Archive for the ‘uncategorized’ Category

Open source at the V&A

March 1, 2010

I had an enjoyable afternoon attending the SAP Digital Design Festival at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Sunday. The festival was a weekend of special events organised to accompany their Decode: Digital Design Sensations exhibition.

I attended a workshop, interacted with some N900 hacks and spoke with their authors. I left the museum feeling quite inspired.

Recode Decode workshop

The Recode Decode workshop given by Karsten Schmidt explained how the digital identity for the Decode exhibition was created and how it can be remixed by the public because it is provided as open source code.

If you live or work in London, you may have seen the digital identity for the exhibition showing on the digital screens in London Underground stations now.

The identity was created using Processing: an open source programming language and environment for programming images, animations and interactive graphics. I’d not come across it before, but after experimenting with it in the workshop I think it deserves to be more famous.

If you want to try remixing it yourself, the code is hosted on Google code and can be fetched using Mercurial (hg clone https://decode.googlecode.com/hg/ decode).

There is more information about the open source identity concept on Karsten’s website.

PUSH N900

 PUSH N900 exhibiting at V&A DECODE

PUSH N900 exhibiting at V&A DECODE

The PUSH N900 exhibit showcased a number of hacks to Nokia’s N900 device.

There was a skateboard fitted with additional sensors to track skateboard tricks communicating via Bluetooth to the N900, a haptic belt that could vibrate to indicate which direction you should go based on turn-by-turn navigation and a motorised Etch-a-Sketch that could draw pictures taken with the camera. You can find out more from the Push N900 website.

However, my favourite was the KAPing with the N900 project: an N900 in a motorised jig attached to a kite that could take aerial photographs controlled by another N900.

The controls used the sensors in the device to move the camera, so you could simply hold the device in your palm and tilt it to the left to angle the camera to the left. Live images from the N900 in the kite are sent using wifi to the N900 used as a controller and the whole thing is written in Python. Brilliant!

We need these type of projects on Symbian too

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Friday fun with SQL

February 19, 2010

This week Symbian released the first PDK built from 100% open source code (release notes). Why not try out Symbian^3 Platform Release v3.0.g?

Here’s some database humour for Friday afternoon…

More posts next week – including news about our forthcoming Symbian Press book on Symbian SQL.

Persistentdata plans for 2010

January 4, 2010

2009 becomes 2010: Happy New Year! by Optical illusion

2009 becomes 2010: Happy New Year!


2010 is going to be an exciting year.

We’ll be open-sourcing the persistentdata package under the Eclipse Public License, publishing a book on Symbian SQL and adding Open System Trace support to the entire package for easier diagnosis of runtime errors.

This isn’t the full story though; I expect we will also have features contributed from the community during 2010. There is a lot of expertise outside of Nokia’s package team that I think we can benefit from.

Hardening Symbian^2 and Symbian^3 will be our priority for the first half of this year. We have a couple of bugs remaining for Symbian^2 and we need to submit the final header relocations to complete our S^3 feature content (Bug 311).

We’re planning Symbian^4 now. We currently have two features: OST support (Bug 312, 316) and a performance optimisation to central repository that will improve device boot time (Bug 1454). I will update the backlog with our planned contributions as more details are confirmed. You can see the schedule for all Symbian releases in the Platform Release Plan.

In addition to open-sourcing the code, I think our development process will become more open this year. We will soon start making package-based deliveries to the Symbian Foundation instead of the centralised delivery being done at the moment. This will make it easier to provide more frequent deliveries with better release notes. I want to provide more visibility of our ongoing development work, so as a start I intend to set-up a feature codeline to support regular integrations of the latest SQLite code into Symbian SQL.

I haven’t said much about the package code yet, so this month I’m going to write a series of posts to introduce the APIs provided by the Persistent Data Services package. I aim to provide a beginner’s guide to using the APIs we provide. Let me know if you have any topics you’d particularly like me to cover.

Image “2009 becomes 2010: Happy New Year!” by Optical illusion used under a Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Ten predictions for 2010

December 22, 2009

After yesterday’s best of 2009, I had a look at what analysts predict will be big in 2010:

  1. 2010 will be the year of operating system wars according to Mark Anderson of The Strategic News Service.
  2. Lightspeed Venture Partners predict that Nokia or RIM will buy Palm.
  3. Business Anywhere Blog thinks 2010 is the year of Android.
  4. The compilation of analyst predictions on Technobabble 2.0 is the most comprehensive set I found.
  5. IDC predicts a shift towards mobile platforms and Apple to launch a “iPad” tablet device (PDF report).
  6. ComputerworldUK tips app stores and Android in Seven smartphone predictions for 2010
  7. Dean Bubley’s Disruptive Wireless blog post on “Mobile Winners and Losers” cheers iPhone, Android and Augmented reality but doesn’t expect Near Field Communication (NFC) to take off.
  8. IntoMobile thinks we won’t see any “flagship” devices in 2010 and Apple will introduce NFC support into the next iPhone.
  9. 3g.co.uk predicts “A Device OS Bites the Dust” in 2010 Telecom Predictions.
  10. Wireless Week asked industry leaders for their thoughts on what 2010 will bring. Mary McDowell of Nokia predicts “smartphones for more people”.

What would you like to see in 2010?

Best of 2009: Chosen by a package owner

December 21, 2009

2009 was a year of first-time events: the first package to be open sourced, the first external contribution, and the first committer outside of Nokia.

I’ve selected 10 memorable events from the past twelve months in the Symbian community. What would you choose?

  1. First package owner workshop (January)
    New package owners from across the world came together to discuss what being a package owner meant. Open source development experts including Matthias Ettrich, the founder of KDE, presented. Read more from David Wood.
  2. Developer website opens for beta testing (March)
    There was a lot of interest in the office to see how the developer website would look. I was pleased to be one of the early beta testers.
  3. Symbian code is available to members (April)
    With the official launch of the developer site, Symbian Foundation members could access the entire codebase.
  4. Towel day (May)
    The first community event. Read about it from Teemu Rytkönen and watch the video
  5. First external contribution (June)
    Comms Framework get there first! Remek Zajac wrote about it on the Symbian blog.
  6. First package moved to EPL (July)
    Craig Heath tells the story of the OS Security package moving to EPL.
  7. SEE2009 (October)
    Symbian Smartphone show became Symbian Exchange and Exposition. Not just a new name, a different type of event. The introduction of Birds of a Feather sessions were one of the changes. Slides and minutes are available on the wiki.
  8. Open source kernel (October)
    Have a look at the kernel described by The Register as
    “the best kernel and middleware stack for mobiles, with the meanest power management, and years of debugging”.
  9. Sun contributes CalDAV and becomes a committer (October)
    A significant contribution from Sun, and the first committer outside of Nokia. I used to work on calendar open standards so I’ve been following this feature with interest.
  10. Qt 4.6 released (December)
    I’m really looking forward to see what Qt can bring to the application suite. QtSQL provides a new way to use our database services too.

Stammtisch discusses mobile web improvements

December 1, 2009

I attended the Symbian Stammtisch for the first time last Wednesday.

The name of the event comes from the German word stammtisch that refers to a regular get together of people who have a common interest.

Chris Dudding at Symbian Stammtisch

Symbian duck and me
Image by Sebastian Brännström

The topic for discussion was Google’s Chrome OS and how we can bridge the gap between mobile web and native applications. Sebastian Brännström prepared a great set of questions to prompt discussion and generate ideas. We discussed the differences between native and web applications, what is holding back the adoption of web apps, the impact of flat rate data plans and many other topics.

The meeting was well attended. It was a great opportunity to meet some new people as well as familiar faces like Victor Palau. I will definitely go again. The next one is December 9th, and the topic will be “Turning the media tide”.

Open Source Show and Tell

There was another event related to Symbian last week also; Open Source Show and Tell. Julien Fourgeaud presented a talk on managing the Symbian community. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend but I found a write-up on Michael Mahemoff’s blog.