Archive for December, 2008


Friday, December 19th, 2008

While I was waiting in a queue at the Post Office, I was remembered something I thought while waiting in a queue on the phone to BT.  If there are fewer people serving at the desks or answering the phones and more people in the queues, and this becomes the norm, the people queueing will come to think of their time speaking with a cashier/representative as extremely valuable indeed.  No-one wants to have to re-join the queue and start again.  Having spent all that time waiting they now want to get everything off their chest and sorted out in this exchange and be done with it.


system-config-printer 1.1.0

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I just made system-config-printer-1.1.0 available.  Below are some of the changes compared to 1.0.12.


CUPS, GTK+, Python, and threading

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

I’ve been trying to prevent a Python GTK+ application (the system-config-printer printing troubleshooter) from appearing to freeze when performing CUPS operations such as fetching a list of available devices.

Let me describe the problem.  In the libcups API the main worker function is cupsDoRequest() and this function blocks until the request is complete.  It may need to collect a password from the caller, in which case it will do this with a password callback function set using cupsSetPasswordCB().

The libcups API is used through a set of Python bindings called pycups, and GTK+ is used for the user interface.  The object of this game is to allow the GTK+ main loop to continue to run even while the CUPS operation is in progress.  I think I’ve got a workable system now.



Tuesday, December 16th, 2008


This is a font called Spranq Eco Sans, based on Vera Sans.  The idea is that the little circular holes in the lines making up the letters can save up to 20% of the ink used for printing it out.

I think the idea is to get people to think about how much ink they use, rather than to get everyone to switch over to this font.

Found via EcoGeek.

Super-8 cine film conversion methods

Friday, December 5th, 2008

We have some old Super-8 cine film reels and have been looking around at places that will convert it to something newer e.g. DVD.  It looks like there are two main methods:

  1. Frame-by-frame conversion, where each frame is scanned separately and the frame rate adjusted by occasionally doubling frames.  This seems to be quite expensive!
  2. Filming a projected image.  This sort of conversion is done at (for example) Aarchive.  This is much cheaper of course and there is a shop within walking distance that can convert it like this, so that’s most likely what we’ll do.

Anyone have positive/negative experiences about either method?