I guess this is what I am?
I’m constantly looking for newer, better, more functional, or plain cooler, and usually a desktop companion.
I guess I was a distro whore back in the day of “Linux on the Desktop (TM)”. Simply never satisfied. Difference is this time I’m lashing out on the apps.
Currently it is a Journal/Notes app I’m after, and while I thought I had found a couple of very suitable contenders I’ve decided to go back to an old friend on the desktop, and wait for a companion iPhone app, with a slightly clunky work around in the mean time.
I tried, and liked MacJournal, over a year ago, but settled on Journler because I wanted more of a filer aplication than just a journal, and it fitted the bill a little better. Since then development on Journeler has almost ceased, and with some must have features still way down the pipe I switched to Devon Think as my main file repository. This works well, inspite of Devon Think still being a beta, and the fact it misses some of the features I loved in Journelr, but I miss a general journal/diary.
This can be easily done in Devon Think, but I want to keep a diary separate to my main file store, much as I now keep my project management separate. So I’m back with the trial of MacJournal, and a hint of an iPhone version to come very soon. Everything can talk together, mainly using the Mac Services menu, but it is all a little kludgy.
I still don’t understand how after two iPhone versions, 2.0 last year, 3.0 this year, programs such as Entourage still don’t talk properly to the iPhone, and by properly I mean categories, tasks and notes. I’d still love to use an all in one application like Entourage, or even SoHo Organizer, but they either don’t work, don’t connect, or are outrageously expensive for an ordinary desktop user.
I’ve just had to deal with a puzzling couple of hours figuring out some ‘issues’ on the XDA. It turns out they are connected to the bloody American Daylight Saving Time changes, annoying when I’m in the UK and have no plans on visiting that side of the Atlantic!
The problem was one of newly created appointments not showing where they should, they were there but were 400 years in the past, 137 years in the future, in 1946 or other bizzare dates. Times for them had also gone bizzare with random settings and other odd activity. This was only affecting appointments, not tasks, and syncing with the Mac was compounding the problem.
Information was scarce, but I’d downloaded the MS cab file to patch the issue, though the non-standard ROM in the XDA was supposed to have it built in, but what no-one said was that you have to alter the time zone on the device, then alter it back! An hour or so wasted sorting something out that is un-nessecary if the people responsible just made things to work, and why an issue with US DST, which altered on March 11, should manifest itself when BST started on the 26th is anyones guess?
Mark/Space have just released their updated version of the Missing Sync for Windows Mobile.
It is an early alpha, but is fully released to the public, now supporting Windows Mobile 5.You need a 2.0 serial number to run it, but so far I’ve not been asked for mine…We are up and running, installation went smoothly over V2.0 on the Powerbook, and on my Wizard, but first sync, set for device to overwrite Entourage, is going painfully slowly. Still, I have a lot of data, and we are Bluetooth only at this stage in the release.I’ve noticed one bug already, but it existed in Missing Sync/Entourage before, and that is all day events stretch to 2 in Entourage.I’ll update as I progress, and yes I did take all the backups before trying this!
Mark/Space have just released their updated version of the Missing Sync for Windows Mobile.
Still suffering from sync woes. ICal just don’t want to talk to Pocket informant on some tasks. It just keeps being one day out, which ever way I do it.
Going to have to spend a little time trawling through and solving the issue. Other than that I just rely on PÌ and my PPC for tasks, it is much more powerfull anyway, but not in an Entourage/Outlook kind of way. I always feel that they are more complex, not powerfull. The best desktop PIM I have ever seen was Poco’s Barca, but it only runs on Windows and won’t sync with anything else (Palm beta excepted).
Wish list.. Apple, please talk to me, I would like iCal + Mail intregration like Barca using standard Unix mbox/cal formats..
Not that i’d ever get it of course.
Got my head around this Pocket PC thing, and the Pocket Informant – Entourage via Pocket Mac Pro mismatches, and I’m starting to see some real benefit in the platform. Treo and Palm changed the way I thought about being mobile, I think that now I am really going to change the way l’m able to work.
Plus’s include WiFi, amazing, sceen size, so much more usable, multi-tasking, of sorts, but streets ahead of Palm.
Minus’es. Well, bulk, battery life, lack of software and bizarrely that Pocket Word is way behind Documents to Go on the Palm. Come on Microsoft, note to self. “must do better”!
Preparing for the ‘possible’ move to a PPC device. Moved over to iCal, mail, etc. from Entourage. Interesting thing is Missing Sync, and Palm desktop is a real pain in the backside. Still it looks as though I’m most of the way there, Treo and the Mac apps are now talking together.
All this because currently there is only Pocketmac that builds an app for Entourage PPC syncing, and Pocketmac was a ball ache on the Palm sync issue, so I’d prefer NOT to use it.
New 6880 newsletter template is 80% done. Pages is a pretty good word processor, but learning a new WP is less good. Its kinda MS Works +, but that cannot be a bad thing. It fits with the ‘Mac it just works’ philosophy. For an average use the iWork-iLife suite is more than
ample. I’m of the opinion that Works is more than OK for the average computer user. If MS bundled Works with EVERY Windows install, and tidied a few more apps into groups, added a little spit & polish, they would be taken a little more seriously. As for Linux, the day a Works
or iApp suite appears on that platform, with even half the polish of iLife, then that is the day that desktop Linux will have truly arrived.
I think we maybe waiting sometime for that to happen though.
Its strange when you think about it, Linux wants to be a contender in the desktop market, but has almost no ‘professional’ applications. MS has everything available for it, but nothing bundled with it, and the Mac platform aims at some specific pro markets, and bundles one hell of a useful SOHO suite into every install. To me it all seems a bit of a hash.
Still, I would be quite happy to drop all my eggs into the Mac basket.
Its a good platform, and even the additional software to the OS is impressive. I really want to start getting stuff done, rather than than just trying to do stuff. I will be the first to admit that Apple is not intuitive if you are coming from MS, or Linux. Yes it does the stuff,
but it is very much a GUI driven interface, and I do sometimes fail to ‘gel’ with it, somethings are so simple I fail to see them even when they stare back at me, and yet others are so good I do not even notice they have done their job.
Right now I’m considering a move away from Entourage and using the standard Mac contact apps, issues with syncing with PPC is the drivingforce.
Mac – Entourage sync. Sorted.
Traced the problem, down to having iCal, and iSync in the loop, and maybe even bad advice form MacFormat magazine.
Instructions from magazine were to enable iSync conduit for Palm, so it synced the Palm (treo) to iCal, then use Pocket Mac to sync to Entourage, basicaly iSync thinks Pocket Mac is an additional device. So that’s the original setup, cost £15.00 for Pocket Mac, and syncing is dodgy to say the least.
New improved solution is to take iCal, and iSync out of the loop, discard Pocket Mac, and simply use the Palm conduit that comes with MacOffice. Added to this was the purchase of Missing Sync, £25.00, and everything works perfectly, notes in Office sync with Memo Pad on the Treo, all Tasks and calender events sync fully, everytime, in a pretty simple package. Job done.
I’ve no use for iCal now, that is a fairly horrible interface, but ever since StarOffice 5 I have looked for an intregrated email/tasking/address book. Entourage, Office for Mac, fits the bill perfectly, but I have to admit that Barca on Windows would be an equally neat solution. I wish they would port that to Mac or Linux, or both.
While again, gotta be cos things are so busy round here this week, and nothing, not even slightly, went wrong, got changed, or annoyed the hell out of me on the tech front.
Strange. It doesn’t usually do that!
So I have to invent a moan then? Or just take a few moments to reflect on ‘was there anything to say?’
Got it. Mac to Palm sync. That’s annoying, a problem even.
SO I got the shiny Mac, and a cutsie Trio, and they talk, sort of.
The sort of is the problem tho. I never tried Mail on the Mac, and I hate the iCal interface, Palm desktop is better than that, but chose to move straight to Entourage, which I like, and despite it being a Microsoft product, and it having several idiosyncrasies and problems, I intend to continue using for email, tasking, notes and project management. But, and its a biggie, why is syncing through to the Palm such a hit and miss affair? I can’t carry the Mac with me 24/7, but I do the Treo, so why is it that I can’t trust anything to sync in the required direction every time. Why do I have to double check everything, double entry things that are vital, and still lose stuff in the transfer. What is so difficult to sync between Palm desktop and Entourage?
Is it that I need to add iSync into it, is it the Entourage conduit in Office, or is it the 3rd party devices that I was recommended to purchase? Pocket gobetween in this case. Should I have done more research and tried Missing Sync?, dearer than Pocket Gobetween.
Whatever it is I need to look into ways of solving it. A simple sync seems to take hours when you have to check the Treo, Entourage and iCal to see if anything has gone wrong, alter anything, then re-sync to get it right, sometimes upto 3 times before I’m happy. I’m also glad I opted to not use the iMac account, adding another ‘device’ to the mix would make this a real pain in the arse, but I am now considering this as an additional service, although $99 per year is very difficult to justify, especially as I pay a very good ISP, and have a £5 month additional hosting account that is currently unused.
I think my lazy afternoon may now take a different direction….
I said I’d give Fedora my best shot. I have.
It lasted 5 minutes I think.
Ok, it was longer than that, but not much. Blue Curve is fabulous to look at though, and its intregration with all the apps is to be admired. Kontact was there, that was 2 * to Fedora.
Halfway through up2date I decided I was going to be hard pushed to like, let alone love the thing.
I miss Yast, Xandos Networks, Drakconf even. I can’t find any reasonable way to start and config the Samba network, or NFS, or any of the usual stuff. One config setting was even telling me that I had no network cards, up2date was running at the time, so I’m sure there was at least one of the 2 in the box was configured and running! I can’t find away to configure the scanner or cardreader, let alone my phone, all vital.
I should just persevere. But why? If this is one of the top distros I’m amazed. I know I was using KDE, Gnome just doesn’t do it for me, I tried that again as well, and Fedora is a Gnomecentric build, its just that it won’t do anything for me, physically and mentally. Searching on Google and in the Fedora forums was also not a pleasant experience, I tried for info on configs to scanner and reader and could not come up with a straight answer quickly.
Look, I need it to work with my network, scan, talk to my phone and camera via direct link and cardreader. I want it to act as a file server, general purpose desktop, workstation for my design projects and as a learning box for the OS, hell maybe even do a little dev or something. SuSE did all of this in 9.+, Xandros does most of it, but is a little behind in terms of kernel and supplied packages, and updating to non standard core components may/will break its funcunality as a ‘sealed unit’, and this is one of its strong points. I know that Mandrake would also fill in all the points, I just have a problem actually running it at the moment.
My confidence in SuSE has taken a blow, but I will return to it if I really need to do so, Xandros is going to be updated on the old Windows box as soon as V3 is available, and I am considering a subscription to the distro anyway, but is not exactly what I want for this machine, but if push came to shove I would have no problem with using it. So it comes back to distro search again, and the core of Xandros, Debian.
Mepis did appear at one point to be a good option, but for one thing, like Xandros it is not 100% Debian compatible, and will break if pushed in the wrong way. As a live CD for evaluation, fixing things it is worth the $9.95 download price I paid. It won’t, out of the box, talk to scanner, phone or reader, but using its ‘community’, like Xandros, answers would not be too far away, I think. Now I’m not afraid of digging deeper into an OS guts to get things going, but would really prefer that the basics are already there, easily accessible.
So its back to a bit of Google’in, a couple of blank CD’s and that old friend broadband. Libranet this time, worst case will be a couple more CD’s in the drawer, best, well a working 100% reliable desktop for day to day use. Here it goes again.
16:53: Well, turn up for the books today. I Finally have a working link for Treo phone to Linux.
So, despite the major turmoil of the week, and I’m talking of failed backups here, things are finally looking good for my relationship with Linux. SuSE 9.0 you are now doing me proud, and worth every penny of the investment.
9.1 is on its way, God knows what that might **** up, but it should be worth the try.
AT LAST, LINUX IS READY FOR MY DESKTOP.
Maybe this is the end of this blog. I have no need to chronicle my battle to go from a Linux newbie, to a Linux newbie with a Linux desktop, or is that really all. Maybe I’m now a an advanced Linux newbie, and maybe that’s worse. One of the few things that I really remember my dear old dad telling me was that a little knowledge is worse than none at all. Maybe he’s right, and right now I’m on the threshold of major changes to my computing life, i’ve made it to a desktop that I can live with and use, but is it the start of many problems, trails and tribulations with using this desktop.
I am proud to think I’ve got this far, and I’m happy to be an early adopter. Well I’ve been experimenting with Linux for around 3 years, seen distress V7 ish on, but OK, so I’ve only been determined to do this thing, and blog it, for a year, but that year has seen me go from ‘oh my god, why am I doing this’, through, ‘OK, I’m most of the way there, what do I use it for?’ to finally having 66% of ‘my’ machines (briefly 75%) running it. Maybe the nest stage is to be able to use it for more than day to day desktop stuff, and adapt to the challenge of being able to use it for some serious work.
Like I said, today is a good day, and will be looked at as a major personal milestone.