Go forward in time to December 2009.
I got a netbook, a cute little HP Mini, so that I can hack Moblin on it. The netbook comes with Windows 7. My first impression:
Windows is a flicker/blingfest. Everything prelights and fades in and out. Everything has a tooltip that is unreadable because it disappears as soon as you move the mouse into the tooltip. Progress bars have a periodic swoosh-thing that makes me glance at them and wonder whether I missed something important.
Everything has a right-click menu. Scrollbars have a right-click menu with useful options like "scroll up" and "scroll down".
The Start menu has default entries that are ellipsized and you can't see all their text, unless you wait for the unreadable tooltips. Submenus and subpanes and everything seems to flicker in and out all the time.
Norton this, Norton that. It makes you feel like you will be ass-raped as soon as you fail to satiate Mr. Norton's insatiable appetite for... mouse clicks or something.
IE8 came with four or five toolbars. The stock one, the Norton whatever, the My AOL Search (!?), the favorites bar, and an extra helping of buttons that just seem to add clutter for no good reason. Mr. Norton got in the way of installing Firefox, and then asked for my email address so he could ass-rape my inbox, but I succeeded in fooling him.
Maybe we should change free software's slogan to "we are not a constant pain in the ass, and we don't consider you a criminal".
"If you expect to find yourself standing on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue in 2050, should you expect the water be up to your navel, your nipples, or your eyeballs?" The inimitable Dmitry Orlov takes another look at global warming and rising seas.
The Zeitgeist team and yours truly are in an energetic hackfest in Bolzano, Italy. We are busy cooking the future awesome.
Next door to our hacking room in the school, the Sugar people are having their own hackfest. Sugar has a Journal similar to Zeitgeist's, so we need to share ideas and if possible an implementation of the journal-of-your-stuff.
We have three sub-teams within the hackfest: the Zeitgeist engine, the Tracker metadata storage, and the end-user GUI tools.
The core of Zeitgeist is a daemon that logs events that get produced as you work on your computer. When you open a file, that makes an event. When you view a web page, that's an event. Having an IM conversation, looking at a video, and playing music are all events.
Zeitgeist logs these events and provides an API to query those events for useful purposes. The Journal, of course, shows you a stream of your most recent events. More sophisticated clients can ask the engine questions like, "what applications have I launched within the past week?", "what files have I used for the longest periods of time within the last month?", "which web pages did I visit while editing my-research-paper.odt?".
Seif Lotfy, Ivan Frade, Mikkel Kamstrup, Alex Gabriel, Markus Korn, and Siegfried Gevatter are working on the engine. They are upgrading the format for the engine's database so that it can support more efficient queries, redoing the external API that clients can use through D-Bus to make queries on the engine, integrating support for Tracker as a metadata storage, and improving the contextual relevancy engine. This last bit is the magic that can tell you, "these are the documents/web sites/etc. that you used together while working on a certain project".
Tracker as a metadata storage
Zeitgeist would like to show you various useful things: the tags that you have assigned to a file (School, Work, Pr0n, Travel), the sources for email attachments or for files that you downloaded from web sites, etc. All of that is just metadata that needs to be stored somewhere, and in some well-defined format.
Zeitgeist used to have a home-grown metadata repository, but it will be using Tracker from now on. Tracker is a metadata storage for RDF triplets. An RDF triplet is a subject/verb/object chunk that looks like "my-thesis.odt/has-tag/School", or "lolcat.jpg/was-an-attachment-from/$email_id". Those are just examples; the actual form of those triplets is formalized in the Nepomuk ontology.
Gnome Activity Journal
And they are closing the school right now, and we have to leave, so I'll tell you more about all of this tomorrow. Ta ta!
Go backward in time to October 2009.Federico Mena-Quintero <firstname.lastname@example.org> Wed 2009/Nov/04 14:40:23 CST