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The Step by Step Guide to Installing Ubuntu

Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions – if not the most popular! Just Google “how to install Ubuntu” and you will find lots of tutorials. Still, some of them miss crucial details, so here’s my take, which will (hopefully) cover all the gaps.

Begin by deciding how you want to install Ubuntu. Will you use a DVD version of the installation kit? Or will you rather go for a USB memory? Or maybe you want to simply run Ubuntu from a memory stick, and decide if you want to install it on your computer later.

No matter what path you choose, the process is very similar. It all begins with downloading the installation kit from the official website – an ISO image file. Then, burn the image to a DVD using Windows’ built-in tool, or go for a freeware third-party ISO burner such as ImgBurn.

Now that you’ve got an Ubuntu installation DVD or memory stick, restart your computer. If the BIOS is set up to allow your computer to boot from the DVD, the installation process should begin right away. However, if this doesn’t happen, restart the computer one more time, and then get into BIOS by pressing the either the “Delete” or the “F2” key. It is wise to check your computer’s manual; depending on its manufacturer, you may need to press a different key – and sometimes even a key combination – to access the BIOS. Here is WikiHow’s article that shows a few methods to get into BIOS.

Once you are inside the BIOS menu, enable DVD booting, and then set the DVD as your first booting device. Sure, you should do that for the USB drive, in case that you plan to install Ubuntu using a memory stick.

Save the options and exit the BIOS menu; your computer will restart once again, and then you should see Ubuntu’s welcome menu. Here you will have the option of either trying Ubuntu, or installing it on your computer. You can also choose the installation language from this screen.

If you are using a laptop, it is wise to plug it into a power source; otherwise, you will risk losing your data in case that the laptop runs out of battery power (and is forced to shut down) during the installation.

Another key thing is to make sure that you’ve got enough disk space on your computer. For best results, ensure that you’ve got at least 10 GB available.

An Internet connection is also helpful. Plug an Ethernet cable into your computer, if possible; this way, Ubuntu will be able to download and install the newest updates and third party software that may be useful for you.

The good news is that Ubuntu’s installation kit also works with wireless networks, so if you don’t have Internet access, you can take your laptop to a nearby coffee shop which provides free Wi-Fi and install it there.

The installation process can now begin. You can either install Ubuntu and preserve the existing operating system, or you can you erase the entire disk and install Ubuntu instead.

Each Ubuntu installation kit has a different size, of course. But just to give you an idea, Ubuntu 16, the current O.S. version at the moment, needs about 5 GB of free space. And with other third-party software and applications that you may want to install, you can easily reach the 10 GB mentioned above.

It’s time to choose your time zone. Often times, Ubuntu will detect your location based on your IP address. If you aren’t connected to the Internet, you can specify your location manually, of course.

Choose the desired keyboard layout. Then, enter your username and password.

It’s time to let Ubuntu do its thing. You will be prompted to restart the computer at the end of the process.

That is all! Trust me, the process used to be much more complicated a few years ago, when I installed Ubuntu on one of my ancient computers. Fortunately, it’s all very easy now!

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A Quick Powerline / HomePlug Home Networking Guide

I don’t know about you, but I simply love wired Ethernet connections! Yes, they don’t provide the convenience of a Wi-Fi network, but nothing can beat them when it comes to speed and signal reliability.

In addition to this, with wireless networks, you are limited to distances below 30…50 feet. And once you’ve hit that limit, you are required to purchase additional pieces of hardware, which don’t always work as expected.

So, what’s a guy like you and me supposed to do to get decent Internet coverage in his home? Well, one of the less used technologies that combines the speed of wired solutions and the flexibility of Wi-Fi networks is Powerline.

About two decades ago, several companies have created the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, with the goal of setting up a standard technology which helps people connect to a network by making use of the existing power outlets.

The first version of the technology was able to transfer data at rates of up to 80 Mbps. Modern HomePlug versions have a typical transfer rate of 200 Mbps, and can go up to 1 Gbps, depending on proprietary technologies.

To set up a typical HomePlug network, you will need two or more Powerline adapters. Each adapter will be plugged into a power outlet, and then it can connect to any device that has an Ethernet cable input.

Some HomePlug adapters support multiple Ethernet ports; still, even if your adapter doesn’t include two or more plugs, you can fix the problem by connecting it to a standard router. In fact, some HomePlug models incorporate Wi-Fi adapters, allowing their owners to experience the best of both worlds.

Often times, setting up and running a HomePlug-based network is very simple. The adapters can connect by simply pushing a button that pairs them. Still, it is wise to install and configure the software applications that come bundled with the devices; their goal is to help you build a strong, encrypted network. Otherwise, anyone that has access to the same power grid can easily spy on you.

You may be wondering if this is a real problem. According to Symantec, the number of web-based attacks has almost doubled in 2017, and most of the top tools that make them possible have increased their reach since 2016. Here’s a graph produced by Data Alliance which shows the top threats.

So yes, this is a very serious problem. Be sure to find out what the included software does, and enable all its security features.

It is highly recommended to plug the adapters straight into the wall sockets whenever it is possible. As tempting as it may sound, plugging them into an UPS may limit data transfer speed – or even prevent the devices from working! Sure, if you live in a rainy area and you are afraid that a lightning strike may damage your equipment, you should make use of an uninterrupted power supply. But keep in mind that plugging the Powerline adapter into an extension cord is not a good idea.

Believe it or not, Powerline adapters aren’t that widespread. And there are a few explanations for this, of course. First of all, they are quite expensive. Although their prices have decreased during the last few years, you will still have to pay around $150 for a good pair. On the other hand, you can get a decent router that does the job for around $60.

Another problem arises from the limits imposed by electrical wiring. Some residences use low-quality wires, and this can affect the data sending and receiving process as well.

Finally, the signal that travels through a network based on Powerline adapters can suffer from interference, the same way it happens with a regular Wi-Fi network. If your neighbors are heavy power tools users, you may have a hard time trying to set up and maintain a stable Internet connection.

Despite these advantages, Powerline adapters are the recommended solution in many cases. By making use of them, it is very easy to set up a network without installing other wires in your home, for example.

In larger residences, Powerline adapters can save people a lot of money, allowing them to set up home networks without having to invest in several routers, hubs, signal repeaters, and so on.

Another advantage: properly set up Powerline connections have a much lower network latency in comparison with Wi-Fi networks.

Finally, if you’d rather keep your data traveling across your home’s wires, instead of having it fly over open space and being accessible to anyone in the area, the way it happens with Wi-Fi, a HomePlug-based network may be your best bet.

I hope that this quick guide has helped you understand the pros and cons of the HomePlug technology. And now that you know it all, I think that you will agree with me: sometimes, Powerline may be the best solution you’ve got at your disposal.

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