Monday, March 29, 2010

Why I love Karmic Koala ..

As an avid Linux user, I was overwhelmed by the features and improvements in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala).  From the days when Linux was considered hard to use (except for geeks), the various Linux distributions have tried hard to address the "usability" and "user-friendliness" short-coming, and I guess today Linux has evolved so much that in several aspects it's much more user-friendly than Windows.  However, many do not realize this simply because they haven't tried it.  Here are the things I love about the latest version of Ubuntu:

  • Ubuntu Software Center - haven't seen something similar in Windows (well, you first need free software, and then a common repository of such free software).   It's basically a really nice front-end to the huge software repository for Ubuntu.  You can pretty much find *any* software you want here and install within seconds, by a click of a button.  This front-end is way better than the Synaptic package manager.
  • Gnome 2.28 is great - both in terms of look and feel and responsiveness.
  • Pretty user-friendly way to manage networks.  It's now as easy to connect to a wireless network in Linux as in Windows/Mac.
  • Inbuilt drivers support most common models of USB devices out of the box, esp. webcams and printers
  • Booting is lightning fast.
  • Default file system is now Ext4 - much faster and reliable than Ext3.
  • Performance: visibly faster than older versions of Linux, and Windows/Mac on the same hardware.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Switch from Iphone to Android

I finally made the switch from my Iphone 3GS to Android (Nexus one), and after more than a couple of months, I think the switch was well worth it.    Here are the key factors that make Android better than the iphone (for me).

  • Background applications: this has been discussed widely across the web, but the aspect that bothered me the most about this was the inability to sync arbitrary data in the iphone (other than ones such as email/calendar etc.)
  • Better notifications: this has to do both w/ the hardware and software.   All android phones have an external LED for visual notification which according to me is a prerequisite.  With proper customization of the LED behavior, a pretty solid notification system can be setup with minimal battery usage. With respect to software, "repeat notification" can be achieved through external apps on Android, which isn't possible on the Iphone. (repeat notification is something like say playing a notification sound every 5 minutes when there is a missed call or other event, until it's viewed).
  • Customization: the ability to configure most aspects of the phone behavior according to specific user needs.  Iphone is worst on this aspect.
  • Range of functionality that external apps can provide: although the number of apps available for iphone is much higher than that for Android, the range of functionality that iphone apps can provide is limited due to the fact that the iphone OS does not export a lot of low level functionality.  (for example, an app cannot modify the phone behavior when a call is received).
  • The pace at which the OS is improved/updated.