A program’s obsolescence

In 2005, I had a crazy idea upon which I started the Specto project. Initially, I thought I’d call my revolutionary piece of software WhileYouWereOut (continuing the world’s tradition of ill-chosen project names), because it really was about solving a core “want” in my life: to leave my computer alone and catch up with events when I’d come back in front of it.

The core feature was to watch webpages for updates: back then, I did not know about syndication feeds, and I was sick of refreshing ifolder.com every single day hoping for a release of the peer-to-peer version of iFolder (for which we still have no equivalent today).

Continue reading “A program’s obsolescence”

Specto 0.4 released

I’ve been holding off a Specto release for way too long. See my previous post on the matter for some insights into why Specto 0.4 was released after Duke Nukem Forever. This development hell streak ends today.

If there are still people out there using this piece of software, go grab the new tarball. Distro maintainers, please package it. This release drops the python glade and gnome dependencies and fixes compatibility with NetworkManager 0.9. See the ChangeLog file for further details.

Continue reading “Specto 0.4 released”

0.3.1: a small bug fixing release

I just released Specto 0.3.1, not long after 0.3 (in terms of commits), after having addressed some bugs myself. The changes are minor and I don’t expect regressions, so it should be pretty safe to upgrade from 0.3. Maybe I can start a habit of actually releasing stuff more often, if we don’t again plunge into a huge refactoring endeavour like the 0.3 release was.

One particularly annoying bug for French users was caused by a wrong string in the translation, which caused some watches to be “stuck” and not show notification balloons. See the release notes for more details on what has changed in this minor release.

Continue reading “0.3.1: a small bug fixing release”

Notify-OSD compliance

After much bikeshedding, I delved in Specto’s code for a few hours this morning to get it working with Ubuntu 9.04’s controversial notification system daemon. The ability to set notification durations is now gone, and Specto only displays actions in the notifications if they are “allowed”. This should not impact users of vanilla libnotify. If people complain, it’s all Ubuntu’s fault now :)

specto-and-ubuntus-notify-osd

Continue reading “Notify-OSD compliance”

Specto 0.3 release candidate 1

Since hell is freezing over today, I’ve been nailed to my chair to prepare a new Specto release, at last. Uploaded packages, checked release notes, and reworked the website. Now, 0.3 RC1 is available for the masses, go test it! If no significant problems are found, this will become Specto 0.3 final. Special thanks to Wout Clymans for working so passionately on this release for over a year.

Continue reading “Specto 0.3 release candidate 1”

Improved Specto startup times

After my post on profiling Specto’s startup, Wout Clymans put on his Hero Hacker Hat and fixed the major problem that was causing Specto to do too much work for nothing. Now, Specto starts in 2 seconds instead of 10 seconds.

What happened there? Well, for making sure that we are using the same “internal” watch list as the actual watches in ~/.config/specto/watches.list (if I’m not mistaken), Specto loaded the file each time and parsed it. The problem is that this is useful (not even 100% sure about it) only when you manually ask Specto to refresh, not during startup, where the watch list is obviously up to date. What Wout did to fix the problem is create a special parameter that makes those method avoid opening and parsing the watch list all the time on startup.

Continue reading “Improved Specto startup times”

Profiling Specto (and whole Python applications in general)

A few months ago (when we still thought we were about to release 0.3 “real soon now” ;), I noticed that Specto is noticeably slow to start up, even on warm starts (when it is not the first time you launch it). It always takes at least 6 seconds to paint the list of watches and start refreshing them. During that time, there is a notably high CPU usage spike (surprisingly, no noticeable hard drive I/O), as shown below:

Continue reading “Profiling Specto (and whole Python applications in general)”

The Joy of Merging, and Google Code Hosting bug integration with Bazaar

This graph makes me happy. As it shows, I have been quite merge-a-holic in the past few weeks, and I think it has been my most productive time of the year working on Specto (once I finally gave up trying to fix up the mess in a “perfect” way when we migrated to bazaar). This bazaar revision history graph can be obtained simply by doing bzr visualize if you have the bzr-gtk package installed.

Continue reading “The Joy of Merging, and Google Code Hosting bug integration with Bazaar”

Watching changes in your Google Documents

I just discovered today a nice, unintended feature of Specto: being notified when you or one of your collaborator changes your google document.

The trick is just to add a web watch and point it to that document’s RSS feed. The drawback to this approach, however, is that it requires you to publish that document. I made a short screencast (demonstration video) of that technical prowess ;) if you have other tricks and cool stuff that you can do with Specto (or google docs + Specto), let me know.

Specto 0.2.2 released

This release sports the basic set of features that you can expect from Specto’s goals. We consider this release an ALPHA release. That means Specto works very well for us and we are providing this to you in the hope that it will be useful to you, but we are not guaranteeing that it it will be perfect just yet. At the time of this writing, there are three (3) known defects in the bug tracker.

Packages for Ubuntu are not yet available, but should be soon, and will appear in Debian sid and Ubuntu 7.10’s Universe repository. Continue reading “Specto 0.2.2 released”

The 5 Spectos

I just find it funny that back in 2005 when I had “no choice but to start the Specto project myself and learn python”, I could not find anything that did what I had in mind (tell me when some static website is updated).

Now, as Pete Savage just posted on our mailing list detailing some ideas for cooperation (which I am looking forward to and should reply to whenever I have the time), and reading some blog posts, I realize that… These days, we mostly have “5 Spectos”!

Continue reading “The 5 Spectos”

Specto 0.2 released

This release sports the basic set of features that you can expect from Specto’s goals. We consider this release an ALPHA release. That means Specto works very well for us and we are providing this to you in the hope that it will be useful to you, but we are not guaranteeing that it it will be perfect just yet. At the time of this writing, there are four (4) known bugs in the bug tracker.

We decided to do the first release in time for Ubuntu Linux’s “Feisty Fawn” version freeze (February 8th). This way, “Feisty” users can provide us with some feedback.

Continue reading “Specto 0.2 released”

Specto, Now With 10% Less Bugs*

*assuming that we only had 20 bugs :P

I spent this afternoon hacking away at Specto SVN, and I managed to fix a few bugs and implement features I wanted for a long time. I rewrote the tray icon module from scratch in order to help murder libegg and it now uses PyGTK 2.10’s StatusIcon. Furthermore, Specto now displays a balloon when something goes wrong with a watch (at least now you can’t say we didn’t warn you).
Also, I proudly present you libnotify balloons that stick to the status icon (and this is not even a hack)! Bleeding edge users rejoice!

Bugs fixed: 8, 16. Also, Wout Clymans fixed a few other annoyances today: 22, 3. Furthermore, Chris is working on getting Specto’s code cleaned up, implementing network-manager support, and hopefully an asynchronous GUI? ;)

Specto 0.1 released

This release sports the basic set of features that you can expect from Specto’s goals. We consider this release an ALPHA release. That means Specto works very well for us and we are providing this to you in the hope that it will be useful to you, but we are not guaranteeing that it it will be perfect just yet. At the time of this writing, there are seven (7) known bugs in the bug tracker (one of which really matters). Expect the functionality to work, but it may feel a bit… Edgy!

Continue reading “Specto 0.1 released”

Specto 0.1 et outil de backup 0.3

Génial génial. J’ai enfin fait la première release officielle de Specto hier (histoire de le faire en même temps que la sortie d’Ubuntu Edgy Eft), et je viens de faire une nouvelle release de mon outil de backup semi automatisé. Il utilise maintenant xterm au lieu de gnome-terminal, gère correctement les dossiers avec des espaces et des accents (à ce que j’ai testé) et peut être exécuté de n’importe où sans modifications affreuses du code pour qu’il accepte de s’exécuter.