lunes, 30 de diciembre de 2013

PC Plus?? Something's Wrong Here...

I read this article on Hot Hardware about OEMs trying to unveil a new form of computer, the PC Plus, which will be able to run Windows 8.1 RT and Android.

The article mentions that this could be accomplished either by virtualization or by dual booting.

That is the part that caught my eye.

Let me see if I understand it.  These new devices are called "PC Plus" because of their ability to use virtual environments or to dual-boot?

If that is indeed the case, something is wrong.  Something is very wrong here.

I mean, I have been able to dual boot since I met Linux, three years ago.  And I've been able to use virtualization way before that, during my Windows times.  WOW!  I've been using PC Plus devices all this time!  In fact, my Toshiba NB-100 netbook is then a Super PC Plus because it runs 5 different OSes!

How come PCs are now called PCs PLUS when OEMs add features that PCs had all the time?

Oh, is it because the concept of current PCs did not include dual-booting? (restricted boot, for instance, could be a good explanation.)

And now that, after more than a year in the market, Windows 8 has proven its worth (although I keep hearing "it's too early", now applied to 8.1, too), OEMs want to trumpet old PC features as the new big thing?

People do seem to have a very restricted access to their memory!

Well, leaving that aside, I also have some questions about PC Plus devices running Windows 8.1 RT.

Wasn't it true that OEMs were required not to allow unrestricted boot (understood by some as "not to allow turning secure boot off")--and thus blocking users from running anything but Windows on those devices--in order to opt for RT licenses?

Was the whole restricted boot circus simply about not opening the booting sequence to allow users boot the OS of their choice, but now that Windows failed OEMs, they are looking for an alternative?

How will OEMs circumvent this restriction?  Will they pay Microsoft for a key to allow their devices boot Android with restricted boot enabled?

Another question: Will Microsoft offer PC Plus devices, too?

Let's wait and see...

sábado, 28 de diciembre de 2013

GNURooting Android on a ZaTab ZT2

Little by little, I am learning how to use my ZaTab ZT2 the way I want.
I think I managed to handle Android, but I want to push my limits and learn to do what most people won't do with their Android device.  Why following everyone's path if one can make one's own path?  True, this path may lead me to my doom, but walking it will be more interesting than staying in the comfort zone without learning anything new.

Thus, I am set to booting Linux (another distro, that is, if you count Android as a penguin) on my ZT2.  I have absolutely no idea how to do it, but I'm determined to figure it out.

Thus, in the meantime, and as a learning exercise, I used GNURoot to expand my Android horizons.

GNURoot is not a rooting tool, to begin with.  But it does give you some interesting ideas on how to proceed if you want to boot several GNU/Linux distros: Aborigin, Debian Wheezy, or Fedora.

Well, although I took a Fedora-based course online, I chose Wheezy because the download was smaller.  I didn't want to wait for a long download just for the sake of experimenting.

What did I get?

Yay!  A Linux console, alright.  That's Wheezy without a GUI.  Cute, isn't it?  The best part is the # telling you something that means the Promised Land, right?  I felt encouraged by that and tried an apt-get update.  Could I access Wheezy's repositories?  YES!  I could!  Apt-get works, as advertised.

What should my next move be?
I thought about installing something light, like Abiword.  But that wasn't light at all.  All dependencies included, my download soared the 200 MB.  Too much for this first test.

 I thus knew what to try.  Quickly, I typed "apt-get install sl."  That's a very small, must-have application, after all.  Surely enough, Apt did its thing and installed sl.

It was time for the last stage of my experiment: testing sl.  If sl worked, it would mean I was indeed using Linux.  I then typed "sl" and...

For my next experiment, I'll try downloading and running something more complex, maybe a GUI.  But that will have to wait until I recover from this X-mas flu.

domingo, 22 de diciembre de 2013

Getting to Know Android through ZaReason's ZaTab ZT2

I am a proud owner of a ZaReason Alto 4330 laptop.  I really like it and it has worked great during its first year.  I bought it by this time last year.

I learned this year that ZaReason is making a tablet, the ZaTab ZT2.  What caught my attention was that this tablet is easily hackable, unlike others.

I thought this device could teach me about an OS that I've barely touched: Android...and if in the process I learned how to load ROMs or making my own to load them to this tablet, that would be great.

Thus, I bought it.

So far, my experience has been fine.  As I'm not into tablets, I don't know exactly how good or bad this one may be. I think it does not have anything different from other tablets besides its root access (which I haven't been able to figure out.)

Today, after an app installing/uninstalling frenzy, I got the infamous Android bug "the process 'android.process.acore' stopped." I thought I had managed to brick the device and thus set a new computer-breaking record, but (after trying other solutions without success) I found my way to restoring its factory settings. It is working fine now.

That's as far as I have gone with this tablet.  Now I'm getting to learn about Android.
ZaTab ZT2 (photo from

viernes, 6 de diciembre de 2013

Another December as a Full-time Linux User

2013 is almost gone.  I've been away from my blog because my job and family issues have kept me busier than ever.  Little by little, things seem to be settling down.

Now that it's a little less than a month to start a new year, I always remember that December always meant a ritual never to be missed:

a- Backing up all my information
b- Formatting my HD
c- Reinstalling Windows
d- Installing drivers
e- Installing A/V, firewalls, etc.
f-  Installing my everyday software
g- Loading the information back to my HD.
h- Realizing that I forgot to back up something

Since I became a full-time Linux user, December means just making my monthly backup.  If I weren't so busy, I could die of boredom nowadays!

I guess that's why I ordered a hackable tablet from ZaReason.  When I finally have some free time, I'll have something to break!