Archivi categoria: utility

Paleontology 4 Geologist

For those people not really aware of what the paleontology really is, I can briefly define the paleontology as the science in charge of study the history of life. For a Geologist the paleontology is more than important as it represents the basis to, such as:

  • place in time a geologic record
  • understand the geological context
  • deduce a lot of other useful information

For a better explanation I suggest some reading like this one and – for a wider view – wikipedia.

A few years ago I was studying invertebrate paleontology at the University of Pavia and I was terribly in need of someone or something able to train me with random questions about fossils before the exam 🙂

At that time I was also working for an IT company in Lodi and I had no much free time to study with other classmates that’s why I decided to quickly prototype a simple computer application using Qt and C++ called p4d.

The purpose of p4d* was to randomly select questions from a database and to show them in the form of a multiple choice assessment.

The database was manually built using the information made available – in italian – through the labels of each fossil from the museum of the faculty of Geology.

We have to look at the fossil, to describe it properly: that’s why I also made photos of our samples to improve the experience with p4d (and especially to be able to do some training outside the museum 😛 ).

P4D was able to check for the correctness of the given answer by pressing the Check button.

Even if quite basic and w/o frippery, it worked as expected and I really enjoyed coding with QtCreator on my Mageia to build something useful and portable in a few hours 🙂

In a couple of weeks, after have asked some classmate for feedbacks, it became clear to me that this kind of tool was nice enough to be published but… how?

To avoid porting, packaging and distribution issues I finally choose to go through the web: I quickly rewrote p4d using PHP and JavaScript, with the precious help provided by the CodeIgniter and jQuery frameworks. P4G (i.e. Paleontology for Geologist) was born 😉

This way also the maintenance becomes definitely a piece of cake 😉

Far from perfection, Paleontology 4 Geologist (P4G) is a simple tool to verify your invertebrate fossils skills. It’s free to use, give it a try 😉

* p4d = Paleontology 4 Dummies

PS: just like any piece of software out there, bugs could be found so feel free to report them using the button Found a bug and reading the instructions; I’ll try to fix them asap. And remember, there’s no warranty

Speeding up APT

As someone knows using multiple connections to download files could be helpful to speed up the upgrading processes (take a look to urpmi).

Apt is definetly a good tool provided by debian, but from this point of view it could be “improved” (see notes below).

Here you can see the way I’ve reduced my download times using only apt, axel and -obviously- bash:

# ( cd /var/cache/apt/archives/ && apt-get -y --print-uris install $package | grep ^' | awk '{print $1}' | xargs -i axel -n 25 -a {} )

Notes: downloading files through multiple connections does not represent the best solution because the increasing number of connections leads to an increased load of the server plus other nasty things. A better way could be a wider usage of debdelta. Take a look to YUM presto plugin.

ShutDown when I want


Considering that on Windows XP x64 and on all the Vista versions the shutdown executable accepts a delay of 600 seconds only, I’ve written this basic utility using dotNet.
Considerato il fatto che su Windows XP x64 e su Windows Vista l’eseguibile per lo shutdown è stato castrato con un delay massimo di 600 secondi, mi sono scritto questa piccola utility in dotNet per impostare lo spegnimento automatico quando meglio credo (io e non zio Bill).




Ecco una semplice utility – Kiosk Manager – (realizzata in dotNet) atta a semplificare la realizzazione di un chiosco in ambiente windows XP / Vista.
Su Vista ricordatevi di eseguirla con privilegi di amministratore.

Piccolo howto:
* All’avvio viene richiesto subito se si è sicuri di avere avviato l’applicazione con diritti di amministratore.
* La maschera di base contiene i bottoni [Attiva kiosk] [Disattiva/Ripristina] e [About].
* Per iniziare la configurazione del chiosco premete su [Attiva Kiosk] e vi verrà presentata un’ulteriore maschera.
* In questa finestra, intitolata più o meno Choose executable, dovete selezionare, premendo il pulsante [Browse…], l’eseguibile che volete sia eseguito nella vostra postazione/chiosco. Se l’eseguibile necessita di parametri addizionali dovete trascriverli nel box sottostante, appunto Arguments.
* Premendo su [Accept] il gioco è fatto.
* Se dovete tornare alla configurazione di default di windows, premete [Disattiva/Ripristina].

Buon divertimento