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Benjamin's Personal Blog

Benjamin's Personal Blog
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A software development blog
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The future of the MacBook is the MacBook Air

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Fri, 22/10/2010 - 3:58am
The new MacBook Air is not something to compare to netbooks, but a roadmap of where the MacBook is going with its improved performance and reduced size and parts.

Obsolescence

Managing project, user, and global git hooks

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Sat, 19/06/2010 - 7:15pm
I recently put up a new tool on GitHub called git-hooks. This is a tool to manage project, user and global Git hooks for multiple git repositories.

Hooks can be very powerful and useful (as I have previously written about in my git hooks blog post). Some common hooks that I always want running no matter what git repository I am commiting to include:

- Spell check the commit message.

What makes a fun Mario level?

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Mon, 26/04/2010 - 5:00am
This years 2010 Mario AI Championship includes a level generation contest. Having been interested in creating a platform game for several years I have written up my notes on Mario levels for those who are working on an entry.

WebKit Meeting

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Mon, 19/04/2010 - 6:19pm
Last week I went to Apple for the WebKit Contributors Meeting. It was really great meeting so many people that I have only ever known through IRC and email. I had countless great discussions and even got some hacking done on some WebKit2 code. The WebKit community is very vibrant and I look forward to what will be added to WebKit in the future.

Git Achievements

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Mon, 15/03/2010 - 2:00pm
This weekend I created a little application called git achievements. Similar to the XBox360 Achievements you can unlock all sorts of Achievements while you use git. It brings a bit of fun (and bragging) to those who use or who are learning git.

Anigma, a game made using only CSS3 Animations and Transitions

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Tue, 16/02/2010 - 5:00pm
This past week I have been playing around with the new css3 features. I wanted to learn more about the new animations and transitions API.

Founders At Work

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Wed, 27/01/2010 - 3:56am
For my Birthday I got Jessica Livingston's "Founders At Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days". It was an enjoyable book and over the past two weeks I quickly went through it. The book is broken up into thirty-two different interviews with company founders. Most of the stories are about web companies, but there are a few hardware stories mixed in.

A Next Generation Desktop Web Browser

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Sun, 16/08/2009 - 3:44am
The interface that web browsers provide today is one that is very similar to the first browsers that came out in the 90's. The back button, bookmarks, location bar are all very similar even though users use the web differently. On the smart phone there is a lot of experimentation of the interface, but the desktop hasn't changed much. Isn't it time desktop browsers got an overhaul?

History

Managing multiple Qt versions with Git clone

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Sun, 05/07/2009 - 8:06pm
Like many Qt developers I have many different versions of Qt on one computer. In the past I used to have a copy of nearly every tarball and a built version. My /home/ben/dev directory looked something like this:
...
qt-all-opensource-src-4.5.0/
qt-all-opensource-src-4.5.0.tar.bz2
qt-all-opensource-src-4.5.1/
qt-all-opensource-src-4.5.1.tar.bz2
qt-all-opensource-src-4.5.2/
qt-all-opensource-src-4.5.2.tar.bz2
...

Open Qt repository and hidden gems

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Wed, 13/05/2009 - 11:10pm
On Monday Qt Software launched the public repository for Qt. Already there are more then a dozen patches waiting for review in the merge request list and no doubt there will be many more. To help developers submit patches that are higher quality and more likely to be accepted a number of documents have been published on the Qt wiki.

PlanetQt.org launch

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Thu, 19/03/2009 - 2:50am
After more then a year of thinking about doing it I finally setup planetqt.org and after getting the initial kinks out am officially launching it. While KDE is a major user of Qt there are many applications and developers out there who are not part of the KDE project or who's blogs/news really don't really fit on planetkde.org (or the freedesktop planet). Because of this there are a lot of really interesting Qt projects/tools/stuff out there that people don't know about. So that is why I started Planet Qt.

Tiling An Image With FractalFill

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Tue, 03/03/2009 - 2:50am
Last summer Adam and I looked into how to speed up tiling an image. In particular we were using QImage (Not a QPixmap so X11 isn't involved in this) and tiling an image on it. This is a pretty common operation, especially on the web where many web pages have repeating backgrounds on items. We came up with a few different ways to do this in Qt.*
  • Naive
    loop over the height 
    loop over the width
    fillRect(tile)

  • QPainter::eraseRect
    Set a background brush to be the tiling image.

Comments rating systems, a close look at giving points

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Sat, 07/02/2009 - 1:12am
On many social news sites users can give and take points on comments. The purpose of the points is to give hints about what comments are worth reading. But upon closer inspection this method often fails to provide a way to let the sites software sort or highlight good comments.

Chromium On Linux (Part 2)

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Sun, 01/02/2009 - 10:00am
I have been following the Chromium development the past six months as Google attempts to get Chrome working on the non-Windows platforms. In the process I have watched as they rediscovering that creating cross platform application from scratch is hard. Following up on my first blog entry on why you don't have Chrome on Linux today as a Linux user recent Unix platform discussions are just too amazing not to share.

Qt 4.5 will be released under the LGPL.

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Wed, 14/01/2009 - 8:20am
This morning Nokia/Trolltech announced that starting with version 4.5 all versions of Qt will be also released under the LGPL 1.2.

This bit of news is absolutely jaw dropping amazing. Game changing amazing.

The status of Chromium on Linux

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Sun, 02/11/2008 - 9:48pm
When Chromium was first announced in the beginning of September I was very surprised that it was a Windows only application given that WebKit is very much cross platform. The past few weeks I have been spending a little bit of time here and there hacking on the source code and thought I would write an update for those who are interested on the status of the native port of Chromium on Linux.

Git Hooks

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Fri, 17/10/2008 - 6:40am
Git hooks are scripts that are run by Git before or after certain commands. Because the hooks are run locally and not on the server it allows for a lot of freedom to write more in depth scripts.

LSDVD

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Tue, 07/10/2008 - 9:34pm
LSDVD was the name of a successful project to create a fully functional software DVD player for Linux back in 1999.

My hacker bag

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Tue, 07/10/2008 - 4:43am
In March of 1999 a Belgian bag manufacturing company created a contest to promote their new line of "Hacker" clothes. The first 99 people to guess the login and password to their contest site got a "Hacker" bag.

Javascript speed, the browser wars, and the death of IE6

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Sun, 28/09/2008 - 3:34am
Over the past year the FireFox, WebKit, and now Chrome teams have been going back and forth with faster and faster Javascript engines. Shortly after each update a number of blogs run all the engines through the benchmarks. When Internet Explorer is included it is always in last place. Not just by a little bit but by a significant amount. It is so slow that it is often just left out of the graph altogether. The IE team is working on it and the latest beta of IE 8 is three times faster then IE7, but it is still three times slower1 than Firefox 3.0.1.

Adobe owns the web and they don't even know it.

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Mon, 15/09/2008 - 9:43pm
The last ten months I have been hacking on a little cross platform WebKit based browser call Arora. Users try it out and are mostly happy, but near all of them end up asking me the same thing: How do I get flash to work?Arora uses the Qt and the current version (4.4) does not ship with support for netscape plugins. After the release of Qt 4.4 this feature was added to QtWebKit and will be part of Qt 4.5 this winter. To get it today all you have to do is compile Arora against WebKit trunk.

Usable Linux on the laptop?

Benjamin's Personal Blog - Fri, 12/09/2008 - 3:54am
Four years ago I picked up a used G4 apple laptop as a second machine. I kept OS X on it and happily used it. The reason I picked up an Apple was that for years I had tried to use Linux on a laptop, but never been able to very well. When I got the apple I discovered some 'amazing' properties that it had.

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