Windows 8 – My first hands on

•November 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Here are my first impressions towards Windows 8 after trying it briefly for the first time at a retail store.

Launching / using apps

Apps open full screen – no more taskbar at the bottom at all times – at least in the new “Modern UI”. Thanks to what I had seen online, I knew some of the new basic OS functions, such as hitting the Windows key to get back to the home screen.

Two apps can be shown on screen at once, side by side, with one app taking 1/4 of the screen, and the other app the other 3/4. No half and half, at least yet [perhaps in Windows 9 it’ll be implemented – or in a Windows 8 service pack]. This varying window size app display is reminiscent of another platform… How it works:

  • With an email app and a web browser opened side-by-side, if the email app has 1/4 of the screen, only individual message sender and subject lines are visible, along with other controls. Clicking a particular message shifts the display to show the conversation in that entire 1/4 screen.
  • Pulling the email app’s border to re-size it to 3/4 of the screen displays both the list of messages, and the conversation in one view.

Pretty much exactly how multi-device supported apps are designed for Android using Fragments, with the “1/4 screen” scenario in use on small-screened devices such as phones, and the “3/4 screen” scenario in use on bigger screens, like tablets and TVs.

Closing apps

I couldn’t remember / figure out how to close apps. Turns out you have to click, hold, and drag down [or swipe down on a touch screen], from the top of the screen, while in an app. Seems that soon, dedicated close buttons [and maximize/minimize buttons] will be a thing of the past, in favor of gestures.

Final thoughts

At first glance, it seems that Windows 8 differentiates itself from other platforms with its new home screen, the manor in which apps can be displayed, and the new Windows Store / ecosystem. For my needs, I don’t find it to be worth the upgrade price [no, not even the $15 “steal” that was temporarily available]. I’m comfortably positioned into the Google/Android ecosystem for now, and have no current interest in the various other ecosystems available, for various reasons. That said, I don’t see Windows disappearing from the market any time soon, mainly due to the fact that practically all PCs ship with the OS. But since tablets are dominating PC sales, it’ll be interesting to see how much phone/tablet market share Microsoft can obtain, seeing as Android currently has a whopping 75% market share, while iOS has 14%.


My preferred public social networking etiquette

•October 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

When I first started using Twitter a couple of years back, I was only connected to a small handful of real life friends on the site. I didn’t use a real picture of myself at the time for my avatar, and everything was done anonymously as far as the general public was concerned. The majority of my real life friends did the same if my memory serves me correctly. As [a lot of] time went by, many more caught on and joined the site, and my odds of remaining as anonymous as I’d like decreased.

Though the majority of Twitter users share updates publicly, there are certain things I choose not to share, and would appreciate if others wouldn’t share about me. In no particular order of importance, they are:

Photo uploads

I publicly share pictures every once in a while, but anyone who follows me may have noticed that aside from my selected profile picture, I never post pictures of myself. In addition, I never publicly post pictures of others, either, in order to respect their privacy. [One recent photo I posted is an exception to this rule, but I made a conscious effort to not include the person in question’s face in the photo]. The only pictures you’ll find that I post include objects or my surroundings. I would personally rather not have anyone publicly post photos of me for the world to see – at least not without approval. Uploading my picture into a private album that only your friends can see on Google+ or Facebook is acceptable, though. [But please omit from posting the not so flattering photos if you can]

Home address disclosure

Please don’t publicly mention this. If you happen to have mentioned it, try to go back and delete it. Tell a friend [privately] where I live if he/she needs directions to my place, but not the world.

Real [full] name disclosure

Another bit of info I haven’t publicly disclosed, and in turn would prefer to not have disclosed. In my opinion, there’s no need to add my real name to my already referenced @ alias. Save yourself a few bytes of bandwidth by omitting my real name, and we’ll both be happy.

Illegal activity disclosure

Things that are publicly shared online are accessible by anyone and can be collected/stored on any server/PC/laptop/phone/network-accessible device. “Anyone” could be legal authorities. What they store could selectively be any wrongdoings.

“Hey @rootblock, wanna go [do a socially acceptable yet potentially not so legal activity]?”

No, I do not. I’d like to be digitally known as the law-abiding citizen I am in real life.

That about wraps up how I feel towards public sharing in which I am included. Hopefully none of the points on my list are deemed unreasonable. Comment if you have anything else you would add to this list of do’s and don’ts, and maybe share this if you agree or share my opinion.

Thanks for reading.

My Android App List – August 2010

•August 26, 2010 • 1 Comment

Exported by aTrackDog

2 Player Reactor,1.2,
AK Notepad,2.1.2,com.akproduction.notepad
AppBrain App Market,3.9 (Froyo: allow to install on SD, move apps to SD, sort by install location),com.appspot.swisscodemonkeys.apps
Astrid Tasks,3.2.5 (build your own filters, easy sorting, customizable widget, ui improvements),com.timsu.astrid
Blocked Stone,2.1,biz.mtoy.blockedstone
Data counter widget,1.3.3,
Droid Eye,1.0,com.motorola.cxd.d2
ES File Explorer,,
Falling Ball,1.7,
Frozen Bubble,1.6,org.jfedor.frozenbubble
Gem Miner,1.2.1b,
Google Sky Map,1.5.2,
Google Translate,1.1.1,
GymLog (Free),1.15,us.picadorproductions.gymlog
Handcent SMS,3.2.6,com.handcent.nextsms
Linpack for Android,1.1.4,com.greenecomputing.linpack
Live Bookmarks,1.5.1,
Live Chat,2.5 (Added private messages),com.appspot.swisscodemonkeys.livechat
Mario Live Wallpaper,0.92b,
Mario Soundboard,1.8.4 – Bug Fixes,com.unstableapps.soundboard.mario
Nesoid Lite,1.13,com.androidemu.neslite
NexusMod Live Wallpaper,1.0.4,org.ctso.lwp.nexusmod
Pacific Wings,1.5,com.sprakelsoft.pacificwings
Poke A Mole,1.1.9,
SMS Backup,1.1.1,tv.studer.smssync
Speed Test,1.7.4,
TasKiller,3.2.1 Free,com.tni.TasKiller
Terminal Emulator,1.0.12,jackpal.androidterm
Ustream Broadcaster,1.0.2,tv.ustream.usclient
Vlingo Voice,1.5.2,com.vlingo.client
Voice Recorder,2.0.7,
Voice Search,1.4.0,
Zelda Soundboard,1.4.1 – Bug fixes, id3 updates,com.unstableapps.soundboard.zelda

Total 77 applications.

iPhone 4’s Questionable Antenna Placement

•June 28, 2010 • 1 Comment

By now I know the iPhone 4’s reception issue is old news, but it got me thinking.

Back in 2002 [if I’m not mistaken], I got my first cell phone. It didn’t have a camera, but it was one of the first to come out with a color screen. [Sick!!!]

One thing I recall is going through the user manual, since back then there was next to nothing to do on your actual phone. I’m pretty health concious, so naturally I checked out the Safety Information section of the manual; particularly under “Exposure to Radio Frequency”.

Immediately after this section, came the “Antenna Care” section, then later followed by “Tips on Efficient Operation”. Here’s what’s found regarding touching the antenna:

If it was a known fact that call quality would be affected from antenna contact back in 2002, why would Apple choose to construct a phone with an antenna surrounding the entire device in 2010?

If you don’t keep up with geek news like I do,  someone sent an email to [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs to address the issue. Jobs replied:

“Just avoid holding it in that way.”

In the same manual as the screenshot above, I found this regarding “Phone Operation”:

I guess the iPhone is not like “any other telephone”…


•October 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

In the comments section of a site relating to an article about Windows 7’s release, someone asked:

“So what are the new features in Windows 7?”

I simply replied with:

“Nothing that Linux doesn’t already have, really.”

To which someone nicknamed “Korberos” retorted:

“Except the ability to develop with the newest OpenGL libraries easily, the ability to not have to use the console to go about a good number of your installations, the ability to use development programs like Visual Studio which are miles ahead of anything you find in any Linux environment (gcc, Code::Blocks, Eclipse? Fuck that shit)…

Oh, and games.

I always find myself going back to Linux every six months or so, and after three or four days with it I remember how much I hate it all over again. I’d love for it to be superior, or even usable by normal people, but it isn’t. No, not even Ubuntu.”

My response:

Well I don’t want to write a long comment about this [edit: hah, never mind, it happened], but I was talking about what the “average user” notices as new Windows 7 features before anything else: visuals, such as the new taskbar, and focus feature. I won’t get into how much better Linux’s visual effects are though [in my opinion of course].

I think we can all agree that the “average user” browses the web, checks their email, and plays various media formats /video on their PCs. Linux is totally suitable for what I define as the “average user”, unless that person has particular [proprietary encumbered?] software needs in which that software was only created for, and supported on, a specific platform [Even then, there are workarounds, such as Wine].

At 61 years old, my mom is who I would consider your average user. She’s currently using a Linux distro called Fedora 11. Though there may be a lot of computer savvy elders out there, bless her heart, but she’s not one of them. She used to use XP, but when we upgraded her PC, I threw Fedora on it, and the only things I had to teach her were:

“This is the internet”, as I point to the Firefox shortcut, “and this is MSN messenger”, as I then point to the aMSN shortcut.

All the apps she needs are available on Linux, and everything else she does on a PC is web based [any platform]. Most people I know basically do the same thing on their PCs. Keep in mind that most people I know aren’t pursuing a career in IT in any way, but I’m guessing neither are most of the people rushing out to drop over $130 minimum on an OS they don’t even need [Windows 7]. I mean, I hear most people don’t even have problems with Vista, or even with other Windows OS’s as far back as Windows 95 in some cases, so why upgrade? A friend of mine swears by Vista as being the best OS he’s ever used.

Though many of my friends are not pursuing a career in IT, I am, and if you code in OpenGL, or anything for that matter, I assume that you pursued some sort of career in technology, and I assume you know that there are many different fields to specialize in. That being said, I don’t code 3D graphics; in fact, I don’t know anyone who does, so if Linux really did fail in 3D graphics coding, it wouldn’t affect me. However, a quick Google search presented me with Mesa, an open-source implementation of the OpenGL specification Korberos mentionned. But even OpenGL seems to be supported on Linux, from what I found in my search, so I’m not sure what the problem is there… All I know is that Linux undoubtedly possesses many programming, administrative and security benefits. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me in each field could tell you.

Edit: Tjaart Blignaut replied to Korberos in the comments:

“@Korberos Visual Studio is good… but you forgot to mention Mono develop and Qt creator. gcc is not an IDE, which proves that maybe you should stfu before you hurt yourself.”


Tjaart is right, gcc is a source code compiler.

[Re: “Eclipse? Fuck that shit”] I watched Google’s I/O 2009 keynote presentation video recently, where I actually heard about Eclipse for the first time. It seems that developers use it to develop Android apps. Yeah, you heard about Android, right? That open source mobile phone OS that just might overtake the IPHONE by 2012? Since I just heard about Eclipse, obviously I don’t use it, or any SDE [software development environment] for that matter [not my field], but Eclipse doesn’t sound that bad right about now… But hey, what do I know?

Regarding the command line, I do use it. I find it more efficient than a GUI [graphical user interface, aka point-and-click] for quite a few tasks actually. When I started post secondary education in computer science, I exclusively worked with Unix/Linux systems through the terminal, before ever using, or even seeing, it’s GUI. Since then, I’ve obviously used the GUI in Linux after installing Linux for myself. Since then, I’ve helped several lifetime-Windows-using friends install Linux on their machines, and every once in a while, they even teach me ways to do things in Linux the “graphical way” – things I’ve only known and bothered to do on the command line [and things I will continue to do on the command line for efficiency]. Also, using a verbose option to see more output of what’s going on in a terminal rather than watching the mouse’s hour glass flow sand through itself, spin around, and repeat, is much more appealing to me in more than a few cases, but to a non-power user, I can understand that mere sight of a terminal can be intimidating. I guess what I’m saying here, is that Linux is by no means a hard to use “terminal strongly needed” OS like it used to be, but it still depends on the distro and your needs. Many distros do allow you to omit from installing a GUI if you so choose. Also, FYI: distros I’ve tried so far such as Fedora and Ubuntu have no required command line during installation, as opposed to what Korberos said. All point and click. In fact, check this out:

How many mouse clicks it takes to install an OS with the default options

Mouse clicks needed to install an OS with the default options

[Found here]

As for development programs like Visual Studio, I found this:

“(Microsoft Visual Studio is) for all platforms supported by Microsoft Windows, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, .NET Framework, .NET Compact Framework and Microsoft Silverlight.”

Again, I’m no programming guru, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that all that Microsoft sugar coated goodness listed there is bound to restrict Linux in one way or another, especially when Linux is now considered a threat to MS… Many people out there fight for open standards on the web, and I’m sure they have their reasons why. You also mentioned “Code::Blocks”? That’s a Windows program too, so I wouldn’t necessarily place that in the list of inferior Linux applications…

Linux does everything I need to do. If there was something that I needed to do that couldn’t be done on Linux, I wouldn’t fool myself with a “LinuX h@x0r 4 Lyfe!” attitude, I’d use the OS suited for my needs.

Oh, and games. I’ve always been a console guy. 🙂
[But, I could always dual boot or run a Windows virtual machine inside Linux for those]

Anyway… I’m shutting down this XP machine, it’s time to go home from work. TGIF.

Fedora 11 Adobe Air Installation “Not allowed by administrator”

•June 24, 2009 • 14 Comments

Download the Adobe Air “.bin” file here.

Open terminal and cd to the location of the .bin file.

Add executable permissions on the bin file:

chmod +x AdobeAirInstaller.bin

Run the bin file (dot slash filename):


Not Allowed By Administrator

An error occurred while installing Adobe AIR. Installation may not be allowed by your administrator. Please contact your administrator.

This problem occurs due to missing packages.

How to fix? Install the following:

yum -y install xterm gtk2-devel gnome-keyring libxml2-devel libxslt rpm-devel nss

Then run the .bin file again.

[xterm might be needed for a pop up terminal requesting a root password when installing air or air apps]


That’s it.

Comment if this helped!

Gnome Desktop: Remove Icons

•June 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

As root:

$ yum -y install gconf-editor

As regular user:

$ gconf-editor

Then navigate to apps > nautilus > desktop.