Monday, October 20, 2014

Playing music over Bluetooth in your car

I own a Kia a Rondo 2012 and I can connect my iPhone to the sound system using Bluetooth. It does work great to take a phone call but I've been struggling to play my music on my car radio over the Bluetooth connection.

Sometimes it would work by activating Siri and then pressing Play right after cancelling Siri. It was a real disappointment as my iPhone was seeing the bluetooth connection but nothing was coming out of my car radio.

That is until tonight. I finally figured it out. The issue was not my phone but my car radio. In the sound settings, there is an option to turn "On" the "BT MP3". For some reasons, it was turned off.

After activating the setting, I just start my music on my iPhone and it works as it should have been from the start.

If you are facing the same issue where you can't play your music on your car radio over a Bluetooth connection, just have a look in your car audio settings (Balance, Bass, Treble). You may have to enable Bluetooth MP3.



Patrick Balleux

Sunday, October 19, 2014

10 questions before creating an app

Creating softwares is great. It's an art, it's a gift, it's tough.



If you have an idea in mind about creating an app, here's 10 questions that you should ask yourself before spending hours and hours on your new project:

1- Does it already exists?

It's not about reinventing the wheel or not. Have a look. Do some research. Find what has been already done. Can you make it better? Can you offer something valuable not found in other solutions?

2- Who will use it?

Who are your users? Knowing your target audience will help you define your app for your users, not for your own glory.

3- What technology should be used?

Any software is bound by the technology used. If you are planning on a mobile app, a webapp or a native software, the required technology will be crucial.

4- How much free time do you have?

You may start coding on one evening, working on your project for many hours. What about next week? Next month? Plan ahead and make sure that you will have dedicated time to your project. Many softwares are started, never to be completed...

5- Do you need a team?

Can you handle the work on your own? If you're planning on creating the next Facebook or Twitter by yourself, it may not be enough. Make sure that you'll be able to handle the tasks. Otherwise, the developpement will last forever.

6- Are you good enough?

Thinking about it is one thing. Having the skills is another. Validate that you fully understand the technical challenges before embarking on this journey.

7- Do you have the means?

Coding is one thing. Will you need a website? A server? A domain name? Will you be able to financially support required components once the app is available on the market.

8- Are you ready to make some compromises?

Once your app is released into the wild, users will ask for features. Comments will pour in and you may be asked to change available features. Are you ready to meet the needs of your users or just your own?

9- Will you listen?

The end-user may be harsh sometime. Keep in mind that he is your customer and will provide your with great insights if you listen carefully.

10- Are you ready to support it?

Think about support. Users will report issues and if they have paid a fee to use your app, they are entitled to get fixes. Sometime, you will spend more time fixing bugs then releasing new features. Don't think that once released, you can just sit and wait on money to pour in.

All of that can be summarized as planning ahead...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ello World!

There is no typo in the title...  A new social network is emerging called Ello


I just got my invitation today and currently exploring this new medium.  Elli is really elegant and looks great.  It's simple and quite intuitive.

Since there is no app on my iPhone for Ello, I simply added the link to my home screen, making it into a web app.  The Ello team has done a great job as it does render beautifully on a mobile display.



As of writing this post, I still have 9 invites that I can send.  Leave a comment on this post and I'll pick randomly 9 users to send an invite too.  Of course, I will select people that are active on social networks and that I find interesting.

You can find me here: http://ello.co/patrickballeux




Monday, October 13, 2014

Because I can get it for free...

Lately, I posted a video on my YouTube channel about Netflix running natively in Ubuntu using Chrome.

Comments were made about that video and one of them got my attention: Why pay 8$/month when you can get the same thing for free with XMBC?

I've heard that same comment many time, in many cases. Why pay for something when you can get it for free somewhere else? The issue here is not about saving some money. People are confusing stealing with "for free"...




When I buy a song on iTunes, friends will tell me that I should have downloaded it from some torrent because it's free. The same goes for any movies bought on Google Play. I've also heard that Android is better over iOS has it's easy to find any app for free by installing the APK from some obscure website. Obviously Windows is much better than Ubuntu as any major software can be downloaded for free. Why bother...

This is a statement I'm really not comfortable with.

If you a considering that getting stuff "for free" is not s big deal, talk to your boss about your it. He/She will probably be really interested knowing that you consider that any work does not need to be rewarded as "it's not a big deal".

You should then accept that once in a while, you won't get paid for your work. Your employer will be able to get some jobs done "for free" and that will be good for the company. No? Are you thinking that it would be unfair? Are you currently running a "for free" version of Windows or listening to the latest "for free" album of your favourite band?

How can you consider that 8$/month is a steal when your asking for a salary of 25$/hour?

From now on, every time I will hear "for free", I'll reply back: No, you mean "steal" as in "I stole that product and I'm proud of it".


Patrick Balleux

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Netflix is working on Ubuntu!

This week, Ubuntu users were really happy.  Netflix now works natively on Ubuntu just by using the latest version of Chrome!

Yep!  This is not the Year-of-the-Linux-Desktop, but it's a great news.


See a preview on my Youtube channel:




Sunday, October 5, 2014

Windows 10, late to the party...

Microsoft has released a preview of its next Windows this week: Windows 10.  Lots of goodies and as usual, moving back to what was working well in previous versions...

We've all seen Microsoft pushing new features and reverting to a more classic view in the following release of Windows. With Windows 10, we're moving back to something more like Windows 7 while keeping a bit of Windows 8.


I've watched the preview video on Windows 10 on YouTube and my first impression revolved around this: I've been able to do this in Ubuntu for the last 10 years...


I'm not saying that Windows 10 is copying Ubuntu. I'm just saying that Windows 10 is really late to the party.

  • Snapping windows:  Been there for ages in Ubuntu and other distros
  • Multi-Desktop views:  Been there for the last decade in Ubuntu (and other distros)
  • Online Store: Repositories were laughed at 10 years ago by the Windows community
  • Apps can be run in a resizeable window view:  Isn't it what as been possible in all OSes for the last 20 years?
  • Community involvement:  Does open source ring-a-bell?
  • Start menu "Search is back":  As in Windows 7, as in Unity?


This is a tech preview of Windows 10 and as stated in the video, it's an unfinished product.  I do feel that Windows, since Windows XP, is an overall unfinished product,


Maybe Windows 10 will finally nail it this time.  Until then, I'll keep using Ubuntu as my main operating system.  At least, upgrading to the next release is free...


Patrick Balleux

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Shut up! I'm trying to stay alive...

Have you experienced someone texting you over and over again until you answer back? What's the rush? I can understand if you're warning me about the serial killer waiting in the dark corner... Actually no, I'll be distracted by reading the messages and I won't see the creepy dude moving towards me with a hockey mask and a machete...



On my iPhone, every app is asking me to enable the notifications. Almost all of them wants me to know that something happened as it happened. We are currently overwhelmed with information and losing focus on what we are doing at that time.

Of course, I want to be notified when I get a new message (iMessage/SMS) or when I receive a call from someone. Is it really necessary to know by the second that someone has posted a picture on Facebook or that I got a new follower on my Twitter account?


I always refuse to be notified. I will check if there is something new when I have the time to do it. I just keep it to a bare minimum as I prefer not being distracted when I do some important stuff like working at the office, driving my car or simply watching a movie.

Usually, when I sleep at night, I don't care about reading the last Walking Dead joke (Carl, you get it Carl?) or about my Candy Crush's lives that are full. That's why I enable the "Do not disturb me" feature. I so grateful to have that feature. If you're on Android you may have it also depending on your model and version. Otherwise, there are plenty of apps in the Google Play Store that will take care of the issue.



I just wonder why people want to know ASAP like their life may depend on it. Think about it, what's the benefit of knowing right now? Are you a journalist? In some cases, it may make sense.




For 99.9999999% of the population, you are just losing precious seconds of your life. Sometimes, it' just enough to make a difference...

Patrick Balleux