Ubuntu One Review

Posted in Reviews on August 1st, 2011 by termina

I’ve been using Dropbox since the service launched and have overall been very happy with it. My only complaint was that if you decide to pay there are only two tiers available: 50 and 100GB. ($99 and $199 a year respectively).

Having tried Ubuntu One when it first came out (when you could only use it on Linux) I was hesitant to try again. Checking out their website I was pleasantly surprised to see that we get 5GB free (compared to DropBox’s 2GB) and that getting 20GB was only $29 a year (or $2.99 a month). However, they still do not have a Windows client!

The first thing I did was install it on my Android phone. After it installed, I opened it and was greeted by a very clean looking interface. Unfortunately that was mostly illusion for as soon as I clicked ‘Log In’ it took me away from the app and opened up the default web browser to one.ubuntu.com

To make it even worse, the browser window just displayed an error of ‘Something has gone wrong’. Three more attempts, each time an error. Attempting to use their website on my laptop showed frequent timeouts at this same time.

Wow… really? That certainly raises a red flag.

After giving up for the night, the next morning I tried again and it worked on the first try.

After authenticating, it gives me the option to upload all past and future photos, all future photos or none.

Much like Photobucket the “auto-upload” does NOT allow you to define directories to grab images from, making the feature next to worthless if you use any apps that download photos to your phone. In fact the only options for the auto-upload are a checkbox to enable/disable and how quickly you want it to start uploading your photos when it detects them.

Pros:

  • 5GB of storage (compared to 2GB dropbox)
  • Finally has support for other devices
  • Cheaper upgrade option (compared to dropbox)

Cons:

  • Poorly made app (relies on web browser, doesn’t work half the time…)
  • Auto-upload is a tacked on feature with no way to customize
  • Unreliable website
  • Still no windows client? It’s been 2+ years!

Conclusion

Avoid Ubuntu One.

Unlike Dropbox (which supports every OS I’ve thrown at it) you will be unable to use Ubuntu One while you’re at work/school assuming they run Windows. Same for OSX.

Their Android app is flaky and still needs quite a bit of work. Their website was having difficulties which does not bode well for their infrastructure.

If you have your files “in the cloud” you want to be guaranteed you will be able to access them.

To sum it up: Ubuntu One isn’t worth it, even when you’re using the Free plan.

Linux on the iPAQ H4150

Posted in HowTo, Reviews on January 30th, 2008 by termina

This applies to all H4000 series iPAQs (although there may be specific issues here and there).

The files you will need can be downloaded here: http://www.angstrom-distribution.org/releases/2007.12/images/h4000/

You will only need a SD Card for this. It must be 256MB or bigger (total file size is around 180MB).

Download the following files

Angstrom-boot-2.6.21-hh20-r6-h4000.exe
Angstrom-x11-image-glibc-ipk-2007.12-h4000.rootfs.tar.gz
startup.txt
zImage-2.6.21-hh20-r6-h4000.bin

We do this instead of using the “liveramdisk” image in order for wireless to work, and to be able to hard reset your device without losing any linux files/settings.

Using cfdisk or a graphical partition editor create two partitions.

A first (smaller) FAT partition in order to store the *.exe, *.bin and *.txt file(s).

The second (larger) EXT2 partition to store the filesystem. (rootfs)

Mount the ext2 partition, and do the following

tar xpzf Angstrom-x11-image-glibc-ipk-2007.12-h4000.rootfs.tar.gz -C /media/disk2

Where /media/disk2 is your mounted ext2 partition.

You need to edit a file for wireless to work.

/etc/modprobe.d/acx.conf

Remove/blank this file, for some reason the acx module is blacklisted. Perhaps it causes some issues with other 4000 devices?

You should also check out

/etc/network/interfaces

to add some wireless networks.

You should also get rid of some startup programs (if you don’t need them)

Move the following to a safe place (/root?)

/etc/rc5.d/S10dropbear

/etc/rc5.d/S20syslog

/etc/rc5.d/S23bluetooth

This will disable bluetooth support, logging and remote SSH access.

In order for wireless to work after suspend, you need to make two files.

/etc/apm/suspend.d/S50ifdown

case $1 in
start)
ifdown wlan0
rmmod -f acx
;;
esac

/etc/apm/resume.d/S50ifup

case $1 in
start)
modprobe acx
sleep 1
ifup wlan0
;;
esac

Set up your /etc/network/interfaces file (or use the GUI) for ifdown/ifup to work.

You might also want to remove /etc/apm/resume.d/50-gpe-bluetooth-resume

In Windows, browse to your ‘Storage Card’ and run the exe file. Choose the second of the three options for booting linux, and if all goes well you’ll running linux in no time! You will lose all your Windows settings.

If anything goes wrong, do the following to perform a ‘hard reset’

1. Hold down the power button

2. Use the stylus to press down the reset button on the side of the PDA

3. Let go of the power button while still pressing the reset button

4. Let go of reset. Device should boot into Windows.

Other issues/Comments

For some reason, my battery is not detected under Windows 2003 (can’t tell there’s a battery, nor the charge). Works with Linux, so not sure what’s up with that.

Wireless so far has performed flawlessly. I get the same latency I get from my laptop when pinging yahoo.com, and see 2-4ms latency on the same network. Very surprising, since on Windows internal network latency would be around 20-40, with outside networks having horrible (100-200) latency.

All in all, I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this device. And for around $80 on ebay, it’s not a bad deal.

Windows Mobile 2003

Posted in Reviews on January 9th, 2008 by termina

I’ve recently been trying to get my hands on a H4100 series iPAQ to put Linux on. The one I bought on ebay turned out to be the wrong model, but in the meantime I’ve been using Windows Mobile 2003.

My biggest complaint is the backwards way you have to switch between program; aparently you need to open up the Memory manager and ‘activate’ programs.

Frequent wireless drops are common too. I installed PortaPuTTy on the PDA, to use screen and irssi on the go. Wireless networks don’t seem to like the iPAQ however. Even with a strong single I get dropped fairly often.

The lack of multimedia support is very noticable. You are unable to listen to Icecast streams with WMP, nor can you play anything but WMV movies.

The Pro version I’m using has remote desktop support for Windows clients, which is nice (although mostly unusable at such a low resolution compared to the other machine).

You rely on the touchscreen to interface with the keyboard. Unfortuantely, the keyboard cannot be moved around the screen so it covers up some applications (like PortaPutty) so you cannot see what you are typing. This is a very big annoyance with me.

There is not much open source software ported to the iPAQ for Windows; many applications either don’t work (well or at all) or require payment after 30 days.

Windows Mobile 2003 has been a horrible experience, and I look forward to being able to use mplayer and firefox on my new H4155 iPAQ.

I look forward to trying Linux on my new iPAQ; after I do, I”ll be sure to post about my experience there.