Follow-up Friday: Ubuntu Unity, Android security & WordPress Stats

Just a couple of small updates on previous stories to keep you posted really.
We’ll start of with Ubuntu Natty Narwhal; beta 2 has been released earlier today. I’ve downloaded a lot of updated packages over the last few days, so I guess I’m on the second beta as well. The Unity launcher now comes out of hiding perfectly and it scrolls down automatically to show items at the bottom as well. There also was a bug with the menu-items of some applications (e.g. Firefox 4) disappearing which seems fixed. Hope they can get the launcher to behave with Java apps (e.g. my favorite mindmapping application) soon.
On another note: Lookout, the Android app that allows you to locate your handset and -if you have the paying version- remotely wipe it, seems to be getting some serious competition from …. Google. Enterprises who have Google Apps for Business can now locate, encrypt and wipe their Android devices. Especially the encryption is important news, but it really should be available and configurable in the Android OS itself
To finish off with some news about WordPress Stats secretive inclusion of Quantcast behavioral tracking: it seems like WordPress Stats plugin will be replaced by Automattics Jetpack, which according to the site:

supercharges your self‑hosted WordPress site with the awesome cloud power of

Jetpack actually is a “super-plugin” that offers functionality from Stats, Sharedaddy, After the deadline and other previously separately available Automattic plugins. The Jetpack stats module does still include the Quantcast “spyware”, doesn’t disclose this feature and doesn’t provide functionality that warrants Quantcast inclusion (in spite of Matt Mullenweg claiming “We’ve been using Quantcast to get some additional information on uniques that it’s hard for us to calculate”). But there is (some) good news in the Jetpack Stats source code though, because on line 145 it reads:

‘do_not_track’ => true, // @todo

This could mean that blog-owners will one day be able to opt out of 3rd party tracking or it might be that Stats will take e.g. Firefox DNT-header into account for your blog’s visitors. Having both would off course be what I will be rooting for!

Unity launcher auto-hides in Natty Narwal

I just upgraded my Samsung n135 from Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition to Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwal” beta 1 and I’m a happy man:

  • the Unity launcher now auto-hides, which is no luxury on a 1024X600 screen.
  • Mutter has been replace by Compiz, so no more crashes when adding an external monitor.
  • Compiz replacing Mutter also seems to have a (very) positive impact on windowing performance.

But this is beta 1, there are bound to be some bugs and especially the launcher isn’t perfect yet;

  • sometimes only half of Unity launcher appears when it comes out of hiding.
  • I couldn’t make the it scroll down to see the icons at the bottom.
  • And non Unity launcher-related: the screen sometimes flickers while the brightness seem to be auto-adjusting (which shouldn’t happen as there’s no light sensor in my netbook) UPDATE: this got even worse after upgrading to Ubuntu 11.10, but there is a solution

Anyway, beta 2 is expected April 14th and the final release should hit the web on the 28th. Looking forward to a Ubuntu that’s perfect for my teeny weeny netbook. I’m curious to see how Gnome3”s Shell will do in comparison!