September 23, 2009

Food for food.

Filed under: facebook — Tags: , , , , , , , , — alsuren @ 12:48 am

I have been told that I should blog more often, and my software based blog posts will no longer be being shared on facebook, so something a little lighter might be more appropriate.

Those of you who know me well should be aware that I do like my food. Doesn’t always have to be expensive or the height of fashionable cuisine, as long as it’s interesting/satisfying.

A few meals that stand out recently:

Cream tea at Bea’s with Holly and her friend from home. If you’re looking for excess, then this is the place to go. They got pots of tea (plus extra hot water on request) a cupcake each, and a 3-layer platter of cakes between them for £8/person. I filched quite a lot, but most of it went in a doggy-bag.

I’ve been talking about Pizzaria Bel-Sit for a while now, but I’d not been there in years. It’s pretty much the best place to go for birthday parties. Back when I was little, I went there on my birthday and they gave me one of the staff-tshirts that that was too small for any member of staff they were planning on employing any time soon. Holly’s birthday presented the perfect opportunity to go there again. We had crispy-garlic-bread, which is wicked-cool (contrary to the comment of “Don’t order the garlic bread, it’s really nasty.” from the next table). There was a little girl in the queue in front of us whose parents had brought out for a birthday meal. Holly almost advertised that it was her birthday too, but she seemed a bit timid, so we hid the fact. Dessert took the form of baked alaska. I’d assumed that this would involve vanilla ice cream wrapped in something baked. How wrong I was. You don’t need to be honked at, and sung happy birthday to be impressed by the deserts at this place. A homemade mixture of rich ice cream flavours, sat on a slice od sponge and topped with flamed meringue.

At Edinburgh Lindy Exchange, notable food included Chocolate Soup, The Mosque Kitchen, and assorted cake provided by the locals. The Mosque Kitchen does simple curries and rice, served in paper bowls and eaten with plastic spoons while sitting at plastic garden tables. We need more places like this: good food that speaks for itself. Chocolate Soup does hot chocolate made with melted chocolate and semi-skimmed milk to make it taste richly of chocolate (contrast with the powder and cream approach of many places, which makes it just taste like fat). They also happen to make pretty nice soup (far nicer than that provided by EAT. on Monday in cambs.)


September 11, 2009

Telepathic Ramblings

Filed under: collabora — Tags: , , , , , , — alsuren @ 11:09 am

Okay, so I should probably inform people of what I’ve been working on recently.

A few of you might remember my cupsandstring Telepathy (IM) client from a few years back. Well I’ve recently revisited that, because someone was asking on IRC, so if you want to read the source, it won’t make you want to puke quite so much these days.

I made a skeleton Skype connection manager way back when too. (Don’t get excited: it’s based on the public Skype API provided by their UI, and only connects to your currently configured account). It never really got off the ground though. A few weeks back (go check the bzr log if you care) I picked it up again. I got it to the point where I could use it for text chat, and have been using it to replace the ugly bits of the Skype UI. It’s currently made of gaff and verbose, and has to be run in a konsole because I make it drop into a debugger whenever anything unexpected happens. This will continue to be the case until I have a decent testing framework for it.

Guess what my next project is: A testing framework! The spec has been discussed on the Telepathy mailing list. I’m trying to make it as generic as possible, so that I can try it on a well-tested connection manager (gabble) and then move on to butterfly, and then spyke when I’m feeling brave. Since I don’t want it to depend on the protocol too much, I’ve designed it around the idea of an echo bot (which can run remotely or locally) and a set of test scripts, which mostly just poke the echo service (like Skype’s echo123), and expect a sane reply. The bonus of this is that you can test interoperability between haze and gabble/butterfly/idle (and Kopete’s protocol code if it ever becomes telepathic) for free.

Due to all of my noise in Telepathy-related communication channels, daf suggested that I apply for a job at Collabora. I did so, and officially started on Wed. That was a fun day. I arrived in the office, and daf and wjt greet me with “Hey. We’ve thought what we want you to work on first: an echo service”. To which, I could only respond “What? Like this one?”, flashing my eee at them. Turns out their priority is something that works with gabble, and handles media streams (initially just using gstreamer’s audiotestsrc but eventually actually echoing stuff, and then doing things like disabling codecs). Hopefully I will get something workable by the time daf moves to America, but I would like to write a few automated tests for the text functionality before I start adding lots of crazy features.

Also, I’ve had to re-wrap most of the functionality from python’s telepathy.client library, because it contains too much magic, and is impossible to inherit from. I’ve tried to do it in a way that could feasibly be auto-generated from the spec, so that’s a project for when I’m done with my echo service. Maybe I’ll even push it into telepathy.client. It’s great to be working on Open Source software again. 🙂

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