I spent the last week in semi-hermitage, working on things that didn't require too much communication with others and off of IRC. Today was spent almost entirely in hours-long meetings, and even then I managed to completely miss one phone conference. I find meetings like that very draining. Oh well .. they must be done. :) I've got one more patch to review on review board, but got through the half dozen or so that were waiting in queue this morning.
This evening I spent some time interpreting some of the more unintuitive bits of KRunner internals for Wilder and helping come up with possible solutions for various problems and challenges that code is currently beset with. Wilder's been coming up with patches to knock off various bugs and inefficiencies one by one there, which is really cool. KRunner in 4.3 will be better as a result, and some of the fixes have also been backported for the next 4.2 release.
Work also continues on the other bits of Plasma we broke ground on in Tokamak II and the usual slew of KDE coordination and outreach continues. It's apparently been a bit quiet on the irc channel and what not without me around, so I'll have to fix that this week. ;)
Right now as night enters, I just want to sit here and listen to music and drift off into that wonderful lyrical space that exists between the notes. So that's what I'm up to right now.
Marco's been doing some really cool work on various widgets, including making the Microblogging Widget more sane and allowing all users of Plasma::Dialog Fitt's "Law" compliant by having them not show borders that would otherwise touch the screen edges. Suddenly Kickoff is nicer to use and visually it looks really nice (especially with the new Air theme!); now to fix the flip-view-application explorer to be less a pain in the ass to use and we'll have something Really Good.
Alexis and Artur stepped up this past week to look after plasma-mid, the shell for smaller devices like netbooks and what not. It really needed someone(s) to feel personally responsible for it and get pissed off when it didn't move fast enough or in the right directions. I've got as much as I can be pissed off about at once on my plate already. ;) Delegation can be easy to forget to do, but thankfully there are people like Will S. around to remind me to smarten up.
There are several new Plasmoids in kdereview waiting to get moved over, including a unit converter, a new device notifier that's "more Plasma", a system load viewer modeled after the simple KDE3 one, the keyboard state widget and the weather widget. Lots of stuff cooking in playground, too.
Plasma has so many "heads" now (library, desktop shell, krunner, mid, edu, media, widgets out the wazoo, scripting, services, etc, etc..) that it can be a bit of a challenge keeping on top of it all. It all seems to be moving in a coherent direction, though, which is the important part and while the "old crew" remains we still get new contributors on a regular basis which is very cool. It's really neat to see people I'd first greeted with "welcome to Plasma!" saying the same words to others on the mailing list. :)
Lots of people seem to be lining up for Google Summer of Code projects, too, which is great.
And now for something completely different...
To provide that "random bit of oddness" any good blog entry needs ;) ... I spent some time during the hermitage week thinking about various things, such as the importance of having and making time that is open in one's schedule. Here's something I wrote one evening last week:
"So many of us live lives that are more and more saturated by communicating with people in our inner circles (phones and social networking sites don't help), keeping up with the banal "requirements" of our modern lives and wasting time on media (Et tu, Cable T.V.!). City dwellers in the Western world are usually the worst for this in my experience, though the trend is noticeably spreading. Unfortunately, those cracks in our lives we have been filling in are not just "useless moments we were wasting anyways" but useful moments that are useful because they are empty. It are those empty moments that create community, that allow us to lift each other up in unexpected ways.
They are the moments when we find time to go for that "meaningless walk" during which we come up with that inspired thought, find peace with the world around us or just lighten up a bit because we're in the fresh air without any responsibilities getting in the way of feeling how that feels. If you haven't done so recently, why not go find somewhere nice to walk for at least an hour. Don't take anything with you, not even a music player. Just be. Sometimes the slower you go, the more you achieve.
These are also the moments when we find time for others when they need us. I'm reminded of one event in my life in particular:
When I was a child, a neighbor did something remarkable with one of his empty moments one Saturday just before Spring set in one year. He came over to our house that day and asked if he could take me into town. He explained to my mom that in Spring, every boy should have a bag of marbles. While not quite so true today, when I was a kid it certainly was since Springtime games in the schoolyard tended to revolve around marbles and a boy without marbles was a sad thing. It usually was left to the father to make sure you had a supply of marbles to play with. Without a father, well ... at least I had a neighbor with some time to spare and a lot of care in his heart.
That day he took me to McLeod's, the hardware and toy store in town (I know, an odd combination for a store) and he helped me pick out a small bag of marbles. In that moments I knew I wasn't alone and that I, too, was able to be like "every boy".
Now, I certainly wasn't like every boy: I was different, and it made pretty clear often enough that others were aware of that fact. But as Spring wrapped its warm rejuvenating arms about our little town, those marbles gave me hope that I wasn't hopeless. I could be like every boy in some ways. After all, I had marbles didn't I? And, more importantly, someone around who cared enough to make sure I had marbles.
The neighbor and I made that to get marbles at the start of every Spring from then on until we moved away. It became, for me, a demonstration of hope and love and care.
What I didn't appreciate at the time was that this neighbor was actually a very busy fellow: he had a family of his own, owned and ran two businesses, kept a large vegetable garden and had a boat and a house to look after as well. In addition to his responsibilities, he was something of a recreational scholar and loved reading and researching. However, he made sure he had time that was open here and there to do little things like go marble shopping. Empty moments to fill as needed.
Twenty-five years later I still think back to that whenever Spring starts to show it's face. I am who I am in part because of those sorts of moments; moments that I would later return to and rediscover hope and love and care through.
If we'd like to do something that just happens to help someone else to rise up, or if we'd just like to do something that someone else will remember in twenty-five years and even long after we've passed away ... first we must make sure to have the time to do nothing once in a while so that we will have the time to do something when it's called for.
To be honest, sometimes I forget to do that myself ... but then Spring comes and it tends to remind me that's not good enough. Marbles, after all."