In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Second coding competition in the works
    • LWN editor "predicts" "MeeGo will be a surprisingly big success" in 2011
  2. Applications
    • TwimGo gets moved from Web Runtime to Qt Quick - shiny interface results
  3. Development
    • QML - caching network resources
    • Trying to use RDS to auto-tune car radio & N900 FM transmitter
    • QML Scene Graph demo
  4. Community
    • Cambridge (UK) MeeGo meet-up
    • Product management wiki for MeeGo
  5. Devices
    • Poking through mce.ini for next Nokia MeeGo device
    • Porting MeeGo to Nexus One & Toshiba AC100
  6. Announcements
    • ReSiStance RSS reader updated with updated GUI and Google Reader support
    • Media Bar for Maemo 5 (XpressMusic-esque)
    • TV-out control home plugin
    • ...and 8 more

Front Page

Second coding competition in the works

Cosimo Kroll, one of the organisers of last year's successful " coding competition" has mentioned that they're working on the infrastructure for the next competition, and are talking to Intel about a potential partnership: This site will make it easier to submit code/screenshots/description and let the user vote. Also we are in contact with Intel for a partnership (it looks really good). Thanks for your patience and I'm sorry for the lack of information. We plan to start the competition right after the mobile world congress. Your editor suggests ignoring the coincidence of "after MWC" and the Harmattan device announcement rumours. If he's learnt anything in the last five years, it's that holding your breath for the next device is not a good idea (you're likely to suffocate).

LWN editor "predicts" "MeeGo will be a surprisingly big success" in 2011

What Jonathan Corbet says almost always never comes true. However, it's still interesting, and a sign of how much work MeeGo has to do, that his 2011 predictions in Linux Weekly News (the inspiration for this pale knock-off) contain this at number three: MeeGo will be a surprisingly big success. Android is increasingly looking like the Windows of the handset world - a universal operating environment which turns the hardware into a boring, low-margin commodity product. Manufacturers will be keen to see a competitor which allows them to differentiate themselves and to limit Google's control. Some of the commenters point to Eric S. Raymond's portrayal as webOS and MeeGo as "doomed, no-hopers".


TwimGo gets moved from Web Runtime to Qt Quick - shiny interface results

Tommi Luakkanen has been working on changing his Twitter client, TwimGo, from Qt Web Runtime to Qt Quick: TwimGo 2.5 is completely rewritten with QML. It should be available to Maemo, MeeGo and Symbian devices in the near future. The video shows that good-looking consistent user interfaces can currently be built with QML; although there's no word on the widget set being used - and it obviously doesn't fit the style in the rest of Maemo 5.


QML - caching network resources

Qt Quick makes it easy to write network-aware applications like the exemplar Twitter and Flickr clients. However, constantly going to the network (say for a Twitter user's avatar) isn't particularly friendly - or fast. Lauri Jaaskela shows how you can minimise your application's network traffic on his Forum Nokia blog: When learning QML I noticed that network resources were getting reloaded from the network all the time. On a desktop with fast network connection this is not that big of an issue, but may be quite annoying on a mobile device, where data connections are often slow and expensive to use (and caching everything to memory is not an option either). Fortunately implementing a very simple network data cache turned out to be quite easy with a little C++.

Trying to use RDS to auto-tune car radio & N900 FM transmitter

Bruce Peterson is following up his E.F.F. (empty frequencies finder) with a more car friendly transmitter control: The goal is to create an app that you will press a button and will automatically scan (with the use of transmitter => no headphones are required) and set the transmitter to the first empty freq found. The app will also start a daemon that will check the signal level of the freq that the N900 is transmitting and if it goes bad (like when driving) will automatically rescan and set the transmitter and the ex. car's reciever (using rds af....hopefully) to the first empty freq found. Kevin Leacock points out a potential problem with the latter, though: RDS auto-follow works by comparing the signal strengths of the various frequencies broadcasting the same station. However, the N900's FM transmitter can only transmit on a single frequency at a time; meaning that even if the N900 let the radio know what other frequencies it could switch to, it never would.

QML Scene Graph demo

Kaj Grönholm has pasted a short demo of the QML "scene graph", an attempt to make the path between QML effects and the GPU as short as possible. He says, At first, everything is gray and plain. But once you enable QUIt mode, the whole world feels a lot more colorful and dynamic. Some call this feeling velvet, I call it.. exciting 2011!


Cambridge (UK) MeeGo meet-up

A meet-up is currently being organized for Cambridge-based MeeGo users and developers. A location has not yet been set, so if you're in the area (or will be) on the 26th of January, be sure to chime in on the forum thread. My New Years resolution to arrange a Cambridge MeeGo meet. Who's up for it. Wed 26th Jan As a note, anyone else interested in organizing a MeeGo-oriented meetup in their area should check out the relevant wiki pages on the subject and open a thread on the forum.

Product management wiki for MeeGo

Another improvement for openness in MeeGo comes in the form of a new Product Management wiki page from the product management team: I have corrected the issue of missing wiki for PM function, by creating a page and linked it also to main page: The wiki is (of course) a work in progress, and missing stuff. One of the key items on the wiki is the Change management process, which we are now kicking off. I will right away say the process is modeled very much after Architecture team process. As said on the wiki, we shall discuss the topics right here in this email list and document the actions on the wiki. Looking forward to community participation also on the product management side of MeeGo! If you have interest in being involved in product management for MeeGo, visit the page and subscribe to the new meego-pm mailing list and dive in.


Poking through mce.ini for next Nokia MeeGo device

Rummaging through the source code opened by Nokia is always an interesting activity. The Fremantle SDK showed that the RX-51 (as we then knew the N900) was going to have voice telephony options over GSM; some of the MeeGo Touch Framework testcases went to great lengths to test an 854x480 screen resolution. Now, Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh has found further details on the RM-680 (the N9?) and RM-696: So apparently, the next Nokia MeeGo device has a single colour LED (wtf), and is an RM-680 (rumoured N9?) or RM-696. The Fremantle SDK also contained reference to two devices, the RX-51 and the as-yet-unknown RX-71. Two device codes in the source code does not, necessarily, equate to two devices being released.

Porting MeeGo to Nexus One & Toshiba AC100

Efforts are still continuing on a number of fronts to run MeeGo on as many different devices as possible. MeeGo has been recently demoed on the Nexus One, but complete sources for the project weren't available until now: Many people are asking me about the MeeGo porting. Of course, I didn't fully explain how meego to work on the Nexus One. So I provided my resource to the gitorious. then please try them! The developer is also working to provide support for the Tegra-based Toshiba AC100 netbook.


ReSiStance RSS reader updated with updated GUI and Google Reader support

Sergio Villar Senin has updated his RSS reader, ReSistance: I managed to find some time during Xmass to advance some work and to review a couple of pending patches. The most important ones were by far, the Google Reader support ones.It all started with some sensational work done by Chus Picos. She did almost all the research regarding the status of Google Reader API (check here if you’re interested) and cooked a very nice set of initial patches. The latest version is now in Extras-devel. Usual cautions apply.

Media Bar for Maemo 5 (XpressMusic-esque)

Nokia's XpressMusic series of phones included a media bar which could be activated to show a list of primary applications. On the 5800, this button was an off-screen touchscreen area. Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh has implemented this functionality for Maemo 5 (and other platforms with Qt Mobility): Most of you have seen this on XpressMusic devices running Symbian S60V5, and I have to admit, it's cool to have a way to quickly access some apps. Well, there's an always-on proximity sensor on the N900 (yes, it's always on, whether in use, or not), so why not put it to use. It's activated by holding the proximity sensor for 1.2s, and of course, this is configurable. Media Bar is currently available from Extras-devel, so only the foolish or particularly downtime-resistant need apply.

TV-out control home plugin

Ville Syrjälä has released a TV-out control widget for Maemo 5: I was bored one Saturday night last year, and wrote this little HD home plugin to control the TV out on the N900. The code is currently available on Gitorious. Thomas Perl has packaged it up and pushed it to Extras-devel.

Mokomaze: accelerometer ball-bearing labyrinth game for N900

When he was younger, your editor always enjoyed wooden games where a ball bearing had to be steered around a maze, avoiding pits. Damian Waradzyn obviously did as well: N900 was really lacking a decent Labyrinth clone. This one is backed by Open Dynamics Engine and features very realistic physics as well as quite attractive graphics and a lot of fun (48 levels). It works smoothly on N900 and vibration feedback makes it even cooler. The package is in Extras-devel; so be careful as usual. Hopefully, it'll reach a point to be promoted to Extras-testing shortly.

Empty Frequencies Finder GUI application for N900 radio transmitter

BLIZZARD has released a GUI version of his "EFF" script: E.F.F. (Empty Frequencies Finder) is a utility that lets you choose a range (only 87.5 FM - 108.0 FM) to scan from, for empty/unused frequencies, using the reciever of N900 and headphones as its antenna. For example you can use this utility to find empty frequencies, so you can easily transmit from your N900 to your radio. If you are not satisfied with the emptiness of the frequency scanning results you can select between modes, to find a better one. Your editor suggests extreme caution when installing random binary debs, attached to a forum post. Especially when they interact on a relatively low level with hardware.

Gmail touch interface wrapper

Talk user "gregoranderson" has updated a Symbian WRT widget which launches Gmail to work on Maemo 5: It does nothing other that create an application icon and launch the existing GMail touchscreen interface. Pretty useless if you already have a bookmark Despite depending on Qt Web Runtime, the wrapper justs launches the normal web browser; rather than wrapping up Qt's WebKit-based browser making it more like a bookmark than a dedicated browser wrapper like Macuco.

QRadio - FM radio application

FM radio reception on the N900 has long been a community-supported feature. Martin Grimme was the first to leverage the N900's unsupported hardware with his FM Radio application, but now a new competitor has entered the market with the new FM radio application QRadio, by Giovanni Grammatico: QRadio is an FM Radio application written in C++/Qt. It uses the QtMobility/Multimedia library and has a "digital" look. QRadio is currently available as a beta in Extras-devel, so testers should take care. Playing with the radio involves changing mixer settings, leading to potential bugs including silent rings or phone calls.

DiabloTurbo - experimental kernel & modules for N8x0

Miguel Angel Alvarez has released a set of experimental kernels for the N8x0: In the past, there have been some attempts at improving the user experience in the N8x0 by turning some sysctl knobs in the kernel, without much success. So, what could be done with a such old kernel? Attempts by others to get a newer kernel seem to have failed, may be because it is too much work due to the big divergence between kernel releases, the need to port modifications made by Nokia in the Diablo kernel needed by the dammed closed source propietary system utilities, and the dammed closed source propietary kernel modules in the wifi stack. It goes without saying that extreme caution, and backups, should be taken.

FRuMMaGe Aircrack Script

Talk user "FRuMMaGe" has posted a script to help streamline use of the aircrack-ng suite on the N900: Back when I used Ubuntu as my main OS (before I discovered the N900) I made a very simple shell script to automate many of the functions of the aircrack-ng suite. Since packet injection has now been brought to the N900, (thanks lxp) I have ported it to work in Maemo. I am currently working on a GUI for this, which will be MUCH more user friendly, however this script is still far easier and faster than using aircrack directly (particularly for new users). The script is currently not packaged, and cracking WiFi keys requires quite a lot of experimental software (and may be a criminal offense depending on your municipality) so users are advised to attempt it only at their own risk.

procalc - programmer's calculator

Maemo's calculator portfolio has improved again (which may make it one of the best on a mobile device with Marat Fayzullin's excellent AlmostTI85 emulator) with the release of Konstantin Stepanov's new programmer's caculator, procalc. I were looking for programmer calculator for N900 for a long time. I found a lot of drawing calculators, simple calculators, complex math/symbolic calculators, RPN calculators, real world calculator emulators etc, etc, etc... But none of them could show me number in hex/oct/bin (not to tell about floating point numbers in any other numeral system but decimal), and none of them could do bitwise operations on numbers (and it is really critical feature for me, as I have to work with bit-masks from time to time in my practice). So I asked myself: “Am I a programmer or what?” And here it is: meet procalc, a programmer's calculator. It is in extras-devel and my garage already. Again, as it's currently available in Extras-devel, users should take care if they wish to try it out.

Puzzle Master - dragging jigsaw game

Timur Kristóf has released a jigsaw-style game for Maemo 5: It is a jigsaw puzzle game. It works on the N900 quite nicely. It contains a bunch of built-in images, plus you can open any of your own images too. It is possible to change the puzzle size in the game settings menu. There is also piece snapping (so they don't have to be aligned pixel perfectly), a timer and an option to have the pieces slide around, but not lock together, using the accelerometer. As it is the first release, it is currently in Extras-devel so the usual caveats about bravery, backups and avoiding upgrading any other application whilst having the repo enabled, apply.