lunes, 31 de diciembre de 2018

Happy 2019!

2018 brought a lot of changes.  Some of them were surprising, some others produced grief.  It was a bumpy ride, I would say.

The new year is about to begin here and I want to collect some predictions in the Linux world for these coming 365 days.

From OMG!Ubuntu!

From Linux Journal

From Network World

Let's see how it goes.

Whatever it is...

Happy 2019!

sábado, 29 de diciembre de 2018

Melody's Escape, An Entertaining Game

Megatotoro gave me a nice gift today: it's a Steam game titled Melody's Escape.


This is a simple time-killer in which you have to control Melody as she runs and avoids obstacles, but those obstacles are created according to a given music track.


This is a simple idea that combines the coordination of those dancing games in which you have to step on a direction arrow while the tune is played, but it has two nice features.  The first one is that you can change the character and environment.  The second one is that you can play to your own favorite music!


Go, Yandere-chan!

Regular game, right Mordecai?

Alice Angel, from Bendy and the Ink Machine

Thanks, Megatotoro!

jueves, 27 de diciembre de 2018

On Planned Cellphone Obsolescence

R.I.P. Blu Studio M HD... Was your death intended?
About a month ago, my Blu Studio M HD cellphone started misbehaving; it fired up apps at random and turned off by itself.  Eventually, it was more difficult to start it again.  Today, it barely refused to come back after I turned it on seven times.  I checked how old the phone was.  Interestingly, it was almost two years old.


The suspicion was inevitable: is this a confirmation that cellphones are somehow built to fail when the two-year lifespan is reached?

I know that most experts agree on the fact that it is not that the electronic components of the phone are designed to fail, but it is the battery that dies and causes the problems. That might be true, for the problems with my phone started when I noticed that the battery ran out of juice a lot faster than usual.

However, there is a detail: I specifically bought this kind of cellphone because of its manually-replaceable battery, which, in theory, extends the lifespan of the device. Except that today it is practically impossible to find a spare battery.

The lack of spares suggests that the industry is actually not interested on "repairability."

Buying a replacement for my dying phone in December is not an easy task: I only want a fairly cheap phone that can run my jogging apps and where I can check my email.

But most phones come with more powerful processors and more memory, all of which makes phones over-qualified for my personal use and, above all, more expensive.

Predictably, the  new models cannot use the same batteries from previous models because the former require more power and, let us not forget, most phones today come with a non-removable battery.

Say what you may, but I do believe in cellphone planned obsolescence.

miércoles, 26 de diciembre de 2018

Well done, Elive!

Three days ago, DistroWatch announced that Elive had received an update.  Although it is not an alpha version, I wanted to save it for my alpha testing this coming weekend.

However, after trying Netflix on Elive to update my previous post, I decided to update the packages to see what happened.

The process finished without any issue, so I wondered if I had received the aesthetic improvements that the DistroWatch post talks about, in particular " wallpaper - dynamically changes depending of the hour of the day, looking more magical and nicer for your eyes, and it also includes a hidden surprise for Christmas."

And, sure enough, I was surprised!

When I closed Firefox, which takes all the screen, I saw this:
Night time live wallpaper! The stars twinkle and the galaxy fades in and out.
 I quickly switched to my other wallpapers to see if they had been removed or affected negatively in any way by the change.  As they were fine, I went back to the dynamic wallpaper and found the old morning version.  When I was asking myself if something had gone wrong, my eye caught an iconic figure moving from one side of the screen to the other:
Santa's sleigh cruising my screen!


























Those details really make me want to turn my computer on despite the fact that I am on vacations.  Truly, Elive is a great Linux distro, both concerning performance and eye candy.

Changes in 2018 (Part V): Netflix

Some years ago, I read how Netflix would not easily work on Linux and, since I rarely watch movies, I never gave the movie streaming platform a try.

However, last week, my wife asked me how difficult it would be to find a Netflix movie that she really wanted to watch.  I thought that the easiest way to get the movie was to start a Netflix trial either on the blu-ray or on the Playstation.
I remembered that the blu-ray required a wired connection and we did not have the internet cable, so it was out.  I opened the account on the PS4 system instead and then she could happily watch her film.

But I was curious.  Netflix said that, besides the PS4, it could stream to tablets, Android phones, and computers.  I wondered if that meant that they were also serving Linux users now.  I decided to run a test on PCLinuxOS and Firefox 64.0.  I entered the site and selected Coraline to watch.  It was a success; the creepy adventures of the girl against the Other-mother displayed on my Linux laptop without any problem.  I need to see if the site works on Mageia, OpenMandriva and Elive and Fedora, the other Linux distros I use the most.


Since last week, both my wife and daughter have been enjoying Netflix films and series.   I have also caught one or two old movies that I wanted to re-watch. 

UPDATES:

Netflix runs fine on Mageia 6.1 with Firefox 60.3.0esr
Running fine on Elive 3.0 with Firefox 52.8.0 (32-bit)
Netflix running flawlessly on Fedora 27 with Firefox Quantum 63.0.3

Also running on OpenMandriva with Firefox Quantum 63.0.3


lunes, 24 de diciembre de 2018

Changes in 2018 (Part IV): Apps for running, updates, and forced migration

I have been jogging regularly since December, 2014.  Those days, I used an app called Run-bike-hike on a Firefox OS phone to track my routes and times.
When I switched to Android, I started using a nice app called Runkeeper. 

This app helped me to stick to my goals and track my progress, so it became my trusty companion in the road.  However, it stopped working after an unfortunate update last October and and had to look for a quick replacement while developers rectified the issues.
 
I had tried Runtastic before deciding to stay with Runkeeper, so that one was a no-go for me.  I eventually found Sports Tracker, which offers many features for free and it became the substitute. 

Sports Tracker lacks some useful features, even in the paid version, like the ability to manually edit routes if the GPS reading is not accurate.  Nevertheless, it compensates with other features, such as the ghost run.  One wins some and loses some.

The Runkeeper support contacted me to help, but the problem with the app remains to be solved.  As the app is unusable on two different phones, I guess the problem is on the app's end, not mine.  I am guessing, though.
Funny... Now that I come to think of it, my migration from Windows to Linux was a lot easier than this change of apps.

sábado, 22 de diciembre de 2018

Changes in 2018 (Part III) Social Networking... Not-working

I am not a fan of social networks (understood as sites like Facebook.)  Back in time, way before Facebook became cool, both Megatotoro and I joined a social network called Tagged as a one-year experiment to explore the possibilities of such sites for education.  After the year, our conclusion was that those places offered more distractions than anything else and, consequently, were not functional tools for learning purposes.

We tried another social network afterwards, Hi5.  Then Facebook, which effectively marked our exit from those sites.

I do not really remember why, but I started using Google +, the underdog of social networks in 2015 and there was something to it that made me stay.  I cannot put my finger on the reason; it was maybe the kind of posts, or the kind of people, or the interface, or a combination.  Whatever the case, I enjoyed G+ and did not find this social network as personally unproductive.

Yes, privacy was an issue.  However, I never anticipated how big it was to become.

After a silenced breech, Google decided to shut G+ down on August 2019.  Now, after another incident, the date of death became closer: April 2019.

When I first heard of the shutting down, I explored other possibilities.  I tried MeWe and Pluspora.  As the former was simply way too Facebooky, I joined the latter, which has a geeky feel to it and where I found some of the people that I follow online.

And true, Pluspora is not G+.  Not for a mile.  Yet, it has nice points, as micko explains in full detail here.

I do not know if I am staying.  Maybe I quit those sites for good and keep blogging.  That is, unless Google also decides to get rid of Blogger...

viernes, 21 de diciembre de 2018

Changes in 2018 (Part II) Games in PS4 vs Steam

Some of the greatest changes that I have undergone in 2018 involve the use of the Playstation 4 as opposed to playing on Steam.

Steam, in my opinion, has done a great job to bring games to Linux.  However, sometimes game updates render some titles unplayable for a while (as in the case with Bendy and the Ink Machine.)  Even so, I like playing Steam games better than playing on the console.  Maybe it's just that I prefer the computer because some of the Steam games are also available on the PS4, but I find them more enjoyable on Steam.

Whatever the case, I had to use the PS4 more because I was writing an article for a research project on games like Among the Sleep, Fran Bow, Violett, and Beyond Two Souls.  Eimi, my daughter, seeing the games on the PS Store, found Minecraft, and asked me to buy it.  I really saw no point because I had already installed it to her phone and did not like the MS game, so I refused.  However, my wife bought it for my daughter as a reward for all her effort in school this year.

When my daughter started playing, I understood why this game became so successful.  Pretty soon, both my daughter and I were playing together building structures, mining ore and feeding cubic animals.  The mash-up packs were Eimi's delight, in particular the Chinese Mythology one.  We explored the land, forged tools and, when outnumbered by monsters in the city, fled and fortified ourselves against them inside of a gigantic Buddha statue.  We created a hideout inside the sculpture's belly and connected it with a secret observatory inside the Buddha's head.  I must admit that finding Romeo's secrets (my daughter's fantastic quest in the game) kept me busy and entertained for quite a while. Oh, and the music is pretty relaxing, by the way.
Our stronghold against monsters


Yes, I am a Linux user and I still avoid MS products.  However, I guess I have to thank MS for this game that has made me spend such a good time with my daughter.  That's only fair.

miércoles, 19 de diciembre de 2018

Changes in 2018 (Part I) Who needs Windows?

I have been away from this blog for quite a while, but it is time to come back and summarize some of the main changes that I have undergone. I guess that I will do it as a series of posts.

Who needs Windows?

Yes, in October, I succumbed to the temptation from the evil empire and installed Windows 10 to my daughter's laptop as a dual boot with Mageia.  Well, I actually did it because of two reasons: Windows-based school assignments and a Windows-only game that she wanted to play and that does not run well on WINE. 

In full honesty, I have to say that MS has simplified the install process a lot... to the point that Cortana even convinced me to activate the network.  However, a pair of funny things happened.  First, when Windows started nagging so that I activated the product (by buying a license), the Windows store gave me a message indicating, "we are pretty sure that we do not have the product that you are looking for."  So, the Windows 10 Store cannot find a license for Windows 10. 

The other thing that I saw in the store was the several fake apps that imitate the look of Firefox or Chrome, but are more like skins for Microsoft's Edge.   Mmm, one wonders if those contribute to the illusion of the usage of Edge.

Anyway, since I installed Windows 10, that laptop has been booted on Microsoft's OS only two days to complete a school assignment.

And the game?  It ran terribly, worse than in WINE, so I had to trade it for another game... Microsoft's very own Minecraft.  That will be the subject of another post.