Weekly Rewind #45

Ho ho ho! A festive Rewind for you today. Well, it includes Christmas Day anyway. I trust everyone is having a good holiday season? I’ve caught my regular Christmas cold, it seems to happen every year and I dunno why, but it’s clearing up now and I’m getting my voice back slowly. You’ll hear that on the latest Rathole Radio, it sounds like Louis Armstrong is guest hosting from beyond the grave which is pretty funny. So, let’s get into what’s happened in the last week.

On Monday we did our final live Linux Outlaws of the year and man it was a long one. It ended up just over 2hrs but I suppose we can call it a Festively Fat Special Edition of the show. I waffled on for ages about my experience with the N900 but hopefully people will still find it interesting. Fab did a great job editing it all and it was released as episode 128 “The Mystery Box” on Wednesday. We actually did some more recording on Tuesday afternoon making some secret content for episode 129. That won’t be live obviously but you should be able too hear it some time this week. I can’t tell you what this special content is, but I will reveal that it was very funny and involved lot’s of takes to get it right. On Tuesday evening I ventured out into the snow and ice travelling to a carol concert my friend Sarah was putting on near Ormskirk. She conducts a local choir and the gig was really good, a great mixture of traditional and modern music with a guest appearance by Elvis, well an Elvis look alike anyway. It was a fun night and I was glad I’d made the effort to get there in the ice.

My pyGtk App Running Without Modification
PyGtk App Running Without Modification

On Wednesday I frantically wrapped all the Christmas presents I had for the family and prepared for the big day. I also installed Fennec (Firefox Mobile) on the N900 and wrote a quick article about that. I’d read that the device could run any Python applications with a GTK or QT interface, so pretty much everything on the Linux desktop then. I decided to test that for myself. I took an old Python/GTK application I wrote in Gnome to score darts matches and offer possible checkouts. It’s not much of a program yet and I really didn’t expect it to work on the N900, but I copied the source code over and fired up the X Terminal on the device anyway. To my surprise it just worked first time, the GUI came up and everything was in order. One of the labels is hard to read against the black background, but that’s just a matter of changing the font colour. If I can write software for the N900 then pretty much anyone can and I hope it bodes well for the system. I think this is the aim of the device, to get developers on side by showing them how easy it is to write for, it ties in with the scheme of giving handsets to developers and bloggers. I hear people complaining about using Objective C on the iPhone or Java on Android and it’s nice to know I can just use Python and GTK (or QT) to get the job done. Quite how this all fits into Nokia’s overall smartphone plans I have no idea, I’m not sure even they do yet. Android will likely remain the dominant Linux-based option on phones I expect, but you never know. I’ve long meant to clean up some of my old programs and release them under GPLv3. As usual I get distracted and it never quite happens. I’ll look into packaging things for Maemo and really making an effort to get an application into the official repos in the New Year. It’ll be a great experiment and a good experience I think.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I spent time with the family, ate to much and did all the usual festive activities you’d expect. It was good to catch up with everyone. I played on the PS3 with one nephew and then challenged my other nephew to Wii bowling. I also nipped down to Salvage Digital Radio studio 2 (AKA my friend’s house) on Saturday night to play a DJ set of hip-hop and funk. I’m not much of a DJ really, not in that sense, there wasn’t much mixing, scratching or clever tricks from me. I did enjoy playing my favourite tracks for everyone though and I was grateful some friends turned up online to listen. Yesterday there were more DJ antics in my more usual guise on Rathole Radio. I did a post-festive show last night which went really well despite my lack of voice, and people seemed to have fun, which is always my goal. As I write this I’m just getting ready to release that show as a podcast. It’ll be out in the next couple of hours, so keep an eye out for that.


I still haven’t written that Linux Mint 8 article I keep threatening, but I will aim to do it this week. I’m going to hold off writing about the N900 properly until the New Year when I get a new contract and SIM card to really test out the 3G capabilities. I’m really curious too see how this affects the battery life because at the moment this thing lasts 24 hours without charging. That’s pretty unheard of for a smartphone I’m told. I’m mostly only using wi-fi at the moment though and I suspect this might be making a difference. I’m going to write up an end of year review either tomorrow or Wednesday and there’ll also be new Linux Outlaws and Rathole Radio to wrap your ears around in the next week. I’ll report back on all that in 2010. Until then have a great New Year everyone and I’ll see you next week.

Take care,



  1. Wow… That Darts app looks good! šŸ˜€

  2. @fab Thanks! It’s just a basic Gnome Python app really, but it works well on the N900. I’ll need to tweak the UI a bit for this device. I want to get the code released under GPLv3 when time allows, maybe someone can make it better. I need a good name though, I was going to call it Checkout but I’m not sure. Suggestions are welcome šŸ™‚

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