Mittwoch, 17. Dezember 2008

libmokoui2 (+Python bindings) in Diablo Extras

For the next version of gPodder, I plan to have a better suited user interface for the tablets. For this, I needed a finger-scrolling replacement of GTK+'s ScrolledWindow. libmokoui2 provides just that, and it's now available in Diablo Extras.

The package is based on Ubuntu's libmokoui2 source package, but I have removed the doc package and the Vala bindings, because you can read the docs on your computer or online, and I didn't want to mess with Vala (yet).

It also did not build on Chinook, maybe someone can have a look at the build logs? It's working fine on Diablo, though. Example code in Python is also available.

Sonntag, 14. Dezember 2008

Remote-control Vagalume via a web server

I am using Vagalume to listen to on my N800 that is hooked up to the stereo. During that time, I'm sitting at my lappy doing random things. When a song I don't like comes up, I have to get up and hit the "skip" button. Not anymore! Enter ""...

This little Python script sets up a little HTTP server on port 8242 (that's "VAGA" if you type it on your mobile phone), receives song changes from Vagalume and can carry out basic operations like play, skip, ban, love, etc..

How to use? Copy it to your tablet, install python2.5 and python2.5-dbus and start it in background (with "python2.5 &"). Then, point your browser to http://yourtabletshostname:8242/ (a good time to set up Avahi correctly, so you can use "tabletname.local"). You can now see the currently-playing song and remote-control Vagalume via HTTP over your Wifi-Style connection!

Oh, and here's the link to download the script:

If people love this, I could enhance this a bit and put a GUI around it and create a Maemo package.

Donnerstag, 11. Dezember 2008

gPodder 0.14.0 in Maemo Extras

Just released gPodder 0.14.0 today, packaged it for Maemo and promoted it to Maemo Extras. Highlights: Improved the responsiveness of the UI, so gPodder does not freeze so often. Also: The "Never download" button in the new episodes dialog might come in handy. Please report all bugs you encounter, so we have a chance of fixing them! Waiting for your feedback. -- Thomas

Sonntag, 7. Dezember 2008

gPodder, Where Are Thou?

People have started asking when the new gPodder version for Maemo will appear. Installing Scratchbox is tedious, and I've re-installed a few weeks ago. A new release should be out soon, and I'll be rolling a new Maemo package then. And we have fixed some annoyances in the new version...

First, you complained about us having hardcoded the download folder to /media/mmc2/. Well, gPodder still uses this as the default download folder, but you can now simply move this folder from the SD card to your the external card (mmc1), to your home folder (/home/user) or even to an attached USB key (you can do this with a special USB female adapter). So, when you want to download podcasts to the exchangeable SD card on your N810 (or the external card on your N800), you can do so now :)

Another problem that people did not like was the fact that gPodder stored its settings and subscriptions on the SD card. This means that the Nokia Backup application didn't backup these things. So, the new version stores its settings in the user's home folder. This means that Nokia Backup and Restore should take care of you gPodder settings and subscriptions :)

All this awesomeness (or rather "less uglyness than before") will get to you with the release of 0.14.0, which should hopefully be out this coming week.

You won't get the sexy, human-readable folder names just yet. We have to work out some issues with the patches, but we are currently working on it. In the mean time (this also works with the current version!), you can set the "experimental_file_naming" advanced configuration option to "True" in order to get at least good file names (good for episodes that do not have ID3 tags).

Also, please don't hesistate to report any bugs and feature requests for gPodder to, so we can help you and you have a better podcasting experience on your Tablet.

Another plug: Try Panucci with your podcasts if you have not already done so.

Freitag, 5. Dezember 2008

Maemopad+ with search function

It has gotten quiet around Maemopad+ lately, but there are some nice features in SVN that should be released with the next release, most notably: a search entry in the toolbar that will highlight matching memos.

This will come in handy for users that use the checklist feature for all kinds of lists (Someday/Maybe, Ideas, TODOs, shopping lists, etc.). Obviously the search feature won't work on the contents of sketch notes, but text memos and checklists work fine.

What are you missing in Maemopad+ that would make you much more productive with it?

Sonntag, 23. November 2008

App idea for high-def camera: Face warping

Here's an idea that's been floating around in my "Maemo ideas" list in Maemopad+, but which I have not yet had time to look into, so I'm publishing it here in case anyone wants to implement it: Make photos with the camera on the internet tablet and then have morphing effects (like Cheese) and also a manual stylus-driven "power goo" (like Kai's Power Goo) mode.

I know, it's pointless, but having seen many people having several minutes of fun with the FaceWarp Java app that comes pre-installed on some Sony Ericsson phones, I can see this being a fun app for showing off the Internet Tablet to friends.

Does this sound like a killer app for the next device that is going to have a "high-def camera"? I don't know. It would be interesting if someone tries to get Cheese running on the tablets and have some fun with it. And of course, add these effects to the videophone app, too!

Dienstag, 11. November 2008

"N900" wishlist: Hardware scrollwheel

One of the things I've been thinking about recently is how I would like to have a scroll wheel (like all normal computer mice have) on the right side of my N800, just below the "Nokia N800" text. This way, I could easily scroll web pages and long texts without needing to use my finger on the touchpad. Using the finger on the touchpad has several disadvantages:
  1. You hide parts of the content you are reading with your finger
  2. You might accidentally click a link (in the browser)
  3. Scrolling through long texts means you have to sweep with your finger from the bottom of your screen to the top, several times
Apart from scrolling, this could act as a nice volume control in media players. Maybe even make the scroll wheel pressable, so we have another button (mute in media players?).

If you have an N800, please try this the next time you want to scroll a webpage: Move your finger over the top right side of your N800, between the "Nokia N800" text and the speaker holes. I don' t know if the scroll wheel would fit onto a smaller device like the N810 (or the "N900").

I think a touchscreen is nice, but having hardware buttons makes the device just easier to use in my opinion. I would even try to make touchscreen clicks by pressing the display, like it is done with the new Apple MacBook touchpads (see for videos). But there may be patent problems with that, so maybe this is the reason why we won't see that on the "N900". But think about it! Wouldn't it be nice?

That said, please also improve the D-Pad and hardware keyboard on the new hardware :)

Samstag, 8. November 2008

Get Avahi working on Maemo

Avahi is a service discovery service (phew!) for local networks (Apple calls this technology Bonjour). Among other things, its most basic functionality is to allow you to have a ".local" domain for your home network managed in a peer-to-peer fashion. This way, you do not have to remember the IP of your N8x0, but can use "threepwood.local" (if your N8x0 is named "threepwood").

The packages that need to be installed are "avahi-daemon" and "avahi-dnsconfd". There are some other avahi packages available (including GUIs) that you might want to try out. After installing, you should be able to ping your N8x0 from your Linux (with Avahi installed) or Mac OS X (works out of the box) machine.

The only problem: Avahi's daemons and D-Bus start in the same order (S20) on startup, and therefore Avahi gets to be first (alphabetical order), so you have to get root on your tablet and rename all S20avahi-* files in /etc/rc2.d/ to S21avahi-*. This way, D-Bus gets started first and after that, Avahi can start successfully (if Avahi is started before D-Bus, it won't work!).

After that, you can disable the HomeIP applet and start reading and typing IPs around your home network, but let Avahi/Bonjour do the hard work and you just type the easy-to-remember ".local" if you want to SSH to your tablet.

You can do even more fun things when you put "ssh.service" into /etc/avahi/services/ and install "service-discovery-applet" on your Gnome Desktop. This way, you can directly connect via SSH/SFTP to your tablet without needing to remember anything.

What are your uses for Avahi?

Donnerstag, 6. November 2008

Maemo and me

Hi there. I decided to do some postings about my trusty old N800 and some feature wishes/ideas. Maybe also the occassional rant. If you don't know me, have a look at my profile. Enjoy!