Older blog entries for Uraeus (starting at number 673)

Why is it impossible to not hate Ryanair?

When I went to Norway this year for Christmas I had the most convenient travel route ever. I had a direct flight from Stanstead Airport to Rygge in Norway. Rygge is a tiny airport, but when you visit people on the southeast side of Oslo like I did, its perfect.

The ticket was also quite reasonably priced even though it was the Christmas holiday.

Yet, despite offering me this ideally set up trip between the two airports on both side which fits me the best, I struggle to dig up any kind of positive feelings for Ryanair.

Was discussing it a bit with Wim and Tim and I think a big part of the reason for this is the constant feeling you get when booking a trip with them that they are trying to make you think their fares are cheaper than they actually are or the feeling that they attempt to ’sneak’ in extra options.

For instance how they charge you for the use of your credit/debit card, a fee that got nothing to do with the actual cost to them and the fact that it is practically impossible to avoid it. As Tim mentioned when we discussed it, if they just included that 5£ fee in the price you wouldn’t think about it and just be happy you got a cheap ticket, instead you feel they are trying to pull a fast one on you and make their prices look even better than they are by pretending mandatory expenses aren’t mandatory.

Maybe Ryanair doesn’t care if I or anyone else actually likes them, I mean I still booked my flight to Norway with them because they where the only ones flying from Stanstead. Yet on the other side I always tend to fly with Easyjet instead of Ryanair if I can, both due to usually flying to better airports and a general feeling that if I search for a flight the price they list for that flight is the price I am actually paying.

Maybe the problem is simply that Ryanair doesn’t understand that even when you are travelling I don’t like the feeling of being taken for a ride :)

Syndicated 2010-01-19 14:42:40 from Christian Schaller

Opera and GStreamer

Discovered a blog post today from Philip Jägenstedt at Opera. The post describes the new HTML5 enabled Opera (alpha)( release and how it uses our favourite media framwork GStreamer. Great to see this available for easy download now and a big thanks to Opera for their work in supporting HTML5 and the Ogg codecs.
Philip got a lot of interesting details in that blog post so I really recommend reading it.

Opera also makes the source code of their copy GStreamer available as a git repo which should make merging any changes they do to GStreamer very easy, a big thanks for that.

Syndicated 2010-01-04 17:51:41 from Christian Schaller

Winding down for yuletide

Going back home for the Yuletide celebrations this Friday and are trying to tie up all lose ends before heading off to Norway. We had a board meeting here yesterday, with Wim, Tim and Edward coming to Cambridge. Started the meeting by summarizing the last few years since the founding of Collabora Multimedia and how we are in a very good place now to take on the next few years. Apart from the general company related stuff we also had a long discussion about how we can help the GStreamer community get GStreamer 1.0 out the door in the coming year. Think we got some workable ideas on how we, and especially Wim, can get to do some of the heavy lifting needed for GStreamer 1.0 and at the same time enable the GStreamer community as a whole to get into gear for pushing 1.0 out through the door. A lot of the general thinking for GStreamer 1.0 was done at this years Gran Canaria Desktop summit, so our discussion was more about the practical issues of who, how and when. Will need to take those discussions to the mailing list once we have crystallized our thoughts a little more first.

There was also the Cambridge Collabora Christmas party yesterday. Every had a great time with good food and drink being served. Also gathered afterwards at Rob McQueens place for some further celebration, although I think Robs neighbours didn’t seem to appreciate the Christmas carols as much as the season might warrant :)

Ended up having a relaxing lunch with Wim, Tim and Edward around midday today at one of our favourite Cambridge hangouts, The Snug, their Chicken, Brie, Bacon and Cranberry burger always me a happy camper (although probably warrants an extra half hour at the gym too). Afterwards Wim and Edward scurried off towards to train and Stanstead, while Tim jumped in his car to drive home to Bristol.

Anyway, looking foward to a relaxing Christmas vacation and to see my little niece for the first time ever, as she popped out a few weeks early a week ago :) Also hope to get some Transmageddon hacking done, while some of the Transmageddon plans I have is waiting for the GStreamer Editing Services to get python bindings I do plan on looking into various types of subtitle support as that code will likely be useful also after switching to GES.

Syndicated 2009-12-15 18:00:32 from Christian Schaller

N900 arrival

Collabora has been part of developing Maemo from early on and of course been part of Nokia’s effort to use
Maemo in their first linux based phone, the N900. To celebrate our involvement and due to the fact that it is a kick ass phone, it was decided that everyone in the company should get one. Today the first batch of 49 phones arrived in the office and we had a little unpacking ceremony as seen in the picture below:

Stack of freshly arrived N900 phones

Stack of freshly arrived N900 phones

Syndicated 2009-12-09 13:06:58 from Christian Schaller

Climate change and why I love the Economist

Some of you might have caught the recent spate of articles and claims around the emails some crackers managed to
get some a UK university, which according to some climate change opponents proves that there is an scientific conspiracy to punish the west or similar motivations at play.

Most news media covering this seems to focus on trying to fuel the flames and create more controversy as it seems to be what drives traffic to their websites, viewers to the tv shows or sells their papers. So you usually get some articles which are mostly a collection of incendiary without the journalist behind them even trying to sift through the actual material.

The Economist on the other hand does what they always tend to do, they actually go through the claims made and try to figure out to what degree they are based on fact or fiction. Thank you Economist.

Syndicated 2009-12-03 16:24:59 from Christian Schaller

Request for help with Transmageddon

One task I been trying quite a few times with Transmageddon is to port it from libglade to gtkbuilder. So far I have always failed for some reason or the other. A big part of it is that I have tons of examples out there for how things are done with libglade, but not so much for gtkbuilder yet.

That said I am also convinced that someone with the right skills could do the port in about 30 minutes or so. Which is the reason for this blog post. Is there anyone out there who would be willing to cook up a patch for me to port Transmageddon to gtkbuilder? (Its written in Python). If so please grab either the latest release or check out git master from GNOME git.

Any help with this would be much appreciated.

Syndicated 2009-10-29 11:25:51 from Christian Schaller

Mobile linux and the desktop

Edward pointed my to this blog today which brought up a point I myself have been making in regards to Android. I spoke to several people at the CE Linux meeting a couple of weeks ago about this for one. To quote from the blog:

Android is an island of its own, and useful code sharing is largely limited to the kernel.

At Collabora Multimedia we are currently working with both Maemo and Android systems and while I can see the appeal of Android from a phone makers perspective I can’t help but be a little saddened by how worthless it is to the general linux eco-system. One of the things I always loved about Nokia’s Maemo effort is that since its using so many of the standard components that we use on the Linux Desktop, it means that when a feature is added or a bug is fixed in Maemo, it directly helps also the linux desktop. Nokia and Maemo has had a strong and direct impact on a lot of open source projects, ranging from GStreamer, D-bus, GTK+, Telepathy, Matchbox, X Window System and more. And Nokia’s work on Qt going forward will of course have a direct impact on the quality of KDE.

Android on the other side has a much more marginal impact. I know they have contributed some patches to Webkit, but apart from that they offer little value to the rest of the linux eco-system. Been even told by some kernel developers that an Android kernel driver is about as immediately useful for the mainstream kernel as a FreeBSD or OpenSolaris driver. Meaning that porting is needed.

So for me personally I can’t help but feel a lot more positive about Maemo (or Moblin for that matter as they too share the same kind of philosophy as Maemo) and getting a N900 is definitely on my TODO list. That said Android is a work in progress and hopefully we can get them to abandon their essentially proprietary stack going forward and instead incorporate more and more shared libraries with the server and desktop. Maemo has proved that for a smartphone these libraries works just as well as Googles homebrew. Some of the efforts we are involved with are pushing in that direction and hopefully Google will realize that the secret to the success of open source is synergy.

Syndicated 2009-10-28 10:55:41 from Christian Schaller

Welcoming new team members to Collabora Multimedia

We have recently added 3 new members to our growing Multimedia team and GStreamer consulting business. The first one onboard was Thiago Sousa Santos who I think many of you probably already know as he has been a regular GStreamer contributor for the last few years. He also wrote some important plugins for GStreamer as part of the last two Google Summer of Code projects, namely the Quicktime/MP4/3GPP muxer for GStreamer and this year the ASF muxer and ASF RTP payloader. Having been so impressed with his work as part of the community over the last few years we made sure to snatch him up as soon as he graduated from University :)

The second person we added to our team was Robert Swain. He might not be familiar to people following GStreamer or GNOME, but he has been an active contributor to the ffmpeg project, working for instance on improving the AAC support in ffmpeg. A lot of the work we do at Collabora Multimedia is of course low level multimedia handling and optimisations and Robert will strengthen our capabilities in that field. Also with his experience with ffmpeg we can hopefully use his knowledge to improve the GStreamer ffmpeg plugin where possible.

And finally we have Arun Raghavan, who will be joining us next Month. Arun comes to us recommended by Pulse Audio maintainer Lennart Pottering and will be part of our effort to officially support the Pulse Audio sound server as part of our portfolio of open source projects we offer expertise and consulting services around. Wim Taymans have been moonlighting a bit as a pulse audio developer over the last year, but with Arun on the team we now have a person dedicated to Pulse Audio development, making sure Pulse Audio works great for our customers on their embedded systems. We also hope his efforts will pay dividends for Pulse Audio users on the desktop too in terms of more features and better stability. The synergy we are able to create between the embedded world and the desktop is part of our core mission here at Collabora and with Arun on the team we hope to continue and deepening the great working relationship we have established with Lennart. As a sidenote Arun comes to us from NVidia so maybe we can even have him help improve the GStreamer vdpau plugins :)

Speaking of synergies between embedded and desktop work, I hope everyone read Guillaume Desmottes blog post about Collabora’s increased effort behind the Empathy chat,VoIP and video conferencing client

Syndicated 2009-10-23 13:56:02 from Christian Schaller

Returning home from CE Linux Europe

Its been an interesting week here Grenoble, been talking with a lot of people about linux on consumer electronics in general, but also of course about the GStreamer consulting we offer at Collabora Multimedia. It is also always encouraging to see the number of people at an event like this who already have heard about Collabora, be it in conjunction with GStreamer or Telepthay or Webkit or any of the other projects we either have the lead on or are contributing heavily or been told about us by an existing customer.

We ended up having a very nice conference dinner yesterday evening at one of the restaurants on top of the mountain travelling there by cable car.

Getting ready to start my journey back home now, and while I have to say Grenoble has made a very positive impression on me, I am looking forward to getting home to Cambridge.

Syndicated 2009-10-16 12:07:32 from Christian Schaller

At CE Linux in Grenoble

I am currently in the town of Grenoble in France, attending the CE Linux conference. Or rather the official conference starts tomorrow, so today I am attending a workshop hosted by ST Ericsson talking about their open source effort around the Nomadik platform, more specfically the NHK-15 platform. Looks like a very interesting piece of kit and I also got a nice development board to take home. Met a few known faces already here, for instance Dave Neary is also attending the workshop today, but I am sure there will be more people when the official conference kicks of tomorrow.

Anyway, if anyone else are attending CE Linux and want to talk about Collabora, GStreamer, Telepathy, PulseAudio and so on, be sure to look me up.

I also noticed that I tend to try to speak Spanish to everyone here. Not sure why, but I guess my mind on some level assume that they might have a better chance to guess what I mean if I speak Spanish and they only speak French. Or maybe its because my new housemate, Abigail, is Spanish, so due to speaking with her my mind is now tuned to jump to trying to use Spanish words :)

Syndicated 2009-10-14 10:36:34 from Christian Schaller

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