Archive for December, 2008

2008 In Review

Life

This year has been pretty big. Naturally following up with lots of events from last year, these are some quick memories. My nephew, Rayden, was born on Feb 12th, six weeks early! This caused the father (my brother) to be indisposed for my dad’s (2nd) marriage on Feb 14th. I got bumped up to best man (but didn’t have to do much) and had a rather empty hotel room to myself in Vegas. I attended the Open Web Vancouver conference. I went to Whistler mountain for the first time in years and plan on going again soon. I went on a fantastic road trip down the west coast of the United States, something I will never forget. I slacked off most of the summer but managed to do quite a bit of rollerblading and outdoor activity hanging out with Kurt (visiting from Brazil). My brother, now a father, married the mother of his child on August 3rd. I was best man at this wedding, as well – with more responsibilities, but they were well received and totally worth it. Our beloved cat, Sky, met an early and terribly unfortunate end. We had our first encounter with bed bugs who are now the sworn enemy of our household. Vancouver, a city that sometimes doesn’t get snow all year, had its whitest Christmas ever with 60cm (2 ft) of snow! Perhaps we should have seen snow in April as a sign….?

That reminds me: Happy Holidays for 2008! Guess I was a little late on that… Here are some pictures of our insane weather in Vancouver.

Geekery

With my free time, I think I was able to really exercise my geekiness in 2008. I released a couple updates to the Rhythmbox Jump-to-Playing plugin, which led me to submit my first patch to an upstream project! Said patch was accepted and will be in the next version of Rhythmbox! Yay. 🙂 It was just for some XML UI description, but it feels nice to have helped improve (even a tiny bit) a project that will be installed on thousands of computers in the next cycle. I also released a usable proof-of-concept GNOME Panel File List Applet which has stayed on my panel and I find quite useful. And I’ve done a couple little scripts and how-to’s that fall under the “nerd” category quite nicely. Oh yeah, and significant website updates. Next website todo item is to customize the attachment page for my theme, I think…. Also, I joined Twitter. And Identi.ca. And LinkedIn….

Art

Not many artsy things done this year. But with the significant improvements of tablet handling in Linux, I did some random doodles and a birthday card. I may not do it very often, but I still enjoy drawing, thank goodness.

Blog Stats for 2008

My Blog is by no means high traffic, but stats are fun! (These stats were obtained using the wordpress.com Stats plugin, and exclude the Feed stats, because I use Feedburner for that… although, I’m thinking I should revert that, now that I mostly use wordpress.com Stats.)

Top 3 Referrers:

  1. http://live.gnome.org/RhythmboxPlugins/ThirdParty (402)
  2. live.gnome.org/Boston2008/GUIHackfest (209)
  3. siuyee.com (126)

Top 3 Posts and Pages:

  1. Pidgin 2.1 UI Ideas (1,053)
  2. 2D Game Art and the Virtual Console (580)
  3. Rhythmbox Plugin: Jump to Playing 0.2 (455)

Top 3 Search Engine Terms:

  1. rhythmbox (327)
  2. bug (174)
  3. pidgin (165)

Top 3 Clicks:

  1. Pidgin UI screenshot attached to a bug (57)
  2. Pidgin UI mockup (50) by Hylke Bons
  3. SF2 HD Ken (42)
  4. The fourth was launchpad.net/desktopdrawers with 38 clicks, so it’s kinda cool I helped advertise a small project a little. (A project I’ve submitted patches to, no less. 🙂 )

Thanks

Thank you, everyone, for a wonderful 2008. It’s been interesting, and despite a failing economy, I’m looking positively toward 2009.

Happy New Year! (????????????????) 🙂

1024×768 Desktop

Lots of people customize their desktops. Many don’t, but I do.. a little. Here’s mine:

1024x768desktopusage_annotations

I actually had to remove the Time Tracker (Hamster) applet to scale my 1280×1024 desktop down to 1024, but I think that was all. And I only just decided to try moving the Tomboy and Deskbar applets over to the top-left corner… looks a little odd, but it’s much more accessible. It’s good to try out new things, right? 🙂 (When the keyboard will do, Alt+F12 and Alt+F3 for Tomboy and Deskbar, and Super(windows-key)+Space for Gnome-Do are good shortcuts to keep in mind.)

How about you? (If you run Ubuntu, read this – which is why I tried scaling my 1280 desktop to a 1024, in the first place).

A Gloomy Bear’s Life

Yesterday was Shirley‘s birthday. We went out for dinner with a bunch of people and drank. It was fun. I also decided to play with my tablet, yesterday. So a birthday ecard was a natural gift!! I sent this to her a day late.

shirley_bday_ecard_small

Similar to my A Bug’s Life post, I’ll give a little overview of the process that went into this picture… I do this because I tend to enjoy reading these types of posts, myself… and… I can’t be the only one! 🙂

First, the idea: I know Shirley likes Gloomy Bear… but I know almost nothing about it! After a little searching to get the idea of Gloomy Bear’s looks. I gave it a first attempt:

gloomy1

I watched an informative and entertaining 3-minute video.Usually with Gloomy is the boy, Pity. Pity loves Gloomy, even though Gloomy’s a bear and attacks Pity, sometimes. I wanted the boy giving Gloomy a cake… then Gloomy reacting. Let’s try for more action….

gloomy2

Well, I was content with the idea… but that still didn’t look like Gloomy, at all! Did a couple sketches of Gloomy and Pity for a little practice:

pity_sketches_small

gloomy_sketches_small

Alright, these were looking a bit better. The perspective I wanted was a little awkward, but I’d give it a shot. The following resulted from drawing a lot and erasing a lot on the same sketch. That’s why it looks “smudgy.”

gloomy3

Awesome. It was starting to look acceptable. Now I had to make a nice outline. Using the Pen tool in Gimp, I added a new layer above the blue sketches. On this layer, I created paths and then applied strokes to the paths. (This kind of art should really be done with a vector program, like Inkscape, but I was tinkering in Gimp.) When I was done, I had a clean outline sitting on a layer above the blue sketch:

gloomy4

Next step was adding colour. This was really easy because the style for Gloomy Bear doesn’t have any shading – a single solid colour is applied to everything. Alright, then! Just had to hide the messy blue layer and add colours to a couple layers beneath the outline layer (we want the outline to be on top).

gloomy5

Add some text, a few touch-ups here and there, and that’s basically it! 🙂 Yay!

Originally, I did have a more elaborate idea of doing a stylish multi-panel comic:

  1. Pity gives Gloomy a cupcake.
  2. Close-up of cupcake.
  3. Close-up of Gloomy’s face, colours inverted.
  4. Gloomy reacts violently.
  5. Back to original scene, with after-effects.

This was my sketch for the reacting violently panel: 😉
gloomy_unfinished_idea

Would have been fun. But I decided to keep things simple. 🙂

All images are under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. And I would appreciate being told if you use anything. 🙂

WordPress 2.7

I just upgraded from 2.6.3 (using my “wp-upgrade” script), and It’s fantastic! Go watch a video about the biggest features. It even includes an “automatic upgrade!!” This pretty much deprecates my script, unless you want to maintain snapshots of each version. (I’m not sure if anyone other than me was using it to begin with… but anyhow….) 🙂

Screenshot: wp-upgrade Snapshots

File List Applet – GNOME Panel Applet

This is kind of a proof of concept I’ve been playing with. The idea is that finding a file within a folder is often easier by type, and you are often only interested in the most recently modified file. The problem with a file manager is that although you can easily sort by either type or modification time, you cannot filter your view of all the other files you’re not interested in. I previously wanted to address this issue within Nautilus, (and I still believe this functionality would be wonderful in Nautilus), but I ended up doing this much less ambitious applet as a proof of concept.

This applet will let you add any number of folders to it, and will try to categorize the files automatically and intelligently. Currently, it’s more automatic than intelligent as it just looks at the mime-type. Even so, I’ve found it especially useful for keeping track of all my downloads:

Steven is catching up on the latest on planet.gnome.org and has downloaded a couple screencasts demoing the latest and greatest. These files are typically 2-10 megabytes, so they didn’t download instantly. Steven continues reading and forgot about the screencasts until a couple hours later. At that time, he can simply click on the File List Applet, select Downloads, select Video, and look at the top of the list for the newest files. Steven is happy. When finished, he can follow the same process to delete them – without once opening his file manager and being assaulted with ALL the files in his Downloads folder.

Ultimately, I would like to extend the idea to provide the same type/subtype menu system for all files under all folders – a type of summary – but I have not implemented that yet. There are other features in the cooking pot, as well, but I have to get started on some “RL” tasks… like my resume. 🙂

Screencast

I had a problem recording audio, so I ended up typing as narration. Unfortunately, this makes the YouTube one pretty unwatchable, but you can give the “HQ” version a try.

Download

No tarball yet as it’s still extremely rough.
Browse the source here.
Branch the source: bzr branch http://stevenbrown.ca/src/FileListApplet

Install

Update 2009/04/05: Updated install instructions here. (Some people don’t look at the comments….)

Installing will require some manual modifications.

  1. First, make sure you have the following packages (Ubuntu): python-xdg, python-gnome2-desktop, python-gtk2, python-pyinotify
  2. Then branch the source.
  3. Adjust the FileListApplet.server file’s location to wherever you keep it.
  4. Then copy FileListApplet.server to /usr/lib/bonobo/servers/.
  5. Restart the bonobo-activation-server. killall bonobo-activation-server
  6. Add it to the panel like other applets.

Update 2008/12/05: Added a couple screenshots.