Platform emancipation

I love Android. Always have done. But over the years since I’ve been using it in parallel to iOS I have generally found iOS superior. iOS lacks the flexibility of Android, but the consistency of use, the higher quality apps and seemless integration of hardware and software has always made iOS such a great experience.

Over the last few years, i’ve been on a journey of trying to become platform agnostic. I’ve invested in cloud services which, by definition, are all platform independent (such as EverNote, numerous Google services and Microsoft Office365.) Locally, I’ve invested in a NAS and running my music library off it, together with Plex (media / server).

I’m also heavily invested in the ‘internet of things’. All my devices from Philips Hue lighting , Sonos, WeMo switches, Canary and most recently my Amazon Echo (full review to follow soon) can all run/be accessed on any platform of choice.

With all that infrastructure in place, I’m now at the point where I’m changing a number of my computing devices.

img_0034My first choice, is that I’m finally ditching my iPhone as my primary phone and replacing it with an Android phone – the outstanding OnePlus 3. (I still own the OnePlus 1 – which I loved) Why? Because, I miss Android and it’s flexibility and secondly because, as I blogged recently, I find it difficult to justify iPhone prices anymore. But perhaps, more importantly – I don’t like what Apple has become to its millions of users. It’s a fashion accessory. It’s a must have item. Folk want to be seen with the latest iPhone because, like any designer label it demonstrates wealth, style and prestige. The type of users that now seem to dominate iPhones sales are fashionistas – the original geeks are few and far between. Ironically, they care less about what the iphone is capable of and more about what the latest colour is. In short, it’s crass. I no longer want to be a part of it. I’m going back to my linux roots and intend to move forward with an Android device in hand once more.

I’m also planning to ditch my MB Pro. (I’ve already handed off my MB Air). In short, I only use it now to maintain my server. It’s surplus to requirements. I plan to buy either a ChromeBook or a laptop optimised for running Ubuntu Linux (such as the Dell XPS developers edition).

With these changes in place, by the end of the year, the only Apple device I’ll actually own is my iPad Pro 12.9” . (Which I absolutely love). In fact, it’s now my go to computer of choice. And since my break-through of being able to produce and edit my weekly podcast,  www.blackonblues.com , I can see myself sticking with it for a very long time.

 

Rediscoving my love for Open source software

I first discovered the concept of ‘open source’ software through the operating system Linux back in 1998. I had played with ‘free software’ before on various windows boxes but never really considered ‘open source’ as a development methodology.

I spent a lot of time installing various Linux distros, from Redhat (as it was then) to more recently the stunning Ubuntu Linux. I was also involved convincing editorial colleages for our in house magazine to stick the OpenCD on to a special edition a few years ago.

I have been lucky enough to have meet RMS himself, along with other advocates in this space.

So I am someone who gets open source.

However, more recently my passion for open source has been trumped by OSX (itself an OS based on free BSD). I still play with distros of Linux from time to time, but OSX is, without doubt, my platform of choice. I think the reasons why are obvious. But if pushed, there are two fundamental reasons why I use it:

1. Robustness
2. Elegance

But that’s not the purpose of this post. It simply provides a context.

The Joys of Open Source

As you will know I recently installed the excellent WordPress on my webserver. It now drives my blog. I am also developing a Joomla based CMS website at work.

I cannot begin to praise the quality of both systems enough. It staggers me to think that thousands of developers work tirelessly to develop, improve and fix code for these, and many other applications. They ask for nothing more than for us to use the software. The quality of technical documention is outstanding and technical support is everywhere.

I do not consider myself a web developer. Yet I have not struggled to install, develop and hack these applications. It is credit to the quality of the software – not my expertise.

As I develop, in particular the Joomla site, my gratitude and thanks to all those coders grows.

For the record I take my hat off to you all. And offer a genuinely, heart felt, thank you!