Android: Increase Internal Memory on Rooted Phones

Feb-20th-2011

Low Internal Memory Problem

One irritating thing about some Android phones is the lack of internal memory. It was a problem for those who owned the very first Android phone, the G1 (like me!), who got left behind when the Android ROM for the 2.* series was bigger than the G1′s 70mb memory.

It continues to be a problem in the Android 2.* series, for phones such as mine (HTC Desire), which has 148mb internal memory.

I’m using Cyanogen’s mod 6.1.1, which is based on Android 2.2. Even with Android 2.2′s ability to move applications to SD card, to save on space, I still have a large chunk of the 148mb internal memory taken by applications (plus their data) which were installed as part of the vanilla Android ROM. This includes many Google apps like Gmail, Calendar etc.. and also Facebook, Twitter etc…

Android, when low on internal memory, is designed to reduce it functionality, such as no longer synchronizing with the Cloud (gmail, Facebook etc..) and, worse – rejects SMS messages as a safety measure. Which is something that puzzles me, and many other people, in this bug report. Even after using the very useful Cache Cleaner NG application, I hover at 18-20mb.

The Solution!

Read the rest of this entry »

Embracing git

Feb-2nd-2011

Adopting git has been on my TODO list for many months. I have 5 Linux machines that I use regularly, and usually spend about 20 minutes each morning making necessary scp:// calls. It’s completely unsatisfactory, and error prone.

2nd February 2011 is a significant day for me... It is the day when I fully embrace git for my code and document versioning requirements.

Bare Repo1: PhDgit
- Latex source files
- Haskell source files

Non-Bare Repo2: Projectgit (with 5 other institutes on SerenA http://www.serena.ac.uk/ )
./NetBeansProjects

Bare Repo3: Fluxboxgit
- .fluxbox/keys

Why did I not do this 12 months ago? I get an extra 20 minutes in every day.. git pull !

Skype: Linux is a 2nd Class Citizen

Jan-22nd-2011

Ok… so I might have made that title up, but hopefully you’ll get the idea.

Skype Release Cycle Across Platforms

I’ve put together an illustration that makes it clear, from where I am standing, that Linux is regarded as a 2nd class citizen, that does not deserve the love and attention that other platforms enjoy from the Skype steering team.

Why The ‘Skype For Linux’ Project is poorly managed….

I hate to say it, but the project really must be in dire straits. Here are some of the reasons why:

Sluggish Release Cycle

  • There hasn’t been a stable Skype release for Linux nearly 3 years
  • However, there have been 5 stable releases for Windows in the last 2 years, including 14 bug fix releases, and 1 beta release.
  • Support for active upstream projects is poor. For example, it took 18 months after Fedora used Pulseaudio by default to support this sound server.

No Consistent Direction

  • In 2008, Skype announced they were hiring QT developers, and had developed a MID Interface for tablet devices. But then late in 2009, they announced that they intended to Open Source the Skype user interface. One can guess that they are no longer to look to hire QT developers, and they also confirmed that the MID Interface project is dead.
  • Twice, in 2009, Skype announced that a 64 bit version (here and here) was being developed, and support for FreeBSD would be added. It’s now 2011, and neither have emerged.

Comical Communication

  • Their use of the Skype For Linux blog is apathetic to say the least. 3 time in 2008, 5 times in 2009, and once in 2010.
  • They then setup a Skype For Linux twitter account, tweeting to me: “the plan is that the tweets will be more regular”. They have so far tweeted 3 times, all promising “more tweets”.

——-

So, Skype development steering team: Just what do you have to say for yourself?


Fedora’s Target Market

Jan-7th-2011

I’ve been a Fedora user since Fedora Core 5, and to a large extent, have enjoyed the overall experience, and being part of the community. We all know that competition is a good thing in FOSS, and there is plenty of it in other successful Linux Distro’s. So let me take some time to ask – What is the focus market for Fedora, and what does the future hold?

The Good

First, let me go over just some of the main reasons why I’ve stuck with Fedora these last few years. For one, I always appreciate the approach to bleeding edge software. For instance, when I was using Fedora 12, the Fedora KDE team bumped to KDE 4.4, mid cycle. And also when the Firefox 3.5 pre-release was included in Fedora 11. Maybe, too, it was the push for a better startup experience, implemented in Fedora 10 with the introduction of Plymouth, subsequently adopted by Ubuntu in release 10.04. There are other things, too. Like Richard Hughes‘s current work on integrating the Distro Upgrade procedure with PackageKit. This will be a great addition to Fedora, for sure. Or perhaps it was that I was impressed with Fedora’s effort to make NetworkManager more stable than ever, back in Fedora 8. In fact, if you want a better idea of Redhat’s contribution to Upstream FOSS projects, see this useful wiki page

Fedora Alternatives

The competition in the Linux userspace is stronger than ever. These are just a few things I like about some other distro’s. Firstly, it’s well known that Ubuntu think long and hard about user experience (for example, the 100 paper cuts project used for releases 9.10 and 10.04 to iron out some of the most pedantic glitches in these releases). I do like recent efforts to polish the Gnome notification applets, adding a few of their own, for networking, weather forecasts, and easier communication. I also like the way that the current Ubuntu process for upgrading from one distro release to another, is tightly integrated into the update process, used for package updates. Finally, I also recently came across OpenSuse’s Installation Mode. It does look particularly shiny. More so than I last remember. Of course, there are dozens of features in each distro release aimed at ease of use that I love, that I could bore you with.

OpenSuse Installation Mode Ubuntu Weather Applet Ubuntu Dist-Upgrade Process

Recent Fedora Releases

I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say this – I haven’t been blown away by the feature lists for Fedora 13 and Fedora 14. This is not to discredit the great work the Redhat folks, and volunteers who contribute. But to compare, here are some of the user-centric features from earlier releases (8 to 12) that took my eye: bluetooth enchancements, Better Printing, 20 second startup, Fingerprint Reader Support, and the Gnome Feature Clock Applet. Now, compare this to the features for releases 13 and 14, it’s more difficult to get excited, purely from a ‘casual user’ point of view. In Fedora 13, the two most notable additions were Better Webcam Support, and Automatic Printer Driver Installation. I have to be honest and say that the release of Fedora 14 didn’t bring anything exciting to my PC or netbook. A lot of work has clearly been done on virtualization technologies, clearly pushed by Redhat, such as the Spice project, and having Fedora 14 on Amazon‘s EC2 infrastructure. More of the same is promised in Fedora 15, with the BoxGrinder project and the addition of Xen Dom0 capabilities. But I have to say, ‘features’, such as the rebase to KDE 4.6 aren’t really Fedora features. I’d expect to see KDE 4.6 in every modern distro following its release on the 26th January 2011.

Indeed a couple of Fedora 14 reviews echo these sentiments. One, from the renowned blogger over on This Week In Linux concluded that he ‘ was not blown away :/ ‘. Also, the Fedora 14 review in January 2011′s release of the popular Linux Format magazine, it concludes: ‘It has plenty for sysadmins to get excited about, but less for the end user who may not notice enormous differences from Fedora 13, bar the usual kernel and environment updates’. In agreement, the review over at desktoplinuxreviews.com state: ‘there is not much of significance here for desktop users. Most of these new features probably appeal to administrators or developers more than your average desktop user‘.

The Future for Fedora

As has been well documented, The Ubuntu project will be switching from Gnome, to the Unity shell by default for the 11.04 release. It’s certainly an ambitious step, certainly in light of the upcoming release of Gnome 3.0, in March 2011. But this does give other distro’s the opportunity to gain support from those who are looking forward to the new Gnome shell in 3.0. That includes Fedora, and I believe Fedora 15 will be the first distro to ship with Gnome 3.0, which is very exciting to see. I’m also quite keen to recent change in policy for the development repository, rawhide. Does this mean that developers get more freedom, more time, in the unstable playpit to make bigger strides between each distro release? Time will tell, but I’m hopeful.

For a Linux distro to survive in the long term, it needs a unique position in the Linux-sphere. OpenSuse is a powerful distro for Sysadmins with tools such as YaST. Linux Mint has a strong position, aiming for pain-free Linux adoption, and is built on top of the well supported Ubuntu releases. So in which direction is Fedora heading? Are we to expect more webcams supported, and better fingerprint reader support? Or are we to expect our very own Fedora version of something as powerful as YaST, a powerful, configuration portal for all the needs of even the most nerdy Sysadmin?

My Pointless Tweets

Chrome WebGL In Action

Dec-22nd-2010

What is WebGL?

“WebGL is a cross-platform, royalty-free web standard for a low-level 3D graphics API based on OpenGL ES 2.0, exposed through the HTML5 Canvas element as Document Object Model interfaces.” – http://www.khronos.org/webgl/

So far, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera have implemented WebGL integration, right into the browser.

Chrome WebGL Experiments

This is one of a handful of examples, from the site: http://www.chromeexperiments.com/webgl

Chrome Task Manager

My Computer Specifications

  • Linux – Fedora 14, 2.6.35.9-64.fc14.x86_64
  • Google Chrome 10.0.612.1 dev
  • Nvidia Geforce 9500GT
    • 512MBMemory, 128-bit Memory Interface
    • PCI Express x16
    • 32 CUDA Cores

Howto: Install Nvidia driver for Fedora 15

Dec-2nd-2010

If you’re wanting to use the nvidia proprietary driver, rather than the nouveau driver provided by default in Fedora 15, then do the following:

1. Add this to the end of the kernel line (without quotes) in /etc/grub.conf -> “rdblacklist=nouveau vga=0×318″

2. Command:  su -c “rpm -Uvh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm”

3. Command: yum update

4. For 64bit Users, Command: yum install kmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.x86_64

5. A) For 32bit Users, Command: yum install kmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686
5. B) For 32bit Users using the PAE kernel, Command: yum install kmod-nvidia-PAE.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686

6. Reboot, and you’re done !

Note: If this doesn’t seem to work for you, in step one, instead of “rdblacklist=nouveau”, try “nouveau.modeset=0″

Installing Speed Dreams in Fedora

Sep-3rd-2010

Speed Dreams is a fork of the famous open racing car simulator Torcs, aiming to implement exciting new features, cars, tracks and AI opponents to make a more enjoyable game for the player, as well as constantly improving visual and physics realism.

There are a bunch of RPM’s packaged for Mandriva, but I can confirm that these work Fedora, also.

Note: All 3 RPM files are needed to be downloaded and saved to the same directory.

32 bit 64 bit
Base Download Download
Robots Download Download
Data Download Download

Command:

rpm -ivh *.rpm

Synaptics Tap to Click in Fedora 13

Aug-9th-2010

If you own a laptop with a synaptics touchpad, you may have an issue whereby tap-to-click is not enabled, in Fedora 13.

Resolution:

> su -c "gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf"

In the first Section, add two additional lines immediately before EndSection, as such:

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad catchall"
Driver "synaptics"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event/index.html"
Option "TapButton1" "1"
Option "RBCornerButton" "3"
EndSection

Save, and reboot !

Screencast: Gnome 3 on Fedora 13

Jul-27th-2010

I caved. Having lived with (and loved) the KDE 4 series from 4.0, I came across one too many Gnome 3 previews to not try it myself. Below is a screencast of how I’m finding it…

Pro’s

  • Pretty stable! (which is excellent as Gnome 3 is due in September UPDATE: Gnome 3 delayed – March 2011 http://ff.im/-oq3ev)
  • After 20 minutes, I found the UI very intuitive
  • Gnome panels no more! I always found icon layout in the panels a little clunky
  • Smooth effects. Ignore the video glitches, the 3D effects are very elegant
  • Responsive. I am told to expect all Gnome apps using Gnome 3 libraries to run considerably quicker than those using the 2.** libraries
  • Brings parity between the Gnome vs KDE argument once again. It was my feeling that the KDE 4.3+ series had elevated KDE as the king of desktop environments

Con’s

  • It is quite different from all previous Gnome UI’s. So any casual users, or novices might take longer than 20 minutes to adjust to the Gnome shell
  • It took me slightly be surprise when I click on an application icon when that software was already running. Just like in MacOSX, it just brings the existing software instance to the front of the screen. So, remember to right click the icon and “New Window”
  • The UI isn’t very configurable. e.g. I could not find a way to change the colour of the top bar. However, this may change before it “stable” release in September
  • Lacking some eye candy. I’ve used wobbly windows with kwin for a long time, and with compiz before that. There’s just something intuitive about wobbly windows. Maybe that’ll land before September, too?
  • So as far as I can tell, the only way to launch software with your mouse is to the “Activity Layout” (mouse to top left corner). In the past, there were simple right click options “add to desktop” and “add to panel”. I’m yet to decide if I prefer the new method, though it may well be true that I do indeed prefer it

Download Osmos – An Indie Linux Game

May-17th-2010

The folks over at Hemisphere have ported their creation, Osmos, to the Linux platform.

[vimeo clip_id="5892502" width="500" height="300"]

It’s a great game, and they have blogged about their experiences of the porting process here.

They need your help, to make the Linux version a success. It’s really easy – go download the game !!

http://www.hemispheregames.com/osmos/

(There’s even a demo release to tempt you…)