DriveDroid: Booting Linux from your phone

I love testing Linux distributions. And how much comfortable life is for today’s Linux testers! I vividly remember when downloading a flavor of Ubuntu, or OpenSUSE, or SLED, or Fedora, took a long time. I remember leaving my computer on all night to download them. I had a big pile of blank CDs, and later DVDs, to burn my ISO images. Many markers for my handwritten notes describing the distribution and the version in each disk. No matter how many times you had  done it, trying a new distribution was a time consuming task. You needed to download a distribution, get… Continue Reading

Thoughts on main menus

The first thing a user is expected to interact with, at least in any operating system with a graphical interface, is the main menu. Yet, outside of touch devices, there’s very little consistency across platforms. This suggests we haven’t yet figured out how to design a main menu for PCs in a way that satisfies most. Why is it so hard? What’s a main menu for? Before designing anything we got to be sure what is purpose is. The purpose of a main menu may seem obvious: to launch applications. This, however, is too simplistic. A slightly better way of… Continue Reading

Review: KDE Connect

Google and Apple are two companies known for being pretty innovative. Recently Apple followed by Google showcased their new way of integrating your mobile life into your desktop activities: Apple’s OS X and Google’s Chrome OS will pair with your iOS or Android device respectively to keep you up to date even when you’re not looking. Google seemed particularly proud of being able to show the remaining battery on your phone. As it’s always the case when two companies announce similar things and have such a big fanboy base, soon many Apple users started claiming Google copied Apple, an assertion that… Continue Reading

Review: Netrunner 14

The new version of Netrunner is here. For some users, the most important part of this release will be its LTS nature. Since Frontier is based on Kubuntu 14.04 it will receive updates for the next 5 years. For others, like myself, the most important part is the new features and improvements over the last iteration. What’s new? Improved System Settings The first thing I noticed was the Web Accounts icon was missing. I was rather surprised by it, then I opened up System Settings and you can still find it there under Social Accounts. Despite my initial surprise (purely… Continue Reading

“Won’t Freya be free?” – The cost of software

One of the most original distributions out there is Elementary OS. The first version was hyped quite a lot, it wasn’t perceived by many as yet another distribution, they were in a mission to create a new desktop environment built on top of many of GNOME 3′s technologies. Elementary OS is perceived more along the lines of the likes of Linux Mint, Netrunner and Deepin. In fact, all four were featured in a recent article on OMG Ubuntu entitled Better than the real deal? 5 popular Ubuntu based distros. Yet the developers of Elementary OS found themselves in quite a… Continue Reading

Open Source Transportation 2.0

It’s been almost year since Elon Musk showed his idea for a supersonic fully electric and solar form of transportation. The famous hyperloop caused much hype around the world, reminiscent of the good old days when the space race was going over and there were articles after articles discussing the future of humanity and technology. While I was excited about the technology itself as much as any other geek, I was particularly excited because Musk released his ideas as a blueprint without any patents and he encouraged participation from everybody. In his own words, he released the hyperloop as open… Continue Reading

Testing in-home streaming with low-end hardware

So I took the old Netbook I used to test Netrunner on low-end hardware out, this time I wanted to test something entirely different. One of the many propositions by Valve is the idea of a simple Steam Machine, of around $99, that can stream games from your main computer. The idea is you can have your regular tower on your room and stream to your TV using only a small box. Steam, sadly, doesn’t support a Linux host, but it will in the future. To test it I ran a few games from a Windows installation to a Netbook… Continue Reading

What KDE can learn from: GNOME

KDE is my favourite desktop environment but as everything in this life it’s far from perfect. In this series we will simply check what KDE can learn from other desktop environments, starting by KDE’s longstanding “competitor” GNOME. Similarly there’s stuff GNOME and everybody else could learn from KDE. By the very nature of the topic the article may read too negative regarding KDE, but remember is my favourite desktop environment, the only reason it may read negative is because we’re explicitly talking about the things other environments do better. 1. Consistent and beautiful application design Say what you will about… Continue Reading