technology from back to front

Archive for February, 2012

Making panel applets for Gnome 2 and 3

In recent times, there’s been a lot of changes to the Gnome environment with the 3.x releases, including the introduction of the Gnome Shell and things like the GObject introspection stuff going on in the background. However, the Shell is a bit on the unstable side (even if you’ve got a good graphics card), and so I’ve been sticking with the “fallback” environment which still uses the standard panel layout.

Well, that’s what it looks like at first glance. Once you start digging around, it turns out that the panel you’re now seeing is superficially similar to the old one, but it’s built in a very different way under the hood, and that makes writing applets for it a somewhat different problem. Primary among the changes for the panel is the removal of Bonobo in favour of D-Bus, so we’re going to have to build the services needed for applets in a new way.
Read more…

Tom Parker

Transforming Ruby DSLs

Ruby excels at “embedded” DSLs – domain specific languages that are simultaneously plain Ruby and yet distinctly their own. RSpec springs to mind as an excellent example. At any rate, I have a DSL that recently underwent a fairly invasive change, and I wanted to automate moving model descriptions from the old format to the new.

Read more…

Frank Shearar

Being Shifty with Minecraft (part 1) Haskell stubbing for fun and profit

Lost? Go back to the beginning.

A lightning quick recap haiku.

In the midst of sky
Unfamiliar blocks shroud the sun
The world is saved.

The last part sounds ominous and heroic. I like it.

Talking about Minecraft Regions

Go into the game, generate a world with a random seed, walk around for a bit, and then quit. Here’s what you might see gets produced in your Minecraft saved games directory (I called my world ‘testworld’).

Read more…


Being Shifty with Minecraft – Blue Sky Thinking

LShift logo floating in mid-air

After spending a bit over three months at LShift, I am proud to leave LShift’s mark in the Minecraft Universe.

Frolicking over Minecraft’s cubic pastures and passing by interesting arrangements of hovering dirt blocks suspended in mid-air is all in a Minecrafter’s day’s work. But if you ever see light-blue wool blocks hanging around in the air, you can be sure that someone’s been . . . Shifty . . .

The ones you see in the picture above, in fact, have been put into the Minecraft world by a tool I wrote in Haskell. In this multi-part series, I want to share with you how I did it.

Read more…


London Hacker News Meetup 22nd February 2012

LShift will be sponsoring another Hacker News monthly meetup event.
Having been to a fair few of these types of events over the years it was clear that the Hacker News organisers
have got their formula right: the talks are generally interesting and most are technical; the mix of people is
around 50:50 technical : business; the turnout bordering on the unmanageable. Joel Spolsky has confirmed that
he’ll be speaking at the Febuary meeting.

The evening will start at 6.30pm, at Central Foundation Boys School, Cowper Street, in Shoreditch. If you
haven’t been, you should come along and say hello.


TiCL mobile local news service now available for download

LShift has been working with TiCL on the product development for a new app and supporting server-side
system for a real-time news service. User generated news and pictures can be viewed by anyone within a
certain radius of the reporter. The viewer gets an instant impression of the social networks, businesses,
and community groups within their local area. The location-based news service is delivered via iPhone and
Android apps.

As well as the immediate benefits for small locally-based businesses, there are enormous
opportunities for larger retailers with retail promotions, for events, holidays, visitor attractions and
so on.

You can trust TiCL too. The engineering behind TiCL draws on the kind of advanced fraud-detection techniques
applied to online payments. You can ‘bank’ on a TiCL item coming from a person, in a particular location, at
the time indicated.

TiCL is now in public Beta and can be downloaded from the Apple Store
and Android Marketplace.




You are currently browsing the LShift Ltd. blog archives for February, 2012.



2000-14 LShift Ltd, 1st Floor, Hoxton Point, 6 Rufus Street, London, N1 6PE, UK+44 (0)20 7729 7060   Contact us