This is going to be a rather hands-on evening since most of us have not had enough time to devote to this area this year since the last meeting on this topic and some of the evening might be a bit of a repeat performance. However there will be things to discuss with respect to the Arduino/Raspberry PI and Microbits initiatives and future developments in sensors and the whole robot and IoT field which is becoming quite interesting.
Gareth introduced Ubuntu Touch, the mobile device variant of the Ubuntu OS together with the currently available phones from BQ and Meizu. Later in the evening we demonstrated an Ubuntu phone in the form of the Aquaris E4.5 from Spanish manufacturer BQ.
Announced publicly in early 2013, Ubuntu Touch has been continually developed by the community and refined via initial support for Google's Nexus and Nexus 4 phones and Nexus 7/10 tablets. In parallel Canonical, the company that supports Ubuntu development has worked with device manufacturers on a native device leading in early 2015 to the launch of the first shipping phone, the BQ Aquaris E4.5. More recently Chinese mobile manufacturer Meizu has launched the MX4 high end Ubuntu phone, and BQ the Aquaris E5 mid range device.
The touch interface is designed around edge gestures rather than physical hardware or touch buttons such as home or back below the display. Swiping down from the top edge brings up system indicators/settings and notifications. Swiping from the left brings up the launcher bar, and from the bottom application specific menus. Long swipe from right edge brings up the task manager/switcher while a short swipe switches between the two most recent apps.
Another feature unique to Ubuntu on Phones are Scopes which can aggregate and present information from a number of related sources. An example of this is News scope, which can aggregate and present articles from a variety of news sources/sites into a single scope related home screen. In built scopes include Today, NearBy, Music, Video, Photos but many many more can be downloaded and installed for free. For example install the 7Digital scope to search, preview, purchase and download music from the 7Digital store. The NearBy scope uses location data to deliver information on nearby points of interest from sites such as Yelp, Flickr, Wikipedia, Timeout and more.
Ubuntu for Phones has an app store from which you can securely install both free and paid for applications. This is understandably some way short of the apps available for iOS/Android due to being a new platform, but is rapidly growing with an active development community. Accessing the store requires setting up an Ubuntu One account for sign in and payment processing.
Apps and Scopes can be written in HTML5 with access to hardware/system specific APIs using Apache Cordova technologies, or natively developed in various languages such as C, Python etc. and QT APIs using the SDK freely available on desktop Ubuntu to aid mobile app development.
Ubuntu on mobile devices uses Unity 8 for the user interface and the new display server, Mir , rather than Unity 7 / XOrg as found on the desktop currently. Work is under way to add desktop support to Unity 8, destined to eventually replace the legacy desktop in a future Ubuntu release. This is the converged vision where a single app can support phone/tablet and desktop from a single codebase. (Ubuntu Touch supports both ARM and x86 mobile devices).
Also under development is convergence support for the phone. The aim of this is that a mobile device should be able to switch to a desktop and run full desktop applications when docked or hooked up to a keyboard/mouse. Gareth showed some publicly available YouTube clips of an Ubuntu tablet device and a Nexus phone running Ubuntu for phones being switched between mobile and desktop interfaces simply by connecting a bluetooth mouse, and running LibreOffice opening and editing spreadsheets.
After showing a number of promo videos on the phone OS and scopes Gareth demonstrated Ubuntu Phone running on a BQ Aquaris E4.5, the first shipping Ubuntu Phone which was released earlier this year. This can be considered a mid end device and was handed round for people to take a closer look at.
Please note we have had to rejig the programme again as Michael is not in a position to give his CAT5 talk yet.
There were a few other topics considered for example software used by Radio Amateurs, Model Railways and Machine language translation. All of these need a bit more research before being included.
|ICENI Future programme 2015/2016
|Arduino - Raspberry Pi
Developments. This may change.
|Peter. Duncan and John
|Slide / Video Evening
|Gadgets and Party Evening
|Winter Social Evening - Venue TBA
|Peter et al
|AGM +MS Office 2016 and
Our meetings are held at the Bourne Vale Social Club, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE , for a map and other details please see the website.
Membership fee currently £10, visitors free.
We are continuing our publicity for EAUG events , however their website has not been updated for a year now. So if you wish to know information please phone one of their contacts.
Meetings are at the Great Baddow Village Hall, on the second Tuesday of the month
opening at 7:30 p.m. for a start at 7:45 - 8:00 p.m.
For directions see below (note the new web addresses)
http://www.eaug.org.uk or 'phone one of the contacts on
Drinks usually available.
See the Membership page of the website for more information:
"ICENI does not have any Insurance cover for computers or other equipment so please be advised that you bring machines to the club at your own risk."
However many household insurance policies will include cover away from home often with no increase in premium. (Ed.)