Wednesday, December 23, 2009

gPodder "after 2.1" Maemo 5 UI Changes (#maebar)

Quick note about the stable version: Thanks to the hard-working testers, gPodder 2.1 has received its necessary karma points in Extras-Testing before the quarantime time is up, so we are just waiting for some more days to pass before gPodder 2.1 will finally enter the Extras repository.

In the mean time, there have been some important developments in the Git repository, mostly based on ideas from the Barcelona Long Weekend - thanks to all the people who provided valuable input, especially Tuomas (tigert) for all the hard work. I have created a new set on Flickr with some screenshots of the current development version:

The new UI is not set in stone, and still has some rough edges, so I'd like to receive some feedback on what can be improved.

If you want to test the development version interactively, use Git to checkout git:// on your device, and then run bin/gpodder --fremantle --verbose inside the checkout to start the development version in debugging mode. Make sure to have the current version of gPodder installed to drag in the required dependencies (alternatively, install the dependencies by hand). As with all development versions, if it breaks (or messes with your downloads/subscriptions), you got to keep the pieces.

Thanks in advance for the feedback :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Teaser for SATC2

OMG! OMG! OMG! Oh my SATC! Check out a new teaser poster and photo from Sex and the City 2 … opening in theaters on May 28, 2010! I literally don’t think I can wait that long!



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meet the Biggest Loser


Forty-year-old Danny Cahill has taken the season eight title (and $250,000 prize) of The Biggest Loser. At the beginning of the sehow he weighed 430 pounds. He dropped 239 pounds - an entire person - and now weighs in at a healthy, happy 191 pounds. Congratulations to Cahill and his family!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sneak Peek at The Lovely Bones

Based on the critically acclaimed best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, and directed by Oscar winner Peter Jackson from a screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Jackson, The Lovely Bones centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal. Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg and Oscar winners Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon star along with Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli and Oscarnominee Saoirse Ronan. The Lovely Bones hits theaters on Dec. 11.

See sneak-peek stills from The Lovely Bones on

Charging a BL-5J (N900) battery in the N810

There are several reasons why you would like to charge your N900 battery in a N810. Maybe you have a spare battery that you want to charge while using the other battery in your N900, or maybe your N900 refuses to charge the battery by itself. Please note that even though it works for me, the standard disclaimer applies - it's all your fault if this destroys your devices and/or batteries :)

Now, let's have a look at the pinouts and connectors of both batteries:

So, the connectors seem to have the same size, even though the batteries do not. Trying to put the N900 battery into the N810 is not straightforward, as there is a white piece of plastic that prevents the battery from getting close to the connectors. The solution is to simply use the N810 stylus as a lever to push the battery towards the connectors:

After the stylus and battery are fixed, simply connect the N810 to the power adapter, and it should start charging. Thanks to Quim for this helpful hint :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sneak Peet at Invictus

From director Clint Eastwood, Invictus tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), to help unite their country.

Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.

See more photos from Invictus HERE.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Experimental Maemo 5 UI: Alternative Portrait Mode

The usual way to do rotation to portrait mode in Maemo 5 is to set special flags on a window and let the window manager rotate our window and relayout after the switch. It's not as fast as it could be, and task switching (even between two portrait mode apps) is only possible by switching to landscape mode. Apart from that, things like the system menu don't work in portrait mode.

For some applications, an alternative could be to stay in landscape mode and simply rotate widgets without the window manager even knowing...

It's probably best described in a short demo video of how a simple media player could look like (sorry for the sloppy video, forgot my digital camera, so the webcam had to act as a replacement) - have a look, and tell me what you think. (For comparison, have a look at the older Panucci rotation video that uses the "normal" way of going into and leaving portrait mode.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Posters for NINE

Have you seen any commercials for the movie Nine? It looks incredible. Kate Hudson! Penelope Cruz! Fergie! Nicole Kidman! A MUSICAL!!! I can't wait! Check out the three new posters just released ... Nine opens nationwide on Dec. 25.




5 Thanksgiving Films We're Thankful For

Thanksgiving is about family, food, fun parades, and fabulous heartwarming films! This holiday, celebrate the season with our five favorite Thanksgiving flicks.

Miracle on 34th Street, 1947
Miracle on 34th Street is a true holiday classic. Beginning with NYC’s famous Thanksgiving Day Parade, the film takes us through an old man’s struggle to make six-year-old Susan Walker believe in the spirit of Christmas. As he plays the role of Macy’s very own Santa Claus, Kris Kringle tries to convince everyone that he is the real deal. Whether you choose the original film or the contemporary version, there’s no doubt that you'll be thankful for this holiday film.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, 1987
In this hysterical comedy, Neal Page (Steve Martin) is desperately trying to get home for Thanksgiving. His only travel companion for the holidays ends up being a blabbermouth slob of a man, Del Griffith (John Candy), who tells bad jokes and is never short of advice. Wishing he could be with his family, we relish watching Page spend the holidays with his new friend. This film just goes to show you should be grateful for all your friends -- new and old!

Home for the Holidays, 1995
Claudia (Holly Hunter) is already having a rough holiday season. She has lost her job, found herself in a compromising situation with her soon-to-be ex-boss, and discovered that her daughter won’t be home for Thanksgiving. Now, on top of everything else, she has to deal with the lunatic antics of her crazy extended family. How will she survive? We love watching this group of misfits come together to celebrate the happiest time of the year. Home for the Holidays also stars Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, and Claire Danes.

The House of Yes, 1997
Parker Posey stars as Jackie, a mentally unbalanced young woman who wants to be Jackie-O. When her brother comes home from college for Thanksgiving with a new fiancé, Jackie goes into a rage. After disastrous events and unusual comedic antics, we realize that this whole family is off its rocker. Have a laugh with this very indie holiday film, and give thanks that this family does not belong to you!

Pieces of April, 2003
April Burns (Katie Holmes) is hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her New York apartment for her estranged family, which includes her dying mother. She struggles to fit in and give her family a delicious, flawless holiday meal. As they travel from Pennsylvania to April's Lower East Side neighborhood, we learn more about the unique, strained dynamic between black-sheep April shares with her whole family. Desite a broken oven and many comedic errors, this imperfect family bonds during a special holiday evening spent together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Experimental Maemo 5 UI: gPodder Episode Actions

With the Long Weekend just a little more than one week away, I though about doing some experiments with gPodder's UI. Some users want a quicker way to play/download/delete episodes instead of opening the shownotes window and using its application menu. Here's one approach I tried out today (I know the icons are pixellated and ugly - please consider them as placeholders):

The idea is that you click on an episode, and instead of opening the shownotes view, you get this selection screen where you can choose to play/download/delete the episode or view the shownotes. Of course there have to be some fancy animations, because that's what all the cool kids do today. Just watch the video on YouTube and tell me what you think in the comments here (especially in terms of non-standard UI and annying animations - seriously ;).

In unrelated news, headphoned 1.4 for N800/N810 has been released and pushed to Maemo Extras with support for Panucci and MPlayer for all your "public transport situation" avoidance needs.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Search-as-you-type in gPodder and a tag cloud

The uni semester is in full swing again, so development has slowed down a bit again compared to September. At least we are able to work on the webservice as a project in one of the courses (so expect some new development there soon). Anyway, here are some thing I've been working on recently:

gPodder has gained search-as-you-type filtering for both the podcast list and the episodes list. This allows you to make good use of the hardware keyboard, and text searches temporarily override the current view mode (e.g. only podcasts with unplayed epiosdes or hide deleted episodes), so you will always find the podcast or episode you are searching for (independent of the current view mode). This will obviously also be available for Maemo 4:

In non-gPodder news, I have been working on a tag cloud widget. It will allow developers to provide a set of tags and a weight for each one, and the tag cloud will display something like this:

The tags displayed act as buttons and can be used as an alternative to long lists of items (depending on the kind of data that is to be displayed and selected). This tag cloud might come in handy in a future project..

Thursday, November 5, 2009

And the Oscar Co-Hosts Are ...


The producers of the Academy Awards have announced that Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will serve as co-hosts of the 82nd Academy Awards.

“I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin,” said Martin. “I don’t play the banjo but I’m thrilled to be hosting the Oscars – it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Baldwin.

Martin hosted the 73rd and 75th Academy Awards shows, earning an Emmy nomination for the first stint. He has also served as a presenter on the show several times, most recently at the ceremony in February when he appeared with Tina Fey. He is currently touring with the bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers in support of his latest album The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo. In 1977 and 1978 Martin won Grammys for Best Comedy Recording. He earned a third Grammy in 2001 in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category. In 2007 Martin earned a Kennedy Center Honor.

Baldwin was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 for his supporting role in The Cooler. That year also marked his most recent appearance as a presenter on the show. Baldwin currently stars as Jack Donaghy on the comedy 30 Rock, a role for which he has won two Emmys (in 2008 and 2009).

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC .

*Getty Images

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Paris and Hayden Love Jimmy Choo and H&M

Last night Hollywood rolled out the red carpet as Paris & Nicky Hilton, Hayden Panettiere, Kate Walsh, Olivia Wilde, Sheryl Crow, Cat Deeley, Angela Lindvall, Maggie Grace, Mini Anden, among others came out to celebrate the collaboration and the launch of the Jimmy Choo for H&M collection. The star-studded party hosted by Tamara Mellon and Jeffrey Katzenberg, in support of The Motion Picture & Television Fund, was held at a private residence high above the famous Sunset Strip in the Hollywood Hills and featured a Grammy-worthy performance by M.I.A. who dazzled the guests in front of the L.A. skyline. Hollywood’s stars were given an exclusive sneak peak at the glamorous collection that will be unveiled in approximately 200 H&M stores globally on November 14th. The collection includes the most coveted shoes and accessories. For the first time Jimmy Choo has also designed women’s clothing to complement the accessories as well as men’s clothing, shoes, bags and accessories.


"I love H&M already but the fact that they are doing Jimmy Choo as well I think is amazing - the purses, everything, the shoes. The clothes are so cute. They have so many fabulous things and I can't wait to get the whole collection,” said Paris Hilton who coveted everything from the highly anticipated collection.


"Tamara is so brilliant and such a wonderful designer. Her shoes are incredible. I do my shopping sprees at H&M. I was recently in Italy and instead of going to other stores, I went to H&M," said Hayden Panettiere. She also wore Jimmy Choo for H&M leather pants to the event. "I am in love with these pants!"

*Getty Images

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Costumes: Get Inspiration From Celebrities

Don't know what to be this Halloween? Get some inspiration from these sassy stars dressed to the nines on previous Halloweens ...


See the full slideshow on

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Glee Stars on the Cover of Entertainment Weekly

Check out the new cover of Entertainment Weekly featuring the stars of the hit Fox musical-comedy Glee!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Panucci - Portrait mode Media Player for the N900

You probably know Panucci from your N8x0 where it allows you to playback, resume and bookmark audiobooks and podcasts. Some users seem to use it as a normal audio media player, too, although the primary design goal is to support resuming for long audio tracks.

Just today I asked on maemo-developers how to get GStreamer's playbin to work on Maemo 5 when several people (thanks, guys!) pointed out that playbin2 should be used.

After that, a new package was only some UI fixing and merging of the rotation code from gPodder away. While you are eagerly waiting for the autobuilder to put Panucci into Extras-Devel, here's a short video of it in action:

Please test Panucci when it finally appears in Extras-Testing and give some feedback! And thank you to all of you who were kind enough to take the time to review the new gPodder version - it has made its way into Extras today! :) Guess the next version should allow Panucci to be selected as audio player in the preferences dialog, then.. ;)

Important: Due to the way optification works, upgrading from older versions of might break the package (application does not load). To fix this, simply uninstall and re-install the package. Both Panucci and gPodder are affected by this if you have installed an older version.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Box-Office Beat

See what movies made the big bucks this weekend at the box office ...

1 - Where the Wild Things Are: $32.5 M
2 - Law Abiding Citizen: $21.3 M
3 - Paranormal Activity: $20.2 M
4 - Couples Retreat: $17.9 M
5 - The Stepfather: $12.3 M
6 - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: $8.1 M
7 - Zombieland: $7.8 M
8 - Toy Story: $3.0 M
9 - Surrogates: $1.9 M
10 - The Invention of Lying: $1.9 M

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New gPodder version with automatic downloading

Thanks for all your comments on talk.m.o, Flickr and bugs.m.o and directly at the Summit. The result is a shiny new release with improved UX and automatic feed updating/downloading.

The new version is currently in Extras-Devel (promoted to -Testing, waiting for someone to confirm the promotion). Please take the time to review the new release and rate/comment it on gPodder's page.

One thing that did not make it into this release: Direct play/download/delete buttons in the episode shownotes window. I'm thinking of just popping up a list of actions when a episode is clicked and make "display shownotes" one of these actions. What do you think?

Please report bugs, discuss and rate the package. See the complete set of screenshots on Flickr.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

James Franco to Guest-Star on General Hospital


So, okay forgive me … Things have been super-busy lately, so I’ve ignored the whole Letterman scandal, and let you read it elsewhere (even though I've been following it myself like a fiend.) And I haven't dissected all the new Fall TV shows yet ... And I've neglected to chitchat about silly little gossip ... like the fact that Katie Holmes lets Suri Cruise wear heels.

But I can't let this one go... And maybe I’m a couple days late in my response here ... but, WHAT?!?!? James Franco is joining the cast of General Hospital?!?!? Yep, Franco has signed on for a two-month guest role on the highly dramatic ABC soap opera. Am I the only one here who is seriously confused? Last time I checked big stars don’t do soaps. (Small stars are supposed to hope to become big stars by doing gigs on silly soaps!) And Franco is sort of a big star. He’s gotten a lot of acclaim over the last few years for roles in Milk, Pineapple Express ... and a little movie called Spiderman! He’s also set to star in the upcoming movie sure-to-be-huge Eat, Pray, Love. So, yeah ... What?!?!

This is not the first time Franco has done things backwards. In 2008, he enrolled in classes at NYU and Columbia ... which kind of made sense. He wanted to write, act, and hone his craft. But this career choice is just weird.

So what do we think of his new gig? Is it going to ultimately help or hurt his career? As they probably asked in his University acting classes, "James, what's your motivation?"

*Getty Images

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Box-Office Beat

Blood, guts, and flesh ruled at the box office this weekend. The comedic flick Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, took the top spot. Spaghetti tornadoes, burger blizzards, and 3D meatballs from the sky fell into second place. See what other big-budget flicks made the big bucks on the big screen ...


1 - Zombieland: $25.0 M
2 - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: $16.7 M
3 - Toy Story/ Toy Story 2 (3D): $12.5 M
4 - The Invention of Lying: $7.4 M
5 - Surrogates: $7.3 M
6 - Capitalism: A Love Story: $4.9 M
7 - Whip It: $4.9 M
8 - Fame: $4.8 M
9 - The Informant!: $3.8 M
10 - Love Hapens: $2.8 M

Peter and Vandy


As anyone who’s ever been in love can tell you, it’s a slippery slope from “We’re head over heels in love!” to “We’re fine.” Peter and Vandy takes us through the relationship of a young New York couple – just not in chronological order. Most movie romances end when the relationship is beginning. Peter and Vandy’s love story goes much further than that. The story shifts back and forth in time, whipping between their romantic beginnings and the inevitable struggles that follow. With star-making performances by Jason Ritter and Jess Weixler, Peter and Vandy is a unique take on the exhilaration and frustrations love can bring – a love story in disorder.

Peter and Vandy opens in New York and Los Angeles on October 9, 2009.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

RSS Feed Handler 2.0

We have been talking about browser integration for all RSS-based apps before, and the initial standalone adaption of Canola's feedhandler (in canola-tuning) was nice, but it was written in Python and therefore startup time was not as fast as it could get (startup time is important for the feed handler, which usually only runs for some seconds, and to the user does not look as if it is a separate application, but rather a "feature" of the browser).

If you need the performance of applications written in C combined with the comfort of higher-level languages, use Vala :) That's what I have done, and feedparser 2.0 is the feedparser re-implemented in Vala.

Done so far: Reported a Vala D-Bus bug (thanks to Jürg Billeter for fixing this very quickly), registered a garage project, committed some source code, created a package (in Extras-Devel) and created a product page on Downloads.

As you can see, the UI still needs much love, but at least the infrastructure and feed handling is there for Diablo and Fremantle already, and some initial links to applications are there, too (shameless plug for gPodder, which has arrived in Fremantle Extras this week - yay!).

Plans for the next release:

  • Add a mechanism to register and display other RSS-based apps (the current list is hardcoded)
  • Contact authors of RSS readers and ask them to add feedhandler support to their apps
  • Add more web-based services (tell me the ones you would like to see)
  • Wait for Fremantle Widgets support in Vala (Philipp Zabel is working on this)
  • Fremantleize and Diabloize the UI
  • Integration with other browsers (Tear?)

Feel free to try out the "Feed Handler" from Extras-Devel and send some feedback.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

gPodder 2.0 for Maemo 5 is here

This release brings the Fremantle version up to the current upstream release (and all Fremantle-specific tweaks are now integrated upstream). gPodder 2.0 has been released last week, and the new package version includes all changes necessary to make gPodder look good on Maemo 5. Based on your feedback, the next version of gPodder will support Maemo 5 at the same day at the release for other environments (Linux, Maemo 4 and Windows).

Don't forget to send some feedback after you've tried it out:

Go get it from Extras-Devel and (hopefully soon) Extras-Testing! Be sure to read the upgrade instructions if you have used an earlier version of gPodder for Maemo 5 before, so you don't run into problems.

Some highlights of the new release compared to the old releases:

  • Automatic screen rotation (Portrait mode)
  • YouTube user channels (try for example NokiaConversations or Rocketboom)
  • Filters in the AppMenu (podcast/episode list)
  • Visiting URLs (should open in web browser)
  • Opening audio and video files (should open in media player)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Primetime Emmy Awards

We love TV. From cop dramas to reality shows to half-hour comedies, we can’t get enough of the boob tube. And that’s why Emmys night gets us so excited. The high-profile red-carpet event honors the most talented television actors and celebrates the best of the small screen. Here we highlight a few of our favorite moments from the 2009 Primetime Emmy Awards. We laughed, we cried, and we watched in absolute awe. See who won and what happened HERE.

Also see the Best-Dressed Women at the Emmy Awards

Check Out the Women Who Looked Flawlessly Gorgeous

Thursday, September 17, 2009

gPodder 2.0 for Diablo is here + Fremantle progress

A new version of gPodder (2.0; "Day of the Tentacle") was released a few days ago, and it has already landed in Extras for both Chinook and Diablo. I wrote about the Maemo 4 UI changes some weeks ago, and you can enjoy them all on your tablets right now.

Tuomas Kuosmanen (tigert) has suggested some UI improvements for the Fremantle version of gPodder, and I'm currently working on implementing those ideas. First of all, there's an all-new front page:

The podcast directory (which allows you to discover new podcasts) which looked ugly previously has also been "Fremantleized", and is very usable now:

I'm still thinking about the best way to implement indicators for new, downloaded and listened episodes, but at least the GtkPaned-based split view is gone now:

The episode list is also quite unspectacular, but you can use the AppMenu to unsubscribe from the podcast (splitting up the UI in so many views automatically makes the AppMenus not so filled - good move!).

You can find some more screenshots depicting the current status of the UI in this Flickr photoset, and expect a new release next week or so.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Weekend at the Box Office

Tyler Perry's latest film brings in the big bucks ... See what other movies made money at the box office this weekend.


1 - I Can Do Bad All By Myself: $24 M
2 - 9: $10.9 M
3 - Inglorious Basterds: $6.5 M
4 - All About Steve: $5.8 M
5 - The Final Destination: $5.5 M
6 - Sorority Row: $5.3 M
7 - Whiteout: $5.1 M
8 - District 9: $3.6 M
9 - Julie & Julia: $3.3 M
10 - Gamer: $3.2 M

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ellen Joins Idol


It's Ellen! Degeneres announced her new gig yesterday during a taping of her talk show. The funny lady is a long-time fan of American Idol. She'll bring a fresh perspective to the judge's table since she doesn't have a background in the music industry. She's just a everyday music-lover! And she'll bring a consumer's opinion to the show.

*Getty Images

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nicole and Joel Have a Baby Boy


Congrats to Nicole Richie and Joel Madden! Harlow’s mommy and daddy just welcomed a baby boy in to the world, Sparrow James Midnight Madden. He was born in the wee hours of the morning and weighs in at 7 lbs, 14 oz. Can’t wait to see pics!

*Getty Images

Glee Premieres Tonight on Fox

There's been a ton of hype and chatter about Fox's new show, Glee. They boldly previewed an episode back in May and it was a smash success. People are full of glee. I know I am. What's not to love about a show about a show choir of misfits. We've all been there ... Right? Oh, that was just me. Glee premieres tonight at 9 on Fox. Can't wait! Here are a few sneak-peek snaps to get you excited for the season.








*Images via FoxFlash