5 Ways to Misunderstand FOSS

The following are 5 ways that people misunderstand the concept of Free and Open Source Software.[...]

7 Cool VLC Features Worth Knowing

Think you know all about VLC, I bet you don't until you read this![...]

5 Things Microsoft Does not want you to know about Windows

Are you a happy Windows user? Well see what Redmond would rather you never find out![...]

How to Make your Own Linux Distro

Want to create your own Linux distro? This guide will show you various ways of creating your own customized Linux Distro[...]

Internet Cafes with Linux

Linux is a great operating system for networking. So how is it possible to not see Linux in Internet cafes and LAN houses ??? There are no cyber cafe / LAN house managers in Linux? [...]

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Google Releases Images of Tornado Destruction in US

Google has released a set of satellite images of the tornado destruction that swept across parts of the southern US. The images are available in this Picasa Web album. This imagery, as well as data sets such as Red Cross shelter locations and tornado touchdown reports, are available in this collection on Google Maps. We will continue to add imagery and data as it comes available.

Left: Google imagery from late 2010. Right: GeoEye imagery from Thursday, April 28. Top: Charleston Square Apartments, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Bottom: Towns of Pleasant Grove, Concord, and Hueytown, Jefferson County, Alabama.

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Help Keep the Pressure on Sony- FSF

We asked you to email Sony CEO Howard Stringer during our last call to action
and Sony responded by shutting off his email address. Many of you then sent

emails to the next email address we posted, Nicole Seligman, Sony Executive VP and General Counsel. Your action was effective — it was an important part of the overall public pressure put on Sony to back off.

And back off they did. Sony ended up settling its lawsuit against George Hotz (aka geohot). Hotz has agreed to not use Sony devices in an ambiguous "unauthorized" fashion — in fact, he's boycotting Sony anyway — and the accusations brought up in the case by Sony remain unproven.

While Hotz shouldn't have to endure even this, which amounts to a gag order, Sony was stopped well short of what it was hoping to get. Hotz is now free to move on, but Sony is stuck with a fresh batch of bad publicity and no money or legal precedent to show for it.

You did a great job of letting Sony know how unacceptable their behavior has been. Here are excerpts from just some of the 300+ emails you've sent so far:

“I would like to let you know that I think your company's behaviour
towards free software developers is atrocious and disgusting. I will
buy no further Sony products until you cease this action.”

“With the removal of OtherOS and now your attacks on the hacker trying to restore the functionality I paid for. I will be selling all my Sony equipment on ebay and will no longer be recommending any of your products to my friends and family.”

“You should be encouraging imaginative uses of the PS3. Each time someone in the free software community expands the PS3's
capabilities, the machine becomes desirable for more people.”

We're not out of the woods yet. Geohot is boycotting Sony over their behavior and we should too. Sony had alleged violations of the DMCA, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and other copyright laws agains Geohot for jailbreaking the PS3. Sony was granted a number of subpoenas to access information on anyone with even a remote curiosity about the jailbreak, including server logs of geohot's personal website to the records of anyone who watched the video “Jailbroken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew”.

Another PS3 hacker, Alexander Egorenkov, or graf_chokolo, had his home raided by the police and is now being sued for €1 million. Just recently, representatives of Sony went to his home again and confiscated his equipment.

It's bad enough that Sony has put restrictive measures against developers in the first place by making jailbreaking necessary. Sony should be encouraging the software development community around the PS3, instead of throwing its legal weight around.

Keep in mind that one of the goals of PS3 hackers is restoring the ability to install other operating systems, a functionality that Sony removed after it was promised to buyers. Some of these PS3 owners have joined a class-action lawsuit against Sony. Interestingly, this lawsuit alleges Sony violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by removing the OtherOS function — the same law Sony uses against hackers who enable OtherOS. The cases against these hackers are still fresh, but Sony's war on hackers has been going on for a long time.

So, let's keep the pressure on! Do you oppose Sony's actions? Are you boycotting Sony? Let them know. Email Nicole Seligman, Executive VP and General Counsel at Sony (nicole.seligman@am.sony.com) — as always, please BCC or CC us on emails at info@defectivebydesign.org! Check out our anti-Sony stickers in the store while you're at it.

From the FSF

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Nintendo Character Evolution

Ever wondered what the first Nintendo character was? This image gives you a breakdown of the various evolutionary stages of Nintendo characters over time. Enjoy

Image courtesy Retronaut.

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Latest Google Chrome Build Now Supports Speech Input

The latest stable release of Google's Chrome browser features speech input through HTML. What this simply means is that you can now translate your voice input into other languages using Google Translate right in the browser.

So for instance, you can "if you’re translating from English, just click on the microphone on the bottom right of the input box, speak your text, and choose the language you want to translate to. In fact, you can even click on the “Listen” feature to hear the translated words spoken back to you!"

This feature is available on the Chrome stable channel across Windows, Mac and Linux. If you aren't using Chrome yet, you can grab a copy from here.

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Nokia Mulls Over An iPad Rival

After dumping MeeGo and jumping on the WP7 train, Nokia CEO Steven Elop has indicated the Finnish company is mulling over a tablet pc to rival the *ahem* iPad. In an interview with Finnish news channel YLE (video is in English), he stated that he believes the success of any Nokia tablet should be able to stand out from the crowd of Android tablets to stand a chance of competing with the iPad.

In this wide ranging interview that touched on subjects like the rivalry with Google, fate of Symbian and MeeGo, the CEO did not make it clear which OS their upcoming tablet would run, whether WP7 or anything homegrown, MeeGo perhaps. He also explained why Nokia is of the view that Android is more a threat to their market strategy than iOS, saying Android has devices to cover every spectrum of the market while the iOS is mainly focused on the cream of it.

He also touched on the imminent layoff of close to 4000 Nokia employees over the coming year and explained the move to offload some employees to Accenture, saying they'll be retrained to work on WP7. You can watch the entire interview (about 20 mins) which is in English for yourself.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nokia Kills MeeGo and Symbian- Finally

Nokia has finally nailed the coffin for Symbian and MeeGo by announcing it will cut R&D staff dedicated to those two platforms, with some being transferred to Accenture, obviously to get them out of sight till Symbian dies a slow death. Well we all saw it coming didn't we? The moment the so called burning platform memo was expertly "leaked" to Engadget, some of us were convinced Nokia had finally lost it.

Cutting the jobs of those in charge of these platforms underscores Nokia's move to dump those two OS in favor of MS WP7. As to what Nokia means when they say "we plan to ship 150m more Symbian devices..." I don't know. Cutting the jobs of the people in charge of the OS and claiming you will ship devices powered by that OS will only result in leaving users with no support from Nokia, a fate that has befallen N900 users. It's not clear from the post also if Nokia will go ahead to release the so called MeeGo device they promised this year or if ever.

Take a sip of water and you’re behind in the pack. Blink your eye and watch the pack move in a different direction.

No Nokia, you did not take a sip, you kept committing one corporate blunder after the other. Finally, joining hands with Microsoft was the only route the management of the company could think of. Like one commmenter said in the linked post above,

This is so sad. Nokia's problem wasn't caused by the engineers who are losing their jobs. If anything, Nokia was known in the industry for having some of the best engineers. Nokia's problem was caused by poor upper management. In this Microsoft deal upper management found a way to keep their jobs. The brain transfer from Nokia to their competitors is only going to make Nokia's situation worse, but at least upper management will have jobs for the next couple of years. Bravo (...clap...clap...clap...).

Nokia's case can be summed up in a local Ghanaian parlance that goes thus "monkey dey work, baboon dey chop" which roughly translates as it's not always those who do the work that enjoy the fruits of it.

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Google Introduces Android App for Docs

Google has introduced an official Android app for its office suite, Google Docs. This app will allow Docs user to access, edit and share their files from across any Google account. You can also share your docs with contacts on your phone right from within the app.

The application allows you to upload files directly from your phone and also open docs directly in Gmail.

Using the app and your phone’s camera, you can turn photos with text into editable Google documents with the power of optical character recognition (OCR). Just create a new ‘Document from Photo' or select the camera icon from the widget, and your converted document will appear in your documents list shortly after you snap the picture. You can also convert photos already stored on your phone by sharing them with the Google Docs app. OCR does a pretty good job capturing unformatted text in English but won't recognize handwriting or some fonts - stay tuned, it will get better over time!

The app is available on the Android Market and runs on version 2.1+. Alternatively, you can also scan the QR code below

Via Google Docs Blog.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

[VIDEO] Free and Open Source Software in Developing Countries

This Documentary shows the Benefits of Free and Open Source Software for development countries.

The crew of the independent producers who made the film went to nearly a dozen countries around the world to see how the adoption of FOSS presents opportunities for industry and capacity development, software piracy reduction, and localization and customization for diverse cultural and development needs.

Stories from The Codebreakers include computer and Internet access for school children in Africa, reaching the poor in Brazil, tortoise breeding programmes in the Galapagos, connecting villages in Spain, and disaster management in Sri Lanka. The documentary also includes interviews from key figures around the world.

A verbatim reproduction of the  video description on YouTube.

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ClipGrab- A Simple Way to Grab YouTube Videos On Linux

ClipGrab is a simple open source, free software application that makes grabbing and converting videos from sites like YouTube on the fly very simple. Simple open the application, enter the url of the video you want to download and configure your parameters for conversion. Hit grab.

You can also search for the videos right from the application and download them. Supported video sites include YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Clipfish, Collegehumor, MyVideo, MySpass, Sevenload, Tudou. You can convert the download videos to MP4, OGG Theora, MP3 (audio), WMV and OGG Vorbis (audio). HD videos can also be downloaded provided they are supported by the video service.

ClipGrab can be very useful if you find the new mode of copying flash videos on Linux unnecessarily tedious. You can install ClipGrab on Ubuntu thus
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:clipgrab-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install clipgrab

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Android Location Tracking is Opt-In

The iOS operating system tracks your location without your knowledge and stores the data it collects in an unencrypted form on your phone. For Android users who maybe wondering the same thing, no, your location is will not be tracked without your express permission and approval.

I vividly remember the first time I booted into Android, going into the settings and under the geo-location tab, you are expressly asked whether you'd like opt-in to anonymous location data collection and whether you'd also like to use your location for search results and other Google services.

So yes on Android your location can be tracked but you'll first have to approve of it. Then even with that the collected data is anonymized in such a way that it cannot be traced back to you as per this Google statement

All location sharing on Android is opt-in by the user. We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices. Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user.

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RE: Should Google Worry About Facebook? Yes!

A rejoinder from Ebenezer Gwumah originally posted on his blog.

This post is a rejoinder to my good friend, Luqman Saeed’s post: 3 Reason why the Google proponents get Google wrong. In his post, Luqman explains [to me] why Facebook poses no imminent threat to Facebook like I believe. Here’s why I believe he needs to reconsider.

Before I begin, here are three facts about Google from their investor page that we should have in mind:

a. How do we make our money: Today, the majority of our revenue comes from advertising. (Many articles have estimated this majority to be around 96% of Google’s revenue)
b. Who are our customers?: Our customers are over one million of advertisers [...] who use Google Adwords to reach millions of users around the world.
c. Who are our competitors: We face formidable competition [...] particularly from companies that seek to connect people with information on the web and provide them with relevant advertising.

From the above, we can deduce that Google is effectively dead without advertising. And companies like Facebook, could kill their advertising revenue. In his post Luqman gives these three reasons to support why Facebook cannot topple Google, and here are my responses to them.

a. Monetisation: Google has a formidable monetising machine that works for them perfectly. [..] Google has hundreds of thousands of sites that sell ads for it. The point here is that, even when you don’t visit any of Google’s platforms, chances are they will still make money from your visit online.
Well good for Google! But there’s a reason Google is recruiting more and more people at breakneck speed to improve its ad system and losing share value as a result. Google’s ad system, which works based mostly on the content of the website I’m reading or identifies Keywords in what I am searching for or viewing on Google.com, YouTube et al., will ultimately be churning out a lot of irrelevant ads to me. And the savvy marketer should know this. Here’s why.

Google’s adwords page says: For example, an ad for a digital camera may show up next to an article reviewing the latest digital cameras. This was / is a great move by Google and it may have been one of the best targeting systems when they first begun it. But sorry Google, just because I’m reading a review of the latest digital camera doesn’t mean I’m interested in one. I have read whole reviews on Nokia phones, not because I’m interested in getting one, but only so I know how to respond to Luqman when he takes swipes at the iPhone’s popularity (*chuckle*).

In addition, Google does not tell you which websites your ads would show up on when you use their Adsense platform. This is undisclosed data. So in effect, you have no idea who is seeing your ad. You just keep your fingers crossed and hope you got your keywords right – which still doesn’t guarantee the right people are seeing your ad.

On Facebook however, the ad system works very differently. I have a whole list of interests and hobbies. And none of them is on there just because. They are my real interests, even if some may be more dominant than others. I am “liking” stories and brand pages and content all over the web, that tell Facebook more and more about my psychographics. I am putting up statuses on how I wish someone would buy me an iPad2 and how I like Benz cars.

Make no mistake, the talk of Facebook’s incredible data is no mere ruckus. It is fact. And with more and more people using Facebook and being teased into sharing information about themselves with subtle tools like the Facebook “Like” button, platforms like Facebook are kings of targeted advertising. Facebook’s psychographic data is its competitive advantage.

All it would take is for Facebook to begin a system like Facebook adsense (which is already in the works by the way), and Google could lose customers big time. Facebook’s ad platform, even at this early stage, offers incredible targeting options (see here) that Google can’t hope to beat with their keyword strategy. The growth potential is massive, both for Facebook and for advertisers. Currently, advertising is restricted to the actual Facebook alone. Yet, this year alone, the Facebook ad market is expected to grow by 118%, to $4 Billion. Last year, Facebook advertising alone accounted for 14% of UK’s online advertising market.

Should Google be worried? Google does not tell you which websites your ads are showing up on but Facebook allows you to define exactly which users you want to see your ad and how they should see it. Facebook gives you Google’s keyword and location targeting, and then some more.

Now compare the two options. Which would work better for the advertiser? Should Google be worried?

b. Diversification: Again one thing people forget is that Facebook has only one product – well it’s Facebook. Google on the other hand, has YouTube, Blogger, Gmail, Chrome OS, Android and Search. Now compare the two.

c. Strategy: All Google will need to do to beat Facebook on the latter’s own turf is well elucidated by Professor Micheal Porter thus: “[a] second and far more common type of imitation is straddling. The straddle seeks to match the benefits of a successful position while maintaining its existing position. It grafts new features, services, or technologies onto the activities it already performs.” The point here is that it’s easy for Google to copy Facebook.

A common error most people make. Check the Facebook support page. Facebook does not have only one product. Facebook has Photo sharing, Video Sharing, Credits (JC Penney already allows Facebook users to shop with credits), Games & other applications, Places (Hello FourSquare!), Chat, Notes (For Blogging), Pages and others. And that’s what Luqman failed to identify. There is nothing Google offers right now that Facebook cannot offer. So yes, that argument about “straddling” is actually what Facebook is using against Google.

Facebook can do search. Actually scratch that – it does, with help from Bing. Facebook can do YouTube. FaceBook can do Blogger. Facebook can do Gmail. Facebook, as far as I can see, has no reason to do an OS, on PC or mobile – but it can. Facebook is working on features that allow you to send text messages from inside your message inbox. Facebook can do PayPal. Facebook can take on Amazon. And it has 641 million plus users, and counting, to sell it to. And the impressive part of this is that a lot of these products, even though not fully developed, are already enjoying good usage.

Facebook has also been tweaking and improving their system a lot recently, adding several subtle features and products that many a user misses. What Facebook is becoming, is what some refer to as a “mini-internet”. Luqman explains that Google can take on Facebook easily. But history has shown that this has been an almost impossible feat. Google Wave? Google Buzz? Facebook competitors. Have they hurt Facebook’s numbers? Erm, not that I know of. Wave had a very weak 1 million user population at the time it was scrapped. And now, Google has launched “+1″ to counter Facebook’s “Like” button. Let’s not get our hopes up.

Luqman goes on to say that Facebook’s PHP platform is too mediocre for Google to draft strategies around. But should Google ignore the fact that Facebook went from 150 million to 640 million plus users in just 2 years? Should Google forget that Facebook has risen, beaten Yahoo, and is now only second to Google in the U.S when it comes to website traffic and users?

And why do we we keep comparing Facebook to MySpace and Hi5? We shouldn’t! MySpace, big as it was, was never even close to what Facebook is now. Facebook beat MySpace on both worldwide members and traffic – in 2009! We keep saying that Facebook will die like hi5 and MySpace. But Facebook is reporting record usage. Currently, the website averages about three hundred unique site visits – everyday. And time spent on the platform has also shown no signs of letting up. It is rising.

So am I the only one noticing Facebook’s growth? No. Advertisers are paying attention too. Facebook / Social Media marketing is now taught in schools. There are whole courses devoted to marketing brands on Facebook. Advertisers are moving to Facebook in numbers. And Facebook has not even begun to scratch the surface of their advertising potential yet.

Should Google be afraid? I really can’t answer that. I believe that’s a question we should leave for MySpace to answer.

*Note: For the sake of keeping this post short, I have not discussed several factors that work in Facebook’s favour when it comes to the ad market. This includes Nielsen’s research on the value of social media ad impressions: on how Facebook’s social ads increase brand awareness and purchase intent; and also how Facebook’s 1 year old “Like” is recording incredible usage and how websites are fast adopting other similar tools like Facebook comments and authentication which are massively increasing Facebook’s psychographic data. 

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nokia Finally Signs WP7 Deal with Microsoft

Nokia has finally signed the NoWin deal with Microsoft, a deal set to see Windows Phone 7 become the company's primary OS. Here at Ghabuntu, as long time Nokia users and Linux enthusiasts, we've made our position categorically clear that we believe this deal is a bad one both for Nokia as a company and for the open source community in general. See here, here, here and here.

Nonetheless, we respect the right of Nokia as a company to pursue strategies it believes will maximize shareholders' worth. What we still are trying to get our heads around is why it'd take 10 weeks to sign the agreement and another couple months to release a full blown device running the new OS. That does not look good to us. We'd expect a rapid acceleration in releasing a device to the market asap.

As we disagree with Nokia going WP7, we'll nonetheless welcome the opportunity to test any of the devices that will be running the OS to see for ourselves if we are wrong in our opposition to the move. When all is said and done, only time will tell what the outcome of this move is going to be. As we say in the Akan language, "Emere bekyere" which roughly translates as "time will tell."

Microsoft's Tim McDowd chats with Nokia's VP of Microsoft Alliance, Waldemar Sakalus, and Microsoft's General Manager of Developer & Marketplace Experience, Matt Bencke, about Nokia and Microsoft signing a strategic alliance.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

[Release] MIR Translator - Translate text captured by the Nokia N900 mobile camera

MIR Translator is an application for translating text in photos taken by the N900 camera. It experiments with novel interactive techniques to perform text recognition. Currently the app supports translation to and from over 30 different languages. Video Demo:

Requires internet connection to work.

Package is available in extras-devel. Be sure to restart after installation if FCam drivers were not previously installed. Maemo packages URL: http://maemo.org/packages/view/mir-translator/

The app relies on the text recognition happening off the device and in the cloud. This allows the application to support the maximum number of languages possible while keeping the install size as small as possible (~1.5 MB). It also improves response times, given a fast connection and server side.

  • A viewfinder is used to capture images with the camera. The user selects text to translate.
  • If the recognition is erroneous, the user is able to correct the recognition via manual segmentation, manual thresholding, and manual candidate selection.
  • Supports more than 30 input and output languages.

  • Somewhat limited performance. This is because the recognition service resides in the cloud as a web service. I am hosting the service myself, so server capacity / speed is as a result limited.
  • Recognition accuracy is currently quite dependent on the quality of the input image. That is, images should be well and evenly lit and have good contrast. It's best if the text is sharp, with typographic-like fonts and non-complex backgrounds.

This project fell out of a project I was doing in school (its actually my first maemo app!). I've recently adapted it to be deployed publicly, so its in an early development phase. Naturally there will probably be some bugs, and there is much room for optimization. I don't expect the application to be powerful enough for the general case of translating arbitrary text-- but simpler cases should be do-able. Deploying it publicly is fun and I'm hoping it speeds feedback + development.

I'm keeping the web service up and running on my own student funds -- its not cheap! Any and all small donations are greatly appreciated (Donate Link: Donate). Hope you enjoy the app! 

From TMO .

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4 Must Have Firefox 4 Addons

Confession is good for the soul, and here's mine: Firefox 4 rocks. I've not been the most friendly of Firefox users in the past given how much resources it gobbled and how heavy it felt relative to Chrome/Chromium. However, with over 95 million downloads since its release, I humbly concede that Mozilla finally got it with Firefox 4. I've since then switched back to it as my primary browser. As an icing to the cake, the following 4 addons are a must have for any Firefox 4 user.

I'm left wondering why it took so long to be implemented in any browser, but at least Mozilla did it. F1 is simply a Firefox 4 addon that makes link sharing to the various social networking sites a piece of cake. It resides in the address bar and all you have to do to share a link is click on it to be given the option of which social networking site you want to send the link to. Simple as that. 

Copy Short URL
This addon makes shortening urls a piece of cake. Simply install it and right-click on any page whose url you want shortened and hoose the "copy short url" from the context menu. Simply as that. The shortened url is copied to your clipboard.

If you are writer or blogger, and particularly a Blogger user, then Scribefire is a must have addon. It's simply a full featured blog editor that integrates well into Firefox to give you a great writing experience. You can post to blogs from Wordpress, Blogger, TypePad, Windows Live Spaces, Tumblr, Posterous, Xanga, LiveJournal, or any other blog that supports the MetaWeblog or MovableType APIs.

You can edit and update existing posts. You can schedule posts for the future (if your blog allows that). You can delete posts. You can save drafts. You can tag and categorize.

ScribeFire Next has an interface so simple that even a caveman could use it. Anything you're working on is saved if you close the editor and restored when you come back. It really is the easiest way to update your blog.

Integrated Gmail
A Firefox Addon that allows you to make the Inbox Collapsible and load your choice of Google Calendar, Reader, Notebook, Groups, Maps, Picasa, Sites, News and Portfolio seamlessly into the gmail interface with the inbox (rather than a separate tab or in the sidebar) using a collapsible box.

It even supports custom URLs (with navigation buttons) and Google Gadgets (including Remember the Milk.) If your are inbox minimalist, you can enable minimalist mode to clean up the inbox even more. Works with Google App Accounts and Gmail Themes.

So far these are the four main addons that have made my Firefox 4 even more enjoyable. As and when I discover some more awesome addons, I'm going to share with you. But once again, Firefox is almost t

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Google Redesigns News Service For Feature Phones Using Opera Mini

According to the Google Mobile blog, the Google News service has now been strealined for feature phones using the venerable Opera Mini browser.

So we have rolled out a redesigned Google News for Opera Mini in all 29 languages and 70 editions of Google News. This includes an enhanced homepage featuring richer snippets, thumbnail images, links to videos and section content without explicit navigation, a convenient search bar, comfortably spaced links and the ability to access your desktop personalization on your phone.

This should go a long way to bring the comprehensive news aggregation service from Mountain view to more people from across the world who don't use high end devices, helping to increase Google's reach across varying device users. To access it on your phone, simply log on to http://news.google.com.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

3 Reasons Why the Facebook Proponents Get Google Wrong

The question of whether Facebook is an imminent threat to Google IMHO is a misnomer in that I see Facebook as a subset of the massive "platform" called Google. Commenting, posting pictures, "Liking" are all activities already carried out on some Google services. For my friend Eben who believes Facebook is a clear and present danger to Google, here's why I think not, at least for the foreseeable future.

A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve

Google has a formidable monetizing machine that works for them perfectly. It can be summed up simply in the Akan phrase "Yen kyendi" which roughly translates as let's all share in the booty. Basically Google says look, we'll give you a slice of the cake if you sell our ads to your readers. Other than showing ads next to search results which I hardly see anyway, Google has hundreds of thousands if not millions of sites that sell ads for it. Some of the biggest sites/blogs on the web sell Google ads. The point here is that even when you don't visit Google.com or any Google owned service, chances are they still will make some money from your visit online. And let's not forget how easy they've also made it to place their ads on your site. Blogger- the fifth most visited site on the Internet- actively encourages you to sell Google ads and made it just a matter of clicks to do so. Now do the math.

The essence of strategy is choosing to perform activities differently than rivals do.

Again one thing people forget is that Facebook has only one product- well it's Facebook. I never cease getting amazed at how quickly folks like Eben can forget about MySpace, Friendster, Hi5 and other social networks that preceded Facebook. Unless Facebook can find a way to evolve to meet any future trend, only one end awaits it; it will die a slow death like MySpace. Sometime back Facebook promised its users a new, unified inbox that some claimed would be a rival to Gmail. An eternity later and I'm still waiting to test it. Google on the other hand, has Youtube, Blogger, Gmail, Chrome, Chrome OS, Android, Search. Now compare the two.

It doesn't take much to develop a Facebook clone. Elgg and Dolphin are two CMSs that anybody can just grab and build a Facebook clone. Of course they'd not attract oodles of people, but this goes to show you that it's easy to imitate Facebook. And any business whose cardinal product can be easily copied is not safe strategically. All Google will need to do to beat Facebook on the latter's own turf is well elucidated by Professor Michael Porter thus "[a] second and far more common type of imitation is straddling. The straddler seeks to match the benefits of a successful position while maintaining its existing position. It grafts new features, services, or technologies onto the activities it already performs." The point here is that it's easy for Google to copy Facebook's competitive advantage than the other way round.

A second and far more common type of imitation is straddling. The straddler seeks to match the benefits of a successful position while maintaining its existing position. It grafts new features, services, or technologies onto the activities it already performs.

Now one might ask OK Luqman, if Facebook can't beat Google, why is Larry Page so obsessed with it? The answer is simple: because if the future of the web is "social", then Google needs to be there, big time. Android, YouTube, Chrome, what do all these have in common? Pat yourself on the back if you said "market disruptors." A careful study of Google's DNA will tell you that whenever Google believes something is the future, then it becomes incumbent upon the company to be there, in a big way.

When they believed video was going to be a vital component of the Internet, they snatched up YouTube. Same with Android. Today what do we see of these two products? Google does not need to win. Google just needs to make sure that no single player has a monopoly in the market.

So yes Page is certainly looking closely at Facebook because if the future is social, then Google will need to be there as well. And if that means directing resources at beating Facebook, then so be it.

I am under no circumstance underestimating Facebook and their numbers. No. What I believe is that the idea that Facebook will imminently beat Google and overnight replace all Google services with theirs thanks to the massive amounts of data they have is far fetched.

With change remaining the only constant however, only time will tell in the very, very long term which of these two companies survives. But for the foreseeable future, Google can and will easily beat Facebook on the latter's own turf.

I did not want to go into the financial aspect of the argument for the sake of brevity and a cohesive presentation of my argument.

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Dead Linux Distros

Ever wondered what Linux distros existed in the past? Wonder no more! The image below has you covered.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

[Announce] Ubuntu 8.04 reaches end-of-life on May 12 2011

Ubuntu announced its 8.04 Desktop release almost 36 months ago, on April 24, 2008.  For the LTS Desktop releases, Ubuntu committed to ongoing security and critical fixes for a period of 36 months. The support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop will reach end of life on Thursday, May 12, 2011. At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 8.04

The supported upgrade path from Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop is via Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop. Instructions and caveats for the upgrade may be found at
Lucid Upgrades. Ubuntu 8.04 Server continues to be actively supported with security updates and select high-impact bug fixes. All announcements of official security updates for Ubuntu releases are sent to the ubuntu-security-announce mailing list, information about which may be found at https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-security-announce.

Since its launch in October 2004 Ubuntu has become one of the most highly regarded Linux distributions with millions of users in homes, schools, businesses and governments around the world. Ubuntu is Open Source software, costs nothing to download, and users are free to customize or alter their software in order to meet their needs.

Kate Stewart
Ubuntu Release Manager

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

[Release] Open Media Player for Nokia N900

Muhammad Abu Garbiyeh, the lead developer of the Nokia CSSU has announced the alpha release of Open Media Player, a multimedia player he's been working on for sometime now. Below is the full announcement as made on TMO.

Been showing this on the forums a lot, figured it's about time I make a release.
Please note that this is an alpha release, the mediaplayer turned out to be a
bigger project than I expected

What's not working (yet):

  • Categories view in Videos.
  • Resuming from paused position in videos.
  • libplayback, a notification will go through and will mute the player.
  • Deleting items from a playlist messes up numbering, fix planned.
  • Share and delete buttons in videos.

What needs to be done:

  • "Cheats" that will make the mediaplayer seem faster to the user (the stock player adds a song, starts playback, then adds all the other songs when you click a song, the implementation here is to add all songs then start playback, this is slow for the "All songs" view.
  • Detecting the current item in the Entertainment view (my QML skills are meh).
  • Implement mime_open (gnomevfs is always returning NULL for some reasno...) so other apps like qmltube can open media in the player.
  • Deleting albums/artists (deleting songs and playlists should work)

What's new (not actually a lot):

  • Sharing songs via Bluetooth and E-Mail (thanks to CepiPerez for the dialog from filebox).
  • Portrait mode (obviously )
  • QML entrainment view, being in QML, this takes more memory and a bit more CPU time for transitions (even though they're HW accelerated).
  • Closing the mediaplayer will not stop playback, this is configurable in settings (main view -> title bar menu -> Settings).

What's planned:

  • Playlist creator and editor (stock implementation sucks).

All existing MAFW-based apps will work fine with this, the stock widget will open this mediaplayer, media-im-status-updater will fetch metadata correctly, etc...
To "replace" the stock player (if you don't want to do that, use the script below).
Place the binary in /usr/local/bin/

<font face="verdana">nano /usr/share/dbus-1/services/com.nokia.mediaplayer.service</font>
Change /usr/bin/mediaplayer to /usr/local/bin/mediaplayer, note that this will cause mime_open to stop working until implemented.

BT headsets (with buttons) should work fine (tested with a BH-503).

To use alongside the stock player (tapping the stock widget will open the stock player):
Place the binary in /usr/local/bin/

QML files are to be installed in /opt/mediaplayer/qml/
I usually update the mediaplayer whenever I add something, so here's a handy script to update it (or install it)

<font face="verdana">root apt-get install wget #if you don't have it installed. wget http://mohammadag.xceleo.org/public/maemo/install_mediaplayer.sh chmod +x install_mediaplayer.sh ./install_mediaplayer.sh</font>
Then whenever I release an update, use ./install_mediaplayer.sh to fetch it and overwrite the old version.
Want an icon in the menu? Run the script with --desktop-file (./install_mediaplayer --desktop-file).

Once all bugs are fixed, this will probably make its way into the CSSU, but right now, it's a bit early.

Not sure if screenshots are necessary, it looks exactly like the stock player but with portrait mode.

Bug reports expected (lots of them) and are welcome.
Thanks to nicolai for the C++ MafwSource and MafwRenderer adapters.
Thanks to Venemo for the UI for the FMTX dialog (which is actually a rewrite, the stock one flips the player to landscape).
If you have jacekowski's fmtxd, feel free to kill the checks done (headphones etc...) in the UI, it's in settings.

Source is of course on gitorious: http://gitorious.org/qt-mediaplayer/mediaplayer

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This Week in Africa- Interesting African Headlines You May Have Missed

Another week has ended and it's time to bring you a roundup of some interesting headlines from Africa. Here goes

We Need to Stop Google’s Exploitation of Open Communities
Mikel Maron writes about Google's seemingly disregard for community projects that it uses without proper credit to them. He writes
What bothers me so much is how they have blatantly copied OpenStreetMap. First their MapMaker product is directly modelled on OSM, but with a restrictive data license, where you can not use the data as you see fit. Second, they have stolen the idea of Mapping Parties, a unique concept and name we developed. Third, they’re even copying initiatives to map impoverished informal settlements, like Map Kibera.

Google Appoints Female Country Manager for Nigeria
MacJordan reports on Google's appointment of a female as country director for Nigeria. He writes
Google Nigeria recently appointed Ms. Juliet Ehimuan, the former General Manager of  Strategic Business Units at Chams Plc as its Country Manager for Nigeria.

The 20 Most Powerful People In African Business
Over on the Forbes blogs, Mfonobong writes lists the twenty most influential African business personalities. He writes
However, a new league of African businessmen is emerging. They are bold and fearlessly ambitious, building pan-African companies with regional and even global presences. They are influencers and change-makers. Their voices are never ignored within Africa’s business and political circles, and through their resolutions and actions, they shape the economic future of the continent.

Nigeria's Jonathan takes big poll lead
Aljazeera reports that Nigeria's incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan has taken the lead in the presidential election that was held yesterday.
Early results on Sunday showed Jonathan had done well in much of the predominantly Christian south, including areas such as the most populous city of Lagos, where the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) had struggled in a parliamentary election a week ago.

Re; Why Getting Ghana Wrong IS a Problem
Yours truly was involved in an argument with some of his compatriots started by a CNN article which talked about the increasing menace of internet fraud in Ghana.

Then again Graham and Graham, I Luqman Saeed, don't just see myself as a Ghanaian youth competing against my compatriots. NO! I see myself as a global citizen who is in competition with my contemporaries from across the world. And so I would not expect my American contemporary to be able to dazzle me in anyway whatsoever because I already am in competition with him and always try to be at par in terms of knowledge, use of technology and all that. IMHO, that is how we can get to market Africa to the world.

Bill Gates Pays Millions to AllAfrica (“Largest Electronic Distributor of African News and Information Worldwide”) to Push His Agenda
This is quite old but I had to fetch it to tell my point across to a friend on Twitter about who Gates really is and what he's doing on this continent.

On previous occasions about a year ago we also showed that Bill Gates had paid a lot of money for African journalists to cover his work the way he likes it. The veil of “training” was used and James Love mentioned this rather recently, in a very comprehensive summary of his.
We are saddened to find that Mr. Gates just cannot let journalists do their work independently. Using his tax-exempt bank account (Gates Foundation) he targets a very major channel of communication in Africa.

That's all for this week. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

[VIDEO] The Future of Digital Commons

This video lecture, available free on MITWorld, is represented by Nancy Kranich, Ann Wolpert and Steven Pinker and takes a look at what has come to be known as digital commons.

Ideas, unlike popsicles, do not disappear once they are consumed, Ann Wolpert notes. And the resources of the academic world are intended to be used repeatedly -- exchanged and enhanced. Wolpert finds particularly threatening the notion of extending copyright law to the work of academics. Ideas should not “be stuffed in the same box as Mickey Mouse,” she says.

The internet has fundamentally changed the flow of information, and while it has encouraged a greater degree of “social sharing,” it is now threatened by market forces, which insist on controlling and realizing profit from ideas. Asserts Wolpert, “Neither the academy nor society can tolerate tight control over movement of information. For knowledge to advance, production and distribution systems can and should occur outside the tightly controlled, capital intensive publishing system.”

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Secure Your Facebook Account- Change to HTTPS Browsing

Facebook secretly introduced logging onto the the site using the relatively safer https connection but strangely did not sensitize users enough about it. HTTPS encrypts and decrypts user page requests as well as the pages that are returned by the Web server. The use of HTTPS protects against eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks. To change your Facebook account to use the HTTPS connection,

  • Go to Account
  • Click on account settings
  • Under the Settings tab, click on Account Security
  • Check the radio button by "Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) whenever possible"

From here you can also choose to be alerted whenever a login takes place in your account through SMS or email. If you've not done so yet, do so now! Change to HTTPS secure connection.

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[Release] Android Gingerbread 2.3.3 -- N11 "Vostok" For the N900

E-yes, the lead developer of the N900 port of Android- NITDroid- has announced the release of Android Gingerbread 2.3.3 nick named Vostok. The changelog is as follows

  • - Android 2.3.3 (GRI40)

    - New Gapps preinstalled (market should be downloaded automatically after login to google account)
    - USB Mass Storage support
    - Accelerometer 'agressive mode' for games.
    - Wi-Fi RSSI fixed (signal strength icon in status bar)
    - Video playback (youtube, mediaplayer) fixed
    - Ofono 0.45. Improved ofono/ril startup logic in init.rc script (no endless no-network anymore)
    - ElectronBeam effect
    - Latest media from CyanogenMod (ring-tones, notification sounds etc)
    - Emergency reboot (press shift+Fn(blue arrow) + R + B on hw keyboard for quick reboot without confirmation)

    Known issues:
    - Market fix wouldn't work anymore. I hope solution will be found by community:)

You can download the latest build from here and follow these installation instructions to get it running on your phone.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

8 Linux Commands That Will Save Your Day

Linux is a free and open source kernel that powers a variety of operating systems for servers, desktops, laptops, netbooks, mobile phones, and many embedded devices. 

If you have your own Linux server, you have probably used SSH to access the command line on at least a few occasions when your web-based control panel simply would not suffice. The following are eight commands you can use in Linux that will save you time, energy, and maybe even money.

1. grep - While you could simply describe grep as a search tool, it is really so much more. You can filter long lists, scour documents for the most obscure detail, and make other commands behave differently according to your specifications.
ls -al | grep make

2. ps - When you need to figure out exactly what is going with your server, ps is invaluable. In its most basic functionality, it lists processes (instances of programs currently running). With a few choice flags, you can view process IDs, memory and CPU usage, command names, and even parent and child processes.
ps aux

3. locate - Lose something? There are more intricate ways to search with “find” or “grep”, but locate searches a pre-loaded database of all of your files, which makes it fast for those quick searches for misplaced files. In order to use it, you need to run updatedb to have the latest files indexed.
locate money.html

4. top - Monitoring your system is critical. The ps command gives you every running process, but top only shows the most hungry of the bunch. If your server is running slowly, top may lead you straight to the culprit. It displays CPU usage, memory usage, system load, and much more.

5. kill - Yes, this is a real command and perhaps your most powerful weapon. When a program is out of control or when an application freezes, kill will become your best friend. Using data from ps and top, you can determine which processes are causing trouble and what their PID (process ID is).
kill 23849killall pythonkill -9 23849

6. who - This is a very simple command with a very important purpose. When you are running a dedicated server, you will most likely have other users connecting to it. Even if you do not, it is a good idea to monitor user accounts in case hackers manage to penetrate your security. The simple who command will tell you which users are logged in and what time their sessions began.

7. history - You will probably repeatedly type the above-mentioned commands and many others as you manage your server. Every time you need to run them again, you could always type them, but if the command you typed was a lengthy string, that can get old very quickly. The history command shows you a list of your previous commands. In a Linux terminal, you can press the up arrow to navigate through the list or type “history” to get the full list. Use the “!” key to quickly execute a command associated with a particular history number.

8. cat - This command gives you a quick way to print the contents of a file on your console screen. It is designed for text-based files, and you can use it in combination with more, less, grep, and other commands to determine how the text is displayed. You can also use the “>” to save the output to another file.
cat testfilecat testfile | grep “important sentence”cat testfile | lesscat /proc/cpuinfo > /home/username/mycpuinfo

These Linux commands are common, and most web hosts, such as Manchester managed server company 34SP.com, provide them as part of their standard Linux server installations. The examples provided just scratch the surface of these powerful commands. To unlock their full potential, you should reference the manuals for each. You can read the manuals online or type “man” followed by the command name from your system shell (example: man grep).

Tavis J. Hampton is a librarian and writer with a decade of experience in information technology, web hosting, and Linux system administration. His freelance services include writing, editing, tech training, and information architecture.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Week In Africa- Interesting African Tech Headlines You May Have Missed

This Week in Africa is a new segment that we're introducing onto this blog. It's going to be a weekly roundup of tech related headline news with a focus on Africa and Africans. Without much ado, here goes today's piece...

Ben Cole of Google takes a look at how technology impacts the lives of everyday Africans, the type that have barely head of what the internet is. He writes

...[I] had helped them establish web presences for their businesses, sign up for email accounts and get a taste for what the Internet could do for them. The work was immediately gratifying; I got to see the exhilaration in each person's eyes as they saw their company on the Internet. But after months of plugging away and wondering what the outcome would be, I had a bit of an existential crisis. What was the real impact? Was any of this doing any good?

Mfonobong Nsehe writes on the Forbes blog about why it'll be very difficult for a global scale technology company to come from Africa. He opines

Africans can create hugely successful tech products that will sweep the world off its feet. There are several entrepreneurs out there waiting to break through, but their ideas might never see the light of day because of a lack of seed finance.

Gameli Adjaho writes on the Gamelian world about South Africa's bid to host the Square Kilometer Project. He reports

If everything goes according to plan, the landscape of the Karoo region in the Republic of South Africa will be transformed by 2025 into a beehive of intense scientific activity, bringing Africa into reckoning as a major centre of astronomy, the science of the stars. This exciting prospect has arisen because of South Africa's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

Google launched the Student Ambassador Program in Ghana and Nigeria during the week with the aim of "empower[ing] the African academic community with knowledge, infrastructure and tools to help Africa’s future leaders make the most of access to information." Unfortunately my school was not part of those chosen in Ghana :-(.

Dale takes a look on the Ushahidi blog at the role being played by the platform in the uprising in North Africa. He writes

The Libya Crisis Map was very different than other mapping efforts. One, they didn’t need to train volunteers like in Haiti, the Stand-By Task Force was simply mobilized. Two, a number of customizable features like the Big Map were simply enabled via the Ushahidi Plugin. Three, Haiti response was an actual Ushahidi team effort, but this was United Nations initiative that called upon the Stand-By Task Force. 

Ghana's never-seem-to-roll 6th telecom operator, Glo Mobile, has launched its fiber-optic submarine cable in Ghana promising to revolutionize how we communicate. 

If fully optimized by every sector of the society, the Glo 1 submarine cable has the infinite capacity to trigger an unprecedented social and economic revolution not only in the telecommunication sector but also in the agricultural, transportation, medical, hospitality, tourism and educational sectors.
That's it for this week. Hope you enjoy reading those stories as much as I did. If you have any stories you'd want to be highlighted, you can drop them in the comments on send them to me on Twitter to be highlighted in next week's piece. 

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Youtube Goes Live with Live Streaming

Being the third most visited site on the net, Youtube has mostly been associated with viewing prerecorded videos from all spheres of life on all kinds of subjects. That however, is set to change with the introduction of live streaming capabilities onto the platform. 
Today, we'll also start gradually rolling out our live streaming beta platform, which will allow certain YouTube partners with accounts in good standing to stream live content on YouTube. The goal is to provide thousands of partners with the capability to live stream from their channels in the months ahead. In order to ensure a great live stream viewing experience, we'll roll this offering out incrementally over time.
As a consumer, you can go to youtube.com/live "where you can always find the most compelling live events happening on YouTube and add events to your calendar. Subscribe to your favorite YouTube live-streaming partners to be notified of upcoming live streams on your customized homepage." 

This move is long overdue given the size of Youtube and the sheer number of views it racks up a day; 2 billion. I'm not sure but I'm inclined to believe Google is now going to turn much of its attention to Youtube to make it the real Google TV after the very much underwhelming of the real GTV.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Zomg! HTC Bigger Than Nokia and RIM By Market Cap Thanks to Android

Zomg! Who said one could not make money from Linux? 

HTC’s market cap today sits at about $33.8 billion, which is greater than Nokia’s $32.84 billion and well above RIM’s $28.5 billion.

According to All Things Digital, HTC is currently bigger than Nokia in terms of market caps by about $1.04 billion and RIM by $5 billion. This according to Robert Chen is due to “a very unique business model and ecosystem strategy.”

Am I the only person who reads ecosystem as Android? And again, am I the only person who keeps seeing Nokia being proven wrong almost every single day? Nokia, if they had some respect for their users, should have at least released just one Android device, if only to make people like myself who'd had it with Symbian happy.

But no, they chose the path of Redmond, one that will eventually be leading them to Mordor. Again, in case the Nokia board has not realized, there is only one way for them to go, and that way is certainly not that of Windows Phone 7. Unless you return to Linux soon, you will find yourselves become the pariah of the market. Linux is the future!

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Android is Still Open Source- Says Google

Obviously there was misinformation in the earlier post that announced the postponement of the release of the source code to Honeycomb. The  quote below by Google's Andy Rubin now clears the mist about the hitherto uncertain "change in strategy" with regards to Android.

Finally, we continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready. As I write this the Android team is still hard at work to bring all the new Honeycomb features to phones. As soon as this work is completed, we’ll publish the code. This temporary delay does not represent a change in strategy. We remain firmly committed to providing Android as an open source platform across many device types.

I've always believed strongly there was no other way to go with Android than to keep it open to anyone. Yes there is the need to in some ways reign in on the fragmentation that is taking place, but in the overall, Android would die in no time should it ever be "closed" or locked down.

Now that Nokia has almost finished with the destruction of Symbian, keeping Android open will help even more OEMs adopt it for their devices, a move that at the end of the day will on forge ahead in the quest to keep ahead of the pack. So yes, Android is still open and Google has no intention of locking it down.

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20 Years of Linux- The Video

We saw the five broad reasons why Linux is poised to take on the future of technology. As a follow up to that post, I post here the Linux Foundation official video commemorating the 20th anniversary of the OS. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Linphone- An Open source SIP phone for desktop & mobile

Linphone is an open source VOIP software capable of making voice, video and IM using the SIP protocol. This gives users easy access to a host of SIP VOIP operators across the world. You can also use Linphone's free SIP voice/video.

Linpone on Android

It's cross platform, available for Windows, Linux, Android, iPhone and Blackberry. Among its features are

  • Support for simultaneous multiple calls with call management features like hold with music, transfer etc
  • Efficient bandwidth management
  • Support for plugins
  • Support for any webcam with a V4L or V4L2 driver under linux and Directshow driver on windows
  • Video with codecs: H263, H263-1998, MPEG4, theora and H264 (thanks to a plugin based on x264), with resolutions from QCIF(176x144) to SVGA(800x600) among others

Linphone is available in the App Store on iPhone, Android Market, and Blackberry. It is also available in the Ubuntu repos and as a .exe file for Windows. 

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

5 Reasons why Linux is the Future of Technology

From embeded spaces to mobile phones to desktops and servers, there's not a single one of those except it's being overtaken by the gradual but consistent revolution called Linux. Here's why

The Breakdown of the Psychic Barrier
The situation where people simply state Linux is not for them because it's either too difficult or unfriendly is what I like to call the psychic barrier to use. However, that barrier is being broken down gradually thanks to distros like Linux Mint and Ubuntu. I never cease getting amazed at the sheer number of Ubuntu powered laptops I keep seeing on campus, mostly owned by people who hardly even know the distinction between Linux and Windows.

There's no gainsaying that Android has indeed come to stay. Having claimed Symbian as its first victim and set to be the most popular smartphone platform by the end of this year, there's little doubt that Android is securing that space as the purview of Linux for a long time to come.

As I've stated a number of times, Africa, a massive market of about 1 billion people, is still mostly untapped and under-served. Symbian used to be the platform of choice of you wanted to use a smartphone. However, I'm increasingly seeing a gradual shift to the two platforms: iPhone and Android, especially among my contemporaries in school.

All it'll take for Android to excel here is for a handset maker to achieve the right balance between reasonable price and the right hardware capable of running Andoid at reasonable speeds. I personally tick Samsung to achieve this feat.

Then in terms of desktops, again I was fairly surprised the first time I walked into our school's computer lab and found out that half the computers are powered by Ubuntu 10.04. To say the popularity of Linux is soaring here in Africa is an understatement.

Again, it's ten times easier for both an individual and a business to get access to Linux than to its alternatives. It's this simple factor that in the long run will counter the Windows piracy in the developing world, a practice deliberatley overlooked by Redmond to help entrench its OS and maintain its dominance.

With Android already a stunning success, Google is now turning its attention to Chrome OS, the browser based, netbook centric OS. With the entire handheld market currently fixated on lightweight devices, Chrome OS need only repeat the Android formula to make that spectrum Linux owned.

There are other reasons why the status quo will never be the same, with Linux emergin ultimately as the winner. Some might not be so clear if you live in the heartland of proprietary software like the US, but as an African on the ground, I can confidently tell you that things are changing, the tables turning in favor of Linux in particular and open source in general, albeit at an agonizingly slow pace.

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