Tag: windows

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!

Flex application on iOS with Flash Builder 4.5.1

Why Windows?

Flex on iOSFirst thing I have to say is that this tutorial is for Windows only. I’m sorry, but at this point, developing Flex applications under Ubuntu is a bit too complicated. I am not a Mac user, so I have to use Windows for Flex development. My computer has an i7 CPU and 8GB of RAM, so I prefer to use a Windows 7 virtual machine instead of dual boot, but feel free to go with your own preference here.

Adobe Flash Builder 4.5.1

On June 20th, an update of Flash Builder 4.5 (4.5.1 in fact) was released. It includes more support for iOS and Blackberry tablet. It is now very easy to deploy on iOS devices, as long as you have the correct certificate files (next section).

Before you continue, make sure your Flash Builder is up-to-date:

  1. Start it as administrator (right click on the program icon and click “Run as administrator”)
  2. Go in Flash Builder’s Help menu -> Search for Flash Builder Updates…
  3. Accept and install all updates
  4. Go back to Help menu -> Software Updates…
  5. Accept and install all updates
  6. Restart Flash Builder

Generate required certificates

To be deployed in “development mode” on your iOS device(s), your application needs to be digitally signed. Here’s the documentation on how to achieve all the different steps. Remember to follow instructions for Windows!

Three very important things you need to know:

  1. Open a DOS shell “as Administrator” to avoid some OpenSSL errors and warning.
  2. Before generating your key (as you will read in the documentation), execute the following command in your DOS shell: set RNDFILE=.rnd or you will get the following error: unable to write ‘random state’ e is 65537 (0x10001).
  3. When using OpenSSL, do not ignore error messages. If OpenSSL generates an error message, it may still output files. However, those files may not be usable. If you see errors, check your syntax and run the command again.

Create a Hello World application

Now, let’s create a very simple Hello World application using Flash Builder.

  1. In Flash Builder’s menu,go to: New / Flex Mobile Project
  2. Give it a name and click Next
  3. Select Apple iOS as your only target platform
  4. Select the View-Based Application template and click Finish
  5. Add a simple Label object saying “Hello World” or whatever you like in the View that is automatically created
  6. Let Flash Builder know about your certificates:
    1. Open the Project Properties window
    2. In the left menu, go to Flex Build Packaging / Apple iOS
    3. Browse and select your certificate file (.p12 file created earlier)
    4. Browse and select your provisioning file (downloaded from your Apple account)
  7. Build your project (or make a release build for better performance and lighter footprint).

For a video tutorial that might help you even more, please visit this page.

Add your device to your developer account

Just like it is required during standard native application development, your device needs to be “ready” for development. Here’s Apple documentation on how to do that: Provisioning a Device for Development (you’ll have to scroll down a little). I’m sorry for not giving any more help on this point. I don’t know a lot about Apple’s development processes. That part was actually done by another member of my team. But I’m sure Google will give you all the help you need. 😉

Deploying using iTunes

You’re almost there! Here are the final steps, all done using iTunes:

  1. Import your provisioning profile into iTunes
  2. Import the ipa file built by Flash Builder (found in the “bin-debug” folder of your project’s workspace) into iTunes
  3. Sync your iOS device so your application gets installed

That’s it! I’m aware there might be some missing details in this tutorial, but feel free to post any question you might have. I’ll be very happy to help.

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