Michal Čihař - Archives

Limiting involvement in Gammu

As people on Gammu mailing lists probably already noticed, I don't have enough time for Gammu in past months. Simply mi priorities have shifted and can not spend so much time there anymore.

I've decided to make clear cut what I'm going to do and what not.

First of all I'm not going to put any extra effort on support for platforms I don't use. Today's release of Wammu no longer includes Windows binaries (they were broken anyway). Gammu releases will include them as long as they do not need extra effort. The very same applies to Ubuntu packages. Sorry, but backporting packages which are using up to date tools from Debian sid is more effort than I can put into it. Of course volunteers are welcome for both areas.

For phones support, I will limit my attention to things I'm interested in or use daily (what means AT phones, Meego and possibly Symbian). Others (especially S40 Nokia phones) can not expect much support from me.

And of course I still plan to maintain the projects themselves, Debian packages and packages in openSUSE Build Service.

New features in phpMyAdmin

As our GSoC students are approaching quite well, we've already numerous features included in current master, which are worth mentioning. You can try all bellow mentioned features on our demo server.

Grid editing provides really simple way of editing data, by simply clicking on it while browsing table. Just try it on some table.

Performance suggestions are part of completely reworked server status and can give you valuable information how to tune your server. You can see it on demo server.

Another nice addition to server status page is live monitor, which charts basic server information in real time. Again, try it on demo server (you need to press start for now, this will probably go away soon).

Other big, thought not that fancy change is complete support for routines. This includes stored procedures/functions, triggers and events. For example see routines in sakilla database.

Of course there is much more to mention, like improving of AJAX in lot of places, GIS support.

On the other side, we've also recently decided to remove support for Microsoft Excel import and export as used PHPExcel library seems to suffer some licensing issues, which prevented phpMyAdmin from being included in Fedora. You can still use CSV or OpenDocument formats though.

N950 experiences

As I hav ethis toy for more than week, I can share a little more information about it. Please note that some experiences are based on fact that this is my first "big" phone with touchscreen.

The big screen is great for reading. Much better than my old Nokia E52. It is also much better readable on direct sun light. The dark side of this is of course power consumption, but I think this might still get improved for production pieces.

Having Linux on the phone is nice, ssh to phone and you can do anything comfortably with real keyboard (N950's QWERTY keyboard is great, but still quite small). Having Debian based system there is even better, though I felt a bit strange when I first ran apt-get upgrade on my phone :-). Well there are some changes from standard Debian system like extented fields in debian/control for icons, but generally it feels pretty much as Debian.

There are lot of things to try on N950, you can find some hints on N950 landing page, I still need to try most of that :-).

DOF Calc closer to being usable

My first MeeGo application called DOF Calc today got in much better shape and actually is closer to being really usable.

First I've implemented landscape view, so it now looks correct when you rotate the device:

Screenshot

Another missing bit was configuration handling. I have not found something for simple configuration storing and everybody seems to suggest using Database API for that, so that's what I did as well.

For now only camera selection is persistent, for the others I have to consider whether it is really expected. Besides selection persistence, the database should allow to configure list of cameras/lenses/apertures, because I'm sure not everybody will like my predefined set :-). For now only camera definitions are stored in database and there is no interface yet for changing that.

First MeeGo application

After some troubles I finally managed to write first usable application for MeeGo. The first thing I have choosen was intentionally simple as I more or less wanted to get used to Qt Quick. However I still think it can be useful (after some polishing), at least I used similar application on my older phone :-).

The application is meant for photographers who don't remember hyperfocal distance for all their lenses and apertures or want to calculate depth of field:

Screenshot

Code is released under GNU GPL on Gitorious: https://gitorious.org/dofcalc

Linux hardware support

Remembering not so far away history, I'm always a bit afraid when I'm about to use new hardware with Linux. It used to be troublesome to make some devices work.

After getting Linux based phone last week, I've also received new notebook, where I want to run Debian as well. I expected various troubles, but surprisingly everything works like a charm without single line of configuration. Wireless networking, docking station, card reader, webcam, fingerprint reader and so on.

All I had to do is to pull SSD out of old X60 notebook and put it into new X220. The only (though unnecessary) change was installation of 64-bit kernel (I currently see no big benefit in migrating to 64-bit userspace) and everything is working. Can your operating system do this?

Thanks to all people who have helped in this.

Confused with N950 development options

As the main reason why I got Nokia N950 is that I promised to write some applications for that, I started to look deeply at available options how to write them. Unfortunately there are too many options and all documentation I've found is pretty confusing.

The short story is that you should use Qt for user interface. However it is not that easy as it looks, you can use regular Qt, which can be run on the phone, but looks ugly in the end (maybe I did something wrong, but it did look completely different to anything else running in the phone). You can use Qt Quick, which is easy to write (simple UI definition and JavaScript variant for code), but it does not seem to support much of the widgets. And then there is Meego Touch library, which seems like a best option, however not mentioned at all on Nokia developer website.

Looks like I need to learn few more things before actually starting to code.

Nokia N950 - first experiences

Yesterday, I've received developer kit with Nokia N950. After almost day of using it, it is time to share first experiences.

The phone feels big and heavy to me (just to clarify, this is my first touch screen phone). Well at least when compared to Nokia E52 I used up to now. However it is still acceptable to bring it with me in pocket. Having real keyboard is great, because typing on touchscreen is not really comfortable (what is not specialty of this phone, but applies to all touchscreen phones).

Included software does the "basic" things well (as in basic things for smartphone, including maps, music player, web browser,...), in the end the device was shipped to develop applications, so I did not even expect to have that much. What really surprised me was migration of data from my old phone, it was able to fetch all I wanted including SMS messages.

Not going to DebConf

Year ago, when DebConf 11 in Banja Luka has been announced, I was really happy for the location and was sure I'm going to visit it. I applied early, requested sponsorship, but then things got slightly more complicated and in the end I had to say no quite shortly before reconfirmation deadline.

So I will not meet all the great people behind Debian this year and will wait for another chance (probably in two years, as Nicaragua sounds attractive, but when I would be so far away I'd like to spend at least month in the area and time and money is always problem in such case :-)).

Good bye Ad Bard

For some time, I've shown Ad Bard ads on various sites related to free software I run (this blog, Wammu website or phpMyAdmin demo server. I saw it as not that intrusive way for paying fees for hosting of the server which runs this all. Also I found it good idea to promote free software friendly business, but was always a bit skeptical to it's success.

Today the service is supposed to be shut down, though the web site still does not mention anything like that so far. But it was announced month ago to the publishers and I expect it to be true. The reported reason is lack of time to focus on improving the network and selling advertisements.

I've removed the ads from all my servers and I currently do not plan to replace it with anything else for now. So you can enjoy them ad-free even without AdBlock :-).