I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year and hope that you get what you wish for over the next twelve months.
This time last year I laid out my plans but many didn’t happen for one reason or the other. Yes, I will also admit that I don’t post on a regular schedule but I occasionally get writers block, just don’t have the time or just plain cann’t think of anything.
It is also customary or seems to be that tech people at this time of year make predictions for the new year. So I will as well. Not much will change, the big companies will keep inundating us with lots of good stuff and even more over priced junk. They will also waste millions in courts around the world over pointless software patents with the end user being penalized with high prices to pay for it all. Hardware I can understand but software? This ultimately must add to the final cost to the user as well as affecting the development of technology in a negative way. I think it would benefit all of us in the end if there was some form of collaboration or agreements.
In light of the massive internet security breaches I see the big companies doing something about the security of their services. Indeed, reports have already suggested that this is happening or at least they say they are but who are we to believe? I actually don’t think anything will change because the vast majority of the world population simply don’t care. Some of us do and plan on better personal security including encryption of emails, etc. But just how safe and reliable is that? Also due this security thing as well as intrusions by crackers (proper word, not hackers thats something else) and companies like google, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an increase in people rooting their devices with the aim of taking better control of their devices.
I DO see a few things being possible. Smart watches will become big. They look really useful (and I really do want one, hint hint manufactures…send one for review hint hint). New TV’s will come out, both in viewing quality and function with remotes dying out because people are using their phone/tablets to control them. 4k tv’s, yes please but the price is way to high and may remain so for months. Advances in 3d without glass will be made. Google glass type things will become more common but the price will still be high for sometime. CD’s will continue to die out as more people turn to internal or cloud storage. I actually have a feeling that the cloud may lose some of its appeal due to the internet security situation, people simply won’t trust it. Its a good idea but is it secure and just how much does the user have real control? I also see the mobile battle continuing but its got very boring and I really don’t care which system is the most popular but I do see security being needed on all the mobile platforms due to an increase in malware, virus and other crap which we really shouldn’t have to put with if the internet providers and security people did their job!
Think I’ve done enough!
This morning I thought I would try something that I remembered seeing mentioned a few weeks ago. KDE integration with my android device. Its one of those things that is still very much in development and doesn’t seem to have been around that long. The website ( https://albertvaka.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/introducing-kde-connect/ ) appears to suggest that it is a result of the 2013 Google summer of code. I really liked the idea of this so wanted to get it to work. It took 2 to 3 hours of reading and checking the post and various links to finally get a solution and yes it does work.
First I downloaded the app from the google store and it is also available from F-Droid app store as well.
Then I installed the application from the mint repositories making sure that everything was installed but nothing happened. Well, it did, both the phone and Nexus7 saw each other so there may be a possibility of pairing these two up with the app. But nothing showing on the laptop. I restarted it and low and behold the application showed after this but still it was not seeing the android devices. More searching…
Hidden within all the comments of problems and solutions was a comment that suggested the installation of libgca2-plugin-gunpg and libgca2-plugin-ossl. On checking I found that these were not installed so I got those installed… nothing so I restarted the laptop again. It worked, the laptop saw the phone and the tablet and I successfully paired the phone to the laptop. There is also a widget that you can (maybe need) to go in the task bar.
The title says it all, its that time of year when those with families spend time with them but us sad people who return our families to the ex have time to think. Time to think of the future and ways to improve and update or what ever you want with your systems. I’m particularly thinking of making sure I have everything totally up to date before I go back to work and while I’m at it getting a few problems ironed out or making a note of them for later solving. I also want my gadgets to be set up for better integration, with themselves as well as the web.
I have spent the morning doing a fresh install on my laptop with KDE mint. If you have read previous posts you may have got the impression that my favourite desktop is KDE and having used Mint for the past few months that is what I chose. It simply works best for me although I still really like Fedora I have found that many services don’t seems to bother with packages for RPM distros, simply sticking with .deb’s and with KDE on top of mint I can customize it how I want. However, I have already found a few changes with the new install. One being changing desktop picture, I now have to left click, then click on folder settings and I can change the back ground picture.
After the install I installed my usual stuff, Thunderbird, Spotify, Skype and Nightingale. No problems but Nightingale still crashes with lastfm login and expect the same will happen with soundcloud as well so that will have to get sorted.
I also notice with the KDE is one or two other things that wasn’t there before. For example, I saw that format present when I plugged my new external harddrive in. Must be time to sort the USB drives…
Now to check other stuff.
When I got my new phone one of the first things I did was add my tried and trusted and well used apps that I use rely on. One of these is BeyondPod which I use most days to provide entertainment to and from work. One of my favorite podcasts is found on Spreaker radio. For some reason I just couldn’t get it to work as BeyondPod requires the feed address to start with http:// and I kept replacing it with the feed address beginning of www. for some reason I just couldn’t get it to work. I didn’t even think of actually changing the beginning, maybe caused by tiredness or just plain not thinking! So for my future benefit and hopefully yours if you need it…
To get the web feed of the webcast you want to subscribe to go to the manual feed add screen in BeyondPod and enter the address changing the www. to http:// , it should work like it did with me.
For example:- www. spreaker.com/user/4690707/episodes/feed becomes http://spreaker.com/user/4690707/episodes/feed
It should then just show up in the All Feeds screen with everything else. Proceed as normal.
For a long time I have been having a problem with the phone signal on my mobile phone at home and as we all know having a cell phone is important part of life now and it actually is an important tool in my system. The signal simply was totally rubbish to none existent where I spend most of my time and just down right a pain in the rear. About a year ago I complained to my provider about this and after 3 months of phone calls and emails, etc I was still in the same situation. They wanted my to call them on phone number which was premium charge which on a mobile is a lot of money. So I left it as I wasn’t getting any where.
Skip forward to a week ago and once again I was thinking that having the contract and paying for it when I couldn’t actually use it was actually wrong. I rang them again as I was not receiving texts or calls that I knew should be coming through because of the lousy signal (I had to walk up the hill). They told me that they would check with the engineers. True to their word, I had a call the following day, the nice gentleman went through everything, in much more detail than before. I was told that they couldn’t do much but they may be building a new tower at a much later date to give better coverage than before in my area.
A solution was offered which I liked and checked the router when I got home. I seem to have been living in my own little world for some time as I didn’t know that Three had a signal booster available (costs over 100 quid) which is why I didn’t really know about it in the first place as alot of their stuff to buy is quite expensive. Anyway, they offered this device to me which I accepted, it appears that because there was very little to no chance of getting the solution fixed anytime soon I was offered it for free. Maybe the words…’may not renew next year’ might have had something to do with it. The device arrived yesterday and is now working, very easy to set up and I can now send and receive texts and phone calls. The thing actually works of the internet so unlimited broadband is required although I suspect that it doesn’t actually use that much. So, if your signal is crap at home, I suggest getting one of these little boxes of magic.
All this means I’m happy and I can actually use my phone at home, thanks Three
I thought of this a few weeks ago and cann’t truthfully remember what prompted it but I felt that I had to write this.
Like many people I will download the free apps but I recently realised that the apps that I use the most, such as poweramp, Beyond pod, and one or two others are paid for. For some reason people seem reluctant to pay £1 – £5 for an app but will use a basic free app with has very little to offer simply because its free or they just don’t want to pay up. Whats this? a couple of coffees or beers or a junky big mac?
The reasons I will and prefer to use paid apps or just the paid versions is because they have the extra features that I want and will perform better many free apps and in some cases, also better than the ones that came as part of the system. Just take a look at the trial versions for example, you’ll get basic usage but once you pay for the app then you can for example, have a music player which as a full set of settings that you can adjust to make it more useful or pleasing to you. I actually find that poweramp is nicer to use than the google player as I can customise it in various ways including appearance. I’m not that bothered about spending the money as I know full well that if I know what I want to begin with, I will get what suits my needs (with a little searching around) and the paid apps are very often what will do that. Many free apps simply don’t have what I want, including adverts that clog up my phone screen.
Another advantage that I have found is that the paid apps have a better website to get information and also forums to help use them as well as solve any problems.
Its just not having the app that you really want for your needs but also, a good reason for paying for the app is that it helps to support the developer who works to keep the app going with updates, etc.
I have had some thinking time lately and for some reason my attention has been caught by the amount of apps being removed by Google from their app store. I think its the type of app that has caught my attention. I don’t think its my imagination but it seems to be ones that allow the user to have more control of their device. Now, I’m not going to knock them for this has its their site but I suspect there is more going on behind the scenes to cause this but I am sure some of it is greed and control. In one case, my mind is thinking that there is out side influences. I am of cause referring to the removal of the Cyanogenmod app this past week. The reason stated was that it encouraged users to void the warranty of their device. Yeah, right, this may be true but the users are doing this for a reason. They want something better on their phones or simply the OEM’s are not providing the updates which, in my opinion, the user is entitled to. Another reason is simply that the user may want to try new ROM’s which suit them better and without the bloatware.
Now to the reason that has crossed my mind. The OEM’s/phone companies whom the owners got the phones of will have put a load of useless apps on the phones which may bring them some money in and the removal of the apps simply cut of this income. So I am thinking that they have ‘had words with the goog’ about this and google have done the deed. I may be wrong but think about it, it is possible. I hope that the Cyanogen people can get the app back on but I doubt it will happen. It would be nice to be able to use the app myself but they haven’t done a linux interface for PC’s.
Another reason I think this is happening is that google want control of peoples phones/android devices because a percentage of people will remove or install the various google stuff back on to the phone and they use this stuff to track peoples device use for advertising purposes. I know I want to get some of it mine because I don’t want it (including chrome which I hate in all its forms)! I have noticed that adblock as been removed, I happen to like this app being on my devices as I am sure that it cuts the amount of rubbish being downloaded onto my phone and thus taking up my data allowance. I particularly like the idea of this app stopping ads within apps that I am using which isn’t often these days as I pay for many apps.
I have also begun to find alternative app sites for a bit more freedom although finding one that doesn’t have apps full of malware, etc and that I can trust may be difficult. The research begins. If you know of any please add a comment with the app store.
Right, said my piece. I may be wrong but these are my thoughts on the matter and only mine and no one elses.