Desktop notifications spec announced

Mike Hearn and I just announced the first officially public draft of the Desktop Notifications Specification we’ve been working on. It has a few rough edges, but is there for the most part. The specification was announced on the freedesktop.org xdg-list. We’re looking for feedback and some implementations. Currently, we have a few projects who have announced their intention to use the specification, hopefully with more coming in the future.

The protocol for the desktop notifications uses D-BUS. It’s meant to be desktop-neutral, and does not define presentation. An initial GNOME notification server is undergoing development, as well as a reference implementation library. These are not yet available, however, as Mike is without an Internet connection and has not been able to submit his latest changes. These will be updated as soon as possible.

Take it to the limit, one more time

Well, I’m half way through my second week of work (time flies!). I’ve got to say, I like it here, though it is a bit lonely. It’s hard not seeing my friends and my family every day, but things will get easier as time goes on. Fortunately, I’ve managed to find a way to get back home to see my brothers and my little sister (although my parents are out of town) and my friends.

In the meantime, I’ve been keeping busy. Work, of course, takes up most of my time. In the evenings, I’ve been hacking on Galago and the Notifications specification Mike Hearn and I are proposing for freedesktop.org. It’s almost complete, and I’m going to run it by the Eventuality and Kopete guys and some other people before proposing it to freedesktop.org. We think we’ve managed to create a decent specification, although we’ll see how its adoption goes.

I finally have my DSL and DirecTV set up. The speeds on my DSL connection are nice. I’m pulling about 310KB/sec download and about 42KB/sec upload. Compare that download to the 150KB/sec I was getting back home. Mmmm…. Of course, there’s always at least one problem. I’m paying for the business account at SBC, which means I should be getting 5 static IPs. However, they’ve now switched to “sticky IPs” and PPPoE for new accounts. My DSL modem is being a pain and only letting me use one of those IPs. On top of that, it seems I can’t reach some sites (such as suprnova.org) and nothing can reach me anymore. It was all working a couple of days ago, so I’m hoping it’s temporary. *Sigh*

DirecTV was a nightmare. I mentioned in my previous entry about most of it. I eventually went to Best Buy and signed up for a new DirecTV account threw them. The 4 receiver deal only works if you pay for all receivers up-front, and then activate them for awhile, and then they’ll reimburse you. Great. I don’t even have that many rooms or TVs. I just wanted free hardware :). However, they had a 70 hour DirecTiVo for $100, so I just bought that and took the new, free multisat dish home with me.

Since I wasn’t allowed to mount the dish to the apartment anywhere, I went to Radio Shack and bought a tripod. It’s a good little tripod. Sturdy enough. About the right height. It just didn’t have a mast for the satellite dish, that’s all. Which, you know, is kind of a pain when you’re in a hurry to set up the DirecTV. So I did what any self-respecting geek would do. I hacked something together, and this is what I came up with: The Elephant Mount.

Yeah, it scares me too. I’m choosing not to touch it, but it works! My new TiVo is nice and happy, recording my shows. My old DirecTiVo is sad, sitting there next to the new one.. I’ll find a use for it though, in time.

Oh, and I bought one of those Pur faucet-mount water purifiers, since the water in the bay area tastes like concrete. The filter doesn’t look so bad sitting on the faucet, really, and should really improve the taste of the water. Except, despite the big “Contains: 1 Microfilter” label on the box, there was no microfilter inside! I’m going to have to make time now to buy one. Another $15 down the drain. Meh. I’ll be, erm, “borrowing” some from home when I visit, since we haven’t used a water filter there in a long time.

Back to the notification spec. I want this done asap.

The Beginning of the Rest of Whatever

I’ve been quiet here as of late, but hopefully that’ll change now that I’m more settled into my new home. I’ve moved to Palo Alto and had my first day at VMware this past Monday. So far, I have to say it’s a rather cool place to work. The employees are nice, and my team seems very dedicated. Among others, I’m working with Philip Langdale from Galeon, so now when I hit a Galeon bug, there’s no escape for him.

Today will be my third day, and I’m hoping to actually get some working code written. I spent the past couple of days getting up to speed on things and getting my Linux box upgraded from RH 7.3 to Fedora Core 2. Man, Linux has come a long way.

The new apartment is great. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, so when the girls come over, or family, or anybody else, there’s plenty of room for them. I’ve made the second bedroom my office, although in time, the futon is coming in here to serve as a couch/bed for guests. Of course, some pictures are available.

I’ve been stuck on dial-up since I moved here. I have this horrible fear that for some reason, the number I’m using won’t be local and I’ll rack up thousands in phone bills, but that’s probably just because I’m unfamiliar with the area and haven’t used dial-up in so long. Saturday, my DSL is being set up, so perhaps I’ll be more sane then.

I attempted to take advantage of DirecTV’s special offer last week. They offered three receivers and installation for free. It sounded good, so I had them come out. They brought one receiver, not three, but I figured, what the hell, as long as I get my DirecTV. Three hours later, the installation guy gave up and took the equipment home. On top of all that, my “free” installation was $16, and I still don’t have a receiver or installed dish. I guess if you want something done right, do it yourself, but I really need to bitch out DirecTV today or tomorrow and get them to send me my equipment.

Wild West pic

Last week, some of my friends visited. We ended up going to Great America, which apparently is only about 10 miles away from here, and had a blast. I think I may have to get a season pass now. We found a costume photograph shop thing and had a wild west pic taken. I’m the guy on the top-right. The deal wasn’t too bad, either. $13 a person, and each got a 5×7″ and 4 wallet photos.

I’d better wrap this up, as I’m leaving for work soonish. The total walk and bus time to work is only about 25 mins, so it’s not so bad, and I’ve learned not to get there before 10. Nobody is there.

Late night stuff

I’m up quite a bit later than I wanted to be tonight. I’ve been packing some things up in preparation to move on Saturday, and it’s taking forever. Plus, there’s just a lot I can’t take down yet, like the computers, bed, TV, etc. I’ve done about all I’m going to do tonight, so now I’m just in hacking and laundry mode.

I’m finally getting around to some of the cleanup work I’ve wanted to do in Galago, API-wise. There’s some work that I need to get to, but since I may be without Internet for awhile at the apartment, I’m not so sure I should start it just yet. I don’t want to break things too much.

One thing I plan to do at some point in the near future is get a little computer set up for my 4 year old sister, so that she can play her games (Tux Paint, Tux Typing, and a few others) and see me through webcam. For this, I decided I would create a custom menu program thingie for her, and then realized it could be used for kids in general. It would feature a nice, happy little interface for running the programs that the parents have set up. I would eventually include some Galago support so that little indicators could appear at the top of the screen (optional, and probably for older kids) with drop-down menus letting the kid IM, e-mail, send pictures/files, or initiate a video conference with the person. I don’t know when I would find the time for this, though.

Ah, my blanket is finally washed. Back to that.

Peasant’s Quest

I found out last night that the game Peasant’s Quest was finally released. A demo was out for a little while showing off this game, which boasts an impressive 16 colors and 2 channels of sound. It’s from the creators of the Trogdor game, also on Homestar Runner.

The game is like the old Kings Quest and other games of the time. You are Rather Dashing, a peasant who seeks revenge on Trogdor the Burninator, who burninated your tiny, puny little cottage. To reach Trogdor, you must solve a series of puzzles, many of which make you think and hunt around for a bit. The game is hilarious, full of comments and hidden actions. And Naked Ned, who I still can’t figure out.

For a comedic flash game, Peasant’s Quest is actually fairly challenging. Sure you can beat the game without trouble, but you really have to think about some things, and getting those last couple of points can be difficult. All in all, it’s a great way to waste a couple hours of your life.

New Job, New Home

I’ve been a bit quiet lately on this blog, but that’s because I’ve been in interviews for a new job, apartment hunting, and preparing to move. I will soon be working at VMware. It seems to be a very cool job, and everybody I’ve met there were great.

I went apartment hunting the other day and found a really nice, comfortable area close to work. The prices were good too. For only a small amount more than some other apartments I looked at, I was able to get a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom. I figure I’ll make one bedroom into an office.

Mid-August, I’ll move and start my job. It’s going to be hard to leave my family (especially my little sister, who’s trying to grasp why her big brother is leaving her) and my friends, but it’s only a few hours away, so we’ll all see each other.

Galago updates soon. Just got to get some stuff working first.

Perfect timing, Yahoo

Yahoo has blocked third party clients again. This is part of their master plan to drive away users, I mean, fix the spam issue. Not that I’ve experienced a spam issue yet, but I’m probably just lucky. Most third party clients use the same authentication code to connect, and Yahoo just exploited a bug or lack of something in the code.

This is all great timing, because we’re releasing Gaim 0.79 tomorrow. For now, we are using the web method to connect, but this has a number of disadvantages. For example, you can’t add or remove buddies.

Despite Yahoo’s attempts, I’m sure they realize this is only going to keep third party clients off temporarily. Sure, they’ll change it again. So will we. Yahoo, some people don’t want to use your client, and your Linux version quite frankly sucks. Don’t push us away. Share the love!