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Will Thompson

Sojourner help wanted for MeeGo Conference SF

2011-05-18 10:46 UTC  by  Will Thompson
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A few months back, Topi Santakivi updated Sojourner for the MeeGo Summit in Tampere. Andrew Flegg wonders about an update for MeeGo Conference San Francisco 2011, which I’m sadly not attending. The schedule’s available as a web page. I had a quick poke around for a version in a more machine-readable format—ideally PentaBarf XML, which Sojourner understands, but even something that could be converted to that—and couldn’t see anything obvious.

Dear reader, would you happen to know of such a machine-readable schedule, and would you like to send a merge request updating Sojourner to show it?

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Will Thompson

Sojourner 0.2: coloured and communitized

2011-01-31 12:31 UTC  by  Will Thompson
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Another week, another release of Sojourner; this time in glorious 32-bit colour, and featuring its first community contribution!

Screenshot of Sojourner's favourites window Screenshot of Sojourner's event details page

The eagle-eyed reader will have noticed that, in the favourite talks in the screenshot above, Andrew‘s Django talk sadly clashes with Raúl‘s Folks talk. I hadn’t noticed, until Joaquim Rocha sent patches adding a button that shows which of your favourites clash with the event you’re viewing. Now I have a dilemma on my hands… Joaquim also cleaned up some of my less-beautiful code. Thank you!

The event lists are now easier to skim-read, with subheaders for the day and coloured swatches representing the track the talk is part of. I don’t know if in practice people will actually associate the colours with tracks, but I do think than the pastel stripe at the left-hand side makes the list easier on the eye. I initially wanted to re-use the colours on the official schedule, but didn’t really want to hardcode a massive list of colours (and the schedule XML doesn’t include them), so they’re generated based on a hash of the track name. (Thanks to Sjoerd Simons for the “vary H, fix S and V” tip for generating a palette.)

The package should be available from extras-testing by the time you read this.

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Will Thompson

Last year, I threw together a primitive FOSDEM schedule application for the N900. A year later—just in time for FOSDEM 2011, which I am attending!—it’s back, with more polish and a catchier name: Sojourner.

A screenshot of Sojourner's main window A screenshot of Sojourner's single event view

New since last time around:

  • You can refresh the schedule from within the app;
  • It works in portrait mode;
  • It generally looks a bit better, with margins and button sizes matching other Fremantle applications more closely;
  • It has, yunno, icons and packaging.

Most of those fall firmly into the “well of course it should be like that”. I told you it was primitive the first time around. :-) There are a few more screenshots on my Sojourner page, or you can install it from Fremantle Extras. It’s currently in extras-testing; please feel free to leave feedback there or here. The wiki on Gitorious has a laundry list of suggestions for improvements, as well as a few buglets I’m aware of. Of course, if you want to get involved, I’d be delighted. It’s written in Python, using Gtk+ and Hildon. Non-code-wise, the artwork could definitely use some love (I just threw it together in a few minutes in the Gimp) and some more careful thought about the user experience might be nice.

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Will Thompson

MeeGo Conference: Telepathy 1.0 roadmap

2010-11-15 18:08 UTC  by  Will Thompson
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The queue for registration

Along with something like 15 other Collaborans, I’m at the MeeGo Conference 2010 in Dublin. I’ve somehow managed never to visit Ireland before, so I’m hoping to find some time to explore a bit while I’m here.

I’m giving a talk titled The Road to Telepathy 1.0 tomorrow at 9am (yerk!) in the Vavasour Suite. I’ll be sketching out a rough roadmap, or rather collection of related goals and schedules; also, there’ll be an update on ongoing feature development. Right afterwards, at 9.30, the inimitable Mikhail Zabaluev is speaking on Developing Communication Protocol Implementations in Telepathy, based on Nokia’s experience developing SIP, cellular and Skype backends for Telepathy over the past years.

Also, at the Collabora stand we’re demoing DSP-accelerated video calls on an OMAP board using GStreamer, and integration with various services in MeeGo Netbook via Telepathy. Collabora folks working on all kinds of projects will be around; see you there!

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Will Thompson

Sending SMSes with Empathy and Telepathy-Ring

2010-07-15 17:27 UTC  by  Will Thompson
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Early last month, Lassi Syrjälä released Telepathy-Ring, Nokia’s Telepathy connection manager for GSM telephony, under the LGPL. The version used on the N900 talks to a proprietary daemon to drive the cellular hardware, but this new 2.x.y series has been ported to oFono, Intel and Nokia’s Free cellular modem daemon. I was trying out Ring using oFono’s phone simulator backend, until it was pointed out that oFono also supports my laptop’s built-in GSM chip. Oh really? Let’s see…

A few minutes of tweaking later, and I was looking at an apparently-unremarkable Empathy conversation window:

Screenshot of an SMS conversation in Empathy

Ring needed a few little hacks to get this going, mostly because laptops’ GSM chips don’t generally support making GSM calls, which Ring expects to be able to do. But I didn’t have to touch any other Telepathy components’ source: I installed my Ring branch, opened the Empathy accounts dialog, created a new “tel” account, and here we are. +447771██████ in that screenshot is my real actual phone, and this conversation looks just how you’d expect.

Of course, right now this is a proof-of-concept; it’s not really ready for non-developers. I’m planning to clean up my Ring patches for submission upstream over the next few weeks, and will try to trick someone into writing a custom account configuration UI for Empathy; hopefully we can get this working properly pretty soon! Thanks to Lassi, Pekka Pessi (Ring’s original author), and others at Maemo; the oFono team; and other Telepathy and Empathy hackers for making this so straightforward!

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Will Thompson

Foschart: a FOSDEM schedule app for the N900

2010-02-06 15:13 UTC  by  Will Thompson
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Hello internet! I am at FOSDEM 2010 in Brussels. I tried the fosdem-maemo schedule application for my Nokia N900, and decided to write an alternative app which is easier to use with my fingers, and looks more like a Maemo application.

The result is foschart. It’s just something I knocked together in a few hours yesterday, but it’s pretty usable already. It supports showing talks grouped by track, by room, and just in chronological order, and a list of favourites. It’s all happily kinetic-scrollable, etc., and is very snappy once it’s started.

There’s no proper release or package yet; if you want to package it up properly, please do! But for now, apt-get install python-hildon, then copy foschart.py and schedule.xml to /opt/foschart, and foschart.desktop to /usr/share/applications/hildon. Then it should show up in your application list, and away you go. As ever, patches welcome. Enjoy!

Update:

The illustrious Jonny Lamb has made a package!

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Will Thompson

The camera/photo viewer on the N900 has a pretty nice tag cloud widget, which lets you quickly label your photos before you upload them to Flickr. (The novelty hasn’t yet worn off!) But an autocompletion accident left me with a tag in the widget that I’d really prefer not to be there when I’m showing off my nice new phone to people.

I spent a happy¹ few hours trying to figure out where it gets the set of tags from. The viewer asks Tracker for the most commonly-used tags, but this tag wasn’t used on any of my photos, so wasn’t coming from there. In fact, it didn’t appear in any of Tracker’s database files! After a bit of investigation, I discovered that the photo viewer keeps its own independent set of recently-used tags, not in Tracker, but in GConf, at /apps/osso/image-viewer/recent_tags. Lest you should find yourself in my position, a quick

gconftool --set --type list --list-type=string
/apps/osso/image-viewer/recent_tags '[]'

will expunged your undesired utterances from the cloud. Bug report time. Next stop: finding a tool that lets the user remove typos from the autocompletion database …

1. Grr.

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Will Thompson

Boston Gnome Summit and Maemo Summit

2009-10-09 10:05 UTC  by  Will Thompson
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I’m just getting ready to fly away to Boston for the Gnome Summit. I’m looking forward to meeting people and seeing MIT, as well as getting the chance to spend more than a few hours in Boston (unlike every other time I’ve been there).

Inevitably, I haven’t been organised enough to propose a Telepathy- or Empathy-related session, but Rob McQueen, Sjoerd Simons, Andres Salomon, Dafydd Harries, Shaun McCance (when he’s not busy running a pair of interesting-sounding documentation sessions!) and myself will be around if people are interested; maybe something will coalesce. If window manager theming is more your kind of bag, Thomas Thurman‘s running a session on CSS in Metacity/Mutter. It’d be great to talk about integrating IM with the Gnome Shell; Moblin’s people panel and many parts of Maemo make interesting use of Telepathy, and it’d be nice to have something similar on the desktop.

Speaking of Maemo, going to Boston means I’m not at the Maemo Summit in Amsterdam, which is a real shame: I’d love to meet more of the Maemo community, hear what people have up their sleeves for the N900, and discuss how Telepathy could help. Happily, Marco Barisione‘s giving a talk about how Telepathy’s used on Maemo, and how you can use it too; relatedly, Travis Reitter and Mathias Hasselmann will speak about the address book, one of the heaviest users of Telepathy. Also, Marc Ordinas i Llopis is hosting a BoF on extending the (frankly stunning) Hildon desktop, and Ian Monroe is giving a talk with Sergiy Dubovik about preparing Qt4 applications for Fremantle and Harmattan. I hear Philippe Kalaf is also floating around somewhere. ☺

See you in (the wrong) Cambridge!

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