lunes, 15 de agosto de 2016

So long, Firefox Hello!

After updating my PCLinuxOS install, I noticed that the icon of Firefox Hello had changed: it was read and displayed a message reading "Error!"

I thought it was a simply login failure, so I logged in and the icon went green, as normal.  However, I noticed that Hello did not display the "Start a conversation" window, but one that read "browse this page with a friend".

A bit confused, I called Megatotoro, who read this statement from Mozilla to me.  Apparently, I had missed the fact that Mozilla is discontinuing Hello starting from Firefox 49.  Current Firefox version is 48, so...

Although I did not use the functionality much, I consider that it was convenient and had a lot of potential, in particular when users do not want to use Microsoft's Skype, Google's Handouts, or Facebook chat, I guess.

Mozilla, in its brief statement, thanks Hello supporters and points them to other providers:

"Here are a few alternatives to Hello. We hope you’ll find one you’ll like:
  • Talky: Provides both video and screen sharing using WebRTC.
  • Cisco Spark: Create rooms for video calling, group messaging and sharing.
  • Group video calling for up to eight people.
  • Jitsi Meet: Group video calling and screen sharing using WebRTC"
I visited the links to Talky, Cisco Spark, and Jitsi Meet, but saw nothing. looked interesting, though.  I will give it a try soon, but one question bothers me... I have seen many other instances in which a service is free and, as soon as a sizable user base is acquired, they start charging for whatever service they were giving.

I fear this will be the future of this interesting WebRTC technologies...

domingo, 14 de agosto de 2016

How to type in Japanese in OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 comes with built in Japanese support via Fcitx, the Input Method Editor (IME).   You can see Fcitx on the task bar (it is a keyboard icon).  However, you cannot type in Japanese until you activate it.

Fcitx's icon

To activate Japanese IME in OpenMandriva Lx 3.0, you first need to get Anthy from the repos using OMCC.

/Once Anthy is installed, open the Fcitx configuration application by typing "input" on the search field of the KickOff menu:

Once there, deactivate the box "Only show current language."  This action will show all the available languages.  Locate entries for "Japanese" and select Anthy.  Click on the arrow pointing to the right to add Anthy as an alternative input method.

Then click "Apply" and "OK" to leave.  That is all.

On the task bar, locate the keyboard icon (Fcitx) and right click on it.  Follow the menu to select "Input Method" and select Anthy.

You will see that the keyboard icon changes to Anthy's icon.

Now you can type in Japanese on LibreOffice Writer.  :)

sábado, 13 de agosto de 2016

OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 on my laptop

Before anything else, let me just say upfront that this is not a technical review.  I am a non-technical Linux user, so what I say here comes exclusively from the perspective of someone who, without understanding much about what is under the hood, appreciates Linux for the smooth ride that it provides.

My previous OpenMandriva Lx 2014 install
My old OpenMandriva Lx 2014. x install was working perfectly: it made the ZaReason Strata laptop work efficiently.   It also looked beautiful, with the four different wallpapers on each workspace, the Ghost KDE theme, and the Cairo dock.  The only problem I had with this system was that I could never manage to make it type in Japanese (I tried SCIM and iBUS to no effect).

Using ROSA Image Writer, I copied the ISO to an USB drive and went to adventure land, installing OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 twice on the same machine, first keeping the home partition of my previous OpenMandriva  and then a clean install.

Now, after I installed OpenMandriva Lx 3.0, this is what I noticed:

  1. The installation is fast!  I knew that some Linux OSs can install quickly (Mx took like 5 minutes), but I consider that completing all the process in less than 15 minutes is not bad at all.  And it was very simple, too.  The most complicated part was, as usual, partitioning, but that is because my  laptop is a heptaboot.
  2. It is best to do a clean install.  Although it was convenient to have all the files
    Visual problems
    and most of the settings there after the installation, I noticed several visual problems with Firefox.  There were unreadable message windows and elements were not properly located. These problems disappeared after I performed a clean install, so they were caused probably by previous settings overlap.
  3. With Plasma 5, you must say good-bye to certain aesthetic preferences.  We already know that the KDE team eliminated the possibility of having an independent wallpaper on each workspace, which is a big disappointment.  However, I also saw that the Ghost theme is not working.  Well, one must compromise here with Plasma 5.  You lose some, win some.  But what exactly have I won?
  4. OpenMandriva now comes with Japanese input support.  Sort of.  There is a
    mysterious keyboard icon on the task bar.  It turns out that it is Fcitx, an IME. 
    With it, one can, in theory, input Japanese characters.  However, I have not managed to make it work, except with a virtual keyboard with kana symbols.  I tried to install iBus, but could not manage to make it work. UPDATE :  Fcitx works perfectly!  I just had to learn how to use it. Here is a tutorial I wrote to that effect.

I am keeping OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 for sure.  In general, I must say that I like the OS and, what I do not like about it is related to my very own Plasma 5 aversion instead of something particular to the OS.  I mean, the OS picked up the wi-fi with no problems, the sound works, effects are working, I saw no crashes, and speed feels good.  Kudos to the OpenMandriva team: their work is awesome.  Of course, I must test other areas; for instance, I need to assess how the OS works with games.  So, my next post will be about that, I guess. 
My new OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 desktop.  Yay!

The truth is out there... and so is OpenMandriva Lx 3.0!

The wait is over for those of us who appreciate the hard work of the developers at OpenMandriva: today, this blog announces that the new release is ready!

OpenMandriva Lx 3 comes with KDE Plasma 5.6.5, three launchers (Kickoff, Kicker, and a full screen one) and F2FS support for SDDs.

I am presently downloading the ISO to install it to my machine.  I really want  to see how the new release of this beautiful Linux distro behaves.

In the meantime, the brand new site of OpenMandriva has a download link and more info.

Congratulations to all those who participated to bring OpenMandriva Lx 3 unto the world!

jueves, 11 de agosto de 2016

My experiment with Insync

Some months ago, I decided to give the cloud a chance.  I have been very critical of cloud services because I know that major cloud service providers give you some free space in exchange of a bit of your soul.

Well, I may be exaggerating there, but they do capitalize on your information somehow and that, along with security concerns, kept me out of the cloud.

However, I decided that since I already own an Android phone, which connects me to Google drive, I could use the service to see how it worked.

Now, the idea of having cloud storage is to be able to synchronize my files and to be able to access them from my desktop, laptop, and phone. Connecting the desktop in my office would be great, too.

On Linux, one can use the console to do something like that.  However, since Google does not release a GUI client of Google Drive, I wanted to check a GUI version and the best one I found was Insync.

This is not a free service.  They offer you a 15 day trial and then, if you like what they do, you pay a plan and you can install the program in as many machines as you want.

So I tried out their service.

In my humble opinion, their program worked as a charm: the interface was intuitive, the synchronization of the single folder I selected was flawless, and the access from both Mageia and OpenMandriva was perfect from different machines. I was very impressed, but I was not considering to pay despite I found the pricing reasonable.  My problem was my own cloud aversion.

My initial thought was to uninstall the program once the trial period was over and move on with my life, once again forgetting about the cloud. However, something unexpected happened: after a week of using the program, I received an email from an Insync representative who identified herself as Janine. It was a short follow up message reminding me that, if I needed help, they were ready to support me.  One week later, she wrote another one reminding me of the end of the trial.

I must say that those emails were different from emails one regularly gets from a company.  They were professionally written but, besides being the most courteous messages I have received from a company in my life, they had this human flavor to them...

Even so, I did not upgrade.  I expected that to be the last I was going to hear from Insync, but I received one more email.  This one blew my mind.  It was Janine again offering more trial time or support if I did not upgrade on account of a problem or if the service failed meet my expectations.  If the problem was pricing, she also had an offer to cover for that.

With that email, this company made me feel like a valued customer.  I replied thanking for their awesome service and paid my Insync plus for consumers plan ($25).

Now I run the program from Mageia and OpenMandriva, both from desktop/laptops, and my "cloudophobia" is diminishing.  In fact, I have found the service very useful.

It's the Ides of August!

In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Roman general Julius Caesar is given an ominous message by the Soothsayer.  The message is a simple warn...