That darn raspberry

The past few months have been pretty grotty with with lots of rain and coldness (someone said it called Winter) So I have taken the chance to play with something new. The raspberry pi that I bought myself for Christmas (yeah, right,  any excuse) was got out of the box with a view to setting up owncloud. All I  can say is that there seems to be no set way of doing this. I followed one set of instructions to find problems because there issues with packages no longer used or out of date and no updates forth coming. Other sets of instructions said something else,  come on people,  keep your instructions up to date and at least correspond with others. It would be nice to have one central place where the most up to date information on this kind of thing was kept and if anyone found alterations or improvements in any part of the setup needed making then they should be able to add these to update the information.

So, I decided to put the wordpress project on hold for a while and set up the pi as normal following the instructions on the website and it works like a dream. I am going to use it for messing around and learning to code. Which I think was the origin intention before makers got their grubby hands on it and came up with lots of good useful stuff. I did have a little trouble on start up at first.

One point that I found needed to be made aware of is that there is a little switch on the SD card holder on the board itself that makes it read only and you can only read the card and able to run the system. That was found in a little article after wasting 4 hours trying to reset up the device (had worked first time). My initial try had gone so badly wrong that I decided to redo the card but the switch may have been in the wrong position (its really hard to find).

Expect more on this in the future!



Not a Swift Smart Move!

Right! A rant…

This week we saw the news that Microsoft had gone and bought Swiftkey, in my view the best keyboard for Android. I have been using Swiftkey for a while, beginning in the old days when they charged you. As in I paid them literately a week before they when free. When it was first announced I got the new snazy version,neural with the IA which had a lot promise but no updates were forth coming.

Then last week they go and sell out to the Microsoft scum! I am not at all happy about this due to my total mistrust of the Micro$oft lot. I am hoping that Swiftkey can continue moving forward as they have been but I will no longer be seeing what they get up to.


I have decided that I will take a stand and not use this keyboard for a number of reasons. The first is obvious if you have read previous posts. I simply don’t trust Microsoft, from the side lines I have been watching what they get up to and I really don’t like it. I fear that my personnal data will be up loaded via the keyboard, remember, what you type in goes up the line to Swiftkeys servers to make the typing better which is does but with the larger company involved I don’t feel at all happy. I am also concerned that Swiftkey itself will be badly affected as it gets added to Microsoft products (which is why they bought it) and the end result may well not be pretty (look at skype, nokia, etc). I strongly believe that that this is a very bad idea.

So SwiftKey, best off luck with your new overlords because I and many others won’t be there to help you!

Oh! by the way…I want my money back!


You Call That a Smart TV?

I have had a bit of fun recently with my mind going on overdrive. Spread over the past couple of months I have had a couple of visits to the ‘toy shop’ (Maplins). Around mid December I decided to go a head and go for the home server but this as seen some side benefits. The first was the much thought ‘that would be nice’ network cable sort out so a multi cable box came home with me.

I spent most of one day a couple of weekends ago getting my cables more organized and finished by setting up a small network or should that be a called something else? What it basically is, is that a I have one ethanet cable coming into the room and I needed more. One for the Roku,  one for the TV and one for the home server. When I tested it all worked fine,  my Samsung TV hadn’t been connected for close to a year so the expected update took place and the Internet interface got updated as well. Close to 30 apps,  most of which were of no use or interest to me so I wasted half an hour uninstalling things. If this so called smart TV was smart it wouldn’t have installed them in the first place. What I was left with wasn’t much different from the Roku and what I essentially got was Samsung sponsored junk. More I think about it the more I want another Raspberry pi  for a home media centre along the lines of Kodi. Let’s look on the bright side,  I can now control my TV with my Pebble watch! I am strongly suspecting that much newer smart TV’s are better than this but at least Kodi would let me have more control what apps are downloaded.


Does Microsoft really love Linux?

Just recently I have started to wonder if Microsoft really does love Linux or whether it’s got something going on behind the scenes which would enable it to take it and destroy or totally control it.

Let’s start with the recent announcements regarding red hat,  etc.  Do they really need to partner up for the stated reason or are they just trying to inch their way in to these Linux companies with the aim of eventually squashing them so that companies and the home users has to use Microsoft crappy products? Let’s face it,  they are still spreading  lies about litre office in Europe.  I have read articles stating that Microsoft actually blackmailing those with power or influence to get companies and government departments to use their rubbish bloated office applications. Even where I work seems to have changed over to more Microsoft stuff, I think this come from outside of the IT department because one or two staff aren’t impressed.

Another example is with Android. What’s with the likes of Samsung putting Microsoft apps on their devices ?  This only gives users another excuse to root and remove software that they don’t want,  including me!  Thankfully I got a phone last year before this blackmail by Microsoft kicked but when the time comes for a new device then it is likely that I  will be going for a nexus phone. I am strongly suspecting that the scum bags at microsoft are using patents to get their way. Personally I think that software patents are bad for the user and the advancement of technology and should be out right BANNED!

So where will this lead? I think a majority of the population don’t care enough to do anything but those of us who do will find ways to control what we have and not use what we believe to be to be products that are inferior and bloated.


Moving Forward With Frustration

There is moving forward and then there is moving forward.  By that I  mean being handed new tech and having no say or having to wait for others do the up dates when they feel that the time is right.  I have been wanting to try new stuff with ideas on how I want my systems to be or look like. An example of this is sitting and reading about kde 5 or plasma but it not being  available for mint kde.  Apparently it is felt that it is not and its buggy. I thought linux was about choice!  I  checked the forums for help or any info and all I found was unhelpful peolle saying wait and not actually making suggestions on how to upgrade, at least they should either answer the question with suggestions or just keep quiet.  Just bias towards control of the user through bias opinion, I expect this from Apple and Microsoft NOT a Linux distro! I saw this kind if thing with PClinuxOS and stopped using it.

Further research pointed to Kubuntu,  I try this awhile ago and liked it so once again I downloaded it,  I  can always add and take stuff away. I tried the live dvd and it was fast. I  do have a feeling that there is going to be restrictions on what I can download from the repositories so to move forward further I am  working on terminal skills to download from source so no waiting for someone else.  This could also help in the quest to gain control of my android devices, root and  custom ROMs may well give the freedom to get security updates faster than the unreliable normal sources.

Thanks to todays rain I have installed Kubuntu with plasma and the main issues have been Samba and email, acually, I forgot I had to get a special password from gmail to use thunderbird with it. Not keen on Kmail.

Wtach this space for a possible samba solution, I think I am close!


Gmail app update sucks

There as recently been a load of updates put out by google for their various apps in preparation for or to get people used to, Android L. I have really liked most of them, nice clean look although the colour scheme seems to be somewhat bland, this I presume is to not distract the user from the content they want to look at. However, the new Gmail app not only has a horrible new look but one or two new features that suck to the extreme.

I am off course talking about the additional feature to add other accounts, nothing wrong with that as some people will like it and make use of. What as prompted me to rant and write is because there is no choice in the addition of other accounts. I found that they were just added with no consent of the user/owner of the device. It really sucks that the user who decides and wants to keep everything separate has no choice! I have decided therefore not to use the app on my tablet on which I updated and not to install the update on my phone.

I will hopefully find a solution to fix this and write an update when I find the solution on how to stop the app from adding other email accounts without my consent.

The good news however is that I have managed to get an invite to googles inbox which I already consider far better than the actual gmail app ever was.


Music Streaming, Just What is the Solution?

This past week music streaming and in particular, Spotify as been in the news with Taylor Swift (who ever she is), pulling her music from Spotify and giving reasons as to why (I think she is a hypocrite  because she has left her stuff on youtube where you and every other person listens for free). It as highlighted one of the problems faced by musicians today. Musicians from all genres have for decades had to fight/put up with various lessening of their income in particular thanks to the internet. I have touched on the subject before concerning illegal downloads but streaming is a whole different ball game. The whole thing has highlighted the plight of musicians not getting paid what they deserve. I personally consider streaming a good ideal as it enables people to find new bands if using radio feature or listen to new music while saving up for the album (in my case spent /gone waayyy over their music allowance).

However, despite coming out in favour of Spotify and others I feel that it is about time that free streaming needs to end! People need to learn to pay for their music and support their favourite bands. I also think that musicians are acting grossly unfair by, has I see it, picking out Spotify in particular. They need to act against Youtube as well, it is well know that many people use Youtube to listen to music for free.

So who’s fault in all this? Everyone.

The solution is difficult to find but the general public need to be educated that music needs to be paid for because otherwise the artists will not have the money to continue. But having said this I am convinced that they really don’t care about what they listen to. Just look at the charts, listen to public radio, etc. The music mostly sucks because the good stuff as been knocked out of the way because people just don’t care!

This all comes at a time that I have more or less settled into a personal music revolution or a reverse to old habits combined with new internet advantages. I have started buying vinyl again because it sounds better and not prone to being lost due to faulty harddrives, failing that, CD’s. If I do download then I only do it if the files are ogg format or something else better than mp3 (which sucks big time). This does of course mean that my subscription to emusic is no more and if anything thing changes with their downloads then I will be unable to update the post on that subject.


A Week of Frustration

Actually various things have been frustrating me the past couple of weeks. As much as I try and solve the problems, nothing works. The normal check of the forums and any where else has failed, others have tried what I have tried and no solution has been found. I am tempted to go back and restart but will likely get the same results.

Most of it started with an upgrade to the pebble app but the problem emerged in the previous release and nothing seems to be fixed. It appears to be a bluetooth connection issue in android 4.2.2 which the pebble people have admitted to and are working on but its made several of my favourite apps unreliable. On top of this one of my favourite apps which shows one hell of a lot of promise, Awear, has been seriously screwed up since a recent update which included G+ notifications, my understanding is that some rewriting had also been undertaken on the Gmail stuff. Sorry guys but I think you should have sorted the Gmail stuff first and then sorted the G+ stuff out later. I have tried a number of solutions to all this including reinstalling the app, etc and while it worked OK for the about an hour or so it then went back to how it was before. So to try and fix the pebble issue (last ditch), I can see the app on the phone getting the uninstall reinstall treatment and the watch getting factory reset (again) just to try and get the functionality back.

I’ve also had the frustration of updating apps on the phone and they haven’t been right either. Take podomatic for example, every time an update comes through it becomes useless. The last two times it doesn’t show my stuff such as alerts, notices or the shows that I follow. So once again I will have to install and start again. I also have a feeling I’m going to have to redo musicboss, it doesn’t work with Spotify like it did before the latest update. I have a sneaking suspicion that its gone back to default settings ( listen dev people of all apps and other forms of software, this really annoys the users of your releases when they see their settings set back to default).

Right, enough…

I’m going to head over to do my Linux foundation course and then get  try to fix the problems out.


The Lockedin System Craze is Bad

In recent months two keynote speeches made by Apple and Google have shown how their systems will be interconnected with all your stuff across all devices and seemingly locked in to the system of that one company as you are restricted to their services to enable this and no one elses. You will not be able to own devices by both companies and easily use the services of both. For example. if you use an apple phone and other stuff from the company with a big steel wall you cannot use anything google for example unless you use third party apps and then you have no chance of using iTunes (not that any sane person would want to). Its the same with google, they appear to be getting more like apple with the way they try and lock you into their system. Their API’s are being replaced with their propriety ones thus shutting people out. Beside, google services and apps don’t seem to have a safe life, they seem to die at some point but I have written about this before. The only company that seems to be seeing what is happening and is likely to benefit from all this is Microsoft. Since the new boss as arrived they seem to be more user friendly than the other two who are becoming not so. Microsoft have released apps to enable the use of their services on all systems thus giving users more or less equal chance of benefiting. In the end the company that is able to allow access to services across all platforms/systems will benefit the most.

While I can see the benefit of having all your stuff available on all your devices, its nothing new. With a little thought and research you can but third party apps are often needed (often better than those dedicated for purpose from the big companies)  but there is the added benefit that you have more control. I am also suspecting that if you don’t use google apps for example then you cannot have your use monitored by that company. Which is another reason why I think companies are trying to lock you in, to monitor or a better word for it, spy on you. In googles case, make more money from you using your data for adversing purposes. Has far as I am concerned I can see this all as a huge disadvantage to the user.

First, you are restricted to just one company, if their servers go, then your stuff is gone unless you have it backed up on your own hard drives. Second, their devices may not fit you, by that I am suggesting that the device will not be right for you and what you intend to use it for. The locked in attitude may also mean that you will not be able to customize it to be fit for your personal use and your situation.

Secondly, and this will become increasingly problematic especially if each company insists on you using their file formats. People will not be able to share photos, documents and other things. For example, it will mean companies will have to waste money on ensuring that they can send files to other companies which they can open. Either they will have to have all systems in their offices or all companies the world over will be reliant on just one company. As seen with microsoft office, one version cannot open another versions files. I firmly believe that it shouldn’t matter what system you use, what software you use but the actual file format. Files be they photos or documents or whatever should be able to be opened on ALL systems using whatever is the personal preference of the user or company.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a user rebellion against these locked in, walled systems by those who know how computers work and can build cross platform systems of their own, possibly using older devices if new ones become to locked. But there again, if they have the knowledge then they will just unlock them and make them their own. The general public on the other hand will just keep their eyes shut, let the Apples and Googles get away with it and live in an an extremely restricted world where they don’t benefit from having a system that is best suited to them. However, some of the ideas/products being produced by Apple, Google and Microsoft actually seem really good, the xbox one for example, I really like the idea behind it but is flawed. The idea of being able to plug your phone into your car is fantastic idea, in this case there shouldn’t be a system in the car but what appears on the screen of your phone should be what is shown on the bigger car screen. This would mean that no car manufacture restricts you has what system is used (back to the locked in crap again). It also means that the user can use their favourite apps.


Looking for Perfection

I was prompted to write this as I spent 4 days of email exchange and over a hour on the phone with Samsung and Amazon to get the stupid Amazon video app to work on my TV. Why do I need to write this?

Its a general moan about the way that I feel the corporations make things difficult for the user or customer. I get the feeling that they do their best to ensure that we have to buy the latest stuff by making certain things only work on certain things for example, the amazon love film worked fine on my tv which is not that old (bought just before Christmas 2013). They say its to old! What a joke.The attitude is likely because they highly likely think that every one is on or above the average wage that the government keeps giving us. They are wrong, most people are on below it and cann’t buy new stuff every year like they expect us to. Why do you thing sales of PC’s has gone down? I am of the opinion its because no one needs a new one because the one they have works fine!

They have lost a customer who is going to stick with Netflix, and I told them so, no reply because they just don’t CARE! You may be getting the impression that I think amazon suck when it comes to service and you’ll be right. They say their service works on all devices, well they are wrong. They suggested I use a tablet or laptop, tv shows and films are supposed to be seen on big screens not little screens. I think things need to change big time, but I won’t be using amazon services again, their streaming service sucks, book delivery time sucks. I will use other services for the perfection I want. I expect things to be compatible or at least work with ease. I thought tech and machines were supposed to make live easier for us, no wonder people hack their machines. And if you want perfection the corporations won’t be giving it to you on a plate.

Next post will be back to getting stuff to work how it should. I really need some books on back engineering and hacking tech to get it to work for me. Suggestions please.