Monday, February 22, 2010

Utilize the hardware keyboard with MaePad 1.3 and Vim keybindings

Yesterday, MaePad 1.3 was released. Apart from updates to the Finnish translation and a new Hungarian translation, this release adds Vim-like keybindings to the UI, which allows you to be very productive when managing lots of checklists.

The enabler here is the hardware keyboard that allows for indirect multi-touch interaction with good, tactile, haptic feedback (something that no touchscreen to date can provide - you can't type "blindly" on any touchscreen).

Watch the demo video here:

The package is available as binary .deb from the MaePad homepage and the source is available in the Git repository (no package in Extras until Bug 9070 is fixed). Leave feedback in the forum thread, including ideas for additional shortcuts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Maemopad+ 0.36 for Diablo and some Extras-Testing QA requests

I've written enough about MaePad in the last few weeks, so today I'm announcing something for all the Maemo 4 fans out there: Maemopad+ 0.36 has been released, and with it comes a nice search function (the code for which has been written in 2008) and updated translations. We also added a Git repository and the updated website to the mix.

Here's a request for all the Maemo 5 lovers: Please don't forget to give some Extras-Testing QA love to the following packages: gPodder 2.2-2, Panucci 0.3.9-2 and headphoned 1.7. These packages already have passed their 10-day quarantine (or will do so during the coming days), and are just waiting for enough votes to be allowed to go into the Extras repository, so all end users can profit from the updates. Thanks for you help!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Want MæPad 1.2? Vote for bug 9070!

MæPad 1.2 is out now, and includes (apart from bugfixes and usability fixes) some cool new features such as word wrapping, mass-removal of all checked items and the often requested "share your sketches" feature that allows you to upload sketches to Flickr or send via E-Mail or Bluetooth.

Sadly, the "share your sketches" feature makes MæPad build-depend on the "sharing-dialog-dev" package, which is not available in the auto-builder. Anyway, with MæPad 1.2 you can upload useful or even pointless sketches directly to hosting services:

If you want to get MæPad 1.2 into Maemo Extras, please vote for bug 9070. Alternatively, you can grab the armel .deb for MæPad 1.2 from the MæPad website.

In other news, the MæPad Git repository and MæPad on Transifex are now online, so if you want to contribute code or translations, please feel encouraged do so (send me your Transifex username, so I can add you to the MæPad project there to allow uploads).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MeeGo wishlist

Because all the cool kids blog about it these days..

If any of these specifications/standards do not meet the requirements, please work with freedesktop.org or other related institutions to get your extensions discussed, fixed and then integrated into the relevant specifications.

People will still develop mobile UIs specifically for whatever device will come along in the future, but porting from/to "mainstream" Desktop Linux should be as easy as possible.

There's a lot of awesome open source Linux/UNIX (GUI) software out there, it just needs some UI love to be usable on mobile devices. Don't make it harder than it should be.

(And with that I mean that it's easier to relayout a GTK+, FLTK, wxWidgets, Swing or Tk UI than to port everything to "the one true toolkit".)

This is especially true since open source developers usually develop in their free time, and porting an app to a new toolkit/environment is something that can't be done in two afternoons. Relayouting UIs can be done in that time.

Adding paradigm-shifting cool new UIs will still work without breaking backwards-compatibility and without restricting developers to one language/toolkit.

Oh, and Mer solves most of these issues by basing itself on a "standard" Desktop distro and only changing stuff that's really necessary.

Monday, February 8, 2010

MaePad 1.1 and gPodder 2.2 hit Extras-Testing

After a week of initial testing of MaePad 1.0 in Extras-Devel and some very helpful feedback from users, MaePad 1.1 "The Large Hadron Collision" hits the street (or more precisely, Extras-Testing). You can read the list of changes or go straight to the package page to test it.

In other news, gPodder 2.2 "LA X" (release notes on gPodder.org) was uploaded to Extras-Devel at the end of last week. This new release includes the promised UI changes and some other under-the-hood changes, but there have been some minor regressions (broken streaming for example) which have since been fixed in the development repository. Please test gPodder 2.2 (on the package page) and report bugs against it in the bug tracker, so that any issues can be fixed before the next package version.

Again, please report any bugs you find to the bug tracker, and don't go whining in the forums - it's a hassle to search and hunt for bug reports on the web, and your "bug report" forum post might never be seen by any of the developers of any given app.

gPodder 2.2 is of course also available for Maemo 4, and has been pushed into the Diablo Extras repository already. Starting from this version, no Chinook builds will be provided for gPodder anymore, but due to the interpreted nature of Python code, you can install the gPodder package from the Diablo repositories should you really need to run gPodder under Chinook. If you are reporting bugs against gPodder for Maemo 4, be sure to mention "Maemo 4", "Diablo" or "N8x0" in the bug report.

Ready to go into Maemo Extras during this week: Panucci 0.3.9-1 and headphoned 1.6 (thanks to all the testers for taking the time to test, review and rate these packages).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bluetooth support for headphoned and Panucci

The hack week continues with some goodness for your ears (and the undisturbedness of people sharing the subway or bus with you): headphoned 1.6 adds support for Bluetooth headsets, so when you disconnect your Bluetooth headset, playback of music will automatically pause, which seems to be a much-requested feature. Thanks to Alan and Faheem for making this possible. Again, now that the package is ready, it's your turn to test and vote the package into the Extras repository.

Now that headphoned supports Bluetooth headsets, the only problem is that you still need to get your device out of your pocket to start playback. That's why I quickly hacked some automatic playback start goodness into Panucci (which is of course optional). The (due to space constraints irritatingly named) "Auto-play on headset" option will automatically start playback in Panucci when your Bluetooth headset or your wired headset with microphone is connected:

(Yes, I'm a big fan of the Marina Theme...)

I'm not promoting the new Panucci version yet, as I want the previous release (0.3.9-1) to go through Extras-Testing first. The version with headset support (0.3.9-2) is already in Extras-Devel, and I'll promote it to -Testing after the first one got through (thanks to all of you who have reviewed and rated the package in -Testing).

In short, this means that you will be able to keep your N900 in your pocket and simply connect/disconnect your Bluetooth headset to control playback, which I think is quite nice... (no support for BT headset buttons in Panucci so far, as I can't really test this myself - send patches and/or D-Bus logs)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Announcing MaePad for Maemo 5

Last Thursday, Claes Norin asked me if there's going to be an app like Maemopad+ for Fremantle. "Neat idea", I thought, and started hacking, overhauling the whole UI, refactoring some ugly parts of the code and making it generally shine and be usable as every day productivity companion on the N900. Claes was kind enough to provide me with valuable feedback and the necessary artwork. Now, let me introduce you to... MaePad!

MaePad in action

Due to the big changes in the UI and source code, MaePad is only available for Fremantle at the moment, but I hope to be able to provide it for Mer as well when it becomes available for the N800 and N810.

If you are feeling adventurous, please try out MaePad 1.0, which is available from Maemo Extras-Devel now.