Non-Ham Related Stuff (most of it)
So I dumped my old smartphone and replaced it by a Nokia 100. The Acer smartphone I tossed into the trash was running under Windows. Long before the phone started to fail, the typical behavior associated with Windows annoyed me – slow to start up, slow to work with, and hard to configure to my liking.
Some applications didn’t do what they were supposed to do. Updates never materialized. That seems to be typical for Acer: they make promises, but don’t keep them. My Acer Iconia A500 Tablet (mine is branded Packard Bell, technically 100% identical, sold and supported by Acer) was never updated to Android 4.0. Acer recently announced that it never will be.
Conclusion 1: never buy anything Acer / Packard Bell if you want to keep your stuff up-to-date.
Then there’s Linux. I use Linux for about everything here. Apart from speed, it’s very, very hard to compromise the system. Maybe not impossible, just very hard. Yet I still have to encounter the first virus, while my few Windows systems pick up one on a regular basis. Forget anti-virus software, forget firewalls. These systems only give you a false sense of security. Even with all safety measures in place, you will get hit now and then. Even when doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. It only takes one flaw, one infected ad server and you’re toast. These attacks run through port 80, which you can’t block without disabling access to the WWW.
Conclusion 2: Linux, although not for everyone, still rules.
Not too long ago I switched from Fedora to Ubuntu. Not because I really wanted to, but because new Fedora versions suddenly failed to install on the majority of my machines. Ubuntu installed flawlessly. I also ran into Unity, the new desktop interface. While I’m not afraid of something new – far from it – this interface drove me crazy. Instead of being productive, I became lost. More lost than Harry Potter in the maze featured in “The Goblet of Fire”. Icons the size of ostrich eggs at default. WTF? I turned to the experts, who explained to me that typing certain keystrokes instead of using the mouse would solve most problems.
Conclusion 3: Unity tries to send you back to the time of WordPerfect 4.2 and DOS.
So, I sticked to Ubuntu 11.04, which still supported the classic interface. I ignored newer versions, and started looking for an alternative distribution. Somebody at Ubuntu listened though: the latest version will support the old user interface again, although you have to install it yourself manually. Hmmm. Maybe there’s hope for Ubuntu after all.
Before I forget: I bought a new media player. Or so I thought. The Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0 proves to be much more than a state-of-the-art MP3/DivX player. It’s actually a full featured Android tablet with a 5″ screen, which I now use in the shack to surf the WWW, answer my mail, and connect to Echolink. The device also permits me to keep Skype online for most of the day. It’s not a phone, so software wanting to peek into my phonebook and phone history won’t find anything.
Conclusion 4: you can’t go wrong with a Samsung / Android combo.
Have a great weekend!