Has Paris found its new main Tech event in VivaTechnology ?

VivaTechnology's poster

It’s been 3 months since I went to the VivaTechnology event, but I was very busy these last weeks, and couldn’t find any time to write down my feelings about it…

VivaTechnology is an event that takes place in Paris, every year in June, since 2016. Its main goal is to bring together the players in the Tech ecosystem. It concerns big groups – Orange, Airbus, Google, Microsoft, IBM and many more – as well as startups, contractors, and investors. There’s even a day where the public is welcomed. An opportunity for everyone to discover the latest innovations in multiple fields : energy, luxury, food, transports…

Vivatech alleys

Business…

The event was organized in a way that let people exchange very easily. My main goal, along with taking a pulse of the next tendencies in tech, was to find a part-time for the fall. It was very easy to talk with a lot of interesting people at stands, and I left with a lot of business cards, acquired in just a few hours. Special thanks to the mobile app developed for the event, and which was almost a social network on its own. It allowed the participants to “connect” while they met (and exchange later), and to be informed of the hours, location, topics of events.

These events were in majority talks, on interesting topics and with well-known speakers (Eric Schmidt for Alphabet, Bernard Arnault for LVMH, Daniel Zhang for Alibaba, …).

… And tech

Furthermore the event hosted a hackathon, with four challenges sponsored by big groups (Axa, Cisco, Microsoft and Sodexo). The participants had to build a team of speakers, developers and designers. Then they had to come with a solution for a given problem, all of this in less than 24 hours. I had the opportunity to win the 1st prize of the Microsoft’s challenge, with my team ! We prototyped a chatbot, called Angela, to improve the relations between co-workers, and unite them around their shared hobbies. It was my first experience of hackathons, and a great one ! We didn’t sleep, so it was very exhausting at the end, but we never gave up, and kept working as a team. I really hope to participate in other challenges like this one.

Angela Team

The Angela team, tired after 24 hours of work but very happy !

Anyway I really enjoyed the time spent at this event, and think my friends did too. Vivatechnology keeps getting bigger each year, and there was a lot more communication on it in 2017. It gathers a lot of different people, coming from different horizons, and having different goals. Bringing these people together is a great alternative to Las Vegas’s CES, or Barcelone’s MWC, which only focus on hardware/software.

So yeah, Paris has found its main tech event, in the way that it allows people to meet !

A modern and lightweight Arch-Linux (xfce) configuration

Arc-Dark

What a better way to get in touch than to talk about our everyday configuration ? I’m currently working on an Arch Linux distribution. What I love about it is the huge amount of Sys Admin stuff I learned while installing it again and again, each time faster than before, and with a better knowledge of what I was doing. I’m not going to give you explanations on how to install it, but rather present you some packages I use to customize the default system. In my daily life I like to use XFCE.

System utilities

First, there’s a few packages not available through pacman or yaourt (the Arch Linux package managers). You’ll have to manually install them (by that I mean going to their website, and downloading them directly) :

yaourt redshift oh-my-zsh
  • redshift allows you to change the temperature of your screen. It tires the eyes less than having a blue screen, especially during the night.
  • oh-my-zsh is a zsh plugin that easily lets you configure your zsh.

Then, with pacman (sudo pacman -S [packages]):

lxrandr xfce4-screenshooter xscreensaver
  • lxrandr is a small utility that lets you configure multiple screens. It is graphical, and very user-friendly.
  • The screenshooter is the official xfce – well, get ready – screenshooter. A cool shortcut to launch it at any time is [Windows] + [Screen] (in Settings > Keyboard > Application Shortcuts).
  • I like to use xscreensaver to lock my PC. It’s customizable and there are plenty themes available. I often even display a RSS flux. It starts with the xscreensaver-command --lock command. It can be configured through xscreensaver-command --demo.

Xfce is faaaast.

I didn’t have the opportunity to test in depth a lot of graphical interfaces. Yet, it’s because xfce remains my favorite, and I don’t feel like testing other GUI, as this one entirely supplies my needs. It’s very fast, and highly customizable. During summer, I ended up having this ChromeOS like desktop, on xfce. Now I went back to more classical stuff :

Autostart xfce at login

Simply add this line to your zshrc config file, if this is the shell you’re using :

startxfce4

I’m not found of login managers, as they tend to slow down the boot time. Xfce is my only graphical interface, so I neither need to switch between it and something else, nor to change the language, keyboard disposition or brightness each time I log in. That’s why a simple console login is entirely sufficient for me.

A beautiful xfce interface

Here’s a beautiful theme, for afficionados of flat and sober themes like me. Its creator also made a great theme for firefox/chrome. The rendering is beautiful, and without any noticed bug so far.

Arc-Dark

It has several levels of configuration, from light to dark, all very well explained on the github page. It works well with this icon theme, and this cursor theme.

What you need to do if you want your main folders to always have a logo on them when displayed in thunar (the default GUI file viewer), is to add these lines to a file called ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs :

XDG_DESKTOP_DIR="$HOME/Desktop"
XDG_DOCUMENTS_DIR="$HOME/Documents"
XDG_DOWNLOAD_DIR="$HOME/Downloads"
XDG_MUSIC_DIR="$HOME/Music"
XDG_PICTURES_DIR="$HOME/Pictures"
XDG_PUBLICSHARE_DIR="$HOME/Public"
XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR="$HOME/.Templates"
XDG_VIDEOS_DIR="$HOME/Videos"

 

This looks like a completely different xfce now, doesn’t it ? Of course, don’t forget to customize the panels to fulfill your needs. I personally like to have a few launchers in a Windows-like style. The softwares icons you’ll need can be downloaded on Google and then added to the /usr/share/icons folder.

Conky

Conky is a little tool that allows you to display system informations directly on your desktop. You can set the refreshing rate, and choose between a lot of informations to display (list of available variables). I like to keep it simple, and to only display time and date. Here’s what my ~/.conkyrc file looks like :

#############################
# Conky settings
update_interval 10
total_run_times 0
double_buffer yes
no_buffers yes
#############################
# Text settings
use_xft yes
xftfont Ubuntu
#############################
# Window specifications
own_window yes
own_window_type override
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
gap_x 90
gap_y 800
#############################
# Graphics settings
draw_shades no
default_color ffffff
#############################
TEXT
${font Open Sans Light:pixelsize=80}${time %H:%M}${font}
${alignc} ${font Open Sans Light:pixelsize=30}${time %d %b %Y}${font}

There are plenty ways to configure the date and time format, listed here.

That’s it for my Arch configuration. I mainly talked about the graphical customization, because I like to interact with my OS through the GUI as well as through the command line. When the system is freshly installed, you already have almost every console tool you need, but, unlike Windows (already good-looking when installed), if you want your GUI (xfce) to look modern, you have to accept to take some time to customize it. Yes, I think xfce is a great GUI as it is fast and customizable, but, by default, it’s also very old-fashioned !

Si vous êtes francophone, n’hésitez pas à lire ma revue de l’interface graphique de Deepin, un outsider dans le monde de linux bien sympathique !