Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ubuntu for Android is Here to Kill Your Bulky Tower PC

O, this is good, folks, this is so damn good. Canonical just unveiled their latest project and it´s nothing short of revolutionary. In these wonderful days in which technology is continuously and rapidly evolving, people are being spoiled with anything from super-fast broadband connections, crystal clear video chats across oceans, huge LCD screens, cheap but oh-so-powerful digital cameras, and, what is still mind-boggling for me, multi-core mobile phones. Tiny devices, often smaller than your palm, light as a feather and incredibly thin, laugh in the face of your 4-5 year old top-of-the-line computer.

Looks like a dream, doesn´t it? Image source
What Canonical will do in the hopefully near future is make use of every last MhZ in your Android device. How? Through Ubuntu for Android! You will be able to connect a compatible mobile device to a keyboard, mouse and monitor and in no time, you will work on a full-fledged Ubuntu machine. Pop the phone out from the dock, and it will return to its regular functions.

When docked, besides accessing all of Ubuntu´s goodies, you will be able to manage contacts, view and add events to your calendar, even SMS and call people through the good old message indicator. Everything will seamlessly sync between the docked and undocked states of your phone, including bookmarks, browsing history, etc.

I really hope this will be at least half as good as it sounds. Even so, the most important thing is that Canonical started to push the tech industry with an incredible momentum. Unity (debatable :) ), HUD, Ubuntu TV and now this... 2012 will be awesome! 

Read a much more detailed description of Ubuntu for Android here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Distro Hoppin`: Linux Mint 12 KDE

Oh, dear Open Source Lord, how time has passed. As I was reading the release announcement of the new Linux Mint KDE, I didn't even consider creating a distro hoppin` episode, thinking  I just recently did one on it. I went looking through the archives and, there it was, Linux Mint 7 KDE, written on... August 5th 200...9! And it's now 2012! Wowey.

So here I am, in front of a new Kate document (I like writing my articles in the OS I am testing - though I would prefer, in the future, to have a completely separate hoppin` machine), ready to share some geeky thoughts with you people! Before I begin, let me give a shout-out to my great neighbor on the 4th floor, who likes listening to horrible, horrible music, at max volume, every weekday MORNING until early afternoon.

Logo by geo kal @ LinuxMint-Art
Coming in both 32- and 64-bit versions, the ISO size is around 1.1 GB, going over the CD limit by quite a lot. That's a great thing; I hate OSes that gruesomely remove features and applications just to keep the aforementioned limitation standing. I had a new DVD-RW laying around, so I decided to use it instead the usual USB thumb drive. Big, big mistake. The live environment loaded forever and the installation itself was over in two forevers and a half. I don't know why Linux Mint 12 didn't want to play nice with my shiny disc, but I was determined to see if it's a problem with it or a problem with the medium, so I formatted my USB drive and put unetbootin to work. Of course, one of this version's new features is the "hybrid" configuration of the ISO, meaning you can simply use the "dd" command to write the files to any USB drive and boot from it straight away. But still, unetbootin is a great, super easy to use tool. This time, everything went smooth and silky, fast loading times, responsive live environment, quick installation. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

YouTube Now Seamlessly Switches from Low to High Video Resolutions

Ah, how annoying it was to fullscreen a YouTube video as it automatically switched to a higher resolution, resulting in a hefty amount of extra buffering... 
No more of that, as I noticed today. Bringing a video to full screen does change the quality, but it doesn't do it instantly, thus allowing the viewer to continue watching without interruptions. Once the hi-res buffering is complete in the background, the switch from, say, 360 to 720p is made seamlessly. 

I really hope they keep this functionality, as YouTube is known for testing out new features for only a few days before taking them out. 

Go ahead and test it out yourself. But know that improvements such as this are not always rolled out to all users at the same time.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Udacity - Learn IT from the Best... for Free

I've always placed programmers at pretty much the same level as Superman, Batman, Captain Planet, etc. As fascinating as the science/art of programming is and has been for me, I never seemed to be able to activate those regions of the brain necessary to be a part of it. Sadly. 

But, never say never, as a fat cartoon mouse once taught me; come February 20th, I shall develop a brand new search engine! Eh, how about that? OK, actually I will TRY. How is that possible with 0 programming background you ask? Udacity, the latest hot startup from Palo Alto, California promises to bring the greatest computer science teachers in the world in one place and share their immensely valuable knowledge to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Courses can be attended for free, and, at the end, if students successfully graduate them (through assignments), they will receive some sort of diploma that will recognize their newly acquired information. 

I know there are multiple video-lecture online portals out there, but this promises to be more personal and more interactive and I certainly can't wait to begin. Of course, as the company grows, more courses will be made available, but, for now, you can choose from two: CS 101: BUILDING A SEARCH ENGINE and CS 373: PROGRAMMING A ROBOTIC CAR. The latter sounds WAY cooler, but it does require a fair amount of programming experience, so yeah... THEORY OF COMPUTATION, OPERATING SYSTEMS, COMPUTER NETWORKS and DISTRIBUTED SYSTEMS are also announced for 2012. 

So, do you think this is the future of teaching? What are the pros and cons of such a system? Please feel free to discuss in the (greatly improved BTW) comments section below.

See you in class!