Thoughts on Palm Pre (AKA, “iPhone Killer”)

As is the nature of Palm, simple design flaws keep this device from being anything close to an iPhone killer.  Let’s face it – a large part of the reason the iPhone is so big is because it looks good, and it’s easy to use (but mostly because it looks good).

OK, so what’s right with the Pre?  In terms of software, almost everything.  It looks as if Palm has FINALLY gotten a modern look for their OS.  In other words, it looks good – really good.  In a lot of ways, it looks a lot better than the iPhone software.  It is apparently Linux-based, and debutes a new operating system called webOS.  Basically, it works with different social networking, email, and web sites to make your life easier.  That sounds stupid, but that’s what it does – web searching, organizing, etc is much easier with the Pre than other smartphones.

Obviously, the phone is touchscreen, and many iPhone-like guestures and icons are used for navigation.  The display looks good for the most part, yet the screen is a little small and doesn’t look as flat as the iPhone’s.  The phone can, however, run multiple applications at the same time, using what seems like multiple workstations (like the multiple desktops in popular Linux distributions) for organization.

My real problem, however, is the slide out keyboard.  First of all, you cannot have a slide ANYTHING on a phone that’s considered to be an iPhone killer.  Part of the appeal of Apple’s smartphone is that it’s heavy duty – it’s metal, solid, and simple.  The Pre is plastic, it slides, and it’s more complex (read: cheap) looking.  Second, the keyboard is tiny.  And it doesn’t appear to be very raised.

All in all, Palm’s got a lot of work to do.  A bigger screen, an alternative to the small plastic keyboard and metal encasing would be a good start.

Quick Fix for Ubuntu/Windows Boot

grub-15

Recently, while waiting for my Grub 1.5 to start up, I was met by a blinking underscore. I sat for a few minutes, hoping that it would go away and that I wouldn’t be faced with anything like my previous problem.

However, it didn’t – and I got worried. Problems booting a secondary OS like Ubuntu is one thing, but not having access to anything can make your heart skip!

Thankfully, though, the fix was easy enough. Basically, before turning on your computer, you just need to make sure you have ejected all external media (flash drives, SD cards, external hard drives, etc). For some reason, Grub is confused, thinking that there may be a bootable OS plugged in.

Simply eject your media (while the computer is off) and try again. Voila!

Ubuntu Portable Review – @pubcrawlercom

In response to a tweet of mine yesterday, @pubcrawlercom sent me a live twitter review while he installed and ran Ubuntu Portable. With his permission, I’ve reposted his thoughts here.

From what he has said, I think I’ll try it – as soon as I boot up Vista again, that is. It might be a while (or at least until I need to sync my iPod next. For some reason, Banshee doesn’t work with the Classic and Wine won’t configure with iTunes 8 correctly).

read one tweet that it crashed for someone under XP. Extracting to disk now. this machine only has 512MB RAM 🙁 might be issue…

decompressed portable ubtun is around 2GB… moving it around and rebooting fresh XP loadup to test it.


my tweetreview of ubuntu portable starts now 🙂 as I go

bunch of random errors on bootup in text shell window ran from.

updates last ran 200+ days ago – 177 updates downloadable… 118.3 MB

screen video refreshes slow at times – like when asks for root pwd for updates. dreadfully slow

ubuntu update downloads seem slow to download – often can be 🙂 whos knows… not my bandwidth here.

network stuff works fine, but ping doesn’t for external IPs… unsure why…

firefox loads and runs much faster than in XP on same machine.

still downloading updates for ubuntu portable… computer paging memory to disk.. but that’s my fault.. tweetdeck pigging out on RAM

portable ubuntu finally finished downloading the updates. now the wait for them to install. always the 1st things I do in order 😉

ubuntu portable crashed during excessive paging on XP. trying again – that was my fault. all well after restarting it 🙂

running near out of RAM 🙂 but portable Ubuntu works on 512MB XP system.

Portable Ubuntu would be nicer say with Portable Crunchbang Ubuntu version less resource use

Loaded up Rythmbox and streaming music plays fine in Ubuntu Portable 🙂

Software sources in Ubuntu Portable set to Argentina. Change to your local country.

hey try Ubuntu Portable. worked well for me. Haven’t tested everything, but it looks good. certainly will need more polish 🙂

Tomboy Notes

tomboy_notes

I have started taking my computer with me to my Economics class every Tuesday and Thursday.  To be honest, I’ve wanted to do this since the beginning of the year, but the fact that my fan was often forced to spin up at high rates (creating loud noises), and the fact that neither [tag]OpenOffice[/tag] nor Notepad, while both valuable tools, provide much in the way of simple note-taking.

Again, [tag]Ubuntu[/tag] solved the problem.  Or at least, something that runs on Ubuntu.  Namely, [tag]Tomboy Notes[/tag].  Weird name, I know.

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Apologies, apologies . . .

I have to write a formal apology to every one of my readers.  In short, I’m sorry for not writing sooner.  It’s been hectic at school and I realized today that it’s been over a week since I’ve last posted.  While this used to be normal, I have since been posting every few days, though lately I’ve fallen behind.  And for that, I apologize.

Thankfully, Breland helped me out and posted a few days ago, so it hasn’t been too bad.

In all honesty, though, I do have a few valid excuses.  First, I have been using Ubuntu religiously the past few weeks.  Seriously, I haven’t booted Windows in over a week, and then it was only to sync my iPod.  Due to this, I have been dying to post about some of my Linux favorites.  To do so, however, I like to have screenshots, and it seems that everytime I am able to blog (like at school between classes), I don’t have my computer with me.

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Eclipse IDE

eclipse

This semester, I am in my first real programming course.  I say “real” simply because I do not consider Visual Basic particularly useful for anything – it’s Windows specific, weak, and somewhat tedious.  So far, I’m loving Java.  While the lectures are boring, the labs are really fun, and they are beginning to get really challenging as well.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I haven’t used many IDE’s before (Bloodshed++ for a little C++, Visual Studio), but I’ve grown really fond of Eclipse, which is what the university has us use.  Eclipse, just like any other IDE, is an advanced text editor, though it compiles code while you program, underlining errors and potential dangers, as well as spell-checking strings.

You can get Eclipse for Windows, Mac, or Linux (which is what I am currently running).  Ubuntu users need only perform a quick Add/Remove search to install it.  Beware, Windows users, that the splash screen, like most splash screens in Vista (and XP for that matter), can freeze up quite frequently.  Also, when test-running a program in Eclipse, be sure to terminate it once done, or several running programs will build up off screen and lead to slow system performance.

Eclipse

Save Your Boot with SuperGrub Disk

super grub disk

I have had my share of Ubuntu troubles over the last 72 hours. From wi-fi to nvidia drivers to boot loading problems, I’ve been a tad stressed. My biggest issue came when I got an Error 17! message when Grub 1.5 was starting.

For the first few hours, I freaked out, trying to boot something…anything!  Linux live cd’s were no option for some reason, and so I ended up having to boot to my external hard drive, on which I recently installed Ubuntu.  Upon doing this, I was able to mount both partitions of my internal drive.  Confusing, I know.

To put it simply, in the end I found something called SuperGrub Disk.  Thank goodness, or I wouldn’t be typing this.  This little disk allows you to mess with the master boot record in an easy and safe way.  It also allowed me to boot into Vista, where I was able to repair the bad partition.  Voila!  I have my computer back.

SuperGrub Disk

The Switch: Windows to Ubuntu

ubuntu-logo

So I’ve finally made “The Switch”.  You know what I’m talking about, and you’re probably wondering why I haven’t done it before now.  Well, to put it simply, I’m lazy.  I didn’t want to partition the drive, figure out new menus, commands, or configure drivers.

Well, I’m glad I did.  It wasn’t easy, either.  First, apparently due to my HP coming with a rescue partition, deleting this basically just allotted more space to the main partition.  This means that instead of one untouched drive, I have a drive with one big partition.  While this doesn’t sound too bad, it made things very difficult when installing Ubuntu.  I ended up going into Windows Disk Management and cutting off 10 gigs of the main partition.

At the moment, I don’t have any swap space, but I plan on partitioning another 2 gigs, and hopefully this will make it boot and shut down faster.

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