Backlog September '07

Posted by Jerry Wed, Sep 19 '07

Long time no blog. :P

Just did my COMS4507 Advanced Security seminar today, titled “OpenID 2.0: A Platform for User-Centric Identity Management”, which can be downloaded here on Google Docs.

It was intended to be a critique of this paper, but in the end I’ve placed more focus on introducing OpenID in general and then shifting into a critical discussion on digital identity management issues on the Web… sometime between 1am and 7am while I was hacking away on the slides trying to get it done last minute. Yes, I know, bad habit. :P All in all, turned out decent. Went overtime by 11 minutes (Marius thought it was still okay), and I think I may have explained too little on the actual authentication process. Still needs work on untangling tongues while talking. Marius thought it was a 80-90% , for sure. Woot. :)

Spending much more time (than I should) on my Nokia N800 tablet, which I decided to finally splunk down the moolah for last month (A$660 exclusive of shipping, over from Hong Kong), and which awesomeness cannot be simply defined by words alone. :) I really should have written a deep down and personal review of the tablet when I first got it, but my lack of blogging habits got to me first. Perhaps sometime, soon, soon. Anyway, the hackability of this slim little device is really promising. Maemo still has its rough edges, and unlike Ubuntu, still has a huge number of usages that are quite literally begging to be implemented… but the project really suffers from a lack of an active developer community like common Linux distributions. A sneak peak into the upcoming Intel Midinux just has me idea factories churnin’... When hasn’t anyone thought of implementing gestures on Maemo yet??!

Meanwhile, still trying to get a bit more of the Telepathy stack onto Maemo, and I’m hoping to perhaps work on a port of Empathy, Tapioca or Colligo. Turns out the Glib library ported fine with minimal changes, but still having problems cross-compiling telepathy-salut / Bonjour on Scratchbox. I should pop on #maemo and ask the experts about it sometime.

The 3 loves of my (current) life – My mom is going to be disappointed that this sample does not yet include a live human of the female gender. :P

Kexin is having his interview on Friday, and it turned out his interviewed would be no one else but Nigel Tao?! What an insanely small (open-source) world we live in! :P After exchanging much exclamation marks, we decided the best plan is just to focus on his enthusiasm on GNOME, and if possible, his very short one-day experience on Deskbar... Possible? The odds are rapidly growing. G’luck, anyway. :)

Tutoring is going well, and I’ve decided that actually being appointed for both courses which I’ve applied in the first place is quite definitely the best accidental choice I’ve made in my university years. Am currently thinking of continuing to tutor for another semester after my graduation, just so I can see the CSSE3005 guys pull through. May I dare wish for another Tutor Award again this time?

Anyway, mid-semester break coming up soon. Will be working on thesis full-time, with Advanced Security project on sidelines ('wireless penetration testing toolkit’ on Maemo). Much work to be done. Sigh, the life of a soon-to-graduate honours student.

# Posted in 10 years ago comments

Summer of Code 2007

Posted by Jerry Sun, Apr 15 '07

It’s finalized: My Google Summer of Code 2007 proposals for Tomboy weren’t accepted. :( After results were out apparently there was one free GNOME slot that got unallocated and Sanford Armstrong offered to help, but it still turned out to be far too late. Pretty disappointed that I won’t get the possibly-awesome T-shirt or valid excuses to replace my laptop, but oh well. Going to pluck out original ideas from the proposals and start cracking on Gtk#. Expect some more Tomboy love soon, folks! ;)

Anyway, a review on this year’s SoC: Enthusiasts should definitely check out proposals listed on their favourite organizations. I have a good feeling about GNOME, Firefox/Thunderbird and Gaim Pidgin. Am I looking forward to the next few months of the Linux feature-fest. :)

And finally, going to release my Tomboy proposals into the wild under the Creative Commons Attribution license and move TomboyPIM into blog-post form so comments will be enabled (and search engines can index it, and maybe I’ll get more Tomboy/Google hits :)). Should be getting on it as soon as I finish my thesis report, due tomorrow (Ack!). Meanwhile you can check them out here: Networked Tomboy, and Using Tomboy as a Personal Information Manager: Integration with Evolution.

# Posted in 10 years ago comments

Maemo + GPS

Posted by Jerry Sat, Apr 14 '07

Was thinking about possible uses for the Nokia N800 Linux tablet recently, and had a short discussion with my cousin on utilizing Google Maps on it to compensate for lack of built-in GPS. We exchanged ideas on how it would work as a vehicle GPS system purely via WiFi… maybe overlaying a speech synthesis system (screen scraping + Festival would work) onto the Google Maps direction, and use the stylus to update the vehicle’s position on the map? (Could be done every few traffic stops or by a second passenger… but I imagine it would be a pain to use) And not to mention the lack of Wifi coverage in non-urban areas… Looks like it would still be better off if packaged with a GPS module.

And then what about software support? Neither the N800 nor the OpenMoko Neo1973, which does have GPS, are sold here, so they probably don’t have map software for this region. There are GPS software for Symbian, but it’s… well, Symbian. ;) I’ve been wondering if there’d be popular GPS devices on the Australian market use Linux… looks like TomTom does! Now I’m left wondering when we’ll see some Maemo/TomTom love anytime soon… :)

# Posted in 10 years ago comments


Posted by Jerry Wed, Mar 28 '07

Some thoughts on Tomboy synchronization, mostly after looking up Conduit’s documentation:

  • Conduit’s fairly interesting. You have a platform, data sources (so that’s where I got the inspiration of this Tomboy idea from! Now it’s not original anymore. Need more thought. /frown) on one side, sinks on the other. There’s some interesting combinations going on, like Google Calendar to Hard Disk, F-Spot to Flickr. Me likes. :)
  • Cons: It only supplies a DBUS interface (or so it seems after clicking through some documentation?) and Evolution support isn’t complete. I’m not sure how well it’d work in a Networked Tomboy setup. It would likely be a better idea to use libedataserver first and then port it over when a global desktop synchronization service is available (Gnome 2.20? Not very near future?).
  • That being said, I’ve been having 2nd doubts about the data sources concept. Do we really want to reimplement Conduit’s wheel?

Remind self to start looking up how Evolution data management later.

# Posted in 10 years ago comments

Networked Tomboy

Posted by Jerry Mon, Mar 19 '07

Spent last hour planning and writing this proposal for Google Summer of Code 2007. It’s for Tomboy, an awesome note-taking application for Gnome. Although since last year we’ve already had a similar project it’s lost its novelty, but man, I really want to have these features. Crossing fingers for now, going to write 2 more proposals tomorrow or Tuesday. :)


Tomboy is a simple Gnome application for taking notes. It’s wonderful for simply inscribing random ideas, ticking off things to remind ourselves with and other significant amounts amounts of text. However, there is no way to share our Tomboy notes. To transfer a certain amount for text we could fall back to conventional methods of copy and pasting into an input window and then send it off via email or IM, or if the recipient/destination is nearby we could even transport the message physically (paper, or even voice!). However, we want to improve on that. This proposal aims to close this gap by implementing a tighter integration of text-sharing for the desktop.

This proposal covers 3 use cases: from 1 desktop to others on a LAN, from “my desktop” to “my friend”, and for “for myself, everywhere”. In the first case, the user indicates which Tomboy notes can be publicly accessible and they will be advertised on the network using Avahi, allowing other desktops to have quick access to them. In the second case, a method for sending Tomboy notes over the internet fully integrated into the Gnome desktop will be developed. One idea is to show a nautilus-sendto window (or similar) where IM contacts (we will use Gaim here) are shown and then gracefully import the note once received. In the 3rd case, we need to have some way to serve notes so that they are accessible anywhere. We can use publicly available note-sharing services, such as Google Notebook.


To summarize, these will be the deliverables:

  • Gather and analyze current work on “Networked Tomboy”
  • Implementation of note sharing using Avahi
  • Integration of sending Tomboy notes to online IM contacts (Galago, Gaim)
  • Develop a note data source framework. Build on framework to access Google Notebook
  • Develop a synchronisation solution for multiple Tomboy instances (perhaps Conduit)

Use Cases

The 3 use cases, with interface usage concepts:

Desktop to desktop, on a LAN

Alice and Bob both use Tomboy on the office LAN. Alice would like to share static notes on a project they both work on. She selects a Publish option, and ticks off a number of notes to share.

Soon Bob clicks on “Shared notes on the network” and sees all notes available, sorted by source. He looks at Alice’s list of notes and selects one to view it. He may be allowed to edit it, or he can click to download the note for his own use.

From my desktop, to my friend

Jack and Jill have each other on their Gaim contact list. Jack wants to send the latest draft on their group homework to Jill, and sees that she is online. Jack opens up his draft in Tomboy, and clicks to send it via Gaim. A list of contacts online appear and he selects Jill. On Jill’s computer she sees Jack’s file transfer request and accepts it. The file appears in her Tomboy, ready for editing.

For myself, everywhere

Gary uses Tomboy at home, but in his office he works on a Windows computer. He keeps a checklist of things to do for the day, which he updates in Tomboy every morning. Back at the office, Gary wants to reminds himself to buy some groceries, so he opens up Google Notebook, selects his to-do list and adds to it. Later in the evening, Gary checks his Tomboy again to see his new list before leaving for the shops.

P.S – I don’t know how I came up with the use case names… they sound like marketing phrases. I probably watch too much advertisements. :P

# Posted in 11 years ago comments