Interviews on GNOME News

With GUADEC rapidly approaching, GNOME News has begun a series of interviews with members of both the local GUADEC organizing team and the new members of the incoming GNOME Foundation Board of Directors. The first two interviews were with Laura M Castro and Alejo Pacín, both members of the local team, and the latest interview posted today with Tobias Mueller one of the new board members. Expect to see more interviews from both the local team and board soon!

GNOME Clocks

Hi there, I know its been a while since I updated, and I’m sorry about that, but we’ve done a good bit of work on GNOME Clocks over the past couple weeks!

GNOME Clocks now has a working Timer thanks to Eslam Mostafa.  Alarms is coming along – we’ve run into some issues with Evolution’s API and figuring out how to tie into it, and hopefully we’ll have it figured out and up and running shortly. The GUI though is more-or less complete, and so we’ve spent the last week or two fixing a variety of bugs. It’s still a work in progress but is coming along nicely.

GUADEC is now just 2.5 weeks away and I am absolutely psyched to attend. It will be my second open source/free software conference and I can’t wait to see some of the folks I met at FOSDEM again and hopefully meet many more.

GNOME-Clocks Development Continues

The last couple of weeks have seen a major clean up of GNOME-Clocks code, and on-going development of Alarms by myself and Timer by Eslam Mostafa.

Below is a screenshot of the recently completed New Alarm dialog box in GNOME-Clocks:

Dialog box for a new alarm in GNOME-Clocks

The development of Timer has been headed by Eslam Mostafa (, and is looking quite good as can be seen below.

Timer running in GNOME-Clocks

With the near completion of both Alarms & Timer, much of the basic development of GNOME-Clocks is rapidly coming to an end. As a result, an important decision remains – how to implement and integrate GNOME-Clocks. Should we write an entirely new daemon in Python? Or tie into an existing framework such as Evolution?

Finally, we would like to invite anyone else interested in GNOME-Clocks development to join us in #gnome-clocks on GimpNet. The GNOME-Clocks repository is now available on gnome’s servers at:
Bug reports & suggestions are both welcomed and appreciated!! Thanks for reading!

GSoC: Week 1

The last week was spent reviewing GNOME Clock code, experimenting with GTK widgets and working on Alarms – namely the back-end python which will underlay the actual program in the next week or two. Tomorrow, I plan to work more on Alarms, hopefully finishing the back-end work and starting in on the GUI.

I also worked more on the GNOME 2010/2011 Annual Report last week, reviewing whats been written, what is still needed, etc. I think we’re nearly done and hopefully get it released shortly.

Finally, I am extremely excited & happy to report that I have officially accepted a travel sponsorship through the GNOME Foundation and will be attending GAUDEC 2012!! I’m also hoping/planning to arrive in time for the UX Hackfest, and I can not wait! Its been more than 6 years since I was in Spain and I cannot wait to go back!! I always meant to check out Galicia, but just never made it there – it sounds absolutely beautiful!!


Thanks so much to the GNOME Foundation for helping to make this trip possible!!

First GSoC meeting and GNOME Clock design

On thursday I met with Allan Day and Seif Lotfy via a Google Hangout to discuss my project and soon-to-start internship via Google Summer of Code, starting officially on Monday. We discussed my/our goals for the upcoming months (to have GNOME Clocks mostly finished by GUADEC and submitted to GNOME 3.6 by the end of summer), and how we plan to get there. It sounds as though some parts of the design we don’t have to worry about for now, as they will (idealy) be using GTK widgets that aren’t yet completed (for setting times as pictured here: in the mockup for a New Alarm and Timer).

On monday we’ll be starting by cleaning up the current GNOME Clock code, and then begin working on Alarms as our first order of buisiness. We’re planning to get the basic functionality done first, and then begin iterating on design. We are hoping to get an alpha/beta release out shortly so that we can get bug reports as well as feedback on the design from actual users while we iterate on design.

Google Summer of Code!

Wow, I can’t quite believe it, but I’ve been accepted to Google Summer of Code 2012. Its kinda crazy – another one of those things, I can definitely say if you’d told me would happen, oh, even 6 months ago, I’d have laughed at you. But strangely it has – and I’m psyched. Right now, I’m focused on finishing this semester, which mostly involves preparing for finals next week. Then I’ll be able to focus on GNOME Clock & GSOC completely.

I am trying to decide what to upgrade my kids’ computer to – its an old desktop, currently running Xubuntu 11.10 (I think, it may be 11.04). I spent some time last night reading about the various distro’s focused on kids, namely Debian Junior, Edubuntu, Debian Edu and Skolelinux. Debian Junior sounds the most interesting, and I may very well give it a try. Anyone have suggestions/thoughts/experience with one of these distros?


So, yesterday I worked on GNOME Clocks ( code for the first time, and was able to get the ‘Cancel’ button to work when you go to add a new clock. Small I know, but its my first contribution and I have to say I’m pretty psyched! Today I spent the last couple hours going through git tutorials, setting up a github account, and finally getting my first commit uploaded, which is almost more exciting than getting the code to work 🙂

Now to decide what to work on next!!

Python :)

I have to say, I am slightly surprised at how much I enjoy reviewing code, both for the purposes of looking for small typo which cause bugs, and just to try and figure out what everything is actually doing. I’ve been working on Exercise 47 for the last few days and simply could not figure out what was wrong (I kept getting NameError: global name ‘self’ is not defined). I finally went back and looked at every bit of code that I’d written and finally found two tiny misspellings that I had apparently missed the other half dozen times I looked at it. And poof! It works!! Is there anything more fulfilling than finally having code run properly an spit out what you are expecting/hoping for rather than an error message?

In related news, I know I’m not quite all the way through “How to Learn Python the Hard Way” yet (I *AM* 90% done though!! xD), but I have started re-reading the first couple lessons in the Python GTK+ 3 Tutorial, and its making a lot more sense now 🙂 I know, you all told me not to do it till I was totally done, but what can I say? I’m impatient :p

More Python fun!

I think I’m finally, slowly understanding why math is a pr-requisite for computer science classes. Being halfway through my current math class is making Python make a LOT more sense than it did the last time I tried to learn it 8 or 9 months ago. Where all the if, else, range & functions didn’t make much sense, now they do (cause’ they’re basically the same as in math).

Exercise 35 was especially fun for me – I felt like I was building the most basic of MUDs, which was very fun. What made me smile and laugh though was my annoyance with the wording of descriptions, mostly since ‘you’ was in just about everyone, which I was always taught was a big ‘no no’ back when I was learning to build MUDs years ago. But, it was fun none the less and led me to wonder about MUD servers written in Python. A quick google brought up a handful of options: Evennia, GrailMUD, and a couple others which I see references to but don’t appear to actually exist anymore (ie AMC:SW-ERP), which is sad if unsurprising.  Some downloading & playing is definitely in the cards 🙂

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Math, Python & GTK+ 3

Today has been, either entirely unproductive or very productive depending on your point of view. My house is still a mess & we certainly didn’t eat ‘well’ today by any stretch of the imagination, so in that respect at least, it was most unproductive. However, I feel like I have been productive today, if only in my head.

This morning I started out reviewing math in anticipation of my 2nd test tomorrow, and figuring out my fancy new TI-83Plus graphing calculator. I’ve never had a graphing calculator before, and thus spent a good couple hours googling & paging through the manual figuring out how to graph stuff, set up tables, find zeros, etc. I still haven’t figured out how to do everything by any stretch of the imagination, but I do feel like I have a decent grasp on the basics at this point which is nice. And, at least tomorrow I won’t be the only one sitting there doing long division & multiplication without a calculator!!

Most of the rest of the day, starting shortly after lunch has involved learning Python. Seif Lotfy got me started a couple days ago reading the Python GTK+ 3 Tutorial and I’ve been messing around with the examples from there without really having any clue what I was doing. Today he sent me over to ‘Learn Python the Hard Way‘ by Zed A. Shaw and I spent most of the afternoon & evening reading & working my way through the first 20 examples (and pestering Seif with questions). At this point, I’m feeling like I have at least some clue of how python actually works, and am trying to decide whether I should finish ‘learn python the hard way’ first or go back and start re-reading the tutorial on GTK+ 3, to see if it makes more sense.