Older blog entries for moray (starting at number 9)

I'd been seeing redraw problems in GTK+ 2 applications - sometimes, for example, the pixmaps on GNOME 2 apps' buttons wouldn't appear, or Nautilus file icons would get drawn in the wrong positions. Anyway, having been informed (by Owen Taylor) that this was a known XFree86 bug with Matrox cards, I've now installed the experimental X 4.2.0 Debian packages, and will see if this fixes the problem. (I haven't seen it yet since restarting X, anyway.)

I've been doing a little more work on gpe-soundbite and keylaunch, and trying to remember to build packages for the unstable feed whenever I add something significant....

With the current packages, you can now press the iPAQ's record button to start recording, and either hold it as long as you want to record or press it again when you're done. Assuming you don't cancel the GSM-compressed output will be saved to an automatically-named file in your home directory - before long we should have some sort of 'interesting file' support in GPE so that it's easier to find files you've created, without having to look through the proper directory tree if you don't want to.

Well, I have had time to do a little programming for GPE, a new set of programs to provide PDA functionality to Linux palmtops, using GTK+ as the underlying toolkit.

After fixing a bug in the GPE library, I wrote a little interface for gpe-soundbite, a program for taking audio notes, which it saves out under GSM compression. Philip Blundell had already done the initial work to get libgsm working, though he'd also left me a couple of bugs.... ;)

It also looks as if the nicely-small 'keylaunch' program pretty much what we need in terms of key bindings (well, button bindings, since we're mostly talking about the four little buttons on the front of the iPAQ, and one on the side). Unfortunately it doesn't look for a global configuration file, but only looks at a single location set at compile time, and the configuration format itself isn't that great, so we may end up forking something off rather than just using it directly. There's already a buttond program in Familiar, but that tries to read the hardware directly rather than listen for X keysyms - which won't work unless you're root.

Hm, I seem to have been spending lots of time recently discussing things on the GPE IRC channel, when I should have been working.... I guess I was just pleased to find that other people have come round to my opinions about how we should be developing PDA-type software for Familiar. Some people had already been using GTK, but now they're also agreed that for these small devices (e.g. iPAQs) we should be coding in C (rather than, for example, Python, which some of them had been using).

Anyway, things have been moving forward pretty quickly in the last few days, and hopefully after my project supervision tomorrow I'll find time to start to contribute GPE code....

3 Apr 2002 (updated 3 Apr 2002 at 22:44 UTC) »

One essay done....

Started on the other one today, but haven't got very far yet; I'm still trying to sort out how to justify including the various topics I want to cover.

Oh, and sab39, not all cam.ac.uk people use their CRSIDs on every system.... ;-)

- ex-mma29

It's now 5 am, so I should really have gone to bed; I guess it didn't help that the clocks went forward. Or at least I should have started writing my essays properly - tomorrow hopefully? So it looks like my tactic earlier today of doing other work (reading the GAGP course notes) was probably sensible - otherwise I could have spent all day waiting for myself to write an essay.

Anyway, the last little while I spent building a Debian package for PhotoGroup - this at least allows me to have it sanely installed on my own machines. Unfortunately none of the Debian stable machines that I have access to seem to have everything installed that I'd need to build the package, so for now at least it's built against whatever version of testing is on flevit. Though I really have no idea if it would compile against the stable libraries, I suppose....

So now I have another item to add to the list: I should tidy up the package, and make it get added to the GNOME menus as well as the Debian ones probably. But there are more important features needed than that.

Well, I've finally got round to doing some stuff for Familiar (Linux distribution for ARM handhelds, partly based on Debian).

To get going yesterday I wrote a little GTK interface for changing the screen brightness/rotation (screenshot). I also arranged stuff so that I could upload the package to the Familiar unstable feed. For now it's at http://familiar.handhelds.org/familiar/feeds/unstable/packages/armv4l/ipaqscreen_0.0.1_arm.ipk - if you're running Familiar just need to ipkg install ipaqscreen and it should be fetched and unpacked for you.

Today between other stuff I started on a little program intended for taking voice notes. (I briefly went off on a silly path, trying to use a child process for recording when it really isn't necessary here....) Anyway, here's the current screenshot.

Tomorrow I should probably do some more real work, but I'll hopefully also have time to get this working. It makes things more difficult for testing that my desktop's sound driver doesn't do recording. :(

Still haven't had time to do a PhotoGroup update - for the last few weeks I've been working fairly solidly on assignments for my course, and I've still got two more long essays to do in the next little bit. Then I should be doing revision for the exams in April.... After that I'll be doing a project; hopefully I'll have time between working on that to get some of my own programming done.

This morning I put up a new page for PhotoGroup, a GNOME program for organising (and displaying) collections of images, which I mentioned here a couple of days ago.


Anyway, there's no point me writing much about it here just now, since you can have a look at the screenshots there, or download it and have a play yourself....

This is by no means a 'release' version in quality terms, but since it's been useful to me for a while I thought I ought to put something up while I continue to work on it, especially since I'll probably have less time for this sort of thing when term gets properly started in a couple of days. :-(

Visited the Tardis server room this afternoon. I was hoping to be able to finally get an account today, but, though I got Kev to sign the 'Sponsor' bit on the form, the person I have to hand in the form to wasn't there, so I guess I'll have to try again another day.

I wondered again about uploading the current (icky) version of PhotoGroup somewhere, but decided I still might have time this weekend to tidy up a couple of bugs first. Like the way it crashes if it fails to load a picture....

PhotoGroup's a GNOME program for organising photographs (or presumably other image files) - the idea is to make index files which contain lists of images, which can have captions associated with them, and which can be rotated around (e.g. landscape -> portrait format) without having to change the images on disk. You can drag images in from your favourite file manager (or use PhotoGroup itself to view a directory rather than a list file), and drag images around to sort them, or drag them out into an image viewer or whatever. There's also a built-in slideshow program for now at least, which is the thing for which I bothered getting TV-out working on my laptop the other day.

It's certainly useful to me, to replace a program I wrote for myself years ago on RISC OS, since I couldn't find anything else for Linux that did what I wanted. I've used it to produce the more recent sets of images at http://www-jcsu.jesus.cam.ac.uk/~mma29/photographs.html

9 Jan 2002 (updated 11 Jan 2002 at 11:56 UTC) »

Updated my Debian-on-C1 page [the C1s are a class of Sony laptop]: http://www-jcsu.jesus.cam.ac.uk/~mma29/c1/

I've added some information about getting TV-out working, which I hadn't managed before - there's now an 'atitvout' program which succeeds in redirecting the display (rather than just crashing the machine like something else I'd tried before :( ).

I only got round to trying TV-out under Linux again after assuming I'd need to use Windows, but then failing to get Windows to actually do the Right Thing (as ever). After I got it to display to the TV at all it decided I'd really rather use black-and-white, and then of course it decided that I really must need to dial up to an ISP to access any web pages, even though I already had a network card in the machine, with lights flashing and all....

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