2012-05-18

On May 7th, I drove to the East Bay, hopped on BART, and headed in to San Francisco to attend the Tizen Developers Conference.

On the way into the city, I realized that I didn't bring a book with me. Being on BART without a book is lame. Fortunately, I have some sweet sideburns and someone on BART struck up a conversation with me about facial hair.

Off to a Good Start

Upon arriving at the Hyatt Regency in Embarcadero, I signed into the conference and picked up my swag bag.

Within the bag (which was a nice one strap backpack) was a t-shirt, a 16oz grown-up sippy cup, an international power adapter, and a sweet screwdriver tool. Any conference that promotes taking things apart is a good conference.

JezraCorp Was There

Highlights

  • A Golden Gate Bridge replica made out of toothpicks.
  • Scotch and a Lager with my new buddy Igor
  • Making a picture of my Tizen developer device terrible by including Igor
  • Thomas Perl on a Macintosh
  • the iConcierge throwing an Internet Explorer error

Humans

Within the first minute of being at the conference, I ran into Thomas Perl who I first met last year at the Meego Conference. It was Thomas who introduced me to Igor, a fellow code hacker and all around good guy. During Thomas' presentation about the http://gpodder.net API, I wrote a Ruby script to send MuttonChop cast sources to gpodder.net. For anyone interested, the code is availabe at http://hoof.jezra.net/snip/nZ.

At lunch, someone asked me where I was from. With a grin on my face, I answered "Petaluma, California". The question asker then apologized and clarified their question by asking "what company do you represent?" Is that a common thing? In some circles, does "where are you from" mean "who do you work for"? If so, I don't want to be in those circles.

One of my pet peeves, is when people think "what do you do" means "what do you do for a living". It doesn't. To me it means "what do you do", and when I'm asked that question, I start rattling off my hobbies because it is what I do for fun that defines who I am. Judge me by what I do in my free time and not what I do to pay my bills. OK, back to the conference.

Keynotes

The keynotes were definitely geared towards businesses and not towards programmers such as myself. Apparently the keynotes are online, and if you watch them, drink whenever someone says "cloud", "html5", "monetize", or "purchase". It was fairly obvious that Samsung and Intel really want to get into the "app store" business with Tizen. And that brings me to.... a reassessment of my opinion.

In September of 2011 I wrote http://www.jezra.net/blog/Dont_turn_Tizen_into_WebOS where I lamented the push to get developers to only write in JavaScript. After attending the conference, my opinion has not changed.

Since I am interested in Tizen as a replacement for my n900, I would need to replicate all of the functionality of my n900 in Tizen. One of the first things that would be on the list: using rsync to copy the device's camera image storage directory to my home server. Without access to the command-line, there is no access to rsync. Therefor JavaScript is the wrong tool for the job. I would definitely prefer to code using efficient compiled libraries instead of using interpreted language libraries when targeting a platform where battery life is important.

Developer Device

At the end of the conference, developers were given a prototype device for testing HTML5 apps... out of the box, that is all it is good for. However, some people (myself included) are interested in developing applications that are not JavaScript based, and this requires using the Tizen Scratchbox Build System. Don't get me started on what a pain in the ass it is to set up the build system on a non-Ubuntu system, or the hoops required to ssh to the device.

After reading about Thomas Perl putting python on the Tizen device, I tried my hand at compiling and installing Ruby on the device (it went well). Since the device only has busybox vi for command line text editing, my next installation was Nano.

Let me be clear on this; the device is for testing HTML5 and JavaScript. However, I like my hardware to be useful and "useful" to me, when referring to a GNU+Linux device, means the ability exists to access command line apps and use some sort of package manager to install/upgrade system software.... like my N810 and N900 can do.

P.S. Don't call it a phone, unless you can confirm that the device can actually make calls. Similarly, saying the device has a camera is a bit of a falsehood. Sure, there is what appears to be a camera on the device, but there is no camera application, the Tizen JavaScript API has no access to a camera, and try as I might, I couldn't get gstreamer to access the camera from the command line.

It's Over

All good things must come to pass, and this conference was no exception. After walking a few blocks to a local pub, a bunch of devs and myself enjoyed a cold beverage and chatted about code.

Now I need to find that sweet screwdriver, and take the developer device apart.

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