Michal Čihař - Blog Archives for English

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 :-).

phpMyAdmin code documentation

For some time, code documentation for phpMyAdmin had no official place. The reason for this was phpdoc eating way too much memory on daily runs, so I've disabled the cron job. Today I gave a try to DocBlox and it seems to work fine, so I've re-enabled daily builds.

The new (daily updated) documentation is available at same location as the original one was:


You can also check build failures in the build.log:


New features in phpMyAdmin

As most of the GSoC projects in phpMyAdmin go on quite well, we're already merging some of the new features to our master branch. You can try them all on our demo server and you are welcome to report any issues found :-).

First big part which has been changed is rewriting of server status page done by Tyron Madlener. It now provides more information, provides real time charts and much more. This change also included change in charts produced in other places in the code, so they are now more interactive and allow easy exporting.

The browse mode got improved as well, you can now reorder columns (by Aris Feryanto) and there are new options for displaying GIS data (by Madhura Jayaratne). While speaking about GIS, I have to mention another new feature - rendering of GIS data, either as polygons or on OpenStreetMap map (you can see it by clicking on "Visualize GIS data" link on browse page, it is not possible to link it directly due to XSS protection).

Many smaller changes are being done by Thilanka Kaushalya to convert various parts of user interface to AJAX.

And last but not least we have nice support for editing stored procedures and functions. Support for events and triggers will follow soon. All these are being done by Rouslan Placella.

I hope you will like these new features and thanks to all our GSoC students who are doing great job.

Lack of time

You can see it from my blog activity as well, I simply lack time for lot of things.

My Gammu mail folders are horribly full of unread mail, it took me there three months to release a new testing version and there are still some patches pending for review.

On phpMyAdmin side I spend most time with my GSoC students, who progress really well, but that's pretty much all I can do there. The good news is that phpmyadmin.cz website has new maintainer and is again getting new content. Hopefully it will stay alive for longer time to bring back lost visitors.

My Debian contributions are in still pretty good shape and I manage to fix important bugs, though my MPD related packages are still for sale. Still considering whether to go or not to go to Debconf, my decision will be probably based on fact whether I will get travel sponsorship or not (and when it would happen).

Besides these free software activities I began to be more active in Společné aktivity (in Czech) project for organizing various activities to spend free time.

Occasionally I also contribute to OpenStretMap, but it's more or less random time when I notice something is wrong or when I manage to visit some place which is not that good mapped. The good thing is that Prague is pretty good shape there, so it does not motivate me to spend too much time on this :-).

And of course there is my work at SUSE, working on usual L3 front and improving our Django based incident tracking tool.

Maybe I should step down from some of these, but it would be pretty hard for me to choose which one...

phpMyAdmin 3.4.0 is out

Today, Marc has released phpMyAdmin 3.4.0. This is huge step and introduces lot of new features. The most noteworthy are:

  • User preferences
  • Relation schema export to multiple formats
  • ENUM/SET editor
  • Simplified interface for export/import
  • AJAXification of some parts
  • Charts
  • Visual query builder

As you can see, many of new features come from last GSoC, it took us almost half year to stabilize all new stuff and make it work nicely together.

Thanks to last minute improvements in Japanese, it is fully translated to 15 languages, other translations are little behind, but you can still help improving them for future releases.

The master branch is now open to development and we will start to merge patches accumulated in patch tracker for addition after feature freeze.

PS: I forgot to mention that this release fixed largest number of feature requests and bugs ever - over 160 issues from sf.net tracker got closed. This can be nicely seen on tracker stats.

PS2: Package with new version was just uploaded to Debian.

Photo of a week 18

Finally some outdoor morning photography from spring. Taken at fields near Hovořany.


Taken again using PENTAX K7 + PENTAX-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited.

StarDict dictionaries for openSUSE

While working on dictionaries for StarDict today, I've decided to finally bring them to openSUSE as well.

First step was to fix my favorite tool to access them - sdcv. The fixed package is now in my home project and will be hopefully soon accepted to Education project so that it is more visible (see request 69901 if it is already the case).

When I had the tool working, it was time to package dictionaries themselves. It was quite simple task and the rpms are available in my home project.

To install packages on openSUSE 11.4 simply do:

zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/Nijel:/stardict/openSUSE_11.4/ stardict
zypper ref
zypper in  stardict-czech  stardict-english-czech  stardict-german-czech

No new dictionaries tarballs on no change

I've just changed scripts used to generate dictionaries for StarDict to avoid creating new tarballs when there is no real change in the data. This should avoid needless updates of the tarballs and automatically built packages when there is no real change in the data underneath.

If you somehow relied on fact that there is new tarball/package every day (or month for "stable" versions), this is no longer true and new ones will be generated only on changes.

I only hope I've tested everything properly and tarballs will really be generated on change :-).