Thursday, May 31, 2007

Google Developer Day, Sydney 31 May 2007

Just returned from the Google Developer Day in Sydney
Learned and refreshed my memory on cool Google staff, especially their API's for integrating extarnal web applications with their.
Some random points, in no particular order:
  1. Contrary to popular perception - Google Earth for Linux does not consist on WINE. It's built on QT. Michael Ashbridge, one of the principal developers, tells me how they keep asking TrollTech to fix some of their quirks (e.g. can't copy a selected a text on Mac using the standard keyboard shortcuts). And before anyone tells me that I'm out of date about "Popular Perception" - another speaker from Google, who works with Google Earth every day, was also sure that it's based on WINE so I'm not the only out of touch.
  2. Google Web Toolkit (GWT) AJAX applications can control which stage in the application will enter the browser history and thus be bookmark-able and possible to return to using the browsers "back" button. I wonder how they do this - maybe they just "manually" add the URL to the browser's history?
    Anyway, that's one sour point that WebCollage used to go to lengths in order to achieve it. Knowing that the people at WebCollage are pretty damn bright I suspect this is a relativelly recent addition (my information on WebCollage is circa 2000 so maybe it's no longer relevant).
  3. Google Gears looks cool - maybe it'll allow me to provide a version of Soarcast (the gliding weather conditions forecasting program) which can be downloaded to a mobile device, fetch the relevant data off the web and continue presenting the data and calculation results while being offline in the glider port.
Lots of other ideas come up when hearing about these tools. Theforemost one is about new ways to implement an old idea - a web site which lists the Australian Gliding clubs on a google map and provides soarcast output for each selected club.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Smoother X11 fonts

Something I found a long time ago and now had to lookup again so it's time to write it down here.

In order to enable smoother (and nicer, IMO) fonts on X11 you have to have the following in your ~/.fonts.conf:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
<match target="font">
<edit name="autohint" mode="assign">

On Debian things are easier - the global settings for the entire system can be enabled by running the following as root:
# ln -s ../conf.avail/10-autohint.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d
And re-startting the X server (not sure a logout/login is enough).