Programming, microcontrollers and photography

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06 Nov 2012
Posted by Administrator

I've done several Drupal installations and upgrades, none of them run as bad as my own site. is badly maintained because I do not take the time to work on it. The upgrade to Drupal 7 is postponed that for a long time, but is needed right now.
One of the consequences of bad maintenance is that I receive more and more spam-comments. I installed a Captcha module, but spammers have their way around that too. For the moment I stopped commenting, after the upgrade (or migration to other platform) I will open commenting again.

Android tutorials

20 Aug 2012
Posted by John

I'm working with 3 high-school students to get them (and myself) started with programming Android devices. Once a week we meet and I try to explain small basic steps. At this moment, the very begininng, I'm using material from these three sources:
Android Developers
Here you'll find all the getting-started stuff you'll need. Installation manuals for the Android SDK, links to Eclipse and the Eclipse Plugin. And you'll find an explanation of the framework long with some easy-to-d

Posted by John

 Hopefully you are familiar with The Noun Project. The mission of this project:The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world's visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way. Currently there are about 1000 icons in the collection.

Like these: 

The images are high-quality vector based SVG files. But they are black only, would it not be nice to be able to personalize them like these:

Posted by John

We worked on the following plugin earlier, but here it was for ELGG 1.8. This time the code will be for 1.7.10 and have a slightly easier way of using.
The plugin is built around this code:
$from = array("group", "groups", "Group", "Groups");
$to = array("project", "projects", "Project", "Projects");
foreach ($CONFIG->translations["en"] as $key => $value) {
  $CONFIG->translations["en"][$key] = str_replace($from, $to, $value);
It will run through all known english texts and search/replace the strings. Now, the only thing you have to do is change the $from and $to arrays with your choice.

Posted by John

For our Open Design project (later more on this) I need to draw flightpaths between objects in a browser window. After some searching I found help in paper.js. You can do amazing animations with it, have a look at this rainbow example.
paper.js rainbow example
paper.js rainbow example

It's HTML5 which might be a problem for our project, but it's a good example of what future web application might have in store.

Posted by John

In our Development Team meeting we decided we will develop our elgg based website in two tracks: one in 1.8beta and one based on the current release 1.79. Today I started the downgrade to elgg 1.79.

Because I also develop software for IIS, I want to create a development environment on my laptop with IIS/PHP/MySQL instead of the usual Apache/PHP/MySQL. Normally that is not a big problem, main thing -most of the time- is importing the rewrite rules from the .htaccess file. In elgg it is not different, but the documentation is a bit incomplete at this point.

Posted by John

What to do if you are not happy with a certain translation or text in elgg? You can look up the texts in the elgg sources and change them, but that would mean you could not update freely. After update you would have to check your texts again. This very simple plugin puts your new texts in a plugin that you can load and unload whenever you like. It's an example you can change to your needs.

Posted by John

Suddenly I'm in the middle of two "Social Networking" projects. Both are to be build on open sourced software. For one of them it is almost certain that we will run on elgg, we started the design/development phase for that. The other one is not sure, but Drupal might be the most interesting one. I'm working on the documentation for that one.

Elgg is an "open source social networking engine". It is software, written in PHP that allows you to run a facebook-like website on your own server. The fun part -for me at least- is that there are pretty easy ways to create plugins that enhance the functionality of your network. 

Posted by John

As you can see in this picture, the relative humidity in our place was very high during the winter monsoon. I do not know if it really was 99%, but it was high enough to give trouble drying our laundry, which makes all clothes stink. That is a small problem compared to what the high humidiy does to our digital cameras: if the fungus that makes clothes smell gets on the CCD or inside the lens, they wil be permanently damaged.

There is electrical equipment for reducing humidity, but a moisture absorber as descibed here does a decent job by using the natural properties of Silica gel.

Posted by John

A couple of months ago I had 2 Texas Instruments Launchpads delivered. Looking for the right way to put the MSP 430 microcontrollers on breadboards once it was tested and programmed in the Launchpad I found this:
MSP 430 Low Power Experiment
In that article you'll find information on running an MSP430 on capacitors for weeks and driving an LCD display without the usual HD44780.


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