Open Source phone anyone?

Open Source development has brought the world a stable operating system, reliable web server and thousands of free and very useful programs and scripts. Will it bring us the next great phone?

Last July 9, OpenMoko started selling from their website the Neo 1973 phone, which runs the company’s eponymous open source mobile software package. This is an early version, geared more toward developers and hackers. neo19732

OpenMoko is an open source operating system for mobile phones. It is built on the Linux kernel and various other open source software packages. It even has a software package management system that will allow users to easily manage, install, and remove applications in their phones.

I am an open source advocate so I may be a touch too optimistic about the project. But it’s easy to feel that way. You only have to use software such as Firefox, web content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal, or a Linux desktop (get Ubuntu!) to know that open source is a very viable development framework.

There is no need to list the merits of open source development as these are more than amply covered in a lot of websites.

But what makes the project hold such promise is that unlike in PCs where most people have become dependent on popular closed-source applications, in mobile phones there are no such dependencies.

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Smart launches mobile TV service

For less than the monthly subscription fee of a cable TV connection, you can now watch digital TV anytime and anywhere on compatible mobile phones.

Smart Telecommunications Inc. and 360media launched on Tuesday myTV, a service that allows people to view high-quality TV broadcasts on their phones. The quality of the video is really great, it’s better than the quality of the SkyCable feed, on a bad day, to the unit next to my newsroom cubicle.

mobile tv MYTV. CNN as viewed on a Nokia N92 unit during the Cebu demonstration of Smart’s mobile TV service. Click on photo to enlarge. (Photo by Sun.Star’s Ruel Rosello)

Unlike the current prevalent video streaming and downloading service, myTV does not use the cellular network to transmit the video. It is broadcast, similar to how regular TV receives images via an antennae. MyTV uses the Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld or DVB-H platform for broadcasting.

For P488 a month, Smart subscribers can view CNN, MTV Philippines, Cartoon Network, National Geographic, Pinoy Box Office, History Channel, Solar Sports, Basketball TV, ETC, and Jack TV.

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Playing with fire? Painting with fire!

Or snazzy Ubuntu Linux with AWN dock and Compiz-Fusion

Beryl, the compositing window manager I’ve been using since I migrated to Ubuntu Linux in April, is now merging with the project it forked from, Compiz. The new project is called Compiz-Fusion and the initial work is great, a few notches above Beryl in some aspects.

compiz-fusion ring switcher RING SWITCHER. Compiz-Fusion’s ring switcher is really a great and eye-catching way to switch between applications. For more Compiz-Fusion features, check out my short video clip below. Click on photo to view larger image.

For a Linux newbie, discovering the extent of customization possible with the operating system is a productivity trap: you decide to tweak one part of your desktop and then you’d read about another cool software or tweak and so you decide to try it and the next thing you know, you’re spiraling in an endless trial of tweaks that you miss several project deadlines.

I was determined to avoid that.

After I installed Beryl and configured it to my liking, I made a pledge to limit customization of my desktop appearance to changing wallpapers and the configuration of my panels.

I failed.

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