Shane O'Sullivan's technical blog… really ties the room together

Archive for September, 2009

Ubuntu – good enough for grannies and girlfriends

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on September 29, 2009

I recently installed Ubuntu Linux 9.04 on my girlfriends lovely new EEE Netbook (I highly recommend the 1005HA + EEEBuntu), but left the original Windows install intact, because, well, I’ve always had a need to go back to Windows for 30 minutes at some point for some reason or another.

The one problem I foresaw with this Ubuntu install was that if she ever had to use the Huawei Mobile Broadband modem I have, she’d have to boot into Windows.  I’d read a year ago that Ubuntu supported it, but when I tried with Ubuntu 8.10, it failed miserably.

So today I was using her netbook and needed mobile broadband, and was about to boot into Windows, when I thought “what the hell”, and tried it in Ubuntu first, fully anticipating the same failure as before, or at least 10 hoops that had to be jumped through before I could get it working.

But no – I was presented with a list of operators for my country (Ireland), asked if I was bill pay or pre-pay, I clicked once and I was connected!  No install required, unlike with windows, just enter your PIN and away you go.

The main argument against Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is that it doesn’t have enough driver support, making it impossible for non-computer literate people to simply plug in their devices and do what they need to do.  It’s great to see that the community is adding in new drivers at a great rate, and that things like cameras, wireless (which is also vastly improved recently) and now mobile broadband now “just work”, and in this case work much better than Windows.

My girlfriend, who is in no way interested in computers or open source, now complains about having to use Windows in university, because Ubuntu is so much easier and faster to use.  I can imagine the same story is playing out all over the world.  Hopefully at least 🙂

Posted in open source, Ubuntu | Tagged: | 21 Comments »

dublinbiker iPhone site launched

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on September 26, 2009

A very cool bike rental scheme was launched in Dublin, Ireland this month, called  The one problem I have with it is that their website makes it very difficult to find a station that has bikes available when using a mobile browser.dublinbiker_screenshot

So, over a few hours last Wednesday I threw together a website,, which shows all the bike stations and how many bikes are available at each.  If you’re using a phone that has GeoLocation capabilities, it can also tell you what station is closest to you.  Clicking (or tapping) any of the stations will give you directions from wherever you are to that station.

I’ve also put a entry in my applications page at ChofterApps.

Have fun using it!

Posted in Ajax, Technical | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment » event in London, Oct 3rd

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on September 18, 2009

The circus is coming to London!  On October 3rd 2009 Sitepen and Uxebu are hosting an all day event, including talks on all things Dojo from the core committers, a bit of hacking and a lot of beer.  Not neccesarily in that order 😉  See for more details.

I’m hopping over the Irish sea to join in the festivities, hope to you see you there

Posted in Dojo, open source, Technical | Leave a Comment »

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