viernes, 29 de enero de 2016

Three changes in January 2016

This month is almost over and I can see that three changes have marked my relationship with technology.

1.  Android
After Mozilla announced that Firefox OS phones were history, I retired my well-loved Alcatel Fire C and bought a Blue Studio.  This turned me into another Android user.  The transition was painless (if I do not count the heartache that I felt).  The most difficult part was adjusting to the bigger unit.

2.  Amazon Kindle Fire
I bought this device two years ago, but never actually liked it.  The fact that it had a battery problem did not help: the unit had to be plugged to operate or it would quickly turn off.
However, I watched a video in YouTube and discovered that the battery had a loose connector.  Once fixed, using the Kindle has been better.  I still hate the whole concept (like the limitations to lend books and own content), but I must admit that the voice reading and sync with Linux PC and Android phone are truly useful.

3.  ISP Switch
I was simply fed up with my former ISP.  Not only was this company providing zero support for Linux, but it was also charging me an abusive price. To make matters worse, I couldn't even upload files larger than 142KB!
So I dropped the company and found another ISP that charges me a cheaper price for four times the download speed... and they do not brush off their responsibility because my machines run on Linux.

All this makes me think that 2016 is going to be a year full of change.

domingo, 17 de enero de 2016

Hello, Blu-ray Disc Player

My DVD player finally died, so I finally gave in and bought a Blu-ray Disc player.

I bought a really cheap model, a Samsung BD-F5100.

 This is a small unit, but you can connect it to your router (with a net cable) and to your TV with an HDMI cable.

That lets me play YouTube videos for my daughter without a fancy TV and with no need of the laptop.

It was a good deal.

sábado, 16 de enero de 2016

We Support Linux! (Maybe)

I have been receiving emails from a company that sells tablets and computers.  They are trying to establish a foothold in the university where I work with their products.  The problem is that they want me to buy a windows tablet.

I have a Tux plush!  Of course we support Linux!
Of course, I wrote back telling them that I have no interest on a windows tablet, but asked them to send information on tablets running Linux.  I told them that I know that companies are happy to void the warranty if one wipes out windows to replace it with Linux and that, if they sell a no-OS system, then they provide no support at all.

To my surprise, I got a reply from a representative assuring me that they were different and that they preloaded nothing unless I told them to do so and that they fully supported Linux.  This person even said that the warranty was not affected.

I inquired more only to find out that what the company actually does is to sell you a no-OS tablet and Linux can run on their hardware.  They do not preload Linux (although they do preload several versions of windows) and they have drivers available.  Oh, they can also save your "image" once you have succeeded installing and configuring Linux.

And they call that "supporting Linux"?

Of course, I dismissed the offer as a selling trick, just like the one a cable was pulling on my mother so that she dropped her ISP (which ACTUALLY supports her Pardus Linux install) and switched to them.

"But now WE also support Linux!", the guy said with a smile.

Fortunately, my mother asked them the killing question:  "Which distribution?"

The smile vanished and the guy showed that it was all trickery.

miércoles, 30 de diciembre de 2015

Disturbing News... RIP Ian Murdock

It seems that 2015 could not finish without making the last half of December painful in one way or another.

I first read about Ian Murdock yesterday.  Reading today that he was found dead under very blurry circumstances is disturbing.

The cynic may fire at me.  After all, I never met him or had any kind of contact with him.  I did not know about him until yesterday.  I do not even use Debian or Docker.

However, his death affected me...

Maybe more than I understand now.

R.I.P. Ian Murdock.  I hope his family finds support to carry on.

jueves, 24 de diciembre de 2015

Divergent News on FirefoxOS

Almost 15 days ago, with a heavy heart, I said good-bye to my FirefoxOS phone because of Mozilla's decision to stop the distribution of the devices.

Today, I read these two articles:  The first one describes how Mozilla is dropping all other projects to focus only on the Firefox browser.  The writer emphasizes the irrelevancy of FirefoxOS and supports Mozilla's decision to stay on focus with the browser. 

The second article, however, mentions how Mozilla's strategy is not to ditch FirefoxOS, but to take it to different devices where it can enjoy more success: tablets, keyboard computers, and routers, for example.   Does this mean that FirefoxOS enjoyed more success as a smart TV OS than we have heard about?


Mozilla, what are you up to?

miércoles, 16 de diciembre de 2015

Once Again, Dell Disappoints

Back in November, when they announced that Dell was taking Steam machines to stores, I was very happy.  I really wanted to try the Alienware Steam machine.

Granted, I am not much of a gamer, but my gaming experience on Linux improved drastically thanks to Steam.  So, I visited the closest Dell store and ask about the Alienware Steam machine.

They offered me the Alienware Alpha instead. 

I made it very clear that I wanted a Steam machine, not a Windows computer with a Steam client.  I want to run Linux games.

So, they got my email and promised to notify me about the availability of Steam machines.

I thought I was never going to hear from them, but they wrote to me in a matter of two days... to offer me the Alienware Alpha AGAIN!

I then wrote back, telling the Dell representative that my lack of interest on the Alpha was exclusively because it had Windows.

The guy wrote promising to give me the info in December.  Well, it's December 16 already and nothing has been heard of the Alienware Steam machines...

Why isn't Dell selling Steam machines here?  Is it because they want to help Microsoft boost up numbers of Windows 10?

How funny... Dell has not figured out how Microsoft treats its "valued" partners yet.

jueves, 10 de diciembre de 2015

So Long, Firefox OS Phones, and Thanks for All the Fun

Yesterday news came with a blow: Mozilla announced that, despite development of Firefox OS will continue, they decided to stop their three year experiment with the OS on phones.

For many, this was equal to saying that Firefox OS is dead.

Some people were surprised because this decision came when Firefox OS phones were starting to get some traction in developing markets.

Apparently, Mozilla wants to focus on its core products.  I guess that means the Firefox browser only because they are also looking for someone to pick up Thunderbird.

Mozilla, however, says that they will continue with Firefox OS in embedded devices.

I suppose that implies that I will have to buy a TV if I want to run Firefox OS again.