12 Oct

Ohio Linux Fest 2016

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For the last few years, I always wanted to go Ohio Linux Fest (OLF), partly because it’s only two (2) hours away from where I live and one way to meet my fellow Ubuntu Ohio Team members. But what kept me from not coming is my old job before my new one (that I started the week of October 3rd, 2016. So, this year, I finally was able to go!

First Day

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it because I had to work ten hours at my work plus the two(2) hour drive from Blue Ash, Ohio to Columbus where I arrived at eight (8) to my hotel room. I was very tired and ended up taking a small walk, a bath, and went to sleep for the night.

Second Day

I woke up and took a small walk around the Arena District of Columbus an hour before the second (and final) day of OLF. I didn’t go to the keynote, but I meet up with José Antonio Rey and helped set up the Ubuntu booth. I was lucky enough to man the booth and I enjoyed it! I also brought my Nexus 7 2013 tablet with Ubuntu and allowed people to try it with the two Nexus 4’s that we had.

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People love the #Ubuntu devices #ohiolinux

CC Elizabeth K. Joseph

Most of the day was manning the booth but I also went to Elizabeth K. Joseph’s, Nathan Handler’s, Stephen McLaughlin’s talks, and the final keynote by Joe and Lily Born. The first two talks I went was mostly for support for my fellow Ubuntu Community Members, as I’m just a basic end user with some Linux command line skills. Plus, I don’t really know what do with Linux as a hobby, but that is slowly changing.

But Stephen McLaughlin’s talk on how (Raspberry) Pi’s are the future sparked my interest very well. As some of you know that I collect data on two ponds at Grailville in order to find out how to organically maintain it. One of the problems is layer temperature inversion in the small pond which means that if fish are placed in, they could die. While I was collecting data, I noticed that the values for pH, ammonia, and phosphate were high. High values equals layer temperature inversion.

I got the idea for using a Pi during Stephen’s talk and I told him it. He liked it and give me a free Pi Zero! Because of this gift, I gave myself a project and a next step for the pond project. I will using the Pi along with a solar panel as the power supply, a waterproof temperature sensor, and maybe a rain sensor to see when it rains and/or tell the Pi to record a few weeks after it rains. I plan to float it in the middle of the pond and data collect during the spring into the fall of next year. Before the spring, I will build and test this before trying to collect data. I will have another post as an update.

I also meet three(3) Ohio Team members including the everyone-thinks-that-he-is-a-robot Unit193. Ohio Team members! Please tell who you are, because I forgot, thanks!!!!

Yay the #Ubuntu crew :D #ohiolinux

The Ubuntu Booth crew CC Elizabeth K. Joseph

At the end of day, I went to the after party where I played Cards Against Humanity for the first time and had cake with gummy Tux’s:

Third Day

On the last day, I went to the Columbus Zoo* with Elizabeth and David. It was a nice and fun zoo. I also had bison for lunch for the first time. After I dropped of the two off back to their hotel, I drove back home.

*CC to Elizabeth K. Joseph

10 Aug

Workflow Redesign (Again!)

Since I have fully made the commitment for using Ubuntu as my only OS for all of my devices, it’s time for me to rethink of my workflow.  Before I was using Zim Wiki as my primary note-taking program along with some hand-written notes using Xournal (I have a drawing tablet) or pen and paper.  Now, I have switched back to Evernote through the Notes app.  I’m modifying my original Evernote workflow  because there are some features that the Notes app doesn’t have as of now.

The new plan:

  • Use the same notebooks as the old plan (including the ones from this plan)
  • Because Notes doesn’t support stacking of notes, I will use tags to keep related notes together and those tags will act like sub-categories/pages
  • I’m moving my task list from Thunderbird/Lighting to Notes, but keeping each sub-category and titling those notes “To Do List”.
  • As for projects, the task lists will be those notes.
  • I will use reminders for tasks with due dates and a tag called “Reminder” to find them quickly.

Hopefully, this will work out as I want to try to whole covertance (SP) story for myself.

NOTE: You need to add the PPA, ppa:ubuntu-touch-coreapps-drivers/daily,  to your system’s Software Sources and than updating your software to get the app to work after installing the Notes app (search “Reminders”).  The package in the software center is outdated and doesn’t work.

30 Aug

Why do I Use Open Source?

I decided to respond to Michael Hall’s post, “Why do you contribute to open source?“, but first I will explain why I use open source and in the next post, I will explain why I contribute to it.  I don’t only use it because it’s almost free to use but for the intuitive sense of things that I see in all of the programs that I use.  This intuitive sense matches up with the way that I think and how I do things.

I have three examples why I use Open Source:

Example One: Evernote Ink Notes vs. Xournal- A Shift in My Workflow

This example is a recent thing that happened to me.  On Monday, August, 25, 2014 (first day of my last school year of my undergrad years), I was able to restore my Nexus 7 2013 back to Android from Ubuntu Touch since Ubuntu Touch wasn’t worth while to use (for now) as a working tablet.  For those who want to know, you need at least 2 GB of RAM to use the ./flash-all.sh command.  I only restored my tablet- meaning that I didn’t brother to install a custom ROM on it (don’t ask me why).  After I restored, I installed the Evernote app and signed in to it.  The hour before I restored my tablet, I was in my eight A.M. class and I took hand-written notes on my netbook, Evernote Ink Notes, and my Wacom Intous 4 pen and tablet.  When I opened the notes on my tablet and they looked horrible!  Not because I have chicken scratch for my handwriting (it does get bad at times) but because it was zoomed in and I had to finger scroll.  I had no way to zoom out.  And the UX of the app is just not fun to use.

After that first use of the Evernote, I decided to go back and use my favorite handwritten note-taking program, Xournal, but with some tweaks.  One of them being all of my notes for one class is be one file, when possible, which is for my eight A.M. class.  The other one is be convert the presentation slides for my second and also last class (I have two this term) into PDF and annotate that PDF.

The only problem with this workflow is that Xournal is X based not Qt based.  That means when Mir and Unity 8 comes out, I won’t be able to use my favorite program!  But maybe I could work with some developers and get some of the features of Xournal into the Reminders app.

Example Two: Open Source has More Intuitive Minds

I have noticed that many of the programs that I use have features that are latter used in non-open source programs.  Who had tabs first in Internet browsers?  Firefox.  Conversion from a word/spreadsheet/presentation to PDF?  OpenOffice.  This goes to show that who are more daring to be more intuitive.

When Unity first introduced back in Ubuntu 11.04, it was hard for me to get used to it at first.  I think it took me maybe two months to tell myself to that is the change can be good.  After I installed 11.04, I saw that Unity increased my productivity.  I found that searching in the Dash of Unity was faster than scrolling and clicking through folders on the menu.  Unity is quiet intuitive to my mind and it was here before Windows 8.  Another example of open source having more intuitive minds.

Example three will be in my next post when I will talk about why I contribute to Open Source.  Most likely, I will have a series of posts about why I’m in the FOSS community and other subjects such as why I blog.

 

06 May

Workflow (Re)design

Over the past month or so, I started to think about my workflow and I found that I’m at the point of redesigning it, mainly because I have new tools that can be used in my workflow.

Since I started to talk about tools, allow me to list what I have:

For analogue, I still have a notebook for paper and a pen.  But for digital, I have more tools then just a computer, screen, and a mouse/keyboard.  I have a Wacom Intous 4 (that I don’t even use for drawing that much anymore), the pen to that tablet, two smart devices: a Nexus 7 2013 and HTC ONE V.

I weighed the pros and the cons of both of them and I found that going digital is the way to go but not 100%.  I still need to use a bit of the analogue to still have a functioning system.

Most of the pros dealt with saving physical space, eco-friendlyness, and the functions of editing, pen colors, and different sytle of paper for the background in the program that I will be using called Xounral.  I will also use myPaint for brainstorming using idea webs/maps.

The only con that I was about list was the fact that both of the programs, myPaint and Xournal, is the fact that these programs are not for the smart devices and their main file type (.ora and .xoj, respectively) doesn’t work with another programs.  Well, .ora works with GIMP but GIMP is only for the PC.

I’m not sure if there is any OpenSource based program like Xournal that can sync between PC’s and smart devices.  The only program that I saw was Quill but again that is only for smart devices. And for some reason, it’s free on F-Droid but not Google Play. Maybe I should ask the developers of Quill to port it for the PC. Another thought that came to me was what if I could develop a program that does what I want.  The only problem and, this problem always run into this, is that I can’t code.  I only have the basic concepts of how code works.  Before I move on, I want to say sorry for getting a bit offtopic but it’s needed.

/start_offtopic

The reason why I joined the Ubuntu Community in the first place is to get my ideas for programs/games to be developed with code.  But I like I already said, I quickly found another niche to be in.  While it was the best thing for me to do, I still, time to time, get ideas for programs.  Lately, I have been thinking what if I started to network with developers and get one of my ideas developed into a program.  But I have no way to start this and I’m asking others to help me network with developers.  Thank you.

/end_offtopic

Back to the workflow redesign, I also looked at my task management system.  Currently, I’m just using Lightning for both my calender and tasks.  But it alone cut it for me.  It doesn’t do my day to day planning.  What I use now, is David Seah’s Mini Emergent Task Planner, which is an analogue planner.

When looking back at my redesign, it is not a major change.  It’s only going from analogue to digital.  But it’s something that I wanted to do for maybe two years.  I was able to finally use my Wacom tablet in November of 2013 when my trackpad (read: laptop’s mouse) stopped working and I had some weird issue with anything that mouse-like on Ubuntu.  Luckily, I had my Wacom tablet that was meant for me to do digital artwork, but I never found that I liked my style and gave up for a while.  Also, a bit before, one of my Twitter pals, AJ Linux, posted a blog post about note-taking software for Linux and that post introduced me to Xournal.  From then (November 2013) to now, I rarely use a mouse with my laptop (the netbook that I have, the 2005 one is a desktop for me), I just use my Wacom tablet.  This allows me to hand-write all of my notes for my classes that I take (and amaze everyone around me).

This sums up everything of my redesign and like David Seah, I might be writing another blog post on how it’s going for me.