Things come and go

As I write this I realise that I haven’t said what has been going on with the various technologies that I use or play with for while and this post was started a few weeks ago. Recently has seen a few changes with things that I use or used to. For example, I used to use Skype to keep in touch with friends over seas and family but as I have written before its no longer an option for various reasons, mostly its now Microsoft and they have ruined it. The sound quality now sucks even more than it did and the android version was good at crashing and I thought it was just me but a a recent chat with the a windows user confirmed it was a wide spread problem. The linux version was also a problem in that it hadn’t been updated fora long time and was often not working, etc. In the past couple of months they have announced a new version of the linux application, however I feel that this is mostly aimed at the chrome people because it seems more of a web app than a desk top app. Off course they would do this because they see that system as a possible cash cow. In my opinion Microsoft still don’t like linux, just look at their patent record. Will I give it a try? No, because I don’t use it often enough and won’t give microsoft money. What is really needed is a cross platform video calling system that is independent of all the major companies so that they cannot favour their system and chase trouble for others.
Other changes in progress is the phone. My phone contract is up for renewal in a few weeks and it will not be renewed! EE have been fobbing me off for two years with their so called high speed 4g service, I cannot get it at home instead I have to rely on  Wi-Fi booster box which actually has become down right unreliable. Last week I tested a giffgaff card which worked perfect straight off with 4g in my home. Perfect but I still have to wait for the contract to run out. With the new company I can change what I pay each month depending on my situation and it’s half the price. My current phone still works fine but I expect I may change it before the end of the year to another unlocked phone which I can root and make my own. I am off the option that this is the best way to go and will go as far to say that contracts and locked phones need to be phased out, even banned to give the user a lot more freedom and control. I expect this will never happen due to the large companies having to much control in the world. About time time users went to a better deal like giffgaff  in the UK or possibly ring in USA, not sure about else where.

I have also got my raspberry pi2 working as a media player, kodi but installed it using one of the preconfigured systems. Its not perfect and is a work in progress, certain things are causing problems but these can be ironed out. As I move forward with this I am learning more of what it can do, dealing with tiff files isn’t one of them so I am having to go through all of my photos and remove the tiff photos (on a seperate harddrive to the main storage). Not a bad thing though as it means that I have been able to find pictures in the wrong place as well as a lot duplicates.


Vivaldi Improving Quickly

Yes, I admit it. I am late in posting about this but things got really busy over the past few weeks but at least it gave me time to check it properly.  Any way, its given me time to play with new browser Vivaldi (available here ). Its available for linux and I expect other systems but I don’t check that because I don’t care for those. I downloaded it straight from the website and strongly suspect that it isn’t in the repos for Ubuntu and its various versions, nope, ain’t checked that either. At first I found it somewhat frustrating that I had to keep going back to Firefox (which I still really like) due to constant failures. I found that certain things didn’t work such as keepass at first but a few updates and they work fine. Early releases off new stuff always has problems so I kept testing and now use it most of the time.

The current problem that I have now is that some settings are missing or hidden that I have been used to in Firefox and what I really want is the one that I click once so that in the future history is deleted when I end the browser session. However, one of things with Vivaldi is that its more for the power user and one of the functions is being able to take notes so I am suspecting that if history was deleted on shut down then the notes will either be lost or useless.

The browser is based on the chrome engine so chrome add-ons can be used. I did think about trying join ( a thingy that connects devices) but seeing as though I use KDE which has KDE connect I really don’t see the rush, it would be nice to know though. The keepass app that I using works well, actually I tried a couple of others which were failures as far as I am concerned. Keepass actually works better with Vivaldi compared to Firefox.

Visually, its not bad but really needs to be more customizable like theming along the lines of Firefox. Just using colours is similar to the look of android which is boring but then just having colours means there is not a lot to distract the user. The lay out is nice, better access to history would be nice though. Having things such as bookmarks and downloads access from a bar on the side is a good touch.

I actually started to wright this a few weeks ago and Vivaldi has now become my default browser on my laptop. It actually seems to be improving all the time. Speed seems to be the thing, its faster and various functions are handy when I find them. Based on the Chrome engine which I absolutely hate but this has everything I need. I see  bright future for this browser and hope it gains more popularity.


Step counters can be fooled!

I recently saw an article that stated that step counters on fitbits and watches could be fooled using certain methods by lazy people. All they had to do was to attach the device to the pet dog or cat but I suppose any animal would do, or even a any child but not a lazy cat!

A few weeks ago I thought that I would try the fitness thingy on my pebble. This worked fine when I was interested in how much I was walking. Mostly to check that I was actually getting enough exercise during the day. The result so far is yes in most cases and that I found that low step counts coincided with days of feeling low energy, the more steps the better I felt. However, here’s the good bit. I found that when I was at work digging with a trowel (archaeology stuff), my watch still counted the trowelling movements and I could generally not move much and still gained alot steps on the counter thus following the health activity sensors.

Also on the pebble is the sleep thingy, I really don’t have much use for this so turned it off. Who actually wears a watch to bed? Seems a bit silly and awkward feeling  to me. The other thing is these step counters aren’t much good during the week if I’m at home because generally I have the phone in one location with the watch sat next to it. Mostly because when I’m home I see no point carrying the phone around while at the same time not really caring what the time is. But then that just me