Tag Archives: android

DMARC helped me ditch gmail

I’ve been a gmail user for many years (maybe ten). Especially since the introduction of smart phones it has been a really convenient system to read email on the go. I rarely respond to email from my phone but I’ve done that occasionally too and it has worked adequately.

All this time I’ve used my own domain and email address and simply forwarded a subset of my email over to gmail, and I had gmail setup so that when I emailed out from it, it would use my own email address and not the @gmail.com one. Nothing fancy, just convenient. The gmail spam filter is also pretty decent so it helped me to filter off some amount of garbage too.

It was fine until DMARC

However, with the rise of DMARC over the recent years and with Google insisting on getting on that bandwagon, it has turned out to be really hard to keep forwarding email to gmail (since gmail considers forwarded emails using such headers fraudulent and it rejects them). So a fair amount of email simply never showed up in my gmail inbox (and instead caused the senders to get a bounce from a gmail address they didn’t even know I had).

I finally gave up and decided gmail doesn’t work for this sort of basic email setup anymore. DMARC and its siblings have quite simply made it impossible to work with emails this way, a way that has been functional for decades (I used similar approaches already back in the mid 90s on my first few jobs).

Similarly, DMARC has turned out to be a pain for mailing lists since they too forward email in a similar fashion and this causes the DMARC police to go berserk. Luckily, recent versions of mailman has options that makes it rewrite the From:-lines from senders that send emails from domains that have strict DMARC policies. That mitigates most of the problems for mailman lists. I love the title of this old mail on the subject: “Yahoo breaks every mailing list in the world including the IETF’s

I’m sure DMARC works for the providers in the sence that they block huge amounts of spam and fake users and that’s what it was designed for. The fact that it also makes ordinary old-school mail forwards really difficult and forces mailing list admins all over to upgrade mailman or just keep getting rejects since they use mailing list software that lacks the proper features, that’s probably all totally ignored. DMARC was as designed: it reduces spam at the big providers’ systems. Mission accomplished. The fact that they at the same time made world wide Internet email a lot less useful is probably not something they care about.

It’s done

gmail can read mails from remote inboxes, but it doesn’t support IMAP (only POP3) so simply switching to such a method wouldn’t even work. I just refuse to enable POP3 anywhere again.

Of course it isn’t an irreversible decision, but I’ve stopped the forward to gmail, cleared the inbox there and instead I’ve switched to Aqua mail on Android. It seems fairly feature complete and snappy. It isn’t quite as fancy and cool as the gmail client, but hopefully it will do its job.

The biggest drawback I’ve felt after a couple of weeks is the gmail spam filter. I do run spamassassin on my server and it catches the large bulk of all spams, but having the gmail spam system on top of that was able to block more silliness from my phone than spamassassin does alone.

My table tennis racket sized phone

I upgraded my Nexus 5 to a Nexus 6 the other day. It is a biiiig phone, and just to show you how big I made a little picture showing all my Android phones so far using the correct relative sizes. It certainly isn’t very far away from a table tennis racket in size now. My Android track record so far goes like this: HTC Magic, HTC Desire HD, Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and now Nexus 6.

my-androids

As shown, this latest step is probably the biggest relative size change in a single go. If the next step would be as big, imagine the size that would require! (While you think about that, I’ve already done the math: the 6 is 159.3 mm tall, 15.5% taller than the 5’s’ 137.9mm, so adding 15.5% to the Nexus 6 ends up at 184 – only 16 mm shorter than a Nexus 7 in portrait mode… I don’t think I could handle that!)

After the initial size shock, I’m enjoying the large size. It is a bit of a clunker to cram down into my left front-side jeans pocket where I’m used to carry around my device. It is still doable, but not as easy as before and it easily get uncomfortable when sitting down. I guess I need to sit less or change my habit somehow.

This largest phone ever ironically switched to the smallest SIM card size so my micro-SIM had to be replaced with a nano-SIM.

Borked upgrade procedure

Not a single non-Google app got installed in my new device in the process. I strongly suspect it was that “touch the back of another device to copy from” thing that broke it because it didn’t work at all – and when it failed, it did not offer me to restore a copy from backup which I later learned it does if I skip the touch-back step. I ended up manually re-installing my additional 100 or so apps…

My daughter then switched from her Nexus 4 to my (by then) clean-wiped 5.  For her, we skipped that broken back-touch process and she got a nice backup from the 4 restored onto the 5. But she got another nasty surprise: basically over half of her contacts were just gone when she opened the contacts app on the 5, so we had to manually go through the contact list on the old device and re-add them into the new one. The way we did (not even do) it in the 90s…

The Android device installation (and data transfer) process is not perfect yet. Although my brother says he did his two upgrades perfectly smoothly…

I’m with Firefox OS!

Tablet

I have received a Firefox OS tablet as part of a development program. My plan is to use this device to try out stuff I work on and see how it behaves on Firefox OS “for real” instead of just in emulators or on other systems. While Firefox OS is a product of my employer Mozilla, I personally don’t work particularly much with Firefox OS specifically. I work on networking in general for Firefox, and large chunks of the networking stack is used in both the ordinary Firefox browser like on desktops as well as in Firefox OS. I hope to polish and improve networking on Firefox OS too over time.

Firefox OS tablet

Phone

The primary development device for Firefox OS is right now apparently the Flame phone, and I have one of these too now in my possession. I took a few photos when I unpacked it and crammed them into the same image, click it for higher res:

Flame - Firefox OS phone

A brief explanation of Firefox OS

Firefox OS is an Android kernel (including drivers etc) and a bionic libc – simply the libc that Android uses. Linux-wise and slightly simplified, it runs a single application full-screen: Firefox, which then can run individual Firefox-apps that appears as apps on the phone. This means that the underlying fundamentals are shared with Android, while the layers over that are Firefox and then a world of HTML and javascript. Thus most of the network stack used for Firefox – that I work with – the http, ftp, dns, cookies and so forth is shared between Firefox for desktop and Firefox for Android and Firefox OS.

Firefox OS is made to use a small footprint to allow cheaper smartphones than Android itself can. Hence it is targeted to developing nations and continents.

Both my devices came with Firefox OS version 1.3 pre-installed.

The phone

The specs: Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHZ dual-core processor, 4.5-inch 854×480 pixel screen, five-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and flash, two-megapixel front-facing camera. Dual-SIM 3G, 8GB of onboard memory with a microSD slot, and a 1800 mAh capacity battery.

The Flame phone should be snappy enough although at times it seems to take a moment too long to populate a newly shown screen with icons etc. The screen surface is somehow not as smooth as my Nexus devices (we have the 4,5,7,10 nexuses in the house), leaving me with a constant feeling the screen isn’t cleaned.

Its dual-sim support is something that seems ideal for traveling etc to be able to use my home sim for incoming calls but use a local sim for data and outgoing calls… I’ve never had a phone featuring that before. I’ve purchased a prepaid SIM-card to use with this phone as my secondary device.

Some Good

I like the feel of the tablet. It feels like a solid and sturdy 10″ tablet, just like it should. I think the design language of Firefox OS for a newbie such as myself is pleasing and good-looking. The quad-core 1GHz thing is certainly fast enough CPU-wise to eat most of what you can throw at it.

These are really good devices to do web browsing on as the browser is a highly capable and fast browser.

Mapping: while of course there’s Google maps app, using the openstreetmap map is great on the device and Google maps in the browser is also a perfectly decent way to view maps. Using openstreetmap also of course has the added bonus that it feels great to see your own edits in your own neck of the woods!

I really appreciate that Mozilla pushes for new, more and better standardized APIs to enable all of this to get done in web applications. To me, this is one of the major benefits with Firefox OS. It benefits all of us who use the web.

Some Bad

Firefox OS feels highly US-centric (which greatly surprised me, seeing the primary markets for Firefox OS are certainly not in the US). As a Swede, I of course want my calendar to show Monday as the first day of the week. No can do. I want my digital clock to show me the time using 24 hour format (the am/pm scheme only confuses me). No can do. Tiny teeny details in the grand scheme of things, yes, but annoying. Possibly I’m just stupid and didn’t find how to switch these settings, but I did look for them on both my devices.

The actual Firefox OS system feels like a scaled-down Android where all apps are simpler and less fancy than Android. There’s a Facebook “app” for it that shows Facebook looking much crappier than it usually does in a browser or in the Android app – although on the phone it looked much better than on the tablet for some reason that I don’t understand.

I managed to get the device to sync my contacts from Google (even with my google 2-factor auth activated) but trying to sync my Facebook contacts just gave me a very strange error window in spite of repeated attempts, but again that worked on my phone!

I really miss a proper back button! Without it, we end up in this handicapped iphone-like world where each app has to provide a back button in its own UI or I have to hit the home button – which doesn’t just go back one step.

The tablet supports a gesture, pull up from the button of the screen, to get to the home screen while the phone doesn’t support that but instead has a dedicated home button which if pressed a long time shows up cards with all currently running apps. I’m not even sure how to do that latter operation on the tablet as it doesn’t’ have a home button.

The gmail web interface and experience is not very good on either of the devices.

Building Firefox OS

I’ve only just started this venture and dipped my toes in that water. All code is there in the open and you build it all with open tools. I might get back on this topic later if I get the urge to ventilate something from it… 🙂 I didn’t find any proper device specific setup for the tablet, but maybe I just don’t know its proper code word and I’ve only given it a quick glance so far. I’ll do my first builds and installs for the phone. Any day now!

More

My seven year old son immediately found at least one game on my dev phone (he actually found the market and downloaded it all by himself the first time he tried the device) that he really likes and now he wants to borrow this from time to time to play that game – in competition with the android phones and tablets we have here already. A pretty good sign I’d say.

Firefox OS is already a complete and competent phone operating system and app ecosystem. If you’re not coming from Android or Iphone it is a step up from everything else. If you do come from Android or Iphone I think you have to accept that this is meant for the lower end spectrum of smart-phones.

I think the smart-phone world can use more competition and Firefox OS brings exactly that.

firefox-os-bootscreen

I’m with Nexus 4

About two years ago I purchased my Desire HD made by HTC, which has indeed been a trusted work horse of mine. Even if does lack on the battery side and the micro USB connector has gotten a bit worn out so that most cables fall out unless I take precautions to avoid it.Nexus 4

Back then I upgraded from an HTC Magic to a rather high end device of the time. This time the bump goes like this in pure specs/numbers, and it is interesting to see how two years have changed the scene…

Size and weight

HTC Desire HD: 164 grams, 123 x 68 mm and 11.8mm thick. 4.3″ LCD

Nexus 4: 139 grams, 133.9 x 68.7mm and 9.1 mm thick. 4.7″ LCD

Two years ago many people asked me about the “big” phone and had objections. Today, that old 4.3″ thing is small in comparison. As you can see, the Nexus 4 is basically “only” a centimeter taller than the old one, while a bit thinner and much lighter. The extra centimeter and the removal of the bottom buttons basically gave the extra screen reel estate.

htc-desire-hdPixels

HTC Desire HD: 800 x 480

Nexus 4: 1280 x 768

Roughly 2.5 times the number of pixels on screen.

Battery

HTC Desire HD: 1230 mah

Nexus 4: 2100 mah

70% more battery juice. Should come handy but won’t stop me from dreaming about some real battery evolution!

More!

CPU: 1GHz single core is now a 1.5GHz quad-core.

RAM: 768MB of RAM has now grown to 2GB.

Price: The price on this new phone is lower than the old one as new!

Buttons: I find it interesting that I’ve gone from 6 buttons, to 4 to none through my three Android phones.

HTC Sense vs Stock Android: I’ve never been particularly upset with Sense, and now when the Desire HD is stuck on Android 2.3 and Nexus runs 4.2 they feel very different anyway.

A feature my HTC phone has and that I like, but that stock Android lacks is the ability to completely block (ignore) certain contacts on incoming calls. I can add sales people or telemarketers and then completely not see HTC Magic them at all, no matter how many times they phone me – not even as missed phone calls.

One thing I’ve actually been slightly annoyed with in the Desire HD is its really crappy camera. I believe the Nexus 4 camera has the same amount of pixels but I do have hopes that it’ll allow me to take better pictures while being out and about.

I figured this posting wouldn’t be complete without also include a picture of my first Adroid phone, the HTC Magic.

I’m with Nexus 10

I held off this long but now I’ve joined theNexus 10 tablet owning part of the world. I brought home my new and shiny Nexus 10 yesterday (purchased in the US, it is not yet available to buy in this dusty and dark corner of the world).

Android 4.2 on a 10 inch 2560×1600 screen is a lovely experience. It is the 16GB wifi-only version. Did I mention that the screen is awesome?

Rockbox on Maemo

Nokia-N900Thomas Jarosch has been quite busy and worked a lot on the Rockbox port for Maemo, it is the direct result of the previous work on making it possible to run Rockbox as an app on top of operating systems. It is still early and there are things missing, but it is approaching usable really fast it seems

The work on the app for Android has also been progressing over time and even though it is still not available to download from the Android Market, the apk is updated regularly and pretty functional.

From Magic to Desire HD

htc-desire-hdI got into the world of Android for real when I got my HTC Magic in July last year, as my first smart phone. It has served me well for almost 18 months and now I’ve taken the next step. I got myself an HTC Desire HD to replace it. For your and my own pleasure and amusement, I’m presenting my comparison of the two phones here.

The bump up from a 3.2″ screen at 480×320 to a 4.3″ 800×480 is quite big. The big screen also feels crisper and brighter, but I’m not sure if the size helps to give that impression. Even though the 4.3″ screen has the same resolution that several phones already do at 3.7″ the pixel density is still higher than my old phone’s and if I may say so: it is quite OK.

The Desire HD phone is huge. 68 mm wide, 11.8mm thick and 123 mm tall and a massive 164 grams makes it a monster next to the magic. The Magic is 55.5 mm wide, 13.6 mm think and 113 mm tall at 116 grams.

So when put on top of the HD with two sides aligned, the HD is 10mm larger in two directions. Taken together, the bigger size is not a problem. The big screen is lovely to use when browsing the web, reading emails and using the on-screen keyboard. I don’t have any problems to slide the phone into my pocket and the weight is actually a pretty good weight as it makes the phone feel solid and reliable in my hand. Also, the HD has much less “margin” outside of the screen than the Magic, so the percentage of the front that is screen is now higher.

The big screen makes the keyboard much easier to type on. The Androd 2.2 (Sense?) keyboard is also better than the old 1.5 one that was shipped on the Magic. The ability to switch language quickly is going to make my life soooo much better. And again, the big screen makes the buttons larger and more separated and that is good.

The HD has soft buttons on the bottom of the phone, where the Magic has physical ones. I actually do like physical ones a bit better, but I’ve found these ones to work really nice and I’ve not had much reason to long for the old ones. I also appreciate that the HD has the four buttons in the same order as the Magic so I don’t have to retrain my spine for that. The fact that Android phones can have the buttons in other orders is a bit confusing to me and I think it is entirely pointless for manufacturers to not go with a single unified order!HTC Magic

I never upgraded the Magic. Yes, I know it’s a bit of a tragic reality when a hacker-minded person like myself doesn’t even get around to upgrade the firmware of his phone, and I haven’t experienced cyanogenmod other than through hearsay yet. Thus, the Android 2.2 on the HD feels like a solid upgrade from the old and crufty Magic’s Android 1.5. The availability of a long range of applications that didn’t work on the older Android is also nice.

Desire HD is a fast phone. It is clocked at twice the speed as the Magic, I believe the Android version is faster in general, it has more RAM and it has better graphics performance. Everything feels snappy and happens faster then before. Getting a web page to render, installing apps from the market, starting things. Everything.

The HTC Magic was the first Android phone to appear in Sweden. It was shipped with standard Android, before HTC started to populate everything with their HTC Sense customization. This is therefore also my introduction to HTC Sense and as I’ve not really used 2.2 before either, I’m not 100% sure exactly what stuff that is Sense and what’s just a better and newer Android. I don’t mind that very much. I think HTC Sense is a pretty polished thing and it isn’t too far away from the regular Android to annoy me too much.

HTC Desire HD under a HTC MagicI’ve not yet used the HD enough in a similar way that I used the Magic to be able to judge how the battery time compares. The Magic’s 1340 mAh battery spec against the HD’s 1230 mAh doesn’t really say much. The HD battery is also smaller physically.

USB micro vs mini. The USB micro plug was designed to handle more insert/unplug rounds and “every” phone these days use that. The Magic was of the former generation and came with a mini plug. There’s not much to say about that, other that the GPS in my car uses a mini plug and thus the cable in the car was conveniently able to charge both my phone and GPS, but now I have to track down a converter so that I don’t have to change between two cables just for that reason.

The upgrade to a proper earphone plug is a huge gain. The Magic was one of the early and few phones that only had a USB plug for charging, earphones and data exchange. The most annoying part of that was that I couldn’t listen with my earphones while charging.

The comparison image on the right side here is a digital mock-up that I’ve created using the correct scale, so it shows the devices true relative sizes. I just so failed at making a decent proper photograph…

What is Android anyway

Android, the software environment, has gotten a lot of press, popularity and interest from all over lately. People on the streets know there’s something called Android, companies know people know and so on. Everyone (well apart from a few competitors perhaps) likes Android it seems.

Being an embedded guy I like keeping an eye on the embedded world and Android being pretty embedded this at least tangents my universe. What is Android anyway? android.com says Android is “an open-source software stack for mobile devices, and a corresponding open-source project led by Google“. Not very specific, is it?

Android on different devicesAndroid

You can already find Android on mobile phones, media players, tablets, TVs and more. Very soon we’ll see it in car infotainment equipment, GPSes and all sorts of things that have displays. Clearly Android is not only for mobile phones and not even necessarily for mobile things. TVs often aren’t that mobile… And not touchscreen either.

Android with tweaks

The fact that there hardly are two Android installs completely alike is frequently debated. Lots of manufacturers patch and change the look and feel of Android to differentiate. Android is not associated with any particular look or feel quite clearly.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Android with binary drivers

Almost all Android installations you get on the Android phones and devices today have a fair amount of closed, proprietary drivers. It means that even if the companies provide the source code for all the free parts in time (which they sometimes have a hard time to do it seems), there are still parts that you don’t get to see the code for. So getting a complete Android installation from source to run on your newly purchased Android device can be a challenge. Also, it shows that Android can consist of an unspecified amount of extra proprietary pieces that don’t disqualify it from being Android.

Android without apps

I have friends who work on devices where the customer has request them to run Android, although they don’t have any ability to run 3rd party apps. Android is then only there for the original developers writing specific code for that device. Potential buyers of that device won’t get any particular Android benefits that they might be used to from their mobile phones running Android, as the device is completely closed in all practical aspects.

Android without market

Devices that don’t meet Google’s demands and don’t get to be “Google certified” don’t get to install the google market app etc, but at least a company who wants to can then in fact install their own market app or offer another way for customers to get new apps. The concept of getting and installing apps aren’t bound to the market app being there. In fact, I’ve always been expecting that some other companies or parties would come along and provide an alternative app that would offer apps even to non-google-branded devices but obviously nobody has yet stepped up to provide that in any significant way.

Android without Java

I listened  to a talk at an embedded conference recently where the person did a 40 minute talk on why we should use Android on our embedded systems. He argued that Android was (in this context) primarily good for companies because it avoids GPL and LGPL to a large extent. He talked about using “Android” in embedded devices and cutting out everything that is java, basically only leaving the Linux kernel and the BSD licensed bionic libc implementation. Of course, bionic may now also provide features to the rest of the system that glibc and uClibc do not, they being designed as more generic libcs.

Personally, I would never call anything shipped without the Java goo layers to be Android. But since it was suggested, I decided to play with the idea that a platform can be “Android” even without Java…

mini2440

That particular license-avoiding argument of course was based on what I consider is a misunderstanding. While yes, lots of companies have problems with or are downright scared of the GPL and LGPL licences, but I’ve yet to meet a company who have any particular concerns about the licensing of the libc. I regularly meet and discuss with companies who have thoughts and worries about GPL in the kernel and they certainly often don’t like *GPL in regular libraries that they linked with in their applications. I have yet to find a customer who is worried about the glibc or uClibc licenses.

In fact, most embedded Linux customers also happily run busybox that is GPL although we know from history that many companies do that in violation with the license rules, only to get the lawyers running after them.

HTC Magic

Android is what?

As far as I know Android is a trademark of some sorts, and so is Linux. If you can run an “Android” that is just a kernel and libc (and I’m not saying this is true beyond doubt because I’ve not heard anyone authoritative say this), isn’t that then basically a very very small difference to any normal vanilla embedded Linux?

The latter examples above are even without any kind of graphical UI or user-visible interface, meaning that particular form of “Android” can just as well run your microwave or your wifi router.

Without the cruft can we change the kernel?

The Android team decided that a bunch of changes to the Linux kernel are necessary.to make Android. The changes have been debated back and forth, some of them were merged into mainline Linux only to later get backed out again while the greater part of them never even got that far. You cannot run a full-fledged Android system on a vanilla kernel: you need the features the patches introduce.

If we’re not running all the java stuff do we still need those kernel patches? Is bionic made to assume one or more of them? That brings me to my next stepping stone along this path:

Without the patches can we change libc?

If we don’t run the java layers, do we really have to run the bionic libc? Surely the Android kernel allows another libc and if we use another libc we don’t need the Android kernel patches – unless we think they provide functionality and features that really improve our device.

Android is the new Linux?ASUS M2NPV MX Motherboard

Android as a name to describe something really already is just as drained as Linux. All these Android devices are just as much Linux devices and just as a “linux device” doesn’t really tell anything about what it is actually more than what kernel it runs, neither does it seem “Android device” will mean in the long run or perhaps already.

Android however has reached some brand recognition already among mortals. I think Android is perceived as something more positive in the minds of the consumer electronic consumers than Linux is. Linux is that OS that nobody uses on their desktops, Android is that cool phone thing.

I will not be the slightest surprised if we start to see more traditional Linux systems call themselves Android in the future. Some of them possibly without changing a single line of code. Linux one day, Android the next. Who can tell the difference anyway? Is there a difference?

git, patents, meego and android

dotse-logoAt this Tuesday afternoon, almost 100 people apparently managed to escape work and attend foss-sthlm’s fourth meeting. This time graciously sponsored by .SE who stood for the facilities, the coffee etc. Thank you .SE! Yours truly did his best to make it happen and to make sure we had a variety of talks by skilled people and I think we did good this time as well! This meeting took place at the same time the big Internetdagarna conference had their 6(!) parallel tracks in the building just next to ours, so it was also rather fierce competition for attention.

Robin with git

Robin Rosenberg started off the sessions by telling us about git and related dives into JGit, EGit, gerrit, code reviews and Eclipse. Robin is a core developer in the EGit/JGit projects. While I think I know at least a little git already, Robin provided an overlook over several different things in a good way. (It should be noted that Robin was called in very late in the game due to another talker having to drop out.)

As a side-note, I will never cease to be amazed by the habit in Java land to re-implement everything in “pure Java” instead of simply wrapping around the existing code/tools and leveraging what already exists and is stable…

Jonas with patents

Jonas Bosson spoke about the dangers with software patents and how they are not good, they’re hindering innovation and cost a lot of money for everyone involved. He also pledged the audience to join FFII to help the cause. You can tell Jonas is quite committed to this subject and really believes in this! And quite frankly, I don’t think a lot of people in this surrounding would argue against him…

Andreas with MeegoMeeGo

Andreas Jakl, just arrived from a rainy Helsinki, then told us (in English while all the other talks were in Swedish) about how to develop stuff with Qt for Symbian, Meego or desktop using the same tools. He showed us the latest fancy GUI builder they have called Qt Quick and how they use QML to do fancy things in a fast manner. He also managed to show us the code running in simulator and on device. Quite impressive. Andreas is a very good speaker and did a very complete session. As a bonus point, he used ‘haxx.se’ as test site for demonstrating his little demo build and of course you can’t help loving him more then? 😉

Johan with Android

Android

Johan Nilsson started off just after the coffee break with educating us how you can do push stuff from your server applications to your mobile device. How it works and how to control that in various way. Johan’s presentation was into details, in a way at least I really appreciated it, and his (hand drawn on paper then scanned) graphics used in the presentation were stunning! The fact that Johan sneaked in a couple of curl command lines of course gave him bonus points in my mind! 😉

Henrik with FribidFribid

Henrik Nordström took the stage and briefed us on the status of the Fribid project, which is a very Swedish-centric project that works on implementing full Linux support for “bankid” which is a electronic identification system established by a consortium of Swedish banks and is used by a wide range of authorities and organizations these days. The existing Linux client is poor (and hard to get working right), closed source, saves data encrypted with private hidden keys etc.

Food, Talk, Tablets

We_Tab-140-Motiv_4-3

In the restaurant after the seminaries, we gathered in a basement with beer in our glasses and chili on our plates and there was lots of open source and foss talks and we had a great time and good drinks. Two attendees brought their new tablets, which made us able to play with them and compare. the Android Samsung Galaxy Tab and the german Meego based WeTab.

Samsung Galaxy TabTo me there really wasn’t any competition. The Galaxy Tab is a slick, fast and nice device that feels like a big Android phone and it’s really usable and I could possibly see myself using it for emails and browsing. It was a while since I tried an Ipad but it gave about the same speed impression.

The WeTab however, even if it runs a modified Meego that isn’t “original” and that might suffer from bugs and what not, was a rough UI that looked far too much like my regular X Window system put in a touch device. For example, and I think this is telling, you scroll a web page down by using the right-side scroll bar and not by touching the screen in the middle and dragging it down like you’d do on IOS or Android. In fact, when I dragged down the scroll-bar like that I found it far too easy to accidentally then press one of the buttons that are always present immediately to the right of the scrollbar. Of course, the Galaxy Tab is a smaller device and also much more expensive, so perhaps those factors will bring a few users to WeTab then still.

I don’t think I’ll get a tablet anytime soon though, I just don’t see when I would use it.

Summary

I didn’t do any particular talk this time, but I felt we had a lot of good content and I can always blurb another time anyway. I really really like that we so far have managed to get lots of different speakers and I hope that we can continue to get many new speakers before we have to recycle.

It was a great afternoon and evening. All the good people and encouraging words inspire me to keep up my work and efforts on this, and I’m now aiming towards another meeting in the early 2011.

I will do another post later on when the videos from these talks go online.

The Rockbox app part II

Hey

In February I wrote about how I think Rockbox’s future involves existing as an app (on Android), and it was also this year accepted as a gsoc project for Rockbox.

In June I got somewhat noticed when Joe Brockmeier wrote about Rockbox on lwn.net and included a lot of references and talk about my post and the app situtation.

Today, Thomas “kugel” Martitz closed the circle by announcing on IRC and mail that he has indeed made Rockbox on Android play its first sounds and he is indeed progressing in a good direction.

While I’m told the current state is rough and there’s no installer or anything yet, I’m sure I share the view of lots of others that this is a great moment in the Rockbox history. A milestone. Thanks Thomas, I hope your work continues equally good and that we get an app to try out at the end of the summer or so.

Thomas’ git repo is here: http://repo.or.cz/w/kugel-rb.git

Rockbox