Sunday, November 23, 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!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I was super excited about the swap I joined for Christmas tree ornaments until I realized I had to make 10 of something. Oh. I made sequined mushrooms last year for a few people, but it took about, oh, 4 hours per ornament, so that's not happening.
Instead, I formed mushrooms out of styrofoam, covered them with paper to make them less porous and more vintage-looking, and painted them with acrylic paint. Don't think these are anywhere done yet- the glitter bottle is calling my name.
Will post finished projects (perhaps my first tutorial?) here soon.

So here's another attempt at a cute ornament, but too time consuming for the swap: a bedazzled acorn:

Not sure about that one. Might need some tweaks.
Also, I started making some fancy Christmas trees from cones and trimming.

Can you tell I got a giant bag of styrofoam shapes at a yard sale this summer? They've been burning a hole in my closet.

thrift trip.

Since thrifting is such a regular part of my life, even sort of factored into my monthly budget, I thought it would be cool to start sharing all the goods I find on my blog. Maybe that will keep me from compulsively yelling the name of the thrift store and price of the item when someone compliments me.
This trip was on monday:

awesome brand new leather slippers $1.91, vintage knit dress $1.91, sailor mirror! $3, jewelry chest $5, chunky fake gold chain $1.21, christmas trees $6.00, sweater vest $1.91.
I was going to put the slippers on my etsy shop, but that is not happening since I am already wearing them.

Tuesday, November 11, 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 :)

Saturday, November 8, 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?

Thursday, November 6, 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!

Two excerpts from books I enjoy that come to mind while visiting my mom in the hospital that make it a litte easier to be there.

An ambulance drove down the street between us and I imagined who it was carrying, and what had happened to him. Did he break his ankle attempting a hard trick on his skateboard? Or maybe he was dying from third degree burns on ninety percent of his body? Was there any chance that I knew him? Did anyone see the ambulance and wonder if it was me inside?
What about a device that knew everyone you knew? So when an ambulance went down the street, a big sign on the roof could flash


if the sick person's device didn't detect the device of someonehe knew nearby. And if the device did detect the device of someone he knew, the the ambulance could flash the name of the person in the ambulance, and either


or if it was something major,


And maybe you could rate the people you knew by how much you loved them, so if the device of the person in the ambulance detected the device of the person he loved the most, or the person who loved him the most, and the person in the ambulance was really badly hurt, and might even die, the ambulance could flash


One thing that's nice to think about is someone who was the first person on lots of people's lists, so that when he was dying, and his ambulance went down the streets to the hospital, the whole time it would flash


-Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

the second book is in my car. it will come soon.

*Update: Ok, so I returned the 2nd book to the library. Just read the whole thing, fo realz, so good.