You even might find someone like that, and if you do, it's someone with a lot of time on their hands like a student with not much experience.
What those ideas (if I get to hear them) all have in common is that they need infrastructure behind it. Uploading pictures, movies, heck, even simple text need a place to be stored. That's definitely not your phone, especially if others need to be able to access it. Yeah, you can start off with hosting a little database and web front end on your DSL line (if you have one), but in the long run this will require some serious money. I'm not even talking about the people managing and creating it for you. I'm just talking about bandwidth, storage, electricity.
So, if you have an app idea, assess where you want to store what: if you have no concrete answers to those questions, shelve your idea until you do.. An app is nothing magical, it requires real resources, real work and thus real money.
Intro: I was complaining on social networks that the LuxTrust hardware tokens are forced upon all teachers in my country. That's a huge problem because I got my mother in law on Linux and this thing is very very badly supported. Officially the website say "Ubuntu 10.04" supported. Funnily enough, their website also doesn't mention Windows 8 as supported. Anyway, they're a useless company in my eyes... I wish them the most ill possible.
Here is my little test run:
So, I decided to test the LuxTrust support under Ubuntu GNU/Linux 12.04 LTS i686. I installed a virtual machine from the ISO, and from that blank slate, I wanted to try how "easy" this is. Well, there you go, I downloaded their "middleware".
The good news: Ubuntu Software center presented it as installable and it installed it without apparently problems after clicking the Install. Good! If this were enough, I'd say "it's supported". Let's test it. So, I go to CCP-Connect, one of the few banks known to work well with LuxTrust under Linux. The thing needs Java, and I as expected, and I don't have it installed. I get redirected, at once to http://www.oracle.com/java. The sheer number of options is intimidating. If I weren't very familiar with Java, I wouldn't have a clue what to select. Now, this might be P&T Luxembourg doing it wrong, but the site you should send end-users to is http://www.java.com/. Never send an end-user to a developer site, it's a horrible mistake.
Anyway, I do what is needed and surprise, there is no Oracle Java for Ubuntu. A RPM and a tar.gz. Now, if I weren't who I am, I would be blocked again. So, I download the tar.gz and I'll be honest to you, dropped right to the command line, tar zxvf later to
Now, going back to the banking site, it seems to run. I get to the point where I have to select their product and then a screen saying there is no signing stick. (Obviously, I don't have one.)
For kicks 'n giggles, I tried OpenJDK/JRE with the icedtea plugin. No surprise, but that doesn't work: gray pane instead of the applet, but other java applets works fine. So, Oracle Java mandatory. Heck, even Minecraft runs op OpenJDK for crying out loud!
At least their middleware didn't install some kind of daemon, which I what I would have expected with something called "Middleware".
Funny also: The Oracle Java VM warns you from running applets all the time, even the test applet on the java.com site. Scary. Well, not to me, but to a normal end user.
 i686 for a good reason, from what I read getting it to run is significantly harder on amd64.
 I knew that it wasn't going to work
 Wait, isn't that what dependencies are for... Naaaah, dependencies. Who uses that?
 Not really, I've been here before
 Probably better use update-alternatives for that one too!
Unable to help on that front, he asked if he could read his email. Naively, I said, of course you can! So, I set up his (national, very standard) ISP email address. Well, I followed the wizard. Big mistake, I ended up on POP3, which of course is a standard that should have been banned years ago. Damn, I hope you didn't have important emails. I set it up again as IMAP. Works fine, really... Except it doesn't show any email. None... I specifically sent email to him. Shows nothing... I assure you, the settings are correct. I used the same as those, I used on his iPhone. Besides, they do show on his iPhone
No way to make it work. On a related note: the POP3 did not delete his email from server. At least that was good.
Then, I want to show him to install apps (Despite me hating the word). Choice between the Samsung App Store, which most likely works but you want the Google store. So, Google Play. Okay, do you have a Google account? No... Ah, no problem, let's set one up. I follow the wizard, up until it asks for a secondary email for "lost password" situations. I could type in whatever I wanted, but the "Next" button never got enabled, stopping me right in the track to create the account.
Yes, I know, I could just go to a computer, create him a Google account and be done with it. Still, isn't this simply a scandalous bug?
So, I try to help and end up having I to explain that tablet browsers are second-class internet citizens (a site he uses failed to work. How do you explain that to a non tech, eh? Nothing I did worked as expected and I'm supposed to know what I do.
Okay, I might simply have become obsolete and have become unable to troubleshoot modern devices. Perhaps it's a hint I should stay in my basement with my servers and "real" computers. I don't know... It must be me. Everyone loves their Android tablets....
Today, I had the most peculiar experience. A (female, and pregnant, but that has no importance at all for this story) cousin of mine complained on Facebook about a virus infection on her Windows machine (I assume Vista, but I actually didn't bother to ask). Locked out by one of these ransom viruses. Worst part is that she did have an up-to-date antivirus sponsored by the Bank where here partner works.
I don't mind helping, but -of course- my first comment was. "Drop that crap OS and go to ubuntu.com and get a real operating system". I NEVER expected her to actually do that. Well, she jumped on the occasion. She was also very happy to hear what a live CD is and that she could recover her data from her current installation using the LiveCD and copy it to a USB disk. So, she managed to burn the ISO, boot to it, copy her data and install the whole thing. Basically without me helping except saying that it could be done. I also explained what dual booting was and she could do that.
She asked me one question: Why do you use Windows? My reply was: I don't, unless I want to play games (the non-Flash variants. I illustrated Flash games with FarmVille). The tipped her over: She'd go full Linux.
I was completely baffled... You have to imagine the frustration Windows had to put on her so that she would try something completely unknown, just because I say I use it.
First reactions were: Hey, this thing already has Firefox,,Thunderbird and an Office suite. Wow, I have four workspaces (she means virtual desktops). She found Ubuntu Cloud (5GB seems a lot to her, I wonder where else she has been?) and -while not Ubuntu specific- I explained her what Firefox Sync is. She also seemed to like the idea of the Software Store (I compared it to Apples App Store, I know not the same, but she has to understand what it is) and steered her to installing ubuntu-restricted-extras and explained it was to install Flash and similar.
Linux on the desktop... Yes, it can be done... She is non-IT, perhaps a bit geeky, but definitely non-IT.
Got myself 58% more screen real estate at 117.99€. The prime condition on a Full HD[*] monitor was that it must have integrated speakers. This is because it saves desk space. That's hard to find in my allocated budget of max. 149€.
Funnily enough, this is exactly the same model as my moms screen which I bought nearly two years ago. 149€ back then. I have cursed myself ever since that day that I didn't buy one for myself.
The integrated speaker isn't as great as the ones in my old Fujitsu-Siemens C17-2, but more than sufficient for the occasional youp...I mean youtube video.
On a related note, I start to have quite a few "spare" LCD screens now.
[*] As much as I'd love to have a 2560x1440 monitor, there is no way I want to spend 400€++ on a monitor.
I don't program much these days any more, but due to a not very important reason, I wanted to do a little something with Java Server Faces. Being a sysadmin by day, I thought that setting up such an environment would be easy-peasy, as long as I stick to the default packages, I'd get an environment that would be more than sufficient for my modest needs. Basically, my idea was that
aptitude install tomcat6 libjsf-impl-java
on a base Debian squeeze would do it. I mean change a config file left and right, drop the webapp in
Well, apparently, it's not that easy. I took this as test web application, as it looked extremely simple. I immediately got greeted with a ClassNotFoundException on com.sun.faces.config.ConfigureListener. That seems to be one of the core JSF classes. No problem right? Just a classpath problem right? Well, I do remember that could get quite complicated. To make a long story short. The JSF jars are in
Well, let's try adding a few symbolic links to the web applications WEB-INF/lib part... namely jsf-impl.jar and jsf-api.jar. Nope... Then I read something that can't do that but need to copy the jars to make it work. I do so. It still doesn't work, but the ClassNotFoundException is gone (replaced by another one). WTF?!? Java doesn't work with symlinks?
It's pretty much at that point that I decided to write this, because despite all my Googling, I found no references on how to do this (using default packages on Debian). All instructions basically are quite Windows centric, instruct you to download software here and there tell you to copy jars nilly willy, which would be okay if they explained why. I don't like "just do this" instructions.
I'm a big fan of the central repositories, but unless I have a blonde moment, server-side Java doesn't play nice at all...
So, is there anyone who ever tried using just the packages and have it work?
It's my full Raspberry Pi kit: I was lucky, the two high speed 4GB SD cards were 5€ each on sale, and the power adapters were on sale at 7.50€ each.
The RS Components Pi was 39,16€. The Farnell/Element 14 Pi was 42.05€ (including the t-shirt!).
The whole shebang was thus "only" 106,21€....
The SD cards are both loaded with the default Raspbian, with SSH enabled (just added links manually in
Called them up Wednesday to ask why the order never shipped. They confirmed me that it was because of an expired card, and if I wished to cancel the order. HELLO NO!
I'm not a Windows fanboi... Far from it. Yet, Windows 8 might not deserve the bad rap it gets in the tech world.
I think this because I remember how the tech community reacted to Unity on Ubuntu. Hey, I did react violently too, because Unity in 10.10 to 11.10 definitely sucked. I continued to use it and I have to admit that in 12.04 it has become good. Sure, perhaps a bit dumbed down for the average power-user, but I can live with that.
If you read here more often, you might think "why for hells sake did you continue to use it if you didn't like it". The reply to this is that I use Ubuntu (LTS) for a "drop and forget" for non tech users. I was utterly dreading giving them Unity.
My worries were unfounded. When my dad had to go to the hospital (twice) earlier this year (He has COPD as we've now been told and has been on the brink of death twice), I provided him with a low-weight dumpster-diven laptop (CoreDuo/4GB RAM, if you must know) on which I quickly installed Ubuntu so he could surf and email. Not a single question was asked... None. Sure, my dad is Windows power user, but really, no question at all.
I upgraded my Mom's computer to 12.04 LTS in May.. Not a single question either... My mom is no tech...
I will say it how it is: Mark Shuttleworth was right, and the tech community wasn't.
What has this got to do with Windows 8? Simple: the interface is radically different, just like Unity. It's radically simplified, just like Unity... We techs all hate it, just like Unity. However, has anyone ever bothered to sit down a real non-tech user in front of it? That will tell us the success of failing of it. Normal, non-tech users, will probably like the simplicity.
I predict that, if Windows 8 doesn't have other problems, it might not be the disaster we techs think it will be.