Posts Tagged ‘functionality’

My struggles to find good substitute for old QWERTY Nokia 9300 Communicator and The Death of QWERTY Smart phones

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Nowadays having a a touch screen mobile phone has become like a standard. I'm not such a big fan of Touch screen technology, thus I've been fighting with the idea to own a touch screen phone for a year or so. Just till recently I happily lived with my old Nokia 9300i with a physical QWERTY keyboard for already 4 years.

Unfortunately lately while talking with my Nokia I started getting frequent voice interruptions missing words in my phone call conversations and need to ask person I'm talking to, to repeat his words / sentence in order to understand what is communicated .. I'm economic person and therefore don't like bying anything new if it is not absolutely necessary so I opened the phone and clean it hoping that this will solve the conversation issues but with no luck. With this half-usable mobile my only option left was to buy a new mobile phone.

I'm not very rigorious on what a mobile phone should be and I'm very much minimalist by heart so I was thinking of bying new cheapest available Nokia phone on the market and solve my "issue" quick and efficient,  only problem was  I'm quite used already of using my handy QWERTY phone as a note taking device thus I preferred to not buy a keypad mobile phone but get again a smartphone with physical QWERTY.

I have consulted with some friends who are more knowledgable on what's latest on mobile phone market with a question what will be a good substitute for my Nokia Communicator 9300i and heard comments like:
'IPhone is the most functional and superior in interface', while some friends and colleagues adviced me:
'Choose an Android based phone as Android is Linux based and gives more freedom to the user as well as has more free applications to install'

I appreaciated my friends help but I didn't like the idea to buy a Smartphone with a touchscreen display – virtual keyboard is not so confortable as having a physical one and besides this is a very slow interface compared to physical keys. Thus initially strongly rejected the idea of bying a phone without a physical keyboard. After some weeks of pondering and checking in the market – in 3 Major mobile operators shops in Bulgaria MTel, Globul and VIVACOM and HANDY store. I've find out currently on the market there is no good price / quality and functionality ratio (qwerty keyboard mobile) available. My options were limited to either by a Nokia Asha 210 or some variance or a Blackberry mobile.

nokia_asha_210_mobile_phone

In first glimpse I liked the Nokia ASHA 210 – QWERTY powered mobile  but after noticing the blue Facebook "F" button got quickly jolted.
The sales lady offered me a couple of other Nokias with Qwerty keyboard as well as a Blackberry 9320 Curve.

blackberry_curve_smart_mobile_phone
After a quick test of all QWERTY mobiles, found the intertface on both is so inferior to IPhone's IOS and Android based phones.
I asked my HP workmates for advice of a good QWERTY bundled mobile phone with Android and was referred to Motorolla Droid 3 – which seems to among the only options on the market for mobile Phone which have both Android Operating System and a Physical QWERTY keyboardMotorolla Droid 3 seemed to be exactly the mobile I was looking for but unfortunately it is not available in Mobile phones stores in Bulgaria and only in bulgaria is only offered for sale as a second hand and I had to buy it over the Internet (I prefer not to buy on the Internet). Even if I bought it as second hand  DROID 3's price is too high for my budget – 250 EUR!

Motorola-Droid-3-mobile-nokia-9300i-substitute

I wanted to buy economic phone and same time to have a good balance between price and phone modernity, same time don't tie myself with mobile operator yearly tax plan thus decided to pay my whole mobile price in cache (no credits, no binding 2 / 3 year conversation plans).

After evaluating the options on Market I stopped on two mobiles identical by price 150 EUR I could choose between Samsung Galaxy Trend Lite or ZTE Blade 3. The sales lady adviced me its better to get the ZTE Blade 3 than Samsung Galaxy Trend Lite (S7350) because ZTE has better Camera (5 Mpixels), a better Display and has much less hardware issues than Samsung Galaxy Lite.

Samsung-Galaxy-Trend-Lite-S7390-smart-mobile-phone

 

Finally I bought the ZTE Blade 3 and nowdays I'm trying to get used to it and to be honest even with a week passed I still can't get used to the Virtual Keyboard

Android interface is quite shiny but a little bit chaotic if compared to design use interface I've tested on IPhones. Android OS seems to behave very weird at times but in general is quite easy to use. Managing / installing / Removing applications from Google AppStore is done by only 2 clicks. My major concern on Android is its highly addictive. I've catch myself, since last week I spend much more time using my mobile than before with my Nokia Communicator …
ZTE-Blade-III-Black-smart-phone

To conclude it I would say living with a smartphone has its advantagous (you can easily check weather prognosis / news) and do a number of things with it, but it is addictive .. obviously its easy to  become an Android addict and spend your free time on useless stuff like installing / testing new apps and playing with phone. Having a smartphone just like I priorly suspected is a big time eater and it seems my hypothesis  that its better to live without a smart phone is true. But who knows, perhaps its just a moment addictiveness just like with any new thing posession – time will show. In meantime I believe my ZTE Blade III – purchase was a good deal as it gives me opportunity to explore Android OS. I'll stop here with my ranting and excuse myself if the article was too boring …Please drop me a comment with mobile types and names who had QWERTY keyboard and a modern OS. Very sadly it seems the QWERTY hardware keyboard mobiles will soon be dead and gone …

How to install Google Chrome web browser on Debian 7 Wheezy Linux

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

How to install Google Chrome web browser on Debian Gnu Linux Chrome and tux logo
Just installed Debian 7 Linux and wondered how to install Google Chrome Browser on Debian Wheezy. It took me a while until I figure it out, as direct download from Google after searching for Chrome Linux had library requirements which are missing from Debian 7 Wheezy repositories.
Here is how;

1. Add  Wheezy Backports and Google's Chrome Repository to /etc/apt/sources.list

echo 'deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-backports main contrib non-free' >> /etc/apt/sources.list
echo 'deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list

2. Install Google Chrome with apt-get

Here you have few options install Google Chrome Beta (whether you prefer you're an innovator), install unstable – if you prefer latest functionality and don't count on stability or install stable version.

a) Install Google Chrome Beta

apt-get install --yes google-chrome-beta

b) Install Google Chrome Unstable

apt-get install --yes google-chrome-unstable

c) Install Google Stable

apt-get install --yes google-chrome-stable

I personally prefer always to keep stable so prefer to install google-chrome-stable.

Only reason I need Google-Chrome is for testing how websites looks with it. Otherwise I don't recommend this browser to anyone who cares for his security. Obviously as Chrome is product of Google it is almost certainly it keeps complete surveillance on what you do on the net.

That's all happy web development with Chrome on Debian 🙂
 

Djigan – Derzi mne za Ruku (Hold me for the hand) – Nice Russian modern disco pop song

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

In Vkotankte (Vk.com) – or the so called Russian Facebook there is a functionality to listen music while putting info on your wall or just chatting with friends. It's very, very handy functionality which facebook lacks. There while listening to some random Russian songs I come across a very, very nice modern disco pop song, I'm sure many others will like it. Too sad people part of western culture knows nothing of what is happening in Russia and this part of the world. There is plenty of nice Russian cultural things and modern songs to listen to.
 

Djigan – Hold me for the hand (Derzi mne za ruku) / Джиган – Держи меня за руку

Xubuntu improve default picture viewing with gpicview

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The default picture viewer on Xubuntu's XFCE is risterroro. Risterroro is quite lightweight, but anyways is lacking even basic functionality with reading a number of pictures in a directory and showing, them one by one lacks any picture automated slider. The lack of picture back/forward functionality makes picture viewing very inconvenient on those Linux distro.

Ristretto Screenshot on Xubuntu Linux Desktop

Thanksfully this kind of unconfortable default behaviour on Xubuntu can easily be changed to use a handy picture viewer program called gpicviewxubuntu-linux:~# apt-get install --yes gpicview

gpicviewer grandmothers screenshot on Xubuntu Linux

Gpicview is a good minimalistic program which has all the functionality of the default GNOME picture viewer program eog – (eye of the Gnome). If you're aaccustomed to GNOME's eog you can always install and use eog instead 🙂

Poderosa a tabbed Terminal Emulator (PuTTY Windows Alternative)

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Even though, I rarely use Windows to connect to remote servers using SSH or Telnet protocols in some cases I’m forced to do that (in cases I’m away from my Linux notebook). I’m doing my best to keep away from logging anywhere via SSH using Windows as when using Windows you never know what kind of spyware, malware or Viruses is already on the system, not to mention Microsoft are sniffing a lot if not everything which is typed on the keyboard… Anyways, usually I use Putty as a quick way to access a remote SSH, however pitily PuTTY lacks an embedded functionality for Tabs and each new connection to a server I had to run a new instance of PuTTY. This is okay if you need to access a single server but in some cases where access to multple servers is necessery lacking the tab functionality and starting 10 times putty is really irritating and one forgets what kind of connection is present on which PuTTY instance.

Earlier on, I’ve blogged about the existence of PuTTY Connection Manager PuTTY add-on program which is a PuTTY wrapper which enables PuTTY to be used with Connection Tabs feature, however installing two programs is quite inconvenient, especially if you have to do this every few days (in case if travelling a lot).

Luckily there is another terminal emulator free program for Windows called PodeRoSA which natively supports a tabbed Secure Shell connections.
If you want to get some experience with it check out Poderosa’s website , here is also a screenshot of the program running few ssh encrypted connections in tabs on a Windows host.

Poderosa Windows ssh / telnet tabs terminal emulator screenshot
Another good reason that one might consider using Poderosa instead of PuTTY is the Apache License under which Poderosa is developed. Currently the Apache License is compatible with GPL free software license which makes the program fully free software. The PuTTY license is under BSD and MIT and some other weird custom license not 100% compatible with GPL and hence PuTTY can be considered less free software in terms of freedom.

How to debug mod_rewrite .htaccess problems with RewriteLog / Solve mod_rewrite broken redirects

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Its common thing that CMS systems and many developers custom .htaccess cause issues where websites depending on mod_rewrite fails to work properly. Most common issues are broken redirects or mod_rewrite rules, which behave differently among the different mod_rewrite versions which comes with different versions of Apache.

Everytime there are such problems its necessery that mod_rewrite’s RewriteLog functionality is used.
Even though the RewriteLog mod_rewrite config variable is well described on httpd.apache.org , I decided to drop a little post here as I’m pretty sure many novice admins might not know about RewriteLog config var and might benefit of this small article.
Enabling mod_rewrite requests logging of requests to the webserver and process via mod_rewrite rules is being done either via the specific website .htaccess (located in the site’s root directory) or via httpd.conf, apache2.conf etc. depending on the Linux / BSD linux distribution Apache config file naming is used.

To enable RewriteLog near the end of the Apache configuration file its necessery to place the variables in apache conf:

1. Edit RewriteLog and place following variables:

RewriteLogLevel 9
RewriteLog /var/log/rewrite.log

RewriteLogLevel does define the level of logging that should get logged in /var/log/rewrite.log
The higher the RewriteLogLevel number defined the more debugging related to mod_rewrite requests processing gets logged.
RewriteLogLevel 9 is actually the highest loglevel that can be. Setting the RewriteLogLevel to 0 will instruct mod_rewrite to stop logging. In many cases a RewriteLogLevel of 3 is also enough to debug most of the redirect issues, however I prefer to see more, so almost always I use RewriteLogLevel of 9.

2. Create /var/log/rewrite.log and set writtable permissions

a. Create /var/log/rewrite.log

freebsd# touch /var/log/rewrite.log

b. Set writtable permissons

Either chown the file to the user with which the Apache server is running, or chmod it to permissions of 777.

On FreeBSD, chown permissions to allow webserver to write in file, should be:

freebsd# chown www:www /var/log/rewrite.log

On Debian and alike distros:

debian:~# chown www-data:www-data /var/log/rewrite.log

On CentOS, Fedora etc.:

[root@centos ~]# chown httpd:httpd /var/log/rewrite.log

On any other distribution, you don’t want to bother to check the uid:gid, the permissions can be set with chmod 777, e.g.:

linux# chmod 777 /var/log/rewrite.log

Next after RewriteLog is in conf to make configs active the usual webserver restart is required.

To restart Apache On FreeBSD:

freebsd# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache2 restart
...

To restart Apache on Debian and derivatives:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
...

On Fedora and derivive distros:

[root@fedora ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd restart
...

Its common error to forget to set proper permissions to /var/log/rewrite.log this has puzzled me many times, when enabling RewriteLog’s logging.

Another important note is when debugging for mod_rewrite is enabled, one forgets to disable logging and after a while if the /var/log partition is placed on a small partition or is on an old server with less space often the RewriteLog fills in the disk quickly and might create website downtimes. Hence always make sure RewriteLog is disabled after work rewrite debugging is no longer needed.

The way I use to disable it is by commenting it in conf like so:

#RewriteLogLevel 9
#RewriteLog /var/log/rewrite.log

Finally to check, what the mod_rewrite processor is doing on the fly its handy to use the well known tail -f

linux# tail -f /var/log/rewrite.log

A bunch of time in watching the requests, should be enough to point to the exact problem causing broken redirects or general website malfunction.
Cheers 😉

WP-Minify, Scripts Gzip and HeadJS Loader three scripts that might have positive impact on WordPress performance

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

I’m trying to get the most of server + wordpress performance and these days I’m heavily playing with it as one can read from my past few articles 😉

Today I’ve come across three other plugins which in many cases could be beneficial and bring a good performance increase in wordpress, this are:
 

  • WP-Minify – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-minify/
  • HeadJS Loader – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/headjs-loader/
  • Scripts Gzip – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/scripts-gzip/

WP-Minify – does combine all JS and CSS script into one consolidated compressed script or style as well removes any duplicate script resources and hence could have positive impact on performance

HeadJS Loader – does strips out all your old javascript declarations and puts them into one head.js file so that they are loaded in parallel in the head of the pages and through that prevents the blocking of load up until all JS is a loaded so commonly seen these days on the net for more info on how HeadJS works check out http://headjs.com

Script Gzip – merges and compresses the CSS and JS links on page, the plugin does not have caching functionality. The plugin doesn’t have much configuration options which I find as a good thing

To find out what works best for you its a best practice if the website speed load time is tested after loading each of the plugins and with all of them enabled and configured, finally for best results just leave only the plugins or a combination of them which gives the lowest page responce times.

Adding a nice advanced text editor to make wordpress wp-admin have Microsoft Word like edit functionality

Friday, September 16th, 2011

By the default wordpress does not have support for changing the exact font, therefore copying and pasting a text made in Open Office or MS Word often places in the Post or Page wp edit fonts different from the default one set for articles.
Hence some articles after being published on a wordpress blog show up with improper font and the only way to fix that is to change the font first in Open Office and then copy back to wordpress instead of simply being able to change the font from within the wordpress article.

To get around this problem, there is a nice plugin fckeditor-for-wordpress-plugin which aids wordpress with an awesome Word like edit functionalities.
, downhload location for FCKEdit for WordPress is here

Here is a screenshot of the extra nice functionality the FCKEditor for wordpress providces.

FCKEDitor for wordpress extra functionality screenshot

Installing the plugin is like installing any other wordpress plugin and comes easily to:

debian:/~# cd /var/www/blog/wp-content/plugins
debian:/plugins# wget http://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/fckeditor-for-wordpress-plugin.3.3.1.zip
...
debian:/plugins# unzip fckeditor-for-wordpress-plugin.3.3.1.zip
...
debian:/plugins# cd fckeditor-for-wordpress-plugin/

And further enabling the plugin from:

Plugins -> Inactive -> (Dean's FCKEditor For WordPress) Enable

fckeditor for wordpress will replace the default wordpress editor TinyMCE straight after being enabled.
 I’ve done also a mirror of the current version as of time of writting of this article, one can  download the fckeditor for wordpress mirrored here 
Now really file editting inside wordpress admin panel is way easier and convenient 😉 Cheers

How ot fix Widgets drag and drop not working on WordPress

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

how to fix WordPress widgets missing drag and drop bug

My WordPress blog had an odd problem, all on the blog, worked just fine except the Widgets add new widget drag and drop functionality.
As there was new version of wordpress available I tried updating but this fixed the missing drag and drop widget functionality neither, so finally after a bit of googling and experimentation to follow suggested fixes like using the enable Accessiblity Mode button on top Widgets.Thus the common suggested fix that worked for most of the people who stumbled upon this annoying wordpress bug was to simply nagivate to:

Appearance -> Widgets -> Screen Options -> Enable Accessibility Mode As for me pressing over the Screen Options was impossible (nothing happened when I pressed over it), finally I’ve found a hack 😉

The hack is quite simple, all I had to do is just pass a variable ?widgets-access=on to the widget.php php script
Therefore the fix to the problem was as follows http://blog.mysite.com/wp-admin/widgets.php?widgets-access=on

And done, FIXED! 😉