The notification bubble is a well known feature of Ubuntu, gently informing us when we are online, when we get tweets and new email and so on. It has an interesting feature that it commands attention for a few moments, but doesn't get in the way and the user can return to what they were doing without really stopping. At the moment I am trying to learn a bit of Swedish and wondered if these attributes might help when learning new words. What if I could use the notification bubble to show me words at random intervals so grab my attention momentarily while using my computer?
Google have now announced that they are to move into the Internet TV market with a platform named “Google TV”. This will aim to bring the world of web content to your TV screen in an easy to use way making video podcasts as easy to find and watch as regular TV programmes. It will not be a single product, but will be available in various products from set top boxes to televisions with the functionality built in. The announcement also came with the news that Google is working with big name partners such as Sony, Intel, Logitech and Adobe to make the product a reality. Engadget has a pretty good round up of the news in its article: Google TV: Everything you ever wanted to know. I believe that this is a very significant announcement and here is why.
We are experiencing interesting times politically in the UK. Maybe many at one point were happy to elect a Member of Parliament once every five years and pretty much let them get on with it. Talking about politics could make people feel uncomfortable, but a wave of recent events such as the expenses scandal and the Digital Economy Act have started to change that. With the election producing a hung parliament every vote of an MP could make or break proposed legislation, but do you know how your MP is voting? There are already excellent websites where you can find this out, but recently I started to wonder if an Internet TV platform like Boxee could be useful in this area, so I built an experimental “app” to try the idea out. Could finding out how your MP votes be like checking the football scores on Ceefax?
I did a fresh install of Boxee and the newly released Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on my Acer Aspire Revo today. The process has not changed significantly since I wrote my post How to install Ubuntu 9.10 and the Boxee Beta on an Acer Aspire Revo (including 64 bit option) back in January. You can pretty much follow these instructions to get everything up and running. One minor difference is in alsamixer where the entry formally known as “IEC958 1” now seems to be labelled “S/PDIF” (see below for screenshot) - unmute this as before. I used the recently released Boxee Beta version 0.9.21.11487 which works with Ubuntu 10.04, at the time of writing the Boxee site doesn't state this. It is also possible to integrate Boxee with the new Ubuntu One Music Store.
Back in December I was sent a Nokia N900 on a six month trial. I've been living with it as my everyday mobile phone in a special test and having the device for this extended period of time has allowed me to find out lots about this tiny Linux computer. Now that the trial is nearing an end though it is a good time to take things down a gear and relax by listening to music or watching some videos. However, just listening to some local MP3 files on it would be dull, so what else can it do? The N900 has some interesting features in this department, and the inclusion of a TV-out lead and an FM transmitter adds an unusual twist.
Most books on Drupal cover various aspects of developing websites using this versatile platform. After reading one of these you might find that you have done a rather good job of it and your site is attracting an increasing amount of traffic. This is great until the point where your site starts to struggle to keep up with demand. Left unchecked this could result in your site becoming slow to use and people becoming impatient and looking elsewhere. At this point you might be tempted to throw money at the problem, maybe an expensive new server or an upgrade to your hosting account. Before you do though it might be worth reading “Drupal 6 Performance Tips” by T.J. Holowaychuk and Trevor James that explains strategies and technologies that might help out.
In the 21st century people are surrounded by computers. Mobiles, set top boxes, netbooks, nettops, laptops, even in the car. Back in February 2010 Intel and Nokia decided to merge their Linux efforts, Moblin and Maemo, into a new distribution called Meego. When you go to the Meego site you will see that straight away that they going to design this distribution for all of these devices, making it a very interesting development. On 31st March an announcement was made that some Meego images were available, so I was keen to have a look at it. Unfortunately I managed to build an image but have not got it to run, but I thought I would document what was involved anyway. The documentation and code are actively being worked on so I hope to have a working image soon.
I am alone on a small island that is about the size of a roundabout in the middle of a vast ocean. With my ghostly body I look up at the night sky and contemplate what to do next. Maybe I will make the sun rise, build some more land or just read some more of the wiki. I've just installed OpenSimulator (a.k.a. OpenSim), a "3D Application Server". What this means is that it can be used to host "virtual worlds", a bit like SecondLife. In fact you can use the SecondLife Viewer as a client for it. After hearing about at various points for quite a while and finding a really good set of instructions on how to set it up, I couldn't resist having a go, even though creating virtual worlds is a bit of an excursion for me.
I like programming, I like mobiles, so naturally three months into my trial of the Nokia N900 my curiosity turned to how you might write your own applications for this very capable device. Notice I've said “applications” not “apps” here, as maybe “apps” doesn't really do it justice, especially with full sized applications like Abiword being ported. The device is really a pocket sized Linux computer with goodies such as a high resolution screen, GPS and Infra Red all thrown in so it has a lot of potential for creative application developers. You can develop code for it using tools on your laptop or if you just want to experiment a little you can even write Python programs on the device itself.
Today for the first time ever I wrote to my MP to ask him to make sure that the UK's Digital Economy Bill is properly debated in Parliament and not just rushed though. This bill contains many controversial clauses, particularly one about disconnecting people from the Internet just because an allegation of piracy has been raised. I'm concerned that if this bill is passed there will be great damage to the future freedom and economic prosperity of people in the UK. I recently joined the Open Rights Group to support their campaign for digital rights too.