It has been pretty quiet over the past month but I’ve been pretty busy in my day job – the Easter weekend gave me a bit of time to relax, and by relax I mean think about things and experiment.
Better KDE Connect integration
I must say KDE Connect is one of my personal killer features in our KDE eco system and if you haven’t tried it, you should. Really. It always makes me smile when someone tells me “sure I’m using KDE Connect” – my sister’s been over for lunch a few days ago and I spotted her phone on the “Available Devices” list. That was quite surprising, to say the least. However, it makes me sad to see how we suck at marketing. This made me think on how we could make KDE Connect an integral part of our user experience rather than a 3rd party kind of thing.
I worked on a KDE Connect backend for Solid (KDE’s hardware abstraction library) to provide battery information right in the battery monitor, picking up Albert’s initial work on that from 2013, and also, now that we can browse our phones remotely, have it show up like a USB thumb drive would. There you can clearly tell that Solid’s been designed in the pre-smartphone era, as it has a “Portable Media Player” device type but no “Smartphone” ;) We’re also evaluating how notifications from your phone could fit into the regular notification applet, grouped by device, or so.
This is still in pretty early stages, so don’t expect it to land in the upcoming 5.3 release; however, I already pushed many of its prerequisities into Plasma, and since Solid is a Framework, we could add the backend in one of its monthly releases, decoupled from Plasma.
Display Data Control support in PowerDevil
As you may or may not have noticed in the above screenshots, I do have a brightness slider. This might not be unusual, if it weren’t for that fact that this is my desktop machine. Last week I purchased a 24″ 4K IPS desktop monitor for a pretty affordable price. It is just gorgeous, and most importantly it does not require MST but announces itself as a single panel. Just set your font DPI to 192 and you’re mostly set.
I haven’t used a desktop computer at home ever since I bought a high-resolution Ultrabook back in 2012. Now sitting at a desk for one week there’s been one thing I really missed: Being able to just mouse wheel the battery icon to adjust brightness.
Today I discovered that my monitor supports DDC allowing to manipulate screen brightness through software. After a bit of research I found a tool called ddccontrol that is capable of communicating with your monitor. After one hour of hacking I managed to add support for that into PowerDevil. You cannot see that on the picture of course, so trust me. ;) I’m quite confident to get that into 5.3.