My undergraduate project is complete, with a few glitches to cover up. It ain’t much for now, but I guess its enough to make a sizable impact. I’d like to say that PyMT is an excellent library, and I can’t thank the developers behind it enough for their work so far (They’ve written a tracker too now, you gotta check that out). Maybe I shall contribute to it in near future, provided I have the time and skill. Contributing by code is something I only recently learned and its not wise to be hasty. Plus, there’s loads of math involved
Randomly placed warning for a random post.
On the Qt front, I have this draft of a PyQt4 + Designer tutorial lying around for 7 months and it still doesn’t feel complete (alright, am lazy to make it so). Maybe I should do another screenshot + diagramming session and see if that turns out satisfactory. Something brewing in my mind for a feature in KDE 4.5 has pushed me to handle XML with the same toolkit – and writing SAX parsers is ugly, even more so if its C++. I wish I didn’t have to do that, I hate writing readers of tags and the characters between them – it always conks out someday or sometime.
Poster to 'Fall of the Hulks'
Am addicted to comics these days, more than I’ve been to TV shows or movies (You may count “Lost” and ‘The Matrix’ as exclusions to that). Let’s talk about ‘Fall of the Hulks‘. Its twisted in its story, not many have great guesses on the new Red-Hulk (or Rulk) character and the entire screenplay is Nick Fury-esque; Apparently the story following this arc will have all major heroes of the Marvel Universe hulked up, which would be totally awesome to read (the covers are making me ogle already). For now Siege and Realm of Kings satisfy the addiction hunger. I’m not much of a fan when it comes to DC, having read pretty out-dated stuff only (such as Death of Superman or Knightfall), and thus am not quite enjoying the over-stretched Blackest Night titles they have everywhere. Karthik would not be happy with this, but fear not my friend – the completionist in me won’t give up till it ends.
Re-read Mostly Harmless and am dying to purchase and read ‘And Another Thing…‘ by Eoin Colfer but it seems too expensive even now. Will get it in the sale season probably, and read it at the Eloor libraries until that happens. H2G2 and its associated books are a must read for anyone with brains and capacity for painful-cheeks humor.
Super-Hero Squad Show is Marvel’s new animated TV feature that is pretty funny and has a serious plot about certain powerful infinity fractals in its first season.
I’ve watched this for about two months now, hoping to spot my favorite characters, and may I say transformations, in it but am yet to see Spider-Man. What’s the issue here? Spidey is Marvel’s top franchise (Maybe second most today since Iron Man’s claim to movie-fame) and not showing him in their own show just doesn’t make sense to me. Credits for Spider-Man’s voice appears to be the same guy who’s doing Silver Surfer but no screen-time appearance yet.
They’re either saving him for the end, or are skipping him for continuity issues with Spider-Man’s own television feature, or are facing licensing issues with their own character? Heh.
KDE 4.4 is scheduled to be on your desktops in a few more months. This post details some of the new and changed things in it.
A lot of visual changes are present in the KDE Desktop. There are changes to Style, Behavior and the Plasma – the one which provides the desktop and widgets to boost your desktop experience.
KDE 4.4 Desktop
Desktop activities, a concept introduced in KDE 4.2, has received a ton of improvements. An activity in KDE is simply as the word goes – a separate view for a specific behavior. You have probably used, or heard of the Virtual Desktop concept – in which one can manage their applications with separate views.
Extending that concept, an Activity is a separate view for your group of widgets. Right now you may notice that switching virtual desktops does not change the widgets available on the desktop – this task’s possible if you use Activities.
Folder View Activity
New features in Activity include Mouse Plug-ins, and two new types of Activities – Search & Launch and Newspaper.
This is a configuration area of any activity that, for now, allows you to configure (mouse) shortcuts for your desktop operations like switching activities, showing the context menu, switching tasks, etc..
Activities Mouse Plugin
Ever since 4.2, there have been two types of activities in KDE, namely Folder View and Desktop (Default). The former shows the desktop area as a traditional one – with icons from a set folder, while the latter is an empty and clean one with only your added widgets. The two new activities – Search & Launch Containment and Newspaper Activity bring about some refreshing changes to the whole Activity concept.
Search and Launch Containment
This is an interesting activity that could replace your need for a panel. It essentially transforms your desktop area into a launcher. There’s a favorites area at the top, followed below by a runner-like search bar and then the Menu groups, which can be double-clicked to open and show all applications contained within. Navigation is simple and animated prettily and bookmarks/favorites can be added by clicking on the star that appears when you hover over an item/application.
Search and Launch Containment
I haven’t found a use for this yet, but it seems to automatically align your widgets in a columnar fashion. It’ll be neater after a little more polish – maybe give you that grid aligning feature for widgets if you needed it. I’ll report more on this as the development progresses in the coming months till the 4.4 Final.
Newspaper Activities - Notice the scrollbar on the right.
In my opinion, the best attraction of the KDE 4 desktop is its Oxygen style. In 4.4, it will be cleaner, have more icons, new animations, fabulous new artwork, and some fine-tuning. You’ll love the amount of advanced customization and simple fine-tuning options Oxygen will give you in KDE 4.4.
The window borders have an improved style than before. The difference can be seen in the screen-shots below as artwork is hard to explain with words. Let’s just say it feels more liquid, and is much more responsive to press actions. Not a change that’d make you care about, but its pleasing and refreshing nevertheless.
KDE 4.3 - Old Title-bars
KDE 4.4 - New Title-bars
Borders are all gone. The Oxygen style does not apply any window borders anymore and instead has added inner and outer glows, which are configurable (colors, spread size, etc.) in System Settings – Appearance. Also changed, are the neat drop shadows, whose colors can also be customized. Once this kicks in, it feels easier to work with non-maximized windows.
A lot of animations have been added to the Oxygen style and what I’ve noticed is that a fade effect is applied to every kind of change in the UI. That means you’ll see smoother label transitions, fading effects while you switch from a tab to another, fading selectors as you scroll through the options in a context menu, and etc.. These also apply to the hovering effects, like the glow that appears when you hover on a tab. At first the thought of irritation in seeing these animations popped into my head but as good as the Oxygen-Project guys are, the default rates of the animations are well above that barrier although not configurable.
Progress-bars also have animations now and a progress, like from 30% to 50% is done with smoother, running progressions than abrupt and instant ones. This change is very welcome by me; I could do with some fancy feedback stuff while an application makes me wait. Using progress-bars must also adhere to certainstandards and not be like how most applications on Windows are.
Under Plasma, there are too many changes and improvements to count. Its perhaps the most concentrated-upon part of KDE. I’ve listed some easily-visible changes like the new Widget Chooser, Remote Widgets, System Tray and the Device Notifier.
The classic Add Widgets… dialog has been replaced with a more wider, flashier chooser. Currently, it does not support removing widgets like the former dialog does, and in behavior and style it is pretty similar to the Search and Launch Containment, which I mentioned earlier. It’s still pretty handy, as it makes listing and scrolling through categories and the widgets under each much easier than when done vertically. What I might be missing is an easier way to see the full name and descriptions of each widget, which was easily displayed in the earlier dialog.
A concept I could not try out, since I have only one terminal. It seemingly lets you share any widget over the network and allows you, or others to use it remotely. Every widget can be asked to enable sharing, and the configuration dialog has a privacy option for it as well.
Remote Widget Policies
The System Tray has improved in many ways. Firstly, the Auto Hide feature has gotten way better than the selective thing it was before. It now supports, for each of the registered items, three modes – Hidden, Auto and Always Show. Auto probably hides it after a certain amount of time or inactivity. Second, there’s a new feature that lets you add your widgets to the tray, or at least some of them. This is useful, from what I could make out, if you’d like to hide some of your panel widgets from showing all the time.
Auto-hide System Tray Apps with more control
Plasma Widgets in System Tray
The device notifier widget in KDE has received a good amount of new features – called Actions. Its similar to how Windows shows a dialog when you insert a device. Appropriate actions can now be added via System Settings – Advanced – Device Actions and they will show up for each type of devices as you configured. Actions can then be seen while or after mounting the device. There is also an auto-mount configuration coming in KDE 4.4, but that’s a different thing for a different article.
Device Actions Configuration
Device Notifier with Actions
That’s it, under Desktop!
More articles with screen-shots regarding enhancements in File and Window Management, new Application Features under various KDE extensions coming soon. Mostly by the Beta 1 KDE 4.4 release, which is at the beginning of December 2009.
There are also enhancements made for Netbook users but that’s beyond my scope of interest at this point – since I don’t own one.
Oh, and did I mention the amount of bugs fixed? Tons!
Heroes Volume 2 – “Generations” ended this Monday and what have we got? One dead
This ending was a really really great one. It was hell better than the Season 1 finale!
As most would have predicted, Hiro did get his revenge over Adam Monroe and in a very very cool way! Since Adam is virtually indestructible, which is his boon perhaps, Hiro was very good at making it his bane by burying him up deep down the earth – alive.
I never did even once think it was Nathan who was gonna fall. Must have guessed it when he did a lot of good turning Peter away from his assumptions about Adam Monroe. And the killer was wearing a blue baseball cap. Wonder who that’d be. Mostly just a Primatech company employee. Nonetheless, it was shocking to see Angela being normal that happened. And oh yeah – “You do know that now you’ve opened Pandora’s Box”. Just the suspense I needed!
Hiro’s matured a hell lot. Firstly he isn’t careless or scared anymore and he sure won’t end up in 2099 A.D. in the next volume. Peter’s bad-ass acting was a delight to watch, though it also did feel bad seeing him do the wrong things, cause afterall he was/is/will be my favorite character in the Heroes TV series for as long as it runs. Absorbing abilities ftw, and if its Peter at that, ftw times 2.
About the next volume, the Heroes Volume 3 – “Villains“, I think its gonna be slightly repetitive yet again, as most parts of Volume 2 had been. Sylar getting his abilities back (Wonder how he got wounded so badly though?) was a delight to see, and of course, it did made me chuckle when he said “I’m Back”. Terminator indeed!
Would be interesting to see who these “Villains” are. And I’d bet Sylar would go after the company now, than the Heroes, cause they were the ones who injected him, as he now knows. So the word Villains in the Volume 3 title surely doesn’t mean its him. Or I’d like to guess so.
Did I say stuff about Niki? Nope. Cause its good she’s gone. Monica‘s role, in case she decides to continue would be a better thing than that. Don’t know of Micah though, his ability is cool. Hope he stays around.
Oh my, I missed the greatest drama of Heroes – The Bennets! Well, now that I thought of that, I realized that there’s nothing to write about them either. So I’ll just hope Noah “H.R.G” Bennet sticks around to keep his family, and the virtually indestructible Claire, “safe“.
Let the spoilers and guesses of Volume 3 roll!
( P.s. No Heroes probably till next September But let the comics roll too! )
I'm Harsh J Chouraria, although on most places over the internet its 'QwertyManiac', a technology enthusiast, itch scratching KDE core developer, mostly hobbyist programmer and an ardent comic-book reader.
I live down south in India. I hold a bachelor degree in Information Technology from Anna University. More...