Quote of the Week #77

In a world of gigabit Ethernet and ubiquitous wireless networking it is a sad indictment of the networking community that the preferred communication medium for most computer users is still the floppy disk.

Stuart Chesire & Marc Krochmal

Manifest Destiny

On occasion, I’ve received requests to add support for music players besides Rhythmbox to Rhythmbox Applet. It used to be the case that the applet’s code was somewhat tied to Rhythmbox in particular, but ever since it started supporting 0.9.2+ in addition to 0.8.x — which, from the applet’s perspective, are entirely different programs anyway — it’s occured to me that there’s no technical reason why this can’t be done.

So, what other players are out there, and what would it take to add support for them to Rhythmbox Applet? Here’s a somewhat arbitrary sampling of desktop-oriented music players, and my initial impressions of how much work it would be.

Banshee has a D-Bus interface already, which is a good start. The interface doesn’t seem to provide any access to ratings, nor does it fire any signals. The latter is particularly problematic, as without them the applet would need to constantly poll Banshee to find out what its status is. The interface does provide a way to get cover art, though, which is nice, though the applet doesn’t currently support cover art (primarily since Rhythmbox doesn’t support it yet either). So, to make Banshee support viable, its D-Bus interface would need to support manipulating song ratings and to fire signals whenever something changes.

Muine also has a D-Bus interface. The interface doesn’t provide a way to rate songs, but I think that’s because Muine itself doesn’t do ratings. It does send out signals when playback is toggled and when the current song changes, though there’s no signal for when the elapsed time changes (which would eliminate the need for polling entirely). The information provided in the song-changed signal is formatted as one giant string, which is annoying, but not impossible to deal with. There’s also support for cover art. If the D-Bus interface were enhanced with an elapsed-time-changed signal, Muine support in the applet shouldn’t be a problem.

Rhythmbox, Banshee, and Muine all target the GNOME environment, and Rhythmbox Applet does as well. I have received requests for amaroK support even though it’s aimed at KDE. Unfortunately, amaroK doesn’t have any D-Bus support whatsoever, nor support for any other IPC mechanism from what I can see. Naturally, this would have to be added to amaroK, since otherwise there’s no way the applet could talk with it.

Of course, there are lots of other music players out there. If there’s a player you really want to see supported in Rhythmbox Applet, feel free to write a patch to add support for it. Fortunately, the applet’s design should make this pretty straightforward. Write a subclass of RbProxy to handle communications with the player, and then modify RbAnyProxy to use it in addition to the other proxies.

Of course, once Rhythmbox Applet starts supporting other music players, a name change will probably be in order….

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Anyone who glances over to the right side of the page will notice I’ve performed a much-needed overhaul to the list of off-site links. Have fun.

Quote of the Week #76

Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together

– James Madison

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Rhythmbox Applet 0.1.10 Released

Rhythmbox Applet 0.1.10 is out! This is solely a bug-fix release. Changes include:

  • Don’t automatically try to start Rhythmbox if it isn’t already running.
  • Fix display problems to make sure the applet is always consistent with the status Rhythmbox reports.

New Horizons

Talk about timing. Following a link from Bad Astronomy, I tuned into NASA TV just in time to see the New Horizons probe launch from Cape Canaveral at 14:00 EST this afternoon. New Horizons will be the first probe sent to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. When the probe arrives in July 2015, it will hopefully answer a lot of questions about a part of the solar system we know very little about; Pluto is the only planet that hasn’t been studied by a probe already, and it probably isn’t anything like the inner rocky planets like Earth or Mars nor the gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn.

And yes, technically speaking, it’s dubious whether Pluto would be considered a planet if it were discovered today, but as far as I’m concerned it’s been grandfathered in to “planet” status even if the term becomes more rigidly defined, so there.

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Catching Up

I’m finally almost sort of ready for the semester to begin. Too bad it technically began last week, but I was in DC for most of it and, as a result, missed all my classes.

So, I’m starting out a week behind already. Yippee.

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Quote of the Week #75

The Internet means never having to forget what high school was like.

– Scott Kurtz

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Hey, See: DC

Monday morning I’m off to DC for another action-packed SFS Symposium. The main component of the symposium is the job fair, which renders the whole affair rather pointless for me, as only some paperwork currently stands between me and the opening waiting for me after graduation. But since I don’t have a guaranteed, in-writing start date, that’s not good enough, apparently.

So. Last time at one of these in DC, I at least got to duck out on the last day and see some of the sights. But what to do this time?

For those of you who may someday find yourselves in my shoes, I put together the following list of

Things to do to kill time in Washington, DC

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Quote of the Week #74

Don’t worry about what anybody else is going to do. The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

– Alan Kay

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Paper Progresses

The final version of the paper I’m presenting on March 2 at 11:00 in this year’s SELinux Symposium is finally starting to get into decent shape. Pretty much everything in it has been rewritten at least twice from the version originally submitted, which is expected when a month’s worth of additional work intervenes. Right now it’s an order of magnitude better than the original version.

Now the main difficulty is whittling the paper down to the scant five pages that is the maxiumum length, which is very short for this sort of thing. Right now my draft is five pages plus a figure that LaTeX can’t seem to find a place for. It’s now a delicate balancing act between description of how things work and examples of how they look and how they’re used, while leaving room for things like motivation for the project and comparing it to related work in the area.

One nifty thing, looking back now on the reviewers’ comments, is that just about every concern they brought up was either identified by my work on it this past semester or taken care of while rewriting and revising the paper. I’ll chalk that up to “great minds think alike.”

Ten days left to get it done. Good thing I had all that “free time” over break to tear into it.

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Trackbacks = Deleted

I’ve disabled pingbacks and trackbacks on this blog indefinitely. You can thank the spammer currently hammering this site. The comment spam was getting blocked by WordPress’s filters, but those don’t seem to apply to trackbacks.

No big loss, since in all the time I’ve been running this blog I’ve never seen a legitimate use of a trackback or pingback. In retrospect, it’s a bit surprising I haven’t witnessed this kind of attack already.

Here’s hoping I don’t wake up to find 100 spam comments sitting in the moderation queue.

WordPress 2.0

I’ve upgraded this site to WordPress 2.0 and made some adjustments to the layout.  Let me know if anything looks broken.

Quote of the Week #73

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

– Blaise Pascal

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