Ambient technology is definitely not about mood lighting, instead it is something far more interesting. It is a term which describes an idea that technology will adapt itself to your presence, performing the necessary reconfigurations and integration to meet your needs or simply increase your comfort. Typically it will do this without much of a need for human interaction, instead it just quietly gets on with its job.
Along with many of my OU colleagues, I have been using Twitter to regularly post my 140 character thoughts and share them with people who follow me. It has become a very popular service, and despite the simple nature of its core service all sorts of innovative add-ons have been dreamt of to enhance its functionality, Twitterholics gives a good sense of what is being developed. Twitter can be updated through its website or an increasing number of clients that are being developed for it. One of these clients is KDE Twitter, which I first saw on a screenshot on the Kubuntu website, but had a bit of trouble it tracking down. KDE Twitter is a Plasmoid, a widget that can be added to the KDE4 desktop.
An area where Linux is sometimes criticised is the level of difficulty expericed by people new to the operating system when installing software. Earlier today, Dr A J Cann posted an example of this criticism when he suggested that Ubuntu should follow the same model of software distribution used Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X of having a downloadable installer file for your desired program.
I've got the new Kubuntu 8.04 KDE4 Remix running now on my laptop and it is looking really good. I really like the new visual design and it is great that the Kubuntu project team made a release featuring KDE4 available on top of everything else they have had to do to get the main release of Kubuntu out. Up to now I have been running KDE3 and experimenting a bit with KDE4 on a virtual machine, but now I'm making the move full time.
Congratulations to the Ubuntu community on the release of Ubuntu 8.04! I am currently downloading a copy of Kubuntu 8.04 KDE4 Remix and preparing to make a jump from KDE3 to 4, which should give a modern looking computing experience anyway. I've been playing with the beta version of the Remix CD for a while now, and KDE4 seems to have improved quite a lot since I first blogged about it back in January.
Over the past few weeks for various reasons I have been asked to communicate with people using Skype, the popular program for making calls over the Internet. The chats I have been asked on though are just text chats. I'm slightly wary of Skype after reading a thought provoking entry on the Ubuntu Wiki about the ethics of using the service and because I can't get a version that will work on a 64bit operating system.
A while ago you might recall I blogged about the blurring of offline and online worlds, now another development is contributing to this change. Today I was delighted to find that my Google Docs account has been enabled with offline functionality. Basically this means that it is possible to start a document while online, continue to work on it while offline and then synchronise the change when you next go back online.