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Riccardo Padovani: Scopes are not widgets (they are better)

Planet UBUNTU - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 2:00md

One of the thing I appreciate most on Ubuntu Phones are scopes: they are a totally new way to interact with contents. Unfortunately, after the presentation of the BQ Aquaris I’ve seen a lot of bloggers saying “Scopes aren’t innovative, Android has widgets for years”.

My first reaction was “C’mon, how could you say that? It’s obvious you haven’t tested them”. Then I understood that, yes, we have to blame bloggers because they talk about things they don’t know, but at the same time we weren’t good enough to explain why scopes are so cool, and why could be game changer (but they still need some work, as I’ll evidence at the end of the post).


Ubuntu’s scopes are like individual home screens for different kinds of content, giving you access to everything from movies and music to local services and social media, without having to go through individual apps.

I don’t have a Youtube app, but I can see the best of Youtube without going on the browser.

Basically, they try to find the best result for your queries. This is one of the main differences with Android’s widgets: scopes have a search bar, and they update themself according to your search.

So I can see all Telegram messages I have about Ubuntu:

Also, sources of scopes (so where they take their informations) aren’t only installed apps, but could be anything: a website, a RSS feed, the scope itself, other scopes. Android’s widgets are only a quick link to their app.

Another interesting feature is department: if you want you can split a scope in departments, to have filters for informations. So, in the scope about near points of interesting, I can look for taxis, or restaurants, or so on:

I hope it’s clear enough why scopes aren’t widgets. If we want to find a similarity in the Android world, scopes are like Google Now (but better).

Google Now

(I talk always about Android because I never tried a Windows Phone, or iOs)

Scopes are like Google Now because, without any query, they both try to provide us informations we need in that moment (on this side, Google Now is better because it has more informations about us).

But scopes will be better, because Google Now uses only one resource, Google, while scopes could use every resource on the web.

At the moment, scopes miss some things Google Now have, like flights search, but it misses some things scopes already provide.

What? One of the biggest company on Earth doesn’t have something a little company was able to provide in just a couple of years?

Yes. Because opensource always wins.

And scopes are opensource, and could use any source they want. Google Now is integrated with every Google app. Scopes are integrated with every app. So with a scope I can search my Telegram messages, or my Evernote notes (not yet, but we’re working on Evernote scope).

But scopes don’t win only about integration with apps. They win also on (some atm, all in a future) searches. I love beers, so let’s try to search for a good Orval:

With a scope I have the result without having to open the browser.

Other than beers, I love to code. I don’t know everything, so sometimes I need some documentation; let’s try to find how print works in Python.

A link to the documentation, thanks Google, very useful. What about giving me the documentation itself, as Ubuntu scopes do?

And I can go on on this way for a lot of things.

Okay, I hope is clear my point here: the concept of scopes is the same of Google Now, but scopes are opensource and more powerful, now we only need developers to implement them. Luckily, it’s very easy to develop them, as Carla wrote on her blog.

What’s missing?

Scopes are amazing, but I think they need a couple of things to became a gamechanger in mobile world:

  • Voice search: voice search is critical nowadays: the less I have to look to the screen, the better is.
  • Scope of scopes: one thing I miss a lot is a scope using reply to my query by all scopes and returns me best results. At the moment I have to swype to choose the right scope (like, for beers, untappd): I prefer to do a search, without swiping, and have the best result.

But this is only the start of a great adventure. We have room to improve.

Because, remember, on long run opensource wins. Always.


I made this article (and other opensource contributions) in my spare time because I love what I’m doing. If you are enjoying it and you want to buy me a beer click here.

We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees. - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 11:43pd
Lasrick writes Dawn Stover writes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that climate change is irreversible but not unstoppable. She describes the changes that are happening already and also those likely to happen, and compares what is coming to the climate of the Pliocene: 'Even if countries reduce emissions enough to keep temperatures from rising much above the internationally agreed-upon "danger" threshold of 2 degrees Celsius (which seems increasingly unlikely), we can still look forward to conditions similar to those of the mid-Pliocene epoch of 3 million years ago. At that time, the continents were in much the same positions that they are today, carbon dioxide levels ranged between 350 and 400 ppm, the global average temperature was 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than it is today (but up to 20 degrees higher than today at the northernmost latitudes), the global sea level was about 25 meters higher, and most of today's North American forests were grasslands and savanna.' Stover agrees with two scientists published in Nature Geoscience that 'Future warming is therefore driven by socio-economic inertia," and points the way toward changing a Pliocene future.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

BlackPhone, In Wake of Gemalto Fallout, Receives $50 Million In Funding - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 8:48pd
An anonymous reader writes The BlackPhone, a $600-plus encrypted Android handset designed to keep the prying eyes of criminals and the government out of mobile communications, is now fully owned by Silent Circle thanks to the company raking in investment cash. Terms of the buyout deal with Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone, the phone's hardware manufacturer, were not disclosed. Silent Circle said Thursday that it has raised $50 million and plans on showing off an encrypted 'enterprise privacy ecosystem' at World Mobile Congress next week. A BlackPhone tablet is on the way, too.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Twitter Adds "Report Dox" Option - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 6:01pd
AmiMoJo writes Twitter announced that its abuse-report system, which was recently refined to simplify and shorten the reporting process, has now expanded to allow users to report content such as self-harm incidents and "the sharing of private and confidential information" (aka doxing). The announcement, posted by Twitter Vice President of User Services Tina Bhatnagar, explained that December's report-process update was met with a "tripling" of the site's abuse support staff, which has led to a quintupling of abuse report processing. Chat logs recently revealed how Twitter is used by small groups to create vast harassment campaigns, thanks to sock puppet account and relative anonymity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook Press WA For $40M For New UW CS Building - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 3:13pd
theodp (442580) writes "Nice computer industry you got there. Hate to see something bad happen to it." That's the gist of a letter sent by Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google,, and other tech giants earlier this week asking the WA State Legislature to approve $40M in capital spending to help fund a new $110M University of Washington computer science building ($70M will be raised privately). "As representatives of companies and businesses that rely on a ready supply of high quality computer science graduates," wrote the letter's 23 signatories, "we believe it is critical for the State to invest in this sector in a way that ensures its vibrancy and growth. Our vision is for Washington to continue to lead the way in technology and computer science, but we must keep pace with the vast demand." The UW Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering profusely thanked tech leaders for pressing for a new building, which UW explained "will accommodate a doubling of our enrollment." Coincidentally, the corporate full-press came not long after the ACM Education Council Diversity Taskforce laid out plans "to get companies to press universities to use more resources to create more seats in CS classes" to address what it called "the desperate gap between the rising demand for CS education and the too-few seats available.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Chandni Verma: Tapped on phone 7 times. Now an Android developer! :D

Planet GNOME - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 2:36pd
Nothing has been really tough so far! Just some little tweaks in the build.gradle files I had to make to the sunshine app to make it run, all have been listed in the documentation of the course.

Enabled USB Debugging on my android device and to check if my computer detected the device, ran the following command to obtain some result.

$adb devices

Lubuntu Blog: Lubuntu 15.04 Beta 1

Planet UBUNTU - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 1:47pd
We’re preparing Lubuntu 15.04, Vivid Vervet, for distribution in April 2015. With this Beta pre-release, we are now at the stage of being semi stable. However pre-releases are not suitable for a production environment.

Note: this is an beta pre-release. Lubuntu pre-releases are NOT recommended for:
  • regular users who are not aware of pre-release issues
  • anyone who needs a stable system
  • anyone uncomfortable running a possibly frequently broken system
  • anyone in a production environment with data or workflows that need to be reliable 

Lubuntu Pre-releases ARE recommended for:
  • regular users who want to help us test by finding, reporting, and/or fixing bugs
  • Lubuntu developers

Read the release notes before downloading.

Google Reverses Stance, Allows Porn On Blogger After Backlash - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 1:22pd
mpicpp writes In a reversal, Google says that porn will continue to be allowed on its Blogger site. Google said it has received a big backlash after deciding earlier in the week that bloggers will no longer be able to "publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity." The ban was to have taken place on March 23. Instead, Google said that the company would simply double down on its crackdown of bloggers who use their sites to sell porn.In July, Google stopped porn from appearing in its online ads that appear on Blogger. And in 2013, Google decided to remove blogs from its Blogger network that contained advertisements for online porn sites. "We've had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities," wrote Jessica Pelegio, Google's social product support manager, in a post on Google product forums. "So rather than implement this change, we've decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Vandalism In Arizona Shuts Down Internet and Phone Service - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 12:30pd
schwit1 sends news that vandalism on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona knocked out internet and telephone service for hours across much of the state's northern region. ATMs, credit card functionality, and emergency services were all affected. Officers are trying to determine who cut through a pipe containing a fiber-optic cable on the outskirts of the city, leading to the outage on Wednesday, which hit northern Phoenix and large parts of the north of Arizona. ... The four-inch-thick pipe, which carries a CenturyLink cable, was found sliced through in an area where it is exposed to the elements as it crosses a desert wash about a quarter of a mile from a residential area, Holmes said. Police said the investigation is in its early stages, but that the pipe may have been vandalized by thieves looking to steal metal.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Fridge: Vivid Vervet Beta 1 Released

Planet UBUNTU - Sht, 28/02/2015 - 12:16pd

The first Beta of the Vivid Vervet (to become 15.04) has now been released!

Pre-releases of the Vivid Vervet are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavour developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this release ready.

Beta 1 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. This is quite an early set of images, so you should expect some bugs.

While these Beta 1 images have been tested and work, except as noted in the release notes, Ubuntu developers are continuing to improve the Vivid Vervet. In particular, once newer daily images are available, system installation bugs identified in the Beta 1 installer should be verified against the current daily image before being reported in Launchpad. Using an obsolete image to re-report bugs that have already been fixed wastes your time and the time of developers who are busy trying to make 15.04 the best Ubuntu release yet. Always ensure your system is up to date before reporting bugs.

This Beta features images for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, UbuntuKylin, Ubuntu Mate, Xubuntu and the Ubuntu Cloud images.


Kubuntu uses KDE software and now features the new Plasma 5 desktop.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on Kubuntu Beta 1 can be found here:


Lubuntu is a flavour of Ubuntu based on LXDE and focused on providing a very lightweight distribution.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

Ubuntu GNOME

Ubuntu GNOME is a flavour of Ubuntu featuring the GNOME desktop environment.Vivid Vervet Beta 1 Released

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on Ubuntu GNOME Beta 1 can be found here:


UbuntuKylin is a flavour of Ubuntu that is more suitable for Chinese users.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on UbuntuKylin Beta 1 can be found here:

Ubuntu Mate

Ubuntu Mate is a flavour of Ubuntu featuring the Mate desktop environment.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on Ubuntu Mate Beta 1 can be found here:


Xubuntu is a flavour of Ubuntu shipping with the XFCE desktop environment.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on Xubuntu Beta-1 can be found here:

Ubuntu Cloud

Ubuntu Cloud images can be run on Amazon EC2, Openstack, SmartOS and many other clouds.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

Regular daily images for Ubuntu can be found at:

If you’re interested in following the changes as we further develop Vivid, we suggest that you subscribe to the ubuntu-devel-announce list. This is a low-traffic list (a few posts a week) carrying announcements of approved specifications, policy changes, alpha and beta releases and other interesting events.

A big thank you to the developers and testers for their efforts to pull together this Beta release!

Originally posted to the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list on Thu Feb 26 19:30:02 UTC 2015 by Elfy, on behalf of the Ubuntu release team.

Verizon Posts Message In Morse Code To Mock FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 11:38md writes: Chris Matyszczyk reports at Cnet that Verizon has posted a message to the FCC titled: FCC's 'Throwback Thursday' Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet" written in Morse code. The first line of the release dated February 26, 1934 in old typewriter font (PDF) reads: "Today (Feb.26) the Federal Communications Commission approved an order urged by President Obama that imposes rules on broadband Internet services that were written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph." The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 along party lines in favor of new Internet service rules that prohibit blocking, slowing or prioritizing traffic. The rules, which have not yet been released, are opposed by cable and telephone companies that fear it will curb Internet growth and stifle payback on network investment. "It isn't a surprise that Verizon is a touch against Thursday's order. In 2012, it insisted that the very idea of Net neutrality squished its First and Fifth Amendment right," writes Matyszczyk. "I wonder, though, who will be attracted by this open mockery. Might this be a sign that Verizon doesn't think the fight is over at all?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Finally Allows Customers To Legally Download Windows 7 ISOs - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 10:56md
MojoKid writes: It's long been a pet peeve of many end users that Microsoft has made it such a challenge to procure a legitimate ISO image of its various operating systems. It seems like the company should have no problem offering them in an easy-to-find spot on its website, because after all, it's not like they can be taken utilized without a legal key. Sometimes, people simply lose the disc or ISO they had, and so it shouldn't be such a challenge to get a replacement. Fortunately, with a new feature on the Microsoft site, you are now able to get that replacement Windows 7 ISO. However, it's behind a bit of protection. You'll need to provide your legal product code, and then the language, in order to go through to the download page. If you've somehow lost your key but are still using the OS that it's tied to, you can retrieve it through a few different third party tools. However, it does seem like not all valid keys work properly just yet, since some users are reporting valid keys throwing errors or not enabling a download for some reason.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Simple IT Security Tactics for Small Businesses (Video) - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 10:14md
Adam Kujawa is the lead person on the Malwarebytes Malware Intelligence Team, but he's not here to sell software. In fact, he says that buying this or that software package is not a magic bullet that will stop all attacks on your systems. Instead, he stresses coworker education. Repeatedly. Adam says phishing and other social engineering schemes are now the main way attackers get access to your company's information goodies. Hacking your firewall? Far less likely than it used to be, not only because firewalls are more sophisticated than ever, but also because even the least computer-hip managers know they should have one.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Shane Fagan: Interesting discussion and a potential suggestion from Blizzard

Planet UBUNTU - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 9:35md

Last week's post got a lot of interesting discussion on reddit and phoronix which is pretty cool. The reception was mixed but the thing that I felt a lot stronger about was risk and reward and the idea came up in a different way yesterday on a petition for Blizzard to port their games. Here is the quote for the interesting part:

"Rachel has taken the time to check out this petition and is putting in a request for others high up at Blizzard to also check out the petition. They may also look in to using Kickstarter as a means to help cover the cost of creating native Linux clients for us."

The prospect interested me, so I went to reddit and asked what they thought about it but the main issue people were talking about was not trusting Kickstarter projects in general because they lack the assurances that you will get what you paid for. But the thing that struck me more about the entire situation was I started off by thinking sure id throw 50 euro into the pot and get all my games that I already paid for ported but the thing I was left thinking going to bed later that night was why not poll their users about how many actually use Linux? If I already paid for the games and other people have paid for the games too you are setting kind of a bad precedent.

What I felt the best way of doing the Kickstarter would be this, aim much lower than the cost of the port intentionally because they already have sales even if they don't count them because we use either Windows in a dual boot or WINE to play the games. It would be fair to do it this way. And secondly the Kickstarter would be just to pay for the Linux devs not for buying any particular games. In that way you would be just donating to get all your games ported. Lastly it would have to be a 1 off thing IMO I wouldn't want this happening every few months and I wouldn't want every developer coming to us looking to Kickstart their ports. The only exceptions I'd put to that rule though would be the biggest of the AAA titles, so like this post is about Blizzard games, Ubisoft, EA...etc.

I wonder if they would send it to a porting company as well. They have the devs for Mac obviously and they could port it but I wonder would a revenue share for the Linux versions of their games along with the Kickstarter and a little bit on top to account for potential previous users like me. To put some context I've spent 400 Euro ish on Blizzard games since 2000 and given the outcry from people banned from D3's launch on Linux I'm definitely not the only Linux user they aren't supporting with their games. So they definitely should seriously consider every option to port the game even if it isn't lucrative.


Lenovo Saying Goodbye To Bloatware - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 9:30md
An anonymous reader writes: "Lenovo today announced that it has had enough of bloatware. The world's largest PC vendor says that by the time Windows 10 comes out, it will get rid of bloatware from its computer lineups. The announcement comes a week after the company was caught for shipping Superfish adware with its computers. The Chinese PC manufacturer has since released a public apology, Superfish removal tool, and instructions to help out users. At the sidelines, the company also announced that it is giving away 6-month free subscription to all Superfish-affected users.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ronnie Tucker: Full Circle #94

Planet UBUNTU - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 9:21md

This month:
* Command & Conquer
* How-To : Block Calls, LibreOffice, and Using i2P
* Graphics : Inkscape.
* Linux Labs: BTRFS
* Book Review: Practical Data Science Cookbook
* Ubuntu Games: War Thunder
plus: News, Arduino, Q&A, and soooo much more.

Get it while it’s hot!

Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected? - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 8:48md
donniebaseball23 writes: Thanks to a glut of titles, hardware and precious little innovation, the Guitar Hero and Rock Band craze all but died out by 2010. Now, however, strong rumors are swirling that one if not both franchises will be making a return on the new consoles. But will players care? And will the market once again support these games? Charles Huang, co-creator of Guitar Hero, weighed in, outlining some of the challenges. "First, the music genre attracts a more casual and female audience versus other genres. But the casual gamer has moved from console to mobile," he warned. "Second, the high price point of a big peripheral bundle might be challenging. Casual gamers have a lot of free-to-play options." That said, there could be room for a much smaller guitar games market now, analyst Michael Pachter noted: "It was a $2 billion market in 2008, so probably a $200 million market now. The games are old enough that they might be ready for a re-fresh, and I would imagine there is room for both to succeed if they don't oversaturate the way they did last time."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 8:06md
schwit1 writes: Research and actual experience have found that adjusting to the slightly longer Martian day is not as easy as you would think. "If you're on Mars, or at least work by a Mars clock, you have to figure out how to put up with the exhausting challenge of those extra 40 minutes. To be exact, the Martian day is 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds long, a length of day that doesn't coincide with the human body's natural rhythms. Scientists, Mars rover drivers, and everyone else in the space community call the Martian day a "sol" to differentiate it from an Earth day. While it doesn't seem like a big difference, that extra time adds up pretty quickly. It's like heading west by two time zones every three days. Call it 'rocket lag.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

VLC Gets First Major Cross-Platform Release - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 7:24md
An anonymous reader writes VideoLAN today launched what is arguably the biggest release of VLC to date: an update for the desktop coordinated with new versions across all major mobile platforms. The world's most-used media player just got a massive cross-platform push. The organization says the releases are the result of more than a year of volunteer work on the VLC engine and the libVLC library. As a result, VLC has gained numerous new features, has seen more than 1,000 bugs fixed, and has significantly increased its scope of supported formats.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Randall Ross: Watch Jono's "Ubuntu: The Past, Present, and Future."

Planet UBUNTU - Pre, 27/02/2015 - 7:12md

I just watched Jono's talk from SCALE [1] entitled "Ubuntu: The Past, Present, and Future."

It's really quite an interesting talk, so I'm recommending it to you, my dear readers. I think he did a great job describing the key moments in Ubuntu's history. (Click image to view.)

Towards the end of the talk, Jono makes some startling predictions. Do you agree with them?


[1] Just why people insist on naming a conference after a kernel still baffles and disappoints me. Do we name car shows after carburetors? Didn't think so. ;)


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