Friday, August 6, 2010

Introducing new Ubuntista (and Ubuntu Trap author) Philip Kneitinger

Hey Ubuntistas,

I'm extremely pleased to announce a new author for the Ubuntu Trap.  I decided to ask him a few introductory questions to help you get an idea of how epically awesome Phil is.

Who is Phil K?
I'm a native son and ardent supporter of Buffalo, NY, and also the author and editor of Black & Blue & Gold. I'm a single dad with a kick-*ss son and I'm into heavy metal, being an amateur foodie, collecting hockey jerseys and vinyl records, and watching freaky foreign flicks.

Everyone has their story about getting into Ubuntu, what's yours?
My brother is a huge evangelist for open source. He heard me yelling at my laptop in frustration one day, and suggested Ubuntu. Then he suggested it again, and again, and again, and again. Finally I relented and haven't looked back since.

People are always weary about switching to Ubuntu from another OS.  From your experience how would you go about enticing them to join the Ubuntu community?
There are two ways to go about this: push inclusion on big box desktops and push the improved casual user experience. Dell already includes the OS, but doesn't do a very good job marketing it. If my own experience with Ubuntu is the norm, then it's a far superior casual user experience over Windows and ought to be presented as such. Sure, it takes getting used to the new application installation process (.deb instead of .exe), but it's WELL worth it.

What do you most look forward to in Ubuntu MM?
I'm most excited for the streamlined and upgraded graphical presentation and application integration of the desktop/laptop version of Meerkat, but the Unity interface for netbooks has me giddy. I'm most likely getting a netbook as my next computer, so I'll be keeping a close eye on its development.

I can't wait for the day that Canonical announces the beginning of the Ubuntu tablet project so I can get something kickass like an Archos 9 or the like and be able to load up a fully touch-functional build of Ubuntu.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Empathy, you redesign the contact entry!

Hi Ubuntistas,

There is discussion going on in GNOME for Empathy on where a great place to put the protocol icons would be.  With some new enhancements that are on their way into Empathy, there will also be a cell phone icon signifying those contacts that are mobile.

Currently the contact entries look like this:

Notice that the protocol icons are in the status icon.

Now since there is the soon-to-be addition to Empathy for mobile statuses, there is going to be a cell phone icon to notify you of this case.  The issue that is going on in Empathy is one about where this cell phone is to be placed in the contact entry.  Look at the following empathy-dev mockup:

Without having to read through the bug, the gist of the issue is that the icons on the right are really for user interaction (i.e. the camera can be clicked on to start a voice chat with someone), and the phone should go somewhere else.

I have since then submitted a mockup of my idea for a placement of the protocol and phone icons as follows:

Now, where do you come into this picture?  I would like to get users submissions as to new mockups for contact list entries.  I'm not just talking about the protocol and phone icon placement, I'm talking about a complete redesign of the contact entry.

There has to be the following items in the contact entry:
  a)contact name
  b)contact icon
  c)status icon
  d)protocol icon
  e)phone icon
  f)webcam icon
  g)status message

Please submit them to me in an e-mail to, but don't attach any mockups you make, please upload them to an online source and send the link in the e-mail.  You can also post your mockup links in the comments section of this blog for others to look at.

Happy Ubuntuing!