Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

“GNOME 3″ on Ubuntu

Friday, November 12th, 2010

With the great work from Robert Ancell and Sebastien Bacher, who worked on packaging the new GLib/GTK3 stack, and with the recent packaging of a few GNOME 3 applications (eog, Nautilus, the new control center, …), you can start testing what will be GNOME 3 on Ubuntu (Natty) by using this PPA.

Please note that this is a work very much in progress, which means that, apart from the usual problems of running unstable software, it’s got the unstability of new packages added, so please USE WITH CARE. I would suggest to use a virtual machine for testing this, but please test it and report any problems you might find. It seems to be running ok for me (on a virtual machine), but please don’t risk your every day desktop :-D

Ubuntu One SyncDaemon API

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Ubuntu One‘s SyncDaemon (the process that takes care of synchronizing your files between the cloud and the desktop) has a DBus interface for applications to control and get notifications from it about what it is doing. This interface was being used in the Nautilus plugin and other desktop tools contained in ubuntuone-client itself. Even though powerful and straightforward, we haven’t seen many applications using it, since usually 3rd party applications don’t want to be dealing with the low level DBus API themselves.

But this is now history, since I introduce you to libsyncdaemon, a GObject wrapper on top of the DBus API which makes it very easy to communicate with SyncDaemon, as well as improving a lot the performance compared to accessing the DBus API directly (thanks to its use of caches, to avoid DBus calls repeating when no needed) and containing high level functions that would allow applications to, for instance, publish a file on Ubuntu One with just one call:

SyncdaemonDaemon *daemon = syncdaemon_daemon_new ();
syncdaemon_daemon_publish_file (daemon, "/home/user/myphoto.jpg");

But before you run to another place after seeing this C code, note that it includes bindings for many languages (Python, JavaScript, etc) for free, thanks to gobject-introspection. So, the same code in Python, for instance, would be:

daemon = Syncdaemon.Daemon ()
daemon.publish_file ("/home/user/myphoto.jpg")

So now, the next step is to start adding support for sharing/publishing files in Ubuntu One to many desktop applications, like, for instance (ideas stolen from Stuart Langridge):

  • Publish screenshots directly from gnome-screenshot tool
  • Sharing photos from f-spot/shotwell/etc
  • etc…

This, along with the already existing desktop APIs (desktopcouch, couchdb-glib, libubuntuone), makes integration of 3rd party applications into Ubuntu One a very easy thing.

Facebook account disabled

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Last night, I was writing a message to a friend’s wall on Facebook, about telescopes, and when submitting the message, I got a message saying that the content of my message had been reported to be abusive by some Facebook users ?? After that, I couldn’t log in back again, it just said my account was disabled.

So, if you rely on Facebook for contacting me, please don’t, send me mail, which is still enabled, and even allows all sorts of abusive content (you can write me about telescopes if you want, no ultra-paranoid filters there :-D ).

I already wrote to the Facebook staff about the issue, but I’m not sure what they will decide.

Google Wave invitations

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I’ve got several Google Wave invitations to hand out, so if you want one, send me an email (you should know my email address if you’re my friend :-) ).

Social network[ing] services clients

Monday, December 7th, 2009

All the social services (Facebook, Twitter, etc) client apps I’ve seen (Gwibber on the desktop, Mauku on Maemo) fail in the same way, which is:

  • They just show the latest “feed” of messages from the service, not allowing users to either keep some message for a while, or remove messages they are not interested in.
  • They don’t integrate well with all the services (having a ‘@friend ….’ message in your Facebook profile doesn’t look well at all, which is what is done when you ‘reply’ to a message in Twitter) or just don’t integrate at all.
  • Some of them, like the Facebook widget on Maemo, just display your home page in Facebook when you click on one item, instead of sending you to the entry for that message you’re clicking on!

The only “thing” that does it correctly, from what I’ve seen so far, is yoono, a Firefox extension, which shows all the messages from all the services you configure it with, allowing you to remove messages you’re not interested in or have already read, or keeping messages for future reference. Also, it gets you to the right page at Facebook when you click on one item, and also allows you to comment directly to the messages right from yoono itself.

It’s true though that it would be great to have it not tied to Firefox, as an independent application, so /me dreams about gwibber/mauku implementing something like yoono.

PHP Help

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Dear lazy web:

How do I make PHP not run out of memory when doing thumbnails of large images? I’ve got this code:

                        $href = $path . "/" . $file;
			$tn_file = "thumbnail-" . $file;
			$orig_file = $full_path . "/" . $file;

			/* generate thumbnail if it does not exist */
			if (file_exists ($tn_file) == false) {
				$im = @imagecreatefromjpeg ($orig_file);
				if (!$im) {
				        $im = @imagecreatefrompng ($orig_file);
					if (!$im)
						continue;
					$is_png = 1;
				} else
					$is_png = 0;

				if (imagesx ($im) < imagesy ($im)) {
					$new_width = round (imagesx ($im) / (imagesy ($im) / 240));
					$new_height = 240;
				} else {
					$new_width = 240;
					$new_height = round (imagesy ($im) / (imagesx ($im) / 240));
				}
				
				$copy_im = imagecreatetruecolor ($new_width, $new_height);
				imagecopyresampled ($copy_im, $im, 0, 0, 0, 0,
					$new_width, $new_height, imagesx ($im), imagesy ($im));
				if (is_png == 1)
				        imagepng ($copy_im, $tn_file);
				else
				        imagejpeg ($copy_im, $tn_file);

				imagedestroy ($copy_im);
				imagedestroy ($im);
			}

			//$get_url = "/images/thumbnail-" . $file;
			$get_url = $tn_file;

It works great for most of my images (as you can see here), but it doesn't for big images (2592x1944 pixels, like this one).

I've been trying all the solutions mentioned in this page, but none seems to work for me :-( I am assuming it's an out-of-memory problem, but could it be something else?

Syncing Evolution contacts to Ubuntu One

Friday, October 30th, 2009

The other day was about Tomboy notes, today, Evolution contacts syncing to Ubuntu One!

For the basic setup, see this tutorial. So, once you have contacts in the Evolution CouchDB Ubuntu One addressbook, syncing to Ubuntu One happens automatically:

The same contacts show up automatically in the Ubuntu One web UI:

Now, we just need to get mobile devices (N900, Android, etc) to sync contacts there also, and your contacts would be everywhere you need them!

Enjoy it!

Syncing Tomboy notes with Ubuntu One

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Lots of people keep asking the same question (how do I sync Tomboy notes with Ubuntu One?), so, since there is a nice tutorial already, posting it here to get to a wider audience: the tutorial.

Since this is also my first post about it (didn’t want to make it too public until it worked great), I wish to give special thanks to Sandy Armstrong, Tomboy’s super hacker, whose help in making this work has been very valuable. Not only he helped us in all the problems we found, but he was very receptive on our suggestions for changes in the syncing protocol. So, every time you sync your notes (to Ubuntu One or a Snowy server), please save some money to pay him (and me, if possible) some beers :-D

GCDS summary

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

After an exhausting week at GCDS, a similarly exhausting weekend partying in Pamplona for San Fermín, and an again exhausting return to day to day work, just found some time to write some notes from last GCDS.

  • First, about RMS’s talk. I really didn’t find offensive his comments, just was a bit upset by the way he answered some of the questions asked by some people (this is a stupid question or something like that was one of his answers), but well, I can live with that and didn’t feel offended at all. But I found his talk very, very (did I say very?) boring. Talking about how cool is free software in front of an audience of free software enthusiasts, and about the history of GNOME and KDE in front of many of the core contributors to those projects was, IMHO, a total waste of time. While the talk is great for other audiences, it was totally out of place at GCDS. And that’s all I have to say about this, no meme from me.
  • There was a lot of interest on CouchDB from many people:
    • Tracker guys might want to use it to store metadata and files.
    • Roberto Majadas, the newest incorporation to the GNOME Hispano board, has been working on Vala bindings for my couchdb-glib library. He should announce them soon, I think.
    • Henri, from Midgard, implemented, while in Gran Canaria, the replication protocol used by CouchDB for Midgard, which means you would be able to sync (contacts, bookmarks, notes, etc) not only to CouchDB servers, but also to any server running Midgard.
    • People liked a lot (at least they applauded a lot) the demos for the stuff we’ve doing for bookmarks (Firefox) and contacts (Evolution and Akonadi) storage in CouchDB, that Steve Alexander showed in his talk on Wednesday. Thanks BTW to Ryan Lortie, who kindly gave his slot for his gnio talk so that Steve could talk about our work.
  • About GNOME 3 technologies, I have to say that the platform changes seem to be very well on track (thanks to Andre Klapper for keeping track), and GNOME Shell looks really good, even though it seems to still miss some functionality (applets? notifications?), which I’m sure the people working on it will settle down. Not so sure about Zeitgeist. It looks really great, don’t misinterpret me, but after thinking about it for a while, I couldn’t imagine how it would be useful for me, given how I access files. I’m sure it would be quite useful for lots of people, I’m just talking about me, but I think it would make a lot of sense if, instead of a separate application, it were a Nautilus view, just like you have the icon, list and compact views. But well, I’ll try testing it soon and maybe I’ll get convinced.
  • I liked a lot the Telepathy tubes stuff for desktop sharing, as well as the libnice talk by Youness Alaoui. These 2 open the door for very nice things to be added to desktops in the not-so-distant future.
  • I talked with several people about the contents of the conference, and most people agreed that, for someone that follows GNOME development the whole year, most talks are useless. Not that they are not interesting, because they are, but it would be much more useful if they were replaced with discussion groups that came up with plans for the next development cycles. Talks are still ok for new people getting to the conference, but having BOFs just after the core days, where a big percentage of the attendees are already gone, is, IMO, not a good idea, they should really be part of the core days. UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit) has this right IMO, where there are only a few keynotes, and then several rooms hosting those discussions for different topics, where people come up with clear plans of what they should be working on. I hope we can do something similar for next year.
  • And after complaining about too many talks, I have to say that one of the best things in the conference (along with the GNOME 1, 2, 3 talk by Fernando Herrera and Xan López), at least for me, was the Pitivi tutorial, by Edward Hervey, which showed to the profanes like me how to do nice videos. I hope I’ll be able to follow his teachings and, soon, publish some nice videos of my motorbike and skiing rides as well as my holidays, with good rock&roll as the soundtrack :-) That, along with Mistelix (a DVD authoring tool) might change radically the way my friends and family enjoy my photos and videos.
  • Federico was selected as the first GNOME Hispano honorific member in the GNOME Hispano dinner on Thursday. It’s just a honorific title (accompanied by a bottle of local rhum as the prize :) ), but he really deserves anything we can do to show him our admiration to the best hacker I’ve ever worked with.
  • I missed the FreeFA tournament, because playing football at 3PM under the Canarian sun is something my religion forbids :) But yeah, even with me not playing, Bastien lost again :-D
  • Also nice was to have the personal hobbies lightning talks on Tuesday. As I discussed with some people, sexist problems, IMO, might be solved if some people, instead of being all the time in front of a computer, got out once in a while and met some non-geeky people (including women, of course) and share some hobby with them. That might make them understand better how to behave in front of women or people with different cultures. So I hope mega geeky people in the audience used those lightning talks as a starting point to find non-technology hobbies.
  • I really missed more KDE<->GNOME cooperation talks. Most of the cross-desktop talks were about things specific to one or the other desktop, not about how both projects could cooperate more. At the end, except in parties, it was hard to find KDE people (at least I only saw the KDE people I know in parties) around, and I guess the KDE people had the same impression. We even had 2 separate parties one day!!! Have to say though that the GNOME one was funnier, as some KDE people that showed up at the GNOME one told me :-D

Last but not least, as always, meeting again all the people I already know and making new friends is the best part of this kind of events. It makes you feel again part of a great community.

And to finish, a big thanks to the people that helped in the organization. They already had a big round of applause at the GNOME Foundation Annual Meeting, but I’ll say it again here: thanks a lot!

Mapping Gran Canaria (call for help)

Monday, June 29th, 2009

For all of you attending Gran Canaria Desktop Summit next week and with fancy gadgets like Nokia’s N800/N810, cell phones with GPS, etc, please take the opportunity for helping out the OpenStreetMap project.

How? Very easy, just make sure you set up your gadget to save tracks and have it recording your itineraries whenever you move around the city/island (no need to record your walks around the conference center :-D ). With so many people with gadgets around the city for the week, I think we can improve the current situation (not bad, but lots of room for improvement if you compare it with the Google Maps version).

To save the tracks correctly, make sure to search for your device at http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/, and follow the instructions on how to set it up for good recording of tracks. The most important thing is to setup a good interval (I use every 10 meters or every second, whatever comes first). If you use a very long interval of saving track points, the tracklog would be mostly useless. Also, if you want to do more than just saving tracks, have a look at the map making techniques page. But please, just saving the tracks is enough for helping, so there’s no excuse if you have a gadget with GPS.

And then, when you have the tracks, just send them to me, if you don’t want to bother anymore, or, if you want to bother more, join the project and help editing the map.