Living with a Droid

It has been almost two months since my last post and a lot has happened on the Tech Front. My laptop, Synapse was given away to my brother, my Xperia Z cellphone was retired and I bought a Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X the 32 GB, 3 RAM version, which I named Helix. For my use (everything but games) is the best phone I ever owned, beautiful display, huge battery, great design.

As with everything technological I own, I tweaked it up to the point that going further I needed root permissions, which I am too lazy to bother obtaining… The Note 4X comes preinstalled with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the Xiaomi’s own desktop, MIUI 8.

Now MIUI is (for me) an iOS clone desktop, meaning no app drawer which I don’t like at all. But I must say the theme shop has some rather nice themes to change the default style. Aside the aesthetic of the OS, the only thing that bugged me is that I cannot disable some of the core applications, like the File Manager, Calendar etc – which of course I bypassed using this little application called Activity Launcher.

I mostly like to use as little resources, both CPU/GPU-wise and Disk Space-wise, so I keep a very small application list, considering people who have 3-4 pages full of applications.

My application list including the apps that came preinstalled and I use, consists of :

  • Activity Launcher (App Disabler)
  • Black Player EX (Music Player – paid)
  • Evernote (Note App)
  • FX File Explorer (File Manager – paid)
  • Firefox (I’m torn between Firefox and Chrome for now)
  • Folio (Facebook / Twitter / Google+ all-in-one app, currently free but I’m planning to buy the pro version)
  • Gboard (Google keyboard)
  • Chrome (Google’s browser)
  • GMail (I’m using it with my own domain)
  • Google (Which has now upgraded to Assistant, and I am not too happy about it)
  • Google Drive
  • Google Photos (I have disabled Xiaomi’s Gallery, because it is too intrusive to use Mi Sync)
  • Maps
  • Messenger (Facebook’s Messenger)
  • Mi Remote
  • Nova Launcher Prime (The absolute best launcher for Android and the reason why I don’t care which launcher my next Android Phone has – paid)
  • Omoro Icon Pack (Dark and beautiful icon pack – paid)
  • Proshot (Way better than the stock camera software – paid)
  • Shazam Encore (Music identifier – paid)
  • VLC (Free and awesome as it’s desktop counterpart)
  • YouTube

And some pictures of the overall “feeling” of the desktop :

April’s personal update

  • We had our FIRST birthday!!! On the 6th of April my beautiful daughter turned 1! The best feeling anyone can feel…
  • GNOME 3.20 was just released downstream to my Antergos boxes. Minor visual changes, major speed upgrades… A bit annoyance on Void due to the Paper theme, but the new Adwaita (default) dark theme is excellent.
  • I read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother novel, a postcyberpunk book on government surveillance, repurposing technology, online & offline privacy. An excellent and thrilling read, I finished it in a day… plus there is an sequel, Homeland. And they are free, in fact all of Doctorow’s books are available online for free.


When two worlds collide

Yesterday saw the announcement, at Microsoft’s Build 2016 convention, that users will be able to run Ubuntu Bash Shell commands directly through Windows 10 – that means no need for Cygwin or other 3rd party layer technologies. This was made due to the collaboration between Canonical and Microsoft…

Does this consist as a betrayal from Canonical to the Open Source community?

Even though Canonical began with Ubuntu (an easy to install, easy to use, distribution), it has now evolved to a company that gains the most from software for servers, the cloud implementation, and is now entering the handheld market (Ubuntu‘s convergence is a great idea and from what i have seen it is solid). And Ubuntu is moving away (slowly but steadily) away from it sources – snappy will replace .deb packages plus the whole situation with the intellectual property claims.

Concluding, this partnership with the biggest OS will bring Ubuntu (a part of it) to many millions users, mostly system administrators and developers. With profit in mind, Canonical don’t forget is a company, it’s a good move.

From Microsoft’s perspective, the company has lost the wagon on Cloud and Big Data implementation, plus developers and coders mostly user OS X and Linux. Meaning that Windows are used, either by people who only use their PC for Facebook, or by PC gamers (and they now have other options). This partnership gives them access to a user base of people actively working on technology.

So.. another good move.

Personally, I don’t believe that Canonical is respecting the Open Source ethics nowadays. With that in mind the Open Source community will not be affected, on the contrary, maybe some Windows users will be converted to Linux –  probably Ubuntu at first, but when you go down the rabbit hole..there is a great new world waiting.


Yesterday, a friend of mine told me that my posts here are targeted to a very limited audience and most of the people don’t understand them. So… what am I really talking about for things like Linux, Antergos, GNOME, DE etc. ? Plus a bump to my first post here.

First of all, most of my posts are related to my time using Linux. What is Linux ?

Quote from the Wikipedia article :

Linux is a Unix-like and mostly POSIX-compliant computer operating system (OS) assembled under the model of free and open-source software development and distribution. The defining component of Linux is the Linux kernel,[13] an operating system kernel first released on 5 October 1991 by Linus Torvalds.

Essentially is a collection of layers over the Linux kernel that provide the end-user with a usable environment for the use of his/her computer. Due to the open nature of Linux, each user (or group of users) took the opportunity of creating their own custom Operating Systems (called Distributions) resulting to a plurality of choices on all the aspects of computing.

The most known Distributions, that spearhead Linux’s development are Debian, Arch, Ubuntu (currently based on Debian), OpenSUSE, Red Hat Linux, CentOS. Each one of them targeted to different audiences.

A Distribution should not be confused with a D(esktop) E(nvironment). A DE is – quote from the Wikipedia article again – :

In computing, a desktop environment (DE) is an implementation of the desktop metaphor made of a bundle of programs running on top of a computer operating system, which share a common graphical user interface (GUI).

The biggest DEs on Linux are GNOME and KDE, with forks of them like Cinnamon, MATE, Unity (Ubuntu only), having a big user base.

Most of my posts are about me using Antergos Linux – my favorite Distribution – and messing with some Desktop Environments (Cinnamon earlier, GNOME now), getting to know ways of customizing them, using new software, being happy for not destroying my machines etc.

Later… Getting to know Antergos Linux!

Synapse Tweaking (GNOME edition)

Now that I have gotten acquainted with GNOME as my desktop environment, I removed / installed and adjusted it to my liking. Antergos has a great minimal collection of applications, but some of them are of no use to me, or I have been using alternatives. After I installed the Arc Dark theme and the Moka icons, I changed the default setup..

What was removed : pidgin / bijiben / cmake / gnome-font-viewer / orca / seahorse / tracker-needle / pamac / gnome-music

What was installed : tlp / Polari / Rhythmbox with the Alternative Toolbar plugin from the AUR / Terminix

GNOME Extensions enabled : TopIcons / Activities Configurator / Arch Linux Updates Indicator / Drop Down Terminal

From the default desktop :

The default Antergos GNOME desktop

The default Antergos GNOME desktop

To this :

Synapse desktop

Synapse desktop

A small slideshow from my tweaked desktop :

Athens Digital Revolution

Parts of the Athens Digital Revolution expo at the Onassis Cultural Centre, which ended on January 7th 2016.

Plus some videos of some of the interactive parts of the Expo:




There is a ton of other material, including videos of interactive art, vintage computers, 3d printed artifacts and more. Maybe on another post…

2016 here I come…

Vacation is over! I wish to everyone a geeky happy new year!!!

So I will be back to my usual geeky ranting and open source ventures!

First task : Finish (finally) my #projectAleph with Linux. Synapse (laptop) and my media Center are – almost – ready.

Of course I will try to document everything.

Cheers to an exciting 2016…!

Plasma is here!

Happy holidays everyone!

These past two weeks have been rather slow for my online presence, because…holidays!!! But for the Antergos team, these weeks were anything but slow, with KDE Plasma now available from the Cnchi installer (>0.12.46 version).

I will surely give it a try when the customization is complete (and from what I have already seen, it will be a great DE customization), KDE feels more and more compelling from what I have been reading online and seeing in the Eye Candy group on Google+.

Let 2015 end… 2016 feels exciting for the Open Source community!!!

Bits and Pieces of Fosscomm 2015

Yesterday I attended the second day of Fosscomm 2015 on the Technological Institution of Athens. First of all I would like to point out that the convention was excellently organised, my previous experiences on various technological – and non – conventional was traumatic. The campus of the Institution is beautiful and the convention’s workshops and classes was scattered mostly on the faculty of Technological Applications building.

I watched the PirateBox intro course, by A very interesting course for off-grid file sharing, chatting, media streaming.

The Open Business course, which evolved to an interactive lab to create a viable business model based on open source thinking and technologies.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time, so the last course I watched was a Quadcopter design and introductory course.

The beauty of Open Source are it’s people, I had time to talk to some very interesting persons about OpenSuse, Fedora and Debian – I also met the Mate maintainer of Debian! – plus I got familiar with GreekLUG and Ellak.

Booths of the Bitcoin, OpenSuse, Fedora communities

Booths of the Bitcoin, OpenSuse, Fedora communities

All in all it was a great experience, next year though I hope we will be more organised and attend both days and more courses!

P.S : The best thing about conventions are the goodies!! Stickers, DVDs, bags and a cup was my loot from Fosscomm 2015!

Fosscomm Goodies!

Fosscomm Goodies!

Crash and Burn

I tried, I really tried. And I failed… Miserably I may say.

Installing a Linux distribution from a minimal base is harder than I expected, especially if you want to install a bare system and build from the ground up. After several attempts I now have a non-functional laptop and no courage to attempt anything like that for the foreseeable future.

On the plus side I have learned tricks and features of Linux I had no clue existed.

PS. For the record I tried Arch (lol), Debian Net Install and Antergos Base, which got me further than the others.