sábado, 21 de febrero de 2015

My Four-Year-Old Daughter Rejected Windows 10

Eimi, my four year old daughter, has interacted with Linux-powered computers since she was born.  I still remember those nights in which I would pace up and down in my office, holding her and rocking her on my arms while the Linux desktop played music.

Then, Eimi grew and started enjoying her own room and, rather precociously, discovered how to use desktops and laptops. I will never forget her first encounter with PicarOS, the Linux distro for children!

Well, it turns out that the failing HD on her desktop finally went dead.  I took the machine to my favorite repair center to have the drive replaced.  In the meantime, I let Eimi use my desktop with OpenMandriva.

The technician called some days later, so I went to pick the machine up.


He had installed Windows to it.  And, to make matters worse, Windows 8.1, I thought.

I did not protest because they did not charge me for the favor (very weird), so I took the computer home.  On the way, I was trying to decide if I should keep Windows 8.1 or not.  It turned out it was Windows 10 TP.

I went democratic about the issue of keeping this OS.  So I asked my wife and she said NO.  She gave up on Windows when she bought her first laptop, a Toshiba satellite pre-installed with Vista.  Now she owns a Dell that came pre-installed with Ubuntu and became a Mageia dual boot.

Then I asked Eimi if she wanted to use her computer with Windows.  Her answer was memorable and I have it recorded on video:  "Gross.  I don't want a computer with Windows Yuck.  Gross!"

That settled the fate of the Redmond OS, which was wiped out and replaced by PicarOS Diego 2014 to the delight of my daughter.  That Linux distro for children simply keeps getting better and better.

After that, I installed Mageia 4 to dual-boot.  Yes, she regularly uses those two distros despite some people still claim that Linux is too difficult for adult users.  Go figure!

One thing is sure: I will never forget Eimi's happily yelling "My computer is back!" when she saw she could dual boot PicarOS and Mageia.

domingo, 1 de febrero de 2015

I Messed Up GRUB2... What a Happy Mistake!

Yesterday, I was using my daughter's desktop computer, which is a Mageia 4/PicarOS dual-boot, when I noticed something that has happended before: after running an update of packages, Mageia changes GRUB2 and erases the entry to boot PicarOS.

I am not very GRUB2 literate.  Last time that it happened, I solved the problem with GRUB Customizer, but it wouldn't help this time.

I tried the Mageia GRUB tool in the Control Center to no avail.

Then I installed the KDE package that lets one configure GRUB2... and that's when I messed up: trying to recover the PicarOS boot entry, I seemed to have installed a useless boot entry on the MBR and the computer, logically, could neither boot PicarOS nor Mageia.

I looked for the Mageia 4 install DVD to run the rescue tool but, since I could not find it, I ran the rescue tools from the Mageia 3 install DVD instead.  It did not work; GRUB2 could not be rescued.

Then I ran a Mageia 3 Live DVD and booted the machine to re-install GRUB2 with Mageia Control Center.  No luck, either, but I found the Mageia 4 install DVD.

Given my little knowledge of GRUB2, my only option at that point was to reinstall the system.  The thing was that I did not want to spend a couple of hours re-configuring the computer.

I ran the installation wizard and it asked me if I wanted a clean install or an upgrade.  I suddenly felt inspired and decided to take a risk.  Normally, I go for a clean install, but I selected UPGRADE instead.

The process lasted less than 5 minutes and Mageia came back to life with a resurrected GRUB2 entry for PicarOS.

But here's the best part. Prior to all this, the computer's Mageia OS had a problem that I had not been able to solve: as ffmpeg could not be updated with the tainted packages, it could not play certain videos for my daughter.

After coming back to life, Mageia told me that no repos were configured. I checked and, sure enough, the install wizard had erased all the repos.  I added them and BINGO!  the missing ffmpeg tainted package was found.

Now my daughter can see her videos again.

Some mistakes bring about happy results after all.


jueves, 29 de enero de 2015

From Opera to... Vivaldi!

Yes, the name is familiar.  Vivaldi was that KDE tablet that never saw the light of day, but now Vivaldi is the name of a beautiful browser that runs on Linux.

When I say "beautiful,"  I refer to the transitions and interesting functions that identify this Chromium-based browser as a different species.

According to the story embedded in the technical preview, part of the team that developed Opera decided that they wanted to create a browser for their friends, one that puts the user first and, following this music, they created Vivaldi:

Vivaldi TP running on Mageia
After giving it a run, I can say that Vivaldi is like listening to "The Four Seasons": This browser is packed with the dreams, hopes , and expectations of a developer team that want to give the world a powerful net surfing tool with a human side.

The browser offers an emphasis on aesthetics, interesting options for customization, note-taking space, a welcoming community, and it promises future mail functionality and add-ons. 

Tabs relocated on the left side, title bar changes color depending on page loaded

I have to admit that I found it somewhat slow but, in general, I had a pleasant experience using the technical preview of Vidaldi.  Now I want to hear the symphony once it is finished. ;)

martes, 13 de enero de 2015

Firefox says Hello! on PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva

The new update to Firefox 35 is available on PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva.

I have been expecting this update because it includes Hello, the new video-call feature from Mozilla.

For those of us who don't use Facebook, SpyMe, er, Skype, or are not satisfied with Google Hangouts, Firefox Hello stands as an interesting option to communicate using video.

Oh, and it says that you do not even need to use Firefox... Only sharing the link is enough. I have to try that.

The new MS Spartan browser, with its so-much-acclaimed-as-modern technologies (that basically bind you to MS cloud), should learn something.

On Relationships... with Computers!

It is interesting to hear my colleagues, non technical users of computers like me, comment on their average experience with their machines and the other computers that they have to interact with on a daily basis.

The reality is that, for many of us, our main work partner is a computer.  Yes, we interact with people when we teach and attend meetings.  However, when we are alone and must plan classes, prepare exams, write reports, or grade, the machine is there with us.

Most of my colleagues, obviously Windows users, seem to have engaged into a vicious usage pattern with their computers, one that, if it were a relationship, would be perceived as an abusive one: the user is "victimized" by the insensitive, demanding, and anger-prone machine.

For example, last November, since his Windows 7 computer had "walked out on him" (refused to work thanks to malware), a colleague "started a new relationship" with a machine with Windows 8.

Two days ago he wrote me complaining about the sourness of his "new relationship".

This is the same person that had told me that he hated Windows 8, but needed the computer so badly, that he could not wait. 

Ah, the nagging and the pain started soon for him.

Let us not blame the computer.  He had some problems with a Windows 7 machine before, so they "parted ways".  I took the machine to therapy (wiped out Windows and installed Linux) and now, with all her issues solved and having achieved internal peace, the machine is a great friend of mine and helps me happily. I enjoy working with it.

I do not even remember the last time I complained about the behavior of one of my computers... must have been when I was so fed up that I decided to go to counselling with Dr. Tux! :)

Well, while I have to admit that all my computers have now "dissociative identity disorder" because they all have multiple Linux personalities, each one of those identities is sweet, caring, tactful, and smart.

I started my ZaReason Strata with OpenMandriva today.  Instead of the dread that I experienced in my old days when dealing with Windows computers and I feared to see a virus warning or a blue screen, the machine literally started wishing me a happy 2015.
Cairo Dock new year greeting.  Wow, I was pleasantly surprised!

Ah, those little things... They do make a difference! ;)

sábado, 10 de enero de 2015

Crowdfunding campaign for OpenMandriva

Recently, OpenMandriva Association has launched a campaign to fund the development of the beautiful OpenMandriva Lx.

Right now, it's 59 days until the IndieGOGO-hosted effort finishes.

If you like this OS and would like to help contributing, please go here.

jueves, 1 de enero de 2015

A Theory to Explain Why December was a Disaster for Windows 8*

I woke up today, on the first day of January, and read Mechatotoro's post about the jaw-dropping December 2014 market share statistics for Windows 8*.

While the optimistic Winbeta site claims the market share loss is due to the traction gained by Windows 10, I doubt it.  I mean, Windows 10, in my opinion, looks good, but it's still in beta and not many people run it for production.  Besides, the numbers do not match...

Now, the Web is ablaze spreading the word.

Well, this article attempts to explain the phenomenon with a fact that has been silenced:  Chromebooks!

If that is true, then this prediction might not be so off after all...  In fact, I had read it before.

Maybe the prayer of the kitty was answered finally? ;)
Original image credit: Andri Oid (@andrioid), Tweet. 18 December, 2014.
Kitten prayers are powerful... :P