May 3, 2011

First impression of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

After a long time it's about time I wrote a new post, nothing like a new version of Ubuntu to sit down and a write a post, enjoy.


Basically there the are three options: keeping all your information and programs, fresh installation on the same partition and the last option is if you want to do some thing else , mainly changing or adding partitions. If you choose the last option and you want to change one of your partitions, you'll need to enter the size of the partition, in older versions you could have done it using a scale, I miss the older version. Other then that everything fast and smooth. It was the fastest installation I ever did with Ubuntu. The only problem was when downloading things went a little slow the same when installing more applications, but that cloud be understandable since it was lunched that day and Ubuntu's servers where overloaded .

Default applications

Office suit – Libreoffice instead of Openoffice – It's hard to find any big difference between them. I had only one problem which took me some time to solve, since I also write in Hebrew (Right-to-Left) I couldn't find the buttons to change the writing directions. In the beginning I tried Installing Openoffice using the “Ubuntu Software Center” but it installed Libreoffice again, at the end I found the solution. (Tools → Options → Language Settings → Languages → Locale Setting ->[Your language]) If you write from Right-to-Left the buttons will appear in the tool bar, in Openoffice the buttons are default.
  1. Media – Banshee – Love it used it until now it's about time it was the default music player in Ubuntu. In the video section I've installed VLC, here again I've used it before and I'm very happy with it. VLC's main strength is in it's ability to play many video formats.
  2. Graphics - Picasa & GIMP since I use the Picasa on the web using Picasa was a natural choice. Once in a while I need to do some photo editing until now I've used GIMP, no reason changing that.
  3. Browser – Three month ago I have started using Chromium instead of Firefox, that was before Firefox 4 came out, since then I've got used to it and I'm very happy with it's performance.
  4. Last but not least the “Ubuntu restricted extras” applications with restricted copyrights , Skype for communication, Synapse a friendly file and application launcher and Gdebi package installer (I don't understand why it doesn't come in default) . Dropbox instead of Ubuntu One cause I also use Windows.
  5. Removing – Evolution, I use Gmail. Gwibber, I prefer the web interfaces of Twitter and Facebook.

User Interface

In Ubuntu 10.10 I've used Gnome 3 now I'm using Unity 2D, unfortunately my graphic card doesn't support the 3D version. The only thing is that I had to figure that by my self and install the 2D version, the 3D came installed by default. This is the biggest change between the Ubuntu 11.04 and the privies version, at least as the eye can see. Compared to Gnome 2 it's a huge leap. Compared to Gnome 3 it's hard to decide which is better, after using both I think I prefer Unity, but I haven't used it enough that I can be sure. The only thing I miss is the option to add applets to the bar above, I hope in the future they'll add that option to do it the same way as in Gnome 2. I thought of installing Gnome 3, but the roomer is that it will only cause problems and even may result in the need to install Ubuntu from scratch.

One problem I've had in both versions and both interfaces is with the battery applet, when charging or working on battery I can't see the percentage it's stuck on “estimating”.

For conclusion the difference between 10.10 and 11.04 (as a simple home user) are changes in some applications, Banshee & Libreoffice added, GIMP removed. The bigger change is in the interface. Looks like Ubuntu is in the right direction, better applications (no reason removing GIMP), better user interface. Both increasing the user's experience, hopefully attracting more users to Ubuntu.

Already waiting for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

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January 16, 2011

Browsers War

With more and more Google Chrome apps and extensions coming out it's time to take a look on the war between the browsers. I know the apps are mainly made for the Google Chrome OS, but I can't see ChromeOS taking a  major place in the OS market in the near future, which means most of the apps and extensions will be used on Google's browser , Chrome.
I've looked on W3Schools browser statistics for the past year, according to W3Schools five browser control the market Microsoft's IE, Mozila's Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera. Since Safari and Opera control between 2-4 percent, I won't be taking a look at them. According to W3Schools IE and Firefox have been loosing the battle mainly to Google's Chrome, IE has been dropping in a rate of 0.961 percent a month and Firefox 0.209 percent a month for the last eleven month, mean while Chrome has been climbing in a rate of 0.882 percent a month. In these rates Chrome will over take IE in less then six month and Firefox in less then twenty two month. The battle between IE and Chrome is close, six month is just over the corner, Microsoft is taking about IE 9, but looks like it's all ready too late. On the other hand twenty two month is a long time almost two years in this time Firefox can stop the it's dropping, probably with Firefox 4, but still it's hard to predict
A lot of writers, when writing about browsers, write on things like better support of CSS or how it works with HTML5 (hell, some people don't even know what a browser is). Most users don't care about those things, the two things that matter the most, in this order are speed and safty and in the meanwhile looks like IE is loosing and Chrome is winning, Firefox had developed a lot of speed problems but looks like version 4 had solved part of that.

Browser percentage (January-November 2010)

 Change rates

Change rate crossing (November 2010-November 2012)

You can check the numbers at this Google Docs spread sheet.

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January 2, 2011

Google Chrome Weather app

Lately Iv'e been using more and more Chrome apps (on Linux I use Chromium and on Windows I use Firefox 3.6, but that's for anther post). One of the nicest apps is the "Weather Underground" app. Most weather apps or extensions on Chrome and on Firefox don't put ecstatics  or user experience and user interface in the center, the main focus is on the information, delivering it in the fastest and simplest way mostly in the status line at the bottom or in the tool bar above. The "Weather Underground" app may not bring you the weather in the fastest way but it will give to you in the most beautiful way, you get all the information you need at the bottom of the screen but you also get A beautiful photograph relating the current weather. There are two kind of computer apps, the first is an app made for regular people by computer people, the second is regular people use computer technology and computer people for building an app,"Weather Underground" is from the second kind. 

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August 10, 2010

I can't follow “Who to follow”

Twitter just added a new feature they called it “Who to follow”, a nice idea, Twitter finds you people who have the same fields of interest as you have. I liked that idea, I wrote in the past about LazyFeed I like the idea that applications suggest you what to read or follow according to your choices in the past. In Twitter's case, people I follow. But “Who to follow” has some problems:
  • The list shrinks when you choose to follow some body, no new person is added, so the more you follow, the shorter you list becomes. 
  • The same with the “Hide” button, every time you decide to hide so one, the list shrinks. 
  • The list never changes, it's always the same people, so once I check it, I chose who to follow, and thats it. The “Who to follow” finished its job. A result of the past two problems, the shrinking of the list. 
  • At least ten people in my list are not active, they “twitted” once or twice and the last “twit” was almost a year ago. For what reason should I follow them.
  • Some of the people that were suggested to me, well how can I say it, I wouldn't follow in a million years. I have no intention to follow Microsoft's Twitter or MS Window's Twitter. Some of them just write in a language I don't speak, like Spanish or French.

One think I did like about Twitter's new idea is that it finds people from my community or speak the same language I do, very useful if English is not you first language, like me. Cool idea, but you can see it's only the begging, hopefully they'll fix it soon.       

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August 8, 2010

The Fast Death of Google Wave

What started in a big noise ends quietly, Google just announced it's ending the developing of “Google Wave”. Less then a year ago Google announced it's newest development “Google Wave” this time the same as in the past, in the begging only people who got invitations could register hoping that it will increase the buzz around “Google Wave”, this time it didn't.
If you look back on Google's history you find not once that if failed to develop or market a new web application or some thing they bought like “Orkut”. The basic fact is that Google's most profitable application is it's search engine, they have some other applications which came out quite good, the first one is “Gmail” - one of the leading mail service almost from the day it became public. They also have their calender , their RSS reader and “Picasa” . It dosn't look like this is going to change in the near future.
The most interesting web application, that is being more and more commonly used is “Google Docs”, the web based office applications, a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation tool, lately they added a PDF reader and a drawing application. Until recently you could work off-line using “Google gears”, but since Firefox 3.5 came out it stopped working and Google didn't upgrade it. According to Google they took that option down to make “Google docs” work with HTML 5. I personally had been using it until then, but this days I can't use it any more cause I need to work off line some times. I hope they'll fix this soon.
Two more interesting tool are “Google trends” and “Google Insights for search” tool for discovering, analyzing and comparing trends in the web, I've used “Google Insights” to compare Google's applications to other web based applications, you can see the results.
Other Google applications which failed are there social networks like “Orkut” and “Buzz”, there notebook application “Google notebook”, “Google video” which they stoped working on when they bought “Youtube” and now “Google Wave” . I must say I've been using “Google notebook” all this time, and I hope that one day they will return working on it.
Those are only part of Google's products they have more then I can cover in one or two posts, here's a list of them. 

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August 1, 2010

How The Internet Works

Online Schools

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July 31, 2010

WOW !!!

I just bumped into this video and all I could think is WOW !!!

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