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!


6 comments on “Non-Ham Related Stuff (most of it)

  1. Yes, M$ is like cheese, with many holes , because this is where the viri come from…
    Only thing what keeps me from not using Linux is WiFi (in)compatability, and Mpeg conversion, last time i checked, you had to pay for a special Mpeg codec conversion option.
    Btw. for Echolink you need a F licence, which you need in turn for a registration in the US ?

  2. I really like my Acer A500. It had honeycomb 3.01 on it when I bought it. I remember getting 3.1 afterward, and then 3.2 and eventually v3.2.1. By that time I had rooted my tablet but was still running the stock OS. I believe that it was back in April that Acer released an ICS update for the A500. But in March there were some 3rd party ICS ROMs that were created from a leaked Acer ICS so I upgraded to one of them. Acer has updated their ICS at least a couple of times since then. I am currently running a ROM called RE-FLEXxx-ShellSHOCK_Rev2-public and my tablet has never been faster. The point of all this is that I’m pretty sure that the developer of this ROM, civato, has the PackardBell LibertyTab (aka A500) 16GB wifi only. So I don’t think Android 4.0 is out of the question for you.

    • Hi Jim,

      as you said, there’s no technical reason not to update my PB Liberty Tab to Android 4.0. Techies will always find a way, of course, but it’s Acer who should take care of it. Not me. Don’t forget that 99.5% of the users has no knowledge of these things and depend on the company making these gadgets.

      Because this is the second time Acer let me down, I’ll take part of the blame. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

  3. Did you try Xubuntu yet? Or possibly Mint XFCE? I like the small footprint and they both run on my ACER Aspire One A110 with Intel ATOM 1.6 GHz, 512 MB RAM and 8 GB SSD, including LibreOffice, CHIRP and Fldigi. Cheers, Jaap

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