jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2014

The Great Paradox: On Windows 10 and Innovation

Talk about the paradoxes of life!  I woke up today and saw this article mentioning "3 new cool features" of Windows 10.  Of course they are cool.  But they are neither "new" nor "Windows features" at all.

The author and I agree on one point: With Windows 10, Windows is becoming more and more like Linux.

I wonder what whiners who claimed that "Linux is way too complicated" are going to say now.  I mean, they got their mouths slapped with Windows 8 (nothing can be possibly more confusing than that!).  But now... A package manager?  Multiple virtual workspaces?  A centralized notification center?  and (get ready for this) improvements to the terminal??  Wasn't avoiding the terminal the point of using Windows?  I still remember many Linux bashers saying that last line all the time.

All that is left for Microsoft is to make Windows open source and virtually immune to viruses.  That would make me want to use Windows again for productivity...

martes, 18 de noviembre de 2014

Testing upcoming versions: Mageia 5 and Windows 10

Yes, I know that it is almost the end of the semester and we have the International Congress coming.  I should be working.

Well, I have worked.

In fact, I have worked so hard that I fell sick, so I figured I could indulge myself while I recover... And what better way than relaxing in the peaceful world of operating systems ;-)

So, after fixing some weird problems related to VirtualBox in Mageia 4, I could finally go back to distro testing.

The first distro that I tested was Mageia 5 beta.  As usual, as the main changes are under the hood and the artwork is that of Mageia 4, it was difficult to spot the differences.

Main screen of Mageia 5 beta. Changes are invisible for the untrained eye!

On closer inspection, however, one can see Mageia is now running KDE 4.14 and some other updated software. 

Anyway, that was a real quick run test off the live DVD to see if everything was in place.  I need to install Mageia 5 to see what gives.  

Remember when I wrote a letter to Windows 8.1 before it was released publicly?  My predictions back then happened to be very accurate.

To keep the tradition, I also gave a test run to Windows 10.  In brief, I have to say that this version is better than Windows 8 and 8.1. 
Windows 10 landing screen

The Windows 10 menu: merging a functional menu with the hideous metro tiles
After login, the first thing to do in Windows: Use Internet Explorer to download Firefox!

How successful will it be?  I cannot assure it right now.  For one thing, it gives users what they wanted: a menu.  Plus, ANYTHING is better than 8/8.1.  Yet, the rather stiff implementation (imitation?) of the multiple workspaces in Linux might create some confusion...and people working on technical service will remember my words.  I mean, the virtual desktops in Windows are not even labelled.  And why is it that they switch automatically?  In Linux, you know what workspace you are in at all times and you stay there until you yourself decide to go to another one.  Best of all, you can drag and drop programs!

I will keep playing with Windows 10 to see what else this OS offers. 
Windows virtual desktops: they switch if you hover them for 4 secs and you cannot drag programs
Linux virtual desktops: switching is animated, they are well-marked, and they have drag and drop capabilities... not to mention that they do not change on their own!

jueves, 6 de noviembre de 2014

Microsoft finally got it correct

Some months ago, I visited a Microsoft site to see if it could identify my OS correctly.  I am a Linux user and the site identified my computer as a device running Windows 8.

I do not think that it is so difficult to identify the OS of a computer correctly.  I mean, this site can do it pretty accurately.  Was that a careless mistake on Microsoft's part?  Is it possible?  Or was it a poor strategy to report larger figures for Windows 8 market share?

Whatever the case, everyone knows 8 was a disaster and 8.1 did not help much.

Anyway, after all this time, I visited the MS site again and, to my surprise, it can now see me as a "non-windows user" :P  Wow!  I call that improvement!

Finally, Microsoft says I am not running Windows
To show my appreciation, I took the time to fill up the survey and evaluate the site.

miércoles, 15 de octubre de 2014

Unfinished Projects

As Megatotoro said, these have been extremely busy days, so much that I could not post a single entry during September.

Now, it's not that I haven't learned anything interesting; on the contrary, I have experimented, successfully at times, unsuccessfully some other times, with new commands and devices.

Let's see... the list of my experiments include:
  • Playing with Moondrake
  • Trying steganography with Steghide.  It seems that the trick with cat/unzip does not work anymore  :(
  • Upgrading Firefox OS on my ZTE Open--> miserable failure :-P
  • Downloading ROSA
  • Trying out bluetooth on OpenMandriva, Mageia, PCLinuxOS. 
  • Translating a survey for OpenMandriva (yay!)
But because of work piling up crazyly, I haven't been able to post ---not even an entry!--- on those...

I have to update my calendar...

Wait, that's another experiment!
  •  Linking my Google calendar to my Yahoo! calendar and the FirefoxOS phone one
Busy times, indeed.

domingo, 24 de agosto de 2014

PicarOS is back!

I had not noticed that a Mageia 4 GRUB2 update in my daughter's desktop had erased the entry for PicarOS.

When Eimi mentioned PicarOS yesterday, I remembered I had not seen the entry in quite a while, so I tried to fix the problem.

Oddly, neither GRUB customizer nor the Mageia GRUB2 installer could fix the problem.

I thus tried the GRUB2 tool that is included in KDE.  Fortunately, in a matter of three clicks, KDE reinstalled the PicarOS GRUB2 to the distro's partition.  After that, I ran GRUB customizer and it added the missing entry.

I cannot describe Eimi's happiness when the computer booted to PicarOS once again.  She played a lot with GCompris and drew many pictures.

PicarOS is a child's magnet without any doubt.  The comfort with which my little daughter uses the computer when booted to that OS is truly notorious...

miércoles, 30 de julio de 2014

My Life with Firefox OS

Let me say it plainly:  I do not like mobile phones.  What's more, I hate them more than I hate regular phones.  However, when I decided to buy a mobile phone, I knew I wanted one with Firefox OS.

The problem was that they do not sell any Firefox OS phones in my country, so I had to go to Amazon and got a ZTE Open.

It is not the best smartphone in the market, I know.  In fact, I read lots of reviews before buying this phone.  The most interesting point was that it was labeled a "developer" device, not an end-user phone.  Even with its many "flaws," I made up my mind and bought this smart thingie because it has everything I want on a cellphone: Firefox OS ;-)

I had used an Android phone before and the difference between that one and the ZTE Open was enormous.  The Android phone, despite being old and partially damaged, was a tamed dog: it did everything it was commanded to, the apps were consistent and responded promptly, and the services were all orchestrated by Google, the master conductor.   On the other hand, the ZTE, thanks to its Firefox OS 1.0, was a true smartphone with a mind of its own: apps would occasionally install, but not launch, or they would open and close by themselves, and the sound would go mute showing the free will of the phone.  To sum up, it was like a herd of cats... er, foxes!

I thought that I had to live dangerously and decided to upgrade the OS to Firefox OS 1.1.  After all, if I bricked the device, it had been cheap.

After I followed this great tutorial here, my ZTE Open had Firefox OS 1.1.  With the new version, the rebelliousness of the phone went away and the device now behaves like a regular cellphone should, that is, predictably... So much that even my almost-four-year-old daughter loves playing with it.

Main screen (Yes, Nihilumbra!)
Main apps

My installed apps
Blogs screen :-)

I also use it more often because the apps that I like now work.  I check my email, browse the Web, keep track of my jogging (Run Recorder), manage my projects (Projector), study languages (Cabra Flashcards), and even chat in WhatsApp (via ConnectA2). 

But I make almost no calls.

Yes, I still hate phones :-P

viernes, 25 de julio de 2014

On LibreOffice and the Challenge to Install Linux to the New Office Computer

The University where I work declared the use of .odt as an institutional interest in 2011 but, unfortunately, the migration took a long time to reach my faculty.

However, the presence of LibreOffice is becoming more visible this year:
1.  At the School meetings, you see that the computers now run LibreOffice.
2.  LibreOffice substituded MS Office in all lab computers. 
3.  The School acquired new computers, which where placed in the professors' offices.  I was not hoping those machines to run on Linux, but it was good to see that they come with Windows 7 (not the 8 disaster) and it was great to see that LibreOffice was included.
4.  Yesterday, at a meeting, the speaking professor delivered her presentation using LibreOffice Impress, not PowerPoint.
5.  Occasionally, one .odt document hits my institutional email mailbox.

So, there is hope :)

Now, regarding the new office computer... It has Windows 7 professional and UEFI.  My brother Megatotoro activated legacy boot so that we could run Linux distros on that machine and yesterday, he presented me with a challenge:  to install a Linux distro.

I was hesitant because I only had an OpenMandriva Lx USB and I had never installed it as a dual boot with Windows 7.  I remember having installed Mageia to a Win7 UEFI desktop as a dual boot, but I was not sure this was going to work.

Anyway, I took the leap of faith and proceeded with the installation.  OpenMandriva Lx worked like a charm: it took care of the partitioning (interestingly, it said "Moondrake" instead of "OpenMandriva" :D) and installed itself in less than 10 minutes.  When we booted the machine (expecting a catastrophe, if I must be honest), none of our visions of doom panned out.  GRUB2 picked up Windows 7, that OS was fully operational, and OpenMandriva also launched (desktop effects included, yay!).

So, my brother pimped it up with the Ghost desktop theme and window decorations, we updated the distro, installed some packages, and got ready to enjoy Linux on that office machine.

Yes, I am feeling happy ;-)