Running with Ubuntu and Going Further with Open Source

By Victor Thompson · September 8, 2015

Today is Labor Day in the United States. The baseline for what should be included in a Labor Day weekend includes anything that qualifies as that one last Summer activity, such as having a barbeque, spending some time on a boat, engaging in your favorite outdoor sport, or just generally spending some time outside.

It just so happens that I like to run. So I've chosen to spend a small amount of time today doing so! My trusty running watch has been leant out to a friend, so I'm going to take the holiday a bit further to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor and run while rocking my Ubuntu Phone!

Will I need my shades today?

So let's checkout the weather so I know what to wear today. According to the new Weather app, it looks like I'll need to grab my sunglasses before I leave. Thanks Weather app!

Running with the Activity Tracker app (part 1)

I had tried the Activity Tracker app a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, at the time the GPS wasn't functioning on the device, so I wasn't able to capture any data during my run. Luckily I also had my GPS watch for that run, so it wasn't a total waste.

This time around I didn't have my GPS watch as a back up, so I needed the app to work. I set off on my run not quite knowing if the app was working or not. More on that later. I planned a 4.5 mile route and took off with the assumption that all was well.

Music for the run

I typically don't run with music, but since I had a phone on me, I decided that I might as well. Rocking out to the new Ratatat album made the run a bit more enjoyable.

My Nexus 4 also currently has some soon to be released features that allow media playback to be controlled from the Sound indicator, which is pretty awesome! Maybe it'll be possible to put playback controls in the Activity Tracker app itself someday? But simply being able to control the playback without taking focus from the Activity Tracker app was helpful.

Finding out that the app wasn't working after running for around 3.5 miles

I decided to see if the app had been recording my run by stopping the current activity. Much to my suspicion, I soon found out that it had not. It seemed like the GPS had stopped working, so I rebooted the phone.

In the end, I believe it didn't work reliably because I also had the Sensor Status app running at the same time. I may try to do some more debugging to confirm this suspicion, but for now I'm simply happy just to have the GPS working again.

Running with the Activity Tracker app (part 2)

Undeterred, I decided to keep going and log a few more miles doing both walking and running. While the app doesn't show how far you've gone (a feature I'm sure is in the works), I ended up logging 4 more miles of walking/running--which I'm happy with!

Just goes to show, you can go further and farther with Open Source!

Filed under: ubuntu, running

What's your forecast?

By Victor Thompson · July 25, 2015

The default Weather app for the Ubuntu phone has gone through a major redesign over the last few months! The design has improved to make the gestures that are used more usable. The overall design has been cleaned up. And last, but not least, the app now can give you forecasts for your current geographic location!

The app knows where you are and can predict your forecast, but you can use the bottom edge to add more locations to track.

The bottom edge gesture will reveal all the locations currently being shown, including the current location. Simply click the plus symbol to add another one.

Simply tap the large forecast graphic to reveal an hourly view of your forecast. Quickly determine when the weather will improve!

Now that you know that all is clear for your barbeque tonight, you can check out the forecast for the rest of the week to plan your weekend.

Looks like rain, maybe I'll stay inside with my new Ubuntu phone tomorrow night. :)

Coming soon!

The Weather app is coming along nicely! However, if you want to help the development team write integration tests we'd be more than happy to help you get started! In order for the app to be released, we need to flush out the Autopilot tests for the app so that they are on par with the app that is currently in the app store. You can help us accomplish this and become an open source hero!

Want a preview?

If you want a preview of the new Weather app, you can install a new click package onto your device with the following commands:

$ adb push /tmp/
$ adb shell pkcon install-local --allow-untrusted /tmp/

Some of the code in this package still requires peer review--so there may be some bugs. We'd like to hear from you regarding your experience with the app!

Filed under: ubuntu, weather

Running Mate on Raspberry Pi 2

By Victor Thompson · March 10, 2015

Through a lot of community help, it's now possible to run the newest flavor of Ubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, on your Raspberry Pi 2!

The locations that the image is available through has been in flux due to the popularity of the new image, but an updated link or torrent should be available from the original community thread.


One thing you'll want to consider after moving to this image, is slightly overclocking your RPi2. I've found that a slight tweak to the configuration helps quite a bit when using the MATE desktop environment. Overall, I think the Raspberry Pi 2 handles the MATE desktop environment fairly well, and feels very usable with an overclocked Pi. It made for a very nice experience on a 1920x1080 display!

Filed under: raspberry pi, ubuntu, mate