Wednesday, March 28, 2018

LinuxFest Northwest 2018

I will be going to LinuxFest Northwest this year up in Bellingham, Washington.  The dates are April 28-29 2018.  I'll be setting in on some sessions and talking with the various people who make the LFNW pilgrimage each year.  Stay tune for more updates on this page.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Personal Information Management (PIM) in Linux

Anyone who is in college or in the business world needs Personal Information Management.  PIM for short.  Actually, everyone who has a smartphone has PIM.  On the phone there is email and a calendar.  Within the calendar is a to-do list, and an agenda.  Back in the 90's and before, everyone used a day planner.  There were the little electronic gizmos the fit in the palm of the hand and were mated with a function stylus.

In the Linux world, we too need Personal Information Management.  I personally enjoy clicking an icon to see all my mail, my calendar and to-dos in one place.  For some reason, I do not enjoy going online to find one calendar.  I need all my calendars to show up in one place i.e. my desktop or smart phone.

At work, we are on a Microsoft Exchange network.  I use Outlook 2013 for my PIM.  It works fairly well, however, because I do not have company phone, I am tied to my laptop for schedule.  Outlook is great teamed up with a portable smartphone and Lync (the instant messaging client for the Exhange Network).

Back to a the Linux world, for us there are several software claiming the PIM title.  Here I will list the ones that make the claim and I will say a few words about them.  I am biased.  See if you can figure out the one I prefer:

1.  Kontact
Kontact is nice and colorful.  It depends on a database system such as Mysql, Mariadb, or ____.  It is a creation of the KDE people.  It's like Evolution evolved.  It has everything needed in  PIM.  It can also integrate with and Exchange network.  I personally monitor 3 emails from it.  It communicates well with Google Calendar and Google Tasks.  I use Google has my focal point which allows me to schedule and complete tasks from my smart phone.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kontact syncronises with my Google tasks.  Everything I do on my phone is on my workstation when I get home.  Yes this is my favorite.
2. Evolution
Evolution and Thunderbird are similar.  I could live with both.  Instead of being tab oriented, the user switches windows with an icon.  It's flat, but very snappy.
3.  Thunderbird
Thunderbird is getting closer to the ideal PIM.  It has a calendar, email, chat, and a form of agenda.  It is tab oriented.  A new tab is opened depending on the application desired.  
4.  Claws
Nuts.  This is just another email client and doesn't qualify for the PIM label.  It is simple, but no calendar.  Just mail.
5.  Alpine
This is an email client for the terminal.  It is great for admins who spend all day behind in a terminal environment.  Not so good for the person on the move in need of a PIM.  Alpine is a great tool for a specific work environment.  For more infromation check out this Wiki:
6.  Sylpheed
7.  Geary 
While being an email client, this does not qualify as a PIM because there is no calendar, agenda, nothin.  This is just for the simple life of sending and receiving email.

Feel free to comment and make corrections or updates.  The biggest deal breaker for me in all this pursuit of the ideal PIM is web based.  I hate webmail clients.  I use them at work, but at home, I just want everything in one spot.  That is why I used Kontact for my PIM and my Smartphone while I am away.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

College and Linux

I have been taking online classes at a popular University.  One of the requirements is to have access to Microsoft Windows and Office.  I am in compliance 100% because my end game there is to get me degree.  It is interesting to note what it is like setting up a computer with W7.

I had the opportunity to purchase a refurbished Lenovo T410 laptop with a 320g HD.  This had W7-Ultimate on it with no office.  I played with it for a short time and then installed a new 250 g SSD and then installed Fedora 21.  The W7 drive I stuck on an adapter and installed it into the disc drive slot.  Now I dual boot Fedora and Windows.

I can usually install and set up Fedora in under 4 hours.  The W7 drive took several hours over a period of several days to set up.  One of the issues was security updates.  W7 has to be primary in the boot sequence.  Further more, to get the security updates, Windows Boot Manager must be used instead of Grub.  That was easy, I just set the Bios to boot to the W7 drive where the WBM handles the rest.

Not done yet.  In order to use anything on the W7 side, I need drivers.  And these drivers need to update regularly.  And with the updates come reboots.  And I can't just shut the system down, I have to shut the system down and wait for the updates before the thing powers off 100%.

An example is my wireless keyboard.  In W7 I can't just plug it in.  Instead I have to first install the cool keyboard software and then plug it in.  And it is cool software.  Other cool software that I need is usually 30 day trials and then proprietary which means I have it for 30 days and then have to make the purchase.

And, with the slow-mo HD, W7 boots slow because, the HD is slow, and there are a lot of start-up programs that have to get up and running in sequence before I can get to my productive day.

On days when I just want to run Fedora, I boot into the Fedora side (SSD) and it is up very fast.  Wireless kicks on and the day is golden.  A week ago, I was working on the car and needed to plug in a special camera called a bore-scope.  I had the choice of installing the software on the W7 side or simply plugging it into Fedora.  I chose Fedora, used Cheese, and recorded the video for my bore-scope project.

I have seen this with other things as well.  I just received a Logitech USB DVD drive.  With W7, I will have to install the driver, most likely.  With Fedora, I will just plug it in and use it.

This has been a long-winded way of saying, I wish colleges would embrace FOSS instead of pushing expensive stuff on poor college students.