My first look at Google Events

I just created an event on Google+, since I invited some people over and I wanted to try test it. First I find it visually really cool, the animated images already there look very nice and you can of course upload your own.

Google wanted to structure „Events“ in three phases. Firstly before the event in the planing stage: Date, place (with integration into calendar and maps of course), RSVP (you can invite people without Google accounts as well) and I guess discussion. It is nothing you couldn’t do via mail, but getting directions with one click and having everybody included into the discussion (nobody forgetting to answer to all recipients) is a nice bonus. All in all, the first part is of course a necessity, but done good.

The second stage is during the event. You can activate „Party mode“ on your smartphone and all your images you shoot during that time are automatically added to the event. I don’t really see the big use in this, I could just upload my photos later. Since everyone who could see the images is at the event, there is no need to look at photos in real time in my opinion… Seems useless to me, but maybe I’m missing something here.

What I liked was the third phase: Afterwards everyone can upload all of his photos to the event and all participants (and only participants in the default setting) can see them together chronologically. Thats a sooo simple but nice thing. Normally if you get photos from friends after an event, they are usually numbered differently to yours, so you would need to (hopefully automatically) rename them into some date-time thing to mix them with yours or just leave them in the separate folder. In Events you can seen them all, but you can also filter by author if you want to see only photos a specific friend made. This is something I look forward to. I just hope there will be a download feature as well, because even though I like to have a few pictures online, I always want to have a copy on my hard drive.

I still have to find out how it works for people without a Google account, but I guess they get an RSVP mail with the details and a link to RSVP. But I think thats a good enough solution.

During the streaming of the Google IO keynote yesterday I thought this is an unnecessary and dumb feature. And maybe it is unnecessary (especially for people like me, where a lot of friends don’t have Google+ accounts or don’t use them), but it is surely not done dumb. Instead Google put some thought into what might be useful and did it in an visually nice way as well. Looking forward to using it for a few occasions. (Videos and more on Googles official Events page)

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Android Apps Handy Tablet

Samsungs SmartStay Clone als App


Ich hab eben eine App getestet, die Samsungs Smart Stay nachahmt: ISeeYou. Smart Stay nimmt ein Bild mit der Frontkamera auf und prüft ob ein Gesicht zu sehen ist. Wenn es ein Gesicht findet, bleibt der Bildschirm an, ansonsten geht er nach dem eingestellten Timeout aus. Beim Lesen von E-Mails oder Webseiten, kann es durchaus vorkommen, dass das Display aus geht, obwohl man noch liest, deswegen fide ich Samsungs Idee gut, leider konnte mein Galaxy Nexus das bisher nicht.

Ein erster Test mit der light Version von ISeeYou hat gut geklappt, solange ich auf das Display geschaut hab, ist es an geblieben. Einstellungen gibt es keine, man kann den Hintergrunddienst aktivieren und deaktivieren. Rechte sehen auch OK aus: Nur Zugriff auf die Kamera und Standby ausschalten, das ist natürlich beides essentiell um die Funktion der App zu erfüllen. Internetzugang oder Zugang zur SD-Karte hat die App z.B. nicht, somit sollte das Ausspionieren nicht so leicht möglich sein. Was ich mir noch wünschen würde, wäre dass es nur das Icon in der Benachrichtigungsleiste anzeigt und nicht auch noch einen weiteren Eintrag zum drauf klicken. Das verschwendet mir zu viel Platz und sollte nicht notwendig sein um den Dienst im Hintergrund laufen zu lassen, wenn man schon ein Icon hat.

Bin gespannt ob es sich negativ auf den Akku auswirkt, ich hab den Display-Timeout nun mal auf 15s gestellt und die App aktiviert, subjektive Langzeittests werden vielleicht noch folgen. 🙂

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Sluggish Ubuntu during disk I/O solved

I finally found a solution for the most annoying linux problem I had for years! 🙂 TL;DR: System is now far more responsible during disk I/O with the lowlatency kernel, source: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux-source-2.6.22/+bug/131094/comments/390

I have a linux box (waxford) that is used as a home server for all my needs at home (media, file server, dev server, backup, …) but also as an always on desktop. It’s an old (by current standards) AMD 4450e with 2×2.3Ghz and 3GB RAM and a (software) RAID5. If I remember correctly, I installed it as an Ubuntu 08.04 server and upgraded up to 12.04 over time.

The problem was, that after one of the updates the machine was unusable as soon as some disk I/O happened. Playing MP3s while running updatedb, installing updates or starting Thunderbird was impossible and the mouse would stand still for seconds. Very annoying and embarrassing. 🙁

Yesterday I read a comment in the bug report for that problem, which I’m subscribed to for years as well, with a possible solution. As described there I switched from the server kernel to the lowlatency kernel. That surely brings some throughput penalties in benchmarks, but in real live usage my machine is usable again. It doesn’t feel sluggish all. I’m really happy about that simple solution.

The bug existed since 2007 and still isn’t officially closed. In the roughly 13 years of using linux little annoyed me as this did. I had to fight with so many drivers and incomplete implementations of stuff – after all its free software, I’m free to extend or not to use it. But this drove me crazy, in a lot of ways my linux desktop in e.g. 2004 was far more usable than my way more powerful machine during the the last few years.

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