Monday, August 31, 2009

Fullscreen and portrait modes for Panucci

Summer is always nice for travelling around, especially by train, which is quite cheap here in Austria, if you have the Sommerticket. Given that, I find myself having more time for listening to podcasts, and Panucci served me well so far.

Panucci, by the way, is a resuming podcast/audiobook player for Maemo.

There were just two annoyances until recently: First, there was no fullscreen support (yeah, a no-brainer, but it simply was not implemented..). Second, the UI looked ugly when the screen was rotated to portrait mode. And I wanted to play/pause the currently-playing podcast by touching the cover art. After a day of hacking, this is the result:

Nokia N810 running Panucci full-screen in landscape and portrait mode

You need Panucci 0.3-7 (which entered Maemo Extras today) and enable support for screen rotation on your tablet. After that you can listen to podcasts (and audiobooks/live concerts) and hold your tablet like this. If you only believe moving pictures, watch the live demo on YouTube.

As an added bonus, Panucci is now available for Fremantle, although I believe we have to wait for the PyMaemo guys to fix bug 5026 before supporting portrait mode there (if the instructions on this Wiki page are correct).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

little people

with all due respect to the small object, who does this really well, i had to try making my own clothespin people. i actually made a bunch of these in a high school art class and i think they were part of a fundraising auction. should have kept it up and started a cake topper business!



the couples shown are my friend gwen and her soon-to-be husband andrew, i made them in case the other cake toppers i was working on didn't work out. then since i was at it, i went ahead and made me and josh as well. i got a little sloppy on our couple since it was rather late and i was working with 2 bandaged index fingers at that point (one due to an unfortunate mandoline slip and the other due to some overzealous snipping with fabric scissors). still, they were super fun to make and i kind of want to make everyone i know now.

Multiplayer Tennix coming to your tablets soon

Last Tuesday, I have started working on adding network-based multiplayer support to Tennix (a free 2D tennis game for Linux, Mac OS X, Windows and Maemo). In addition to two players playing on one computer (which already worked a long time ago), we now support playing Tennix over the network on two tablets (obviously, playing a tablet-versus-PC game will also work).

Currently, this network play runs over UDP, so WiFi connectivity is needed when you want to play tablet-versus-tablet. I might be able to add Bluetooth support later on, but the BlueZ API seems way more complicated than SDL_net's API which I currently use. Let me correct myself here: There's no real documentation for the BlueZ C API that I could find.

A small library with a clean API that abstracts Bluetooth, WiFi and maybe some other connectivity options and provides an easy way to establish a transport between two hosts/tablets would surely help boost developer interest in creating multi-player games and cross-tablet applications.

A video demoing the controls on two tablets can be found on YouTube.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

gPodder 0.17.0 for Maemo 4 and Fremantle progress

The podcast client gPodder has had its 0.17.0 release some days ago, and after some testing in Extras-Devel (thanks to Dan Ramos) we fixed some last bugs. Most notable changes are an improved feed update logic and UI wording fixes (thanks to timeless for reporting these). Now it's time to hit the street, so gPodder 0.17.0-2 should appear in Maemo Extras on your tablets running Chinook and Diablo today. Please report any problems you find. Still have not got gPodder? Go to the downloads page.

gPodder for Fremantle has also seen some fixes lately, related to changed (fixed?) API behaviour in the beta 2 SDK. Downloads are now stored in the user's $HOME, as this is the location where user-specific data goes on the new devices. Please test the latest version (0.16.1-8fremantleui) and report back if it's ready for Extras-Testing in your opinion.

For Fremantle, one thing that probably does not work yet (except if xdg-open is available and works) is starting the playback of files with the built-in media player. As this is not included in the SDK, testing it is impossible for me here. Future versions will probably use MAFW to create podcast playlists, which is now available in PyMaemo thanks to the PyMaemo team and Andrea Grandi. As soon as alternative media players (Panucci?) become available for Fremantle, these will be selectable for playing back episodes, soo.