Ubuntu is getting closer to Windows and Mac (in a dumb way)

I’ve always thought that the Ubuntu team “got it right”: I found Unity beautiful, the whole integration of different pieces among different projects, the simplifications and removal of unnecessary options was good. Then I started noticing the over-removal of things. First went CTRL-Alt-Backspace, the very useful combo that kills the windows server. I almost never need it but when I needed I realized it was disabled by default some time ago. I didn’t complain too much as the feature is pretty advanced and I have found myself killing the session unintentionally hitting the combo with fat-fingers a couple of times. So I thought the choice made sense. But today the line between simplification and dumbification  has been crossed: Ubuntu Raring Ringtail 13.04 has disabled the virtual workspaces by default.

Today I upgraded to Ubuntu 13.04. At reboot I wanted to start my apps in the usual workspaces : 1 for the browser and mail, 3 for xchat… but OMG! CTRL-Alt-DOWN doesn’t work… Quick search first to learn what the heck those things are called then the sad truth: workspaces are disabled! What a moronic choice to disable them by default. Guys, come on! I understand making things simple, but dumbing down on Mac and Windows on their limitations is a stupid choice.

To enable them again there is a settings in the panel as described on Ask Ubuntu. I feel like my respect for Ubuntu’s team is at its lowest point ever and this makes me unhappy.

I think removing the workspaces is the dumbest idea ever, on par with grouping windows from the same app in the Alt-Tab cycle. Please somebody explains why. Is this because Microsoft doesn’t have workspaces, so we should copy them, right? Wrong! What’s next? Disable paste with middle-click? I might as well go buy a Mac then or learn how to live with Windows if I have to learn and live with moronic systems.

Why is Asus selling bad customer experience?

When I read that Asus announced to ship three new models of its Eee PC with Ubuntu I was excited. Then I went on to read the full announcement and I found out ath

NETBOOK INNOVATOR Asustek has announced that it will ship three models of its Eee PC with Ubuntu 10.10 preinstalled.

It will ship Ubuntu’s older version, 10.10 while now we are at 11.04. So the first thing that Asus customers will see when they boot the machine and connect it to the internet is a cute screen that says “There is a new version of your operating system. Do you want to upgrade?” What? I just spent $ for this new system and it’s obsolete? And it’s not going to be a simple system update or a ‘service pack’: it’s a whole new version of the OS, different GUI and more.

If they’re selling these machines at the Ubuntu (or general GNU/Linux) fans there is no problems as we’re used to fast upgrades. But if Ubuntu and Asus are aiming at Windows users, as it seems, I think they have to make an effort not to welcome their new customers with a message that can be read as:

Welcome! You just bought an obsolete system!

That’s poor customer experience.

via Asus will preload ubuntu linux on three eee pcs- The Inquirer.

How to avoid frustrations with BlackBerry and Mac

Just don’t buy that combo: Mac and BlackBerry are two very closed environments, they don’t want to be interoperable, they hate each other and their customers.

Not that I would make such mistake, never. But I have friends that do this kind of stuff and then I’m enough of a friend to share with them the painful experience.  A very good friend of mine loves Mac: it’s a cult (no rationality, only emotions) coupled with a very strong lock-in strategy with non-standard data format and in general poor interoperability with the outside world. She hates touchscreens, so she ruled out buying an iPhone. I can’t really say that this is necessarily bad because the iPhone would have tightened her data in stronger shackles.

So she decided to buy a BlackBerry Curve 8900 hoping that RIM’s newly released Desktop Manager for Mac would work. As she soon realized, that was a wrong assumption. I tried to help her out but DM for Mac is a smelly piece of **ap.  The software installs fine and when you connect the phone for the first time the DM happily tells you that there are upgrades available for your device. Do you want to install them? DM asked. Not now, I answered, as I first want to do a backup of all data. Ok, clicked on Backup.  The DM tried to shit but only farted: after 3 minutes with a progress bar not progressing, it said ‘Sorry, can’t backup’. Ok, I said, lets try this again. This time no useless progress bar, nothing. I noticed that the BB seemed disconnected. I unplugged and plugged it in again several times but nothing changed.  I tried soft rebooting the machine with no result, so I hard rebooted it taking off the battery. Everybody hates rebooting a BB: after waiting for 3 minutes I connected the usb cable again to the Mac Desktop Manager and the device showed up again, connected. DM asked: Do you want to install the updates for your device? This time I answered Yes, thinking that maybe declining the request the first time was the reason for the mess. Well, it wasn’t: the DM started the upgrade process but, after a few painful minutes watching the progress bar not showing any progress, it eventually gave up. I tried again the soft reboots, unplug-replug., hard reboot, etc. I even uninstalled and reinstalled the RIM Desktop Manager as suggested in the BB forums (wow! a pure Windows mentality) until I finally gave up.  I’ll see if I can find a Windows machine for her to update the BB firmware and see if that solves the problem of communication between Mac and BB.

The lesson learned is: if you buy highly proprietary products like Mac and BlackBerry don’t expect them to be interoperable between each other. These companies hate each other and they sacrifice their user’s freedom of choice only to see the other company suffer.