Tag: mobile

Do All Tech Writers Suffer from Fear and Creative Paralysis?

Today I was reading a recent article on Forbes website by a supposed ‘contributor’ named Federico Guerrini.  Forbes, as you may know, is a popular place for people to go to try to get ‘informed’.  His article followed perfectly a kind of template that these ‘tech writers’ for popular media use when discussing Ubuntu.

The format, and you may have seen it before, looks like this:

  • I love Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu is great
  • Here are my recent articles to prove that I can talk tech and have credentials
  • Hardware, blah, blah, blah
  • Comparison with other operating systems, blah, blah
  • Other operating systems are ‘just a little better because they have more apps’
  • Apps are oxygen to our lungs and the reason that I live
  • <critical missing information about where the future is going
  • <critical missing information about non-tech things that matter to our world>

Are you serious, Federico?

Do you not remember when computers first arrived?  There were three ‘apps’ – a clock, a calculator and word processor.  Oh, wait.  No, there was also a game – Oregon Trail on a paper thin floppy disk thing – and it took 10 minutes to load…  And people were excited because these computers had the potential to change the world.

I remember just a short time ago when the most amazing mobile operating system was Nokia and Blackberry and now they are nearly distant memories.  And they all ‘had apps’.

Apps?  Seriously, Federico?.  We need to move on past the apps, buddy.

Apps are just the fruit of people’s time and effort and a bunch of lines of code.  They are the result of people believing that the future of said operating system is strong enough and worthy enough or able to pay enough to compensate their time invested in writing the code.  That’s it.  Nothing more, nothing less.

So *the core issue is not the number of apps* but the faith of the people who write the apps and in what OS they believe in.  And you have clearly demonstrated, Federico, that you speak ‘I love Ubuntu’ out of one side of your mouth but on the other side you say ‘Ubuntu isn’t as strong as the others’.  These two messages cannot mix, but you try.

If Ubuntu was not in a fully functional, market-ready condition and still in the lab, I could more understand your position and your ‘warnings’ to stick to horrible operating systems, but, you are now out of line because Ubuntu is officially in the market – and really good, too, and standing up just fine against the big boys in terms of everything except number of apps.

Apps?  Seriously?  We need to move on past number of apps.  Especially when half of the apps on these established operating systems, and the operating systems themselves, steal your privacy and hurt your family.

It’s not about whether what you write about is true or not, either.  What you wrote about is true.  It’s what you did *not* write about that matters.  You did *not* write about how android and ios are really bad for you and your family and the world.  You didn’t write about that in your article.  You didn’t share the truth about how the privacy of the users of these systems are being raped and their information pillaged.  You didn’t even touch on it.  And that’s not very nice to people who don’t know, Federico.  Especially when you do know.  And if you say you love Ubuntu, you do know, Federico.

But what is most saddening, is that you didn’t write about the bright future of Ubuntu and where it’s going.

Ubuntu and convergence will merge all your devices into one.  It will be the go-to operating system for the world and very soon, too.  Major operating systems have even started to try to work Ubuntu into their operating systems (behind the scenes of course) because they know their funeral date is near.  You also didn’t mention how Ubuntu is the *safest* operating system on the market.  It is respectful of privacy and its users.  It doesn’t do things to you without asking.  You also didn’t mention that Ubuntu is community built and that the community will continue to shape the system (including the mobile) into something that the people actually want, not what a bunch of boardroom execs want to push out.

Ubuntu is the best thing to ever hit the world of computing, and if you say that you like/love Ubuntu, you need to share the truth when you write, not just pander to these well-funded corporations and media outlets.

I know you are scared to step out of the boat alone.  I know it’s scary to come out against the masses, but I dare you, Federico, to use your God-given creativity and a little courage and write the truth in your next article and help change the world into a better place and inspire the world to help us get past the dysentery of Oregon Trail.

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Should I Kill my Dumb Smart Phone Forever?

You know, sometimes you read an article and when you read it you are sure it’s wisdom screaming out at you.  You know there is truth there.  You know you should listen.  This article is just such an article but before reading it, let me state a few things:

  • she should also ditch google and all the other invasive companies who are ruining her life secretly
  • is there a need even for the landline?  This is a debate on with my friends now.

The ‘cell phone’ has become a ‘computer in your holster’.  Everyone knows it.  Everyone feels the addiction and gets panicky when they can’t feel the bulge in their pocket…

It is undeniably a chain, a leash and perhaps even a noose.

Also shared by my buddies was this link.

This article speaks of some technological and privacy reasons why it might be wise to bench the stench.

What we need to do here at W.O.T. is create a useful series about how to break the chain of addiction one day at a time.

Oh! There is one solution, like the landline, not mentioned here and that is that you could get your ham radio license (amateur radio) and communicate just fine and dandy in plain view of the world.  Then you can say “Text??  How about ham me at VE7CAK at 5:00pm?”  Actually, you *can* text message with ham radio, if you want.  I’ve forced my parents to license up because one neato thing not mentioned in any of these articles is that these dumb phones are radio transmitters that can’t talk to each other without a cell phone tower or wifi connection in between.  In Canada, that means they are useless across most of the land!  So with radio you control your own network, not your telecom. Ham radio baby.

This dumb smart phone ain’t no bottle of vodka – it’s much stronger.

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The Race to Convergence: Or is it a Marathon?

This article started out kind of exciting.  It explained how Ubuntu was about to show, on a large commercial scale the unveiling of convergence of multiple devices.  For those who don’t know what convergence is, it’s the ability for multiple devices to converge into one user experience – without the need for multiple processors and hard drives.  For a company that sells desktops, laptops and tablets, it is a scary, scary business proposition.  For a company that sells high quality screens or high powered mobile phones, it could be a dream come true.  Essentially, the ‘computer that you carry in your pocket’ can be instantly connected to whatever screen you feel like.  It’s truly the most disruptive reality to hit the computer hardware market, in my opinion, in recent history.  One thing is for sure – the entire world is begging for it whether they even know it or not. Combining that with the increase of people sticking their digital lives on ‘clouds’ (other peoples’ computers) this disruption is also poised to be a seriously dangerous one for those who don’t make wise choices.

This article, although it was smart to feature Ubuntu as a forerunner, it foolishly tried to give credit to Microsoft for ‘truly being the first’ to do convergence. First, did they?   I had no idea.  Nor do I care.  Nor does anyone else I roll with.  If the name has ‘Microsoft’ in it, we flee for the hills.  Why? Because it’s compromised out of the box.  It is dangerous.

So, while reading this article, it became even more apparent to me that the ‘battle for the operating system’ will eventually be won by Ubuntu in numbers (it is already won in principle) and it will happen not by speed (even though development is moving fast like lightning) but by security and, although the word might sound cheesy and not a popular choice in a tech article – love.  You see, Ubuntu cares about you, because it’s built by people who care about things other than shareholders’ dividends.

Let’s run this basic scenario.  You buy the latest, most fashionable phone by Microsoft or Apple.  They boast this cool new feature that allows you to plug it into a big 60″ screen and now it’s your computer (Ubuntu had this for years, btw, but I digress). It’s convergence!  You show Grandma and Grandma thinks you are the bees knees.  You take a selfie with Grandma and there is a picture of her Bible behind her favourite chair.  As you get in your car your photo is magically whisked away to the cloud service you love so much provided, by force, by your over-priced phone manufacturer.  Meanwhile, back at your local government, they decide (without vote, of course) that they don’t like what these Bible readers believe and decide to persecute them and kill them.  They ask Apple and Microsoft for access to review stuff on their servers (your cloud) and they say no.  They say yes.  They say no.  They pull out the guns.  They say yes.  They say yes, too. Oh! And look! There is Grandma with her Bible.  Busted with Bible. Bye bye, Grandma.

And so my point is this: it doesn’t matter who gets to convergence first.  It matters who gets there securely and with freedom as a top agenda.

And if you didn’t know, you could, right now, have Ubuntu in your pocket.  You can either buy one out of the box, or have someone help you put it on supported hardware.

What are you waiting for?  Your Grandma to get busted?

Go healthy.  Go Ubuntu.

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Facebook, Apple and Big Brother Peep in your Bedroom at Night

“Facebook, Apple and Big Brother Peep in your Bedroom at Night”

Does that title sound creepy?  Good.  It should.

And now, it’s real.  I mean literally real.  Not a movie, but real. The kind of real like when you have a severe gas pain that renders you immobile.  That kind of real.

The ever-spying, ever-invasive Facebook with their nasty little tentacles that flow through and fondle your personal information and drop it in a cesspool reservoir of information that should have never left your barstool conversation has teamed up with Apple, the fascist dictator of computer hardware and its licensed software to make sure that any chances you thought you had of running away or retracting the errors of your past were forever removed.  Oh, I’ll get to your government right after this, don’t worry.

First, here is the play book so you can’t say you were weren’t warned:

What is Happening Now

This is both a screenshot and a clickable image in case the F-ers at F-book decide to conceal this at some point…  give it a quick read.

01-creep-book

  • the lie sold to you is that this ‘feature’ is for picking up ‘TV and Music‘.  I know if you are still on Facebook or Apple you probably don’t understand the deeper workings of technology (they prey on folks like you FYI) so I’ll keep this very simple: if Facebook and Apple can use the mic on your phone to pick up audio, process it on their computers, compare it to existing data on computers around the world, and send back results, it can do the very same with your voice, the voice of anyone you are with, the sound of you spanking your rude child, the deeply religious discussion you are having, and any other ‘tv or music’ that might be around your microphone.
  • they further hide this intensely peeping tom technology by means of nice, familiar branding and – OH! A smiley face!

02-creep-book

  • you ‘might’ be prompted to provide us access to your microphone.  There is a small chance that we ‘might’ need access to your microphone to do a ‘few things’ in the background….

06-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-2

06-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-206-creep-book-smiley-2

07-creep-book-ronald

So you are thinking to yourself ‘No problem.  I just won’t turn on this ‘feature’.

Bad news.

You’re on an iphone (correction: ‘an iphone is on you’).

And you’re in the country that has this ‘feature’ – the USA for now but likely coming to a country near you.

Which brings us to our next section…

What Will Be Happening

The Light Version (accidentally agreeing to it)

You may remember this story from a while back when Facebook essentially changed their terms and policies to steal your information forever.  It seems that was too long ago for most people to care about or remember but anyway, you’ve already agreed to that.

But let’s say that you don’t want your microphone on because the stuff I’m sharing here has finally creeped you out enough to care.  Well, it might not matter.  Do you read all the terms and policies you agree to with Facebook? Is it possible that they might do a ‘quick update’ and have you ‘agree again’ when you install the update?  Is it possible they might turn on the mic as part of those changes?

You decide.

The Hard Version (being forced into it)

Well, your fascist phone maker Apple (who, by the way, has the only charging cable in the market that doesn’t work with the rest of the world) didn’t explain to you exactly the implications of having a dictator in your pocket.  Definitely you will not be getting any voluntary explanations from your government because this is the golden goose they have been waiting for, so that leaves the most annoying task in the hands of a very unlikely candidate to do any learning about it – YOURS.

But I’m not trying to insult you.  I’m guilty too.  I’m just saying that you better not rely on ‘authorities’ to keep you privy on this stuff.

This little piece of news slipped through the media quite quietly, no surprise.  Do yourself a favour and read it and let it sink in real good.

Likely you didn’t read it or you got bored after a paragraph so let me summarize the take-away points:

  • you don’t own your software on your fruity phone
  • because the software agreement makes you a *licensee* of the it, that means that should the government want access to your phone, they need to force the owner of the software, the licensor, to open the gates.  In this case, it’s Apple, not you. Side note: don’t be naive and think that Android is safe, but I don’t have time to focus on them here.
  • even if *you* don’t give *your own phone that you paid at least 30% too much for* permission to open the mic (and soon camera) for the world, your friendly government officials can force Apple to swing wide those gates for you.
  • the mere act of having an Apple product in your pocket makes you a spy, on behalf of the government, on yourself, but worse, to those around you who are now victims of your harmful lifestyle choice
  • you are a danger to the privacy and freedom of the entire world and need to really think about your actions and the damage you are causing instead of just tuning this stuff out

Now click this link to see a video tutorial showing the only way left to deal with this and remain happy and full of joy while using Facebook or an iphone.

The Solution

There is thankfully a solution.  Ultimately, the ubuntu phone (currently sold in select markets) is available now.  It’s running on a safe operating system and it is truly revolutionary.   I will not hide that there are some areas that are still a bit buggy but if you need to simply make calls, and do basic smart phone activities and wish to remain confident that your privacy has not been breached, I would strongly recommend starting down this path.  I have been back and forth between the ubuntu phone (best choice) and another ‘lesser of evils’ option for android on my Nexus 4 device.

Also, the developments of the ubuntu phone and the operating system are amazing.  Soon, the phone itself will converge with the rest of the platforms ubuntu currently operates on and you will experience the most amazing, user friendly, safe, and exciting platform ever seen in the market.

Conclusion

I appeal to you to sincerely start to care about this stuff and start to make slow and daily changes to protect the privacy and freedom of not just you and your family, but also all those around you.   You do not want to look back one day and say to your kids that you were part of the problem that has now robbed them of their last ounce of freedom.

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Echolink for Amateur Radio: Why is it still the best kept secret?

I’ll admit that I’ve been a weekend warrior ham man for too many years.  I’m definitely not the guy to have the right to complain about anything based on my participation in the community.

That said, my name is VE7CAK and I’m back.  And I’m here to stay – God willing and the creek don’t rise.  Special thanks to VA7OBI for re-igniting my airwaves and for the folks who set up the Burnaby 147.060 repeater with the kick (_!_) coverage.

Echolink has always been mysteriously well hidden – even in the midst of ham-sters. I’m not sure why but here are my guesses:

  • Real radio men believe internet-connected radios are for sissies.  I partially agree. If you can’t do it with your own radio and antennas then you are relying on some ISP (Internet Service Provider)
  • Club members who pay for the hardware and service don’t want outsiders to figure out how to use their gear (highly unlikely)
  • The Echolink material was written for the people who set up and maintain the node, not for the end user.  They just have to figure it out (quite likely).
  • The likelihood of someone using a radio to connect to the Echolink node using DTMF tones versus those who will connect with an app on their smart phone are far less so all energy and instructions are focused on the appy people.
  • The original software was designed for the ever-proprietary Windows OS only so you are dealing with people who don’t know how to think for themselves, let alone help others think.  If it was designed for Ubuntu there would probably be a feature length instructional video by now and it would be integrated in the operating system (That was just a mini-rant).

Regardless, we need to pull together as real radio men (and women, and children) and make this Echolink thing more approachable so we can start connecting more.

The following are the areas that I realized are missing or lacking in Echolink. I will post the results of my research right after I summarize the points and hopefully this can remain a ‘live document’ so I can update it as I learn more:

  1. A super clear tutorial about how to connect from your radio (ie. mobile in your car) to the Echolink node, and then off to wherever you want to chat in the world.
  2. There is no Echolink software in the Ubuntu Software Center.  I wish I could program!
  3. There is no place, it seems, where you can go for a language translation of amateur radio terminology.  I thought I would try to connect to a South Korean Echolink node and realized I didn’t know how to say “VE7CAK monitoring” in Korean.  I could speak a basic conversation but I didn’t have this kind of terminology.  This probably wasn’t relevant at all ten years ago but Echolink has literally revolutionized the posibilities.  Here is a quote from their site:

     There are more than 200,000 validated users worldwide — in 151 of the world’s 193 nations — with about 5,200 online at any given time.

  4. Within the Android Echolink app, the nodes don’t display their node numbers!  This is kind of amazing to me.  I *must* be wrong….

Here is the evolving and improving document as I [hope to] find solutions to these challenges:

  1. A super clear tutorial about how to connect from your radio (ie. mobile in your car) to the Echolink node, and then off to wherever you want to chat in the world

I thankfully found a snippet of a post from this forum which seems to answer my question.  I haven’t had a chance to make it work yet but I hope to do so soon:

KE7VLC
10-06-2010, 06:39 PM
hey all, this might be a dumb question, but do you need a computer to use echolink on the radio? if not, how do you use it?thanks guysTo use Echolink you need one of two things. Either a radio that you are able to connect to a repeater that has Echolink capabilities…..or a computer.You can use an HT or a mobile radio that has a DTMF pad to connect to a repeater….if it has the capabilities of connecting to the internet and has an Echolink node. All you need to have is the node number of the other repeater or station you want to connect to. For example driving down the highway the one repeater you can reach has the capability, all you would have to do is key up and keep holding it down while you are punching in the DTMF (the repeater owner should advertise this but if you can’t find it then you will have to ask around) that keys up the Echolink program connected to it then punch in the node number and let off the key. The repeater should announce that it has connected. Then you transmit just like any normal QSO on a repeater. Once done with the ragchew just follow the directions to drop the node. Make sure you ask if anyone is using the repeater first and wait a min or so for a response….if not then announce that you are trying to activate Echolink and proceed. Once you are finished let everyone know that you are done using the repeater. It’s really close to the same proceedure for a phone patch.If you don’t have a mobile radio or an HT OR a repeater in the area that has a Echolink sysop then you will have to use a computer. Echolink requires an internet connection so it’s obvious why someone wouldn’t want to set one up….especially if there is no internet connection near the repeater.Hope this helps.
2. There is no Echolink software in the Ubuntu Software Center.  I wish I could program!
A pathetic workaround solution is to use a virtual box, install windows in that, and then install Echolink there.  This is annoying because you need the virtual box running every time you want to monitor repeaters which could be every time you turn on your computer.  Alternatively you could use Wine and install it.  I’m sure I saw some tutorials about that around the internets.
3. There is no place, it seems, where you can go for a language translation of amateur radio terminology.  I thought I would try to connect to a South Korean Echolink node and realized I didn’t know how to say “VE7CAK monitoring” in Korean.  I could speak a basic conversation but I didn’t have this kind of terminology.  This probably wasn’t relevant at all ten years ago but Echolink has literally revolutionized the posibilities.  Here is a quote from their site:

 There are more than 200,000 validated users worldwide — in 151 of the world’s 193 nations — with about 5,200 online at any given time.

I was really surprised about this one.  I searched pretty high and pretty low for Korean.  There are 55 nodes in South Korea so I figured there *must* be some document with relevant ham words in Korean and English but I was mistaken.  I will attempt to first search for it from the Korean side, failing that, I will build the document over time.  I’m sure other languages have the same issue so it might be nice to team up on the English vocabulary ‘master list’ and then just translate that to other languages.
4. Within the Android Echolink app, the nodes don’t display their node numbers!  This is kind of amazing to me.  I *must* be wrong….
For now, you can go to this web page and use the control+F feature to search out repeaters and locations: http://www.echolink.org/logins.jsp  It’s also very good for you to know about this link where you can search for the closest Echolink-enabled repeaters in your part of the world.  Just click the last radio dial that says ‘show links near’ and enter in your information.  Pretty great resource.  You can now reference all this information back to your Echolink smartphone app.  It’s ridiculous that you can’t just get all these deets from the node in the app…. but…
**Update 1: If you happen to live in BC, click this link to see all the Echolink nodes in the province.  Click the frequency to see all the details related to that repeater, for example, how to turn Echolink on or off – I suppose.
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Enough bothering me for my cell phone number, Google!

So Google (gmail, specifically since that’s all I have left with them) used to bother me a little bit.  Once in a while they would sneakily try to get me to register my mobile number in connection with my Gmail account under the cover of ‘extra security’.

Hey, Wayne.  Just enter your mobile number here and then you can recover your password and stuff if you lose it. – Mister Googal

Sounded good.  I considered it briefly until I thought again about why Google should have my number associated with 4 quadrillion advertisers and the rest of my personal information that they have gradually sucked onto their servers over the last ten years (yes, I was an early gmailer).

I refused to give it to them for the last three years or so when the message would pop up from time to time.

Today, though, they changed their message.  Now they said “Keep your account more secure!  Know instantly if someone is messing around with your account!”  It showed an image of some evil dude hacking your computer while your mobile displays an alert.

First of all, if evil dude hacks your gmail, now he’s got your mobile, too. But worse than the evil dude having your mobile, Google has it!

I’m not surprised that El Googoo wants it so bad, though.  They aren’t even close to unintelligent.  In fact, they are so good at what they do that it’s disturbing.

And for that reason alone I won’t hand over my mobile number.

In fact, all of this stuff has motivated me further to get ‘off the grid’.  Thanks to a few friends, I’ve dusted off my ham radio and started using that.  I’d like to see M. Gougou try to spam me there.

I’d also like to propose a challenge to everyone out there to un-google with me.  I’ve started slowly but I’m making progress.  I bet you can’t do it!

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