Last week, the BBC reported on an upcoming version of Ubuntu for ARM “netbooks”. Pity there’s no article history; the title (currently Ubuntu set to debut on netbooks) originally said “smartphones” and the meta tags still mention smartphones[1] even though the article itself mentions nothing about Ubuntu on smartphones, but I could spend all day reporting on inconsistent reporting.

Linux on netbooks is nothing new — the MSI Wind launched with SUSE (apparently SLED, but only on the U90) as an option and the Eee PC has a Linux option (Xandros, according to Wikipedia). Getting smaller, the N770/N800/N810 use Maemo. Smaller still, plenty of Motorola phones run MOTOMAGX, the G1 runs Android, and the Freerunner comes with less closed-source software than a typical PC.[2]

No, the real news is an ARM/Ubuntu deal culminating in an ARM laptop.[3] Continue reading

Imagine you’re coding away on an IDE that you haven’t used for a while, and becoming reacquainted with it. You get to the point where you want to play with breakpoints, and, of course you have some trouble remembering the keyboard shortcuts. Some IDEs make your life easier than others…

In Visual Studio 2005, you hit Ctrl-B to set a breakpoint. If you want a really quick breakpoint with no conditions, hit F9. And use either Ctrl-Alt-B *or* Alt-F9 to manage them. That’s pretty simple. If I don’t know what I’m doing, I can do Right Click->Breakpoint->Insert Breakpoint, and Debug->Windows->Breakpoints (that last one is pretty well hidden!). I cut my teeth on PCs, so I’m probably biased, but I like Visual Studio.

xCode is even slicker – I can either hit Apple-\ to get a breakpoint, or do a single-click in the gutter. Smooth. Viewing all the breakpoints is relatively straightforward with Alt-Cmd-B, and from there I can easily see how to add a condition to an existing breakpoint. I reckon Apple win that one, though I’d have preferred the breakpoint shortcut to have something to do with the letter ‘B’.

Over to Carbide.c++ 1.3, an Eclipse-based UI, where I can either set a breakpoint with Right-click->Toggle Breakpoint, or use Ctrl-Shift-B. Now, how do I list them? Window->Show View->Breakpoints tells me that the shortcut is Alt-Shift-Q, then hit B. Yes, you heard it right. I had a play around, and found that the combinations Alt-B, Alt-Shift-B, and Ctrl-Alt-B are all completely unused. For some reason known only to Nokia though (and I thought they were supposed to be good at UI?!), a two part, four key sequence was more logical.

Guess what my least favourite IDE is…

UIImagePickerController has plenty of issues. One of the first to be widely discussed was its memory leak which shows itself when you try to access the PhotoLibrary on the simulator. Fortunately, this leak is limited to the Simulator and does not show up on Device. It has also apparently been fixed in iPhone OS 2.2 – though you obviously need to be aware of it if you are coding for older versions.

There is, however, another more serious problem with the image picker on device [1] Continue reading

The standard image capture in API in the iPhone SDK is the UIImagePickerController. There is much discussion on the web about how this can be customized via subclassing, both from the viewpoint of technical feasibility, and from the viewpoint of being allowed onto the AppStore. It is generally accepted that going direct to private frameworks is unacceptable, even though this arguably can give a better user experience. Phanfare had their app pulled from their AppStore for using the PhotoLibrary private framework, and returned with a new version that instead customizes the UIImagePickerController experience.

I took an in-depth look at the view structure that the standard UIImagePickerController creates. Continue reading