Skip to content

{ Monthly Archives } February 2008

Google Summer of Code on again!

Leslie Hawthorn has announced that the Google Summer of Code is on again. Like, nobody saw that comming! Hopefully, Thousand Parsec will be a mentor organisation again. Have to keep those southern hemisphere mentor numbers up!

Thousand Parsec primary client 0.3.0 released!

As announced at, I’m happy to point out that we have finally anounced the 0.3.0 release of the Thousand Parsec client which I work on.

It’s been a long time since the last release of the primary client for playing Thousand Parsec games. Now, the wait is finally over and it was well worth it. Large parts of the client have drastically changed. Connecting to game servers is simplified. The new user interace enables you to more easily see important information and then more efficiently issue orders. Translation support makes it possible to conqueror the universe in your mother language. For all the details check out the full release announcement. If you downloaded a previous release and didn’t like it, please give this new release a try!

CFXS free at last!

Those who either know me personally, or have read more of my blog might remember my final year honours project. The project was to build a budget 8 line USB channel bank. Originally, I had hope to commercialise the project, the prospects looks good until two competing products where released into the market for only a slightly higher cost point. I had always hoped to make the system a piece of open hardware, but both the Uni rules and trying to commercialise it had made that difficult.

As a strange coincidence, David Rowe, a guy doing open source embedded Asterisk hardware, lives less then 15 minutes walk from my home. His main motivation behind this open hardware is to try and bring technology to the developing world in a way which empowers them instead of making them dependent on external supplies. We got chatting at a local LinuxSA meeting and he was partly inspired by my device to start the $10 ATA project. (David also has a bunch of other cool projects like his own electric car and trying to go off the grid).

Sometime during that, I removed the access controls on the subversion repository that I had used for the CFXS so that David could look at it. It turns out though, that I never told anyone else! So that is the main aim of this post, to tell you all where you can get a copy of source files for my honours project.

The subversion repository is located at the following url You can check it out using the following subversion command,

svn co cfxs

So why not check it out and build your own? I have some left over components which I’m happy to dole out if you agree to actually use them in a useful way. Just send me an email.

David (hopefully I’m not putting words in his mouth here) is hoping that we can use this device in combination with the OLPC XO laptop to bring telephony to a whole village. The mesh networking wireless would be ideal for doing VOIP, while my 8 port CFXS device and some very cheap handsets can give a bunch of people “real” phones. The system can also be made very low power as both the OLPC and the CFXS device can be in power down modes while nothing is happening.

So I guess we will see what happens in the near future, it seems like it’s an exciting area of FOSS to be involved in. Sadly, I don’t have much time to work on any of this.

Google Patchwork

I live in Adelaide and have been playing around with Google maps recently. I have no sense of direction which makes Google quite useful for getting to places. It appears that Google has some problems with satellite images for South Australia. If you take a look at the map below, you should see that it is built out of three totally different captures, you can even see a few clouds.

Google patchwork.

If you zoom out one more level, the map data totally change,

Google Transsision

I wonder how they decided what data to use?

LCA2008 all over :(

Well, I am back at work after spending last week at, it was a huge amount of fun and the organisers did a great job. I am really happy that I got to catch up with all the people cool I had not seen for almost a year. We managed to have a Thousand Parsec developer meeting which was pretty fruitful. As with last year, I ran the Gaming Miniconf and a large “Open Source Gaming” stand on Open Day.

The Gaming Miniconf was a little slow to start, my first speaker turned up late and my second speaker was unable to get his laptop to work with the projector. I was disappointed with the turn out during the morning, last year we easily had 70 people for most of the day, while this year it was closer to 40. The competition for people’s attention in the morning was tough, there where 8 other miniconfs running. The keynote speeches before the Miniconfs last year, really helped make everyone was getting out of bed.

I am much happier with the afternoon, things ran significantly smoother and the pyglet tutorial was a huge hit. It was amazing to watch Richard and Alex work, they really should give a main conference tutorial next year. I am currently encoding all the talks and hope to have them up very soon (for those who where silly enough to attend the wrong Miniconf). Watch this space for more information.

The Open Day was pretty cool, I would like to thank all the helpers – they did a great job and allowed me to concentrate on organising things (like setting up hardware and finding lunch for everyone). I do wish that the Open Day venue was much larger, it was rather cramped for most of the day. The open day is one of the best events we have to show the general public all the cool things FOSS is doing and I would like to see it become a bigger and longer event.

I belive that previously Miniconf organisers had been given the short end of the stick. The effort required to organise a Miniconf is significantly more then required for a talk, yet they received none of the perks or recognition that speakers did. I’m glad that the organising committee decided to make a change this year and I feel this small gesture made a huge difference.

Of course, I also managed to attended a number of cool talks. I would recommend going and watching some of them.