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WebOS 2.0 Wishlist

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Jul 12 2010

I have been a webOS advocate since I first installed the emulator on my computer and saw just what the software could do. WebOS has seen some much needed updates over the past year but there are still some things that I feel are lacking or even completely missing as it is today. I just wanted to put together a wishlist of features I would love to see in webOS 2.0.

Gmail integration – This is obviously something that Android does great and even Blackberry’s have great support for. WebOS however is lacking some key features when it comes to Gmail. Even if webOS simply got Gmail tagging and archiving down that would probably be good enough for my mobile needs. Gmail as it currently stands just leaves something to be desired on webOS.

Google Navigation – One of my favorite features on any modern mobile platforms is Google Maps. When using an Android phone that experience is amplified 1000% by the simple fact that if I want to search for something I can get free turn-by-turn directions to my destination. Google has already said Google Navigation will be coming to more mobile platforms, let’s just hope webOS is one of them.

Unified preferences app – It is great that you can have a whole page of the menu for preferences, but it really should all be combined in one app for device preferences. This not only includes sounds, notifications, screen brightness, and bluetooth, but it should also have things like email accounts, chat accounts etc. This way you can go one place for everything and not have to open up individual programs to find the settings for your email/chat/calendar/etc.

Customize quick menu I was informed that this is possible just the same way you can reorganize the launcher menu. I had no idea but I feel like an idiot now that I never tried it. – This can be accomplished with an easy hack, but what if I don’t want my contacts on my quick menu? I have too many contacts to scroll through anyway. In order for me to find anyone I need to call I use the universal search feature. I just don’t understand why this feature hasn’t been there all along.

On screen keyboard – I got used to the Pre’s keyboard faster than I thought I would. The keys are a little cramped but the layout is one of the best I have ever used. That being said, sliding open the Pre for all typing gets to be a hassle. The lack of voice recognition and on screen keyboard actually makes me prefer the Pixi’s form factor more than the Pre’s. If webOS had either speech recognition or on-screen keyboard the Pre’s form factor would be the clear winner.

Speech to text – I typically am not one to like voice recognition software but sometimes it comes in really handy. If I want to place a call while driving, or do a quick search in Google or IMDB, typing isn’t always the easiest way to do it. If this feature doesn’t work well it could be a disaster. But if it works about as well as speech to text in Android I will be satisfied. Also voice activation for calls and voice announcements for who is calling would be a great added bonus.

Swipe down action for cards – Swiping left and right is great, swiping up makes sense, but how about swiping down? I don’t exactly know what it could do but the option seems like it could be beneficial in some apps. The only thing that comes to mind would be on webOS printers. Swiping up gets rid of the picture/document you want to print, while swiping down prints. Maybe on phones swiping down can send information to another program like sending a picture in an email.

More Gestures – There’s lot of potential for the gesture area and while forward, backward, and scrolling makes good use in apps, there is plenty more that can be done with the gesture area. Maybe a two finger pinch brings up voice command, or two finger swipe up to open the on screen keyboard.

Video chat – Video chat is over-hyped and I am sure under used. But if HP can bring a true open standard, cross platform, and 3G usable app to webOS I think it may see a bit more use than just a check box on a spec sheet.

Macro mode for camera – This could be a software or hardware issue, in either case, it is badly needed on all webOS hardware. Apps for scanning barcodes, OCR, and augmented reality suffer from no macro mode on the camera.

Information on wallpaper/widgets – Widgets would kill the aesthetics of webOS. But not having any information available for my upcoming calendar appointments, unread emails, or messages really makes webOS inefficient for business users. If I want to check my schedule for the day I need to turn on the phone, unlock the phone, open the calendar app, and then scroll through my day. That requires a minimum of 1 button push and 2 clicks. Calendar information should be available either on the wallpaper itself (embedded text or widget) or be able to be added to the lock screen. I should be able to see what I need to be doing or working on with 1 button.

More pages in menu – I know it is an easy hack, but the average user does not hack their phone. If webOS is going to be getting more great apps, 3 pages just won’t cut it. Consolidating preferences may help, but there needs to be more room besides scrolling down. If Palm has some good ideas about app organization (besides folders) I am all ears.

This is just some of the things I have thought of over the past couple of weeks and honestly I am super excited to hear what Palm has in store for webOS fans. How about you, what are your much desired webOS 2.0 features. Please let me know in the comments.

Twitter updates

0 Comments | This entry was posted on May 10 2009
  • Ducks and Red Winds!!! I don’t know who to root for. I guess GO DUCKS!!! #
  • Yay, the PS3 is back from repair. The UPS guy immediatly asked if I play Xbox. He was suprised when I told him it was a PS3. #
  • @mintcast good times recording the podcast together. my kitchen heats up to like 32 C when I am in there for too long, feels good to get out #
  • @jungaar I never cared for the GTA series. Only games I own are C0D4, LBP, Rock band (1+2), and UT3. Plus a few PSN games. in reply to jungaar #
  • @erinlynneh sucks to hear about dad’s car. I am sure he will fix it though. If anyone can fix it, he can. #
  • Happy Cinco Day Off-o! Oh wait, that’s just me. :) #
  • Taking my OSX re-cert part two. #
  • Passed. #
  • LOL @Linux_Mint I love that RTFM is not a command. Every Linux distribution should have that! #
  • The Matrix on Blu-ray, popcorn, A/C, and my wife. Today rocks! #
  • @jungaar I don’t know anyone w/ a vaio FW. I read that most of the hotkeys were supposed to work now though. I will try my tt sometime later #
  • @bear89103 I didn’t want to see it this weekend. Beth did, but I wanted to wait. Theater crowds != my thing. in reply to bear89103 #
  • @bear89103 thx for the rockin party last night, but my drums just don’t seem good enough any more :( ION drums FTW! #

Linux Mint 7 review

4 Comments | This entry was posted on May 09 2009

Linux Mint 7 “Gloria” RC came out this past week and I spent some time installing it this morning. While it is based on Ubuntu 9.04, my first impressions of Linux Mint 7 are drastically different.
Here is a mini review of why I still use Linux Mint as my main OS at home.
The install was painless, as usual, and the theme was just as elegant and smooth as ever.
After the install I went ahead and updated my video card drivers and turned on advanced desktop effects. From there I needed to install some software that I use day-to-day. Instead of turning on the package manager like I normally would I opened the mintInstall tool expecting the software to refresh it’s list for the next 30 minutes. I was very surprised to have mintInstall ready to install software right when I opened it. I was even more pleased to find the featured applications option. One click on that button and it had a list of popular software that isn’t install by default. With a few check boxes I installed VLC, amarok, f-spot, picasa, etc. The only software not on the list that I needed to install was Audacity and Conduit. Ten minutes past my fresh install I had all my software installed and I was back up and running. Thanks to storing all of my information on either a network drive or a separate partition I had a fully functional Linux Mint 7 installation at this point.
One of my biggest complaints with Linux Mint in the past was the mintMenu application. While I loved its functionality of allowing you to search for programs and documents all right when the menu is open, it never had the ability to open with a hotkey, until now. I found out by accident. I pushed the “Super” key and started typing Firefox because that is what I usually do in Vista. About half way though “fire” I realized I had opened the mintMenu with the “Super” key. After reading the changlog I found that you can also change the key which is very helpful in Linux because many other programs use the “Super” key for activation (Gnome Do, Compiz shortcuts, etc.).
One other change that I didn’t expect, but am OK with, is the fact that Gnome Do does not start up by default. Because past mintMenu’s could not open with a shortcut key I began relying on Gnome Do to launch my programs and find my documents. I very much like the program but with mintMenu being able to open with just a keypress I don’t know if Gnome Do is needed any more in Linux Mint, at least not for program launching.
The only other surprising feature to find was that Evolution was not the default mail client and instead Thunderbird still held that title. While I still do like Thunderbird I feel like Evolution is a step in the right direction and I love that it can not only manage all of my personal email addresses but it can also painlessly get my works Exchange email.
In summary, Linux Mint 7 is absolutely wonderful. I have all the features and support of Ubuntu with all the polish and software I have come to love in Linux Mint. I look forward to using Linux Mint 7 more and hopefully I will be able to keep this install for at least 6 months until Linux Mint 8 comes out. Great job Clem and team, another success in my book.

Twitter updates

0 Comments | This entry was posted on May 03 2009
  • After washing my hair twice, I can still feel where the paintball broke on top of my head yesterday. #
  • @geektonic do you have a walkthrough on setting up a movie library in media center? Trying to get thumbs and meta data set up in WMC7 #
  • @geektonic Does that require movies in folders and the xml data? or does it do it automatically like XBMC? #
  • http://twitpic.com/4ch0t – A nice buick in the apu parking lot. #
  • @rothgar oops, i said buick, it is for sure a dodge. in reply to rothgar #
  • Eat the World is at Argentinean tonight. Looking forward to some steak. #
  • I found out tonight that I do not like blood sausage, and while sweetbread wasnt terrible, the thought of it still is kinda gross. #
  • Catching up on the Stanley Cup playoffs I missed this morning. And using DVD Flick to make a DVD for my dad. #

Windows 7 RC Login Background

1 Comment | This entry was posted on May 01 2009

I installed the latest Windows 7 RC because I wanted to try it out and I needed to do something with my media computer. When I first went to log in I saw the login screen background and thought it was great! Unfortunately, you can’t set that picture as a background within Windows 7 (it is only a login screen image).
Using a tool called ResHack I was able to extract the image from the dll. Feel free to download the image below.


They have a lot of “tall” images and I am guessing because they are expecting tablets to start taking a more dominate market share. The tall image makes the screen much more “paper-like”
Please be nice to my bandwidth. And if I happen to get this post taken down (not sure why I would when it is a public beta) I will try to find a mirror somewhere.

PS3 Repair Log

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Apr 29 2009

I had to send my PS3 in for repair due to an error I was getting when trying to read disks (Blu-ray movies and games). I wanted to post my experience to help anyone in the future that needs to send in their PS3 for repair too.
First up was getting to the point of needing to send in the machine for repair. I called support (twice for troubleshooting) but when all troubleshooting failed I was told the PS3 would need to come in for repair and, to my surprise, I was sent an email to put in the request online instead of doing it over the phone. The link I was sent was https://service1.us.playstation.com/ and I was told to put in my information there and I would be sent a box. I was happy with this process because I received 2 emails saying my request was complete and within 3 days my PS3 coffin was at my door.
It came with a handy page that said what to do before sending in the PS3. First they recommend backing up your PS3, then deactivate your master account, then delete all users (lame), and finally format the PS3 system hard drive (double lame).
After all that was done I laid the PS3 in it’s temporary home for it’s long trip to Texas.

2009-04-19 – Received error 80029906 when trying to play a Blu-ray movie and error 80010514 when trying to play a disk based game. Games on the Hard drive worked just fine.
2009-04-19 – Submitted request for repair.
2009-04-21 – Coffin arrived at my door.
2009-04-22 – Shipped PS3 to repair center.
2009-04-28 – Email confirmation that the PS3 was received by the repair center. The email said repairs usually take between 7-10 business days.
2009-05-04 – Looks like they tried to deliver the system today. I got a call this morning but didn’t pick up cause I was driving. We will see if I get it tomorrow.
2009-05-04 – The driver came buy again at 6:00 p.m. to deliver the system. That sure was nice of him. As he dropped it off he asked if I play Xbox. I laughed a little and asked him if he had been delivering a lot. He just said they have needed a “little service lately”. When I told him it was a PS3 he was surprised and asked what happened. I just let him know the Blu-ray drive was having problems and signed for the package.

With the system is finally back and I was able to finish the movie I started three weeks ago. I haven’t restored my information yet but we will see how that goes.
And for anyone curious, I did get my exact system back (not a refurbished replacement). The only thing that looks changed is the fact that they flash firmware 2.60 and reset all the settings to default. I needed to update the firmware back to 2.70 and once I did that everything appears to be working just fine.

Twitter updates

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 26 2009
  • Just got off the phone with Sony after my PS3 wouldn’t play Blu-ray or games. Had to turn off the media server to get it to work. LAME! #
  • had to make another call 2 Sony. My PS3 needs repair because the movie only played another ~10 minutes. err msg 80029906 or 80010514 = $150 #
  • @mintcast I was watching top gear so I lost track of time. I’d say about 30 min though. in reply to mintcast #
  • @mintcast It was a pleasure working on the mintcast podcast with you tonight. For our listeners we have a treat for you this week. #
  • VZW opened to allow users reviews of their phones. Let the sw/hw bashing begin. Starting w/ the HTC Touch Pro and its lack of ram Stupid VZW #
  • Preparing my PS3 to send it in for repair. I have to backup all my stuff, deactivate my accounts, and format the drive. What a hassle. #
  • HP Mediasmart server upgrade 2.5 is out now!! Get it before their servers get slammed. #
  • I am using a HP 2140 for the next couple of weeks. Anyone have questions or suggestions? #
  • @tuxradar My full first impressions http://tinyurl.com/c9u72n twt size: no support for dock, doesn’t live up to hype. still better than 8.10 in reply to tuxradar #
  • It is a good thing the NHL isn’t the animal kingdom. Otherwise the ducks would have NO chance tonight against the sharks. #
  • Does anyone know what band has the most recorded albums ever? I am curious and my Google powers are lacking today. #
  • @pOshahantos I was thinking that too. According to Wikipedia Beatles only have 19 studio albums, rolling stones=24, rush=19. Any more bands? in reply to pOshahantos #
  • It makes me happy to have a MythTV system working again. :) Now for weeks and weeks of tweaking. #

Ubuntu (9.04) Jaunty Jackalope first impressions

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 23 2009

I installed Ubuntu 9.04 on my main laptop (HP Compaq 8510p) and I wanted to post what my first impressions:

My first issue was with the installation. I am not sure if this feature was taken out or if there was just some other reason I couldn’t do it, but what happened to the ability to resize your Windows partition to install Ubuntu on the newly created free space? I only had two options on my install, use the entire disk (erasing Windows), or manually select which partitions to use (without the ability to resize a partition). What I ended up having to do was boot back into Windows Vista and resize my main partition to free up unallocated space on my drive manually. While this wasn’t horrible to do, I can imagine there are quite a few people out there that don’t know how to do this. After I had freed up 15 GB on my drive I had a third option to install Ubuntu on the largest available free space but it was still a bit of a hassle to do in the first place.
Once I actually booted into Ubuntu I was greeted with all of my hardware working out of the box…until I rebooted.
I am not sure why but my sound wasn’t working past the login screen. It worked just fine on the first boot and it has never failed to work in any previous Ubuntu installation on this laptop (8.04-9.04). I was eager to play some of my music, but I soon remembered one of the reasons I switched to Linux Mint…and that sent me to the package manager to install the restricted extra’s package so I could listen to my music in MP3 format. Once I finally had the package installed I then realized I couldn’t hear any music coming from the Rythumbox player. I started up Firefox and headed to YouTube to see if I had any audio there. Back to the package manager to install flash and then restarted Firefox to see if I had sound from YouTube. This confirmed that I had no sound working whatsoever. I went to the forums and installed the Gnome ALSA mixer cause I heard it solved the problem for some people but for me it would just open up with a blank window with no options but to exit. So I gave up on my sound thinking I could just use my USB sound card that has worked with every other distribution of Ubuntu I have tried it on (back to 7.10). Wrong I was. The USB sound card did not work with Audacity however after 3 more reboots all of a sudden my onboard sound worked again. I tested it with Audacity and I was set to record the next mintCast.
During all of this work to get my sound working again I probably had Firefox crash on me, I’d say, 6 times. While I am not new to having Firefox crash, especially not in Linux, I was quite surprised to have this sort of instability for a newly released OS. Sure I installed the Adobe Flash add-on but in the past when Flash crashed it just wouldn’t play videos anymore until I rebooted the browser. These crashes were full system locking, power button holding, not even RSEIUB would help kind of crashes. I will admit in the second day I used Jaunty I haven’t had Firefox crash on me once but the bitter taste of a unstable browser still frightens my every keystroke.
With everything working as it should I decided to test this famed boot speed improvements using ext4. I have seen video’s of sub 20 second boot times and I am very curious what my laptop can do. With Linux Mint 6 installed my boot times from the time I pushed the power button till the time I loaded a webpage with Firefox was about 50 seconds. I defiantly felt like Jaunty was faster than that, but after 2 tests (with auto login and and Firefox set to auto run) my best time was still only 41 seconds. Once again, a little bit of a downer.
Next thing to test was one of my outstanding problems with Ubuntu/Linux Mint. At work and at home I use a docking station to dock my laptop to be able to use a full keyboard/mouse and large monitor. When my computer is docked I get video on the external display but it never detects as a second monitor through the docking port, and instead it just mirrors my display and never lets me change my resolution on the external monitor. If I plug the monitor in to the VGA port on the laptop it is just fine however. I tried to open system preferences and all I was greeted with was this empty window that I had to force quit every time I opened it. This was finally another strike that made me very sad and disappointed that Jaunty isn’t what I thought it would be. display-preferences
The final little nagging feature was the pop-up that asks you to confirm your shutdowns and restarts just like OSX. I heard an interview with Mark Shuttleworth and he said that this was necessary for the new desktop notifications so I wasn’t too bummed about it but it does make shutting down a little more annoying.
On the plus side I do like the pop-up notifications, which I didn’t think I would, and I like the improvements made to Evolution (and it is really winning me over from Thunderbird). I think 9.04 isn’t a step backwards like 8.10 was compared to 8.04, but I don’t feel like 9.04 is living up to the hype.
I have no plans to stop using Linux Mint or Ubuntu (or Linux in general). I think they are both fantastic operating systems and I am so thankful for the countless people that put in all of their free time and talent into the system. I try to contribute in as many ways as I know how and will continue to support the community whenever I have the chance.
For now, I am looking forward to what Ubuntu 9.10 will have in store.
Let me know what things you love and hate about 9.04 in the comments.

How-to format a disk to FAT32

4 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 23 2009

When backing up my PS3 for repair I needed to plug in a external hard drive to back up the system. My PS3 is only 40 GB but even that is larger than any USB flash drive I have so I needed to pull out one of my USB hard drives for the backup. I started the the backup process and when it asked for a hard drive I plugged in my terabyte external hard drive but nothing happened. I soon found out that the PS3 will only read FAT32 formatted hard drives. I did not think this would be as much of a problem as it was.
First I tried the format tool built into Windows but I found out that Microsoft decided not to let any drive larger than 32 GB be formatted in FAT32 because…well because they suck and wanted everyone to move to NTFS. So I tried formatting from a command line with: format d: /fs:fat32But I got an error saying the drive is too large for FAT32. I know that isn’t true because FAT32 is technically able to format drives up to 2 terabytes. So I decided to try gparted in Linux. Of course gparted wouldn’t have any problems right? Well in gparted I only had the options for ext2, ext3, reiserfs, and unformatted. That’s a bummer. So how about from the terminal? I tried variations of mkfs and mkfs.vfat but I know there was something I was doing wrong because each time it would just give me a error.
Finally I found a way to do it! There is a program called Fat 32 Formatter. This is a command line program that works in Windows XP/2000/Vista and all you need to do is open a commend prompt and type in:fat32format.exe d: You need to replace d: with whatever your drive is currently mounted as. Once the process completes you have a fully formatted FAT32 drive for your PS3 backup needs. There is a mirror of the fat32format tool here just in case it is removed from online.
And yes this was far more complicated than it needed to be. If you have the commands for completing this task in OSX or Linux please leave them in the comments.

Twitter updates

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 19 2009
  • Mmmm…Capri deli for dinner. #
  • Put our first bid on a house and reached 10,000,000 fans in rock band 2. It has been quite a night. #
  • Just snagged my digital copy of the Matrix. Looks to be a little lower than DVD quality. Now how to strip this DRM… #
  • @jungaar watching on a 4 yr old samsung 43″ dlp. I notice the difference with blu-ray. 10.6 will be out this year but wait till june macwrld #
  • Working on a problem on my tablet with ubuntu 8.10 and wireless. wireless is disabled and I can’t enable it. I can’t wait for 9.04 next week #
  • I shouldn’t be looking at Craigslist. I don’t need to buy a Vouge just so I can run Android on Verizon. Although it would be fun to play w/ #
  • @jungaar I mainly want to upgrade 4 ext4. It should help a lot with my mythtv recordings and makeshift SSD drives. http://tinyurl.com/c2yb2h #
  • Taking my Apple Re-certification test. Any tips? #
  • Just passed my test, missed 1 question. Yay for staying Apple certified for 1 more year. #
  • I feel like I am wasting bandwidth downloading a release candidate that will have a final release on Thursday. I am just excited. #
  • I just realized why my machine has been running so slow. I left it in “Power Saver” mode which throttled my CPU down 50% #
  • tip of the night: don’t start a ubuntu 9.04 install at 0022. I am just so excited to try it out. #
  • Just now starting my Ubuntu 9.04 install, lets see how long it takes. #

How-to map network drives based on network location

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Apr 14 2009

This has been driving me crazy and I cannot figure out how to do it. Here is my problem:
I have a work laptop that I obviously use at work as well as at home. At work I have 6 network drives that are mapped automatically if I log into my computer while at work. At home I have a Windows Home Server with 5 shares that I wrote a batch script to connect to them when I get home. The WHS Connector also adds a shortcut to the shares on my desktop but I want the shares mapped so I can use them as local drives in programs. I also had to write 3 more scripts (1 to disconnect my work drives, 1 to connect my work drives, and 1 to disconnect my home drives) in case I go between work and home without fully turning off my computer and instead just putting it to sleep. I am fairly certain this problem can be fixed with AutoIT or some other tool but I am just surprised this sort of functionality isn’t built into ANY operating system. My laptop has Vista and Linux Mint on it but I know this functionality isn’t in OSX either.
Is there anyone out there that can can suggest something to accomplish this? All I want is something that monitors what network I am connected to, and if that network happens to be home or work, map the appropriate drives. I am going to work on this in AutoIT but I am open to suggestions if you have any.
As soon as I find more information or someone points me to a solution I will update this post with how it works.
Leave your idea’s in the comments.