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  1.    #21  
    Whatcha Got?

    We all know, or should know, that this is a rough draft. It's a developer preview to get some attention from consumers and media, plus some possible help from developers to round it out and get some Apps going. Much is being said out there about what Ubuntu Touch lacks. Yep... It's a Beta of the shell. It's not complete. We get that.

    Let's look at what it does have...


    My first impression is that the UI (User Interface) is very full. There isn't any wasted space. That's the best way I can describe it. Canonical has stuffed the phone full of functionality. In one way it makes the phone rather dull - it's all about getting to tasks. But on the other hand it makes the phone rather exciting... I like the home screen on webOS. It's like a blank canvas. You turn it into a work of art that suits you via wallpaper. You open cards, stack them, shuffle them, use them. Then you retreat to that bliss of your wallpaper carefully chosen by flicking it all away. The phone is yours. It has your look until you need to work again. Ubuntu Touch seems to ignore all that. It looks like it wants to race to offer you what you need.

    Ubuntu Touch has a simple unlock screen when you turn it on. There is a status bar up top with basic icons, a large font time with the date written smaller underneath. In the center of the screen is the notification circle. It lets you know what happened while you were away. Pretty clean. Pretty basic. Slide that Lock Screen off from right to left and that quiet simplicity disappears.


    It's Like Android-iOS With a Twist of Orange.


    Once you unlock the screen everything seems to be right within reach.

    There are 5 desktop screens, like Android - swipe left and right to cycle through them. But it's like iOS as well. Things are a bit regimented. Canonical has a vision of how you are going to use your phone and that's how you are going to use your phone. But those Orange crazed folks over at Ubuntu have built customization into the regimentation.

    Hunh?

    Take the main screen, for example. Simply named "Home" it has a small grid of icons at the top. 2 rows by 3 columns. They are labeled "Frequent Apps" and the impression is that they will change either with repeated use of Apps or by user choice. They are static right now, but I feel pretty confident that flexibility is in the works. Underneath that is "Favorite People" on a carousel of thumbnails which you can scroll through. As each contact picture comes into focus a small text appears at the bottom of the pic stating the contact name and a snippet of the last conversation. Not sure where that imports from yet - Twitter, FaceBook, SMS... Somewhere. Tiny updates there are a nice touch. Let's hope the feed is programmable in future. Below that is "People Recently in Touch" with a tiny thumbnail for contact photo a red light/green light to indicate their online status (it shows for FaceBook, More hoping for selection of feeds there) and their contact number. One tap to connect. Nice. Below that is still more: "Recent Music" and "Videos Popular Online" fill out the bottom of the screen. A pretty full page for what you use most.

    Slide to the right and you have the "Apps" screen. "Frequently Used" heads the list and you can scroll down to "Installed" and "Available for Download" lists. So all your Apps, present and future, are pretty close to "Home." But wait, there's more... When you open Apps they persist. A new category opens up at the top of the "Apps" screen showing you all the open Apps so you can tap on them to get back to work if you set the App aside for something else.

    Furthest to the right is the "Videos" screen. From top to bottom you have "Featured," "Recent," "New Releases" and "Popular Online." Streaming or stored videos made handy for your downtime from being productive.

    Just left of "Home" is the "People" screen. Again, suitably close to "Home" as you'll use it often. "Favorites" tops the page (in case you missed it on the home page) with the same carousel of slides to scroll through. "Recently in Touch" comes next, as you would expect. Below that is "New Contacts," a pretty handy category, followed by "A-Z" to bring up the full list.

    On the far left of "Home" you have the "Music" screen. It mimics the "Videos" screen in terms of sub-categories. The only difference is the bottom category changes from "Popular Online" to "Chart Topping."

    All in all, it's pretty busy. But it also puts everything right at the surface, ready for you to tap and use. When scrolling through the desktops a small popup shows at the bottom of the screen with 5 icons, each representing a page. One tiny slide and then you can tap the icon to get the page you need. One more way to speed things up and get going quickly. It gets down to business without a lot of fuss, Things are ordered by Canonical, but in a way that makes immediate sense. Add in the flexibility of fine tuning the most used categories and it lets you still use the phone your way.

    I think Canonical has done a good job of thinking about the UI. Bring everything to the surface. Make it all pretty immediately available and useful. There is a consistency to the look and feel of navigation. What you do most, or are doing currently stays pretty near to hand. I like that.


    Next time: why Ubuntu Touch may have an edge on the competition OR something at every edge of the screen...


    Last edited by RumoredNow; 03/10/2013 at 01:33 PM.
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  2.    #22  
    OK... I just came across this Blog: Ubuntu Touch Preview | Vlad Filippov - Web and Application Developer which shows some screencaps and unmasks the User Agent for the generic "Browser"...

    Best part is it tells how to take and retrieve Screencaps via Linux terminal commands. Nice. Maybe I'll be able to get some screencaps done next two days off.
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  3.    #23  
    I last got a daily build flashed on 03-06.

    So today, 03-12, I'm updating to the latest daily. I'll try and pay attention to what may have changed...

    And just found this in the Googlesphere... "Unsupported packages from an untrusted PPA" or in layman's terms: third party, unverified Core Apps.





    Here's the site: https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-touch-...+archive/daily

    I may get adventurous enough to try one and see how it looks. I'm trying to find out more. Don't want to brick my new toy just yet. LOLz.
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  4.    #24  
    Learn From Your Mistakes

    Yesterday I flashed the new Daily. Seems like they left out some of the Apps that formerly worked. I know I was testing the Browser earlier and now it won't load. Just a dummy.

    The first time I tried to flash a Daily build I mistook the character l (lower case L) for a 1 due to the font used on the wiki.

    So:

    Code:
    phablet-flash -1
    Yields an error/help dialog about phablet-flash

    Code:
    usage: phablet-flash [ -h] [ -d {mako, maguro, manta, grouper}] [ -s SERIAL] [ -b]
                                  [ -r REVISION] [ -l | -p BASE_PATH | -u URI]
    I want that Browser back... Today I used:

    Code:
    phablet-flash -r 13
    13 being the revision number of the previous Daily I had flashed on 03-06. There was an md5 sum error so it wouldn't push the files to the phone. Grrrr...

    Rather than try that again I used:

    Code:
    phablet-flash -d maguro
    -d for device and maguro being my model. That successfully flashed the initial release version to the Gnex and it rebooted. Browser was back.

    So now to push things a bit further... The core apps repo in the previous post is in fact the "official" versions despite the "unsupported, untrusted" language. I confirmed this via the wiki and discovered it is only one dev's contributions... The full list being here: https://launchpad.net/~phablet-team/+archive/ppa

    I added the PPA to my Virtual Ubuntu machine and updated/upgraded all the Apps from the repository... I'm trying to figure out how (or even if) I can simply send updated or upgraded Apps straight to the Gnex.
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  5.    #25  
    Now reprinted over here: http://forums.mobilenations.com/

    I'll try and parallel the discussion in both places for awhile...


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  6.    #26  
    Reprinted from http://forums.mobilenations.com/ 03-19-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by RumoredNow View Post
    I'm using
    Code:
    phablet-flash -l
    To get the latest version (marked 37) onto the Gnex.

    I'll also try to get some screencaps today so I can finally talk about the gestures that utilize each edge of the phone and have some illustrations.
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  7.    #27  
    Reprinted from http://forums.mobilenations.com/ 03-19-2013


    From Every Side


    Warning: This is going to be a long post. I want to talk about the extensive gesture driven aspects of Ubuntu Touch. There are a lot of things to go over and 22 screencaps used to illustrate features...


    Let's start at the top of the screen and work our way around the device clockwise.


    Here's the Home screen

    Pretty standard. A row of status icons across the top. Pretty easy to read, left to right: messages, sound, networks, battery, time.

    You can pick any one of them and get a pull down window shade. Let's try time.

    Notice how the category gets underlined? Nice touch. If you don't pull all the way down on the window shade you can cycle back and forth through the status categories by sliding your finger left and right. Sliding to the left reveals the battery status.

    Left again shows the Networks status.

    Simply complete pulling down the window shade to access the full status page.


    A very nice, gesture driven solution that provides quick access to a lot of system functions and settings. By sliding left and right on a partially pulled down window shade you can then access a full, interactive page for checking statuses and tweaking system settings. Saves a lot of tapping on items and limits the actions needed to some pretty intuitive and smooth scrolling motions.


    The right side of the screen is used for open apps. Here's a screencap of the Apps screen showing open applications as thumbnails.


    You could tap on any thumbnail to get to that app. OR slide your finger over from the right side of the screen to pull the last used app into focus.


    The gesture can be repeated to cycle through all the running apps.

    It's very close to cycling through focused cards in webOS (if advanced gestures is enabled) so I do like this feature quite a bit and felt at home using it immediately.

    Also, notice how when apps are minimalized again the "stack" has gotten reordered to place the last used app on top. The next pull from the right takes you back to the app you last used. In our scenario it is Ski Safari.



    On the bottom of the screen we have interactions within apps. Here's the Browser.


    When you slide your finger upwards from the bottom of the screen you get two things: the mini controls for the open app or a choice to enter into settings for that app (the translucent black box mid-screen).

    By continuing to drag your finger upwards and into the settings box you can open the app settings panel.

    Notice the icons at the top for each open app as well as battery and messages? A quick switcher for apps is built in, as well as settings and advanced controls for the app in focus. That's multitasking functionality.

    The app settings panel is a window shade that can be pulled down from the top to close.


    Also from your app, you can slide your finger up from the screen bottom just a small ways and call up the mini controls.


    Tapping on the URL bar calls up the virtual keyboard, which is a another window shade that can be pulled down to close.


    I like the window shades being on the bottom edge of the screen as well as the top. It's a good gesture and I find it very natural and effective the way Ubuntu Touch uses it in both places.


    To complete our circuit around the edges of the phone let's look at the left edge and the Unity Launcher.

    From anywhere in the phone, a small slide of a finger in from the left edge gives you the Unity Launcher.

    A longer slide from the left shows Unity, but then it grabs an open app if it is in focus and slides it off to the right, minimizing it (and all other running apps) to take you to the Home screen. That happens too fast for me to have gotten a screencap of it... There's a definite tip-over point where the app just minimizes. I have had no issues confusing the short and long gestures.

    Using the short gesture from the left yields Unity and then you can slide your finger up and down the launcher bar to scroll through apps. This also gives you a flyout with the app label on it so you can see what you are selecting. Removing your finger from the icon launches the app.



    Over all, I'm very impressed and pleased with the gesture driven aspects of Ubuntu Touch. They have done a great job maximizing swipes and minimizing taps and button pushes for navigating the UI (User Interface). There is a learning curve, but I don't feel it is very hard to master the gestures if you have spent any time with touch screens. And who hasn't by this point in time? Another thing about using the four edges of the screen for gesture driven control is that it really maximizes the diversity of control possible with just a few movements. A short swipe or a long swipe. Depending on which edge it originates from you get different results, but it basically comes down to just those two gestures along with the familiar scrolling technique The other advantage is that it further capitalizes on something I mentioned in an earlier post about the 5 home screens. Keeping everything you need close to the surface of the phone. You have 5 well laid out main pages (Music, People, Home, Apps, Videos) overlapped with 4 gesture driven areas. I truly feel that anything on the phone is within immediate reach. The effect is a vitality to the OS. It responds well and delivers quickly. I feel very positive about using it and not lost at all when trying to find things.


    Next time, we look at apps (and the lack thereof) along with some of the functionality of the phone and what needs to be enhanced.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 03/19/2013 at 05:58 PM. Reason: typo
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  8. g.vos's Avatar
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    #28  
    Thanks, great posts! Interesting read! Have you upgraded again already? Looking forward to your next post about which apps are working and which dont
  9.    #29  
    Quote Originally Posted by g.vos View Post
    Thanks, great posts! Interesting read! Have you upgraded again already? Looking forward to your next post about which apps are working and which dont
    Thanks for the kind words.


    One of the dailies broke the browser and I had to revert. The latest daily (v37 from 03-19-2013) seems about the same as day one... I'm sure there is stuff going on under the hood that is hard to see from my casual poking and prodding.

    Last week Mark Shuttleworth was quoted as saying “…you can’t really use [the current developer preview] as your every day driver, but in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to.”

    What that means is open to speculation. I would hope it includes APN/MMS settings to get data working. Right now (and since day one) you can make voice calls and send/receive SMS text. Easy, basic function apps should also appear. Check out the repository list to get a good idea of what is in the works. https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-touch-...+archive/daily
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  10.    #30  
    Pulling down v44 even now and reflashing to latest daily...
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  11.    #31  
    Quote Originally Posted by RumoredNow View Post
    Pulling down v44 even now and reflashing to latest daily...
    Yesterday's revision 44 broke the Notes App. I'm updating again today and it has jumped to v48.

    I'l post later to continue the "blog" style entries.
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  12. #32  
    Quote Originally Posted by RumoredNow View Post
    Preamble (or PreRamble more accurately)


    I saw the previews... Looks intriguing. I like the idea that eventually the code, Apps, UI will all be seamless across phone/tablet/computer/TV.

    It's not webOS, but it looks good and Canonical gets a lot of community support. They have traction and are using it to go places.

    I'm a dabbler. I've tried a few iterations of Android on phone and tablet. I've tried a few iterations of Linux for desktop. I tried an iPhone. I've tried Symbian series 60. I made the leap to Windows 8 on desktop despite all the lackluster reviews. I've got a Roku set-top box. I currently use a Pre 2 or Veer and a TouchPad daily as my main devices. All this in the past year... There's lots of other tech stuff I have/would/will try. Depends on how inviting it looks to me balanced against time and money...

    So this Ubuntu Touch thing has my interest piqued. This will be a sort of BLOG thread on how that's going. I'm sure others will chime in if they want. The more the merrier. I feel like there is enough interest about Ubuntu Touch within this community for this kind of a thread. It probably will be way less technical and way more personal. Maybe I'll learn something... there is even a slim chance a reader might learn something. Don't count on it.

    Like I said, it will be very BLOGish.


    pruebalo aqui

    [YT]

    [/YT]
  13.    #33  
    Muchas gracias, amigo.
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  14. Robi_'s Avatar
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    #34  
    Quote Originally Posted by RumoredNow View Post
    Pulling down v44 even now and reflashing to latest daily...
    How is it? What is the rate of improvement?

    sent from my TouchPad 4G using Tapatalk HD
  15. #35  
    You can install it, I just think that it makes the Android Rom unusable as I think it removes it but just back it up and your all good.
    Verizon Pre 3. ATT HP Touchpad. Touchstone 2.
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  16.    #36  
    Quote Originally Posted by Robi_ View Post
    How is it? What is the rate of improvement?

    sent from my TouchPad 4G using Tapatalk HD
    I got delayed in posting the next blog type entry as v48 had issues. NotePad was missing. There was a divot where the icon should have been and the label was gone. Odd. No App, but a place holder for one. I also had power drain when idling with the screen off of about 10% per hour. I think it is because I tapped on that divot and the phone was trying to load the missing NotePad App. I ran:
    Code:
    phablet-flash -r 47
    ...to try and correct these issues and it did.

    I started a bit late. I didn't get my phone till after the Dev Preview had been out for more than a week and I waited a couple more days after that as I solved some technical issues... I guess I flashed the GNex over sometime during the beginning of week 3. You do have to start with the initial release image as it comes with the bootstrap. I updated after just a few hours to the latest daily and I've updated about once a week since then.

    Canonical has a bot auto-building dailies whether there is any new code or not. So far, I would have to say it is all under the hood stuff enhancing speed and stability of the UI. I've not seen any leaps forward. Hopefully that will change... I've heard Shuttleworth being quoted as saying: “…you can’t really use [the current developer preview] as your every day driver, but in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to.” When that happens it will probably be the first change truly noticeable to someone like myself who isn't looking at the code.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ventus221 View Post
    You can install it, I just think that it makes the Android Rom unusable as I think it removes it but just back it up and your all good.
    It does wipe your Android. Some of us consider that an advance in and of itself. LOLz.

    ----------

    Poking at Things


    From the Release Notes:

    "The Developer Preview comes with the following functional applications:

    • Gallery
    • Phone (Dialer, SMS, Address Book)
    • Camera
    • Browser
    • Media Player
    • Notepad."


    Voice and SMS (text) work for send and receive. There is no cellular data, but WiFi works. (Note: on Galaxy Nexus the "a" protocol for WiFi is not yet supported.) So the phone is sort of usable. The main problem there is all the dummy data. There is hordes of the stuff to wade through. They tried really hard to make it look like you have picked up a phone that has been in service for some time. I understand the marketing angle of that. It shows what the OS will evolve into, where it is envisioned to end up under real world use. Kind of cute at first, but more and more annoying as time goes on. There are methods for removing it via ssh, but what a pain in the if you also want dailies; you'd have to do it every time you updated.

    I truly wish they'd remove the dummy data from the daily builds now. Enough already, we get it. It's still there in the initial (required) image so any newcomers will see it. Those of us following the development don't need it. There is a thread I saw on another forum where someone has built images without all the dummy data. I may try one of those soon if Canonical can't let go of the faux usage history and phantom App icons. I want a clean image of what's real.


    Speaking of real... It's time to poke at some of those App icons and see what's real and what's not. On most Apps when you enter the settings page, only the close button works.


    Amazon: It's the mobile version of the site, you can search for items... Log In not working which is kind of inexplicable - the enter button on the keyboard does not work for that screen and the submit button returns a "not matched" error. I tried many times and know I had the info correct. There are no mini controls available using a short swipe up from the bottom of the screen...

    Browser: The Browser works, but I don't care for it. Most everything shows the mobile site. Come on Opera Mobile/Opera Mini, let's get a compatible version for Ubuntu Touch!!!

    Calculator: Just a dummy, a place holder. The picture still shows pi to 6 decimal places. None of the buttons work.

    Camera: It flips between front facing and back. Takes stills and saves them in the Gallery. Video record does not work. Flash works.

    eBay: The mobile site... Since the Browser spoofs Safari, it offered me the iPhone App. I can sign on there, do searches. The buttons on the settings page don't work and there are no mini controls.

    FaceBook: The mobile site... Takes you to a sign in page... IDK if it works. I don't do FB.

    Gallery: Is working... Lots of dummy pics. It does save any pics you take using the camera. The mini controls are working, including edit... but not share...

    GMail: The mobile site, but with an option at the bottom to view in desktop mode.Once there, it's hard to find how you can revert to mobile. Easier to sign out and then back in to get the mobile default. Sign into another account button seems to be broken.

    Media Player: Is said to be working. I haven't bothered pushing any music or video files to the phone yet as I keep flashing dailies...

    Music: Just a dummy page... A static screenshot.

    Notepad: Yeah it works... Sort of. You can make notes and the App holds them. Very bare bones. No way to change font, etc. No notification synergy. Not much more than a blank page to type on.

    Phone: Choose between Call, Conversations and Contacts. Make a call or compose a text message. Pretty bare bones still.

    Sharing: Just a dummy page.

    Ski Safari: Just a dummy page.

    Twitter: Would appear to be an actual App and not a mobile version of the site. Since I don't Twitter, I can't say what's going on there.

    Ubuntu One: It's giving me the same logon problems as Amazon. Of all the Apps, you would think this one would work...

    Weather: Just a dummy page. A screencap.


    The phone will hopefully be making a leap forward here soon... A sign of progress that things are coming together. There are a lot of updates on the Core Apps Daily repository. Hopefully those will get folded in. The phone needs cellular data, a dedicated email button and other basic functions. Can we ditch the dummy data, update the Apps already and let's see where we stand, please Canonical?
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 03/28/2013 at 02:35 PM.
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  17.    #37  
    OK... I'm out for awhile.

    I'll keep abreast of news and may throw some tidbits in this thread, but as of now the GNex is flashed to Jellybean 4.2.2 (without Google Wallet thank you so much).

    I needed to switch carriers due to Straight Talk becoming buttheads and seemingly slowing down my data for the last couple of months. I suspect it is due to their wanting to phase out all the AT&T compatible SIM users they lured in with the "Bring Your Own Phone" plan. Now they don't have AT&T compatible SIMs any longer and are going T-Mo SIM or CDMA phones. Well I'm not going to pay $45 a month to be treated like a forgotten, second class customer on an mvno.

    After shopping around it seems T-Mo actually has the best deal going right now. So to make the switch I needed the GNex to be capable of being a daily driver. Of the 6 phones I own, it is the only one that has the 1700 MHz band needed to get H+ data speed out of T-Mo in my area. I have one other with the 1700 band, but it's a 3G Motorola Backflip and I can't live with that one every day since it lacks pinch to zoom... Anything else I have would only get EDGE speed with the new plan.

    Until Ubuntu Touch gets to the point where it is usable every day, I'll have to refrain from using it... Or better yet, a port of Open webOS for GNex makes it to Beta.
  18.    #38  
    I'll be back in here blogging soon. I just picked up a Nexus 4 for a daily driver and that frees up the Gnex for UT once more.


    <update>
    Code:
    phablet-flash -l
    Yields v69 and the GNex is updating even now.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 04/12/2013 at 01:06 PM.
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  19.    #39  
    I had a hiccup with my internet connection yesterday. v69 didn't pass one of the sum checks when files were being pushed to the GNex.

    I thought if I need only one file it would download quickly, but phablet-flash -l, used just minutes after v69 finished downloading, started downloading v 72. It's a long process to download all the files and push them to the phone: about 90 minutes+. I had to go to work and could not flash v72.

    I started the process over from scratch today and the -l (latest) is now v74. That bot is building more than once a day.

    I know they are updating the language that parts of the OS are written in. Specifically, OT received an update and the core apps are now all at the newest version, I believe. Parts are also being rewritten to mirror the Raring of desktop version 13.x....
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  20.    #40  
    Alright... Looks like we're getting some progress. v74 has some more functionality (FINALLY).

    Clock, Calculator and Calendar have all updated.

    I'll be getting the next daily on my days off (Tue-Wed), updating this thread with a Blog style entry and getting some more screencaps to share.

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