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A Tale of Four Laptops, or, How Lenovo’s Digital River Customer Support Sucks

Friday 21st of February 2020 02:33:39 PM

In September, I made a mistake… We needed new laptops for Dmitry and Agata, and after much deliberation, we decided upon Lenovo Yoga C940’s. These are very cool devices, with HDR screens, nice keyboard, built-in pen, two-in-one convertible — everything in short for the discerning Krita hacker.

I accidentally ordered the S940 instead — two of them. These are very awful devices, without a pen, no touch-screen, don’t fold, don’t have HDR, don’t even have normal USB ports. Overpriced, under-powered — why the heck does Lenovo call these Ideapads yoga’s? I have no idea.

Well, no problem, I thought. I’ll just return them and ordered the C940 instead. The C940’s arrived in time for our BlenderCon sprintlet, and were all what one expected them to be. And I filled in Lenovo’s web form to return the S940’s.

That turned out to be a big problem. Here’s what happened:

  • I ordered them September 24th
  • They were delivered September 26th (nice and fast)
  • I filled in the return form on September 26th
  • Not having heard anything from Lenovo or TNT, I called customer support (by “Digital River”) and was promised I’d get a mail the same day with the forms needs to send the devices back; you cannot just send them back, you have to have the forms. There’s no other way to get to know the return address.
  • Not having heard anything back, I called them on October 21st. Same promises
  • Not having heard anything back, I called them on October 21st. I had to call twice, because as soon as she’d heard my name, the first customer support person closed the connection. I got promises of escalation to higher-ups
  • Not having heard anything back, I called them November 4th. I got the same person on the phone, who gave the same promise of escalation.
  • Not having heard anything back, I called them November 19th, and was promised that my money would be refunded immediately and they would figure out a way to get the laptops back.
  • Not having received my money, or heard anything back, I called them December 13th. They promised me they’d do something about it, but that I was very mistaken in supposing I should have had my money back, they hadn’t got the laptops, right? When I asked them for an address to send them to myself, I was told that was impossible, so sorry. I told them I would get legal advice if I didn’t hear from them.
  • Not having heard anything from Lenovo, I called my legal adviser, who called Lenovo to get an address out of them we could send a paper letter to. This is apparently impossible. My legal adviser told me he was shocked at how rude the Lenovo representative was.
  • I sent the required final demand letter by email in January…
  • And not having heard anything from Lenovo whatsoever, my legal adviser told me the only solution would be to sue…

Well, I’m not prepared to bother with that. I’ll take my loss, think black thoughts of Lenovo and find a use for the devices. In fact, I’ve handed one to Ivan who didn’t have a windows machine, and tried to setup the other as a test machine.

But Lenovo is really, really awful. These laptops come with something called Lenovo Vantage, which has only one reason for its existence: it can switch the media keys into proper function keys. That used to be in the bios, but no longer… For the rest it’s a marketing and spyware tool — like Windows 10 itself, of course. And then Lenovo Vantage was updated, this function is gone! People started complaining about that on the Lenovo forums, and as of writing, Google still found those posts, but Lenovo has deleted all of them.

I’ve bought Yoga’s, Thinkpads and even Ideapads in great numbers in the past twenty years… But I think it’s time to make a change.

How not to lose the alpha channel

Thursday 20th of February 2020 02:03:32 PM

Working on color imagery for QiTissue recently, I realized we were accidentally losing the alpha channel in multiple places. For efficiency reasons, we keep colors in memory using the QRgb type, and convert that to/from QString for serialization purposes via QColor as needed. Here’s what I discovered about why that doesn’t work, and some ways I fixed it.

Firstly, be aware there is no QRgba in the Qt API . There is only QRgb, for 8bit color channels. It can hold an alpha value too, despite the lack of a trailing a in the type name. Then there is QRgba64 which uses 16bit per color channel. For our purposes, 8bit per channel is sufficient. So where do we lose the alpha channel, when QRgb can store it in principle?

The first pitfall is QColor(QRgb), which calls QColor::fromRgb internally. Both of these functions silently ignore the alpha channel of the passed QRgb value and assume the color is fully opaque. To get around this, you have to use QColor::fromRgba instead.

QColor toColor(QRgb colorWithAlpha) { // all bad: input alpha ignored, set to fully opaque return QColor(colorWithAlpha); return colorWithAlpha; return QColor::fromRgb(colorWithAlpha); // good: return QColor::fromRgba(colorWithAlpha); }

Then you’ll find that QColor::name() also ignores the alpha channel. Here, you have to use QColor::name(QColor::HexArgb) instead.

QString toString(const QColor &colorWithAlpha) { // bad: input alpha ignored, output is e.g. #112233 return colorWithAlpha.name(); // good: output is e.g. #00112233 return colorWithAlpha.name(QColor::HexArgb); }

Thankfully, the QColor constructors and QColor::setName function, which parse a string color name, won’t ignore the alpha channel when you pass an ‘#AARRGGBB’ string.

However, there is one more pitfall: When you have a QColorDialog with QColorDialog::ShowAlphaChannel, and listen to its currentColorChanged signal and set a color with an alpha channel on it, a stray change signal notification will be emitted with a fully opaque color. The reason is that, internally, the color dialog will first set the RGB color components, and then in a second step will set the alpha component. But both will trigger a change notification, where the first step holds a fully opaque color. This should be fixed upstream, but thankfully for now it is easy to workaround by ignoring the signal while setting a color from the outside.

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The post How not to lose the alpha channel appeared first on KDAB.

Fosdem and Plasma Mobile Sprint

Thursday 20th of February 2020 12:15:53 PM

From January 31st to February 8th I went on a little tour, first at the two days of Fosdem in Brussels, then to Berlin for a KDE sprint about Plasma Mobile.

It was the first time i went to Fodem: it’s an awesome experience, even tough big and messy: which is the awesome of it… and the bad of it at the same time

Even tough there were 800 talks I didn’t attend that many, some about the Elixir language, some about retrocomputing, some about iot stuff. At Fosdem the best thing to do there.. is meeting a lot of interesting people, rather than attending talks, which are very interesting never the less, which you can find videos here.

I stayed most of the time at the KDE booth. in there we had as usual some hardware to show: besides the usual occasional “normal” laptops running Plasma, we had a PineBook pro running Plasma on Manjaro which runs impressively well for such a low resource machine and was in fact a favorite among the visitors.

Yep, there were a lot of people.

Besides that we had some Pinephones running Plasma Mobile, which they were very popular as well. The Plasma Mobile shell was very stable compared to last year fosdem which made me quite happy.

Looking people using it for the first time, was also a very precious feedback on what are the UI problems new users can encounter.

Feedback that turned out to be very useful the next week, when together other people working on Plasma Mobile and two perople from the UBports project few to Berlin for a Plasma Mobile sprint, graciously hosted by KDAB in their spaces.

There will be many points we will be able to collaborate with UBPorts, starting from background technology such as their telephony services, the content sharing infrastructure, and maybe push notifications. Tough in the end, we want their apps running smoothly on Plasma Mobile and our apps running smoothly on UBports as well, to have as many apps as possible.

Personally, the areas that i worked more at the sprint were the Plasma Mobile homescreen and fixes in Kirigami that were needed for some plasma mobile apps to look better.

On the Plasma Mobile homescreen, now dragging plasmoid thumbnails from the widget explorer to the homescreen works properly (fix in KWin, also drag and drop icons in your desktop wayland session should be fine now)

In order to make the homescreen look a bit more “modern” and less busy, I also removed most of the gray background rectangles that were there and in general simplified the homescreen code a bit, here is the result:

In general, it seems to me that Plasma Mobile is actually really start coming together

conf.kde.in 2020 :: Late Report

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 05:06:31 PM

So we recently held KDE India Conference 2020 in the college where I’m pursuing my B.Tech (CSE) in New Delhi. The conference was held from 17 January 2020 to 19 January 2020.

Photographs from the conference are available here: https://share.kde.org/s/tt6YWaDp36ni2si

Tweets from the conference used #cki2020 tag and are available conveniently through this link: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23cki2020

Day 1 of the conference talked about Open Source, and some of the cool KDE software that has eased many lives across the globe.

Day 2 of the conference talked about KDE software in general and bits about QML.

Day 3 of the conference talked about how specific KDE software and Qt Framework helps developers achieve amazing results with minimal hard-work and maximum smart-work.

Every day of the conference concluded with dinner at various good places in Delhi. We had Chicken Biryani, Butter Chicken, Indian version of pasta, and a bunch of other savories with our speakers while discussing random topics.

Biryani at Bikkgane Biryani, Connaught Place Important Announcement

We have some KDE India hoodies up for sale. If you are interested, feel free to put a comment below and I will get back to you on how we can get the hoodie to you. You might also be able to get one from me at this year’s Akademy if you really want one of these. Hit me up!

The cost for 1 hoodie is INR 650/-, excluding any shipping costs. The hoodies were sponsored originally by the KDE e.V. (massive shout out to Adriaan de Groot for helping me out there). The money collected through the sales will be sent back to the KDE e.V. (the legal body that represents the KDE Community in all legal and financial matters) in form of a donation.

The hoodie design Conclusion

The conference was able to educate 200+ unique attendees throughout the conference. For a free-entry based conference in Delhi, this was definitely a huge success. I had great fun in organizing the conference, and was really glad to see the huge turnout.

Day 1 :: 100+ attendees

Massive thanks to the volunteers for executing the conference in such a smooth manner. All of the volunteers were really helpful and responsible. I am grateful for having such a dedicated team of volunteers at conf.kde.in 2020.

Volunteers at conf.kde.in Future Notes

For any future conf.kde.in iterations, I’d recommend to the organizers to collect a strong promotions and marketing team that can help promote the conference nicely. FB event, remote technical groups on IM platforms, mailing lists of technical communities, posts on social media are just some of the infinite ways that can be used to promote KDE India Conference. The really aware people are well versed with what KDE India Conference is, while those who don’t actually know a lot about Free Software in general are seldom unaware of the KDE India Conference.

The goal of KDE India Conference is not only to unite contributors and enthusiasts of the KDE Community across India, but also to encourage people new to software development that just want to work on real world software and learn valuable lessons about software development.

Thank you

Looking forward to the next iteration of conf.kde.in. Till, then, Happy Trails!

See you in 2021 ! \o/

Season of KDE Final Report

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 04:10:50 PM

SoK ended finally on 17th February 2020. I am happy to share that I have completed the project "Add multiple datasets to several activities" and passed the final evaluation!!!

It is time for a war on tabs

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 03:18:29 PM
KDE Project:

We (as a UI shell project) see the limits of our territory as the window, when there is the assumption nowadays that MDI tabbed interfaces are where most significant user activity takes place. Yet interacting with different views/documents within those windows is not standardised, so the user has to remember which app they are using, then select the appropriate actions to:

  • recognise the current tab
  • switch tabs
  • move tabs in the current window or between windows
  • notice which tab is being switched to (different switcher UIs, not shown)
  • open/close tabs
  • be warned when closing a window with multiple tabs
  • use keyboard shortcuts to switch tabs
  • persist tabs between logins
  • share sets of tabs between devices

All this causes additional cognitive load/dissonance when using your computing device.

I'm not saying Plasma needs to become a tabbed window manager, but we can do better, and it is definitely time to declare war on the mess above.

Plasma 5.18.1 for Kubuntu 19.10 available in Backports PPA

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 11:14:49 AM

We are pleased to announce that Plasma 5.18.1, is now available in our backports PPA for Kubuntu 19.10. This is the 1st bugfix release of the 5.18 LTS Plasma series.

The release announcement detailing the new features and improvements in Plasma 5.18 LTS can be found here.

To upgrade:

Add the following repository to your software sources list:

ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports

or if it is already added, the updates should become available via your preferred update method.

The PPA can be added manually in the Konsole terminal with the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports

and packages then updated with

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade

IMPORTANT

Please note that more bugfix releases are scheduled by KDE for Plasma 5.18, so while we feel these backports will be beneficial to enthusiastic adopters, users wanting to use a Plasma release with more rounds of stabilisation/bugfixes ‘baked in’ may find it advisable to stay with Plasma 5.16 as included in the original 19.10 (Eoan) release.

The Kubuntu Backports PPA for 19.10 also currently contains newer versions of KDE Frameworks, Applications, and other KDE software.

Issues with Plasma itself can be reported on the KDE bugtracker [1]. In the case of packaging or other issues, please provide feedback on our mailing list [2], IRC [3], and/or file a bug against our PPA packages [4].

1. KDE bugtracker: https://bugs.kde.org
2. Kubuntu-devel mailing list: https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/kubuntu-devel
3. Kubuntu IRC channels: #kubuntu & #kubuntu-devel on irc.freenode.net
4. Kubuntu ppa bugs: https://bugs.launchpad.net/kubuntu-ppa

Calindori 1.1 is out: reminders, repeating events and more

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 11:00:00 AM

A new version of Calindori, the calendar application of Plasma Mobile, is now available. In Calindori 1.1, a set of new features has been added as well as the user interface has been improved, following the KDE human interface guidelines.

Event reminders

You can now add reminders to calendar events. To manage event reminders, a separate background application, calindac, has been created. Calindac looks for alarms into the Calindori ical files and triggers alarm notifications. The users may dismiss the alarm displayed or suspend it for a configurable amount of time.

Add reminder

Repeating events

In Calindori 1.1, repeating events can be added. In particular, you can mark an event as repeating on the event editor. An overlay sheet enables you to provide the repeating event details. Then, on the events list view, you can review the repeating information of each event.

Add repeating event

Month view swipes

To facilitate navigation among months, the month shown can be switched via vertical gestures; but you can still change the active month using the buttons on the bottom of the page.

Flat events view

To get an overview of your events, a flat view of all the registered events has been added. The events have been sorted by start date, displaying the upcoming events on the top of the page.

All events page

User interface improvements

The user interface of the event and todo cards has been modified, to make the information displayed more clear. In specific, helper icons have been added as well as page space, which is important on mobile devices, has been saved. Finally, Mathis Brüchert designed a new Calindori icon. Thanks Mathis!

Under the hood

Last but not least, the Calindori code has been streamlined, improving performance and maintenace. Nicolas Fella put a lot of effort into this task.

Installing Calindori

Calindori is available on KDE Neon for Plasma Mobile as well as on postmartketOS. You can also install the flatpak build on any Linux distribution. Finally, the nightly build of Calindori for Android can be found in the F-Droid instance of KDE.

Coming soon

Looking to the future, the most important piece to be added to Calindori is online calendar synchronization. The good news is that there is already work in progress on this.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in getting involved in Plasma Mobile, you can check the Find your way guide and join us on matrix.

PyCon India 2019 :: Late Report

Tuesday 18th of February 2020 09:14:08 AM
Chennai Chennai Convention Centre

Personally, I think the venue choice this year was great again, as we were able to accommodate 20+ sponsor stalls while still not overloading the halls and having ample space to conduct multiple tracks of the conference scheduled for the attendees.

sponsor stalls at the conference

1000+  users and developers of the Python programming language

As have been the regular norm with the annual PyCon India conference, the conference was graced by a footfall of over 1000 attendees from all corners of India. Many international names famous for their contributions in Python programming world also attended the conference.

If you are looking for more photographs from the conference, they are available here: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOnLxMo-JVp80gqQernNZxbHmDs5WPsBFtBtY4zZBPzLMWJHi1pPdIkDFRmrVp3KQ?key=bzRidDFDR0RLbXpycEx4YUdIMmpGc21iaWlXLWJB

Videos for the talks from the conference are available here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6GW05BfqWIfsflQt05LM3FTX6cd7PGps

Volunteering Experience

Volunteer experience is one of my sought-after reasons to attend any conference in general. Being a volunteer gives you many many perks over a normal attendee: –

  • Easy access to information about all that’s happening and will happen at the conference
  • Unrestricted backstage access at the conference
  • Better networking – meet fellow volunteers and network much easily over common tasks/ jobs

Apart from these, there also are some monetary benefits to volunteering at a conference- registration fee for volunteers is generally waived off at paid-ticket based conferences and some quite generous conferences also have accommodation options for volunteers during the conference days, free of cost.
Also, organizers usually have free goodies to give away to the volunteers at the end of the conference.

The volunteers met at the convention centre a day before the conference to prepare the goodies bags for the attendees. These bags simply consisted of a schedule page, a pen, a notebook and a couple of PyCon India stickers- one for you, and one for sharing with your pal.

full force! all in an evening’s work DGPLUG Staircase Meeting

DGPLUG stands for Durgapur Linux Users Group. While it originated in Durgapur, West Bengal, DGPLUG has evolved into a larger, remote, decentralized community that has members from Bangalore, Pune, Delhi, Punjab, all places of India. As has been the annual convention, we also had DGPLUG’s annual staircase meeting with the past alumni of the Summer Training. We also received an awesome DGPLUG TShirt from Sayan bhaiya!

Translation: Learn and teach others

I really cherish the TShirt, now that the training has been discontinued. The training brought long lasting progressive changes in me and hundreds of other who participated in the summer training every year. I really missed Kushal bhaiya, Shakthi bhaiya, Jason bhaiya some other mentors. I still loved to meet many students from various corners of India that assembled for the meeting. This meeting was my main reason last year to attend the PyCon India 2018. I am eagerly looking forward to the next year’s meeting.

DGPLUG at the annual staircase meeting! Poster Presentation

The next highlight for me at the conference was PyCon India 2019 was Poster Presentation.

As PyCon organizers put it. There are many reasons to present a poster at PyCon India which can be read in the poster below: –

a poster promoting poster presentation

Unfortunately not a lot of people in India are aware of KDE as commonly as some other open source organizations. In a hope to change that, RItuka and I aimed at presenting a poster for KDE Community at PyCon India 2019. Poster presentation was discussed with the KDE family here: https://phabricator.kde.org/T11430

So, at Day 2, we grabbed a poster stand and set up our little poster presentation stall. Some photos from our poster presentation are here: –

Piyush, Rituka, Subin and Kuntal some freebies for our friends at the PyCon India!

Since 1000+ attendees are a lot to cover within a 30 minute window, I planted KDE stickers at every booth – registration, TShirt distribution, help desk, and even planted the Konqui standee right in the middle of the hall to promote KDE as much as possible. People really liked the mascot Konqi and many posted pictures with Konqi online!

KDE at Help Desk KDE in the hall

KDE Stickers and pamphlets up for grabs at the TShirt booth!

Some tweets for the poster presentation are available here: https://twitter.com/brute4s99/status/1183705289670791168

Close-up

I really loved attending the conference. Every year I learn new things when I attend any conference, and this one was no different. If anything, I loved attending the different quizzes set up by the sponsor stalls with freebies as rewards. I grabbed most of those, so I’m quite happy with my loot from the conference!

Volunteer squad at the conference

Looking forward to the next iteration of the PyCon India Conference!

Cutelyst 2.10.0 and SimpleMail v2 released!

Monday 17th of February 2020 01:48:22 PM

Cutelyst the C++/Qt Web framework and SimpleMailQt just got new releases.

Cutelyst received many important bugfixes and if you are compiling it with View::Email it also requires SimpleMail 2, the latter got an Async API which is on production for a few months, allowing for a non-blocking send mail experience.

Check them out!

https://github.com/cutelyst/cutelyst/releases/tag/v2.10.0

https://github.com/cutelyst/simple-mail/releases/tag/v2.0.0

FOSDEM & Plasma Mobile Sprint

Sunday 16th of February 2020 11:42:13 PM

Last week I decided to take KDE Itinerary for a test tour. Between the train rides there was also time for some KDE stuff.

FOSDEM

After writing an exam on Friday afternoon I took a train to Frankfurt. I did so not to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area around Frankfurt central station at night but to be able to catch an early train towards Bruxelles for my first time at FOSDEM.

It has been a great experience to meet so many people interested in what KDE does at the KDE booth. It also was awesome to meet all the folks that are working hard on making Linux on the phone become a thing.

Pine64, Manjaro, UBports and KDE having dinner together Plasma Mobile Sprint

FOSDEM went by in no time and so I found myself on a train to Berlin on Monday. My ride managed to defeat KDE Itinerary’s cancellation notification handling, but Volker managed to fight back.

In Berlin we met for a week-long Plasma Mobile sprint, hosted by KDAB in their offices. This gave us the opportunity to plan, discuss and hack all the things in a much more focused and productive manner than normally.

A particular pleasure was meeting Marius and Dalton from UBports/Ubuntu Touch and discussing how our projects can benefit each other. Most of our interactions was me nagging them to upgrade their Qt to allow KDE apps to run on Ubuntu Touch, but there was also fruitful discussion on sharing content between apps and a common push notification service (codenamed ‘Phushan’).

In addition to the discussion I also managed to get a few things done:

  • We managed to build KTrip using Ubuntu Touch’s clickable build system (only for amd64, since crosscompiling Qt is a little more involved. If you find it easy please consider applying at KDAB).
  • I started revamping the dated code of the dialer UI.
  • Together with the Kaidan team I fixed an issue in KNotifications that was affecting them.
  • Kaidan (XMPP client), Qrca (barcode scanner), Kookbook (recipe manager), Keysmith (OTP client) and Ruqola (Rocket.Chat client) are now available for Android in our nightly F-Droid repository.

On Saturday KDE joined UBports in their regular Q&A where we reported about the whole week and answered questions from the crowd. Check it out!

I left Berlin a bit earlier than planned due to an approaching storm, which was fine given how action-packed the whole week was.

Looking forward to doing it again!

Season of KDE Final Report

Sunday 16th of February 2020 06:30:00 PM

Part 2 - SoK has finally ended yesterday and it’s been a great learning experience for me. In these last 40 days, it really made me lot more comfortable and confident as an open source contributor :). In my previous report - previous report. I mentioned about the completion of smallnumbers and enumerate...

Season of KDE

Sunday 16th of February 2020 06:30:00 PM

Part 2 - Hey Everyone, this is Part 2 of my update regarding my SoK Journey and probably the last since I’m updating my blog on the very last day 😅. Since my last blog, I got really busy with my college and got less time to work on the website. I took...

More foss stuff

Sunday 16th of February 2020 10:15:58 AM

It is busy days at the moment – but in a positive way.

First of all – a huge thanks to everyone who submitted to the Call for Papers for foss-north 2020. We have over 70 hours (!!!) of contents to squeeze into two tracks over two days. As always, it will be hard to pick the speakers to create the very best program.

Other foss-north activities includes starting to populate the community day activities, as well as getting a whole bunch on sponsors onboard. An extra big thanks to Luxoft and Red Hat Ansible for helping us by picking up the Gold Sponsorship packages. Ansible are even running their European Contributor Summit as a part of the foss-north Community Day together with events by KDE, Gnome, FreeBSD, Debian, and a hardware hacking workshop. I’m really looking forward to this – if you want to join in with your own project, workshop, hackaton, etc – just ping me!

The other big foss-north change for this year is that we are finally abandoning Eventbrite for a self-hosted system. Big thanks to Magnus Hagander helping us getting the pgeu-system up and running. At the moment, we offer login via Github and Google OAUTH. We’re looking into setting up a self-hosted OAUTH service as well, to let you log in locally, but that will not happen for the 2020 event due to time reasons.

Closer in time is the next local foss-gbg meetup. We are running an event around React together with our good friends at Edument. We already have 50+ registered attendees, so it will be fun!

In other news – I’ve also released Ordmonster – if anyone has kids who wants to get started reading. This is a complement to the Mattemonster app for basic maths launched earlier. Both are made with Godot, a tool that I enjoy more and more.

This week in KDE: Plasma bug-fixing and Samba bug-squashing

Sunday 16th of February 2020 06:09:44 AM

Plasma 5.18 has been released! A ton of work went into this release and we’re very proud of it. However I’d like to apologize for it being a bit buggier than we’d have preferred. We’ve gone balls-to-the-wall off the chain bananas fixing the issues you folks are reporting! Almost all of the highest-profile issues are fixed already, to be released with Plasma 5.18.1 in a few days! And we’ve got the less major regressions in our sights too! But still, we know that stability hasn’t always been our strong suit and we’re aiming for a higher standard next time, discussing how we can get there. So thank you for your patience and understanding, and enjoy Plasma 5.18!

Oh and we also fixed some of the most long-standing issues with Samba shares. Check it all out:

New Features Bugfixes & Performance Improvements User Interface Improvements How You Can Help

Upgrade to Plasma 5.18 and find all the bugs we missed! The first point release (i.e. Plasma 5.18.1) will be released in two days, so every bug report we get soon is super important.

More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

Finally, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

Akademy 2019 – Late Report

Friday 14th of February 2020 06:22:59 PM

Hello, everyone! There has been some time since my last blog post. It has happened because of a good cause, since I was focusing on my undergraduate thesis. Now I have finished it and finally have completed my graduation, yay! Soon I will include my thesis on my blog and share it with the world... … Continue reading Akademy 2019 – Late Report

Qt 5.15 Alpha Released

Friday 14th of February 2020 12:18:39 PM

I am happy to inform you we have released Qt 5.15 Alpha today.

KStars v3.4.0 is Released

Friday 14th of February 2020 08:28:01 AM

Celebrate Valentines' Day with some KStars Love! Happy to announce the release of KStars 3.4.0 on February 14th, 2020 on Linux, MacOS, and Windows.

What's new with this release?

The Linear Focus Algorithm.
Hy Murveit continued to work on linear focusing algorithm. This is an alternative auto-focus algorithm available in the Process section of the Focus tab.



You can think of this algorithm as "slow and steady". It should be less sensitive to backlash and measurement noise, but will likely take more samples to achieve its minimum HFR than a successful polynomial search. If you are having issues with auto-focus, you should consider trying this out.

It takes regularly sampled HFR values, i.e. (mostly) moving the position inward by a fixed amount--step size in the 1st pass of the algorithm, and 1/2 step size in the 2nd pass. The polynomial algorithm varies the change in position. Linear rarely changes direction, and mostly moves inward. In its first pass it takes a number of samples inward to establish a V-curve and an approximate minimum-HFR position, then makes a 2nd inward pass looking for that minimum. It only samples the HFR after an inward move. When it needs to move outward, e.g. in between the the 1st and 2nd passes, it moves outward much further than needed, and then moves back in before capturing an image.

The system should be at rough focus before the algorithm starts. The most important parameter is the step size, which needs to be found experimentally. See the screenshot as to how it was chosen (step size = 25) for a Moonlight v2 focuser. Recommend that full-field and the SEP detection algorithm be used with it.

Faster Astrometry.net Solver
Robert Lancaster added an option to use Sextrator as the primary method to identify stars within an image. This has two benefits:
1. It removes the python dependency, which was a painful issue for MacOS users.2. It vastly improves the solver speed, according to some early reports from our beta testers.


You can turn on the Sextrator option in Astrometry.net settings. 


You can see the astrometry.net solver in now noticeably faster and more reliable than before!Improvements & Bug Fixes
  • Fixed a few memory allocation issues to reduce the process memory usage.
  • Fixed DSLR ImageToFITS loading when auto convert is used.
  • Fixed focus direction for relative DC focusers.
  • Improved reliability of setting snoop property for the active profile.
  • Fixed File name sanitization issues.
  • Communication with remote INDI Web Manager is now mostly asynchronous.
  • Align property labels in the INDI dialog vertically on top.

Update about SoK 2020

Friday 14th of February 2020 12:22:36 AM

hey there it is me again.
Has you probably should know I am participating in SoK 2020, see this post first otherwise. We are near the end of the project, and I had like to say what more I have done after my first post. you can see all the commits in this repo. Recently I have made an Merge Request(!1) to apply all the commits that I have done.

Things that I want to point it out:

  • Auto save functionality
  • Fix of the function that added new classes
  • Navigating through items with arrow keys
  • Support to images bigger than 1280 X 960
  • Refactor
  • Thanks
Auto save functionality

To this one I have made an checkable action in the menu “edit”, you can select it if you want to auto save a json or xml file automatically in the current working directory. This functionality can be pretty handy when annotating a big amount of items.

Fix of the function that added new classes

A bit of context, when loading a temporary state or a json/xml file, the marked classes name were duplicate (actually nth-ed) in the combo box that contained them. I am mentioning this one because it made me think a lot, with the help of Caio it turned out to be pretty simple to solve.

Navigation through items with arrow keys

This one is useful too, I got the idea of doing this because, as an user, I wanted navigate through items more easily, so I thought that using the arrow key up and down may be the right choice for the job.

Support to images bigger than 1280 X 960

The annotation for images smaller than these proportions works fine but when bigger it turn it out to be in the wrong place. To solve this one, a bit of math was needed.

Refactor

Refactoring the code can be a lot harder than writing, but it is a must if you are a developer that not only want the code to work as intended but also be maintainable and more likely to get help from another person.

I thought a lot in how to make what I have wrote more understandable and show the intent of the code, although it was improved a lot by Caio later, it was a good experience and for sure I improved as developer.

It is also worth mentioning that we now are focusing in making the API more stable to later improve image annotation and also implement support to text and others data types format as well.

Thanks

I want to say thanks to Tomaz Canabrava, Sandro Andrade and, of course, my mentor in this project Caio Jordão, I have learned a lot with their help during this period and I will continue to contribute to this community and learn more as well.

That is it, see you soon (hopefully in my whoAmI post ; )

Qt World Summit 2019 talk videos are online

Thursday 13th of February 2020 10:00:07 AM

Did you miss the past Qt World Summit?

Were you there, but you couldn’t attend that talk or two that you really wanted to see because the conference was so, so packed with awesome content?

Fear no more! We are glad to announce that the talks at the past Qt World Summit 2019 in Berlin (or QtWS19, for the friends) have been video recorded and are now available online! You can now catch up with the latest news, improvements and best practices around Qt and its ecosystem, all from the comfort of your sofa office chair.

We have gathered all the talks given by KDAB engineers on this summary page, where you can find also more information about the contents of each talk and download the slides. For your convenience, we have also collected all of KDAB talks in a YouTube playlist:

The talks by other speakers are available for viewing in the Resource Center on www.qt.io.

Happy hacking!

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