Apologies for the long period with no updates. I'll be bringing back this blog with a fresh look and more new exciting and original topics soon. I wanted to get this article out without further delay though because it captures an important and timely idea that has been missed by the tech news sites... again.
Convergence is not about a unified computing experience across all your devices. Although that's an important goal, convergence is more about that point in time where your philosophy that technology should respect people converges with that of a group or company that believes the same.
Recently, my friend Wayne (who's a long-time Ubuntu Vancouverite) pointed out his thoughts on Ubuntu's convergence announcement.
Here's a teaser from Wayne's blog:
- "... it became even more apparent to me that the ‘battle for the operating system’ will eventually be won by Ubuntu in numbers (it is already won in principle)"
- "You see, Ubuntu cares about you, because it’s built by people who care about things other than shareholders’ dividends."
Please read Wayne's full article here. http://wayneoutthere.com/race-or-marathon-to-convergence/ It's a quick read and will make you say "Hmmm..."
Like Wayne, I hope you will reject those in the tech industry that insist on keeping you focused on what's unimportant. It's *never* about widget this, or kernel that.
It's about the agenda that is behind the technology.
The friendly folks who make Ubuntu are charting a course in computing that respects people. The Ubuntu Tablet is another way to deliver that goal. That's the real news.
Image "Happy Boys" by https://www.flickr.com/photos/deepblue66/ cc-by-nc-sa
In my "Why Smart Phones Aren't" series (1), I had expressed my hope that I would actually see a phone that is truly smart in my lifetime.
I challenged people to re-think what a phone should be and recommended that as a prime directive a phone should be "Respectful to its owner first."
Seems that I and Joe Liau are not the only two voices in the forest here. Bunnie Huang has weighed in with an excellent video along a similar theme.
Though the video is not about Ubuntu Phone (2), it should be. The Ubuntu Phone has begun to change the world, but we still have a ways to go. Perhaps spreading the idea that current market-leading phones are a "waste of life" will help.
Let's continue to disrupt an industry that has needed a good shake for at least a decade. Spreading this information helps.
Ubuntu Vancouver recently came together to fold unicorns to help raise awareness of the Ubuntu Phone.
Joe from Ubuntu Vancouver shares his unicorn that is absolutely in love with flowers for the origami #fingertipchallenge.
We'd love it if you would like Joe's unicorn on Instagram.
Ubuntu was in "full force" at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week.
I was very happy to see the awesome booth we had, (which helped offset my disappointment about not being there. Hopefully next year ;)
Check this out!
What I always enjoy about booth duty at conferences is that moment when people walk up to our booth and say "Hey, I've been enjoying Ubuntu on my laptop for years. It's amazing! Thank you for working on it." It's encouraging and makes up for those days "in the salt mine" when I feel we have so far to go before Ubuntu, Juju, MAAS, Landscape, Snappy Core, and many more become household words.
If you dropped by the booth or just walked by it casually, I'd be interested in what you saw, what you liked, what you wish you would have seen, any impressions of the show...
And, to provide an example, here's what one booth visitor had to say:
- "And, for the record, the entire team at the stand were beyond amazing. Incredible, lovely, talented people with amazing knowledge. The new phones and OS are excellent. it nearly killed me that I couldn't buy one immediately. Keep your eyes on BQ.com for their flash sales on handsets. The basic model is excellent and amazing for the money, the premium model will be available in a few months and is a larger, sleeker device. I'd flash my device to the OS today if I could, but I'll wait until I can buy the real thing. A flash sale is about a week away, and one week per month at the moment. It's a handheld, fully functional version of Ubuntu which operates in a really impressive touch mode normally, and seamlessly switches to full desktop mode with the connection of a bluetooth mouse / keyboard. I am in love."
Were you there? Please share your story in the comments or email me at randall (at) ubuntu (dot) com
I just watched Jono's talk from SCALE  entitled "Ubuntu: The Past, Present, and Future."
It's really quite an interesting talk, so I'm recommending it to you, my dear readers. I think he did a great job describing the key moments in Ubuntu's history. (Click image to view.)
Towards the end of the talk, Jono makes some startling predictions. Do you agree with them?
 Just why people insist on naming a conference after a kernel still baffles and disappoints me. Do we name car shows after carburetors? Didn't think so. ;)
I thought i had successfully wrapped up my rant on how "smart" phones aren't, but evidently there's still work to do.
Some people don't get what's important or what innovation is.
This morning, while looking for Ubuntu Phone un-boxing videos (I found some), I also stumbled on an opinion piece entitled "The first Ubuntu phone is here, and it's lame" by Mike Wehner who has evidently come late to the Ubuntu Phone party. I won't get into all the details but here are select "treasures" from his piece:
I don't know Mike, and he's probably a great guy. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. But, I think Mike and people like Mike are missing the point, and I'm going to call them out.
Mike and friends, this is not about technical specs and "my gadget is faster and bigger than your gadget." It never was. You're fixated on the wrong stuff. This is not a nuclear arms race in your pocket. There is no monster at the end of this game that you have to kill to win.
This is about a community (that includes a company) making a phone that dares to disrupt an (at worst) really predatory and (at best) boring status quo.
You see, the real story is about the people behind the phone and their motives. Offer me a phone with the fastest hardware, the sharpest screen, and the most megapixels. You might think I'd happily accept it. Now, tell me it's powered by code written to exploit its owner and watch how quickly I refuse to accept your gift.
It's never about the technology. It's about the social contract.
I'm not going to link to the original story. If you're curious, a quick search should get you there.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lauramary/
Before today, if you had asked me what I thought of smart phones, you likely wouldn't have been surprised by my answer (unless of course you're trapped in social media space and don't read the Planet):
"What an utter waste of time."
- Exhibit 1: Killing and maiming people in their cars.
- Exhibit 2: Wasting our minutes and money.
- Exhibit 3: Antisocial behaviour patterns.
- Exhibit 4: Incentivizing human disconnection.
- Exhibit 5: The butt of technology.
- Exhibit 6: Voice mail features from the stone-age.
- Exhibit 7: Unnecessary.
- Exhibit 8: Balderdash.
- Exhibit 9: Unintelligible.
- Exhibit 10: Nostalgia.
- Exhibit 11: Touch-Heavy.
- Exhibit 12: Ulterior Movies.
You see, "smart" phones were never smart. Clever, maybe. Contrived, definitely. Deceptive, by design. "Smart" was a term invented by a predatory tech industry to dupe you. How does that make you feel?
It used to be okay to sell people the minimum technological capabilities available and then force them into a never-ending rat race of installing add-ons ("apps") to fix what should have been part of the product in the first place. This process ultimately ended in a phone being too "gummed up" (slow) and power hungry. Sadly, a lot of people accepted this status quo.
The status quo is the most boring place to be in the world, unless of course you created that status quo and are using your privileged position within it to buy mansions in Los Altos Hills, or to build palaces in the swamp.
In my "Why Smart Phones Aren't" series, I had expressed my hope that I would actually see a phone that is truly smart in my lifetime. Today, that day has come.
The Ubuntu Phone has arrived. The world now has the means to finally disrupt an industry that has needed a good shake for at least a decade.
"Smart" phone, your days are over.