Selasa, 22 Juli 2014

TechSource: 7 Mac OS X Yosemite Features Canonical Needs to Steal to Make Ubuntu Even Better

TechSource: 7 Mac OS X Yosemite Features Canonical Needs to Steal to Make Ubuntu Even Better


7 Mac OS X Yosemite Features Canonical Needs to Steal to Make Ubuntu Even Better

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:21 PM PDT

While we maybe living in a post-PC era, there is no denying the fact that the desktop OS still matters. Mac OS X is an operating system that is still ahead of Ubuntu when it comes to the race towards the number one desktop. Apple knows that, and that is why they seem to have put a lot of work in making Mac OS X 10.10 "Yosemite"  as good as their mobile operating system, which is iOS. The goal here is convergence. Apple wants to build an ecosystem in which the desktop, the mobile, and the wearable operating systems work seamlessly together in harmony. This is the same thing Microsoft is aiming for and so is Google. And yes, Shuttleworth's brainchild Ubuntu is shooting for the same thing by working really hard on the next iteration of the open-source OS. But, with all these efforts, can Canonical match up with its competition?

Well, it can if it takes some of the great things its competitors are doing. Both Apple and Google are known for "borrowing" each other's ideas. If Canonical does a bit of that, its desktop might be able to reach a whole new level. So, if you are an Ubuntu fan wanting some of the best things from Apple's latest Yosemite on your desktop, here is a list of few things Canonical can steal or copy from Cupertino right away.

1. Improved Search

While there are many speculations as to whether Apple copied the latest Spotlight search feature from Ubuntu's Dash, it is still a feature that will take desktop search to a whole new level. Searching on Ubuntu works like a charm. You enter in the query and results show up from both online as well as offline sources. Having said that, it lacks the same intuitiveness as Spotlight. Search is sometimes erroneous and the Dash taking over the whole screen to search feels a bit "heavy". We hope Canonical refines Ubuntu's search even further so that it matches the quality offered by Spotlight both in terms of speed as well as the accuracy of results.


2. Airdrop-like File Transfer

Airdrop is an amazing feature that lets users transfer files between your computer and other devices in the same network. The feature is further tweaked and polished in Yosemite, making it even better. Ubuntu currently lacks a user-friendly way of transferring data between two computers. We hope Canonical takes some ideas from Apple and comes up with a nice way of connecting devices in the same network.


3. Powerful File Explorer

In Yosemite, Apple updated finder with features like tags to help users find their content better. While Ubuntu doesn't need an exact replica of Finder, it does need a better and more organized Nautilus. Ubuntu's default file explorer is simple and gets the job done pretty well. However, with the humongous amounts of files on our desktop, a little more organization is the need of the hour. What Nautilus needs is a blend of Windows Explorer and Finder's best features. Maybe a set of libraries that can be created by users according to specific search criteria.


4. Improved Notifications

The notifications in Ubuntu are really pretty, in fact, much prettier than those on Windows. However, they barely measure up to what Apple's offering in Yosemite. They are not distracting, provide the information you just need, and pull up vital data from the applications you are using already. If somehow Canonical manages to improve the existing notifications, we'd have a superb desktop.


5. Smartphone Integration

While Ubuntu for Android seemed like an ambitious endeavor when it was announced, we're yet to hear any developments in this arena. Apple, and even Google, are aiming for convergence and have almost already achieved it. Apple with Continuity has managed to bridge the gap between smartphone and desktop even further. Lazy Ubuntu users like us are dying for something similar to that, which helps them connect their phones to their desktops. This will at least, eliminate the need to get up and pick up the phone all the time.


6. Better Mail

While Thunderbird pretty much does the job on Ubuntu, it is still lacking in many areas. Canonical can take cue from Apple and come up with a better and more integrated mail application that blends in well with the rest of the desktop.


7. Dedicated Calendar Application

Yosemite features a gorgeous-looking calendar application that helps you keep up with your day's appointments. It is about time Ubuntu users got a dedicated calendar application that possibly ties up with Google Calendar as well.


Conclusion

While Ubuntu doesn't necessarily need to "steal" features from Apple, but it does need to look at what its competitors are doing. Taking a few ideas from the Cupertino might help Canonical take its desktop to a whole new level.


"Ultimately it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you're doing. I mean Picasso had a saying he said good artists copy great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." -- Steve Jobs


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

Jumat, 18 Juli 2014

TechSource: Best Fitness Apps for Google Chrome and Chrome OS

TechSource: Best Fitness Apps for Google Chrome and Chrome OS


Best Fitness Apps for Google Chrome and Chrome OS

Posted: 18 Jul 2014 12:14 AM PDT

Having to keep track of your daily eating habits is quite a task. Oh, and there is those tedious workouts that you have to do. Being healthy is such a bore, isn't it? Don't worry, even the healthiest of people hate getting out of bed and going to the gym. Yep, that's true. Fitness isn't a pleasant experience, it's hard work and yes, hard work for some people is boring.

As prolonged tech junkies, we are used to having shortcuts or little apps here and there that help us cut our job in half, in other words, keep us lazy. We have apps for self-diagnosing, for reserving our table at a restaurant, and even ordering the menu. Just press a button and your job is done.

In this world of 'click-and-buy,' it is understandable how hard it is to not be lazy. So, if you are someone who wants to get fit and wants to do it the quick way, what to do? Well, there is actually an easy way! Thanks to many apps and extensions that are out there you can keep track of your fitness right from your Chrome desktop or your Chrome browser.


Bodbot

Bodbot is an application that serves as your own personal assistant. Designed specially for people who either can't afford a gym or don't have to join one, Bodbot helps you personalize your exercise as well as nutrition. Once installed, Bodbot will get to know your goals very well. So whether you want to lose fat or gain some muscle, Bodbot will create personalized plans for you depending on what your needs are. From the weight of your dumbbells to the amount of sodium in your diet, it is amazing how detailed this app is. If you are a Chromebook user and a fitness freak, Bodbot should be your first choice as far as fitness apps go. 



Bloody Weight

Bloody Weight is a simple app that lets you record your body weight and keep a track of it on a daily basis. Nothing fancy in the UI or in the features department, this little app is great for getting a bird's eye view of your weight-loss progress. If a neat calendar and a graph is all you need to keep track of your fitness, Bloody Weight is a perfect solution for you.

Diet Diary

Fitness is not just about going to the gym and working out for hours. It's also about keeping track of what you eat and how much you eat. If you are lacking some focus in the latter part, Diet Diary is just the app you need. Once installed, Diet Diary will help you log the foods you eat, the exercises you do, and the water you take in order to create your complete fitness profile. The app shows you charts for daily, weekly, and monthly averages for weight, water consumed, calories consumed and exercise minutes. Overall, the app comes with four trackers: Food tracker, Exercise tracker, Weight tracker, and Water tracker. If you are someone who is looking for a free app that helps take complete control of your fitness then Diet Diary should be your best bet.



Lose It!

Lose It! is a free Chrome application that helps you create a personalized plan to track your food, exercise, and weight loss. With a built-in calorie tracker, Lose It! serves as a fabulous tool to help you get an idea of how many calories you take and how many you burn. One of the distinct features about this app is that it also lets you add sport activities so that you can subtract the number of burned calories from your chart. If you are using the app on mobile, it will also let you scan barcodes so that you won't miss out on tracking the foods you just bought from the supermarket. It is a great app to go for if you are calorie conscious. 



Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.
 

Senin, 14 Juli 2014

TechSource: 5 Games You Can Play from Your Linux Command Line

TechSource: 5 Games You Can Play from Your Linux Command Line


5 Games You Can Play from Your Linux Command Line

Posted: 13 Jul 2014 07:55 PM PDT

When it comes to gaming, Linux has taken major steps forward. What once was a deserted island for gamers has now become a growing arena for both gaming fans as well as game developers. With each passing week, we see more and more gaming franchises debuting on this platform. Thanks to the massive investment of Steam in Linux, you can now have a full-fledged gaming experience without booting up your Windows installation.

That said, Linux was once, and still is, the ultimate playground for geeks. While many are busy fighting wars in the latest Call of Duty game, a true Linux fan can be seen having as much fun, if not more, playing an old-school command-line title. For the fans who lean towards the latter category, we have a list of some of the finest command-line games out there for Linux. If you are not a geek, though, don't worry. We have included instructions for you to start playing these games right away.

To get started, open the terminal by searching for it in the Dash or by using the combination (Ctrl + Alt + T) if you are using the Ubuntu desktop.


1. Worm

Ever had an old-school Nokia phone? I'm sure most of you have had one. If yes, then you might remember those good old days when you spent hours playing the legendary game Snake. What a game that was. With the growth of smartphones, sadly, those days are over. Now you have Temple Run, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird and many other titles. However, if you are a true Snake fan, you know nothing comes even close to that game. If we have made you mildly nostalgic, don't worry, because the first game in this list is the closest you'll get to playing Snake. Worm is a fantastic command-line game that will keep you hooked for hours. Just type in or paste the following command in your terminal to install the game:

sudo apt-get install bsdgames

Then, type the command "worm" in your terminal and enjoy!



2. Tetris
 
Oh! The beloved Tetris! One of the most popular games of the 80's and 90's was tetris. Those brick-sized video games were capable of keeping kids and adults hooked for hours. Released in 1984, this Russian tile-matching puzzle game has sold more than 170 million copies worldwide and ranks second in IGN's list of 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time. With this awesome game, you can't help but keep yourself addicted for hours. To install Tetris in your command-line, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install bsdgames

Then launch the game by typing the command "tetris" without the quotes and enjoy.



3. Space Invaders

Save the space from aliens in this ever-popular game. Released in 1978, Space Invaders was a phenomenon back then, and probably still is. The aim of this title is to defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon to earn as many points as possible. To install the game on your computer, simply type in the following command:

sudo apt-get install ninvaders

Then launch the game by typing in "ninvaders" in your command line.



4. Backgammon

One of the oldest two-player board games out there, Backgammon has been played for as long as 5000 years. Unlike Chess, though, this game does rely on luck quite a lot. However, if you have the right strategy, you might win against the luckiest of opponents. Playing Backgammon in your terminal isn't as fancy as the real thing, but it still got all the features for you to enjoy a full-fledged competitive play.

To install Backgammon in your terminal, type in or paste the following command:

sudo apt-get install bsdgames

To open the game, you have to type "backgammon" without the quotes. 



5. Arithmetic

Last, but not the least, this simple math game will help you improve your brain function every time you take a break. Simply load up the game and try your best to remember everything you'd learned in math class. Go easy on yourself though, it's just a game. We all suffer from poor math skills every once in a while.

To install the game, type in or paste the following command:

sudo apt-get install bsdgames

Then type "arithmetic" without the quotes and enjoy.



Note: Most games can be controlled either by using the arrow keys or the J, K, L keys. To exit a game, press Ctrl + C.

Jumat, 11 Juli 2014

TechSource: Moto E: Is this the World's Best Cheap Smartphone?

TechSource: Moto E: Is this the World's Best Cheap Smartphone?


Moto E: Is this the World's Best Cheap Smartphone?

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 08:17 PM PDT

Although Nexus remains the flagship line for everything new and shiny Android, a new, or rather an old player is taking the market by storm. Motorola, with its simplicity and its unbeatable price has become the next big thing in the Android world. Bringing the same pure Android experience of Nexus smartphones and the cool features of many flagship phones, Motorola's line of products seems to make everyone love Android. What makes Motorola's new smartphones so special is the fact that they could fit into anyone's budget. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One, iPhone 5s, or even Nexus 5, these devices are designed to fit your pocket, both literally and figuratively.

Moto X, Moto G, and the Moto E appeal to 3 different types of phones you can buy according to the cash you have right now. Moto X, the top-of-the-line Android device is pretty much a competitor to Nexus 5. It is loaded with amazing features that look even better with the stock Android that it comes with. What's more, it is completely customizable with its sleek-looking back panels that go with every style.

The next is Moto G, a budget-friendly device that appeals to those who don't have a lot of cash to spend, but still want a decent high-performing smartphone. It doesn't have the best features that are out there, but still, it makes for a good mid-budget phone.

Finally, there's the Moto E, which is going to be our focus in this article. This sleek little phone has gotten a lot of attention in the press lately. With so many Android phones cropping up every day, it stands out not only because of its price but also for the value it offers at such a low budget. Many have hailed it as the world's best cheap smartphone. But, is it worth the title? Let's find out: 


Performance

Moto E comes with 1GB of RAM --which is enough to run 4.4 KitKat --and a Dual Core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 processor on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 chipset. These specs for merely $129 are a steal. You won't be able to do a lot with the smartphone, but for daily usage, this is a great choice. In fact, the Moto E performs surprisingly well as far as gaming is concerned. The Adreno 302 GPU gives a pretty good low-level gaming experience offering more value for money than expected. The apps perform pretty quickly, thanks to KitKat, which is optimized for devices with memory as low as 512 MB. Overall, compared to other low-budget smartphones, the Moto E performs surprisingly well.


Display

For this low a price a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display comes as quite a pleasant surprise. With large bezels and a 4.3-inch screen, the display is something you won't complain much about. The colors are sharp and you would rarely notice any pixels thanks to the small size of the screen. The 256ppi pixel density does provide a satisfactory display for anyone who wants to use chatting apps, browse the web, and watch the latest YouTube videos.


Camera

The 5MP isn't something you'd want to complain about. It's simple, easy to use, and takes okay-looking pictures. If you are someone who's looking to take pictures with focus, this is not the phone to go for. However, if you don't care about the quality of your pictures, this smartphone is made for you.

The only disappointment about Moto E is the lack of front-facing camera. Sorry, selfie fans, but you'll have to look for another device.


Operating System

The Moto E features Android 4.4 KitKat that is regularly updated along with Moto X, Moto G, and Nexus 5. So, if you are someone who wants to stay with the bleeding edge of Android, Moto E is a great choice. Also, thanks to the low cost of the phone, it can be used as a device you can tinker with. 



Extra Features

What makes this smartphone even more appealing is its sturdiness. Not only does it have a splashguard that makes it water resistant, it also comes with an anti-smudge coat. Though you won't be that careful with a $129 phone, it is still a great feature to have. Also, there is the Gorilla Glass sturdiness that makes things even better.

So, is it the best cheap smartphone in the world?

Yes, at least for now. But the competition is heating up as Motorola has created a whole new market. Also, Firefox OS has been looking to enter this space for a couple of years now.

 
Who Should Buy It

If you are a little tight on budget but need a decent performing Android smartphone this has to be your first choice. Also, if you are an Android tinkerer or someone who develops apps for Android and needs a secondary phone to mess with, Moto E is your go-to device.


Who Shouldn't Buy It

If you take a lot of selfies, do video chats, and play heavy games, opt for the Moto X instead. Also, if you are looking for a phone with a great camera, this probably won't be worth spending $129 on.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

Senin, 07 Juli 2014

TechSource: Best Custom Icon Packs for Android

TechSource: Best Custom Icon Packs for Android


Best Custom Icon Packs for Android

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 07:22 PM PDT

Android is best known for its customizability. By installing a simple app, you can completely change the look of your smartphone. When compared to its competitor iOS, Android is miles ahead in this department. Despite the fact that the new iOS 7 offers a look that one finds hard not to drool over, Android users can imitate the flat-looking UI in a matter of seconds. In fact, we even wrote a whole article in helping you get that clean iOS 7 look.

In this article, we won't be helping you create a UI that imitates any other OS. Instead, we will be focusing on showing you some of the coolest-looking icon packs that will turn your boring vanilla phone into fabulous eye candy. The following is a list of some of the best icon packs for Android.


Blitz Icon Pack

If you are new to theming but are afraid to lose the familiarity that you've been relying on for so long, the Blitz Icon Pack is your safest option. With over 250 icons, Blitz lets you turn your default icons into flat ones without sacrificing the original look of the icon. This means that Gmail will look like Gmail and Facebook will look like Facebook, but better. The sweet, flat rounded edges make the icon pack really appealing to fans of the flat UI design. 



Flatro Icon Pack

If you are looking for something minimalistic yet fancy, Flatro is your best bet. With over 1000 custom icons, matching widgets, and 24 minimal wallpapers, this icon theme is a result of hard work by the developer. Moving away from the traditional squarish icons found on most user interfaces, Flatro sports a distinct flat, round look. Apps like Twitter, Chrome, and Facebook retain their familiarity making them look like veritable buttons rather than just icons. The only downside to Flatro is that sometimes, some of the icons are hard to recognize. Flaws aside, Flatro is a great icon pack for people who are serious about giving their smartphone a makeover.



Stark Icon Set

Stark is one of the best icon packs out there as far as the minimalist look is concerned. With over 1500 icons and a cloud-based wallpaper gallery, Stark Icon Set is a great way to give your Android phone a completely new look. Retaining the familiarity of the app, Stark gives a flat, square look to your icons. The sharp edges to each icon make them look rather professional. Furthermore, you'll find the icons sometimes resemble the tile-based UI Windows Phone users are familiar with. Though not free, Stark is a fabulous, polished, icon set that is a great investment whether you are a regular themer or not.



Peek Icon Pack

If you are looking for something that is free yet gives your phone a distinct new look, Peek Icon Pack is your best bet. What makes Peek stands apart from other Android icon packs is that it brings its own look to popular apps yet it retains their familiarity. For example, the Google Maps icon comprises a green, flat square with rounded edges with a pushpin dropped in the middle. For many users, this won't be something that's hard to recognize. Similarly, you'll find that many icons in this pack do a great job at keeping the familiarity level very high. The only downside to Peek Icon Pack is that there are only 96 icons so far. But for a free set, it is not that big of a negative.



Aeron HD

With over 1900 icons icons, this one is the most beautiful icon pack of the list. Minimal and clean, Solstice retains the familiarity of your favorite apps while making your Android smartphone look very modern and stylish. Most icons are flat and circular with a single color. The logo of the app is etched into it thus keeping each and every icon minimalistic to the core. Though not free, Solstice is a great theme pack for those who love circular icons.
 


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.