Monday, September 24, 2007

Thieving $#@!

Over the past 2 weeks I have had change stolen off my desk several times. The first time I thought that I had forgotten about using it or giving it to somebody. But then it happened again... and again. Either I am going senile, or someone is taking my property for a walk.

I can be tolerant of a lot of things, but I have problems with not being able to trust cubicle neighbours.

So, it is time to figure out who is pilfering my spare change. My desktop machine is a nice little linux desktop. So after a little searching I came up with a nice little solution that will utilize a 6-7 year old webcam I have laying around. It's a nice little package, called motion, that detects motion based on video changes using a standard web camera and then records it to images and video files.

Who knows, maybe I don't want to know who is stealing from me. On the other hand, I really don't appreciate working with/around someone who has so little respect for others.

Motion was very simple to set up. I came across another package, called ZoneMinder, that seems geared towards full CCTV setups that I am going to research but motion was simple to set up and does exactly what I need for this particular problem.

Rhythmbox and blues

Linux has two iTunes-like applications available for the Gnome desktop - Rhythmbox and Banshee. I lean more towards Rhythmbox for several reasons, but it has always bugged me that it doesn't have the option to minimize to tray when the application close button is pressed.

So instead of continuing to complain about this missing feature, I dug down into the code this weekend. And the code was pretty straightforward, so I added the feature and created a patchset.

While I was researching whether this feature was planned or not, I came across the fact that this feature had been added before and taken out. The removal of the feature was due to the original modification not being an option and the developers did not want ambiguous behavior when the close button was pressed. Well, thank goodness my patch included modifications to the preferences so that the close to tray functionality was configurable :-)

That just leaves the much debated topic of should an app close to the notification tray (this is the subject of many long mailing list/forum threads). I think there is a good case for providing this behavior for long running applications (Gaim/Pidgin also provides this behavior). For the most part, audio players are long running applications that you interact with very little once you start them up. And when I am doing other tasks on the computer, I really don't need an extra application cluttering up my task bar.

I believe that this is all leading up to a long battle with the developers to get this patch added, but it was fun to dig down into the code and make the modifications. Hopefully campaigning for the inclusion of my patch will be just as enjoyable.