LibreOffice Viewer for Ubuntu Touch phones

Finally there is a beta version available for Ubuntu phones. It’s declared to be a preview but is works nicely. It’s not in the Application Store ind ith has to be installed from a command line

It integrates in the current DocViewer application and it can handle various office document formats (both LibreOffice ones and MS Office files) which is nice.

There are several things to do (a touch-based zooming, for example) but in general it works very well. It’s just a viewer (so no editing and – at least for now – no clipboard support) but it’s probably just enough for a phone. I have very mixed experience with editing of such documents on small touch-based devices (phones, PDA’s) so I see no problem with the fact that it is only a viewer.

All the main functionality (an ability to see files an zoom them if necessary) is here and the application feels to be stable so far.

So for the installation on your phone you need these steps:

pkcon --allow-untrusted install-local
sudo click register --user=phablet 'com.ubuntu.docviewer' 2.0.193-beta

After that, your phone will be able to handle ODT, ODS, DOC, DOCX, XLS and other strange file types!

LibreOffice Viewer for Ubuntu Touch phones

MC400 Screenshot

I finally managed to make a screenshot of  my Psion MC400 laptop. I have spend several hours working on the machine and it is surprisingly user-friendly and well-designed (please remember that it’s a 1989 laptop).

Psion MC400 screenshot

Yes, the software is functionally limited but it is user friendly AND effective (note that there is only 256 kB or RAM available for both main memory and the ramdisk so the software have to be small and simple). The keyboard shortcuts are sometimes unusual but easy to remember so it is easy to start to work with the machine.

I noticed just one problem – I cannot find image viewer so I can take screenshot (Shift+Control+Psion+S) but I can only use it as a wallpaper… :-\

Fortunately it is easy to move the file to a workstation and to use pictopnm, for example (get it here).

MC400 Screenshot

Hue Bulbs and UNIX

Some people use modern things like the Phillips Hue smart bulbs. That’s an interesting thing: a replacement for traditional bulbs that can be remotely controlled from computer or smartphone. So it is possible to turn them on and off or change their light intensity and colours from the compute.

You need a bridge – a small computer which is connected to your network and which is able to sent commands to the bulbs. And a software to control the bridge. There are clients for common phone operating systems, and even these with Ubuntu Touch phones can do it. But what about the users with the real UNIX computers?

Well, there is someone who (probably between TenFourFox compilations) wrote a command line interface for Hue in a Perl: the HuePl.

The use is simple – you have to setup the things during first run (them most complicated part is finding of the brige’s IP address) and then you can start to use it. For example command to set the bulb numbered 1 to red:

huelp red 1

Jus be sure that you have a colour-capable bulbs. There are also ones with white colour only. In this case the above mentioned command doesn’t work! ;-)
One can even call the HuePl from cron to made or change the light in a predefined times. I tested the thing in my home network and used the HuePl on my IRIX box.

Isn’t it cool?

Hue Bulbs and UNIX

Ubuntu Touch OTA-7 Update

The new Ubuntu Touch update (the OTA-7) is available. There are some new features and a lot of bugfixes.

So what is here?

  • Connecting to Eduroam network finally works.
  • Dekko e-mail client is much improved.
  • Some GUI fixes (some problems with item deleting of items are gone).
  • SMB support in file manager (it is labeled “preliminary” but at least browsing directories and opening  – supported – files works, and I don’t need more at the moment)

It is said that application startup times have been improved. It’s possible but I personally don’t see a big difference. The office documents viewer is still in works so it still isn’t included in the update.

Ubuntu Touch OTA-7 Update

Remote Zaurus

Well, not exactly. But I probably (and maybe just partially) solved my problem with remote control of a music player. Before a very long time I had an iPad with a remote controls. It wasn’t a bad solution because it allowed to have the player itself to be hidden in the bag and the controls were able to be placed on some well-accessible place. And an inability to remotely control the music playback was the main problem of the Ben NanoNote’s music functionality (it has many other advantages, though). The ability to at least switch the songs and stop the playback remotely was one of main reasons why I used my iPhone 3G so long.

My Ubuntu Phone has no such possibility (I don’t know it there is any compatible third-party product). So I have concentrated on the old Sharp Zaurus machines. There are at least two types of a remote controls (CE-RH1 and CE-RH2) but they are very rare (they are rare the most probably because they were sold as a separate – and quite expensive – add-ons).

As a surprise, my favorite handheld supplier send me the complete CE-RH1 set as a present! So now I have a remote control for my Zauri.

The remote itself is very nice. It isn’t a jewel of the design (as the Apple’s remotes are) but it’ fully funcitonal and also quite powerful: there are the start/stop buttons, the next/previous buttons and the volume control (for example, the modern iPhone control only allows to start/stop and to shuffle songs). The Sharp’s remote thingy is also quite big but a very light so it is very comfortable.

There are problems with my Zauri, though. The 6000 has a 2.5 mm audio jack which is incompatible. The 750 has a damaged audio system (a hardware fault) so it doesn’t make sense to use an audio remote here. And the 3200 has problems with drivers (I don’t want to reinstall it because I have lot of other working – and more important – things here). So the only candidate is the SL-C750. It’s white-silver colour also well matches the colour of the remote. And the things work well, there is even no need to have the music player in the foreground. So the main problem is a size of available space for music. The biggest compatible SD card size is 1 GB (there is a driver for 2 GB cards but it works only on the newer machines and not here).

So, after some time and some fixes, I considering to start to use the Zaurus on a less or more daily basis. I’m going to see what happens…

Remote Zaurus

Ubuntu Scopes and Apps

I decided to reduce the number of active scopes in my Ubuntu Phone to just three:

  • the Application Launcher,
  • the Today,
  • Contacts.

That’s enough because the scopes for tasks, calls and message history are still easily accessible from the Today scope (I don’t like to have the contacts in the Today scope so I use the dedicated one for them).

I don´t use many so called social apps and services so other scopes can be good and useful but I have no actual use for them.

I also reduced a number of installed applications on my phone because I do not use them: I removed all games, the searchlight app, the Calculus app, the dictionary and more. It´s partially because the Ubuntu launcher supports no re-grouping of icons (there are categories but they are not editable) so it is somewhat annoying to scroll to find these few that I use. The left-side Unity bar doesn´t help too much because it can comfortably accommodate just a limited number of icons. A user-defined category in for the desktop should help (something like ¨Favorites¨) but this possibility isn´t here.

So the most used Ubuntu Touch applications at the moment are:

  1. Web Browser
  2. Notes (Evernote-connected notetaking application)
  3. Shorts (RSS reader)
  4. Dekko (e-mail client)
  5. Weather
  6. Music player
  7. Beru (e-book reader)

No pictures for this post, sorry. I use an older Web browser (the Firefox) here so I cannnot access my images on my Flickr page at all…

Ubuntu Scopes and Apps