Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ubuntu Touch on my Nexus 7, round 2

This weekend, I gave another try installing Ubuntu Touch on my Nexus 7 (1st gen). My main computer is running Windows 7 but I failed doing the flashing this time. So I moved on to another laptop running a brand new Ubuntu 13.10 and the whole process was as easy as 1,2,3.

Overall, Ubuntu Touch does work well on the Nexus 7. The only tweaks I had to do was to remove the file /home/phablet/.display-mir to avoid the "flickering-of-death" issue occurring when displaying the left toolbar.

It's a bit slow, but usable. Everything seems to work beside the camera that is not supported for now.

I was able to browse, add online accounts like Facebook and Twitter, listen to music and watch some online videos. Movies on the local storage were not playing at all. I did try some MP4 and some Ogg video files, but they never played, only showing a black screen and no sound.

Beside that, the experience was quite good. Some freezing occurred from time to time but nothing dramatic for a version of an OS that is still in preview on the Nexus 7.

I cannot say that it can be used as a main operating system for now. There are still too many missing apps and features. But if you like tinkering with the latest and greatest, go ahead.

I reverted to Android as I still need to use that device for other purpose. I will keep an eye on the developpement of a Ubuntu Touch as the next round will surely be more stable and more usefulness.

Great job Ubuntu Team!

Patrick Balleux

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cromb - Follow Me: The easiest way to share your location

With smartphones and GPS technology, you can easily share your location with your friends.  One last hurdle is the type of smartphone that you have.

I've created a small webapp that is taking care of being compatible across the different brands of smart devices using HTLM5 technology.  See the review on Youtube:

It's free, easy and available at

No download required!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When technology fails...

Yesterday, Rogers Canada experienced a nation wide failure of it's cellular network. I've never seen such a large outage in the telco industries.

Voice and SMS services were affected but the internet access was still working for some unknown reasons. The outage lasted a few hours and Twitter was overwhelmed with angry Rogers customers...

Having work in the telco industry for over 10 years, I was quite interested in the development of this crisis. I turned my attention towards Twitter to follow-up the latest update from the users themselves.

I was quite astonished about the comment I read... Many we're already asking for some kind of refund only a few minutes after the outage had started. Some others were ready to switch to another provider les than 30 minutes into the crisis. I've even seen some people so desperate because they could not text or have a talk on their cell phone. It was the end of the world for some teenagers... Lol!

I've been a customer of Rogers Canada for more than 10 years and always had a pretty good service with them. It's quite obvious that any technology will eventually failed one day or another. Anything and everything will break at some point in time. Rogers Canada outage was a major break down but everything return to normal a few hours later... They did their job and they probably discovered already how to prevent such a failure in the future.

Are we so dependent on our cell phone only a few hours without voice/SMS services is considered as then end of the world? After what I've seen yesterday on Twitter, I think so...

Patrick Balleux