FGS's blog

technology & humanity

I just bought an Epson Stylus Office BX535WD multifunction inkjet printer. It is quite cheap but rich in functions. It does automatic two-sided printing and supports USB, local wired or wireless network, and remote (cloud) printing/scanning.

I found a wide range of tools for the printer. I prepared a mini-guide for my family, so I am posting it also here, because several solutions can work also for other printers of the current generation.

USB/Local Network

Software and drivers for Windows and Mac OS are on the CD bundled with the printer. For Linux, Epson provides drivers for printing, scanning and network scanning. Drivers for other Epson models can be searched for on this page.

Scanning and printing are possible also from iOS and Android devices, through the Epson iPrint app (links for iOS and for Android). Other printer producers, such as HP, Samsung and Dell, provide iOS and Android apps with similar functions.

The BX535WD supports also AirPrint for printing from Mac OS and iOS. Here is the full list of AirPrint compatible printers.

Remote

The BX535WD supports two remote printing methods:

  • Epson Connect: Epson assigns an email address to every registered printer. Send an email with an attachment in a supported format (pdf, txt, Word, Excel, images) and it will be printed automatically. The HP ePrint system is rather similar, as far as I know.
  • Google Cloud Print: configuration can be started by accessing the printer Web-based interface, just point the browser to the printer’s network address. Then any compatible application can be used, including Paperless Printer for Windows, Cloud Printer for Mac OS and Cloud Print for Android.

I remember wanting wireless and mobile printing since 1999 on my old Palm handhelds. Now it seems technology is really mature.

As you may know from my previous post, in latest 100 Boxes version I added localization support with English and Italian versions.

But a strange fact occurred: when building the .deb packages with my machine (Ubuntu 10.04 + latest Maemo SDK), the language files were included, but when using the maemo.org to Autobuilder the build process went OK but the language files were missing.

Unfortunately, I noticed the problem only after 100 Boxes 0.8.0 had reached Maemo Extras repository, so everybody is still downloading an English-only 100 Boxes. My own quality assurance checks when the package was in Extras-devel were not accurate enough to pinpoint the problem: this is a lesson I will remember.

Likewise, QA tests performed by maemo.org community members when the package was staging in Extras-testing did not highlight the issue. It is fair to say, however, that the issue was almost impossible to notice for people not using Italian as system language on their devices.

After analysis of Autobuilder output, some guesswork and trial-and-error, I managed to spot the cause of the problem. A script was not executed by the Autobuilder, because it was called with an absolute path instead of a relative one.

Finally, I just uploaded version 0.8.0-4 to Extras-testing repository. The only change with respect to 0.8.0 is working language support. Please help test it and vote on the appropriate page, so that it can be promoted to Extras and fulfill the promise of localization support, at last.

Oh, just one more thing. If you want 100 Boxes in your language, why don’t you help translate? 100 Boxes uses *.po files for localization, which is the recommended method for Maemo apps. If you know how it works, just grab the latest revision of template.po in 100 Boxes Subversion, edit it, save it as <your translated language code>.po and send it to me (my email address is in the 100 Boxes Guide, accessible from within the game). If you need assistance, just send an email and I will happily help you help me ;)

Good news! Since July 3, 2010, 100 Boxes version 0.8.0 is in Maemo Extras-testing for community quality assurance.
Please help testing the application so that it can be promoted to Maemo Extras. Cast your votes and comments to http://maemo.org/packages/package_instance/view/fremantle_extras-testing_free_armel/100boxes/0.8.0/

But what are the changes in the new version?

  • Added localization support
  • Added Italian localization
  • Added personal game statistics
  • Added automatic saving of game state and statistics
  • Nicer game sounds
  • Added the possibility to disable sounds
  • Added daily and weekly views in the worldwide high score table

Haven’t you been persuaded? Here you are some screenshots:

New game

New game

Playing a game

Playing a game

Game over screen, enhanced with personal statistics

Game over screen, enhanced with personal statistics

Worldwide high score table, now with daily and weekly standings

Worldwide high score table, now with daily and weekly standings

This post is to celebrate the 30,000th download of 100 Boxes for Maemo Fremantle. In 144 days since its first appearance in the Maemo Extras application catalog, 100 Boxes has been downloaded 30,216 times, an average of 209.8 downloads per day. Moreover, 16,897 game scores have been submitted to the online high score table.

Thanks to Maemo.org community for software QA testing, to people who sent comments, complaints and suggestions, and to everyone who just downloaded and enjoyed the game.

Maemo Extras statistics say that, so far, there have been 9,423,777 downloads of the 278 available application packages, an average of 33,893 downloads per application. Therefore 100 Boxes is positioned roughly in the middle of the ‘long tail’ shape of the typical download distribution of application catalogs. Must-have and wildly popular applications are at the top of the tail, while applications that are useful only for very specific audiences are usually at the bottom. And then there is the bulk of packages that stay in between. Personally I am proud to contribute to this important part of an application software platform ecosystem, and even more for the high quality of applications to be found in Maemo Extras catalog.

And now what? Simple: let’s keep developing new compelling applications and improve the existing ones.

Edit: the number of score submissions was wrong. Now it is correct.

Some years ago a paper-and-pencil game had great success among school boys, in Italy at least. The goal of the game is to fill a 10×10 grid of boxes with numbers from 1 to 100. The rule is that you cannot use the same box twice, and if you move on the grid in horizontal or vertical direction, you must skip two boxes, while you must skip one box if you move diagonally. Simple game in theory, quite hard puzzle in practice.

Today, in computer and smartphone age, we can try to solve the puzzle practically anytime and anywhere. The game has been implemented for a wide range of platforms (actually, most implementations are by yours truly). Some versions even have an online high score table, to compare our own scores with those of players from all over the world.

Let’s list all the games here, so we’ll never miss the chance to try and reach the mythical 100. They are all released as freeware or free software, so read on and have fun!

Read the rest of this entry »

My first Maemo 5 creation, 100 Boxes, is publicly available for download on maemo.org catalog (also known as Maemo Extras).
100 Boxes screenshot

Now I can report my experience as a free software developer for Maemo platform. Read on.