The University of Namur’s library has some wonderful building, local, regional and national maps on their NEPTUN site. They provide a Google Map like pan and zoom functionality using a commercial Flash program called Zoomify. It’s unfortunate they chose to pay for functionality that’s freely available from OpenLayers or Leaflet. Regardless of this the data is not downloadable as a large file. I do not see why data such as this is not made easily and freely available. As a University it seems that it should be encouraging the sharing of past knowledge. In order to help them, and because a colleague asked me for a map, I have created a script that downloads all the tiles and reorganize them into one image. The script and instructions are on github. It’s obvious why it’s called Poseidon right?
I previously completed the steps of setting up a Raspberry Pi from an unconfigured box to a stable simple server over the network. In this post I will mount a hard drive and place mysql on it as well as data on a separate partition. We’ll also enable outbound emails, cron jobs as well as a few other bits. The topics covered will be a bit scattered. I should mention that as we dive a little deeper into the OS it’s important to note that this Raspberry Pi is running Raspian, a Debian derivative.
I purchased a pair of Raspberry Pis (Model B) from ModMyPi to use for my data gathering. My doctoral work requires data from bike-share systems such as Velib’ in Paris. I will be scraping many sites repeatedly for the next couple of years. I wanted a distributed system that could resist theft/fire, hard-drive failure and internet service interruptions while still being affordable. Going with my current host would not have been possible due to my long term capacity requirements of about 40GB and the costs associated with those requirements. I considered using Amazon’s Web Service but don’t want to lose control of my data and I’m not sure the cost is worthwhile compared to using a couple Raspberry Pis (RPi). I wanted to share my process because most existing tutorials ask you to connect your RPi to a monitor/TV for setup. That’s no longer required since SSH is enabled by default. I also desired documenting my steps so that I can exactly replicated my setup for my second RPi.
Gaëlle has been a big fan of the Peppa pig series over the last year since she received one of the DVDs as gift. One of the earlier episodes has Peppa and George playing a chicken computer game while sitting on their father’s knees. It’s a simple but exponentially chaotic game. I thought I could create something similar. I give you Pock Pock. It’s a simple and somewhat crude game but I’m quite happy with having created a game that has mouse and keyboard interaction, (some) sound effects and networking. Give Pock Pock a whirl. Gaëlle does not ever use the computer and as a result does not quite have the mouse-screen coordination to play the game yet.
Web design has changed enormously in the last 10 years. CSS has now been broadly accepted. That wasn’t the case back in 2005 when sites such as CSS Zen Garden were trying to gain attention to CSS. When CSS Zen Garden appeared they showed impressive and motivating examples of using CSS. The examples no longer pop or look impressive. They look standard or even plain compared to HTML5/CSS3 websites. The web has progressed and adopted CSS so that CSS Zen Garden is no longer impressive. Sites with CSS always had a distinctive look to them that netizens took time to accept. Today non-CSS pages are unacceptable.
Although I tend to constantly dabble in web design I rarely construct a fully functional website for consumers/public. I’ve designed/developed plenty of simple pages to present SVG and web applications but they don’t have high levels of interaction in terms of data input/output. One of the earliest occasions I created a fully functional site was for uvicultimate.com back in 2001. It was a successful site for UVic intramural ultimate as it became the place to go to to check for schedules and update your ultimate team profile. The domain has since been taken over for the ultimate team.
The GRUL website for the Greater Region Ultimate League (the area surrounding and including Luxembourg) is once again ultimate frisbee related. It was developed in an effort to encourage the growth of ultimate in the region which has few large cities that can support a league on its own. The challenge was to design a super simple website that people can use to interact with other teams and standings that encourage friendly competition. I was also trying to minimize site usage time so that people can get back out to the fields. I used a Lightbox variant that allows me to overlay iframes for all the form contents. All the site’s content, except for the FAQ page, is on one page. I’m still not 100% convinced with the styling. I will update it if the site is effective.
A few months back I completed an SVG palette for use with the dotifier. It makes selecting colours for any purpose much easier. I decided to modularize it for future projects and also make it available for others. You can test it and download the source files on the app’s page.
My current employer is growing fast yet is limited in office space. The official policy went from ‘hire many people to populate our offices’ to ‘if you hire someone please densify your offices’. One year ago offices where getting their second occupant but we are now many three occupants per office. The temporary building with temporary offices were designed to have two people per office. Getting three people to fit nicely in a comfortable and productive setting isn’t so easy.
A few people created paper models of the different furniture options and room constraint to get an idea of what was possible. I though of throwing together a quick SVG/JS application that would allow people to move furniture around would be useful. It took a bit longer than I expected but I’m happy with the result: Furnissure
I created two modes: Fill mode which randomly dotify’s the areas created, and Pen mode which allows you to draw on the canvas using a ‘dot’ pen of a desired thickness and lead in/out. You can get all sorts of fun effects by combining these. Go ahead and try it yourself. It works in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome – slight problems with Opera. Internet Explorer has no chance.
dot_clean terminal command can fix some of the problems OS X creates for itself by using dot underscore files to store folder content information. I have recently encountered two problems due to this. Last week I was not able to copy files to a FAT32 formatted PC USB drive. Attempting to spit out the unhelpful Error -36. Only a few days later I was unable to successfully compress data using the right-click Compress command. It hung when reaching 99.5%. The
dot_clean command used in terminal fixes both issues.