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     News and views for UK Linux Users - 23rd October 2014

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iPhone 3G out 11th July 2008 - Posted at 09/06/2008 10:53pm by chiller2 Link to article

To a booming applause Steve Jobs unveiled the long awaited iPhone 2.0 at WWDC 2008.

As expected it is now 3G, has GPS support, the App Store for downloading applications and games over the air. Among the examples on Apple's site there's a Twitter client poking out. They must know something we don't, as an army of tweeting iPhone users isn't going to help Twitter's currently overloaded state.

To keep the corporates happy, enterprise support for Microsoft Exchange via ActiveSync. For non Exchange users who want to keep up to date, there's MobileMe, which promises to keep calendars, contacts, etc all nicely synced across devices. It doesn't look like there's any SyncML support but given the conflict with MobileMe that's hardly a great surprise. I hope I'm wrong.

The headphone jack is no longer a headache, and you can use any standard 3.5mm headphones directly with the iPhone 2.0. Good thing as the sound quality has been much improved. The unit is also thinner, has metal buttons, a black plastic back and somewhat more oomph from the battery.

Extremely welcome was the fact they've knocked the price from the speculated $399 to a much more affordable $199 (USD). With that and the fact they're allowing iPhone 1.0 owners to upgrade the phone software, it would be fair to guess Apple are trying to get enough market penetration to head off the impending arrival of Google Android based phones.

Alas as it's not out until July we won't know if one can perform the same jailbreak tricks. We've waited this long so what's another month? ;)



Thunderbird part deux - Posted at 15/11/2007 7:28pm by chiller2
The Thunderbird and Lightning developers are eager for feedback at the moment, but it just seems so often in these feedback requests that the bigger issues aren't being looked at, or if they are, they're not exactly shouting about them. With MailCo formed, there is at last a fiscally backed platform that could take Thunderbird to the next level, so I'm gearing up to send them my two cents worth.

Rather than focus on esoteric localisations, minor installer improvements, etc, it really is the time to bring it all together and focus on the herd of elephants gathered in the room.

Yes, it's those old nagging deficiencies that stop Thunderbird getting out into the business world, namely suitability as an Outlook and Exchange replacement. The way I see it, there are some excellent open source projects that should be pooling their talents with the Mozilla teams, and our little open source e-mail nirvana can become real. Here are my suggestions...

Funambol

Talk to the Funambol SyncML team. Better still, hire the Mozilla SyncML plugin developer and give him some helpers! The combo works great to get data to phones and PDAs with SyncML support. My Nokia works fantastically well with it.

OpenChange

Talk to the OpenChange developers and put some energy into a Thunderbird plugin for their LibMAPI code. This takes care of Exchange integration by allowing something more than just POP3/IMAP access.

Without this barrier, and thus Thunderbird getting used at work, we chop the legs out from under the "Well I use Outlook at work so I'll use it at home" argument, and once office workers start using it they'll realise how nice and easy it is to get on with.

SoGo

Talk to the Inverse team about SoGo. It's groupware with a web frontend that walks and talks like Thunderbird. It, or something like it that one can tack in front of standard IMAP, CalDAV and LDAP servers is the plug to the Outlook Web Access hole!

Looking in at Thunderbird and Sunbird/Lightning

I've been asked many times by Outlook and OE defectors about this first one! The profile manager needs a makeover. Give Thunderbird password protected profiles, an easy (toolbar button & menu) to use within Thunderbird. There needs to be an easy way to switch between them, and make certain folders shareable between profiles or at least copyable, so mail can be easily moved.

Sort out the one way LDAP issue. It has great value in corporate environments. Along with that, make it easy to set up OpenLDAP. A point and click Win32/MacOS port wouldn't go amiss either.

Give the Lightning and Sunbird developers more help! 0.7 is really good. Certain key things are needed to make it better...

  1. Focus hard on the sharing. Businesses want selective sharing of calendars / events through a centrally accessible system. The CalDAV servers around need to have a Win32/Mac point & click install, and the Linux version needs to just go in via package management. Don't make compilation the only way.
  2. Get the URL handling working so that Firefox (or any other browser) will hand webcal, etc URLs to TB / Lightning.
Right, that's it for now. Time for a cup of tea!

Thunderbird and Exchange - Posted at 13/11/2007 6:40pm by chiller2 Link to article
While digging around the web recently, I found myself reading about a rather promising open source project called OpenChange. At the heart of the project is a library called libmapi that allows other programs to talk MAPI to Exchange servers. Although only at version 0.6 looks very promising, and there's a plugin for Evolution to use it.

It's certainly something the Mozilla Foundation's newly formed MailCo should consider lending support to, as embedding full MAPI functionality in Thunderbird, or at least providing a Thunderbird to Exchange plug-in would eliminate a major roadblock to roll out in business environments.

One can say all this easily enough, but doing it will require a fair amount of energy and coordination between the Thunderbird, Calendar and OpenChange devs, and given the page of Thunderbird development, there's plenty of time for Redmond to throw a spanner in the works.

However, if what is being suggested in certain circles is true, the fly in the ointment might not be Microsoft but Google. While the Mozilla Foundation is now flush with cash, a large chunk of it comes from the search giant. Yet while Firefox is cherished, poor Thunderbird never gets the love it deserves in terms of cash injection to boost the project, which might lead one to think it was being snubbed in favour of GMail.

There's strength in numbers. Even if you're not a developer yourself, if you'd like to see Thunderbird to Exchange support, use said mail client to send the developers a message!

Apple and O2 for UK iPhone deal - Posted at 17/09/2007 11:46pm by chiller2 Link to article
Apple pie, mmm it's good! Especially for Apple Computer, who have managed to strong-arm the UK mobile network O2 into giving up a whopping 40% slice of all revenue made from customers.

This is the largest share by a long shot that any phone hardware vendor has managed to secure although voices in the industry claim it isn't likely to become commonplace.

What is surprising is how this has happened despite possibility of a flop; there's no 3G support for one thing, ring tone support is via the iTunes store and at a much higher price than UK users are used to paying, and it's certainly not the smallest device ever.

Read more over at The Guardian.

OpenOffice 2.3 released - Posted at 17/09/2007 11:19pm by chiller2 Download Link to article
Version 2.3 of OpenOffice, the completely free open source office suite has been released! There are a plethora of bug fixes, and the following notable improvements.

The all new chart wizard now has support for 3D Charts. The toolbars have been redone. The autosum in Calc has been jazzed up. Base now includes a report builder, and, bit of a bizarre one this, you can export documents as Wiki pages from Writer.

Walt Mossberg Tackles Ubuntu - Posted at 17/09/2007 10:58pm by chiller2 Link to article
I'm quite a fan of the Ubuntu Linux having had a lot of success with it on laptops and other traditionally awkward for the penguin hardware configurations. It's not that Linux can't support them; it's that it can't support them for the average non technical user, and if Linux is ever to get that foothold on the desktop we all hope it will, it has to get past these issues.

Therefore it was quite interesting, if a little predictable, to see what respected mainstream media writer Walt Mossberg had to say about it. I won't spoil it too much for you suffice to say the usual suspects were mentioned.

Mozilla Lightning and Sunbird near 0.7 release - Posted at 17/09/2007 10:41pm by chiller2 Link to article
The nightly builds for Mozilla Lightning and Sunbird, the calendar applications to complement Firefox and Thunderbird, are nearing version 0.7 and have come on in leaps and bounds. They've finally gotten past trying to squeeze the mini view in the folder area and have given the calendar it's own view. The iTip / iMip handling appears to be working and task and event creation is much nicer too. Your faithful reporter here is still using 0.3.1 despite 0.5 being out because of a silly regression that caused WebDAV publishing to fail, but that too has been fixed. Life is good. Watch out for 0.7 release candidate 1 this week!

New Apple iPod Nano, classic and iPod Touch released - Posted at 06/09/2007 4:41am by chiller2 Link to article
Apple have unveiled the new updated iPod range. The iPod Nano has a bigger brighter screen, the iPod touch is like an iPhone, and the 8GB iPhone is now the only iPhone. Even better, it's only $399 now. Sorry early adopters! Investors are a little unhappy about the price chop too, with Apple shares having slipped a bit. More detail at Apple's website.

iPod Nano updated iPod Classic updated iPod Touch released


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