Posted in Philosophy, Stuff

Stories from the street

 

Now is official:  I’m another homeless in UK.  The 6th economy in the world has an impressive number of people living in the street, with or without job.  In my case without because  Hello, the company decided to disappear from dusk to dawn.  Others found themselves redundant, and others just because.  Some people still have a job… today, who knows tomorrow.  And finding a job it’s harder than finding the legendary cock’s egg.  Oh, did I mention that I didn’t extend my permit?  Yeah, that was stupid on my side, I admit it.  But still. Why this country has a steadily growing base of poor and even miserable people while it is supposed to be in the first places?  Or the ranks are wrong or this country is upside down.

 

2016-04-11 22.39.52_DxO
Photo by Heinrich Pickelhaupt

How does it feel…?

…to be on your own, like a rolling stone…?   Honestly? Horrible.  But at least, I know that broken and everything I’ll come back to Germany. In a way or another. But I will. Of course, I have to survive until then.  And I’ll be alone, friendless, penniless, frozen and roofless.  But still.  It will have an end.  It looks far away now, but a month passes.  If I sort it, I’m saved.  Once back at home I’ll only need some rest to be able to work again.

But they?  They aren’t.  They have no other place to go, not even hitchhiking.  They’re British, they grew up here, they were living and working here until someone decided they weren’t worth of work and home anymore.  Some of them are sick, some need medical attention, hospital stay, nurse care….  you see them walking around talking to no one, shooing invisible insects, vomiting what they ate, stumbling around, crying curled up in a corner in the train station.  Someone kicked them out of the asylum, someone decided they should slowly die, someone decided they aren’t human anymore.

And I ask why? And I ask who?  Who decided? Who has the power to say who lives and who dies?

Today at midnight I’m leaving for the night, the cold rain and the harsh.

I’ll come back in six weeks…  if I’m still alive.

 

Good Night everyone…  but British, please, wake up, it’s your country.

 

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Posted in Apple, Security, System

All about security

 

Apple often claims that security and privacy is a main subject for the company.  They mean it.  I always wondered why there were so few second hand and stolen iPhones in parallel and offshore markets.  Well, because it’s pointless to steal them.  Just like that.  Only those who know nothing about Apple’s technologies will make this mistake.  And won’t repeat it.  Let’s see why.

 

P1000591

 

First setup

When you turn on a brand new iPhone the whole process may seam annoying and a general hassle for an Android or Windows (do they exist?) user.  But it’s worth it.

You’ll be asked to set up your account with email, PIN code (6 numbers), security questions and fingerprint.  And of course your geographical area, main preferences and phone number.  Once everything is configured, is advisable to open an account in the official forums.  You never know when you will need help.  And Apple users and forums are just as techie and active as any Linux’s.  Oh! And of course, a two factors authentication will be set as well.  Just in case.

You will be also offered to import all your data from an existing phone or account, regardless operating system  (yes, they import from Android).  That’s up to you.

Apple will offer you to sync your stuff to iCloud. This will include documents, photos, music, calendars, contacts and everything else you have stored in your computer.  It’s a good idea to accept as it makes your information available in any other (trusted) device regardless operating system.

Every time you use a different device, Apple will ask you whether you trust it or not.  If you don’t trust the device but still want to use the service you can do so but it means you’ll be asked again next time you use that particular device.  If you do trust it, you won’t be asked for a period of time.  After, you will need to confirm again that you still trust that device.

Then you may want to install some other apps.  Apple delivers a useful and sleek system.  It’s pretty much ready to use but you will always want to add something like Telegram or iWorks.  So you have to go to the App Store.  Every single time you want to install something you’ll be required to use the Touch ID.  If not, nothing will be downloaded nor installed.

Same goes for system upgrades.  Apple updates all their supported devices constantly and consistently.  Upgrading is simple and smooth.  And secure.  Again, you’ll be required to prove that you are really the owner of this particular phone. Thrice.  First to download the upgrade and then to actually upgrade.  And then again after restarting.

Which takes me to the next topic: turning on and off an iPhone.  It may look stupid, but they really nailed with this.  Turning it off is KISS: You press a button and turn it off.  That’s it.  No annoying questions or further complications.  And then turning it on will force you to authenticate yourself twice.  So it’s certain that you… are still you.

The first time you use any Apple apps, it will require authentication, usually with the Touch ID (fingerprint) but sometimes with the PIN code.

Finally, if you ever lose your phone you can find it with the  “Find my phone” utility (works also for cases of forgetfulness)  and/or remotely delete all your data and set the device back to its original state.  You can also block it, so nobody else will be able to use it.  Just in case a superhacker FBI agent decides to break in.  Normal people is put off with the usual two steps authentication.

 

Amazing isn’t it?  Next article:  Configuration and use

 

 

Posted in Apple, Design, Hardware

And now for something completely different…

Embrace yourselves… I have an iPhone. Yes, a restrictive non-jailbreaked close source Iphone. I love it so far.

I’m not a huge fan of smartphones, I don’t use them as extensively as others do.  In my opinion nothing beats a laptop or a netbook. In fact, I change phones only when my previous device gets broken.

But this is the very first time iPhone falls in my hands, so I’m pretty lost. Certain things are the same, it’s like a standard for all phone brands. But others, too many, are completely different. And let’s face it, Apple isn’t very helpful when it comes to newbies. It’s always assumed that you’re already an Apple user and you’re just changing/upgrading system or device.  The concept of  “newcomer” it’s completely unknown to Apple and its users.  I guess they think that God was using an iPod to listen music before creating the universe….

So I’m writing some stuff for beginners here…

 

ios6_ios7_home_screens
iOS 6 & 7

Battery stuff

First thing you need to know, iPhone doesn’t warn you when the battery is fully charged. Apparently older versions did but from iOS 7 and up, it doesn’t anymore. No change of icons, no sound or alert, just an Spartan  “100% charged”.

There’s a legend among Apple users that says that the lightning bolt icon will disappear when battery is fully charged. I can’t confirm.

By default, iPhone has everything on. Bluetooth, GPS, etc.  This will cause the battery to run dry quickly and while charging it may overheat. Turn everything you’re not using off. Warm is okay, but if it gets hot to the touch then it’s better to unplug it and see what’s wrong. Let it cool off before resume charging. Also avoid heavy game play or similar stuff while charging as that increases temperature.

If the device is second hand or you have been using it for a good while, check its cycles. The more cycles a battery has the shorter its life and capacity will be.

If you fully charge your phone over night and it’s on about 30/40% at the end of the day when you put it back on charge that’s good enough. Don’t expose it to extreme temperature conditions particularly while charging; too hot and too cold are equally bad for your device and can be dangerous for everyone else.
Letting it drain down to 1% occasionally to reset the battery memory is a good idea, but don’t do it all the time nor too often.

Your phone won’t explode because you leave it alone charging overnight. But won’t benefit it either. Also, if the battery is old or the place is too warm it may result in a accident.

Usually you get the equivalent of around 5% battery before they drop to 99%. From a full charge an iPhone does around 40 minutes usage sitting on 100%

Another legend says that a mysterious app named Coconut will help you to keep your battery healthy.  I think it’s like the Grail, everybody talked about it but nobody saw it.

 

Settings

When it comes to configure stuff iOS is the master race, at least at smartphone level. There’s a lot of refinement you can achieve just lurking in Settings. But some features and buttons are mysterious. E.g.: the Ring button. Because… you see, it’s not a button, it’s a switch. But the manual doesn’t say it, so you can keep trying to press it because buttons were made for being pressed, isn’t it?

So the easiest way to turn the iPhone ringer off is to flip a switch. On the left-hand side of the iPhone, there’s a small switch just above the two volume buttons. To turn the iPhone ringer off and put the phone into silent mode, simply flip this switch down towards the back of the phone.

BTW, you can also configure the volume buttons to work as such for ringing or only for general volume or music.

If you don’t like iOS appearance you can search on App Store, there are a handful of interesting apps to customise your interface. Maybe not at the extreme of Android but enough to not get bored.

 

Further reading

Five tips to for a better battery life   www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-tips-for-extending-lithium-ion-battery-life

Get the most out of Lithium batteries   www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-get-the-most-from-li-ion-batteries

Don’t panic if your iPhone seems to run out of battery too quickly. Or not yet   http://bgr.com/2016/09/13/ios-10-battery-life-iphone-ipad

Popular Mechanics on batteries www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/a15731/best-way-to-keep-li-ion-batteries-charged

 

Thanks for reading. Next article:  Security and improvements

 

 

Posted in Debian, Open Source, System

Debian and beyond

 

It’s not new that I have Debian installed on a netbook that a friend of mine borrowed me.  You can read here  and  here,  if you want to know more.

So I installed it with XFCE, Mate and Cinnamon as desktops.  I used Mate but didn’t like it and quickly abandoned.  I used Cinnamon and although I like it better, I got tired of GTK3 themes looking alike and that it’s a bit slow for this machine.

My desktop today
Debian with Cinnamon

Feeling increasingly unhappy with my desktops I decided to give XFCE a go.  Last time I used it, I found it ugly and not really better than any other desktop, so I dropped it rather fast.  But now, I thought that after so much time they could well have improved appearance and usability, and selected it on LightDM.

 

XFCE is awesome!

screenshot xfce gtk appearance
XFCE showing Cairo Dock and GTK beauties

This desktop is exactly what I wanted.  It’s pretty and fast.  And if you add a docker it’s perfect.  It comes with a long list of themes by default, plus including whatever themes you have installed for other desktops.  It’s highly configurable, like Mate, but fancier.  I didn’t even needed to install anything extra, just chose from the default list and gave the panel some transparency.

The only point against it, is how to set a wallpaper. It forces you to choose from pre-selected folders and can’t choose a child directory.  But!  There’s a workaround for it.  Go to the folder where is the image you want as wallpaper, right-click on it and select  “Set as wallpaper”.  Voilá!  Your desktop has new background.

 

Beyond XFCE Debian

Screenshot xfce with Cairo Dock
XFCE with Cairo Dock resembling OSX dock

Cairo Dock has many themes and ways to enhance/refine its appearance, plus many options about its behaviour, apps, desklets, etc.  It’s very complete and useful and isn’t heavy at all.  I use it on a 1GB RAM machine and it doesn’t affect the overall performance.  To add programmes to the dock just grab them from menu and drop them in the docker.  You can also add customised shortcuts. Just right-click on the dock and a menu with options will show up.

The one downside I found is that even marking it to start at the session beginning it doesn’t, and it’s not listed in XFCE startup applications.  I have to manually start it which is kinda annoying.  Particularly for someone like me, absent minded.

Screenshot xfce with Plank
XFCE with Plank Dock

Plank Docker on the other side is much more simple but still pretty and configurable.  You have many options and you can change the icons appearance, add animations and install new themes if the default ones aren’t your cup of tea. It’s very light and start with session as one would expect a docker to do. To add new programmes to the dock you can open them, and once open you right-click on the docked icon and select  “Keep on dock”.  Alternatively, you can drag and drop programmes from desktop or menu.

The downside is that Preferences seems to be nowhere. No right-click will show it. What to do?  Type on a normal terminal :

plank --preferences

and the preferences window will show up instantly.  I couldn’t find any easier way to call Plank Settings. If anyone knows, please, post it on comments.

 

Oh, oh… KDE

Screenshot_20170618_215500

Plasma 5 is compatible with all the docks available including two dock extensions (plasmoids).  In the screenshot we can see KDE Plasma with Cairo Dock.  Like in XFCE, it works nicely and it’s very configurable. It doesn’t start with session though, you will need to start it manually or select  “Start with session” from contextual menu. Planck also works nicely although you’ll need a bit more of work to get it themed properly. If you mark it to start with session, it should.

As a side note, the plasmoid Latte gives option to KDE native dock.  Sadly, it’s really bare what it offers and configuring it is complicated. Compared to other desktop agnostic dockers, has nothing to do.

 

Extras

Plank themes collection:  https://github.com/LinxGem33/Plank-Themes

Cairo Dock:  http://glx-dock.org

Plank Settings (varies between distros):  https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2303311

Docky (abandoned):  http://wiki.go-docky.com/index.php?title=Installation

 

Thanks for reading, hope this was helpful or at least interesting for you