tablet?

If you can already draw, pricking up the PH2 stylus and drawing with the XP-Pen G960S Plus should be straightforward. For digital painting, too, there is a massive advantage over a mouse, although, for all uses, the risk of a disconnect between art and device is high.

In an age where graphic artists use large tablet devices with high definition displays, using a slate and stylus feels like a step backward. Even mid-range Android tablets have the facility to handle multitouch and varying levels of sensitivity when paired with a suitable stylus, as demonstrated by the popularity of art and jotter apps like Wacom’s Bamboo Paper.

While programmable buttons are useful, there is incredibly nowhere to safely store the PH2 stylus. The undoubted star of the XP-Pen G960S Plus bundle, the stylus could quite easily end up lost, which would be a shame.

Enter the Competition!

XP-Pen G920S Plus Graphics Tablet Giveaway

Read the full article: XP-Pen G960S Plus Review: Entry Level Graphics Tablet in the Age of Affordable Touchscreens