Now that my Pebble NMBS app is wrapped up, I decided to have a look at the SDK2 for Pebble, and build a watchface for it. I didn't need to search long for some inspiration for a new watchface : on the Moto360, someone made clever use of the black horizontal bezel at the bottom of the screen, adding some scenery to it, as if it was some shadow (default was a man sitting on a bench in the park). So I took the skyline of Prague, converted it to B&W, and I got my first watchface, which I called Skylines.

The app has been extended currently with skylines up to 30 cities from all over the world. I also included a random mode, where the skyline changes every two hours. Just like you're on a world trip ! I also added a Night mode, where the screen inverts and a beautifull night sky appears between 8pm and 6am.

All in all, programming in C went quite well, considering I didn't touched C during the last 20 years. Only problem was the implementation of the configuration window, which was a bit of a hassle. Turned out I defined my app as SDK3 compatible, which seemed the cause of the errors.



My daughter Lenthe is now 3 months old, and our sleep habits are slowly returning to their normal hours. I'm used to a limited hours of sleep, but 4 hours was way too less for me !

Pebble NMBS app, version 0.3


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 !



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


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.


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