Taking DBus

Well, work on all other things has stopped as I join the guys at OpenedHand for the summer 🙂 I’ve been working on porting the evolution calendar back-end to DBus, based on the address-book back-end already completed by Ross Burton (an eployee at OpenedHand). Progress is going well – I’ve learnt more in this last two weeks than I have in the past 2 years (nb: exaggeration), and its been lots of fun so far. I’ve finally made some head-way and the back-end is very close to being functional (with a little faffing, you can view calendars and events in evolution). I hope to make it feature-complete and not *too* buggy this coming week, and hopefully it’ll get committed to the OH svn, and eventually, perhaps, up-stream. It feels good to be working on my first major contribution to open-source, even if it is heavily derivative of someone else’s work 🙂 Punnet did make a fair bit of progress before I started working, however. I don’t feel like releasing the source just yet, there just isn’t enough there… But I ported all the drawing code from gdk to OpenGL (using GtkGLExt) and added support for the 3rd dimension and keyboard input, along with lots of smaller features. I don’t know when I’ll have the time to work on it again, but if I see it dying, I’ll stick the source-code up. On a personal note, I haven’t had the time to catch up with all the people I meant to yet, I must get round to it soon… Also, no regrets about turning down IBM. I’ll probably apply again next year though, the experience was worth it 🙂

]]>

Holidays!

Wow, so it’s been a while since my last post… I guess exams do that to a guy. I’ve got lots of catching up to do, e-mails to write, presents to buy (birthdays), work to do, etc. Since the last update, I turned down IBM for OpenedHand (and can’t wait to start!) and started work on a new, small, spare-time project, which has been named ‘punnet’. Originally, I wanted to write an improved version of the excellent game apricots, but as often happens, things expanded. My main two goals were to get an improved, and possibly multiplayer-able version of apricots, and to get a reasonable knowledge of gtk+-2 doing so. I was going to call this ‘peaches’ (because peaches are a superior alternative to apricots). I got to talking with some friends at university, and I was put onto a nifty embeddable language, Lua. That’s when things changed – The idea evolved into a general purpose engine (at the moment, 2d, but very easily extendable to more dimensions) that uses gtk to provide an interface and drawing functions, and gives a small-ish set of c functions to lua scripts to use. A friend quite aptly named this ‘punnet’ (a type of basket, often used for holding fruit). At the moment, it has the ability to load lua scripts, which can then provide functions for the other scripts to use, and/or to be run once on initialisation, and/or to be run on every screen update. I’ve also written a fairly nice (HIG-compliant? Not totally sure…) interface for selecting what scripts you want to activate. To demonstrate the abilities of the engine, and to give myself a little start in Lua, I’ve written two scripts, that when activated together, bounce a ball around the screen 🙂 At the moment, there are many missing feature, most importantly, input and network support… I have some interesting ideas for the network support, but whether things happen or not is yet to be seen. Source will be online as soon as I get input and a slightly better demo sorted. Screenshot

]]>

IBM

Had the final IBM assessment day today… Was very… interesting. Kinda fun, would’ve been nice if it wasn’t so early in the day though. I think I did ok, I’m certainly more interested in working for them than I was before, having met some IBM employees – Very nice people. Will blog some more later in the week, too busy and tired to do so now… Regretting not taking the day off work.

]]>

Lazy

I’m far too lazy a person to handle the amount of work I have on my plate at the moment. Yesterday I worked all day at The Hobbit (the pub where I work) – Live bands were playing all day, so it was a lot more fun than usual, but also very *very* busy :/ A couple of pics: Which leads me onto more relevant information: I bought a new phone! A Sony Ericsson T630, in fact. Before this phone however, I tried the Philips 755, which I must say, was a huge disappointment. The style and design of the phone was nice, the hardware seemed capable, but it was let down by the most shoddy software I’ve ever had the displeasure of using… Primary usability problems with it included a 2-second delay when pressing the shift key (or any other key that altered the keymap) on the on-screen keyboard, not being able to add words to the T9 dictionary, and the worst laid out menus ever conceived (‘Settings’ is the selected option when you enter the main menu, for example). How this phone ever passed any kind of quality test, I’ll never know… If *I* had written the software 😉 The Sony Ericsson T630, however, is the nicest phone I’ve owned to date. Everything about it is perfectly thought out – You can tell a lot of money was spent on quality assurance. Menu layout, shortcuts, automation, everything is just about right, for the price-range, and it has an excellent organiser to boot. An advantage of owning a more common phone is the desktop support under non-Windows platforms. This phone is now acting as my synchronisation conduit between uni and home (where I use a Mac and a PC running Linux, respectively) via bluetooth, as well as providing me access to all my appointments, contacts, etc. on the move. The only fault I could level with this phone is its slight lack of memory (2 megs accessible, compared to the 7 megs of the Philips 755), but it’s just about adequate, and easily offset by the quality of the other features of the phone. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a cheap-ish phone with camera and organiser abilities. IBM have invited me back for further assessment, however, I’m almost certain that I’ll take the job at OpenedHand instead (that is if they’ll still have me) – As great as the IBM Hursley campus is, and as extensive their facilities are, the whole place just felt… boring. Not to mention that the projects that I’d be working on didn’t sound particularly interesting either, I think I’d find it hard to motivate myself enough to give them my best performance, and that wouldn’t be doing anyone any favours… I’d like to discuss this with my tutor, but once again he seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth and isn’t replying to e-mails. Never mind.

]]>