The train network in the middle of Europe is awesome, but by awesome I mean really awesome :D you can travel from almost all big cities without using the plane, which is by far more comfortable and green than doing it.
To reach Randa we had to take 4 trains, that can be painful in some countries (in Spain for example) but in Switzerland the trains have an atomic precision so you don't even need to know the name of the station where you have to "leave", when you buy the ticket they'll give to you a paper with the schedule, so you only have to be careful with the time :)
So, after that 6/7h of traveling we arrived to Randa, where a bunch of KDE hackers were waiting for us :p
The town is beautiful, it remembers me to the Heidi Manga (which was inspired by that kind of towns), maybe it is the most beautiful town I ever saw.
In the travel between Geneve and Visp we stop in Lausanne, the city where my mother was born :p
In my way to Randa where the Multimedia Sprint will take place I'm doing a stop in my brothers house, among the obvious reasons (see my brother) I'm here because the overall price of the travel was 20€ cheaper and because I love "Nutella crepes" :)
In the plane I have been working on QuickSand (the KRunner alternative interface), basically what I'm doing is to remove the hardcoded colors so that it can be used on any kind of colors scheme (I'm using a dark one right now).
When I finish the fine tuning I'll public a small video about QuickSand, I'm not going to add any new features but I think it is an interesting unknown part of the desktop.
Finally, the most wanted feature has landed in KBluetooth, support for Audio!
The support is divided in 4 blocks:
- Pair the device
The support for pair the devices should be working, not only for HEADSETS but for everything.
- Connect to the service
KBluetooth will detect if the paired device has audio service, and connect to it.
- Support for PulseAudio
PulseAudio rocks, and since it rocks it will detect and configure the new device automagically :)
- Support for Alsa
Alsa is not automagical like PulseAudio, so we've to write a few things in a file to get it working.
Everything is done by KBluetooth but Alsa support, so I'll explain how to get it working manually.
1-Pair it using kbluetooth-wizard (be sure that you're using kbluetooth-wizard an not kbluetooth-inputwizard)
2-Launch kbluetooth-devicemanager, click in your headset and write somewhere the Address (XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX)
3-Open with your favorite editor the file ~/.asoundrc (located in your home) and add:
4-If you want use it with Phonon, try the following configuration (is not working totally but something is something :))
description "BlueTooth Headset"
With this, a Bluetooth device should appear in KDE-Multimedia configuration, but as I said is not full working (If I recall correctly the output was working perfectly but not the input).
As always, the corresponding video:
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- Pair the device
I'm not a fussy user, I mean I don't really care so much about interfaces or usability (as an user of course, as a developer I try to do my best), wherever there is a terminal I feel like home in there. However, in the other hand, when I'm developing I need to feel comfortable with the environment, including the application I'm developing. It's for this reason that I've prioritized the GUI polishing of the wizard (the old one pissed me off every time I had to test something).
And well, this is the result, a freezeeless interface for KBluetooth-wizard.
PS: As a sneak-peak, notice that the wizard is not longer called "inputwizard :)"
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As my friends know, I'm addicted to read KDE/Free Software/Open Source/etc.. blogs when taking my morning coffee, and what I'm going to explain is a good example of why I love it.
Before continuing reading, be aware that I'm not an usability guy, I lack any kind of design or usability sense/knowledgement, In fact, I have been I'm using KDE for years and I never succeed to configure my desktop in a beautiful way (only by copying the others configs), so please keep that in your mind when you read this post.
A few days ago, Celeste wrote an excellent paper about "Tabs in the Taskbar". After reading it I decided to move my panel to the top of my main screen. The result has exceeded my expectations. What I got is more than a better relationship between the panel and the applications, what I got is something I've named a "Natural flow", let me try to explain what I mean.
The first thing I noticed after placing the panel at the top of the screen was that I forced less my eyes. Because of my work, I need to be aware of the notifications (kmail), but at the same time I'm usually writing code so I'm never watching the bottom of the screen, in fact if there is a part of the screen that I totally ignore it is the bottom, so move my eyes to that part of the screen every time I got a notification was painful.
The second thing I realize a few hours after, was a harder connection between applications and the taskbar. For example I have always ignored the "request attention" thing of the taskbar items, now I guess that because my eyes are "half watching" the taskbar all the time I'm able to notice the blinking quickly. Also the taskbar is acting now as a "Tab bar", it also works for applications that are in a different screen or not are maximized thanks of KWIN maximize/minimize effects,
The third and final thing, is something that may sound stupid to you (It did to me!), it is that menus/notifications/plasmoids etc show up from the top to the bottom. In earth thanks of gravity objects fall down, and I think that it's because of this that I feel this behavior more natural than the other one.
That's all! keep the panel at the top a day and decide where you like it more.
Ps: Please, do not flame in the comments, the objective of this entry is to share my experience with other people not to start an usability flame or something like that. Usability is a complex subject, and I ignore all of it.
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