Editor's Choice

Looking for software recommendations, apps, and generally useful stuff? These editors' selections highlight various technologies that merit our Editor's Choice seal of approval. We think you'll find this listing to be a valuable resource for discovering and vetting software, products, and apps. We've run these things through the paces and chosen only the best to highlight so you can get right to the good stuff.

Do you know a product, project, or vendor that could earn our Editor's Choice distinction? Please let us know at ljeditor@linuxjournal.com

My last full-time job was manager of a university's database department. Ironically, I know very, very little about databases themselves. I'm no longer in charge of college databases, but I still do have a handful of MySQL servers that run my various Web applications. Apart from apt-get install, I have no idea how to make databases work. Thankfully, help is available.

My friend and fellow Linux Journalian Kris Occhipinti recently posted a reminder on Facebook for everyone to back up regularly in 2016. Although it's something we already should be doing, if you're not a regular backer-upper, you should start today!

If you're anything like me, the holiday season is spent fixing Wi-Fi and removing spyware. Occasionally, I get to install Linux for a relative who is ready to give up Windows or needs something that will run on a circa-Windows 2000 computer (Xubuntu is usually my choice).

I love Sonos. There probably are some audiophiles reading this who rolled their eyes at my lack of auditory prowess, but honestly, the speakers sound wonderful to my 1980s-damaged eardrums. Granted, the Wi-Fi-enabled speakers are very expensive, thus limiting my supply.

If you've ever dropped Mentos in a bottle of Coke with kids or grown your own rock candy in a jar with string, you know how excited children get when doing science. For some of us, that fascination never goes away, which is why things like Maker Faire exist.

When I hear the word "copay", I think of the doctor's office. Thankfully, the Copay app from the folks at Bitpay doesn't cost you anything, and it keeps your Bitcoin healthy and secure. I've mentioned many Bitcoin wallet applications and cloud solutions during the past few years, but Copay truly is different. It has features other wallets can't touch, such as:

Most of the work I do on computers is done via the command line. When I'm off on vacation somewhere, that means shoddy Wi-Fi and cell-phone tethering. Because cell-phone tethering gets expensive quick (I also have three teenage daughters with which I share a data plan), I try to use free Internet whenever I can. The biggest hassle with that method is dealing with broken SSH sessions.

I was chatting with Fred Richards on IRC the other day (flrichar on freenode) about sneaking around hotel firewalls. Occasionally, hotels will block things like the SSH port, hoping people don't abuse their network. Although I can respect their rationale, blocking an SSH port for a Linux user is like taking a mouse away from a Windows user!

Although the technology itself has been around for a while, RSS is still the way most people consume Web content. When Google Reader was ended a few years back, there was a scramble to find the perfect alternative. You may remember my series of articles on Tiny Tiny RSS, Comma Feed and a handful of other Google Reader wannabes.

I personally like Google's Chrome interface. It's simple, fast, elegant and did I mention fast? Unfortunately, I don't like how locked down the Chrome OS is on a Chromebook, nor do I like its total dependence on Google. I also don't like the lack of ability to install Chrome easily on generic hardware. Thankfully, Budgie is here to help.

I love Bitcoin. It's not a secret; I've written about Bitcoin mining and cryptocurrency in the past. I'm the first to admit, however, that we're at the very beginning of the cryptocurrency age.

If SSH is the Swiss Army knife of the system administration world, Nmap is a box of dynamite. It's really easy to misuse dynamite and blow your foot off, but it's also a very powerful tool that can do jobs that are impossible without it.