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BitlBee, alive and kicking

As quin in #bitlbee said a little while ago, I stole someone's mojo and found an amazing amount of productivity when it comes to writing code, and it feels great. I'm quit relieved that I can still find plenty of time and motivation to work on BitlBee even though during the week I already spend a lot of time at the keyboard. This after not working much on it for probably at least a year.

I managed to finally do the IRC core rewrite + abstraction that I intended to do for so long already. It'll allow adding non-IRC frontends to BitlBee if someone ever wants to, and also the IRC core has the flexibility it needs to add many more features that I wanted for years already, and were impossible to implement without adding even more horrible hacks.

There's also a libpurple-based backend for a few months already, plus file transfer support (written by Uli Meis and Marijn Kruisselbrink actually, it just took me a long time to merge the >3000-line diff, fortunately Review Board did make it a lot less painful), all thrown into a bleeding edge branch called killerbee. It's code that needs a little bit more work before I really like it.

Also, BitlBee has Twitter support for about two months already (thanks to hard work done by Geert Mulders), and according to the application registration page on Twitter it has almost 500 users already. It's quite likely that many of those used it for five minutes and went back to a client with more features, but it's still nice to see.

Last of all, to help with the current lack/fragmentation of online documentation there's now a BitlBee Wiki. Its supposed to have easy-to-find docs about common FAQs, but the easy-to-find part isn't really working out yet since it hardly shows up in any search results. Hopefully this hyperlink from a high-profile weblog will improve that a tiny bit. ;o) Possibly the content is not that good yet either, so if anyone has something to add to it, by all means, please do!

With a 1.2.8 release coming up, BitlBee is totally alive - and is for almost eight years already. It's been a fun project to work on so far, and hopefully will be for a long time.


Yep, another birthday passed, and I celebrated it with my father and grandparents, here in Dublin. My grandparents never travelled by airplane so far, so it was quite an adventure. Unfortunately they had to get to know the great Irish weather here. But then again, it isn't all that different from the Dutch weather...

So a little while after my complaint about NTL blocking traffic to some sites, they now block access to all sites ... they cut me off. :-) Still waiting for my ADSL. This is Ireland, so if they say it'll take two weeks to ocnnect you, you do have to add two more. (That's how it works with appointments at least, I'm told. If you have an appointment at x, make sure you don't actually show up before x+15 min!) Oh heck, fortunately most bigger cities know these things called "security-unconscious neighbours" and "open access point"... ;-)

Still want to do some BitlBee snapshot release, maybe tomorrow. The new Jabber groupchat support works very well, it's working perfectly at work for over two months already, and I'm actually not even the only one who uses it. :-) And who knows when this will become a stable release... Clearly I've been too ambitious with adding new stuff, and too lazy to finish all the details to make it worth releasing. :-(

Oh yeah, and the new website rocks! But I suppose most people saw it already by now.

Got a place!

It's a week ago already since I moved into my new apartment. I managed to find one very close to work. I can pretty much walk from my desk at home to the one at work in five minutes. :-) It's not that I'm lazy, I was actually looking for a place a bit further away, but this apartment is pretty big and I like that. Might make some pics later.

Also working on BitlBee Jabber MUC support again, and it works pretty well already. Actually I use it all the time at work by now. No more need for crappy GUI Jabber clients. :-D

I hate trees!

There are two things in nature here that I don't like. The ever-strong wind that slows me down when I cycle to work ... and trees! I bought this radio-controlled airplane yesterday and went to the park to try it out. The flight went very well thanks to some help from ... well, the wind. The result?

(Try to find it on the big picture, it's not too easy. :-))

Something I really do like here is World Market, though. They actually sell this candy we call "drop" in .nl, and it tastes pretty good:

I just wonder why the German pack says "katjes" instead of "k├Ątzes" or something like that. And there are fishes inside, not cats. They're pretty tasty though, so I don't care.

Work is still going well, my main mission for during my stay here is done. I got two more weeks here before I have to go back to Dublin, so that's well in time. It'll be nice to be back in Europe, at last...

In other news, worked on BitlBee a bit more again in the last few weeks. Worked on the API a bit, so the next time someone says porting Gaim modules to BitlBee is easy, please don't listen. It's a lie. ;-) And there's basic support for Jabber chatrooms now! Just for the non-anonymous ones, unfortunately. (And the majority of Jabber rooms I know of are anonymous.) Will work on that support later, unfortunately it'll be very complicated and hackish.

And this weekend, besides "dropjes", I'm enjoying eye candy from Beryl on Ubunty Feisty. Wobbly windows and all the other stuff. Hey, I wanted some of my OS X eye candy back, okay? ;-)


The first week of April passed already. And I'm halfway my stay in the United States now. My colleague Rafael (who started working at Google Ireland on the same day I did) will return to Dublin tomorrow already. Because I'm in the Search/Traffic teams I have to spend a very long time here, apparently.

I'm making progress with the learning. Generally, my feeling of productivity is growing. It even happens sometimes that I can follow a complete conversation and understand it completely, which feels good, of course.

Didn't have too many trips lately. Bought a bicycle, cycling around a bit now in the weekends, and possibly from next week I'll use the bicycle to go to work. And I bought a new digicam this week, hopefully I can make some cool pictures this weekend. Pretty satisfied so far, even though I didn't manage to buy a cam that fits into my pocket a bit better than the previous one (on the contrary, actually). I hope the pictures will be worth this little sacrifice. :-)

Also, I managed to find some time to work on BitlBee. I'm finally working on replacing the old Gaim API. It's mostly a mass-rename of functions and, where necessary, rethinking some parameters. Got rid of a lot of redundant stuff like three different functions to report errors to the user. Once I finish this the handling of away messages should certainly get better, and hopefully I'll also be able to implement Jabber groupc^Wconference rooms properly.

Oh yeah, and indeed CD prices are pretty nice here. Porcupine - In Absentia for less than eleven dollars. IIRC I didn't buy it in .nl because the price was around/over 20 euros. I'll have to hunt for more good CDs here. :-D

cp: Dream Theater - Metropolis (Live at the Marquee)

One week to go...

In a week I'll be in Dublin already. My flight will leave at 13:00 and will arrive 13:35. (Don't you just love timezones?) So then I'll hopefully post more frequently.

Got one week then to get familiar with the city, and on Wednesday I'll have my "one day home search", which means someone will show me eight houses and I can make a decision and hopefully move into that house pretty soon then. :-D Until that happens I got temporary accomodation just around the corner from Google, so that's great. I can walk to work. :-)

Have to say I'm looking forward. It'll be an exciting time, I'm pretty sure about that.

Meanwhile I'm just trying to relax a bit. My long semi-holiday is almost over. Planning just the last things I can do while I'm still here. Meet some people, instruct my successor at my former job on Friday, etc. It'll be strange to be away from here for so long...

And of course I'm happy that is back in the air! It also helped me to find some very strange bugs that happen when using libevent and epoll and running BitlBee in ForkDaemon mode. Did you ever see processes receiving each other's event notifications? I did. ;-)