Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Friday 25 August 2006

HIG are Guidelines

srag, I don't really agree with your comment about Evolution toolbar and their HIG compliance. Or maybe it is also the HIG I don't agree with, but I haven't found that bit about "not changing the toolbar" even if it makes sense to some extent. BTW, the 'G' in HIG means Guidelines, not Rules or Regulations.

What Behdad describe is clearly both case when the action is a toggle. Spam/Not Spam, Delete/Undelete. It clearly make sense to have ONE toolbar item that does it (instead of 2) and that actually toggle more that just "embossing" the control. It is not changing the toolbar it is just reflecting the proper state. The message in Spam? Then the spam action is Not Spam. And vice versa.

The same applies to Rhythmbox with bug 326066 where the Play button should toggle to Pause and vice-versa, just because it makes more sense. One of the reason is that we are used to with real life items. Look at most CD player with a button labelled Play/Pause. But in that case it is even better, on the software when can clearly reflect the state, unlike on the player were you have to refer to either a LED or the display about the status (not counting the immediate effect of the music playing or not, which end up being confusing in fact when the volume is too low or when there is blank, hello bonus hidden track).

All in all, I think that HIG should be stretched when needed, and that Behdad suggestion is actually pretty valid. All the UI innovations comes from HIG breakage. Look at Apple: they set the "rules" (guidelines actually), break them and innovate.

Saturday 19 August 2006

Who are the terrorists?


Flying out of Logan was annoying yesterday. I was grumpy having to fly for a total of 6 hours with no water other than what I could squeeze out of the stewardesses, which wasn't much. I felt like asking the TSA people (and the people on the plane) what the point of tossing out water was - whether they thought it was actually making any of us safer. But I would imagine asking such a question would get me sent to a little room where men would come in and ask me why I hate America and/or ban me from flying.

In that case who are the terrorist? What you describe is a group of people with some power that makes you afraid of doing something you have rights about. America is often described as the country of freedom, but what you describe make it the country of fear.

I had wishes I was traveling more, but recent events made me not be willing to. I'm not afraid that a plane be blown up in the air. I'm afraid that my freedom and rights be violated in the name of a security theater, by a bunch of rent a cops to whom a lot of power have been given. And statistically, I have more chance to be involved in a deadly car accident while commuting to work than in an airplane crash.

Tuesday 15 August 2006

The hype or the freedom?

I ran through a website called Ubuntu Video that seems to affiliate itself to Ubuntu, including by using their visual look for the website. The copyright and the hosting does however make it separately hosted from Ubuntu/Canonical websites. But I'll let you discover in picture what I clearly do not like:

Something about Free Software, Open Source Software, and a placeholder for something that obviously require a non open source friendly technology was a closed source implementation to view. Yes, I can't view these Ubuntu Flash videos on my stock Ubuntu system using Free Software (gnash is far from being stable for me to risk to allow it to crash my browser).

The creator of the website even try to justify it for the "hype". Is that being honest? I wonder...

Monday 14 August 2006

Did you know?

Did you know that Adobe has a an Imaging library, GIL, released as an open source C++ library (the license is MIT)?

Did you know that Adobe has a UI library, ASL, also release as on open source C++ library also under a MIT license? (Actually I knew that one). It appears that this library got developped for Photoshop 5, and that it used to have support for FLTK which is, if I remember correctly, the toolkit was used for the defunct port of Photoshop on SGI.

Heavy C++ and BOOST knowledge required.

Fly high again

A comic in Le Devoir, a newspaper in Québec, describe pretty well the paranoia in air transport.


In an airport near you...

The security officer ask:

Have you eaten in the last 24 hrs?

I wished I was travelling more. But clearly what is happening, ie the terror, won't make me enjoy flying.

Saturday 12 August 2006

... or Closed Source AMDATI

ATI people retract the open sourcing rumors by AMD. Will that turn into a "division war"? Looks much like the Java open sourcing saga...

I let you make your opinion.

Update: and Aaron has some thought

Thursday 10 August 2006

I had a dream...

Sony just released announced the Mylo. The Mylo is a wifi enabled handeld, running Linux and Qtopia. At a similar price as the Nokia 770 ($350) it features in thumb keyboard (retractable) and a much smaller screen (320x240 unlike the 800x480 that the Nokia has).

If only the Nokia has that keyboard... I dreamt of such a thing: a retractable keyboard under the screen that you push up with the thumb when you want to type. I tried the on-screen keyboard in Maemo, and the problem is that it is on-screen: big thumb are not very compatible. The relief of the thumb keypad would make typing easy with a similar price.

Otherwise the ZipIt (see also) only cost $99... And it is hackable with Open Source alternative software.

Wednesday 9 August 2006

Open Source ATIMD ?

AMD is considering open sourcing former-ATI graphics drivers, at least a large part. Taken from kernelslacker.

If that is true, I can only congratulate AMD to make the right choice, or at least a good step forward in the right direction. Given AMD's help for open source support of their 64-bits platform, it sounds logical.

RAW processing on Linux

linux.com has an article on Processing RAW image files on Linux. They cover shortly the various aspects (including gphoto). I find it quite informative, even if it misses digiKam.

Saturday 5 August 2006

ThinkPad with preloaded Linux, but non-Free drivers?

miguel: doesn't that ThinkPad T60p require the proprietary ATI driver for the FireGL V5200? Doesn't that proprietary X driver require proprietary kernel modules that are in disagreement with the kernel license according to some key Linux contributors? Does this go together with the decision of Novell to no longer ship the proprietary kernel modules with their distributions[1]?


[1] decision I clearly respect

Friday 4 August 2006

Tech Support

mxpxpod: if your Nikon camera makes f-spot crash when you download the pictures, you might have better to switch the camera back to USB Mass Storage. f-spot will bypass libgphoto2 and directly import by copying.

Off course, reporting the bug will help the f-spot team to get it fixed.

Digital Camera support experience

Tim Bray recently decided to switch to Ubuntu.

Today he writes:

Well, I was going to have to do it sometime. I got out the USB cable and plugged the camera into the Ubuntu box, not expecting much.

What a pleasant surprise; some little program popped up, told me I’d plugged in a Canon S70 and wondered where I’d like to download the pictures to. Had a nice little slide-show thingie too for quick review.

Thanks Tim for the feedback, the gphoto team is happy to have provided you a good surprise. (and also kudos to the applications writers and system packagers for providing the user experience).

Digital Restriction Management and iPod

Cory Doctorow has a very good article on Why Apple DRM is bad for both business and consumers. It is actually a very good explaination on how DRM are bad, be they flexible like Apple's or not. It basically shows that Apple DRM is to protect Apple's business...