In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Thanks be to the helpful, redux
    • Powerfull search page containing official and developer repos for MeeGo Harmattan:
    • SDL 1.2 community port for Harmattan
  2. Applications
    • Latitude Assist geo-fencing/SOS tool now free
  3. Development
    • WarpTree UI Qt component and example file browser
    • Faster Qt Creator development turnaround
    • Using camera & video in same QML app?
  4. Devices
    • Prevent flashback on N900 camera
  5. In the Wild
    • Polar Mobile to Introduce over 80 Apps in Intel AppUp center for MeeGo-Based Tablets
  6. Announcements
    • Initial CloudGPS port to Harmattan
    • SwipeMeeOut traffic moving game for Harmattan
    • Ghosts Overboard accelerometer game for Harmattan
    • ...and 4 more

Front Page

Thanks be to the helpful, redux

As some of you may know our Edit-in-Chief and Glorious Leader, Andrew Flegg, abandoned us to the pitiless whims of fortune last week when he left for a multi-week vacation to France. To best facilitate his temporary replacement by automatons and monkeys, he helpfully set up a series of scripts to handle issue fetching and publication for the duration of his unavailability. Due to confusing timezone interpretations (variously to be blamed on monkeys and unclear emails), a problem arose when the scripts succeeded in publishing the issue, by my clock, an hour early. Unfortunately the result was the perfect excising of Andrew Olmsted's well-earned kudos from last week's issue--due, in no part (I'll note), to my forgetting about my omissions until 5 minutes after the real publishing time.

To make ammends I'd like you to be aware of two points: First, Andrew's blog post on testing Harmattan applications without a device should've ended up on the issue's front page. And, second, I had intended to thank him for providing copy editing, moral support and direct first-name personnel replacement in the absence of vacationing-Andrew thusly: Thanks, too, to Andrew Olmsted for filling the role of copy-editor and sounding board for this week's issue. Hopefully we'll be able to con him into helping out again in the future. That resolved, I'd like to again thank Andrew for his continued and siginificantly expanded assistance this week and publicly state my sincere hope that he elects to stay on as permanent staff (this way he wont be able to weasel out so easily).

Powerfull search page containing official and developer repos for MeeGo Harmattan:

Adam Harwell has continued Marat Fayzullin's excellent work in "Pack Rat" - a powerful package aggregation site that allows users to search through the available Harmattan packages and get details on how to obtain them. Find any Maemo package, from any repository, maintained by Nokia or otherwise. Just type in the full or partial package name or some other relevant keyword and click "Search". Optionally, you can search inside a software section and/or a single repository. Please note that a package may be available in many versions and from multiple repositories. We touched on this last week, but a tool this useful (especially in these early days of Harmattan with no central repository for community applications) deserves to be mentioned again.

SDL 1.2 community port for Harmattan

Javier S. Pedro has continued his steller work with the SDL libraries on mobile harward with his release of version 1.2 for Harmattan This port has support for: SDL_OPENGLES support: SDL_SetVideoMode(0, 0, 16, SDL_OPENGLES|SDL_FULLSCREEN) and you can then use OpenGL ES functions, multifinger input: a new field "which" in the mouse move/button up/down event structures which says which finger (0, 1, 2, ... up to SDL_MAXMOUSE = 10) is the one that is moving, full compatibility with the Swipe gesture in fullscreen modes (in the future, you will be able to enable/disable gestures with a PDL_EnableGestures-like function), when no joysticks are open, and audio is paused or closed, SDL_WaitEvent will now _really_ wait for an event, with 0% use of CPU/battery. Therefore, paused and backgrounded SDL applications will no longer eat the battery for lunch, the primary target is of course Harmattan and the N950/N9, but both OpenGL ES and multitouch work on Meego Netbook! (it is not packaged as an RPM yet). I, for one, have been looking forward to Javier's SDL work on this platform from very early on for the sheer number of game ports it opens up.


Latitude Assist geo-fencing/SOS tool now free

Latitude Assist is now available for free from the Ovi Store: Application's main agenda is to be of assistance to anyone who may be in an emergency situation: the application is to be used as SOS tool with up to 3 pre-configured mobile numbers. With this application, you can access different types of functionality including: setting the secured area for alerts, speedy automatic alerts, out of range geo-fence (secured area) automatic alerts and, find your location, including address and map.


WarpTree UI Qt component and example file browser

Jos Van den OEver has ported WarpTree and CubeTest to Harmattan WarpTree is an intuitive UI component for navigating large graphs such as a file system or genetic tree. WarpTree uses a Qt model and hence is easy to use with any data model. CubeTest is a puzzle that helps to train spatial reasoning. Jos has been doing quite a lot of work updating the packages based on user feedback and his own development plan.

Faster Qt Creator development turnaround

Timur Kristóf writes about the unnecessary overhead involved in deploying an application for testing from Qt Creator to a device - in particular the packaging steps that happen with each iteration. Most of these steps are useless. If I want to debug my app and quickly see the changes I make and test them, I don't want any packaging at all. I want to make a package when I want others to test it too. Fortunately, the latest nightlies of Qt Creator do just this, and Timur's post goes into detail on how to obtain it and set it up.

Using camera & video in same QML app?

Nicolai Hess brings light to an unfortunate situation in the current state of QML applications in Harmattan - the inability to use QML camera and QML video in the same application. Several users came forward with suggestions, and it seems as long as the camera component isn't instantiated while the video component is playing everything should work properly.


Prevent flashback on N900 camera

Thomas Perl has an informative blog post with a solution to a problem that has plagued most N900 owners: namely, photos washed out from the built-in flash reflecting off the lens surround. I think it was during MeeGo Conference 2010 when I was first told that I should cover the N900 camera cover's blue and silver bevel with a dark color to prevent them from reflecting the flash light and making the photos worse than they could be. If you don't use the N900 with flash at all, this "hack" doesn't apply to you. Otherwise read on. A simple solution to a problem that should never have been.

In the Wild

Polar Mobile to Introduce over 80 Apps in Intel AppUp center for MeeGo-Based Tablets

Polar Mobile will be launching their "SMART Platform" on MeeGo later this year. From the press release last week: Polar Mobile plans to launch over 80 Apps for major media companies supported on the Intel AppUp center for MeeGo-based tablets in 2011. “Intel is excited about the fantastic line up of great content that working with Polar Mobile’s platform brings to Intel AppUp center. Their track-record in launching high-quality apps for top-tier media companies globally and ability to scale quickly is phenomenal,” said Scott Apeland, Director, Consumer Services Division, Intel. “We look forward to working with Polar Mobile to provide our consumers with these compelling apps.” Your editors aren't particularly clearl on what sort of platform Polar Mobile is providing, but given the marketing speak in their FAQ (see the SlideShare link if you want to try a hand at interpretting it more usefully), it sounds like some sort of offline-capable embedded mobile browser.


Initial CloudGPS port to Harmattan

Damian Waradzyn has released an initial version of CloudGPS for Harmattan phones. N900 users may remember CloudGPS for its incredibly smooth scrolling and loading, but as the annoucement post notes this version has some missing functionality: Thanks to javispedro's SDL port for harmattan CloudGPS can be run on N950 right now. This port is limited in functionality, things like GPS, accelerometer and digital compass are not supported yet. Lucky N950 and N9 device holders will need to first grab Javier S. Pedro's SDL package from his repository, then grab the CloudGPs .deb from the forum thread.

SwipeMeeOut traffic moving game for Harmattan

Those of you who were children in the late 90s may remember a puzzle game called Rush Hour, which involved moving cars and trucks of various sizes around on tracks in a gridded playing board with the goal of getting the players car out of the exit. michele tameni has written a clone in QML called "SwipeMeeOut". Just for learn a bit more QML I started a small traffic jam clone [ did you remember crazy parking on your old n900? ] ... At the moment i loaded 11 Levels, generated with gtlevel. The .deb is available in the thread.

Ghosts Overboard accelerometer game for Harmattan

Heli Hyvättinen's new game Ghosts Overboard is something of a blend between Snake and Pacman. Implemented in QML, the game is set when: a group of ghosts was sailing with their ghost ship when a storm hit them. The ghosts fell overboard and were scattered across the nearby waters. It is now your task to rescue them. The ghost ship is controlled by tilting the device. Pick up the ghosts and avoid the rocks and octopuses. If the ship hits a rock or an octopus, all ghosts in it will fall overboard again. The game is currently only available a .deb from the MeeGo Coding Competition site.

RadioTouch - streaming radio player for Harmattan

As an excercise in QML, MeeGo user "stani" has written an online radio player, RadioTouch: RadioTouch is an online radio streaming player. Its sole purpose is to have the minimum interface possible, making it very straightforward to use. RadioTouch is Free Software, licensed under the GPL. The .deb is available in the thread.

NewsG for Harmattan - read Google News' headlines

Martin Borho has released a beta version of a Google News client NewsG. NewsG is a simple way to read Google News. Current status is beta, but stable. Features: 30+ editions, Topics configurable, Images can be disabled, Google Mobilizer as option to open links Martin has a number of features planned for future versions including search capabilities and nicer handling of pictures while loading.

Music Shelf for MeeGo and Harmattan

Martin Grimme is one of the first developers with a media-orientation application out of the gate, once again, on Harmattan. You may remember his work on the FM Radio Player for the N900, which provided community-sourced support for the device's included (but unsupported) FM tuner. His new application, Music Shelf, aims: to be simple, easy, and good-looking. It is the proud winner of the 1st WeTab Qt App Challenge in category Entertainment with 67% of votes. Now that the challenge is won, I'm working to target other MeeGo platforms besides the WeTab as well. Thanks to QML and Qt, this is not really a big issue. N900 Community Edition, WeTab and N950/N9 users should take a look.

Announcing Lexicon

Andrew Olmsted released his first public Harmattan application "Lexicon" (formerly Personal Lexicon in its straight-Qt incarnation). Lexicon is a word look-up program for validating the existence of words in specific word lists. It is first my Harmattan application and also my first QML application. It is useful for checking legal words for games like Scrabble. While fairly complete, more fixes and features are already in the works. Harmattan testers can find it in Andrew's Community OBS repository.