Me and my fellows of the Haxx tribe have been arranging the Snaxx series of gatherings for about eight years by now and on this Wednesday the 19th of March 2008 it is time for the 18th meeting. We gather up in a dark pub in Stockholm to talk tech, work, open source and similar crap with similar-minded people while going through the beers of the place.
Since several of us in Haxx are pretty much into ales, porters and stouts we tend to prefer places with a large selection of that kind of beer, both on draft and on bottle.
We tend to be somewhere around 10 to 15 friends, but I really prefer if you mail me and tell me if you intend to come so that we can arrange properly to deal with the amount of people that show up. We’re basically all friends and friends of friends.
So if you’re a friend and in Stockholm, welcome!
On the web, it seems more or less everything is eventually getting out and gets accessible for people to download and see. You can fight hard and make a real effort but as we keep seeing, lots of secrets get revealed in the end anyway.
The other day a friendly fellow joined the Rockbox IRC channel and pointed out a russian site full of iriver goodies such as service manuals, firmwares and perhaps most importantly: circuit diagrams for just about all (somewhat older) iriver models, including the H10, H100, H300 series and more.
I wish we had these before when the Rockbox ports for these targets were younger, but I’m sure they’ll still come handy to some people now as well.
(Now I won’t reproduce the link here just to not make the traffic too hard on that site and to avoid getting into problems for linking to content that is clearly dubious legal-wise, but you don’t have to be a genius to find the link yourself.)
This player’s been out for quite some time and most certainly won’t be found anywhere to be bought as new. Still, Jens Arnold’s been working hard on this port lately and just minutes ago he mentioned that he got sound working on it – and the build table subsequently has all three kinds of the M3 build added to it.
The M3 is roughly an M5 but without any LCD on the main unit, there’s only that one on the LCD! And of course the M5 was almost an X5 but with a greyscale LCD… So it is another one of them Coldfire 5249 based targets. The LCD on the remote is 128×96 2bit greyscale,
The M3 comes with 20 or 40GB harddisk and there’s an M3L around with a larger capacity battery
How many Rockbox ports are there now? It’s hard to tell as it really depends on what level of maturity and how much functionality you require before you count it as an actual port, but the configure script in our source tree has 38 different ones mentioned. I believe some of them are not more than embryos, but there are also other initial efforts not yet added to this script.
Cowon’s spec page on the M3.
In the eternal chase for new targets to port Rockbox to, the turn seems to have come to the tiny Meizu M6 player.
This 55 gram thing is slightly smaller than a credit card (width and height at least) and it boasts a 2.4″ LCD, 4GB flash and is powered by a Samsung SA58700 (ARM940T core and a CalmRISC16 DSP thing). It has an FM tuner and built-in mic for recording as well.
There’s of course the standard Rockbox forum thread,and an HW info page in the Rockbox wiki.
Other targets with the exact same SoC include the irivers E10, clix and S10. But none of those have a Rockbox port yet.
It is yet again time to pause the add-new-features-craze in order to settle down and fix a few more remaining bugs before we go ship another curl and libcurl release in the beginning of April.
So at March 20 we hold back and only fix bugs for about 2 weeks until we release curl and libcurl 7.18.1.
The only currently mentioned flaw in TODO-RELEASE to fix before this release is the claimed race condition in win32 gethostbyname_thread but since the reporter doesn’t respond anymore and we can’t repeat the problem it is deemed to just be buried and forgotten.
Other problems currently mentioned on the mailing list is a POST problem with digest and read callbacks and a mysterious bad progress callbacks for uploads, but none of them seem very serious and thus terribly important to get fixed in case they should turn out hard-to-fix.
Yes, I picked the date on purpose as that is the magic date in this project. Especially this year.
It’s worth noting that a bunch (half of them) of the talks that were captured on video during FSCONS 2007 have now been made available as torrents on FSF Europe’s web site. My talk is not yet there.
Apparently they’re also on their way of creating a new main web site for this year’s event.
While most people I’ve talked to agree with my that the ohloh.net‘s kudo rankings seem more or less random, I didn’t post about this on their site until today when I found such a blatant example of weirdness that I couldn’t resist. One user with 173 commits in a single project and with only a “mere” level-1 kudo received outranks another user with 6800+ commits in 10+ projects who has received 23 kudos (including 3 from level-10 people)…
If this rakning is not due to a bug in the algo, I would say that the algo is bad since this just doesn’t look right.
Of course the whole idea of “kudo-ranking” people is somewhat of a tricky idea to start with, but now that it’s here I think it is worth to make it as good as possible. And by good in this context, I mean that (average) human beings that compare two people should end up placing them individually in the same order as the algorithm does – taken all things into account.
My post in the ohloh forum: Something is wrong in kudo ranking land
Okay it has been known for a while, but I just recently found out so I figure I should help put the light on a recent hilarious article published in the Red Hat Magazine: It is never correct to abbreviate â€œRed Hat Enterprise Linuxâ€ as â€œRHELâ€. (That’s actually not the correct title of the article, but the correct title is so ridiculously long I won’t paste it here since it’d take everyone’s breaths away.)
According to this article, RHEL is “never correct” as an abbrivation for Redhat Enterprise Linux – even though Google finds almost 2 million pages mentioning it, and the top search result it shows links to www.redhat.com/rhel/. Limiting the search to within redhat.com gives more than 52,000 hits.
Some people complicate matters more than others…
SRF (synskadades riksfÃ¶rbund – the Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired) is a Swedish organization that recently expressed concerns about open source (in Swedish), since as they say “open source in itself is no guarantee for accessibility to disabled persons” (my translation).
The argument came up because Mats Odell, a minister in the Swedish government, expressed a positive attitude towards open source within governments (link in Swedish).
I find it disturbing that these visually impaired guys immediately bounce back and seem to imply and think that open source automatically somehow is less useful, less quality, less fitting or less accessible. But sure, open source is not a guarantee for better accessibility, but then nobody claimed it either and I don’t see how any software can be guaranteed to be better. A very weird statement it was I must say.
One perfect example showing how open source adds accessibility is how Rockbox works. By providing innovative functionality, it makes devices suddenly a whole lot more usable to blind or visually impaired persons. There’s simply no commercial alternatives coming close.
Other fine example on how open source makes software more accessible than any closed-source competitor, is in how translations can be done even to very small languages spoken by economically not so wealthy population groups. Like how closed-source programs fail to deliver software translated to the 11 official languages of South Africa and a lot of other ones.
To round off, the orca project makes openoffice, Firefox, gnome apps and Java-based apps accessible. I’m not saying I know all about being visually impaired and how they use open source, but I do know that open source is accessible to a far extent at some places and at others there’s room left for improvement. But open source gives everyone the ability to join in and make it happen.
I happened to read an article on idg.se (in Swedish) that talks about the people behind the company Tonium and their portable music device called “Pacemaker“.
The description on the site says: “the worldâ€™s first pocket-size DJ-system â€“ a superior portable music player enabling the playing of two tracks simultaneously, equipped with an extensive range of professional audio manipulation features allowing for creative mixing between two independent channels. Any mix created can be saved for legal sharing. ”
Having been involved and hacked on portable music players for a few years by now, I can’t but to wonder exactly who this is targeted for and what they are supposed to do with it? I do like the pictures on their site showing business-style persons using it, but why on earth would any ordinary human want to mix songs while on the go?
The IDG article says (translation by me) that (talking about Jonas Norberg the CEO) “it was in January 2005 when he realized that the computing power required to playback video should suffice to play back two simultaneous audio streams“. Yeah – and that was all we had to know in order to quickly see that this guy certainly is not an engineer… 🙂
Of course, there’s also this possibility than I’m just an old grumpy whiner.