Tag Archives: Apps

Thoughts on Unity

Ubuntu Unity Interface
Ubuntu Unity Interface

Mark Shuttleworth announced (back in May) that Ubuntu is going to begin phasing over to a new user interface called “Unity”. There seems to be a lot of talk about it now for some reason — probably because it is starting to become a reality with Ubuntu 10.10 going official just weeks ago and in less than 6 weeks 11.04 will go official, which is when Unity will become the default GUI for Ubuntu.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention… Unity will work with multitouch gestures… that’s kind of a big deal 😉

Why is Unity such a big deal?

Well basically it is taking a new approach to how users interact with their operating system. Instead of following in the shadow of Windows and Mac (as Linux has for so many years), Ubuntu is taking a bold step to break free from that shadow and go a new direction.

Fanboys will love it, Haters will hate it — that is to be expected right?! But the real test will be with the rest of the world (and especially newcomers who are curious)…

What’s My Take On This?

I think it is a gutsy move and I really hope they do this right. If they really focus on getting it right, make it polished and smooth, then I think great things will follow… But if they botch this it’s not going to be pretty at all… Here’s hoping for the best!

Want a Preview?!

You can get a 1st hand preview of the Unity interface right now! Here’s a nice handy guide to get you through that: How to Install Unity in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

I tried it out on my Netbook (running Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Edition) and I think it has a lot of promise, but as-is needs a lot of work before I will accept it as my main/default GUI…

After Further Review:

**Start Update**

OK after playing around with it some more, here are a few more thoughts on improving the Unity experience… (I actually wrote this section to Ubuntu devs on Facebook in response to their asking for feedback on it, hence the “you” refers to Ubuntu Developers)

1.) Whatever you do, make sure it is absolutely polished before you make it default. Any bugs or issues with it may kill any momentum you might otherwise have built…

2.) Allow some customization and make it easy to access. Make a “Unity Settings” program/app/whatever and make it easy to find.

Allow adjustments for:
– sidebar position (left/right)
– icon size in/on the bar
– icon size in the shell (or whatever you are calling the overhead menu interface)
– color / theme
– which file manager to use
– and etc.

3.) Give some options to show/hide all windows for an program/app using the launcher (perhaps double-click to show/hide, or some other method).

4.) Make sure users can easily manage the launcher — i.e. allow us to drag/drop programs to the launcher and to move them around (to change their position/order).

5.) Make sure users can view multiple windows at once without hassle and without messing up the menu. When I tested Unity it would mess up the menu bar if the window was not maximized…

I’m not sure if this last one applies or not (I have only tested Unity on my Netbook, and I have Maximus disabled because I can’t stand it)….

**End Update**

Other interesting Reads:

Article by Mark Shuttleworth (with pics)

ZDnet Article about Unity (with pics)

Digitizor Guide to Testing Unity in Ubuntu 10.04

How to speed up a slow iPhone OS 4.0 upgrade.

How to speed up a slow iPhone backup (via OS X Daily)

I recently tried to update my iPhone to version 4.0 but the backup process of the update was taking FOREVER!

I assumed that the only way to speed it up was to clear out any non-vital data, such as text messages, pics, and etc. I backed up my pics to my Mac using iPhoto and deleted them form the iPhone once done. I deleted all text messages, old voicemails, and removed a bunch of apps i never use and don’t really want/need. Then I shut it down and back on again and put it in airplane mode.

Now the backup portion of the update seems to be going faster, but still horribly slow. Apparently it is doing a full backup without exception (meaning it backs EVERYTHING up even if it was backed up previously and unchanged since).

If you have any tips feel free to post them in the comments below. Otherwise all I have to offer is what I typed above and this link I found: here.


I have noticed this seems to be quite a popular post (based on the results I am seeing on StatPress), so I think it important to update you all on how everything went.

I have a friend who works in Technical Support for AT&T. She offered some extra help in figuring out the problem. To make a long story short, this is in fact a problem associated with older phone models (such as the 3G) and here is the process that worked best for me (your mileage may vary)…

What to do

Step 1: Backup your purchases to iTunes. File->Transfer Purchases from |your phone’s name here|

Step 2: Backup your photos. Since I was performing this upgrade on my Mac at work, I used iPhoto to do the backup.

Step 3: Delete all photos from your phone (don’t worry, you already backed them up in step 2 right?).

Step 4: Delete any old/unused apps from your phone. This will decrease the amount of data on your phone which will speed up the upgrade process.

Step 5: Delete any old/nonessential text messages, emails, voicemails, and etc.

Step 6: If you have a ton of music/video on your phone, as long as it is safely backed up to iTunes, go ahead and remove it from your phone.

Step 7: Put your phone in airplane mode. Settings->Airplane Mode->On (this will prevent anyone from calling/texting you which might interrupt the Sync).

Step 8: Turn Off Notifications. Settings->Notifications->Off (this will prevent your apps from sending you push notifications which could interfere with the Sync).

Step 9: Begin the Upgrade process. It should begin by doing a full backup of your iPhone, then proceed to install the new OS, then if everything goes well it will restore your data and apps to your phone.

Step 10: Turn your notifications back on and turn off airplane mode.

Other Notes

If for some reason your phone does not have the data and/or apps on it after the upgrade, first ensure that the upgrade was in fact successful. Go to Settings->General->About->Version and it should say 4.0 (followed by some numbers and/or letters in parentheses). If it says something else, restore the phone to factory settings and try again.

If your phone is upgraded to 4.0 and you are still missing your data/apps then simply re-sync your phone with iTunes and you should be all set.

Another problem people have been having is connection to the network (AT&T phone service and/or 3G/WiFi). My phone had this problem and my friend informed me that this was actually the most common complaint they had.

To fix this, simply put your phone in back in airplane mode, wait a few seconds, then turn airplane mode off again. If this doesn’t work, try powering off your phone then back on again.

A Linux lover on a Mac?

Image from daskeyboard.com

Wow has time passed since my last post or what?!

Well I see I still have some readers still hanging on so I should update if nothing but for your sakes. Thank you for sticking around. 🙂

I can’t recall if I mentioned this before or not, so I’m going to talk about it now anyway. I purchased a Mac Mini for my business. Why a Mac? Well because it will allow me to develop iPhone apps to sell on the App Store (man I really need to get cracking on that). Yes, I know it is kind of like feeding the beast, but do not worry, I still run Ubuntu at home and even run it on this Mac (yeah, I’m at work) through VirtualBox (I suppose I should post something about that sometime soon). And yes, I’m running Windows XP through VirtualBox too. I’m such a wreck right now!

So, what do I think about my first Mac?

Well to be perfectly honest, I love how smooth the boot and shutdown processes go, and how clean the interface is. I am still getting used to having the menu bar for each application stuck at the top of the screen instead of the top of the application window, but it is growing on me. I thought I would loath it, but I am finding more and more it is quite convenient actually. I also like how clear the display is and I like (for the most part) the dock at the bottom.

I do not, however, like the mouse/keyboard situation. I purchased a PC mouse and keyboard (the Logitech Cordless Desktop LX710 Laser) because I have to have a right click button, and I have big fingers and those tiny Apple keyboards just wont work for me. Not to mention I had planned in advance to use VirtualBox to host Linux and Windows and wanted to have a familiar keyboard/mouse feel when working in those environments.

Everything on the mouse and keyboard work as expected in Linux and Windows (even through the virtual machine), but there are some serious annoyances when it comes to using them in the Mac OS.

PC I/O devices on a Mac

The Home and End keys do not work the same in OS X as they do in Windows or Linux. On Mac they take you to the top of the document or the end (or something, it honestly confuses me when I press them and I really don’t know what is going on). Either way, I can’t stand it. When I press the home key, I want it to go to the start of the line I am currently on (this is huge for coding). When I press the End key, I want it to go to the end of the line I am currently working on… Similarly with Ctrl+Home (sorry, that’s the windows/linux version, on a mac it’s open apple + home or the “Windows” key + home on Windows aka the “Super” key + home on Linux), or Ctrl+End (you get the idea), I expect to go to the beginning or end of the document respectively. Additionally when holding shift and pressing any of those combinations, I expect it to highlight the text between my current location in the document to the respective destination.

Additionally, I want my 4th and 5th mouse buttons to work properly! right now they work just like a “middle click” in the Mac environment.

How to solve this? — Well I’m looking into it. If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments!

What next?

Not sure yet. I’m working on some websites and going to be quitting my other job (I’m so burned out and it’s falling apart everywhere), so I will be focusing on this business full time from here on out! I’ll try to keep the updates coming more frequently.

What about Linux?

Don’t worry, I have not and will not abandon my obsession with Linux. The new version of Ubuntu is here! So I am downloading the ISO and will at the very least be booting it up here on my virtual machine to play with and will be doing a complete system wipe and re installation on my laptop at home when I have time (was playing around the other day and found out I was using the 32-bit version of Ubuntu when I could be using the 64-bit, and also still have Vista partitioned there taking up 50GB for nothing!).

Open Source Collaboration FTW!


I came across an article about an open source collaborative webapp and decided to check it out. I have been looking into project management and collaboration tools for a few months now, but none of them seem to have the features I want/need for the price I can currently afford… I will be downloading this and giving it a test run very soon!

Collabtive via [lifehacker]

Collabtive Demo