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Monday, November 29, 2010

Is there room for an Ubuntu powered smart-phone?

Canonical had experimented and discarded the idea of a mobile device centric version of its popular desktop OS Ubuntu. However, a closer look at the current smart-phone OS market makes me believe there is room for the company to revisit the idea of a mobile version of the OS, this time, targeted at smart-phones and not the ambiguous MID.

Given the fact that more people are buying smart-phones today than pcs, and even more people are getting exposed to the internet via their phones (Africa, Asia), the market for smart-phones only seems to be in its early stages.

For Ubuntu to reach the critical mass that it's still struggling to in the desktop arena, a very useful, well designed mobile OS could prove useful. Though some may argue it's not pure Linux per se, Android seems to be living proof that you can get more people to use Linux without they even knowing.

Also Android has proven that Windows can be beaten. Of course one may argue there's no need for another Linux based mobile OS since we have Android, WebOS and Meego. As to why Meego seems to be taking an eternity to even take off I don't know but before Android there was WinMobile, Symbian, and the BlackBerry OS. But look at how things have been upset with the introduction of iOS and Android.

Canonical could achieve a lot if it can replicate the modest success it's chalked on the desktop in the mobile OS sphere. This will also go a long way to give consumers even more choice and also bring Linux to even more Joes! After all, that has always been the dream of all Linux enthusiasts.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 3 comments

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2 Nokia Handset Annoyances that Need to be Checked

Being the largest handset manufacturer, Nokia undoubtedly has lots of work on their hands. There is also no doubt that they manufacture the most superior handsets in terms of hardware in the world. However, there are two annoyances on Nokia phones that I cannot understand why they should be there in the first place.

First is the inability to charge my battery via the USB cable. As to the wisdom behind such a decision, I do not know, but one thing is for sure: it is very annoying. I live in a part of the world where the power supply is not consistent or reliable. In times when I cannot use the charger, I expect to be able to transfer some battery juice from my laptop to my phone. Nokia however, thinks otherwise. Why so Espoo?

Then second, why do I need to reset the date and time whenever I take out the battery? Of course some of the phones have auto-update of the date and time, but it's still pointless to be nagged to reset the date and time anytime you take out the battery. 

Nokia already has a Herculean task ahead, given the rapid ascension of Android. Checking certain petty annoyances would come in handy in their new fightback strategy. 

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

Friday, November 12, 2010

Has Google Become Too Stagnant?

Google, the most enigmatic company on the web, seems to be stagnating gradually. A careful look at the company over the course of this year paints the picture of a hugely successful behemoth that is becoming a victim of its own massive greatness.

The last time Google released something really groundbreaking was Gmail, if I remember right. Of course since then, they've cobbled up other small companies to add their own midas touch to make those companies hugely successful Google products, Youtube readily comes to mind here. However, even that strategy does not look to have worked for Mountain View this year given the 23 or so acquisitions.

The best product from Google this years is... well I can't see any. They tried Buzz, which looks to have been left to its own faith. Over here in Africa, they've just introduced Baraza, a service that I honestly think could have just been plugged into Vark. Even the latest Google TV is struggling really hard to take off thanks to content owners blocking the service.

Of course you may see things otherwise, that notwithstanding however, Google is gradually taking way too long to release new products with the wow effect. Again, I concede to the fact that Google is in itself a huge productivity suit that gets the work done alright. But, with the current pace and slew of new startups that we see everyday, Google better start being Google or be ready to be given a run for its huge cash. 

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Help Find out the Real Desktop Linux Market Share

There's been a lot of talk about how Linux after 20 years still has just about 1% of the total desktop market share. Of course this figure is highly debatable and must be taken with a pinch of salt. 

To help give a rough idea of how many Linux desktop boxes are out there, DudaLibre has set out to let you add your count to it. Simply hop onto the site and submit your number of Linux boxes to the survey they are running. So far, over 256000 people have added theirs.

The same page also features a break down of the figures with some really interesting stats. Ubuntu as usual, has a whooping 61% of the figures tallied so far, with Poland having a staggering 26% of the boxes?

Which country are you from? Please add your computer to the tally so we can all have a rough idea of how wrong the 1% market share claim is.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The harmful effects of Workaholism

We live in a sleepless world. One in which we are constantly working, always connected, striving to do everything in 'real time.' But what are the health implications for our increasingly addiction to working? The chart over here has very insightful information that should interest everybody.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

[VIDEO] How to Create a Logo in GIMP

GIMP, one of the most popular FOSS projects is capable of so many things that its commercial counterparts can. If you are thinking of designing your own logo, the video below should come in handy, especially if you are not so art savvy. 

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Meet the Android Powered Samsung Continuum With Dual Display

With two displays, one (1.8") solely for display alerts from your social networks, or what the company described as ticker display, the Samsung Continuum is the latest addition to the company's range of hugely successful Android powered smartphones.

Billed to start shipping on the 11 of November, the Samsung Continuum ships with a 3.4" Super Amoled primary display and a secondary 1.8" secondary display, a Samsung Hummingbird 1Ghz processor, 5MP cam, accelerometer, 802.11n WiFi. The down side is that it ships with Android 2.1 and Bing Maps and Search (yawn).

This is the first phone out there with a dedicated ticker screen to alert you of status updates and other notifications. Is it going to be a trail blazer in its own right? We wait to see.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Monday, November 8, 2010

Socially- Making Your Phone More Socially Aware

Socially is a social media app that runs on both Android and Symbian, that aims to bring your social graph right in sync with other areas of your phone. The application aims to bring your social data to your address book and calendar.

It syncs your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn data with that of your address book. The sync photos feature for instance, will sync your contacts' photos with that of their latest Facebook profile pics

Some of the notable features of this app are
  • Socially aware address book and calendar
  • Location of anonymous callers
  • Push social notifications
  • Social info of caller on calling screen
  • Call barring 

All the above features are customizable to your preferences. What I like very much about Socially is the push notifications it comes with. I like its unobtrusiveness. 

However, one thing that I seriously don't like is the time interval for fetching updates. The shortest I can see on the settings tab is 30 mins. That is a long time in social world. I'd expect to have something like 3 mins somewhere also so I can choose if I want more updates often. 

Other than this, Socially is a great app that I recommend you give a try to enrich your mobile life. Search for it on the Ovi and Android markets on your Nokia and Android phones respectively.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Replicant- An Android Alternative For Linux Purists

Google has long been bashed for gradually steering Android away from Linux proper and allowing carriers and handset manufacturers to dilute it with proprietary software. Replicant aims to right that wrong.

Developed by LibrePlanet Italia and Software Freedom Centre, Replicant seeks to be the 100% free software compliant mobile operating system that is built on Android.  
"Most of Android is licensed freely under the Apache License 2.0. The Linux core is mostly Free Software under the GPLv2. However, there are numerous components of the default software stack on the HTC phones that are proprietary software. Most notably, nearly any component that touches the hardware directly is proprietary software."

Currently, Replicant is being tested on the Google Nexus 1 and other phones that come with root privileges. It is still very early in the development stage. However, if you feel you are already excited about a purists version of Android, then you can grab a copy of one of the unstable images. 

For those who think Android will be bad for the community as a whole given the path its being taken, Replicant should be a welcome project.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Symbian Users Rejoice- You are not Seen otherwise!

In the image below, iPhone, Android and Blackberry users all have their respective views of each other. Some see iPhone users more as 'cultists' while Blackberry users are seen more as (phew) Dinosaurs, extinction imminent. What is missing on there is how Symbian users like myself are viewed by the others. I take solace in our absence and assume it's because we are seen as 'normal' phone users.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments
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