Day three



I’ve thrown myself into my feature phone early 00s lifestyle experiment with gusto and so far, it’s fun.

– Having a radio to listen to when you’ve run out of podcasts
– Sending texts using predictive text
– Not having had to charge it yet
– It’s small and light
– Love the blue
– Customised shortcuts
– I’ve sent email – GMail setup was really simple and works!

– Contacts sync is a mystery – although I’ve not tried very hard 🙂
– I’ve added some MP3s that it seems to not want to play. Added them via the phone cable instead of removing the memory card … more investigation needed.
– I can’t guarantee I’ll have access to email so my booking code for the cinema got written on a post-it


Nokia 301

Our story begins in Lymington, in the South of England. It’s last weekend and I’m in a shop buying an iPhone 5S for my Grandma.

For someone in a constant state of love with technology it was unusual finding myself in a shop buying a phone that’s a good 2 generations better than mine, an iPhone 4S, for a woman in her 80s. While they were sorting the paperwork I noticed some traditional styled and very bright phones on the walls. These Nokia phones were of a kind I’d completely forgotten even existed. They call them “feature phones” and one was 99p with a contract. Ninety-Nine-Pence! I love a bargain and phones have always been a form of personal technology soft spot so when I got home I started reading up, fascinated by who these were made for.

The short answer was, everyone else. India, other emerging markets, the same places where Mozilla hope their Firefox phones will do well and where sub $100 Android handsets are the phones of the moment shifting in their millions it seems. Here in the west we’ve grown obsessed with our smart phones. These glaring slabs of screen seem to be increasing in width, thinning out and are packing ever lengthening feature sets to keep us sharing, snapping, browsing, chatting, tweeting and basically never doing anything but looking into our glowing conduit (and paying for the data to do it). All of this got me thinking… I’ve been looking at alternative phones for a while on and off. Spent a moment there thinking a Firefox phone would rock my socks. Or maybe a Jolla? They look awesome. Ultimately though, I keep coming back to an article I read when the first iPad was released. In that piece, TJ, argued that he didn’t really need his iPhone anymore because of the benefits of his iPad. That’s stayed with me and in a number of areas recently I’ve been trying to pair things back, use things that are a bit more essential, Prime lenses on my camera, selling the super-gizmo-filled motorcycle but keeping the simpler smaller one, that sort of thing.

High on my excited Googling I chatted to Alice about these “feature phones” reminding her of an experiment I conducted in 2010 with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 and a John’s Phone.

“You could live with one of these, you know.”

“You wouldn’t last five minutes. I’ll bet you couldn’t do a month.”

She had a point. I loved the John’s Phone but the experiment failed when I couldn’t receive text messages reliably and I went back to my smart phone. Then I moved jobs and was given a 4S. This time though, my response was;

“Challenge accepted!”

I started yesterday and I’m going to see if I can do a month using this phone instead of my 4S.

The phone I’ve picked up is a Nokia 301. By smartphone standards it’s no stunner but for a feature phone it still takes advantage of 3G, which is nice because my contract comes with that so I may as well still be able to use it, has apps for WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter and a browser for the rest, and that’s out of the box! The camera is a 3.2megapixel average quality sensor and there’s no flash.

But … it promises email compatibility with Gmail or Exchange, a calendar, to-do lists, MP3 playback, a Micro SD slot, headphones and charges over Micro USB.

Wish me luck! 😀

Forever by Shady A. Šahinović

I wanted to share a part of this releases wallpaper story because I think it sums up really nicely what’s great about people getting together and making something like Ubuntu.

Every 6 months we get together and take submissions from community members to try and add something fresh to the release and allow people who can’t fix bugs in code to add something creative. Sometimes, unfortunately, people submit images that don’t belong to them. This means we can’t include them in the release and it’s frustrating because in trying to create a set that works together sometimes losing that one image makes a big difference.

This time we managed to track down the owner of one of those images and I’m excited to say that Shady has been kind enough to let us use his image, it’s the gorgeous night sky that welcomed you to this blog post.

An Albanian who travels a lot and with a keen eye for a great picture he’s exactly the kind of person with no prior knowledge of open-source and Ubuntu we aim to attract. He is excited to be a part of our movement and share his work with millions of users around the world.

It’s really a pleasure to meet people like you who are interested in my work and I consider it as a great opportunity for me to contribute “even with the tiniest bit” in this awesome software. I want to thank you for giving me such great chance to spread my work. – Shady S.

I’m very pleased we got to include his image and am excited that I live in a time where boundaries of time and place don’t stop complete strangers collaborating – I’m in Boston as I write this, for example! 🙂

Here’s to a great release, to the dev team being kind enough to sneak this in at the last minute (I hope) and to being able to tell a lovely story.

Just a quick post to let you all know that the community contributors and myself have proposed some wallpapers for inclusion in the next release of Ubuntu!

The compressed image file has been added to the correct bug on Launchpad – and hopefully will be picked up and popped in shortly!

I’d like to thank Milan, Lyle, Anne, Eiti, Juan and Tom for their hard work helping this release. Next cycle we could do more and I’ve got some ideas I’ll start sharing with anyone who’s interested in doing something soon 😀 Tom is already raring to go!

Here’s to a great release!

Stay focused! - image courtesy of Cypresslyn on Flickr

Stay focused!

Since we closed the group on Flickr, a team of crack wallpaper viewers have been going through the submissions and picking out the ones we like. We’re getting close to having a selection of images but as with all of these things we’re being somewhat held up by the supply of images from selected contributors – we need the high res versions to include, and also by a couple of niggles in the form of at least one image which may not belong to the person who has shared it.

This raises the thorny issue of copyright. If an image isn’t yours to give us we can’t accept it. We’ll probably like it as much as you do. It’s probably a great image, but please, it will help ensure that open-source doesn’t get a reputation for taking what’s not being given, so if you don’t own it, don’t pretend.

Remember, many eyes make all bugs shallow, that also goes for images you pinched off the internet 🙂 More later!

Happy by Sergei Pozdnyak

The submissions process for Ubuntu 14.04 is now closed. If you’d like to look at the images head over to the Flickr Group. From here on a group of dedicated and splendid individuals will get together to select the images that are going to go into the next release of Ubuntu. We’ll be hanging out on #1404wallpaper on Freenode and you can come listen in 🙂

We generally welcome discussion but please remember that a decision is needed from the time that people volunteer so not too much additional debate.

We’ll start with a meeting tomorrow, Friday 7th March, at 19:00GMT.

Welcome to the world of tomorrow! 🙂

Welcome to the world of tomorrow - Futurama

I’m very pleased to be kicking off the next wallpaper selection process for the 14.04 release of Ubuntu coming to us fresh in April. Each release we like to include photos and illustrations produced by Ubuntu enthusiasts who are keen to see the best free and open desktop looking the best it can and we’d love your help.

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 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.

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 #1404wallpaper 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.

Our schedule for this cycle is as follows:

  • 10/02/14 – Kick off 14.04 wallpaper submission process
  • 18/02/14 – First get together on #1404wallpaper at 19:30 GMT
  • 05/03/14 – Submissions deadline at 18:00 GMT – Flickr group will be locked and the selection process will begin
  • 11/03/14 – Deliver final selection in zip format to the appropriate bug on Launchpad
  • 13/03/14 – UI freeze for latest version of Ubuntu with our fantastic images in!

As always, ping me if you have any questions, I’ll be lurking in #1404wallpaper 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! :)