Review: Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu edition

Update: the Ubuntu phone OS has been discontinued — read my post from August 2017 here.

I received my new Meizu Pro5 Ubuntu Edition from China about a week ago. Here are my thoughts on the phone after using it for a little while.

Meizu/Joybuy.com
© Meizu/Joybuy.com

Background: the quest for an open OS

My Motorola Moto G phone (1st gen) was starting to show its age, and I thought it was time to find a new phone. I wanted to replace it with something open and thought about my options.

I was initially quite keen on FirefoxOS, a web-based operating system made by Mozilla. Alas, Mozilla announced in February 2016 that it was discontinuing its involvement in the Firefox OS project for phones, so this one is beyond hope now.

Another alternative is Cyanogen Mod (CM). CM is basically open source Android with a few modifications, and apart from it’s terribly difficult-to-spell name, the project is quite promising. It has the big advantage of being more open source than normal Android, while also allowing users to install Google apps if they choose. Fundamentally though, it’s still Android which means Google is steering the metaphorical software ship CM has latched onto. I’m also not aware of any phones which come with CM pre-installed (edit: turns out there are actually some).

Finally, Ubuntu phones have been on the horizon for a very long time, and have more recently started to look pretty good. (The OS is technically called ‘Ubuntu touch’ as it runs on tablets too) . One thing I particularly like about Ubuntu phones is that they’re designed to have frequent over-the-air (OTA) updates. This features makes them more sophisticated in this area than Android phones, despite the somewhat futile efforts of Google.

If you were cynical, you could argue that Ubuntu phones are too late arriving — the battle has been fought and Apple and Google have won — and it might only attract a few open source nerds at the fringes. But like any good open source believer, I’m hoping that the platform will eventually be a success. If I can buy a phone and help the cause then I may as well  🙂 Continue reading “Review: Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu edition”

Post-Apocalyptic fun!

caravan-post-apocalypticcropped

As part of my continuing campaign to educate myself film wise I’ve been trying to see as many oldish movies as I can recently. I’ve realised that I’m quite partial to the odd post-apocalyptic/world in state of turmoil movies now and then. There is something about imagining a world gone horribly wrong that appeals to me. Last year in my English class we studied dystopias and I really enjoyed reading 1984 and The Handmaids Tale. Some of my favourite movies are V for Vendetta and Children of Men which both fit into the post-apocalyptic/dystopia category. I watched 28 Days Later last night and Cloverfield a few days ago. I liked both of them. Even though I’m an incredibly bad judge of goodness I’m going to give you the run down!

28 Days Later was a tad weird, like at one point he set infected on all those (admittedly evil) military men, and stuck his thumbs into some guys eyes (ewwww). Selena witnesses all of this and is then motivated to KISS his blood covered face. If I had just witnessed such brutality I don’t think I would be in the kissing mood. I thought it was an interesting idea that people were infected with ‘rage’ — not an abstract concept but a virus or disease. A cooler idea than the run of the mill zombie disease cliche. The movie was pretty similar to I am Legend, the same ‘We’ve got to get back to safe place before dark!’ set up and meeting up with some people then trying to get to a safe haven ages away. I thought in the end it didn’t really have very much depth, the whole movie felt a little rushed. Perhaps that was intentional? To the protagonist it must have all happened rather quickly.I would probably give it a 4/5?

Although Cloverfield was incredibly cheesy — I’ve got to go back into the danger-zone and get my lost love! — and gimmicky I enjoyed it. The camcorder film style was a bit ridiculous at times but I thought it was an interesting way of telling the story. Some bits to me seemed quite reminiscent of 9/11, like when they were on the street and a building collapsed the whole street was enveloped in a cloud of dust.  I wonder if that was intentional? My friend who works at a movie theatre was telling me how the movie made a lot of people throw up, which is understandable I think. I can see how the combination of shaky camera work, exploding people, and gross aliens might induce people to vomit everywhere. 3/5?

Photo: Timm Suess License: CC-by-sa