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Thread: Request for advice on choice of portable device

  1. #1
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    Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Hello. Sorry if this is not the right place to post my request. Feel free to relocate it if necessary. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

    I have been using Ubuntu for about 4 years, almost exclusively. I very rarely select Windows from my dual-boot configuration. I am seeking advice on the choice of a portable device that could be used with Linux.

    Before I switched from Windows to Ubuntu, I used to use a Dell PDA that ran Windows Mobile. Applications were synchronised automatically via a docking station. I installed TomTom GPS on the PDA, so when I was away home I only needed to carry two devices, the PDA and my mobile phone. I gave up using the PDA when I switched to using Ubuntu and bought a dedicated GPS device (Garmin).

    So now when I'm away from home I carry my GPS device and mobile phone, but miss the use of a PDA. I no longer have the ability to access diary, agenda, lists, etc. Ideally what I would like is a PDA-like device, that could be used to run diary, agenda, etc type apps and which could be synchronised with the apps that I use with Ubunutu on my laptop at home.

    So, what I would like to know is whether there is a small lightweight device that I could carry when away from home, which could be synchronised with my laptop running Ubuntu when I return home. My email client is Thunderbird (with address book, calendar and tasks list). My current mobile phone is a Nokia N8, which is fine as a phone, received emails and has a superb camera, but I find the keyboard and text too small when using the calendar, address book and other apps. Of course, it cannot be synchronised with Ubuntu. I wouldn't be averse to changing it so long as the portable device that I am seeking provided all this functionality and could be synchronised with a Linus OS such as Ubuntu, or Mint.

    Thanks in advance for any advice that you can offer me.

  2. #2
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Our local pub has a Nexus 10, we quite often use it to settle arguments. Wikipedia is your friend
    I'm impressed with it's speed and screen quality.
    I'm guessing that it is possible to do what you need, hopefully someone will know for sure.
    It is maybe too big but I believe that they make a 7" version.
    I will stay tuned and find out which device you eventually choose.
    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    I think the days of syncing to the computer are going to be limited if not over. Syncing to the cloud is the way things are going.

    So, I think I would recommend an Android device. I carry an Android phone and tablet (both Nexus devices). They will sync with gmail, google calendar, etc. Then I can use the web browser side to edit and change from the computer. And you can use thunderbird with gmail. I haven't tried to find a calendar app to sync under Linux.

    I also have a google calendar shared between my wife and myself, and we put everything on it!

  4. #4
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Quote Originally Posted by coldraven View Post
    Our local pub has a Nexus 10, we quite often use it to settle arguments. Wikipedia is your friend
    I'm impressed with it's speed and screen quality.
    I'm guessing that it is possible to do what you need, hopefully someone will know for sure.
    It is maybe too big but I believe that they make a 7" version.
    I will stay tuned and find out which device you eventually choose.
    Good luck.
    Many thanks for your reply. Yes, Wikipedia is my friend, my too :~)
    I've been reading around and funnily enough it's the Nexus 7 that has caught my imagination.
    I gather that with a Google Voice account and the Groove IP app, I'd be able to use the Nexus 7 as a phone, using VoIP.
    It would save me from having to lug my Nokia N8 around, hence some convergence.
    Also, it has GPS though I'd probably keep my Garmin.
    As for the ability to synchronise diary, etc I'm still low down on the learning curve.

    Addendum
    -----------
    As I understand it, currently Google Voice is not available in Europe.
    So I would still need a separate phone.
    Last edited by boxcorner; May 9th, 2013 at 06:59 AM. Reason: Addendum

  5. #5
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Quote Originally Posted by boog321 View Post
    I think the days of syncing to the computer are going to be limited if not over. Syncing to the cloud is the way things are going.
    Many thanks for your reply. I hear what you say and understand, but I have reservations about how and where my data is stored, so am still in undecided Luddite mode on this point.
    Quote Originally Posted by boog321 View Post
    So, I think I would recommend an Android device. I carry an Android phone and tablet (both Nexus devices).
    That was my natural inclination. Our son already has an iPhone and is about to buy a 4th generation iPad with Retina display, however I'm not keen on the idea of getting locked in by Apple, as I imagine it would be a bit like reverting back from Ubuntu Linux to Windows. Hence I'm currently gleaning as much as I can about the Nexus 7, which is about the physical size of device I had in mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by boog321 View Post
    They will sync with gmail, google calendar, etc. Then I can use the web browser side to edit and change from the computer. And you can use thunderbird with gmail.
    Now I didn't know that. Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by boog321 View Post
    I haven't tried to find a calendar app to sync under Linux.
    I also have a google calendar shared between my wife and myself, and we put everything on it!
    That's interesting, as my brother-in-law has done something similar. I'll run the idea past my wife and see if she likes it.

    BTW - I should mention that I've read a little about the Ubuntu phone and tablet, which sound interesting and promising, but seem nowhere near available yet - sometime next year from what I understand.
    Last edited by boxcorner; May 8th, 2013 at 09:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Quote Originally Posted by boxcorner View Post
    Many thanks for your reply. I hear what you say and understand, but I have reservations about how and where my data is stored, so am still in undecided Luddite mode on this point.

    That was my natural inclination. Our son already has an iPhone and is about to buy a 4th generation iPad with Retina display, however I'm not keen on the idea of getting locked in by Apple, as I imagine it would be a bit like reverting back from Ubuntu Linux to Windows. Hence I'm currently gleaning as much as I can about the Nexus 7, which is about the physical size of device I had in mind.

    Now I didn't know that. Thank you.

    That's interesting, as my brother-in-law has done something similar. I'll run the idea past my wife and see if she likes it.

    BTW - I should mention that I've read a little about the Ubuntu phone and tablet, which sound interesting and promising, but seem nowhere near available yet - sometime next year from what I understand.
    I have tried Ubuntu on the nexus 7, it does look like it has huge potential. When they get it all worked out, I just might find myself torn on what os I will want on it. Especially if they have cups (printing) working just like the desktop.

    I have had many handheld devices over the years, and so far Android is the best for me, but an os that is just as (if not more) capable as my netbook would be sweet.

    Just remember, if you do get a nexus device, unlocking the bootloader (being able to flash the device) wipes everything, including storage! And so does flashing Ubuntu to it!

    I haven't had any worries about the cloud syncing yet. I think google would be dumb to mess up like that. I think we are safe, they just want to throw advertising at us, and there are ways around that too, like blocking ad servers via the host file.

  7. #7
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Quote Originally Posted by coldraven View Post
    Our local pub has a Nexus 10, we quite often use it to settle arguments. Wikipedia is your friend
    Good luck.
    That's cool. I reckon every pub should have a tablet and the browser should have two 'speed-dial' entries for google & wikipedia.

  8. #8
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Quote Originally Posted by boog321 View Post
    I have tried Ubuntu on the nexus 7, it does look like it has huge potential. When they get it all worked out, I just might find myself torn on what os I will want on it. Especially if they have cups (printing) working just like the desktop.

    I have had many handheld devices over the years, and so far Android is the best for me, but an os that is just as (if not more) capable as my netbook would be sweet.

    Just remember, if you do get a nexus device, unlocking the bootloader (being able to flash the device) wipes everything, including storage! And so does flashing Ubuntu to it!

    I haven't had any worries about the cloud syncing yet. I think google would be dumb to mess up like that. I think we are safe, they just want to throw advertising at us, and there are ways around that too, like blocking ad servers via the host file.
    Many thanks for your comments and the tips. Have ordered a Nexus 7 with 32GB & 3G from amazon.de currently awaiting delivery in France. Apparently a slightly bigger version with higher resolution screen is coming, to compete with the iPad Mini, but decided to opt for what's available now.

  9. #9
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Quote Originally Posted by boxcorner View Post
    Many thanks for your comments and the tips. Have ordered a Nexus 7 with 32GB & 3G from amazon.de currently awaiting delivery in France. Apparently a slightly bigger version with higher resolution screen is coming, to compete with the iPad Mini, but decided to opt for what's available now.
    I think you will enjoy it. I love mine. I tend to carry it with me nearly all of the time. I have the 32GB wifi model, but I can tether it to my phone. I hope it does everything you wish, and more!

  10. #10
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    Re: Request for advice on choice of portable device

    Our son already has an iPhone and is about to buy a 4th generation iPad with Retina display,
    He is like millions of others. Do they worry about where their data is stored? Or what information about themselves they are putting on the web? Which by the way is a form of cloud storage, is it not? Criminals have been caught because they put information about their crimes (even photographs of themselves in the act) on social networking sites. Governments pass laws requiring ISPs to store emails for a certain period of time. Our movements are recorded by a mobile service provider as we take our mobile phone out and about with us. Supermarkets know what products we buy and want to send customer specific advertisements to us.

    All of this is a kind of cloud storage and billions of people are quite relaxed about it. Do we accept all this without thinking and then worry about another area that is not too much different from all the rest?

    Regards.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


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