Monday, March 29, 2010

App updates: gPodder 2.4 and MaePad 1.5

This week, it's once again time to update two of the more prominent apps in my collection: gPodder 2.4 "The Pants Alternative" for both Diablo and Fremantle and MaePad 1.5 "Productive" for Fremantle.

With the installation of PR1.2 on the autobuilder, MaePad can once again be built on it, so I've resumed uploading of MaePad releases to Maemo.org.

So, what's in it for you? Let's start with gPodder:

  • Progress bar for loading episodes (and optimized episode list loading)
  • "All episodes" view is not grouped per-podcast anymore (all episodes are now sorted descending by date)
  • Faster download resuming on application start (with progress dialog)
  • Automatic clean-up of finished downloads
  • Simplified layout of progress indicator dialogs (e.g. deleting episodes, unsubscribing from podcasts)

And now for your favourite productivity tool, the MaePad:

  • "w" in the checklist/sketch view now saves the database
  • Fullscreen mode of checklists uses portrait mode (for shopping use, etc..)
  • Node type displayed in overview (there's a themeing issue here with the highlights and the secondary text color.. suggestions welcome)

Now it's your turn: Please test the new packages and then vote for the packages here: MaePad QA page and gPodder QA page. Any bugs that you will find should be reported here: new bug against gPodder and MæPad t.m.o thread.

The PR1.2 SDK on the autobuilder adds a dependency on a newer Hildon version that cannot be fulfilled in earlier firmware versions, so I'll build a package compatible with pre-PR1.2 firmware soon and publish the package on the MaePad homepage for manual installation during this transition period until PR1.2 becomes available for end users.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MaemoPad+ ported to Desktop Linux

Some weeks ago, a user of MaemoPad+ asked me if it was possible to port MaemoPad+ to the Desktop, so users of Tablet PCs can make use of it. Apart from that, this can also be useful for users of MaePad to copy their "memos.db" file from the N900 to their PC and edit the file (or just view the contents) on the big screen. The file format used by both MaemoPad+ and MaePad is the same, so users of the mobile versions can share their database files with the Desktop version (and vice versa), which by the way looks like this at the moment:

Screenshot of MaemoPad+ on the Desktop

Most of the Maemo 4 libraries are readily available in Debian (hildon, libosso, hildon-icons, etc..), so the initial port has not been too difficult, even though proper Desktop integration obviously needs more work, and there are some ugly crashers still hidden inside the code ;)

I wonder if it's possible to also package Maemo 5 libraries (Hildon 2.2, etc..) for Debian and upload them to the Debian repositories - this should make it easier to port Maemo 5 applications to the Linux Desktop without having to re-write the whole UI layer. Another cool thing would be to have Hildon 2.2 for Diablo, which would allow us to "backport" Maemo 5 apps to Maemo 4 - again, without the work of having to re-write the UI.

Packages for Ubuntu are available from the MaemoPad+ PPA, and the source is available via Git. Please send backtraces of crashes or (even better!) patches against the "desktop" branch in the Git repo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Updated packages for Panucci, RæMote and headphoned

Now that a preview of the PR1.2 SDK has been released, it's time to push the latest updates into the current Extras repository, so users that won't be upgrading to 1.2 as soon as it's out will get recent packages until they decide to upgrade to the new release. Over the last days, I've updated some of my packages with minor updates and long-requested features:

  • Panucci: FM transmitter in menu, HTTP streaming (ideal for podcasts). The "rotate to landscape mode when the keyboard is open" fix has been merged from gPodder.
    QA page for Panucci 0.3.9-5
  • RæMote: Updated bugtracker URL and fixed the UI glitch where button "highlights" get stuck. It has only been out for two weeks, and therefore it has not entered Extras yet, so your votes are extra important here.
    QA page for RæMote 1.2
  • headphoned: Support for pausing FM radio has been added - this is useful when you listen to FM radio using a Bluetooth headset. Please read the info comment about FM radio support on the QA page.
    QA page for headphoned 1.8

If you can spare some minutes, please help test these applications on your device and vote for them afterwards on the QA pages that are linked above.

More updates to other apps are queued for this week, stay tuned.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bond Girl Style

Right now I'm re-watching "From Russia with Love," the first James Bond movie I ever watched. I remember it very well, because even though I was quite young, I was inspired by the style of the leading lady, Tatiana Romanova- and even James Bond himself. Observe:

In fact, I was/am so enamored of the young James Bond/Sean Connery, I totally refuse to acknowledge that he's the same person as that old guy mocked on Celebrity Wheel of Fortunes SNL parodies.
Although I mostly watch old James Bond movies for the clothes, I also love the quirky gadgets from M., the sexy opening credits, the exotic locations, and the corny sexual innuendo.
Here are some of my favorite Bond girls:



SketchyAetch, gPodder/Qt and living in the present

After the very interesting Nokia Mobile Developers Forum in Hagenberg on Friday and Saturday (Petri Niemi did several interesting Qt introductory talks), I decided to play a bit with QGraphicsView again and this time try to come up with an app that actually does something: SketchyAetch!

Having not done much with C++ for several months, the GCC error messages (at least for C++) are still kind of cryptic. The fact that code gets pre-processed by moc does not help here, as the error messages might appear in a different location than where the real error/typo is. It should not be too difficult to get around these issues after some practice, and from that point on, getting things done (in C++) with the Qt libraries should be nice.

Already-drawn lines will fade away when you shake your device just like you would expect. The package is available in Extras-Devel.

Now something for the Qt fanboys out there: If you're running gPodder 2.3 on your device, you can try

   python -m gpodder.qtui

for a PoC "yes we could use Qt for the UI layer". This is not something that we will be working on in the near future (after all, the Hildon-based Maemo 5 UI is perfectly fine and "native" and it will get some more fine-tuning with the next release), but it shows that it won't be too difficult to do a DirectUI GUI for gPodder on top of the existing podcast client for M6/MG. We probably get around to implementing a DirectUI GUI for gPodder later this year when it's time to think about "Maemo 6" support.

Looking back how strange the gPodder Fremantle UI looked back in June 2009 (and how much changed in both the Framework and gPodder until the first Fremantle version was released), there's no rush in switching to Qt or DirectUI (at least for existing applications). I just hope that good Python bindings will be available for DirectUI/Qt when it's time to support the new UI, but I'm sure the PyMaemo team will do a great job just as they did with Hildon/Fremantle.

Maemo 5 is very polished these days, and I expect it to be even more mature when PR1.2 is out. It's also nice to see the Qt bits fall in place, DirectUI widget demos being made available, and MADDE becoming integrated with QtCreator, so the tooling support is ready when it's time to write M6/MeeGo apps. Maemo 6/MeeGo is for later this year, now it's time to enjoy Maemo 5, the N900 and all the great open source apps :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Video of my talk from January; coming up: Nokia App Forum Alps

Back in January, I've given a talk about Maemo Development at the Metalab Vienna. It's been up for some weeks now (the talk is in German, but at least I was using the N900 during the whole presentation. BTW: Is it possible to disable auto-rotate in the image viewer?): (direct link)


Maemo 5 "Getting Started" from metalab on Vimeo.

This upcoming weekend, the Nokia Mobile Developers Conference is taking place in Hagenberg, Austria, and if you happen to have time on March 5th and 6th, register for free (free shuttle busses are available from Vienna to Hagenberg and back). I'll be giving a talk about Open Source Applications on Maemo 5. Say hi if you happen to be there! :)