sábado, 6 de diciembre de 2014

Hotspots: My Firefox OS phone saved the day

I might be many things, but I am sure I am not a NOMOphobic individual.  As a matter of fact, I can survive pretty well without a mobile phone.

I don't like mobile phones.  What's more, I hate all kinds of phones. 

I guess that makes me a telephonephobic.

However, and as paradoxical as it may be, I own a ZTE Open Firefox OS phone, which I use basically to check my email and calendar on the go, quickly browse a web page, and receive messages from family members.

I practically never use the function that gives the device its name (telephone), that, is, making calls.  I see my phone as a tiny tablet thingie and use it as such.

But today, I had to take care of my 4-year-old daughter.  It was raining and she is recovering from a bad flu, so going out was out of the question.  The cable was not working, so no TV for her... which she did not really mind.  But she wanted to use her computer to see her favorite videos online and we had no connection.

What to do?  I used the phone as a hotspot to share its Internet connection with my laptop.  How?

You go to Settings, and then select Internet Sharing.   Then you give your Wi-fi hotspot connection a name and select a type of security (I use WPA2).  Then you assign the password and, voila, you just turn your phone into a mini wi-fi router.

My daughter was happy because she was able to see her videos while I prepared her lunch.  Then we played with her Monster High dolls and her Plants vs Zombies plush toys until she fell asleep.

Now I am writing this entry using the hotspot of the ZTE Open Firefox OS phone.

Mmm.  I might not be NOMOphobic, but I surely am a no-net phobic person!

By the way, if you own an Android phone, this is the procedure:

Settings -> Wireless and networks -> Tethering and portable hotspots

lunes, 1 de diciembre de 2014

On Document Sharing and Ignorance

I have never understood why is it that so many Windows users ignore basic strategies to open files.  I mean, when producing a document, they are like zombies: they do not seem to know that, if they do not select a friendly format, compatibility issues arise.  And I am talking about MS Office-produced documents!

Fortunately for them, with the impending migration to LibreOffice, their problem will soon be solved ... but they don't know.

In the meantime, the document hell they are going through is getting more and more complicated with each version of MS Office and Windows!

Sometimes I feel tempted to do this :D

domingo, 30 de noviembre de 2014

Ice cream Day

Three weeks ago, I bought some ice cream, but could not eat it because I got a terrible sore throat.

I mean, the thing was hideous.  It was so painful that I could barely talk, let alone eating ice cream... so my treat stayed buried at the back of the freezer all this time.

My colleagues have also been falling like flies, which is bad because we have to finish a report.  And they have also complained about a new USB virus complicating their lives. But all I have to worry about is to get better.  No computer viruses to complain on my side.

Today, when I was working on the report, I found the forgotten ice cream and, finally, I ate it...

Boy, it's good it was I who got the infection and not my computer. :P

Experiments: TheBrain

After a long time without using, it, I installed TheBrain again.  This is a mind mapping software that I used back in 2009, when I first migrated to Linux.  I remember I used it on an ultra-modest Asus Eee PC and it ran beautifully... Back then, the software used to be called PersonalBrain.  I think that the version I used was 4.5 or something like that...

In preparation for the International Congress, I decided to revisit the company making it to see if they still produced a Linux version.  They do!  The trial version of TheBrain 8 is *pretty much* fully operational.  The file installs without any hassle on Mageia and PCLinuxOS.  I noticed that the program crashes when I tried presentation view, however, which stopping me from paying the $219 license right away.

TheBrain 8 running on Mageia 4

It is a pity that we cannot find anything like this on Linux.  I mean, there are several mind mapping programs (I like Vym the best), but they do not include the nice animations that TheBrain displays...

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.