Kesäkoodi is a “Google Summer of Code”-like program for Finnish students (university and univ. of applied science).  Bergie just reminded me that the project plan deadline is Feb 20th — that’s next week.

The project areas are not defined beforehand, but some “areas of special interest” are mentioned:

  1. social media
  2. location and context sensitivity
  3. mobile apps
  4. system management
  5. operating systems

About #2 and #3: I’ve got the feeling this summer would be a good time to work on Geoclue. We’ll have the new API finished Real Soon Now™  (promise), and there should be lots more developer interest when we reach summer.

If you’re studying in Finland, have some coding skills and are interested in a location-related programming project, stop by #geoclue irc channel (on irc.gimp.org) or ping me on jabber. Do stop by even if you don’t have a specific idea — maybe we can figure something out…

I failed

February 6, 2008

After getting feedback from osso-gpsd maintainer and some more testing, I think that I was probably seeing a placebo effect with the gpsd leap-year fix — the patch does fix the leap-year bug but I  believe the fix time improvements were statistical anomalies and placebo. Bruises the ego to admit I was fooled, but that does fit the evidence best.

Not only that but in my attempt to be a responsible (non-maintainer) packager I’ve also done a mistake: I made my testing package version 1.0-25-jku0 to show that it’s not the original 1.0-25 version. This installs just fine, but later on upgrading will fail because osso-software-version depends on the exact version 1.0-25 :(

I strongly suggest everyone who installed my testing package to install version 1.0-25 from the same place (I don’t think it’s actually available from anywhere official). Like the version number implies, this is the non-patched version so your GPS time will be a day off until March. Really sorry for the trouble folks and thanks to Owen Williams for notifying me about the problem.

I’ve been playing with a possible solution to the time-to-fix problems of the Nokia N810 GPS, and it looks good: Getting a fix used to require 5-15 minutes even in very good conditions. Today I have experienced fix times between 30 seconds and 3 minutes — even from the window which was previously almost impossible.

The solution? Don’t have a 86400 second error in GPS time keeping.

I’m not kidding: there’s a leap year bug in gpsd which makes it add an extra day to all timestamps between Jan 1st 2008 – Feb 28th 2008. All gps-related code apart from gpsd is closed source so I can’t tell for sure, but I’m guessing this false time is used when the gpsdriver is initialized with the “last known position data”.

The evidence is just anecdotal, and this could be just a fluke. If anyone else wants to try and confirm, my patched testing packages are available. The first fix after installing should still take a long time, but I expect the following fixes to be faster. Please comment if you do any tests.

EDIT:  Nokia osso-gpsd maintainer says this in the bug:

The analysis that the leap year bug would affect fix times is wrong.

Based on the comments here I’m assuming it’s not just placebo that we’re all seeing, so I’ll have to investigate a bit further.

EDIT  2: Well, not only was I probably wrong, but the package prevents system upgrade. I’ve removed the patched packages and have original 1.0-25 up, please install that if you tried my patched version.