Not only is the Charles river half way frozen but there are people sailing today. And if that is not strange enough they seem to be jibing (fast turns while going with the wind) right next to each other and sometimes in sync with each other. I swear I have seen more than a few collisions and even some mast dueling with the lean these boats are giving.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]
February 27, 2007
February 17, 2007
I just took the first step to really getting to the bottom of making the gtk print dialog work well in the presence of a huge number of printers. There has been some blustering (but strangely no bugs filed) about the print dialog falling flat when there are hundreds of printers in the list. I’m not sure if they are referring to the legacy GNOME print dialog which is known to have those issues or the GTK+ print dialog which really should only be confined by the speed of cups (or papi if you happen to be using that backend). To diagnose what is going on I created a test print backend which simulates a printer network where ppd requests can take an indeterminate amount of time to be transferred to the local machine. Other enhancements will include printers popping on and off the network at random times.
Using the test backend I played around with adding feedback to the icons in the dialog. Ignore the trash cans as I am just using them for the default printer icon to distinguish them from regular printers. The refresh icon shows a details (ppd) request in progress. Hopefully we can get an animated icon for that. The X icons show fetches that have failed. That patch is not quite done yet but it does illustrate how user feedback can make the experience a lot better. Right now if the fetch fails all you get is a grayed out print button.
The other thing I found while playing with the dialog and the 100 printers is that our search is dismal. Say I want to find printer 99. Typing in 99 does not find all of the printers with 99 in their name. Instead it is only searching for printers who’s name starts with 99. I’m not typing in “Print to Test Printer 99″ just to find printer 99. There are two things we can do here. Either make the search function more robust so it searches inside the text or override search so it acts as a filter blocking out all printers without 99 in their names. I like the latter but it does bring up some issues of needing to pop up a filter bar so one could revert to the normal view. I dislike having a filter bar visible at all times. The advantage of the filter however is that the list will not jump around as much when items are added or removed from the list.
The second usability improvement I want to make is to add a recently used printer list similar to the bookmark list in the file dialog. Only printers which have been seen will show up on the list ordered by last use. These printers will request their details in small batches when the dialog is opened as opposed to waiting for the user to click on them. The idea is one usually only uses a handful of printers even if there are hundreds available. We should therefore get those ready the fastest and only show a few of them. The cool thing about this is if you only have one printer at home, when you get there that is the only one you will see and then when you get to work the two printers you always use which are buried way down the list will now be readily available.
These improvements won’t solve every problem. There is still the issue of going into a fresh network and having to wait for printer lists to propagate. Improvements to cups could alleviate that by allowing clients to only have to speak to one server. I’m not sure if it is a configuration issue or just hasn’t been implemented issue but it is kind of a fun test to restart cups and watch as printers slowly trickle in as they are discovered. There are also some issues in the cups backend that can use some love.
Please file bugs and submit patches. I don’t have as much time to work on printing since printing is cost prohibitive and not a high priority for my current target audience. Feel free to ask question on how to get started hacking on Gtk and GtkPrint. It would make a great SOC project.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]
February 12, 2007
I’m a bit under the weather today but I did manage to squeeze in the Wine Expo this Saturday with Richard and Debbie. It was quite good but four and a half hours is not nearly enough time to see everything. I think next year I will opt for the Grand Cru tasting if only to get away from the crowd. There were quite a few nice wines and also really bad ones but the real star of the day was not the wines but the cheeses being sampled at the igourmet.com booths. I tried some really good Gouda and a wonderful Boschetto al Tartufo Bianchetto. They even had a chocolate goat cheese which tasted like a tangy cheese cake. I ended up buying a $10 plate of cheeses to compliment the wine I was tasting. They gave me a plate which had a place on it to hang the wine glass from . This made sure I could walk around the floor without having both hands tied up.
Afterwords we were not quite finished so we hitched a cab to the North End and got a bottle of wine at Stanza dei Sigari, a cigar bar on Hanover street. After about an hour we finished up the bottle and proceeded to find a place to eat on one of the side streets. Surprisingly or perhaps not so surprisingly given the area there was a huge wait at every place. I don’t know how Debbie did it but we managed to get a seat within ten minutes of picking a place even though it looked like there were tons of people waiting before us. An antipasta dish, veal rollatini and pasta e fagioli later I bid Richard and Debbie adu and called it a night.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]
February 10, 2007
There have been requests for me to post some of my recipies. Here is a quick recipie that litterally takes 10 to 20 minutes to make.
6 cups chicken broth (vegetable if you are vegetarian )
6 ounces of dried tortellini – cheese or vegetable
1/2 a bag of baby spinach or bundle of spinach
salt and pepper to taste
Bring broth up to a boil and add seasonings. Add in half the spinach and all the tortellini. Cook until tortellini is done. Add more broth if tortellini has soked up most of the liquid. You will have to experiment with the tortellini to liquid ratio depening on what kind of tortellini you use.
To finish off add a bed of spinach to bowls and pour soup over top. Add a couple of leaves of baby spinach or chiffonade some spinach leaves for garnish.
Makes about 4 to 6 servings.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]
February 8, 2007
After hearing from a number of people that they enjoy reading my entries about cooking class (I think I have already convinced a few to start taking classes) what do I go and do? Stop blogging about food for a couple of weeks, of course. Sorry for the hiatus but every time I went to post I got a case of writers block. Well last week was my last French course but fear not. I will be taking a break until the spring or summer, depending when the Italian course starts but as it turns out our class got along so well together we are going to do a dinner party at some point and I will blog about all the wonderful meals made there.
Until then let me start with my second to last class, the Burgundy region. If you are a fine wine and fine food enthusiast this is the place to be. Unfortunately I was a bit hung over and tired from the Red Hat holiday party the night before (which by the way had excellent food catered by Wolfgang Puck’s catering company). So while everyone else was taking on two dishes, it was a small class this time around, I did one.
What you see is the hanging mass of Cervelle de Canut. That is correct, for you French readers out there – Brain! It isn’t really brain but a herbed cottage cheese that when placed on the plate does somewhat resemble gray matter. Case in point:
That is basically how my brain felt but hey, it tasted really good. The rest of the dishes turned out amazing.
The French Onion soup, my favorite soup in the Universe, was rendered lighter with half of the beef stock replaced with chicken stock and white wine used instead of red. Who knew there were so many ways to make it and all of them pretty easy.
The Salad Lyonnaise, which was basically a salad with bacon fat as dressing, along with the Gougere, an egg and cheese bread, were the perfect
first plates to get the digestive system going.
My brains were served right along side the Flageolets a la Creme or green beans in cream. And the piece de resistance Longe de Porc Dijonnaise – a pork dish with a dijon glaze surrounded by apples sauteed in butter.
Those apples were great. They reminded me of apple chips which I suppose you would get if you took those and baked them.
And then there was desert.
The Pain D’epices was a flowerless molasses bread, the Clafoutis aux Cerises, a cherry pie and the Le Gateau au Chocolate a la Bourguignonne a decadent chocolate cake with raspberry jam filling.
It was a great meal, made with good friends but by far not the best. That honor goes to the last class of Normandy/Brittany in which I made what I would say was the best dish I have ever cooked or for that matter eaten. If the reaction I got out of a couple of female classmates is any measure, this is one the dish every man should know how to prepare…but you will have to wait awhile to find out what it was.
P.S. There is a wine expo going on this weekend in Boston for those who are interested. I will be there on Saturday.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]
Jon Lech Johansen has an interesting take on the iTunes music store
It should not take Apple’s iTunes team more than 2-3 days to implement a solution for not wrapping content with FairPlay when the content owner does not mandate DRM. This could be done in a completely transparent way and would not be confusing to the users.
In a market where both DRM and DRM-free music is available via easy legal purchase from the same location and assuming there are enough content providers who would release without DRM as to reach critical mass, which side would generate more money over the long haul? It is an interesting question. Would we see market forces pulling people to more indie labels willing to release non DRM material which would cause pop labels to follow after losing sales? Or would trafficking in unauthorized copies of non DRM music cause more artists to flock to DRM?
I say let the content creators decide which way they wish to license their content and let the market sort it out.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]