Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

January 23, 2009

Auctions, Beards, Conferences and Devils

Tuz, coming soon to a Linux kernel near you

It’s the last day of the most awesome linux.conf.au 2009 conference in Hobart, Tasmania. I’ve just witnessed the a room full of 500 people sit with baited breath as Linus wielded a set of clippers to shave Bdale Garbee‘s beard, followed by Bdale (with a razor with 3 more blades than last time he shaved, a tiny bowl of water and a hand-mirror) trying to make it look neater. The LCA twitter feed was up on the projector, and someone rightly observed this whole event was actually pretty weird. There are already pictures on flickr too. However, well done to Bdale for being such a good sport, but it looks like his wife Karen will accompany him next year to make sure he doesn’t agree to anything else like this, and supervise the waxing of Rusty‘s chest… :)

What’s this all in aid of? After the incredible auction for this beautiful picture from Karen, and generous donations at the Penguin Dinner on Wednesday night, the conference has now raised between AU$ 35k and 40k towards the Save the Tasmanian Devil appeal. Around AU$ 1.3k of the nonsensical winning consortium’s AU $10.6k bid came from the Collabora folks who were at the dinner, and AU$ 1.2k from Collabora and Collabora Multimedia directly. We were all set to place a winning AU$ 3k bid but then Matthew and Daniel came up with the Bdale shaving scheme, and then things really picked up. I’m glad we took part – the lead scientist from the project was really grateful, and I hope the money can make a real difference to their great work.

Telepathy

On more mundane matters, I also gave my talk this morning, and my slides (Telepathy slides v2.0 thanks to Marco) are online. I also made a few demos of new awesome stuff you can do with Telepathy (most of the patches are already merged upstream or well on the way):

  • Geolocation support (XEP-0080) support in the XMPP backend and Empathy, using GeoClue to find your location and the libchamplain Clutter & Open Streetmap widget to display where your contacts are. Thanks to Pierre-Luc, Alban and Daf for their work here – more details on Pierre-Luc’s blog.
  • Support for launching file transfers over link-local XMPP from Nautilus using the Empathy plugin for nautilus-sendto. This is already merged upstream but needs a patch to work with trunk Empathy. Thanks to Marco, Jonny and Guillaume for their work on this.
  • Alban also made a neat hack to Rhythmbox which allows exporting your DAAP music server to one of your contants over a Telepathy Stream Tube. Thanks also to recent work from Marco, these tubes now go over XMPP’s SOCKS5 Bytestreams, giving much better throughput than the earlier in-band implementation, network permitting. The next step is unleashing the full might of our libnice NAT traversal library, signalling tubes with Jingle, and therefore making connections work peer to peer in up to 95% of the cases. However, this won’t affect the APIs, stuff will just go faster! Isn’t Telepathy wonderful?
  • Olivier stepped up to show off the demo from his talk about Farsight, which shows his branch using the new telepathy-farsight library to allow recording Telepathy video calls directly into the PiTiVi video editor. His network was screwed up so it didn’t work, but I did see it work in his talk yesterday! Awesome stuff, hopefully Edward and friends can pick it up and merge it in before too long.
  • Unfortunately we ran out of time for Will to show off Guillaume’s recent work on Telepathy-enabled Abiword on the desktop (rather than just Sugar’s Write activity), but I expect he’ll blog about it soon!

On that note, these were just the five that I picked to try and fit into my talk. There are a load more demos in the pipeline from the other guys in Collabora of doing stuff with Telepathy, so keep a close look on Planet Collabora for the next cool thing.

posted by ramcq @ 4:20 am
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January 21, 2009

Quitclock

(Apologies in advance for the shameless plug.) It’s possibly a little late to talk about new year’s resolutions, but if anyone is a Facebook user and has given up smoking (or plans to), you might be interested in Quitclock.

My brother Alastair is a health editor for the Bupa private health insurance company, and thought of this neat project which was implemented by my housemate Martin Kleppman, and announced at new year. It helps you keep track of how long since you’ve smoked, how much money you’ve saved, lets you and your friends know how you’re doing, and has health tips about the improvements that you can expect from your new-found abstinence. I’m not a smoker but hopefully someone will find it useful.

posted by ramcq @ 7:47 am
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January 21, 2009

My new font rendering technique is unstoppable

You know it’s time to call it a day and write your talk tomorrow when…

I just upgraded Gtk+, Cairo and Pango to the versions in Debian experimental while I was upgrading some Telepathy packages, and got this the next time I loaded OO.o. Magic. But seriously, anyone got any ideas what’s going on?

Update: I switched my Debian mirror to .au and downloaded OpenOffice.org 3.0.1~rc2, and installed the Gtk+ and GNOME stuff too, and not only did the fonts came back, but it no longer looks like the 80s. Score! Thanks for the tips. Back to my talk…

posted by ramcq @ 7:29 am
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