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5 Advanced Linux Distributions you should try

5 Advanced Linux Distributions you should try

There are over a hundred Linux distributions and more come out every year. Linux gives users the freedom to setup their computer almost any way they want. They are generally more secure and lighter than their Windows and OS X counterparts. Most advanced Linux distributions give users the opportunity to dig deep into their computer to find out exactly what’s happening underneath the hood, and they provide a great way to learn a lot more about how computers work.

Here are 5 advanced Linux distributions that you should try if you are up for the challenge:

1. Arch Linux

featured_image

    Photo by Dxiri Via Flickr Creative Commons

    Arch Linux is known for being one of the more “Bleeding edge” linux distributions, meaning it gives users access to software that is still in development, beta, or for some reason has not been released yet on other systems. If you like being the first to have access to technology and are willing to potentially encounter and fix bugs, then you will probably love Arch. Arch Linux is also one of the few “Rolling Release” Systems in use. This setup is awesome because there is no such thing as an “Arch XP”, or “Arch 8”. Arch gets updated on a day by day basis and the user is always running the latest and greatest packages.

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    Don’t just think you can pop in an Arch disk and be ready to go. Arch starts as bare bones and forces you to install everything manually. You are greeted with the command line, and will pretty much have to do the entire installation inside your terminal. Give Arch Linux a try and you will soon be the owner of a secure, lightweight and ultra customizable computer, making this one of the greatest linux distributions. Their main IRC channel is #archlinux

    2. Slackware

    slackware

      Photo by Roger Will Comply via Creative Commons

      Created in 1993, Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux Distribution, and still going strong. Slackware is known for it’s rock solid stability and security. This distro releases updates slowly compared to other systems, but it’s also released with far fewer security holes making it an excellent option for use as a server. Slackware is one of the harder to install linux distributions and provides ample bragging rights for those who are able to use it as their primary system. Once you learn how to use Slackware, you’ll be rewarded with a system that works almost perfectly, and is “simple” to use, highly secure, and customizable. Give this linux distribution a try and you will not be disappointed. Check out their IRC channel: #slackware

      3. Kali Linux

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        Kali Linux is a very specialized Linux distribution. The sole intention for using Kali Linux is “Offensive Security”. This is the tool that both good and bad guys use to break into and exploit other peoples restricted areas. The good guys use this tool to make their own systems and their clients systems more secure, while the bad guys do bad things that we won’t talk about. Kali provides hundreds of tools out of the box for the security professional – Metasploit, SqlNinja, and WireShark to name a few.

        This linux distribution is NOT for general purpose use, and users will most likely use Kali only when doing penetration testing related activities, and then switch to something else for watching cat videos.

        If you want to become a successful security professional, or learn how hacktivist groups like “Anonymous” and “Ghost Security” use their hacking skills to fight terrorism online, then you could greatly benefit from learning about “Social Engineering”, using Kali Linux, and learning a programming language like Python or C.

        You should definitely give Kali Linux a try! Check out their IRC channel here: #kali-linux

        4. Gentoo

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          Gentoo is known for being extremely difficult to install. When the topic of installing Gentoo comes up, the average time seems to be around three full days to just get the system installed. Once it’s installed you still need to setup programs for your desktop, sound, wifi, the ability to watch videos, etc… Oh, and every single program is installed and compiled from source, but it’s not always as scary as it sounds. This is probably the most difficult linux distribution that people actually use on a regular basis.

          So why would anyone in their right mind use Gentoo? For starters, it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about the intricacies of how Linux works. About half-way through the installation you decide whether you want to manually configure the “Kernel” or if you prefer to use the “General kernel”. The Kernel can be considered sort of like the heart of linux. It’s also great if you need a very small system. Gentoo is extremely well documented and very flexible. You get to make a decision for what you want on just about everything, including which bootloader you would like to use.

          What you end up with is a 100% customized computer that has exactly what you want and use, and nothing more. It’s lightweight, fast, secure, and there’s no other system just like it. Once you have installed Gentoo you already deserve bragging rights, but being able to use it puts you in the ranks of “Super Powered Hardcore User”.

          Most of the benefits of Gentoo mean nothing more than mumbo jumbo to a mere mortal, however, ask a Gentoo user why they like the distro and you’ll hear nothing but praises for this advanced linux distribution. Check out their IRC channel at #gentoo and say hello!

          5. Linux From Scratch (LFS)

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            Linux From Scratch is the ultimate educational opportunity. With LFS (Linux From Scratch) you are essentially building your very own linux distribution similar to how you would make your own bread from flour, yeast and anything else that is in bread. Nothing is done for you, and you don’t even have a package manager. LFS is good for university students doing computer projects, or any geek looking to learn more about how a computer system is put together. LFS is not something you would want to use on a day to day basis unless you were to go beyond Linux From Scratch with the next step called “BLFS” (Beyond Linux From Scratch), and even then it’s still not a secure system until you do a lot more work. If you’re wanting to geek out on some computer stuff then head over to Linux From Scratch and get started! Check out their IRC channels #lfs and #lfs-support

            No matter what Linux distribution you use, there is plenty of fun stuff to learn and do. Linux offers you plenty of challenges and gives you the freedom that Windows and OS X simply don’t have. Only about 3% of the population uses one of the linux distributions as a desktop, but many people are using Linux in some form and don’t even realize it. If you use a TV, microwave, refrigerator, or some other sort of technology then you’ve been using Linux for a long time and probably had no idea.

            There are many benefits to using Linux, especially if your in the tech field, so pop an installation cd into your computer and have fun!

            Featured photo credit: dxiri via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on October 16, 2019

            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

            Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

            Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

            Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

            In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

            1. ScheduleOnce

              ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

              ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

              ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

              Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

              Available on Web

              2. Calendly

                Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                3. Assistant.to

                  For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                  From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                  While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                  Available on Web

                  4. Acuityscheduling

                    Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                    It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    5. Pick

                      Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                      At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                      Available on Web

                      6. X.ai

                        For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                        This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                        Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                        Available on Web

                        7. YouCanBook.me

                          is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                          They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                          Available on Web

                          8. Doodle

                            Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                            It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                            You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                            While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                            Available on Web | iOS | Android

                            9. WhenAvailable

                              WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                              Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                              Available on Web

                              10. Rally

                                Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                Available on Web

                                11. NeedtoMeet

                                  Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                  NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                  While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                  Available on Web

                                  Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                  In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                  To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                  Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                  A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                  Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                  If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                  Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                  With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                  Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                  Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                  Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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