:beep: :beep: Hello PIM, Hello GSoc, Hello Planet

AWESOME :D!!! I got into GSoC 2010 πŸ™‚ probably the first thing I should do now is thank the really friendly KDE community and my mentor Sascha and my friends (for their support and wishes)!! Also Congrats to me fellow GSoC students πŸ™‚

Before I start, let me introduce myself: I am Dinesh, currently pursuing 3rd year of my Engineering @DA-IICT .

And here I’m,to explain what I will be working on:

“Bringing SyncML support to Akonadi” :

Incase you are wondering what the above statement means, it is to basically let KDE PIM apps exchange information like Contacts, Calendar Entries, Notes, TODO lists with most mobile phones out there in market…

Well, now the first question one would want to ask for such a thing is “Whats the need for such a thing?”

Ah, I m glad you finally asked that question: finally got the chance to speak out this nice little speech of mine:

Let me start with the most obvious use cases:

1. Since you can exchange data with your PC,Β  it would be like taking a back up of your information(about 8 months ago this was the only thing that I could come up with)

2.Β  And since the data is on your PC, you can easily share the data between multiple devices, like say when you bought yourself a new phone or you actually use more than one phones… and hence keeping all of them up to date with each other: the changes made in one will automatically appear in all the other devices (if you wish to do so πŸ™‚ )

3. And NOW comes an interesting point: THE RISE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS!! Whether we noticed it already or not, social networks already have become our PIM services!

Take Facebook, for example: it even offers a Facebook phonebook application, which fetches the information of all your Facebook friends! (look at the brilliance of it! this phonebook automatically gets updated when someone changes their phone number… so even if you havent been in touch with someone for a very long time, and suddenly need to contact him/her, you can still catch them since you are on the same network(provided that they update their number on Facebook too… never will you ever have to bother about updating your phonebook.. so let the government take it’s time in bringing mobile number portability, we are cool cuz we already up to date with people ,thanks to the internet)), also say you even have their Facebook status update in your mobile phone , you actually would know whether to call him or her before you actually call him or her…(you wouldn’t really want to disturb someone who says “I don’t want to be disturbed”, would you?)… and the best thing is all this happens behind the scenes… so once again, you shouldn’t ever worry about checking things or updating your phone book for this… Also, you’ve accepted to attend some event on Facebook, many of your new friends have their birthdays coming up, shouldnt you carry that information along with you, before adding a new task to your calendar on the go(so as to prevent collisions).. and there are many more use cases like this… so essentially, your PIM data is where it needs to be: with you, when you need it! (unless you want to carry your laptop with you all the time)

So naturally one might ask, shouldnt you be building a Facebook mobile app. (with a feature to cache most data, so as to suit the restricted data plans) rather than doing things indirectly!? Simple.. what about point numbers 1 and 2 then?? and also, should one has to lose all the data, when he/she wishes to shut down/ move away from Facebook? And what about the friends who don’t use facebook, but are on some other network?

Convinced about my work? At least I’m convinced enough for me to work on it πŸ™‚ (although the third point needs a lot more work than my current proposal for GSoC, that’s basically what I want to achieve in the long-term, so if anyone with similar agenda,your help here is greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚ )

Now a bit more about my GSoC project: basically this semester(which ends in a week!!), I wanted to implement a mobile application for my software engineering course project, which does take care of the third point. But sadly/thankfully couldn’t take up the project because of certain reasons. so decided to work on it by myself and hence slowly learned about things, (this actually added to the fun of the busiest and awesome semesters i had till now !)

Now a bit more technical stuff on how the project started: first decided to look up ways to transfer stuff to my good old N70 and then learned a bit about SyncML and was looking around for stuff and then found out about OpenSync, tried to use any tricks I found on the net to get open sync running with my Linux desktop and just before GSoC started found out how OpenSync was mostly a dead-end (honestly, their wiki page was really promising), and then came to know about SyncEvolution! and then found out about Sascha’s last year’s GSoC. and then here i am πŸ™‚

Wishing all my fellow GSoC students a very good luck, and especially college mates: Aditya Bhatt(for his face recognition support for digiKam) and Nikhil Marathe(for his UPnP support for amaroK)

Time to get back to tomorrow’s exam prep.

wish me luck πŸ™‚



P.S.Β I might be a bit slow to get back to replies this week. Once after this Tuesday (when my end-semester exams are finally over), I’ll get back to my GSoC project with all my energies.

:beep: :beep: Hello PIM, Hello GSoc, Hello Planet

12 thoughts on “:beep: :beep: Hello PIM, Hello GSoc, Hello Planet

  1. 2Ben says:

    Just a little word to thank you in advance for your work and wish you good luck !
    The current state of synch’ing a mobile with a Linux machine really sucks (basically I currently have to use OTA sync via Google calendar, and contacts are not supported).

    An Akonadi syncML connector would be a blessing ! Lots and lots of people will praise you much if you’re successful on this, we really need it πŸ™‚

  2. Birdy says:

    Congratulations! I wish you the best implementing this feature.
    And I’m looking forward to use Ovi with KDEPim πŸ™‚

    1. Akunambol is a very recent project trying to address the same goals. Infact, there was a discussion on this in the KDE PIM mailing list, and we finally realized that syncevolution is a more mature client. Architecturally it differs a lot from Akunambol. Also, my mentor, who has worked on the same issue last year, has submitted patches,to bring syncevolution to Akonadi. so i will be building on that.

  3. srujan says:

    While reading this i came to know why this is good one… never payed attention when u said πŸ˜›
    good luck …

    1. I am aware of this problem. I only used facebook as an example to explain how social networks contain a lot of our pim data… Even though the net is full of greasemonkey scripts to extract phonebook, facebook has been sending notices to shut them down, as they violate its T&C(on not to use automated mechanism to move through facebook).

      you might however be interested in these links i have collected.

      http://www.plaxo.com/ (i read somewhere not to use this service, but ya, it holds the points i said)

      http://www.launchorbit.com/index.php (i dont have access to an iphone so couldnt test it out)

      http://brad.livejournal.com/2398409.html (one guy who implemented a script )

      http://www.chrisfinke.com/addons/facebook-scavenger/ (another guy who implemented a similar script and got a notice to remove his scripts)

      http://www.maciverse.com/sync-your-facebook-friends-with-iphone-contacts.html (this is the post where i learned about facebook’s iphone app which can do this syncing, but again i dont have access an iphone to test it out)

      One should probably find another social network which supports this. Or may be, implementing a facebook app, designed to share phone numbers(seperate from what one stores in facebook’s profile) with friends only should do, but that really would be duplication of effort.

      Anyways i would work on this only after my GSoC project. I seriously hope that facebook adds phonebook support to it’s api by then.
      (and as it already released the iphone sync app, i am guessing it soon will and i am sure such apps would be the common place after this)
      As i said, i m really looking forward to all the help i can get in this.


      1. If you haven’t heard of it, you might also look at the Hermes app for Maemo[1]. It allows users of the Nokia N900 to automagically grab any available information from their social networking contacts in order to flesh out the details in their phone’s address book. As of now, I believe it has support for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Gravatar. It’s not entirely related, but it might give you some inspiration if you take that further.

  4. This is fantastic news. A little over a year ago, I switched from Windows to Kubuntu, and the main problem has been how to connect different services and devices together.

    Under Windows, I had Outlook that connected to Plaxo and a lot of people in my field of work (media/tv) use it, so it makes it really easy to keep the addressbook up to date.

    There is also the possibility to connect to LinkedIn. So I synced my HTC/Windows Mobile 6 phone and carried all PIM data with me when I left the office. Fantastic!

    On Kubuntu, I can not sync my phone to anything so far. At least nothing that can keep my contacts up to date… And the PIM does not connect to anything else.

    There is a large group of users out there that would love to get their devices connected to apps on their desktop, and it sounds like you are the man to solve our headache! πŸ™‚

    Congratulations on choosing (and getting accept for) this really important project! Everything these days connects to the world, and we all expect our favourite DE to do the same.

    I had some preliminary contact with Plaxo and would be happy to relay the information I got and the contacts to you. Plaxo got a bit of a bad rep in the beginning as the were “spamming” your whole addressbook if you were not careful. Admittedly, they only sent out one message from YOUR addressbook, but when they started up “everyone” I knew got on, and that resulted in a LOT of mails from Plaxo. So I know some people added plaxo.com to their spam filter.

    But it is a really good service and works exactly as advertised. It has saved me a ton of work and allowed me to stay in touch with friends I otherwise might have lost because of change of e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other changes.

    And no, I do not work for them or get paid by them – lol. I wish…

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