Tablets are without a doubt the hottest toys for 2011 – at least thus far. Apple lead the way with the iPad during 2010, as they did with the iPod in 2001. I’m going to predict here that unlike the iPod, in 2021, Apple will not still be dominating the Tablet space as they do the portable music space. This will mostly be thanks to an innovation in thinking about software more than it will be about the software itself – the Android project.
As Tablets go, I’d group them into 3 (strictly speaking 4) types that count:
1. Apple’s iPad
2. Android based pads like the Galaxy and Xoom
3. BlackBerry Playbook
(4. Windows-based and other pads)
1. Apple’s iPad is big 9.7 inch, generic and restrictive. It does not and will not have Flash support. It doesn’t have any cameras or expandable storage. The iPad Appstore has a wide range of free and paid applications available but Apple is very restrictive over what Apps they allow. Basically if they don’t like it, you don’t get it (even removing scantily clad ladies from magazines). You will always be beholden to the Apple Big Brother/Autocracy. This is a device made by Apple and software made by them too.
2. Android is an Open project, the software is free and anyone can use and contribute to it. Companies like Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, HTC and Motorola (Xoom) have been using it for their Smartphones for some time now. The 7 inch Galaxy Tab from Samsung was the first device to run Android (software) on a Tablet. The Xoom is another much vaunted Pad released this year. The applications available are growing by the day, and will probably surpass those for iPad in the near future.
3. The BlackBerry PlayBook gets a mention because it looks so awesome. Check it out by searching Google. It runs a ‘new’ Tablet software which will also be the future software for all BlackBerry phones. The number of applications available will be far less than for the iPad and Android but will grow as the uptake of the PlayBook grows. It will possibly not be as massive as the iPad and Android devices but BlackBerry lovers will probably prefer them because they will work well with their phones and enhance productivity.
4. The Windows Tabs are fat and expensive. Don’t bother with them. There are some devices which also runs software like Ubuntu and others. Ingore them and focus on software built specifically for use as a Tablet. Tablets are all about useability and thus purpose-built applications are critical.
1. Purchase a Vodafone SIM, €9.90 (includes €1 credit) and €15 CallNow credit
2. Load €15 credit by keying in *100*Aufladenummer# and press dial
3. Configure Mobile Broadband for “Germany” -> “Vodafone D2 Websessions” (Will vary depending on your Operating System. Ubuntu below)
4. Connect and on first browse when presented with Vodafone Websessions Screeen, choose 7 day (1G limit) for €12.95
5. Surf away!
I’m now proudly running Ubuntu 10.10 upgraded from 10.04 as my day to day operating system on my PC. What broke during the upgrade? Just my Lenovo X301′s trackpoint scrolling. This is when you hold the middle of the Trackpoint’s buttons while moving the Trackpoint to scroll.
Previously in Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) and Intrepid (9.10) getting Trackpoint scrolling working meant editing the X.Org pointer configuration manually – something just not within the grasp of the average user.
The great news for users of Ubuntu’s latest release Maverick Meerkat or 10.10 (released on 10/10/10) is that using GPointing Devices this can be configured with just a few clicks.
- Search for and install “gpointing” in Ubuntu Software Centre
- Go to System > Preferences > Pointing devices
- Enable “Use wheel emulation”, choose button 2, and enable both vertical and horizontal scroll
- Click, OK – et Voila!
Further to my previous post on this subject detailing how to get this to work on Ubuntu Karmic (9.10), here are details for getting it working in Lucid (10.04).
If you followed the previous instructions, you will want to remove the file created there:
Create the file /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-thinkpad.conf as root with the following content:
Identifier "Trackpoint Wheel Emulation"
MatchProduct "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint|DualPoint Stick|Synaptics Inc. Composite TouchPad / TrackPoint|ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint"
Option "EmulateWheel" "true"
Option "EmulateWheelButton" "2"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "false"
Option "XAxisMapping" "6 7"
Option "YAxisMapping" "4 5"
Restart X/Ubuntu and test!
Note: I’ve written another post about getting this working in Ubuntu Lucid (10.04).
To prove that I still have geek left in me, this post celebrates me getting my Trackpoint scrolling working in Ubuntu 9.10, though using a Trackpoint instead of the Touchpad probably qualifies me anyway. For those who don’t know what a Trackpoint is, it’s that little “nipple” in the centre of your keyboard.
My Lenovo Thinkpad X301 uses an Alps instead of Synaptics trackpad and thus requires a slightly different configuration to that I found when I Googled this solution.
What is required is to create /etc/hal/fdi/policy/thinkpad.fdi with the following contents and then reboot:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!-- Trackpoint X301 -->
<match key="info.product" string="DualPoint Stick">
<merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheel" type="string">true</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelButton" type="string">2</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelTimeout" type="string">200</merge>
<!-- Touchpad X301 -->
<match key="input.product" string="AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint TouchPad">
<merge key="input.x11_driver" type="string">synaptics</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">true</merge>