April 26th, 2013

What should computers learn

Ok, so I have small herd of computers -- Thinkpad X60, AMD desktop, ARM "tablet", Nokia N900, Nokia 6151, TI Chronos smartwatch. All but 6151 and chronos run Linux, all are programmable, and I have root access on all but Nokia 6151.

Yes, I should probbly get some light and cheap android as 6151 replacement. Light and cheap because it will go on horseback with me, and should have powerful at least 60mW led... because that's important in woods. I'm thinking about Alcatel v860 (old android) or Gigabyte Gsmart g1342 (unsure rooting)... suggestions welcome..

I somehow assumed that having machines under control and running Linux would make them well-behaved, solve world hunger, and make them behave as they do in movies... and yes, it is nice to be able to ssh around and to run same app on most machines.

But happy new world did not happen.

Phones have concept of "behaving themselves", like quiet profile, and I did program automatihc profile switching -- sl4a for android is nice, and that's part of reason I ported it to maemo. Unfortunately, desktops/notebooks do not even have that much... and tend to wake me, or worse (wake my girlfriend).

Another thing PCs should learn from phones is concept of loud speaker and headset. Using headset is pretty much requirement for VoIP telephony, but incoming rings should go to the loudspeakers... even if headset is plugged in. (Currently, I have USB speakers connected for loudspeakers. Yes, twinkle can select soundcards for ringtone and voice separately; but these should be system-level options, not app-level.)

What more would I like? It should be easy to do remote access between my machines; I should not have to search for cell phone to read incoming SMS, or do anything with the small keyboard when I'm near PC. Yes, ssh exists and I use it a lot, and vnc for n900 exists, too... but it has all to be configured separately. When I open web page on a PC and start reading, it should be easy to finish reading on other computer. I now use chromium, so maybe it is doable, but I'd really prefer to use my server, not google.

I'd like my machines to synchronize contact and calendar entries. At least this seems to be mostly working, thanks to owncloud. I'd like machines to automatically back each other up. I have some scripts for that, but they are a bit hacky and far away from automatic. And there's more that should be done...