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

Ubuntu Desktop and MTP

As you may know, the Ubuntu desktop computer cannot see the connected Ubuntu Touch phone out-of-the-box. There are several ways to fix that.

This is the easiest way:

So the necessary steps are:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/libmtp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt full-upgrade

And do not forget that it is also necessary to unlock the screen of the phone!

Ubuntu Desktop and MTP

Psion with PS/2 keyboard

I recently have found an interface for the Psion Series 3a (it’s declared as designed for 3a and I don’t know if it supports 3c or 3mc). It’s a nice little box that allow to connect the PS/2 keyboard and a printer.

I saw only the keyboard working (there was no printer around to try the printer interface).

Psion PS/2 keyboard interface

The thing can be operated with a normal Series 3 power adapter but it can also run on a 9V battery. So it is portable. It’s a funny stuff.

There can be found also other goodies: a floppy and a parallel printer adapter cable. Unfortunately I’m not aware about these thinks in working state.

Psion with PS/2 keyboard

Zaurus in traveling

Note: I wote this post a long time ago. The things somewhat changed but the point of the article is still the same.

As I mentioned in one of the previous posts I have had to replace my damaged NanoNote by a more reliable but more ancient Sharp Zaurus computer. It isn’t a complete downgrade as the Zaurus is more expandable and as it has a bit more powerful hardware.

I decided to try to travel with the SL-C3200 which is my most powerfull Zaurus. The C-760 is lighter and it’s battery life is excelent (now I often use it for notetaking during meetings) but I have wanted to test the real battery life of the HDD-equipped one.

NanoNote vs Zaurus

We travelled (me and my wife) to the Prague to visit some museums. The train trip is slightly over 3 hours and walking through the Prague is about 6 hours so it doesn’t make sense to take a real laptop. My experience is that I’m usually too tired to do anything more serious than reading or writing of few notes or program lines. So the useful computer has to be small and light. The phone is usually not good enough – I have found the touchscreen typing to be too uncomfortable for me.

Zaurus in traveling

BASIC on Zaurus

The Sharp Zaurus can be also used as a development machine for BASIC programming. The Bywater BASIC Interpreter can be easily compiled here and it of course runs fast. Both Vim and ZEditor can be used to edit program files (but there is no usefull source code highlighting, unfortunately).

I have tried to run a Gauss solver for a symmetric, positive definite system of linear equations. A full, dense left-side matrix is assumed (actually, only the upper triangle of the matrix is stored).

By the way, an exactly the same code runs flawlesly on the Elektronika MK-90 handheld computer (and thus it may run on the DVK serie of Soviet computers, too). It’s a little bit advanced version of the program that was presented there before some time.

REM Gauss Elimination (full, dense matrix A)
REM Indexes start from 1
REM Only symmetric upper part of matrix is stored and used
REM Uses 1D arrays
REM "A" Indexes: L = I +(J*J-J)/2 -1

REM Data input:
10 DATA 3 1 2 3  2 1 3 3 3 7 5 5 5
30 DIM A(6)
35 DIM B(3)
40 FOR I = 1 TO N
50 FOR J = 1 TO N
55 IF J >= I THEN
58 LET L = I +(J*J-J)/2 -1
60 READ A(L)
90 FOR I = 0 TO N-1 STEP 1
95 READ B(I)
100 NEXT I

REM Control print of data:
140 FOR I = 1 TO N
150 FOR J = 1 TO N
155 LET L = I +(J*J-J)/2
160 PRINT A(L);
170 NEXT J
175 PRINT " |";B(I-1)
180 NEXT I

REM Forward run:
300 FOR K = 1 TO N-1 
310 FOR I = K+1 TO N 
311 LET L = K + (I*I-I)/2 -1
312 LET M = K + (K*K-K)/2 -1
320 LET C = A(L)/A(M)
330 FOR J = I TO N
331 LET L = I +(J*J-J)/2 -1
332 LET M = K +(J*J-J)/2 -1
340 LET A(L) = A(L) - C*A(M)
350 NEXT J
360 LET B(I-1) = B(I-1) - C*B(K-1)
370 NEXT I
380 NEXT K
385 LET L = N +(N*N-N)/2 -1
390 LET B(N-1) = B(N-1) / A(L)

REM Backward run:
400 FOR I = N-1 TO 1 STEP -1
410 LET S = 0
420 FOR J = I+1 TO N
421 LET L = I +(J*J-J)/2 -1
430 LET S = S + A(L) * B(J-1)
440 NEXT J
441 LET L = I +(I*I-I)/2 -1
450 LET B(I-1) = (B(I-1)-S)/A(L)
460 NEXT I

REM Results:
500 PRINT "Results:"
510 FOR I = 0 TO N-1
520 PRINT B(I)
530 NEXT I

The input data hare hard-coded in the DATA statement, sorry for that. The first value is number of equations, followed by the matrix data (row by row) and the the right-hand vector is located.

BASIC on Zaurus

Electronics failures…

A lot of people around me are complying about failures of phones, tablets and GPS devices (and notebooks and PCs, too). I though that it isn’t my case (except several older devices that died before some time), but:

  • the nVidia Shield tablet: there is a battery fire risk and my device is affected by this issue,
  • the HP Touchpad died during the weekend – it doesn’t power off,
  • the eTrex 30 GPS randomly loses saved GPX data (geocaches, to be precise),
  • the Lenovo X61s refuses to boot the Ubuntu (it looks like a hard drive problem),
  • the Bluetooth keyboard started to refuse to pair with any device.

Is not an exactly short list, is it?

Electronics failures…