Anders Andreasen Blog

Just another weblog

Archive for May 2011

Things I hate about my HTC Tattoo

leave a comment »

For the last year my cell phone has been a HTC Tattoo. It is my first smart phone and I bought after some considerations, mainly due to the following features:

  • Relatively affordable price
  • Small size
  • The ability to synchronize with my company Exchange account via the ActiveSync
  • VPN connection ability
  • Wireless networking

It tuned out that I got only 3 out of 5 or maybe 3.5 on good day. Here it is. VPN should work, however not with Cisco IPSec. Some have reported that on a rooted Tattoo you can load the kernel module to allow vpnc to work. I am yet to take the plunge and root my Tattoo.

Exchange sync works to some extent. I can read mail and update my calender, but for some strange reason I have not managed to send mail via my Exchange account, or download attachments for that matter.

In addition to these shortcomings the below issues are

  • slow CPU
  • Android lock-in to an ancient android version (1.6) , HTC Sense is part of the explanation.
  • Poor battery capacity (this applies to most smartphones I guess)
  • Completely impossible to read anything on the screen outdoor in sunshine.
  • Too small screen size. It is very difficult to use the soft keyboard. The number of typos is just too high.

I am considering a new Samsung galaxy S Google phone, due to the vanilla android which should enable android updating without delays for GUI customization. On the other hand I find the iphone 4 very appealing also, but I dislike the “Apple lock-in” and their desire to make decisions limiting the freedom of the user/customer.

Written by aandreasen

May 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Android

Tagged with ,

The Arch Way

leave a comment »

I have recently replaced ubuntu 10.10 on my home laptop with Arch Linux. I have been wanting to try this distro for a while, but as I am getting older the need for long nights struggling with new linux installations, configurations, package installations, tweaking and fine tuning this and that is getting much smaller. I just want something that works. Then again I am still curious, and I still remember the good things about Gentoo (although it took almost one week of compiling X, gnome, openoffice, firefox etc. back in 2004), the bsd-like portage system, I also like apt, and the high availability of pre-built binary packages, but I am not sure I agree 100% with the direction of Ubuntu. Furthermore I have been looking for a distro that supports the gnome 3 desktop.

A long story short, although the installation of Arch is not as polished as e.g. Ubuntu, OpenSuse, etc., and the fact that only a base system is installed from the beginning (no X, no desktop, no GUI browser etc), it is not that difficult thanks to the great documentation (
Official installation guide and Unofficial beginners guide). One thing to mention which I missed in my first attempt was to include the wifi driver in the packages to be installed, this caused some confusion, but in the second try everything went fine. With Arch some of the system configuration must be done by editing a few configuration files (again this is very well described in the documentation), the most common and pivotal being /etc/rc.conf. Basically it is about setting the hostname, specifying DHCP or static IP for network adapters, specifying kernel modules, specifying which daemons to start at boot etc.

The thing I am most impressed by is the pacman package manager/dependency handler. I mean if you like apt, you will probably also like pacman. The build system is also very easy to get familiar with (again good documentation is the key). It is very easy to build packages (including dependency handling by pacman) from so-called PKGBUILDs (see e.g. AUR for additional user supplied package build instructions for building packages). I was impressed to find a PKGBUILD for the Citrix Receiver (ICAClient). I found that this PKGBUILD specified openmotif as a dependency. Set this to lesstif instead, else some dependency issues may occur with applications specifying lesstif as a dependency (e.g. xpdf, xmgrace and other legacy stuff), since either one or the other should be used.

It was very easy to get Gnome 3 thanks to these easy basic steps. Install gdm as well and start the daemon on boot (edit /etc/rc.conf) in order to have graphical login screen after boot-up. I also like the NetworkManager applet in Gnome, which makes wireless networking a breeze. I installed vpnc and the netwokmanager-vpnc packages to connect to a cisco VPN. As with previous attempts in Ubuntu, Fedora, and Centos, it seems necessary to log out and in again in order for it to work properly in the applet.

Should I also mention that installing plugins (flash, java, video etc) and codecs etc is also accomplished in a very easy way. Other things to like is that default python is 2.7.

Written by aandreasen

May 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm