sunnuntai 15. toukokuuta 2016

Smart phone as a PC - choose between MaruOS, Ubuntu Touch and Windows 10 Mobile

Smart phone as a PC?

Nowadays smart phones are powerful enough to act as PCs. Talking of the specs; RAM memory varies between 2-4 GB. ARM processors are able to run many apps at the same time. Screen resolutions are up to HD level.

What alternatives are there around when you want to turn your smart phone into a PC? At least the following three. Read on to find out which suits you best.


MaruOS is in early stage yet mature. Only Nexus 5 smart phone is supported at the moment. When Nexus 5 is attached to a Full HD HDMI-monitor via slimport adapter  a genuine Debian Linux shows up on screen. Not bad! You can run your favourite Linux apps like LibreOffice or Scratch. In fact you can install any app found in the repositories! Phone itself runs a derivative of Android.

If you want to get MaruOS visit their web site to get the invitation. In addition you need to know how to flash your Nexus 5. That's been made easy. There are comprehensive instructions around and even a script which takes care of the flashing. IMHO MaruOS is the best thing to happen to smart phone industry!

Ubuntu Touch

Ubuntu Touch has a bit different approach compared to MaruOS. Canonical Ltd is developing a system called Convergence which means you have the same UI (i.e. Unity 8) on your Desktop, tablet and smart phone. In addition all apps are universal and should work on any of the devices.

At the moment you can even order a Ubuntu Touch based phone if you like. If feeling brave get a used Nexus 4 and flash it. it's a inexpensive way to become familiar with Ubuntu Touch and Convergence.

Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft Continuum is very much like Convergence from Canonical Ltd. You can purchase a bundle with either Lumia 950 or 950 XL smart phone and a special hub which let's you run Microsoft 10 Mobile on an HDMI-screen. Bear in mind you can't run x86-based apps on Continuum. So called Universal apps are supported only. For example Office is not the same you are used on your Desktop but a touch screen version instead. Universal apps can be run on Desktop, tablet and phone - even though using different processor architecture.

Which one suits you?

That's up to you! I tried all three of them and they have their pros and cons. I'm happy it's finally possible to attach phone to a monitor and run familiar apps. MaruOS is my favourite since it lets me run Debian on a big screen. I never thought anyone would make it possible!

Will "phone-as-a-PC" take over?

That's the headache of other people than me! When thinking of Apple... they will never introduce something like Continuum or Convergence. Why not? Because that would eat their own business. Apple wants to sell hardware, not let you stick to one device only.

Let's hope for the best. At the moment I'm very satisfied there are many paltforms to choose from.

Running MaruOS on Nexus5

lauantai 14. toukokuuta 2016

The latest Raspbian got new features

Raspbian is IMHO the best distribution for Raspberry Pi. The latest version is packaged with some new features. Let's take a look what Raspbian has to offer.

There is a button for Bluetooth in the upper right corner. When clicking it you can pair for example keyboard and mouse. No additional USB Bluetooth dongle is needed if using Raspberry Pi 3.

You can copy microSD cards with an external SD card reader. There is now a handy tool called SD Card Copier available in Raspbian. Look at the picture below.

When programming a proper editor is a must. Geany is there waiting for you and your code. Take a look at the manual if in need.

Bluetooth has an icon of it's own

MicroSD cards can be cloned with
an external card reader

Geany is an editor for programmers

perjantai 13. toukokuuta 2016

Create a web survey with Excel Online in no time

Would you like to create a web survey form of your own in just minutes and start to collect answers and opinions in an Excel sheet right after that? It's possible with Excel Online. Here's how you do it:
  • Open Excel Online.
  • Login with your Microsoft account (I guess Hotmail, Live, all do).
  • Start a new Workbook.
  • Look for Survey. Start a new Survey.
  • Type in the first question and it's answers (see picture below). There are different answers types to choose from (for example yes/no etc.)
  • After all Q&A click Save and Show at the bottom.
  • Edit Survey until ready. If Ok, click Share Survey.
  • Click Create a link.
  • Click link and Control + C which copies link to Windows Clipboard. You can shorten link if you like. Use services like TinyURL or
  • Send link to your students and keep Excel Online open. You will see your sheet populated online!

Screenshot in Finnish only, sorry.

Type in questions and answers.

lauantai 7. toukokuuta 2016

Write image for Rasperry Pi on a microSD card with your phone - no PC needed!

With Raspi Imager it's possible to write an image for Raspberry Pi on a microSD card. No PC is needed anymore! Here is a list of what you'll need:

  • Android phone
  • OTG (OnTheGo) cable
  • SD card reader
  • Internet access

At the moment Raspi Imager supports Noobs, PINN Lite and BerryBoot only. Make sure to choose the right storage. Do not write on a microSD card inside phone! In addition find out how much free space you have before downloading an entire image (1,1 GB). Happy writing!

No PC needed anymore for this task!

User Interface od Raspi Imager 
is easy to understand

perjantai 6. toukokuuta 2016

Google Slides - ask presenter a question in real time

Whether you are a presenter of a slide show or in the audience it's possible to interact in real time - with Google Slides!

People with their mobile devices can take part in your presentation as soon as you allow them to interact with you! Look at the screen shots below. All texts are in Finnish but never mind. You'll be in touch with your audience in no time!

Look for the new features in upper right corner

People can ask questions when they
move to an appearing web address

This is how you see the questions on PC

The audience can join
the conversation with
their mobile devices

keskiviikko 4. toukokuuta 2016

Opera browser for developers - with built-in ad block

Opera browser is back with built-in ad block (in developer version only). Does it work? Well, at least both ads (there are only two of them) on my site were stripped off. Look at the pics below.

If you don't want to mess around with different ad block add-ons download Opera developer version. In addition, Opera promises to load web pages quicker than other browsers do.

Click Menu, Settings and you'll find option for ad block

Opera for developers - no ad

Chrome - with an ad