Try Something New

Photo copyright Mandy Crandell

I’ve not actually checked how many times I’ve helped organise the process of getting new wallpapers into Ubuntu but it’s about two a year since some time in 2009 I think, so that’s quite a lot I suppose. It’s been really fun but I’ve noticed in the last couple of cycles that the number of submissions was in decline from thousands at their peak to hundreds. There may be lots of reasons, people don’t like using Flickr, it’s not the most exciting part of the release perhaps, whatever the reasons though, this cycle it is especially quiet.

At the time of writing, about midday on Sunday, we have 19 submissions – basically you’ve never had a better chance of being included.

This all suggests to me that it’s time for a change, time to find another way to source these images or scrap the process entirely and accept that many users maybe don’t change their wallpapers or find their own.

Ubuntu is, and hopefully always will be, about the people pitching in to be a part of development, able to make the things that they want to make together and to that end I think we should interpret the numbers as clear feedback. it’s time for some new blood to freshen this process up or for the community to decide it doesn’t need this part of the process anymore.

This will be the last wallpaper process I try to kick off unless there’s an outcry, and I’m really not expecting one. I think this has been a fun way to include non developers for a while but it may be time to find another way, if another way is needed. I really enjoy doing it but if we’re not getting the interest then probably better to put our energy into something else.

Personally I also have a bit more on my plate with a 7 month old boy and a new job I’m about to start so probably won’t have the capacity to be on IRC/ Flickr groups I once had. Some people have expressed interest in being more closely involved over the years and some of them have really stepped up to help sort images. I say again to them and to anyone else who’s interested, this isn’t a Canonical process and it isn’t an Iain process, it’s our process and _we_ can do it if _we_ want to or not. We don’t need anyone’s permission :) Get involved if you’d like to, you can drop me a line to iain_at_ubuntu_dot_com if you’re feeling a bit lost but are powerfully compelled to do something.

In the meantime, get snapping/ scribbling and here’s to seeing out this process once more with feeling :D


Hello everyone! It’s that time of year. Spring is starting to spring out there and now’s the time to grab a camera, pick up a pencil or wet your brush and start working on wallpaper submissions for this release of Ubuntu. Every six months when a new version of everyone’s favourite free and open-source desktop is released a bunch of helpful souls get together to source beautiful images to include in the release.

This release is codenamed Vivid Vervet and for this release I think we should focus on the word Vivid. Let’s throw off the winter darkness and go for bright and exciting pictures. Let’s really make a statement in 2015. I’m keen to hear people’s ideas for how they’d like to proceed.

into the spring of things, part three
into the spring of things, part three by Danielle Nelson - All rights reserved

We also have something new to contend with this cycle, and that’s a phone! The BQ Ubuntu powered phone is out there and there are more to come so it’s important that we also think about these devices. I’m gathering intel as we speak on these phones and will update with more as the process continues.

Ubuntu phone

As with previous submissions processes we’ve run, and in conjunction with the designers at Canonical we’ve come up with the following tips for creating wallpaper images.

  1. Images shouldn’t be too busy and filled with too many shapes and colours, a similar tone throughout is a good rule of thumb.
  2. A single point of focus in photos, a single area that draws the eye into the image, can also help you avoid something too cluttered.
  3. The left and top edges are home to Ubuntu’s Launcher and Panel so be careful to consider how your images look in place so as not to clash with the user interface. Try them out on your own desktop, see how they feel.
  4. Try your image at different aspect ratios to make sure something important isn’t cropped out on smaller/ larger screens at different resolutions.
  5. Take a look at the wallpapers guidance on the Ubuntu Wiki regarding the size of images. Our target resolution is 2560 x 1600.
  6. Break all the rules except the resolution one! :D

To shortlist from this collection we’ll be going to the contributors whose images were selected last time around to act as our selection judges. In doing this we’ll hold a series of public IRC meetings on Freenode in #1504wallpaper to discuss the selection. In those sessions we’ll get the selection team to try out the images on their own Ubuntu machines to see what they look like on a range of displays and resolutions.

Anyone is welcome to come to these sessions but please keep in mind that an outcome is needed from the time that people are volunteering and there’s usually a lot of images to get through so we’d appreciate it if there isn’t too much additional debate.

Based on the Vivid release schedule, I think our schedule for this cycle should look like this:

  • 15/02/15 – Kick off 15.04 wallpaper submission process.
  • 28/02/15 – First get together on #1504wallpaper at 19:30 GMT.
  • 06/03/15 – Submissions deadline at 18:00 GMT – Flickr group will be locked and the selection process will begin.
  • 12/03/15 – Deliver final selection in .zip format to the appropriate bug on Launchpad.

As always, ping me if you have any questions, I’ll be lurking in #1504wallpaper on freenode, email me iain_at_ubuntu_dot_com or leave a question in the Flickr group for wider discussion, that’s probably the fastest way to get an answer.

I’ll be posting updates on our schedule here from time to time but the Flickr group will serve as our hub.

Happy snapping and scribbling and on behalf of the whole community, thanks for contributing to Ubuntu! :)


Verónica Sousa's Cul de sac

Verónica Sousa’s Cul de sac

Ubuntu was once described to me by a wise(ish ;) ) man as a train that was leaving whether you’re on it or not. That’s the beauty of a 6 month release cycle. As many of you will already know, each release we include photos and illustrations produced by community members. We ask that you submit your images using free photo sharing site Flickr and that you limit your images this time to 2. The group won’t let you submit more than that but if you change your mind after you’ve submitted, fear not, simply remove one and it’ll let you add another.

As with previous submissions processes we’ve run, and in conjunction with the designers at Canonical we’ve come up with the following tips for creating wallpaper images.

  1. Images shouldn’t be too busy and filled with too many shapes and colours, a similar tone throughout is a good rule of thumb.
  2. A single point of focus, a single area that draws the eye into the image, can also help you avoid something too cluttered.
  3. The left and top edges are home to Ubuntu’s Launcher and Panel so be careful to consider how your images look in place so as not to clash with the user interface. Try them out on your own desktop, see how they feel.
  4. Try your image at different aspect ratios to make sure something important isn’t cropped out on smaller/ larger screens at different resolutions.
  5. Take a look at the wallpapers guidance on the Ubuntu Wiki regarding the size of images. Our target resolution is 2560 x 1600.
  6. Break all the rules except the resolution one! :D

To shortlist from this collection we’ll be going to the contributors whose images were selected last time around to act as our selection judges. In doing this we’ll hold a series of public IRC meetings on Freenode in #1410wallpaper to discuss the selection. In those sessions we’ll get the selection team to try out the images on their own Ubuntu machines to see what they look like on a range of displays and resolutions.

Anyone is welcome to come to these sessions but please keep in mind that an outcome is needed from the time that people are volunteering and there’s usually a lot of images to get through so we’d appreciate it if there isn’t too much additional debate.

Based on the Utopic release schedule, I think our schedule for this cycle should look like this:

  • 08/08/14 – Kick off 14.10 wallpaper submission process.
  • 22/08/14 – First get together on #1410wallpaper at 19:30 GMT.
  • 29/08/14 – Submissions deadline at 18:00 GMT – Flickr group will be locked and the selection process will begin.
  • 09/09/14 – Deliver final selection in zip format to the appropriate bug on Launchpad.
  • 11/09/14 – UI freeze for latest version of Ubuntu with our fantastic images in it!

As always, ping me if you have any questions, I’ll be lurking in #1410wallpaper on freenode or leave a question in the Flickr group for wider discussion, that’s probably the fastest way to get an answer to a question.

I’ll be posting updates on our schedule here from time to time but the Flickr group will serve as our hub.

Happy snapping and scribbling and on behalf of the community, thanks for contributing to Ubuntu! :)


Podcasting :)

09Apr14

Giant Bombcast on my phone


battery charging on the 301

 

I first saw this the other morning when I charged the phone for the first time and it’s a pretty cool idea. Your device is telling you that your charger doesn’t need to be constantly attached. It’s like someone was given the time to sit and think about how something was being used, and where, this phone is mostly being used in places where people are watching their bills a bit more closely than the bloated west. We tend to think about lights and fridges when we think about where we can save on electricity, not that wall wart that keeps our phone alive.

The niggle came this morning. I turned my phone off over night as it wakes up to wake me up and has also shown me a nice top tip where it suggested I let my “phone sleep when you do”. Neat and power saving so why not.

I had made a lot of calls yesterday though so I plugged it in while it was off and this morning at 7am it turned itself on but didn’t do the alarm because it was busy telling me I could unplug it as it was charged.

Pretty big fail, really but it’s the first and I can work around it because there’s so long between charges and they are over so quickly. I’m also willing to work around it because this little device has a bit of personality about it. I like the top tips and that they make me want to respond to them.


Bluetooth file transfer FTWIt’s quite cool using Bluetooth to get files on and off :)

 


20140406-213831.jpg

Finally, I’ve managed to get the battery on this phone down to low! :)

I’ve taken 6 photos, made a bunch of phone calls, learned about Vivaldi on Radio 3, listened to podcasts and sent texts. I’ve done it all increasingly quickly as that old muscle memory wakes up and I really don’t feel I’ve missed out on anything. The 301’s still firmly in the honeymoon phase.

There are a couple of niggles but they really fall into the category of “First world problems”

1. I couldn’t see where Alice was when I was waiting for her to walk to meet me with Loki today. On the iPhone I had find my friends.

2. I haven’t found an easy way to sync the contacts yet even though I’ve read of others doing it. Instead I’ve added people I actually need which has led to another interesting insight. I have people in my phone I’ve not worked with for nearly 10 years!

Things have moved on a bit since then and I’m not too worried that if I don’t have their phone number instantly to hand I won’t be able to find them again/ get in touch via Facebook, Linked In, even Flickr. 10 years ago I remember talking to a friend who was working on future concepts with Vodafone and they were talking about ways of being notified on your phone that your friends were close.

Now apps like Cloak can help you avoid people you don’t want to see, and that’s a whole book in itself regarding human behaviour, and Instagram and others can show me where friends have been moments later! I’m not sure that before Twitter I’d have even imagined people would go for it. It seemed pretty crazy talking about it on the corner of Nairoji Street in London back in 2004.

By contrast, take this phone back to me in 2004 and I’d have deemed it the obvious evolution of the phone. Cheap, good on battery, an amazing camera compared to what I had then and some sort of unified charger standard. Bonkers, innit :)




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