Freeing (a little bit) my mobile

27 Oct 2017 / Leonardo Barichello

Last week the crowdfunding campaign for Librem 5 finished and they achieved their goal! Actually, they exceeded it in 42%, with more than 2 million dollars raised when the goal was 1.5 million. This was a huge achievement and since they are going fully open (hardware and software) and think this could be the beginning of linux's on mobiles. Although open software may never get a significant market share on mobiles, I am very glad that this option will exist and will be viable!

My only issue with the Librem 5 is its price. I do not like mobiles, I have one because it is convenient. So, I would never pay 600 dollars in such a device. My latest devices is a second hand Nextbit Robin that costed me 130 pounds. The device was chosen because it is considered (by some reviewers) as one of the best to run Lineage OS and because I could find a second hand in good conditions.

Unfortunately, as I use some google services and I could not make the mobile work as I needed without the basic google apps. So, my solution was to install OpenGApps (the micro version), which allowed me to use Gmail, Google Calendar and Play Store with no hustle. I know there is a lot of proprietary code behind these apps and services, but I feel this is a viable step towards openness. The micro version does not include Google Maps, which was important for me since I was getting really bothered by its alerts tracking my location even when I was not actively using the app.

My next step was to install F-Droid, an Android app repository for free and open source. My intention is progressively identify good apps that may enable me to get ride of all google apps. So far, here are some recommendations:

Sparse RSS: basic rss reader to gather news and blog posts. The look is not that great, but it does what it is meant to do. The only annoying feature is that the user has to provide the full address to the rss file (it does not detect it from the basic url of a blog, for instance).

Pretty Good Music Player: folder based music player. Simple, intuitive and functional. The problem for me is that it is not possible to close the app from the status bar and I like this feature.

Vanilla Music: music player that offers the possibility of navigating your collection according to artists, albums and so on, but also according to folders. The status bar provided is very useful and functional. I am very satisfied with this app so far.

Any new app, I will post here.

Purism, an open mobile

17 Sep 2017 / Leonardo Barichello

Since the failed attempt of Canonical to crowdfund the Ubuntu Touch device some time ago, there was not much news regarding free/open/libre options in the mobile world... until now! Purism, a company with a good experience with devices focused on openness and privacy, is launching a crowdfunding campaign to support a truly linux based device.

If you appreciate the idea, what about support the campaign? Personally, the device is a bit above my financial reach, but you can donate smaller amount just to support the campaign. If they succeed, this is probably going to open a huge door for linux onto the mobile market, and this could bring new (cheaper) devices :)

Update: the campaign was successful! :)

Tiramisu

17 Sep 2017 / Leonardo Barichello

This recipe was strongly inspired by the video below.

Carluccio is quite relaxed about the recipe, that is why I calibrated it a little bit after some attempts. I have to say, my favorite part of this desert is to prepare it after the main dish, right before eating it, seating at the table, talking...

The ingredients below are for 2 people.

1 egg yolk
3 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
A drop of milk (enough to soften the mascarpone)
150g mascarpone
100 ml of espresso (sweetened to your regular taste)
1 tbsp of amaretto liqueur
10-12 Savoiardi biscuits
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

For preparation, follow the video above. There are some alternative for Savoiardi biscuits, but this is actually the best option for this recipe.

Embodied cognition and postmodernism

11 Aug 2017 / Leonardo Barichello

The text below is a section of the book "Where mathematics comes from: how the embodied mind brings mathematics to being" by George Lakoff and Rafael Núñez.

As we have just noted, a significant part of mathematics itself is a product of historical moments, peculiarities of history, culture, and economics. This is simply a fact. In recognizing the facts for what they are, we are not adopting a postmodernist philosophy that says that mathematics is merely a cultural artifact. We have gone to great lengths to argue against such a view.

The theory of embodied mathematics recognizes alternative forms of mathematics (like well-founded and non-well-founded set theories) as equally valid but about different subject matters. Although it recognizes the profound effects of history and culture upon the content of mathematics, it strongly rejects radical cultural relativism on empirical grounds.

In recognizing all the ways that mathematics makes use of cognitive universal and universal aspects of experience, the theory of embodied mathematics explicitly rejects any possible claim that mathematics is arbitrarily shaped by history and culture alone.

Indeed, the embodiment of mathematics accounts for real properties of mathematics that a radical cultural relativism would deny or ignore: conceptual stability stability of inference, precision, consistency, generalizability, discoverability, calculability, and real utility in describing the world.

This distinguishes an embodied view of mathematics from a radical relativist perspective. The broad forms of postmodernism recognize the effects of culture and history. But they do not recognize those effects of embodiment that are not arbitrary. It is the nonarbitrariness arising from embodiment that takes mathematics out of the purview of postmodernism.

Moreover, the embodiment of mind in general has been scientifically established by means of convergent evidence within cognitive science. Here, too, em- bodied mathematics diverges from a radically relativistic view of science as just historically and culturally contingent. We believe that a science based on convergent evidence can make real progress in understanding the world.

I think that just the fact that the authors felt the need to clarify why their ideas do not align to the postmodern view is quite interesting. But also, I enjoyed their explanation.



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