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 ;-)