What to do with all these reminders?

As you may know, I like to use the Remind program as my calendar. Is pretty nice, it works nearly everywhere but it is not well supported in the GUI of modern smartphones. This is obvious: the command-line program it does not fit well the typical UI of a smartphone. And it is really not comfortable to use a command-line application on a touchscreen-only device. So I have to use the build-in calendar on my Ubuntu phone. It is not bat but it stores data on the Google calendar (no other backend is supported at the moment).

OK, there is nothing really secret in my calendar so I probably can have it at Google. But what to get and use these data on real operating systems?

It’s quite easy – even the Big Evil provides a private link for every calendar so one can download it with whget or curl. It is in the ics format so you can use the ical2rem tool co convert it to a proper form. And that’s all!

P.S. You might want to send your calendar to a Palm device. There is no tool for that but it should be easy to make something. At the moment I have a simple tool to send remind stuff to my Palm as a (sort of) untimed events. So precise times are ignored at the moment. I have this very simple AWK script:

#! /usr/bin/awk -f
{ a = $1 ; $1=$2=$3=$4=$5="" ; b = $0 ;
print a," 8:00:00 GMT+0 \t", a, "16:00:00 GMT+0 \t \t" b}
END { }

The use of the script is:

remind -p .reminders |grep -v "\#" | ./rem2palm |iconv -f latin2 -t cp1250 |tee my-events ; install-datebook /dev/ttyf2 my-events ; rm -f my-events

It’s not nice but it can be used as a temporary solution.

What to do with all these reminders?

Summer stuff

I haven’t do too much computer related things during the summer. I have a new Aquaris M10 tabled for playing (there was an OTA-12 system update which improved many thinks), and a Pocket C.H.I.P. computer (which is not much used, yet). But most time I have used my SGI O2 desktop (even for a most of WWW browsing) and my Intel Compute Stick (just for modern WWW browsing and for connectin of my GPS and cameras because the O2 has no USB ports).


I still use the SGI O2 as a primary desktop. It’s nice for my programming (C, Tcl/Tk), for writting and typesetting (Vim/LaTeX) and so. I also often use it to get stuff from WWW to my Palm III for off-line reading (via the Plucker). I don’t work with graphics too much, most of my images is made by the XFig and the Gnuplot. Recently I have started to use weather forecast from the graph.no. There is a nice finger interface to the yr.no as you may know. I use a finger ostrava@graph.no command for this.

A bit more modern computing

I finaly have managed to use the FVWM window manager on my modern desktop. This modern desktop is an Intel Compute Stick with a pre-installed Ubuntu. It has a quite small storage space (8 GB) and only 1 GB of RAM. So using something ligther than the Unity desktop can be usefull. Actually the difference is not very noticeable as the stock Unity is surprisingly snappy. But the FVWM has much better customisation possibilities and I use in on the O2 for ages so now I have a consistent user interface on both of my desktops. I didn’t use the FVWM on modern Linuxes because there is no dock for notification icons. I have found one but then I realised that I don’ need it. So there were just two problems to solve:

  • Czech keyboard and keyboard switching (/etc/config/keyboard was to be edited),
  • Czech fonts support in the FVWM (well, it was easier to rewrite menus to English).

Work (sort of)

To use external disks I just run nautilus --no-desktop when I need it. And that’s all.

Cutting-edge computing

My most modern and up-to-date computer is the Aquaris M10 tablet with the Ubuntu Touch. It feels a bit experimental as it was initially availably with half-baken operating system and some things are still being finalised (or developed). At the moment the most of important things work: one can use LibreOffice (with a hardware or an on-screen keyboard), install other X11 aplications and use them quite easily (without on-screen keyboard for these apps – one must connect a hardware one to be able to enter text). The integrated WWW browser has the most of needed features (and it even goes fullscreen with the F11 key… and it works with the Technomorous site) and the Evernote client (the Notes) finally supports clipboard. The hardware keyboard layouts can be easily configured (one just has to select them in Preferences) and can be switched by pressing of Win+Space. That’s excellent – I never realised how to do something like this on an Android or Maemo handheld (I’ m not sure how these things work on the Apple stuff). The only missing thing is a keyboard status indicator (it is prepared by developers for the next update). I also installed the TeXlive and the gcc with many libraries and compiled some of my pieces of software (uFEM and MicroDef). Both ot htem works as expected (the uFEM shows some bugs on all modern ARM computers and I still have to fix them). After some testing I can conclude that the M10 is waaaaay slooower than the Comtute stick (which is has also a quad-core processor but an Intel Atom one). It’s much faster than my 16-year old SGI O2, though.😉

bq Aquaris M10 + keyboard

This text was written on the Sharp Zaurus (SL-C760), of course.

Summer stuff

Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 Update

I installed the new update of the Ubuntu Touch today. Only on my tablet at the moment. There are some impressions:

  • External keyboard support is improved: easy switching by Win+Space, AltGr support, works well in X11/Xorg applications, too. No external keyboard layout indication is available, though.
  • Xorg support improved. I am now able to compile and run my own X11 programs. The whole thing seems to be more stable, too. There still is no working clipboard support between X11 and native applications.

The TeX works (the TeXlive can be installed), the gcc works and the GNU Octave works.. Well, the ParaView is even not available for install.

Freshly compiled uFEM on Ubuntu Touch

There are still many rough edges (for example the way how multiple windows in Xorg emulaton works – you have to switch them by clicking o a small symbol in an ugly titlebar) but at the moment I am able to use it as a notebook replacement (the only really missign thing is a support of external VGA screens: the 1920×1020 or so is not an option for the most of dataprojectors around).

Of course, lot of things is impractical and not very configurable due to the limitations of the mobile operating system.

Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 Update

No shocking news

I use non-SGI computers more and more (both my phone and my tablet are Ubuntu Touch based and my 2nd desktop is the Intel Compute Stick with the Ubuntu) but I still use my O2 most time.

Work (sort of)

The O2 has a bunch of programs on all virtual desktops (some manuals, text editors JabRef and so). There are visible only some terminals (RXVT ones) which are connected to remote machines (they are much faster than my O2 so I use them for actual number crunching). The Vim and the Gnuplot are of course running locally…

No shocking news

Chip(s) for your pocket

Well, no potato products will be discussed here. But there is something interesting: a pocket verision of the posibly world-cheapest ($9) computer – the C.H.I.P.. Yes, I have got the Pocket C.H.I.P. thingy.

It cost me more than the advertised $49, of course. I live in an expensive country and the shipping was also not free. By it’s still quite cheap.

After some limited success with the bare C.H.I.P computer (which is less or more equivalent to the original Raspberry Pi) I decided to try the pocket version.

By the way: my main trouble with the C.H.I.P itself was the video output: only a TV-grade output was available at the beginning and I don’t have a proper TV. The rest was OK, except the speed with the default XFce desktop (the thing has a 1 GHz ARM processor but only some 512 MB of RAM).

But back to the main topic: the Pocket C.H.I.P. look a bit cheap (but it has to look cheap because it is..) and the keyboard is a bit strange but it is functional and easy to use. It is relatively big. So it is large for a pocket but big enough to be comfortable bot for reading and for typing. The screen resolution is 480×244 which is unusual and very low for today’s standards but optimal for an indented use. By the way, using RXVT means that you have perfectly readable text which is pleasant for your eyes. And the DOOM is also not that bad here…

MicroDef on PocketC.H.I.P. computer

I must confess that I got the thing with no particular reason of plan for an use. I was just curious for what the thing can be usefull. At the moment I thing that it is not so bad as portable calculator (Octave + Gnuplot) and I even managed it to compile and run my MicroDef. Fortunately, I have modified the MicroDef for very small screens in the past (for my Ben NanoNote computer) so the use on an another small device required no code changes.

The OS of this thing is a normal Debian (armhf) with the X11 (no Mir, no Wayland, no other mess is here) so things are very simple here (there is a custom launcher and a simple setup tool but the rest is stock Debian). One can install almost anything here if the software fits in it’s 4 GB flash space (there is no expansion port) and if the software can work of its low-resolution screen.

At the moment, I can confirm that lot of stuff actually works on the computer: gcc, GNU Octave, Gnuplot, TeX (latex at least), Vim, RXVT, Calc (apcalc),…

Chip(s) for your pocket

GCC on Ubuntu Touch

Indeed, one can have less or more complete UNIX environment in the Ubuntu Touch device. Direct use of the “apt-get” is not recommended as the filesystem is purposely made read-only. But it is possible set up and to use chroot environment and the have a separate system for the tools.

A nice guide is here.

Vim on Ubuntu Touch

There are limitations, of course. You have a separate space with no link from inside to outside and there is no (simple) way to use GUI or graphical applications. But most of CLI stuff works well (the Octave, the GCC, the Lynx and the Links, the Vim and so on).

GCC on Ubuntu Touch

Aquaris M10: first few notes

Yes, I do have one of these. It is cool to have a real Ubuntu tablet. But don’t expect any wonders.

A few first impressions and notes:

  • It isn’t fast. The performance is rather average. But it was expected, I think. So no problem here.
  • There is a XMir to run full Xorg-based applications. But they look ugly (no theme is applied on them).
  • One cannot use virtual keyboard for these Xorg application. Just a Bluetooth one (so no Firefox or OpenOffice.org in the tablet mode…).
  • There is no way to switch layouts of the hardware keyboard at the moment. One can use, for example, a Czech keyboard (and it works well) but it is niot possible to change it to an English one in an easy way. It is delcared as a work in progress.
  • One cannot install more Xorg applications in an easy way. This isn’t nice. So you will be limited to the Gimp, the Firefox, the OpenOffice and the Gedit.

More on that topic later. I don’t say that I’m not happy with my tablet. But there is a bit more limitiations that I expected.

Aquaris M10: first few notes