Tag: operating system

2012: The Year I Stopped Using Microsoft Products

First, this post is about a personal crusade during which I intend to stop using ALL Microsoft products that I am currently using. My reasons to do such a thing are mostly philosophical, and I won’t start hating Microsoft fans/lovers, and I truly don’t want to start a fight with anyone. But feel free to add your thoughts and ideas to this post.

I work in a company where Microsoft products are too often presented as the only answer to a problem, even if nobody has taken the time to analyze other possible solutions. My team though works very hard to promote open source solutions inside the company, and among our clients. So this whole idea (dropping Microsoft products) came to me at work about 2 weeks ago. I was telling everyone in my team we should stop using MS products just to prove to “the world” that it can be done, and you can still live a happy life. Hehe! To make a long story short, I accepted my own idea/challenge! So here’s what I plan to do over the following months.

Close my Hotmail account

I’ve had a Hotmail account for something like 15 years now, and most accounts I have opened on other websites are linked to it. This is why I’m giving me a couple of months to switch all of them to my Gmail account.

Wipe my home PC… for a Hackintosh!

I have a recent PC at home I use for music recording. My band’s first album (available for free here) was partly recorded with it. Our sound engineer works with a software called Cubase, which is sold for Windows and Mac. Because everyone around me works with Cubase, I need to stick to it. This is why I passed the last few days working on building my own Hackintosh. It’s been kind of an easy operation with the great help of iBoot and Multibeast found on this website. My new Hackintosh with Snow Leopard is up and running, and Cubase 6 works like a charm on it.

I’m not much of a gamer, but I do enjoy a game of Star Craft 2 once in a while. I believe I can download the Mac version of the game directly from my Battle.net account. That’s good news!

Flex development

Currently working on a mobile Flex (iOS and Android) project at work, I use the Flash Builder IDE everyday, and it’s Windows only. In the following weeks, I will analyze a couple of possibilities I have in front of me, and I should be able to do all my work with Ubuntu. Those are the possible solutions I have found so far:

  • fb4linux, an unofficial port of Adobe Flash Builder
  • Standard Eclipse IDE with a couple of Ant scripts
  • FlashDevelop, offering a Mac/Linux virtualization, what ever that means

Wine for Adobe Photoshop

For most of my needs, I can live with GIMP instead of Photoshop. But for more complex tasks, I prefer Photoshop. After some short research, it seems that Wine is the answer as WineHQ reports gold rating for Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Use Pidgin instead of MSN Messenger (or whatever the new name is)

Pidgin is a great chat client which works over many protocols, including gTalk. This is where I am heading.

Ubuntu as main OS

For all my computers, including my corporate notebook, I will be using Ubuntu as the only or main OS. I have tried a couple of other distros like Linux Mint, but I keep getting back at Ubuntu. My girlfriend will also switch to Ubuntu. No more Windows in the house! This means no more MS Office which will get replaced by LibreOffice and Google Docs.

Replace MS Outlook for corporate emails and meetings

My employer uses Exchange servers worldwide. My own corporate account is configured/hosted on a Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. I’m anxious to see if Thunderbird 11 will offer some level of connectivity, and if not, I will need to explore different avenues. I haven’t thought a lot about this last point yet.

That’s it!

After realizing all those steps, I think my “life” will be Microsoft-free. At least, I will feel like it is. OK, I will probably still be using some services that have Microsoft written somewhere under the hood, such as self-service grocery checkouts. But I think I will still prove that life without buying or owning Microsoft products is possible. This also means no Ford vehicles for me as long as they’ll be equipped with MyFord Touch/Ford Sync, and XBox game nights at friends’ are over. Hahaha!

Detect Mobile Devices with PHP

Detecting when your visitors are using mobile devices may be very useful, and sometimes you don’t need or want a complete detection plugin with advanced functionalities. So for those cases where you only need basic Mobile OS recognition, here’s a very simple PHP function you can integrate to your scripts:

 * Based on the HTTP_USER_AGENT, this function tries to detect a
 * mobile user agent and returns its name in a string.
 * @return A string that represents the mobile user agent when one
 *         is found, false otherwise.
 * @author Matt (www.evilcodingmonkey.com)
function getMobileAgent() {
    $mobileUA = false;

    // Make sure the user agent is set
    if(isset($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'])) {
        $userAgent = strtolower($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT']);

        if(strpos($userAgent, 'android')) {
            $mobileUA = 'android';
        elseif(strpos($userAgent, 'iphone') ) {
            $mobileUA = 'iphone';
        elseif(strpos($userAgent, 'ipad')) {
            $mobileUA = 'ipad';
        elseif(strpos($userAgen, 'windows phone os 7.0')) {
            $mobileUA = 'winphone7'
        elseif(strpos($userAgent, 'blackberry')) {
            $mobileUA = 'blackberry';

    return $mobileUA;

This very simple function will tell you when a user is behind an iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7 or Blackberry. It returns false when none of these user agents are detected. Depending on your specific needs, you way need more specific information or more advanced features. There are several open source offers out there, such as this one: Detect Mobile Browser. Also, feel free to use this code and modify it as you wish.

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