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Pebble NMBS app, version 0.3

Programming

I just build version 0.3 of my Pebble NMBS app, which is the real first beta. I added the station choice as user configuration items in this version. It took quite a while to figure out how to implement this, as the CloudPebble emulator seems not to have the support for testing this. Anyhow, the next steps are adding app metadata, such as official icons and a screen example. And I'll probably need to change its name before I can release this app on the Pebble appstore.

I also remarked that there is already an NMBS app on the appstore although in French. Seems that both apps have quite some similarities, although my app shows more info ;) Anyhow, I like some competition.

After the appstore release, time to dig into PebbleSDK 3.0, so the app will have Timeline support when I'll receive my Pebble Time Steel !

Edit : and it's live on the appstore !

Jessie

Debian

I upgraded my desktop yesterday to Debian 'Jessie' 8.0. Can't say it went smoothly. First of all, lot of packages got deleted; no biggie there, easily reinstalled. However, the kernel didn't got upgraded, which caused quite some problems during first boot. The worst part however, was that I was using an incompatible Gnome theme. This did cause segfaults of many Gnome applications, such as gnome-terminal. Quite strange that Gnome cannot catch those kind of exceptions. I would expect that Gnome would revert to a default theme in those cases.

It took a while to find the cause of that (adding a new user and charging up a desktop succeeded fine, so I knew this was a user config error); in the end, the next couple of lines fixed all of my issues :

$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme Ambiance
$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences theme Radiance

Shame that Gnome 3 is so ugly. Why all that grey-black,and those rounded message boxes ? I really miss the days of Gnome 2's default look and the Ubuntu Netbook Remix interface...

A Pebble NMBS app

Programming

Since I have a Pebble smartwatch, I've allways wanted to dive into Pebble programming. And of course finding at the same time a solution for one of my itches. When communting by train, checking the NMBS Android app can sometimes be a hassle, certainly if you're carrying a laptop bag while descending the stairs. So a Pebble app for quickly checking when your train leaves would be great ! It even has the advantage that this could be written in Javascript, avoiding the default C coding, as my C skills have become quite ruste after all those years.

Developping a Pebble.js app turned out to be quite easy : the most difficult part was understanding JSON (never used it before) and wrapping my head around the iRail API. After a few hours, I got a first prototype running, which showed me the next 5 trains leaving Brussels-South, together with the departure time, platform and duration of the trip. Today, I've added an option to choose your starting point, reaching a point at which this could be called a first alfa release.

There's still more work to do : not everyone uses the same commute stations as I do (they are currently hardcoded into the app), so those need to be configuration items in the app. So this needs to be addressed first before I can release it into the wild.
Also, the app currently only supports direct connections. There's some administrative work to do for releasing it on the Pebble appstore. The code currently lives in CloudPebble, I need it to import it into my local git repo as the code changes dramatically from day to day (really need to install GitLab onto my machine too). And finally, converting it to SDK3 for the new Pebble Time, so the departure times could appear into your timeline.

Perl advent calendar 2014

Perl

Holy chestnuts ! I almost forgot to mention the Perl advent calender 2014, your source of lesser known Perl modules. What CPAN modules would Santa use this year to deliver all our presents ?

Oneplus One

Mobile phones

My trusty Galaxy Nexus has been by far one of my most beloved phones : I loved the design, the openess and the available development (custom ROMs). It has been running ParanoidAndroid most of the time, but when KitKat wasn't available anymore for the GNex, and because PA4 just sucked, I switched to Shiny ROM during its last months.

However, the internal storage was way too low (16GB), way too slow, and the battery was mediocre to say at least. So end of July, I started looking around for a replacement. Initially, I planned on waiting untill the Nexus6 would be available, but rumours about its 6 inch screen did me fear that its price tag would be also impressive.

My eye fell on the Oneplus One, and despite the questions about Oneplus' ability to support, I decided end July to bite the bullet, and to purchase a OnePlus One. An invite was easily found on G+, and beginning of August, I got the phone in the mail. Impressive by size, this phone is located deep into phablet territory. However, its size quickly gets used to. I wasn't really impressed with the sandstone back, I even feared it would be too fragile and damage prone, but after 5 months, it proves to be quite durable. I'm not so wild of the design either, I would have like some more rounded corners.

But apart from that, my experience of the phone has been allround positive : the phone is fast thanks to the Snapdragon 801, and 3GB of memory, and the 64GB of storage is a bliss. The battery covers mostly 2 days even with moderate to heavy use. Add Cyanogemod on the software side, combined with Exposed Framework, and count me as a happy man.

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