Thursday, 24 March 2011

"Curses and Sweariness" - When technology doesn't work

(Bleak Expectations again)
I have had many problems with technology and most of them have been fixable or otherwise eliminated. But I did say most. There are some which really get me, the kind which are soo annoying and there seems no way to fix them. One of the most annoying was when I had connected my iPod to my Linux computer and had put on some images which I didn't want and couldn't get rid of them. I had to go into the iPod's folders and delete the images from there, but when I did, ti claimed a malformed file and wouldn't sync with iTunes or gtk iPod manager. Somehow it fixed itself on iTunes, but hasn't on iPod manager.

Another is that I have Conky set up to display my system information, part of it on the left, part of it on the right, but now it stops at half-way, flasing up the right half then it disappears. Why does this suddenly happen?/ Why can't technology just work. I;m a computer geek and even I have problems. How are people's mums going to manage??????????????? Everything nees to be compatible with each other and have easy helpful tips to fix things if they go wrong.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

"Damn, blast, Hells Teeth and God's Elbow" - Button order on Android phones

(Today's title is another from Bleak Expectations. I have been listening to the comedy series a lot recently)

Best if i let it out straight away. I hate the fact that some companies put the buttons/ touch sensitive pad things in different orders on their Android phones. It looks wrong, is confusing and means people press the wrong button. As I have a non-android phone with the back button on the right-hand side (LG KC550) I naturally disagree with the back button on the left. Also as I'm left-handed I would have to change hands to press the back button if it was on the left. (This is quite a relaxed rant today - must be really tired) And as I'm an avid HTC supporter I insist on the home button on the left as it's then the first button you press so its like an iPhone where you press the home button as its the only button to press. Then, being more HTC it goes: Home,Menu,Back,Search. It goes in order. Mostly people just want to quit the application so they press home. Then theu might want to access the menu in an app so would press the menu button. Then back as it isn't much used unless on email or twitter - but there are widgets for that. And finally search as it's not used much. It just makes sense (HTC Sense!!!!) and is how every phne should be. Put those buttons in the right order, Smasung, Motorola, Sony (Erricson), Dell, HP, Casio.........etc.

And while you're at it, Google partner with HTC not Samsung as they have been following you ever since Android started to become a success away from Windows Mobile, and havemade many of your best Android phones whereas Samsung made their own phones with their own OSes but now support Android. Support HTC as they have the buttons in the RIGHT order!

Note toself: find out if it's HTC or htc and why when they say quietly brilliant on the startup it makes a noise

Thursday, 17 March 2011

"So Mike likes packages then" - Package managers for Linux

(Today's quote comes from the Tuxradar podcast)
Apt, RPM, Gdebi, tarballs, scripts, Synaptic, Add/Remove software, Software manager, Conary, Aptitude, Apt-fast, packman.................................................
The list never ends. How many more package managers do we need? Most package formats are based on old archives and are a pain to manage. Nearly every Linux distro from the top 50 probably has its own package manager or format. Having different formats is bad enough, but having Synaptic, MintInstall, Software Centre, Add/Remove software aptitude and good old apt-get for one package format is really bad. Hoy many ways can there be to install a program???? Does every community really feel the need to make a new package manager either because they don't like the current one or because they just want to? Can't they all just merge and work on 1? At lest then we would only have to worry about Apt, RPM and tarballs without having to explain to each user that they might have to try a different method to get an image editor or audio creator. Another problem is providing programs on disc. There isn't enough room to put three different packages of each program on a disc.

This Apt has Super Cow powers
Debian made a good package format back when their distro was released and called it Apt (Advanced Packaging Tool). However, this successful format and tool was built on the aging archive .ar and this lets it down as it could be updated to be more efficient. Synaptic is the natural graphical tool to use in place of the command apt-get and most others like MintInstall are based around it. But Synaptic has a very complex interface where packages are shown by name not by program name. As these contain version numbers and lib or -devel prefixes and suffixes this confuses newbies and that is why so many other managers were created. Why can't all the Apt managers form one combined program which has the easy interface ideas of the spin-offs but the advanced functionality of Synaptic (maybe an advanced mode that IS Synaptic)?

Red Hat, the company behind RHEL and Fedora made RPM. This again uses an old archiving system: CPIO. It is so old it was used for putting data onto tape storage and is reallyhard t ouse. RPM has no 'standard' graphical interface like Apt does with Synaptic, instead is only has the rpm command and makes use of Add/Remove software or whatever each distro provides. Again using the rpm command is harder than apt-get (sudo apt-get install somepackage) as you have to use some cmoplicated su stuff (again I hate why some distros use sudo some use su and others use both) or yum. Again this changes every release. so it's either 'su -c 'yum install -optionhere packagename'' or 'su -c 'rpm -i packagename''

And there is Slackware. I leave Pat with his custom package format as it is a one-off special case.

Why can't we have 1 unified package format with others open to choosing, but a friendly Linux package like Apt? Update it to work with a better archive and it will fit the bill every time. I understand that programs or Desktops can be argued over but package formats?? They are a core part of the system. How hard is it to have a standard??? I know this is free software, but there are some other versions of software created for the sake of creation! The core parts of any operating system, open or closed should be the same without any differentiation except where changed by the user for personal preference. There should be a Linux 2011 where all the best aspects and learning points from all distros are rolled into 1 and the others are still there for people to choose but there is a standard.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

"Annoyalments, Peevifications and a whole sack of Grrrr" - Fragmentation in Android

Today's Rant is about the fragmentation in Android version numbers across the whole platform and the quote is from Bleak Expectations.

Android has one problem that iOS does not and that is the fragmentation of version numbers. there are new phones that have the latest Gingerbread but quite a few new phones released after Gingerbread only have FroYo or worse. Having 2.3 and 2.2 is ok but not as good as it could be. Even worse is the fact tha t there are still people with laggy tablets running 1.6 Donut as the manufacturers or the company providing the tablets to it's employees haven't bothered to update it. This means there are people who don't have critical features and is akin to having half you football team in the Premiership as 4 year olds and playing on the opposition's side or not turning up. We need to solidose on 2.2 and 2.3 then get everyone to move to 2.4 at the same time.

The problem is all these companies contributing privately to Android (which they are by all means allowed to do - it's free software). But, they take the code from Google after the next version is released and spend ages making their addons like User Interfaces or other tools and the users either don't get the update as the company drops the handset or they get it after the next version comes out. Why can't there e a tea from each mobile company working at Google and they all work together on the Android codebase each creating seperate branches for their particular parts which then can be pulled in for each build and all builds can be released at the same time. HTC's build will have Sense but not TouchWiz or whatever others use. Also, main ideas will be shared and eventually a single refined unified UI can be created and Android will be in a good position to fight with iOS or work alongside it as a viable alternative. Why can't they all sit down or video-conference each other from their tablets and sort it ou. Agree to work for each other. It will make life much more simpler. How hard can it be? The coalition Government sort of managed it and they have the pressure of running the country/stealing our money on their shoulders. I would do it myself if i had the time but I guess you cant win them all.