April 2006

Augmented Reality

An article appeared on Digg.com yesterday talking about a possible leak about the Nintendo Revolution/Wii. It referred to a video that was linked to in the comments. This video gave a demonstration of Augmented Reality, and while this technology is only rumored to be in the Revolution, it’s still fascinating to watch.

Augmented Reality basically allows for real-time merging of a live video stream and 3D graphics in such a way that the 3D objects can in a sense react to changes in the real world. Virtual tanks running around a real table and bumping into things, for instance, or holding a weapon in your hand and walking around with it. Now if only they had a good way of projecting this out into the real world without bulky, expensive equipment.

It will be very interesting to see if any of these rumors about Augmented Reality integration in the Revolution are true. E3 is coming up, so we’ll finally know what Nintendo is actually up to. Hopefully it will live up to expectations.

Nintendo: Wii are not amused

So Nintendo today announced the Revolution’s new name: Wii. Yes, Wii. The reaction so far as been about as negative as you’d expect, with all kinds of bad puns made. A number of the bad puns were made by Nintendo, as demonstrated on the site I just linked to.

I must wonder what they’re thinking. It’s like the whole “Touching is good” thing they did with the DS. And then there were games like Touch Kirby’s Magic Paintbrush. Someone over at Nintendo either really doesn’t understand the potential puns and such in English, or is rolling around laughing now.

Bad, Nintendo. Bad.

New libnotify, notification-daemon and notify-python releases

I’m very tired, so I’ll keep this brief.

I just put out libnotify 0.4.0, notification-daemon 0.3.5, and notify-python 0.1.0 releases. Most of the really annoying bugs people have reported have been fixed. More information is available on the news post.

I made a decision that will be unpopular to some, and I expect some disagreement on it. notification-daemon 0.3.5 does not ship with the Bubble theme. A large number of the problems people have reported to me on IRC and in e-mail centered around this theme, and until I have the time to give it the attention it needs, I’m removing it from the default install. It’s still in SVN and the tarball, and development will resume on it at a later date. However, I want to give people the best out-of-the-box experience as possible, and the Bubble theme currently makes that hard. If people want to chip in and help, you’re more than welcome.

Aside from that, it’s a very good release and I highly recommend people update. As always, please make sure to report bugs.

I have a couple of neat things I plan to work on. One is a little event notifier for scheduled events on online calendars (30Boxes.com to start). This will be using the new libnotify Python bindings. If it proves useful, I hope to add Google Calendar support as well. I’ll make some sort of announcement once I get a prototype working.

Galago 0.5.0! Can I sleep now?

I finally, after a long 8 months of development, put out Galago 0.5.0. The list of changes are huge, but I feel it’s a pretty solid release. I’ve been wanting to get this release out for a while now, but I kept finding one more thing to fix. I finally bit the bullet and prepared the release. Oh, and this one includes Python bindings!

I have a news post at the Galago site talking a bit about the release and linking to release notes.

I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’m going to sleep well tonight.

VMware Server beta 2

We just announced VMware Server beta 2 today, which is without a doubt a vast improvement over beta 1. Aside from over 60 critical bug fixes and over 150 non-critical fixes, we’ve also added support for using the Server remote console to connect to GSX 3 hosts.

However, I should point out that those using GSX 3’s remote console to connect to an ESX machine won’t be able to use Server for this purpose. I’m looking into a possible co-install solution, but another option is to run the GSX 3 remote console inside a VM, such as our Browser Appliance VM.

I’ve personally done a lot of work on Server, and am quite proud of it. This should be a good release, definitely better than beta 1. We’re working hard on the next release, though I can’t say when it will be out.

In other VMware news, I just found out today that we launched the VMware Company Store. Though I wish they had mugs, at least now I can get some presents for my grandparents who I know have been wanting some VMware things to collect (they’re so proud of me! Awww.)

And I might as well take this opportunity to mention that our Virtual Appliance Challenge is still going, and we’re hoping to get some good entries. Though I don’t know what level of quality existing entries have reached, there are some appliances I’d personally like to see for my own use:

  • A development environment appliance for GNOME or for the Nokia 770.
  • A project site appliance containing Trac or Bugzilla, Apache, MediaWiki and WordPress, all set up with some kind of a common theme framework (so that I can modify one set of files and each will update).
  • A well-done kids appliance that I could give to my sister, containing a very simplified and kid-friendly UI, Tux Paint, Tux Typing, a locked down and controlled copy of Gaim (so that she could talk to me), a stripped-down word processor, and other games and educational software. Cute screensavers, wallpaper, sounds, etc. The nice thing here is that it could be snapshotted and then if the kid messes it up, the VM could simply be reverted.

For those who are wondering (I know many people do), an “appliance VM” just means a virtual machine with a specific purpose, rather than a generic “This has a GNOME desktop in it!” VM. Anyhow, that’s enough of that for now. Back to working on the next Server release.

Mario followers are terrorists

Update: Second article link is fixed.

Creating real-life Mario blocks is cool and fun.

Getting arrested and facing criminal charges for it is not.

Five teenage girls in a small nothing town were arrested for designing Mario Bros. blocks and putting them around town. In a town with nothing to do, they found some fun. Now the city is trying to press criminal charges, despite admitting they know the girls did nothing to harm anyone or to try to scare anyone.

McCoy said even though no harm was intended by the girls, they could face criminal charges for their actions.

“The potential is always present when dealing with a suspicious package that it could be deadly,” McCoy said. “In today’s day and age, you just cannot do this kind of stuff.”

What a sad, sad state of affairs.

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