February 2004

Less Work is More Work

I began a rewrite of the Galago framework a few days ago. The original design was good for my initial testing, but I didn’t plan to stick with it. One of the neat things in this rewrite is that unless a feed wants to, it doesn’t have to manually push any presence info. Instead, the code (either via a plugin or the main code of the program) just keeps a couple structs (GalagoAccount, GalagoPerson, GalagoPresence, etc) updated as it does things, and the events automatically propagate.

This has required a number of new considerations when developing this, but I’ve worked out most of them. From an API standpoint, developing an application to work with Galago is really easy now, even easier than before.

The new framework allows for basic identity information, so you can say, “Give me all presence information for Christian Hammond.” Each feed will have a GalagoPerson per each user, which may or may not have a name or other info associated with it. When the daemon receives the presence info, it will get the person info along with that. The people and accounts are stored in a graph in order to determine if accounts are shared anywhere. If so, it can merge the person daemon-side and feed it to any watches or queries.

So, if Gaim sends presence for MyUsername, and Evolution sends a GalagoPerson with some GalagoAccounts for Christian Hammond, and one of the accounts is MyUsername, the daemon will associate them and pass it along. It should work well, barring any unforseen problems.

On a side note, Movable Type is being very strange and only listing one blog entry on the index page. I’m hoping this post bumps it and makes it work again, as it was working just a few days ago. Oh well.

Gaim Goodies

I’ve finally been getting back into Gaim development a bit lately, outside of the status rewrite. The multi-field request API, which is used for abstracting request dialogs with various forms of input for a Gaim UI to generate dialogs from, got several improvements.

Some fields are marked now as required fields. If set, the UI can grey out the OK button when those fields aren’t filled out. This only applies to text entry fields at the moment, but support can easily be added for other types (if it makes sense for them).

An account field type was also added, which was the final piece allowing us to replace the New Instant Message and Get User Info dialogs with the request API. A lot of GTK+ code was removed from this change, and it improved consistency and HIG compliance.

And last but not least in this department, type hints have been added to fields, which the UI can use for additional functionality. The first use in Gaim is that if a text field has a type hint of “screenname,” the text field will get support for auto-completion of screen names.

And with that fun out of the way, work continues on the status rewrite. Oh so fun…

Emotional Presence

I’ve been toying around with an idea for some time now for a form of emotional presence. The idea being that not only can you tell somebody’s active state, but how they’re feeling. This would conceptually be integrated into instant messengers (although no protocol that I know of supports such a thing currently), and of course Galago would supply the info as well.

So say you decide you want to talk to somebody on your buddy list. Before sending him/her a message, you can check on the buddy’s emotional presence. Then you can make an estimate as to whether or not the person is in a good mood, bad mood, ready to kill someone, contemplating, horny, etc.

The best way to convey such information is by using an eye. The eye is our best way of judging a person’s response, so why not? Smilies could work, but that’s just not good enough. Now, there are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest way is to let the user just set his/her emotional state in the instant messenger like they would an away message. This, like away messages, would just come naturally to some people over time, but others wouldn’t think about it.

Another way of doing it is to have a camera and some face recognition software going that can scan the guy, take a little snapshot, and display it. This is obviously not going to work for everybody, and is a bit more work. This is all just concept stuff right now, though, so implementation is something we can put off just a bit.

I’m sure many of us know people who never use any form of smiley/emoticon during a conversation. They often seem almost machine-like, or perhaps not in a good mood, even if they’re feeling on top of the world. Emotional presence during a conversation could help to fix this. Even if the person showed no emotion in his/her text, the eyes would paint a different picture.

Of course, as someone said, not everyone would want to see a big eyeball on their desktop. Depending on the implementation, this could be changed to text, or a smiley, or hidden altogether.

Oh yeah, and DanielS just put the new Planet Freedesktop.org site up with my new layout. Woo!

Moving On

Life took a bit of a turn for the worse recently, relationship-wise. My now ex-girlfriend, whom I cared deeply for, and I broke up, and it ended pretty badly. So, it’s time to move on, find someone who perhaps is more compatible, and get some code written again.

Gaim’s status rewrite is now moving along well, aside from the past few days, when I’ve just been dealing with the aforementioned issues. I still don’t have a definite ETA for completion, but the core code is now mostly there. It likely won’t be able to do some of the really complex status combinations people wanted, but that can be done through a second layer (as it should). Anything more complex than what it currently is would require a really complex API, and none of us wants that.

Galago has been moved to SVN over on freedesktop.org, and I’ll likely get a page up soonish, after tests and other responsibilities. After I figure out a couple of design issues, support for presence feed capabilities will go in, and the work on Evolution’s Galago support will be nearly finished.

Sometime this week, I plan on finishing up a bug fix for Gaim for Qtopia and releasing 0.5. It’s long overdue, and people are waiting for some of the fixes to go in.

Just got to get my motivation back after the break-up. Metroid Prime is also sucking up my time, but that’s probably not a bad thing right now.


It’s really hard when you can no longer be with someone you love, but it doesn’t make it any easier when you have to spend over an hour each night just trying to sleep, and when you finally do, you’re consumed by bad dreams. I wish sleep was purely optional. I feel like I haven’t really slept in weeks.

Oh, and I didn’t forget it or anything, but yesterday marked one year that my Grandma has been dead. Rest in peace, Grandma.

Productivity Shattered!

I was given an invite to Orkut yesterday. For those of you who don’t know what Orkut is, get out from under your rock 🙂 It’s a rather interesting waste of time, and it’s delayed a lot of my development. I think I’ll be getting back to that in a few minutes though. Just.. just five more minutes.. then I’ll code.. Promise.

My copy of Dream Theater – Change of Seasons and Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York came yesterday, and I spent the better part of today watching/listening to them. Excellent stuff.

While on the topic of that, it’d be nice to see some kind of CD ripper integration in Nautilus. Right-click an audio CD and get a Rip To Music entry or something, which brings up a dialog allowing ripping to wav, mp3, ogg, flac, etc. Maybe multiple ones at once? I wouldn’t mind flac and ogg copies. For now though, Grip is my friend.

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