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Uncategorized

Apple WWDC21 : IOS 15

So, yes, I was wrong, very wrong about my predictions for Apple #WWDC21. But if there is any consolation, I was not as wrong as so many tech youtubers and reviewers and so called insiders. There were rumours about new hardware; new macbook pros, macbook air, mac minis, and new 27 inch iMacs, featuring new Apple’s silicon, dubbed as M1X or M2.

None of that came true. I was was not holding my breathe of new hardware, but I surely expected some news about running MacOS apps on the new M1 iPad Pro. But surprisingly, there was nothing. That is not to say that there was no big news. Of course, there were some very interesting things shows. And in retrospect, I think there was more than enough software news that new hardware announcement would not have worked at this even, after all this is a developer conference. However, majority of the announcements in the keynote was geared towards end users. But of course, since this was a developer focused even, all developer sessions came following the days after the main keynote.

Here are a few things that I am excited about.

IOS 15

Facetime

Spacial Audio

This is basically surround sound for voice chat. You will hear voices from the direction of their chat window of the person that is speaking. So if the person is on the right side of the screen, you will hear their voice coming from right.

Voice Isolation

This one I like in particular. What they showed was impressive, but how well it works in real life is to be seen. When facetiming, your voice will be isolated from all the background noise. This is a feature that supposedly can be turned on and off with a single button tap.

Portrait Mode

This is similar to how there is portrait mode on cameras on most phone. The background will be blurred to give attention to the person in the voice chat. I’m surprised this was missing from Facetime. I think teams and zoom already have a feature to blur the background. But now you have it on Facetime.

Facetime on Android and Windows! – (kind of).

You can now invite friends and family over to your facetime sessions with facetime links. This is obviously in response to zoom. So, although technically not on android or windows as a dedicated app(do not think that it will ever happen), android phone users and windows 10 PC users will be able to join facetime sessions from the browser. The fact that this is even happening is a big deal.

This is again in response to zoom, and I think Apple realizes how crucial video chats have become because of the pandemic.

Share Play

This again is in response to the pandemic. There was a need to have social interactions in the era of social distancing. It fills the void of movie time with friends.

Shareplay allows users to watch movies and listening to music together. Not only that, Apple has an API that developers can use to implement share play in their own apps. Facetime on android is a great update, but I think the tight integration of share play is going to let developers create some very interesting interactions with their apps. I am really looking forward to what developers do with this feature.

There was always the option of screen sharing and video conferencing while watching. But tight integration with apps and the operating system is brilliant.

Messages

Shared with you

Shared with you brings all your photos and links shared with you by friends on Messages to one place, so you can easily catch up or go back to your photos and links and continue the conversation. This again is a another social interaction enhancement. Because sometimes you may be too busy to watch, or read or view what your friends might have sent you, and when you do get the time, the messages that you are looking for are buried deep somewhere making it hard to find and continue the conversation.

Notifications – Focus and Do not Disturb

Focus is basically an enhanced version of ‘do not disturb’. This is not something new, but it has a few Apple-centric enhancements.

You can create profiles for work and home so that different priority is given to different apps accordingly.

Do no disturb also reminds people messaging you that you have your status as “Do not Disturb”. I can see this being helpful in professional settings and acquaintances. Most friends and family, probably will not respect this. (LOL)

If you are in the Apple ecosystem, your Focus and Do not Disturb status gets activate on all your devices when you activate on one device. This is what Apple is good at. And this is what Apple customers have come to expect. But, unlike Microsoft and Google, Apple as a complete ecosystem and that is how Apple can easily pull this off.

Live Text

Live Text – or what Android users will call “We already have that on Android – it’s called Google lens”. Live text converts any picture with text into actual text on your phone which you can then copy, change, search, and even perform actions like call a number.

Keys and IDs

How about turning your phone into keys for your phone and car? How about turn your phone into a passport or your ID, by storing you government ID on it?

When I hear about these things, all I can think about is the great iCloud hack the exposed very private photos of celebrities. Three words – No, Thank you!

But, I might sound like a hypocrite to some of my friends. Back when I was working on my first startup, I had a vision. At its core it was a social media platform, but my vision was much deeper. I remember talking about having bank account information on this app so you can buy and sell things, send people money. Not only that, using your social media id to identify yourself and then linking it to your government ID, to provide seamless transaction and access to places, whether it be private or government facilities, or accessing information about you through your university. My friends of course laughed it the whole idea. And yet, here we are 10 years later.

The point is not that I had thought of this before Apple, the point is ideas are a dime a dozen. It is not the idea but the execution that matters. Because I am sure many people have brilliant idea that were later turned into billion dollar companies by someone else.

Of course, my focus and values have changed over the past 10 years and I am more focused on privacy or rather the lack of.

Maps

Maps now has better graphics. I do not know what else to say. Google Maps is still king and I do not think that Apple or …er..Bing is going to dethrone this king.

Globe – google earth
transit ride – google maps has it
live tracking of your transit ride – again google maps has this
night mode – …okay, good, I guess.

But what I do like about the new update is that, Apple maps will alert you when your ride is near, or has arrived. I have not used Google maps in over a year, but I am sure Google will bring this to Android sooner or later.

Air Pods

Air pods may not be the greatest sounding ear buds, but it is hard to argue against the convenience factor that they have. Being an android user, I envy iPhone users and their instant pairing with air pods, the remove one pod to pause and the stylish white sticks on my ears…umm..actually cross that one out.

Air pods now have conversation boost acting as hearing aids in a noisy environment. The technology allows air pods to convert the voice of the person you are talking to into somewhat of a beam so the speakers voices gets enhanced while other noise gets reduced. It sounds cool, but I’ll believe it when i see it in real life.

So these are some of the highlights of IOS15. I do not have an iPhone. The last iPhone I used was iPhone 3G. I have been a long time Android user, but I do like progress in technology in general. In some ways Apple is only catching up with things like widgets, and in other ways, Apple is paving the way with privacy. I have been using a Note 8 for almost 4 years now and it is still going strong without any hiccups. But when it comes time for an upgrade, who knows, maybe I will jump ship to an iPhone.

This has been my take Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference 2021. What’s yours?

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Uncategorized

MacOS apps on iPad OS at WWDC21

For me personally, I love the idea of different operating systems converging into one which can then be used on a laptop, desktop, server, mobile device, watch, toaster, fridge, TV, car…or whatever.

So far, the only operating system that is able to do that is Linux. Linux is the de facto operating system for servers, and enjoys a enthusiast and pro level status on desktops and laptops, and sort of a fringe super enthusiast/tinkerer choice for mobile devices. But you are not here to read about Linux.

Apple to Allow Running MacOS Apps on iPad OS

I think apple is going to be releasing a toolkit that will allow developers to port their MacOS apps to iPad OS.

The biggest clue for that to happen is of course the new iPad Pro running the M1 chip which is the same chip that is on all new macs – the macbook air, macbook pro, mac mini and iMac.

iOS apps can already run on Macs now. And of course, there is nothing stopping Apple from doing things the other way. Will they actually do it? Not directly, but they will make it easier to developers to port their MacOS apps to iPad OS, as long as the iPad have an M chip.

Final Cut Pro on iPad Pro

Not only that, I think Apple will release a version of Final Cut Pro that will run on the new iPad Pro, to show case what can be done to improve the workflow with a combination of the iPad Pro and Mac.

Also, I think there will only be one license for Final Cut, so if you already own Final Cut Pro on your Mac, then you automatically get one for the iPad Pro for free.

Caveat to running MacOS apps in iPadOS

There will only be one caveat to running MacOS apps on iPadOS. It will only run on the iPad Pros that have the M chip. This is not only going to be this generation of iPads. I think this is going to be for all iPads going forward. There will iPads with A chips which will only run iPad OS apps and then iPad Pro with M chips which will allow for some MacOS apps to run on the iPad Pro, but only if the developer chooses to develop for it.

So this will be kind of like how iOS apps now run on Macs. There will difference is that Mac apps will not just suddenly start working on the new iPad Pro. Apple’s new development tool kit will make it easier for developers to port their apps to the iPad Pro.

I usually do not do these kind of things, but I think what Apple is doing is significant and slightly scary at the same time and I am very much looking forward to WWDC21.

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Uncategorized

Buy if for Life

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the idea of “Buy it For Life”, which means what it says. The idea is when you purchase something, one of the requirements that you must consider is longevity of the product that you are buying. You must buy something which will last you a very long time.

Why?

Saves Money

There a couple of reasons for this. Buying something that will last a very long time will in most cases saves you money, although, that sometimes means spending more now so that you can save in the long run.

Reduces Waste

When you purchase something that lasts a very long time, you end up purchasing less of that type of product ultimately reducing waste which generally is better for the environment.

Simpler

Another consequence of “Buy it for Life” philosophy is minimalism. Now minimalism is a whole philosophy of its own. But the the idea is that if you buy something that is going to last a very long time, you will probably own just one or hopefully at least fewer of that type of product.

The Criteria

Quality over Style

This mostly pertains to clothing and footwear. One of the downsides to living in Canada is having multiple types of clothing and footwear. There are 4 seasons that require about 3 to 4 types of clothing. You can get away with using the same jackets and shoes for spring and autumn. But you definitely need a dedicate winter jacket and some summer clothes.

For example, I use a high quality plain black parka jacket which works in work or business and casual settings. It is not fancy looking at all. It is just plain black with a black zipper and a black hood. It was the most expensive jacket that I had ever bought, but it has been 6 years and it is still going strong. I did start having issues last winter – the hood now keeps coming off. The buttons have gotten loose. However, the jacket has a life time warranty, so all I have to do is send it to the manufacture and they will repair at no cost.

Which brings me to my next criteria.

Right to Repair

This is a bit of a misnomer. Of course, you have a right to repair anything that you like; the key idea is that it should be easy to repair. As I have mentioned, my jacket has a life time warranty and the manufacturer will repair it free of charge – this is the kind of product you should consider buying.

When you buy something, you must take into account the time, effort and money it will take to repair the product in case it breaks or gets damaged.

When it comes to violating right to repair, the biggest culprits are electronics manufacturers, and especially laptop and cell phone manufacturers. I loved buying cell phones that had removable batteries. It increased the lifetime of the cell phone. I also miss the days when laptops were upgradable with faster RAM, or faster or bigger storage. It meant that consumers could increase the lifetime of the product. Nowadays companies are notorious at going out of their way to ensure that their products are not upgradable.

Multipurpose over Single Purpose

Buying products that can be used for multiple purposes or in multiple settings means you can get away with buying fewer items in general. I will give you the example of my black parka jacket. It can used in multiple settings, both casual and business.

The same goes for footwear. When purchasing shoes, instead of purchasing something that looks ‘cool’, but only works in certain situations, why not go for something that is of a higher quality, may look plain, but can be used in multiple situations.

For the Canadian climate, I prefer waterproof hiking shoes because I can use them in the winter when paired with warm winter socks that keep me dry when I step on snow, and keeps me dry in the fall or spring when it rains. I can wear them in the summer by pairing up with regular socks, when I am out and about, plus I can even go hiking with them – you know because they’re hiking shoes.

When it comes to sports shoes, I prefer cross trainers as they are built for a variety of workouts. Lets face it most of us, including myself are not high performance athletes and we do not need dedicate shoes for different types of shoes.

A common concern that people might have is – will owning generic multipurpose items not make me boring? Sure, if you have boring personality!… BURN.

But seriously, let your personality, your passions, your interests do the ‘talking’ for you. You are not the brand or style that you own.

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Uncategorized

Veganism

About a year ago, I decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle. I call it a vegan lifestyle, because I feel that there is some negativity associated with the word “vegan” or rather the phrase, “I am a vegan”.

It’s Lifestyle

Also, “I AM…” signifies a core identity, and that somehow that is the lens through which I see everything. I have come across the idea that being vegan is associated with someone who is uptight, inflexible, and unreasonable, and somehow every aspect of the person’s life and every decision is based on the idea of being vegan.

I am not like that and I do not want to be associated with such an attitude. I stopped consuming meat and eggs and anything that comes from an animal. I also stopped wearing leather belts and bought a single ‘vegan’ belt made of nylon. The fact that I have never really used it is a different matter; we have been living in very strange times. It has been a year since we have been locked in our homes in one way or another so I have not really had the chance to utilize this ‘vegan belt’.

Now, going back to why I say I have adopted a vegan life style rather than saying “I am a vegan” is again because of negative connotations associated with that phrase. It somehow gives the impression that I am right, and everyone who does not follow my way of living is WRONG. Sadly, I know vegans who do in fact behave in such a way. This really does not help the ‘vegan cause’ or the ‘vegan movement’, or whatever you want to call it.

I like a more flexible approach. To me living a vegan lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. That is the way I choose to live my life and I do not want to be judged for living this way, neither do I want to judge others for not living this way. I do hope that more and more people join me, and ideally, I would rather have it that everyone adopted the vegan lifestyle. However, I know that it might not be a right for everyone, or rather not right just yet.

Think about the Environment

I decided to adopted a vegan lifestyle for moral and philosophical reasons. In simple terms, violence against animals was a big factor in my decision. However, there are other reasons to adopt a vegan lifestyle. There is a phrase that a lot of vegans(that I know of) say:

You cannot be an environmentalist and not be a vegan

I happen to agree with this idea. Animal agriculture is one of the leading factors in greenhouse gas emissions, which as you may know already, is one of the greatest threats to our environment.

Also, when people talk about the environment, it almost has a dissociated characteristic, as if it is something that is external and separate to an individual person. What affects the environment, affects us all. So if you care about the environment, if you are someone who believes in recycling, using electric cars, or at least fuel efficient cars, then you may want to consider adopting a vegan lifestyle.

Vegans – take the win!

And I am of the belief that every bit helps. You can be a weekend vegan, or have vegan Wednesdays, especially if you are someone who eats meat or eggs or milk 7 days a week. You can start by taking a couple of days off.

I know a lot of vegans, including some of my friends who would be appalled that I even suggested this. To them I would say, take the win, every small win counts.

Take this analogy. More people are buying electric cars, hybrid cars and fuel efficient cars. Not everyone is going to suddenly be driving electric cars over night. Likewise, not everyone is going to be turning vegan overnight. But a reduction in the consumption of meat, fish and dairy is a good start – take the win.

Drinking Milk is Weird

Not only is a vegan lifestyle good for the environment, it is also good for the body and the mind. A few thing that come to mind are fat, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics.

Did you know that no other animal drinks milk that comes from a different species? Also, did you know that no other species drinks milk in adulthood? Humans are the only ones that do this very odd thing.

Choice

Anyway, I am not here to convince you to change your habits. All I am saying is this is the way I am choosing to live my life… and is that not a very important distinction. Choosing to live this way?

Whatever habit, whatever programing that you may have whether it is cultural, or family, or any other, you do have the mental faculty of choice. You can choose to behave a certain way. You can choose to not eat meat, or drink milk, or eat eggs. You do not have to make it permanent. You could occasionally choose not to do those things.

Categories
Software

mynotes – An opensource note taking app based on Vim

I am an avid note taker and I have used many note taking solutions over the years. I have used plain text files, word, wordperect, samsung notes, onenote, evernote, joplin and probably a few others which I don’t even remember anymore.

A lot of these had some kind of a flaw or something that did not quite work for my workflow. There was always a privacy issue to be considered. I always faced some kind of an issue. Sometimes the developers would decide to remove exporting features, the apps would crash and I would lose my notes, and on one occasion I upgraded my computer and I had lost the CD that was to be used to install the software, and there was no way to access my notes.

But the thing that made to decide to stop using any other solution other than my own was this: I had deleted my notes and deleted my evernote account some 3 or 4 years ago. I decided to try evernote again earlier this year and to my surprise my notes were still on the account! I may try other apps again, but I shall never ever use evernote again!

Requirements for my note taking app

Coming to the point of this blog post, I decided to build my own solution. I had some criteria that this new solution should meet:

  • privacy oriented
  • minimalist
  • easy to use
  • multi-platform
  • easy to export to other formats
  • long lasting – would not easily go obselete

Markdown file format

I decided to use text files in markdown format. Text files have existed since the dawn of computers and I dare to say, will never go obsolete. Markdown is a very simple markdown language that is minimalist, easy to learn and easy to read, uinlike something like XML or HTML.

Vim

At first I thought about building my own app, but then I decided to use existing editors like vscode, Vim, nano etc…Settling for Vim was an easy decision because Vim has a proven track record and it is one of the most customizable, universally available and stable editors out there. There is a learning curve involved, however, you can learn just enough to start using it in an hour and that would be all you will ever need to take notes, or you can spend years mastering different tricks and adding your own customization. It is this versatility that I love.

Notes and Notebooks

All notes are text files in markdown format and all notebooks are directories – done!

Synchronization and Portability

Most note taking apps have features that let you access and edit your notes over the web, on my phone, table, or computer. You can use cloud storage services like Onedrive, dropbox, google drive etc…

Or, if you hare concerned about privacy or want to own your data, you can use NextCloud. I will make another post on how to get started with NextCloud.

Get mynotes for free

mynotes is free and is opensource. You can download it from my github page. The install script is to be used on Linux, however, you can also use it on Windows 10 via WSL. You can download install a WSL based linux distro like Ubuntu from the Windows app store.

Installation and instructions are available in the README.md file and in this youtube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMRLsMpMklA

Categories
Software

Open Source Alternatives

There are open source alternatives to almost any software you can think about. Some are as good if not better than closed source with possible spyware baked in them.

* This is a constantly updating list*

Desktops and Laptops Operating system: Windows / MacOs X

  • Replacement: Ubuntu Desktop (https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop)
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Security: 5/5
  • Features: 4/5 (it has all common basic features)
  • Privacy: 4/5 (took 1 off because if you’re logged in to facebook/gmail etc.. while surfing, it really defeats the purpose)
  • Ease of Adjustment: 4/5
  • Ease of Migration: 4/5

This choice is very easy. Although there are many Linux based desktop operating system, my favourite and the love of many Linux users is Ubuntu Desktop. I have been using Ubuntu on and off since its very first release, but now it is my daily driver because its not only a great operating system for developers and techies, it’s also great of casual internet surfers, emailers, and document writers.

I will go on to say that Ubuntu Desktop is better than Windows 10 and MacOsX. It’s fast, safe and secure, and better for privacy than its Apple and Microsoft counterparts, and it has an app store. Ubuntu Desktop also comes pre-installed with Firefox for Internet browsing, Thunderbird for your emails, Libre Office for your document writing/reading, spreadsheets, and slides.

You can even install apps like spotify, zoom, and steam for linux to get your game on. (Disclaimer: At the moment, there are limited games that are compatible, but the list is growing, take for example: Counter Strike, Dying Light, Terraria, Stardew Valley, Ark Survival Evovled, Celeste, Shadow of Tomb Raider, Borderlands 2, here is a full list https://store.steampowered.com/search/?filter=topsellers&os=linux)

Too afraid to commit to Ubuntu?

Are you afraid it’s going to take a lot of effort? No, problem, just download and use the live CD features to boot into Ubuntu desktop and try it out without actually installing it! That’s a sweet deal!

https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop

Text Messaging : WhatsApp

  • Replacement: Signal (https://www.signal.org)
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Features: 5/5
  • Security: 5/5
  • Privacy: 5/5
  • Ease of Adjustment: 4/5 (the app asks you for your pin from time to time to check if its really you, but this minor annoyance is worth it)
  • Ease of Migration: 2/5 (This really depends on how many of your friends are willing to jump ship, ask them to follow my blog or contact me if they need convincing)

Productivity: Microsoft Office and Google apps

  • Replacement: Libre Office (https://www.libreoffice.org/)
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Features: 4/5
  • Privacy: 5/5
  • Ease of Adjustment: 5/5
  • Ease of Migration: 4/5 ( you can work with all Microsoft formats, but may lose some very specific formats, not a deal breaker)

Emailing: Outlook/Apple Mail

  • Replacement: Thunderbird (https://www.thunderbird.net/)
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Features: 5/5
  • Privacy: 5/5
  • Ease of Adjustment: 5/5
  • Ease of Migration: 5/5

Internet Browser: Chrome, Edge, Safari

Firefox, I think everyone knows this one.

Cloud storage: Onedrive, Google drive, iCloud

  • Replacement: Nextcloud (https://nextcloud.com/)
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Features: 4/5
  • Privacy: 5/5
  • Ease of Adjustment: 3/5
  • Ease of Migration: 2.5/5
  • ( depending your your method of installation, and migration process, things can be either relative easily or pain in the butt, but I can help you. I’ll write a dedicated post on my blog)

Note Taking: Onenote and Evernote

You can simply use web version of onenote and evernote and it works perfectly fine. But if you want a dedicated app, Joplin is unfortunately the only one that comes close. I currently use my solution, I hope to release it for public use once it becomes more polished.

  • Replacement: Joplin (https://joplinapp.org/)
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Features: 3.5/5
  • Privacy: 5/5
  • Ease of Adjustment: 3/5
  • Ease of Migration: 2.5/5

Video Conferencing: Zoom

Replacement: Jitsi (https://jitsi.org/)

  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Features: 5/5
  • Privacy: 5/5
  • Ease of Adjustment: 5/5
  • Ease of Migration: 2.5/5 (Really depends on how many people you know want to jump ship to Jitsi)

Jitsi is more secure, free and open source. Also, if you know the technical know-how, you can even install it on your own server(it actually is not as difficult as it may sound)

Categories
Activism Internet Philosophy Self Development Software Technology Uncategorized Web

Farewell Facebook

I’m conflicted – I want to delete my Facebook account. For some years I was benefiting from this and other platforms by working with programs and providing strategies to businesses. But I wanted out.

I stopped working on social media related projects and I had my social media accounts either deleted or disabled for around 2 years but I had to come back due to academic reasons; university club meetings, tutoring sessions and group studies are conducted and coordinated on Facebook. It boggles my mind that that sentence describes the norm.

Just when I decided the negatives outweigh the positives and again when I was so close to deleting my facebook, whatsapp and instagram accounts, my attention was brought to the current use of social media as a platform to push forward change in a way that was not possible some 10 to 15 years ago.

If it was not for social media, it would not have been possible to get the world to rally behind a cause – frankly it is heart breaking that such issues still exists even in 2020.

During the pandemic, we were kept in touch with our friends and family through this platform, racism and other injustice gets exposed routinely, and people are able raise awareness and organize actions against injustice through this very platform.

It’s a great tool that has helped change for the better. But it’s also a pit that drowns people and tears people apart despite being one click away. It’s a platform that encourages what the world needs and fights against what shouldn’t exists. But it also does the opposite.

It taps into our humanity and satisfies that need to connect, but also chips away our connections.

But digging deeper what it really feels like is The Matrix, where you and I are batteries in a vast farm of others like you and me, it’s sole purpose to keep us engaged, to keep us dreaming so that our lives can be harvested and sold and traded to benefit the few that are at the very top.

We have willingly taken the blue pill. In the next days or weeks to come, I intended to delete my Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram, gmail and other google and microsoft accounts. That’s the plan, it didn’t work in the past, but let’s see.

There are alternatives to gmail, microsft office, onedrive, google drive, whatsapp, android with Googleapps, windows, macos, ios … Not easy, but doable. I have moved about 80% away from these.

Follow my blog if you are interested in alternatives or want to join forces and start taking control of your own data.

Categories
Enlightenment Philosophy

If I could See you with your Guard down

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
–Carl Sagan
Dear human,
If only I could see you with your guard down, if only I could see you without the sword of words, demeanor, or of metal, I would not have to judge you for your cruelty in intention and action.
Maybe, I could let my guard down too, put my sword away too.
See, in this stand off, no one wins, but at least one is guaranteed to lose and neither of us wants to be the one.
I’m sorry, if I walk away; it’s not that I don’t care – it’s because I do not possess the will to continue this silly game. It also does not mean you won or I lost – it just means I abandoned the game, a game in which violence of any kind is fair game.
I desire to abandon the ego, but I can’t do it while you are watching. The naked truth of the self is light and liberating, but it is also fragile. So I’m sorry if I walk away and be SelfISH so that I can let the Self be what the Self IS.
Categories
Uncategorized

Ubuntu Again

So this is what happened:

Something happened after I wrote the post about moving from Linux to Windows , where I talked about how Windows 10 really is the only operating system most of you would need and there is no real reason, at least not for me.

I came across a project where the best option was to use docker. For now, docker on WSL( Window Subsystem for Linux) does not work – WSL2 will fix that. Then I tried using Hyper-V to install Ubuntu on a virtual machine – which was not a great experience. I had to fiddle around a lot to make networking barely work.  I tried to setup docker on windows and yes it worked, but it was not as seamless as I would have liked it to be. Then I started to have issues with Python on Windows. I regularly write and use python and shell scripts to automate things sometimes for ridiculously simple things which manually might take less than 30 seconds. My python scripts were working on Ubuntu, but kept failing on Windows. When I tried to install packages, pip wouldn’t work and there was just a long and torturous 3 hours “I can see it, it’s right there”, “but that’s exactly what I did”, “I love this keyboard, but this time if it doesn’t work, I will smash it”.

If you’re a developer, go Linux(Ubuntu) – it’s so much easier

Since Widows 10 came out, it has been my daily driver, but now…ironically right after I touted Windows to be the number 1 choice, I’m back on Linux, and I am really enjoying it. Working on Linux is amazing. I had forgotten how powerful apt-get was.

Missing package? No problem

sudo apt-get install this_feeling_is_glorious

In no time, I had customized my workspace just the way I wanted and it seems over the years, the Ubuntu Desktop has improved considerably.

For example, by default, all apps no matter if they are spread out across different workspaces, get bunched into one – a nuisance when switching between apps/windows with “Alt+Tab”, but you can easily customize this by downloading a package from apt-get.

Also, the Snap App Store is great. The terminal is such an integral part of Linux and as much I admire Windows Powershell and the object oriented nature its commands, the Linux terminal is really where its at -it’s hard to quantify, but makes me feel like wizard. With linux permission levels and UFW + Iptables ( the Linus firewall), I was quickly and easily able to secure and compartmentalize things.

Linux isn’t perfect – nothing is

It’s not perfect; it does have issues, but they are different from issues on Windows. For an average user, Windows IMHO is still the best general purpose Operating system – it does almost everything pretty well.

For power users, developers, opensource enthusiasts, Linux is where it’s at.

I recently got into skateboarding, and a fitting analogy is Linux is the shortboard  0f operating systems that lets you do cool technical tricks, but you’re you’re not into doing tricks, get Windows because that’s a cruiser. 😉

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Moving From Linux (Ubuntu) to Windows

The Journey sailing through different operating systems

Before, I begin, let me clarify things a little. I have not really moved from Ubuntu to Windows recently. I made the transition long time ago, what I am here to tell you is that, I don’t think there are really all very compelling reasons to move from Windows to Linux(for me and people like me).

I have been using Ubuntu on and off since the very beginning when I first stumbled upon it while in university. I have used multiple Linux distros, but I always keep coming back to Ubuntu. There was a time when Ubuntu was my primary driver. This was the time when I had quit my job to work on my startup. I had turned my old Windows XP (yes, that’s right, XP!) into a Ubuntu machine because I didn’t want to spend money on upgrading my hardware or the operating system to Windows 7. Plus, I didn’t really like windows 7. I used it for a couple of years until I needed to move around with my work so I bought a macbook which I absolutely loved!

However, my desktop operating system was still Ubuntu Desktop, while I used Centos Server for work. I have never liked Centos, the any variant of it – we used Redhat in University and I used Fedora for desktop for a little while. At that time, I thought, I will never in my life ever move back to Windows for anything. I even installed Ubuntu on my parents desktops. They were okay with it. Didn’t get many complaints.

As time went by, I upgrade my macs, and with every update, I became sadder and sadder. During that time, I had moved from Iphone and Android and was shocked at how well Android did things that IOS just coudn’t. I was tempted with Windows 8 after using it on my sister’s laptop, but I needed to the *nix experience because of my work. I had completely stopped using Ubuntu Desktop at this point. However, I had moved all my servers to Ubuntu.

Then came windows 10, and also the update to Mac OSX, which I don’t remember what it was called, but I clearly remember thinking, “IS THIS A F*CKING JOKE?”

Then I finally decide do take the plunge into windows. The touch screen, the new browser, the new menu system, the promise of Universal Apps(sadly this didn’t come to fruition). Everything about it felt better than Macs. Initially, for about a month or so, I regretted my decision because I finally realized how dependent I was on *nixy  commands. I tried to manage with cygwin, but truth be told, it was just awful. Crashes and bugs and just a whole long list of disappointments and endless frustration and workarounds.  But I stuck with it.

I converted my shell scripts to python scripts for my dev work. And it was going okay.

Touch Screen

Meanwhile, evernote had started to fail me with constant crashes and multiple changes to UI, and I decided to switch to OneNote. Up until now, I was always looking for an excuse to use my digital pen. But now, with one note, I rediscovered (and in some sense had to relearn) the joy of writing. I will never ever go back to MacOs, or even  think about going back to it unless and until Macos has touch screen capability.  I was already sold on having touchscreen on a laptop, but now with one note, things got to a whole new level.

Then came Bash on Ubuntu on Windows

You can read about my excitement here: Ubuntu on Windows. This started to change everything. With the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), I could start using some of my shell scripts again. SSHing to severs was easier, and my workflow became fun and my productivity just sky rocketed.

Then, (from what I remember), the WSL was separated from “Bash on Ubuntu on Windows” as a standalone thing with Ubuntu becoming a downloadable app from the Windows App store and other Linux distros were also introduced.

Gaming on Windows

After a long period of thinking “I have outgrown games”, I bought an Xbox One and rekindled my love for video games. Still not satisfied, I decided to build myself a gaming PC. Let’s be honest here, Windows is the best place to game on out of all the desktop operating systems.

SSH on Windows

SSH client is now natively built into windows, so I find myself using less and less of Ubuntu on Windows.

Windows Firewall

One thing that Windows has that Linux does not is a built in application level firewall. No, iptables is not enough and yes I do use iptables on some of my servers and UFW on other servers. Windows Firewall is THE BEST builtin out of the box firewall out of all the operating system I have used in my life. Paired  with something like Windows Firewall Control, I can have a very customized firewall, something that I have not found any other free or paid firewall do well.

WSL 2 is coming!

Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2 is coming and it could not have come at a better time. WSL 1 was like a translator between common Linux commands and the Windows Operating system. BUT, WSL 2 will be an actual real Linux kernel – THAT’s RIGHT! Windows will now ship with a Linux kernel. It will be a virtual machine, but Microsoft is saying, without the slowness of a typical VM. I assume they will be doing some sort of optimization to make this happen.

I was using Hyper V to get Docker working on Ubuntu since WLS 1 is not compatible with Docker. (Yes, I can use docker on Windows too). I do have Ubuntu installed on one of my desktop hard drives which I use when I feel like having a change. Recently, I found myself contemplating moving my work back to Ubuntu  Desktop, mainly because of consistency. I will not have to switch from git on windows to git on ubuntu or windows desktop to Ubuntu server etc.. etc…

I even tried it on Ubuntu Desktop for a few days. I missed Windows – I love Windows. With WSL 2, I hopefully will not have any reason to doubt calling Windows 10 my home.

So these are my reasons for using Windows Desktop. Working, note taking, gaming and just general ease of use, IMHO Windows 10 is currently the best desktop operating system.