6 Month ago I switched from android to Jolla

Ca 6 month ago I switched from the Galaxy Nexus to the Jolla smartphone. Here are my impressions.

The Hardware

From the Android world we are used to having devices with specs that could be taken from a low end Desktop computer The Jolla however has a pretty low end CPU, GPU and also only 1GB of memory. That said I have never felt limited by that, but more of that later. The phone itself only has a power button and a volume rocker, both located on the right side of the body.  It does feel well build, solid and well balanced as it is slightly heavier on the bottom(the part that is leaning on your hand anyways). Battery life on the phone is really amazing. If you are using the phone a lot you can get about 2 days of battery life, the biggest drain is probably the screen but closely followed by LTE and Bluetooth. I might need to mention that I travel over the Øresunds bridge every day so the phone spends a bit of time switching between cell towers and searching for signal. If you are not using the phone a lot and you use WiFi at home you can manage to get a full week of battery life if not more.

 The Other Half

The other half is in simple terms a back cover, with added functionality. The phone has a i2c port(The “USB” of embedded devices) on it’s back that let’s you add extra devices to the phone. A physical keyboard other half and a wireless charging other half was already made by  community members (yes that’s right not a company but the community itself). Jolla opened up the specs and even the 3D drawings of the other half, so you can 3d print and create your own other half.

The software

The phone is Linux powered or to be more precise it’s powered by SailfishOS which is based on mer. It is using modern technologies like systemd, btrfs and wayland. Jolla gives you full root access to the device and activates SSH when you activate the developer mode. To me as a Linux user this opens up many possibilities. For example I use scp regularly to download the pictures from the device to my owncloud folder. A native owncloud client is sadly not out yet.

Compared to Android or iOS sailfishOS really does not have a lot of apps. However my most needed apps have a native version and for all other needs one can install Android apps. Somehow Android apps are performing very well on the phone and that despite the low specs.

The OS comes with basic account management. So you can sync your contacts from google or Exchange Active Sync, post messages to twitter/facebook, read/write mails or chat with your friends on XMPP.

XMPP messages are integrated in the messaging app that is also used for SMS and it’s dead easy to switch between sending messages via XMPP,facebook, google talk and SMS.

Notifications are displayed on the lock screen as well as in the notification center. The notification center you can access at any time by swiping up from the buttom.  Talking about gestures, you use them to navigate the entire OS since the phone has no physical buttons. Sliding from any side in any app let’s you “peak”  or with a full slide switch to the home screen. When peaking you can see your network status, current time and battery status. The OS does not have a status bar, so apps take up the entire screen. I really this feature since it let’s you focus on this single app and you are not seeing those notifications waiting for you in the status bar. The notification is probably for some automated mail anyways.

SailfishOS feels like it is getting out of your way. On Android I often felt the OS is nagging me with notifications like: “Hey, look I found this thing close by you might like”. Facebook, google now, gmail, facebook messenger, google hangouts and gplus all popping up constantly. Many of them with messages from people sitting at a PC writing way faster than what I can manage on a touch keyboard.

On SailfishOS i can still chat with my friends via all those channels. However if I don’t want to I just swipe up to get to the notification center and then select “Set to Away” in the pulley menu, swipe up again to return to where I was before.

All apps follow a common design. So they are easy to navigate and your eyes don’t get blinded by apps with different colour tones.

Bugs? Yes SailfishOS is not bug free, however updates are rolling in regularly and what bugs are fixed first or what features are being worked on is heavily influenced by the community.

Jolla and the community

First I wanted to write about the company and the community separately but it’s simply not possible. Let me explain. Jolla started out with a call for a community, by marketing themselves as the rescue boat for all those people who where let down by Nokia switching to Windows Phone. They started with a pre-order campaign to get the much needed funding to realise this phone. In December 2013 Jolla then started shipping the device. Early 2014 Jolla then started together.jolla.com in order to give users a place to report bugs, make feature suggestions, discuss strategy and vote on bugs/features. All in public, for everyone to see.  Jolla has the last word in what they want to work on, but so far at least user input is what sets the roadmap.

Jolla is contributing code upstream and slowly but steady open sourcing most parts of the OS. Why not all? Well jolla is not big enough to get open source drivers for everything and the android runtime is also licensed. Other than that Jolla just wants the art work to be under a none open source license.

Conclusion

Let’s leave the technology and community niceness aside for a moment. Am I still happy with my experience and the phone in general? Hell yeah!

Would I recommend the jolla phone to non techy   users? Not yet. But we are getting closer and closer.

Am I trying to talk my Girlfriend into buying a Jolla phone? Yes, she is constantly complaining about various issues with her android phone that would just be no issue on a Jolla phone. (how ever she usually uses up my old phones and free is cheaper than a jolla phone 🙁 )

Re: System76 – Galago UltraPro | Archlinux

Now after a few month of using the Galago Ihave a few more tricks. First the palm detection works better with syndaemon (in ~./i3/config):

exec syndaemon -t -k -i 2 -d

And GPU accelerated things on a HDMI screen seem to crash the GPU(or the driver) this is because the driver pretty much expects there to be a compositor. I3 does not come with one so you can just install and use compton(in ~./i3/config):

exec compton -b

This will make it possible to use VLC to playback HD content on the HDMI screen and even steam games work great.

I have also moved away from dmenu and am now using rofi(in ~./i3/config):

bindsym $mod+d exec rofi -rnow -font “snap-10” -fg “#f1f1f1” -bg “#333333” -hlfg “#ffffff” -hlbg “#336699” -o 85

System76 – Galago UltraPro | Archlinux

So i have recently purchased the Galago UltraPro and as promised i have installed Archlinux on the Galago.

I started out with a plain ArchLinux installation following the guide in the Arch Wiki.  I must admit that I started the installation late at night and that caused me to do some things wrong. So I had to redo some of the steps. If i had followed the guide then the installation of Arch and i3 would only have taken around 15 minutes(if not even less). The only real problem I ran into was with the touchpad. It just did want to work in the standard configuration. It turned out that i needed to install the psmouse-elantech package. After the installation it registered fine and i could start configuring it. The touchpad is actually a clickpad and supports multitouch. I have setup mine to do palm detection and emulate middleclick (so i can paste in my terminals).

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptcs.conf

Since i am not running any DE i did  not have the gnome/kde session to take care of multimedia keys for eg play pause volume or changing the brightness of the laptop screen.  The solution for this was simple:

bindsym XF86MonBrightnessDown exec xbacklight -dec 10
bindsym XF86MonBrightnessUp exec xbacklight -inc 10

in my  ~/.i3/config did the job.

I am using the “super” key (on the Galago it has a ubuntu log on all other keyboards a windows logo) as a modifier for most functions in i3. So if i want to open up a new terminal i would use super+enter.  On my work computer i have pre set a lot of key combinations to make my life easier. However on the Galago keyboard there is no right super key so i used xmodmap to rewrite the menu key, that i never use anyway:

keycode 135 = Super_R

I must say that I am really happy with my current setup. There is not one thing in the hardware or on my wishlist that did not get to work. Even the HDMI output just worked.

Just a screenshot
Just a screenshot

System76 – Galago UltraPro | First impressions

Today finally, my new Ultrabook by System76 arrived. I say finally because for one i was stuck with a Macbook and because the delivery was delayed due to a late shipment from Intel. (They were waiting for the CPU’s)

First thing one notices when unpacking the laptop is that the packaging is held really simple. I like that a lot. It was easy to open and i have no glossy packages that can’t be recycled properly.  When you open the laptop you will be greeted with a little note pointing you to the Ubuntu forums and the System76 support and some stickers.

Unboxing of the Galago

The Galago comes, like all System76 conputers, with Ubuntu 13.04. Now, i noticed some graphics issues in the default install. Basicly the X server would take up to 98% CPU and i would see flickering on the screen when playing HTML5 video. This however vanished completely when i did a dist upgrade to 13.10 and installed the System76 drivers. My guess is, that this is due to the new Haswell CPU running better with the 3.11 Kernel.

When hooking up the Galago to my 21″ Samsung screen also running 1080p, i could really see how good the IPS display on the Galago is.

Galago vs Samsung 21"
Galago vs Samsung 21″

Now i haven’t been able to test the graphics performance of the Galago yet and also didn’t test the battery life yet. My next step with this laptop will be to install Arch Linux and probably Steam to test the graphics performance a bit.

As far as the hardware goes i am really impressed by the screen and the overall build quality.

I must say i am also impressed with System76. The support is  very responsive, competent and engaging. One really notices how they take pride in a great product.

I will try and write one more post once i have installed Arch Linux on the Galago and update you on the experience.

Todays .htaccess tip – How to use the www. subdomain

There is a good  reason to use www.domain.tld as your primary site, Cookie less subdomains for static content.

Today i will show you a rewrite that will redirect you to www.domain.tld if no subdomain is used:

 

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(.+\.)([a-zA-Z0-9-]+\.([a-z]{2,4})|co\.uk|me\.uk|org\.uk|priv\.no)$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ([a-zA-Z0-9-]+\.([a-z]{2,4})|co\.uk|me\.uk|org\.uk|priv\.no)$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%1/ [L,QSA,R=301]

So let me explain to you what this rewrite does:

First thing we do is turn on the rewrite engine.
The following line could be translated to: “if the domain does not have a subdomain”

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(.+\.)([a-zA-Z0-9-]+\.([a-z]{2,4})|co\.uk|me\.uk|org\.uk|priv\.no)$

 
This line saves the domain to the variable %1:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ([a-zA-Z0-9-]+\.([a-z]{2,4})|co\.uk|me\.uk|org\.uk|priv\.no)$

 

And last but not least we do the write to www.domain.tld and include the querystring so that we don’t break old links.
The redirect is ofc a permanent redirect, so make sure to clear your browser cache if you make any changes to the rewrite.

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%1/ [L,QSA,R=301]

 

Todays .htaccess tip – How to get rid of the www. subdomain

#www. is overrated
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.*)
RewriteRule ^(.*)  http://%1/$1 [QSA,L,R=301]

Now let’s explain how this works:

The first line is a comment, that explains what the rewrite is supposed to do.

This line just turns on the rewrite engine

RewriteEngine On

This line says if the domain is “www.anything” and note that it saves the domain without the www. part as %1

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.*)

now this line does the actual rewriting. from anything to the domain with the query string attached (QSA) so we won’t break links. also note that it is a permanent redirect (the R=301 part) and it’s the last rule (L) that will be executed for this request.

RewriteRule ^(.*)  http://%1/$1 [QSA,L,R=301]

Mac OSx on the go

If you have read my previous post about OSx, then you might wonder a bit when i tell you that i am still using OSx. I could have installed Linux or even Windows on the Macbook.

But there are some reasons for me to keep using OSx. First reason being that i paid for OSx.  The other reason being that i like the mobility of the Macbook. I just close the lid and it goes to sleep once opened it’s back.  Yes Windows and Linux can do the same but not nearly as good.

I am really happy with the Hardware ever since i upgraded the Ram to 8GB and installed a SSD as my main disc. I can not really complain about lag since i don’t really see any lag anymore.

What still annoys me, is that since i updated to Lion i have to reboot a lot more than before. It’s due to many things. sometimes it’s just a program that hangs itself up or sometimes it’s even the login screen that get’s stuck (haven’t that for a while though)

I am actually thinking of trying Linux on my Macbook, maybe a dualboot work. It would be interesting to see if i can get Archlinux to work just well with the suspend and hibernation as OSx does.

But a reinstall will probably not happen until i have enough of Diablo 3 (y u no out yet)

Enghave Station Pizza & Grillbar [Ordered Out]

We ordered through Pizzaplus.dk. That means that we paid online and had human interaction while ordering.

We ordered our food at 11:15 and the order got confirmed to be at our office 12:30, but as we later should discover, is that they first open at 15:00 on weekends. That was not mentioned on pizzaplus. No idea who’s fault that is but it’s a big minus for Enghave Station Pizza & Grillbar.

After having to wait 4 hours and several phone calls to Enghave Station Pizza & Grillbar, we got the food. The personal at Enghave Station Pizza & Grillbar was friendly but was not very good at danish and they talked very silently, that made it very hard to unterstand what they said.

I had the:

46. Fettuccini spinat
Med spinat, flødesauceog gorgonzola.

It’s pasta with spinach, creamsource and gorgonzola cheese.

It did not taste bad, but i could not taste the gorgonzola, but the spinach was very dominant. Because of that i would give it a Rating: ★★☆☆☆.

In Service i would give it 0 out 0f 5.

The pricing is okay i Paid 49DDK for it, but it was not as much food as i hoped so that draws down and makes the pricing expensive. i give it Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Read on to find out how the Veggie pizza was, that Sandra had.

22. Vegetariana
Tomat, ost, paprika, asparges, løg, champignon og artiskok.

Deep pan. Slightly to much of most of the ingredients which took the overhand on the less than desired amount of champignon but this was still the best pizza I ever had in Copenhagen. I give it Rating: ★★★★☆

However if I wouldnt have had something to do during the extremely long waiting time I would have been so irritated it would have ruined the entire meal. I felt tricked and unsure that we would even get food at all, an excellent way to ruin a customers mood and apetite.

The pizza was very good, but not worth that wait.

Overall rating Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Mac OSx – What fanboys ignore [update]

If you trust those Apple Fanboys, then OSx must be THE ultimate OS.

It is true that Mac OSx has the best Window Manager and some smart details that makes it easy to use.

But you loose your freedom of choice, OSx comes with a Window Manager that you have to use, you can’t change the layout like you would on any X11 WM. So you can’t make your desktop personal besides changing the Wallpaper.

The default layout is fine for me so that does not bother me. Something i was very surprised to hear is the FS support. You will ofc have HFS/HFS+ support and also Fat and Fat32 but thats it. Yes you can read NTFS, but you can’t write to it. EXT, ZFS or  RaiserFS are not supported at all. Unless you would like to run your FS Driver in userspace(fuse).

Now what i like with OS x is that you get a unix shell, the default one sucks (bash) but i installed the z shell that runs smoothly <3.

On Linux I loved the package managers, just run one command and you have the software. Mac is Freebsd based so they have “copied” the port system. Let me explain how the port system works.

The Freebsd port system works with makefiles, so say “make config” and then you can choose the compile options like support for bluetooth, in that way you get nice and small binaries. In most Linux distributions you would have a package manager that just installs binary packages. That is fast and fits most people. So why would you compile from source? To be able to choose, and customize the software to your needs.

Now with Mac ports you compile the source, but you can’t config pre compilation. (if you can somehow please leave a comment) So why would i ever want to compile if i just get the default config?

The management ability from mac ports is limited to the Software installed with MacPorts. So if i want to update all my Software i would need to open the Software and let the Software search for updates. I miss my package manager.

One more thing, I like to lock my Desktop, so people can’t go on my Facebook and write shit or change my Wallpaper to some sort of nasty porn picture. On Windows it’s easy (Windows key +L) on Linux (ctrl + alt + L) on Mac you need to go to the keychain preferences and tell to show a tray icon, then you need to go there and click on “Lock screen”. WTF!? give me a hotkey for that.

Oh Yeah, you can make one of your own (someone give me the path to the screensaver). Right now i have one for fast User switch but that is not fast as i would like it to be.

Now before you Fanboys get angry and start a flamewar. I like OSx, else i would not have spend money on it, but those things do really bother me i would wish them to be fixed.

[Update]

As I was informed, OSx has a build in shortcut for that ctrl+shift+eject.

Follow these instructions if you would like a hotkey for locking your Desktop:

http://artofgeek.com/2009/09/08/lock-your-macs-screen-like-in-windows-snow-leopard-edition/

but instead of the path shown use:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/
ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine

Don’t forget to go to

System Preferences –> Security –> Generell

and tell em to ask for the password immediately.