ChaniBlog











{September 3, 2011}   oh yeah… linuxcon…

Riight, so I was at LinuxCon, uhm, two weeks ago. :) Two conferences in a row was a bit much, so I’ve been trying to enjoy my vacation since then (mostly).

It was a great conference, though. :) At first I was feeling a bit out of place – the conference shirts didn’t come in ladies’ sizes (boooo!!) and it seemed to be lots of server stuff and kernel hackers, not desktop or UI stuff. But I met some friends, saw contour/plasma-active/whatever being demoed at the LFNW booth, made some new friends, and pretty soon it felt like a regular conference. :) I don’t feel like talking much about the talks (I’d have to look at my notes for that, and besides, Dafydd’s notes are far more detailed) but the intro to kernel hacking was great – I learned a lot from it, and felt a wave of nostalgia when the guy talked about compiling your own kernel. ;)

The party on wednesday was particularly awesome – lots of people dressed up for the 20’s theme, and there was much dancing. Thursday I managed to get to four different parties – three of which were officially part of the conference. :) I remember having some interesting conversations… but I never heard what happened to that little multicolour lamp in the end. :P

I didn’t get a WebOS touchpad, unfortunately – I was hearing about them selling out during the conference (and my sympathies to the HP guy who heard the announcement right *after* his big talk) – but I was in the right place at the right time friday afternoon, when they gave away some nicely framed linux posters. :) So now I need to actually get tools to mount stuff on walls, because “got linux?” is still hiding in a corner.

At first it seemed like all the job offers would be for kernel hackers too, but after checking the job-wall and talking to people I found several hiring – even some local companies. yay! :) So, I’ve been polishing up my resume the last two weeks too.

Now somehow my vacation time has slipped away – I’m not even sure where it went. Doh. We’ve only had the one month of proper summer here (which I missed a third of for the desktop summit), and already the leaves are starting to fall, and a little chill is in the air… and, school starts in a few days. My last semester. Wow.
Time flies…



{August 18, 2011}   Desktop Summit 2011

A big thanks to Basyskom for the last-minute sponsorship – I’m really glad I made it to the desktop summit. It was awesome. :)

The talks, the bofs, the parties – pretty much everything went well. Even the weather did give us a day or two of sun before going back to the scheduled rain and wind. ;) I was happy to visit Berlin again too – I only had time to get to one of my favourite restaurants, but I came back with lots of delicious things in my suitcase.

There were lots of good talks – which was not entirely a good thing, because I had to make some hard choices at times. I ended up in more community than tech talks – good stuff about how to do outreach to get more contributors and more diversity of contributors (which means not just more women, but more cultural diversity too). I learnt more about wayland and accessibility too (yay qt-at-spi!), and discovered that “session” is an ambiguous word – there are all sorts of lowlevel sessiony things that have nothing to do with documents or windows or tabs, and systemd is trying to clean them up. Some of the keynotes were fascinating – my favourites were the design talk and the toaster talk. :) Oh, and did you know you can use nepomuk to search within movies? OMGWTFBBQ.

Oh yeah, and I did a lightning talk too, explaining why we need to replace XSMP and advertising the bof session. When I asked how many people hated XSMP, there were far more hands than I’d expected. I didn’t know so many people knew what it was!

At sunday’s party I was surprised to discover how many geeks love karaoke. There was a great crowd, and about a one-hour wait for songs! Despite that, there was also dancing in the other room. :) I hear there was dancing tuesday night too – sadly I had a stomach ache that night. Later in the week I dragged a few people out for a smaller karaoke session with some local friends. I love having a private karaoke room; there’s no strangers taking up mic time, you get to sing lots, and it’s much easier to be completely silly about it. :)

The bof sessions started on wednesday – and I started it off with wonderful, wonderful sleep. After getting caught up on that, my stomach was a lot less mad at me, and I spent the afternoon in the intel appup session. Yay, tablet! :) My new exopc is sitting on my desk waiting for me to start hacking on it.

Thursday afternoon was my sessions bof. Unfortunately some people got lost on the way back from the daytrip and didn’t make it, but it turned out pretty well anyways. I knew there was far too much material to cover in one bof session, even a two-hour session, so I tried to keep the conversation on core matters… after a while, we discovered that there really is a lot of overlap between zeitgeist and session management – the apps that are starting to use it are sending it a lot of the info we need – and zeitgeist is gaining traction, so we may team up and just make some zeitgeist extensions to collect the session info. This would make it easier on app devs – instead of giving similar information to two systems, they’d just report it once and be done. :) When I get some free time I’ll go over the meeting notes properly and start looking into this more.

There were lots of other fun things going on – football, Jos’ cooking, amusing attempts to get rid of the excess summit stickers – but I don’t have much time to write, because I’m at LinuxCon right now. :) It’s nice when a conference is only 20 minutes from my apartment. Maybe I’ll blog about it next week – it’s been pretty good so far. :)



{November 19, 2010}   meeeeeeeego!

whee :) the meego conference was fucking awesome. so awesome I was avoiding starting to blog about it ’cause I’m not sure so much awesome can fit into one post ;)

also, I have other things to blog about, like the other activity stuff I got in just before the freeze. I’ve got a blog backlog, which generally leads to having a bigger blog backlog. :P

So, let’s start with the conference. OMGWTFBBQ. I arrived saturday – also the day I finally started to speak full sentences of german. how ironic… anyways, I found the hostel ok, and then more people did, and we got over to the venue just at the end of the bridge-building contest. :) KDE wins at bridge-building: leinir’s group had the bridge that was unbreakable, even with all their weights – so I tried to hang from it, and then it finally broke. :)

That night we found an amazingly good indian restaurant (seriously worth the 30 euros I spent) and.. hmm. I can’t remember anything after that, but I think I just went back to the hostel to get a good night’s sleep. And failed horribly at that, thanks to some girls so drunk that even with earplugs and a blindfold they kept me awake (and no, not in a good way). :P Luckily I only had to put up with them for that one night, though. :)

Sunday was the pre-conference workshops… several of us stayed out at the front of the hotel for the morning, enjoying the sunshine, but eventually ervin herded us into the meego room to help with his qt workshop. :) That evening, Dawn taught us to play a game called Werewolf – it’s about the same as Mafia, and was a continuing obsession throughout the conference. ;) I think it was monday night that I left the game around 2am, and people were still playing until around 3…

Monday was the first day of the official conference. We found out that there we’d be getting lenovos – but didn’t actually get them until wednesday. Unfortunate for those hoping to demo things on them, but probably good for getting people to actually attend the sessions. ;) Speaking of which, there was a great community one by dave neary. I often had trouble deciding which session to go to :) plus I spent a lot of time wandering around getting to know people – or hooking them up with hardware ;)

Tuesday was more of the same, until the social evening – we went to the guinness storehouse, where they had lots of drinks and snacks and people telling us where we weren’t allowed to go (luckily I was one of the few to get up to the top viewing area). My UK-ish accent started returning around then, I think. I danced, learnt how to pour guinness, danced more, drank a lot, and ended up bar-hopping and speaking chinese with Ronan. :) I made it back to my hostel eventually, but I’m not sure when. ;)

Wednesday.. well, that was tuesday’s revenge ;) It was the unconference day, and I missed one session I probably should’ve been in and there was a few minutes of confused chaos, but it all got sorted out and I got my lenovo and in the afternoon I led (ish) a session on plasma and meego, which turned into a “requirements for getting kdelibs-mobile into core” discussion. That was quite… educational. There’s a huuuge culture gap between kde and intel (it was an intel guy in the session, nobody from nokia could make it unfortunately) and lots of awkwardness, but I think it turned out okay. :) Getting to actually talk about things in person helps dispell a lot of the misconceptions. This conference was wonderful in that regard – I arrived nervous and uncertain, worried that we’d be unwelcome outsiders, but it was nothing like that – everyone was there for meego, and it didn’t seem to matter where they were from kde/gnome/etc or intel/nokia/etc or anything, it was all good. :) We did find out that a lot of them have no idea what kde is, though – but now at least some of them have heard about kde-mobile and so on, so again misconceptions are reduced. :)

I didn’t want to leave the conference wednesday evening. I made friends there, and it was fun, and I hope I can go to the next one. That said.. god it was good to get home and be in my own bed again. :)

Now it’s friday, and I’m at the kde mobile sprint in berlin, and marco just showed us plasma running on meego :D and we’re running out the door for dinner now. :) later I’ll blog about how to get kde packages on your own meego. ..and all that other stuff. :)



{October 27, 2010}   opensuse plasmoid workshop

okay, I promised I’d blog about this… me and Will did a plasmoid workshop on saturday. :)
There are no slides, because the whole thing was an interactive sort of tutorial, using this suse live image. In order to show off the qml bindings, we needed the latest kde stuff from trunk. The live-image gives us that, and a guaranteed working development environment in general. :) It also has the cool feature that it will write back to the usb stick, so you can shut it down without losing your work.

There were two example projects we worked through, one for javascript and one for qml. They’re both my old victorycalendar example, but with a bit of polish. :) The qml one doesn’t go all the way yet – just as far as I’ve figured out so far. :) We have lots more qml examples, though – iirc they’re hiding in the mobile shell in playground. And of course there are more javascript examples too. :)

To get my javascript example, run this command:
git clone git://git.kde.org/scratch/chani/examples-plasmoid-js.git
and, of course, change the js to qml to get the qml one. :)

I used git repos for my examples so that I could easily break them up into simple steps, and have everyone go through them in order. The idea is that you git checkout step01, and then each of the steps in turn (this was broken during the workshop but is fixed now). The git log has comments on each step, although not as much as in my blog. :) Also, if you make changes, you can either commit them or git stash when you want to jump to the next step. Later, I may add some side-branches with other fun features… I might also rewrite history, though, if I find a better way of doing something. If git refuses to pull someday, that’ll be why. :)

To test the plasmoids all you have to do is run plasmoidviewer in the folder containing metadata.desktop (or run it with the path to that folder). If you want to install it so that you can try it in plasma-desktop or other shells, use plasmapkg (there’s documentation, plasmapkg –help). To make it into a .plasmoid package that you can send to others, just zip it up. :)

Oh, and although most of the resources you’ll want are mentioned in the git log, I missed a couple:
The Plasmoid Package Specification
The Plasma JavaScript API

Have fun! :)



{October 25, 2010}   opensuse conference

so… hmm. I have lots of things to say, but the words just aren’t coming.
this happens sometimes.

basicallly, the opensuse conference was awesome. I think their community has a lot in common with kde – although it’s younger, and still finding its feet. :)



{October 18, 2010}   more conferences

so devdays is over – but already I’m preparing to travel again.

Next week – oh wait, it’s already next week – Wednesday is the opensuse conference, where me and wstephenson will be doing a workshop on plasmoids. I’m gonna show off notmart’s shiny new qml bindings there, so you don’t want to miss that. :)

In November is the meego conference, in dublin. That should be quite interesting, after seeing all the activity at devdays. And, right after the conference ends, a group of us are heading to berlin (oh wait I live there ;) for a kde-mobile sprint. :) It’ll be nice to have the comfort of my own bed at a kde sprint.

Thankfully that’s all I have planned for this year. :) I’m going to be quite busy enough as it is. :P



{October 16, 2010}   qt devdays 2010

whew! normally I blog during a conference, but DevDays was just too exhausting. :) (well, that and there wasn’t much net access..)

So, along with the Ovi sprint, Nokia was nice enough to give us free passes to dev days. :) The first day was the training. I’d picked the QML option (aka Qt Quick, or QDeclarative, or various other names…), and so had about half the attendees. I’m glad I did; it was a really good way to get started with qml, and I’ll need it for plasma – now even more than I had expected. ;)

That evening there were drinks and snacks and socializing – unfortunately we had to leave mid-party for the long trek back to the hostel. :/ The taxi in the morning had not been cheap, so we were taking transit. After some wandering around looking for buses, we ended up walking to the train station, and from there it took around an hour to reach the hostel. ick. And we had to do the same long journey in the morning.

Luckily, Aron and Knut were nice enough to sponsor taxis for us the second night, so we could properly enjoy the troll dinner. :) Despite not winning an n8, I had a lot of fun, and a lot of interesting conversations there. Oh yes, and before dinner there were talks too. ;) Actually, I didn’t get to see many talks that day, because I had both of my qt exams to do – the c++ and the ‘advanced UI’ ones. We won’t know the results for a while, but I did get a t-shirt for having passed the essentials exam last year. I just wish they had girls’ sizes, because that t-shirt (like every single other t-shirt I got at devdays) is more likely to be used as a nightgown. :P

On day 3, I got to see more of the talks. I can’t remember what was when, but there was plenty of interesting stuff… unfortunately I was so tired I dozed off in one. oops. :) And there were booths to visit too – wow, qt and meego have quite the ecosystem already – and networking networking networking. ;) By the time the conference was over we were all exhausted… we tried to meet up at a restaurant, but after several rounds of confusion, half of us ended up at one and half of us ended up somewhere else (and, btw, the restaurant we were at on saturday is *not* called paulaner. the real name was in fine print above that, but I’ve forgotten it). Plans to go out and party were abandoned, as we all just wanted to go to bed. :)

In the end, the main impression devdays gave me was its sheer *size*. Apparently there were almost a thousand people registered. I’m not sure how many were around at any one time, but tuesday’s dinner was *huge*. Think Hogwarts dining hall. ;) A lot of people are interested in qt, and meego, and qml – and they should be. There’s some pretty cool stuff on the horizon…



{October 10, 2010}   ovi sprint!

It’s day 2 of the ovi sprint – and I haven’t blogged yet! oops :)
The sprint is going well. I arrived friday afternoon, and only a few other people were at the office; mostly we hacked on our own things, and discussed plans for the weekend. We found a great restaurant that night called Paulaner, and then stumbled back to the hostel to sleeeeeep. ;) Despite not having jetlag (just a 6 hour train ride for me), I was just as exhausted as the others. :)

Saturday we were all assembled at the office. much discussion was had about ovi myths (it’s not just an app store!), what we needed and hoped to do at the sprint, what we needed from ovi and what we could do for them… food was good, research was done, lists were written… and luckily I was *not* one of the ones who got stuck waiting ages for a 2am train. :P

now it’s sunday morning. We’re back at the office, and added to some lists – but the internet’s down, so I can’t really research anything. At least it gives me time to blog ;)

The funny thing about this sprint is, it’s not a code sprint. we’re not here to hack; we’re here to discuss. We’re figuring out how ovi and kde can benefit from working together – and so far it’s going very well :) we have quite a long list of things KDE can do to help ovi, and only three things they need to do to enable us to help them. :) I just realised, though, that the benefits to kde aren’t in our lists, since our focus is on convincing Ovi – kde people already understand the benefits of collaboration. :)

Now we’re going to break out into groups, and add details to our list items :) we need to properly explain how things are useful, why we need them, what sort of API requirements we have, etc…

As for me… I’ve been bouncing around trying to cat-herd and looking into things that might benefit plasma and anything else that looks useful to kde in general – and learning lots. :) I’ve checked out the QtMobility API (sadly it didn’t contain what we were hoping for) and bought myself an ovi publisher account (only 1 euro now, but DO read the fine print, they expect you to provide customer support n’stuff) and got plasma-mobile compiled (with –no-desktop you can run it in a window on your laptop), and I’m asking lots and lots of questions… :)

It seems like most of the benefits to plasma are indirect. if ovi can use the OCS API, it could be added to all ghns clients immediately. To get plasmoids *into* that store, we first need the kdemobile dependencies packaged. Any integration with other services, like pim, would go through either akonadi (if available) or whatever api the pim guys use for their access. :)

So, it seems my goal here is to ensure everyone else achieves *their* goals. :) …which is probably going to mean writing. oy. ;)

But now the internet is back! so I can go bother people online and ask *them* lots of questions ;)



{October 4, 2010}   Activities fun [with screencast]

So… I wanted to spend this weekend offline. I did. I even logged out of irc.

But somehow I found myself hacking until 2 or 3am sunday night, instead. :)
I think it was worth it. ;)

The last few weekends I’ve been hacking on activity-related things, here and there. Fixing bugs, implementing things behind the scenes – last night I finally reached a point where the pieces began to come together. Today, I finally had something I could demo.

So without further ado, the demo:

(if the above doesn’t work, watch it on blip.tv)

I mentioned in there that it’s not done; we still need the activitymanager kded stuff to co-ordinate it (which ivan is working on :) and then plasma’s activity UI needs to use that API so that I can stop sending dbus commands. ;) It also needs a lot of code to handle edge cases, like properly restoring apps that are on >1 activity. The good news is, restoring the right activity associations for each window turns out to be way easier than expected. yay! :)

Oh, and there’s the taskbar integration to be done, too, and a million other little things… :) but we still have a month before feature freeze. 4.6 is gonna be awesome. :)

And now for something completely different: Berlin! it continues to be awesome too. :) I’ve got a book of Enid Blyton’s children’s stories in german, and I’ve been reading them with pete’s help; it’s a lot more fun to read ’cause the sentences are short and simple and the stories remind me of my childhood. :) I’ve also discovered that Dominion is a pretty cool game, and I can now speak german when I’m drunk. ;)

Living in another country has some funny effects. When we went to the mall today, I suddenly felt calm and happy to be there. I guess the atmosphere of blatant consumerism reminded me of Vancouver. ;) It’s weird how little things that aren’t really all that nice become happy reminders of your home country…

I still haven’t found HP sauce, though. :P Or black beans; they have every other kind of bean, but not my favourite! *sigh* On the other hand, I had no problems getting ripe avocados, and I’m still drooling over all the wonderful yoghurty things that I couldn’t get in Canada. :) And the cheese, and the cheap pizza, and the cheap beer, and, and…



{September 14, 2010}   Nomadic again

Land of the silver birch
Home of the beaver
Where still the mighty moose
Wanders at will

Blue lake and rocky shore
I will return once more
Boom de de boom boom, Boom de de boom boom, Boom boom.

In less than 12 hours I’ll be flying out of Canada. Once again, all my things are packed, either in suitcases or in boxes. I’ll only be gone four months – such a short time, yet such a long time too. I’ll miss Vancouver again, I’m sure. I’ll enjoy Berlin and the rest of Europe as well, though. :)

I was just beginning to get comfortable in this apartment, too… just starting to feel at home again. Well, that’s how things go. :) Time to start a new adventure.


Maybe tomorrow
I’ll wanna settle down.
Until tomorrow
The whole world is my home.



et cetera