free eBook galore: Python

There are more than 10 free eBooks available about Python:

… like “Dive into Python”:

1590593561.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V1110519742_

“This is a fantastic book that is also available in print. It covers everything, from installing Python and the language’s syntax, right up to web services and unit testing. This is a good book to learn from, but it’s also excellent to use a reference. I frequently find myself visiting the site! If you only read one book on this list make it this one.”

other eBooks:

An Introduction to Tkinter
How to think like a Computer Scientist
The Standard Python Library
Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python
The Django Book
The Pylons Book
Data Structures and Algorithms with Object-Oriented Design Patterns in Python
Building Skills in Python
Building Skills in OO Design

Source 1: Dive into Python
Source 2: An Introduction to Tkinter
Source 3: How to think like a Computer Scientist
Source 4: The Standard Python Library
Source 5: Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python
Source 6: The Django Book
Source 7: The Pylons Book
Source 8: Data Structures and Algorithms with Object-Oriented Design Patterns in Python
Source 9: Building Skills in Python
Source 10: Building Skills in OO Design

“Unix is a user hostile operating system”

I found the almost complete “Computer Chronicles” recordings on archive.org – and boy this is fun!

I picked some episodes and found very interesting things – like this particular episode from 1985. It’s about Unix and obviously one of the presenters has his very own opinion about Unix.

Source: Computer Chronicles 1985 “Unix”

Spacetime Math tools

If you searching a tool for Windows, Linux, OSX and your windows mobile device…you may want to take a look at this:

“SpaceTime 3.0 by SpaceTime Mathematics is a revolution in mathematics software with 2D, 3D, and time graphing with MobileCAS® for algebra and calculus. With features only available in Mathematica and MATLAB, SpaceTime is the most powerful cross-platform mathematics software ever developed for computers and mobile devices.

spacetime

Source: http://www.spacetime.us/

turn new pictures into old ones…the Bakumatsu picture generator

“Bakumatsu were the final years of the Edo period in Japan. It was a turning point in Japanese history as it was the end of the period of isolation in Japan. The feudal way of governing was coming to an end, and the start of the Meiji government, which would later take Japan to the world power status.”

This is a very cool picture effect free to use which turns this:

original

into this:

stvhzvzz-20080825040823

Source: http://labs.wanokoto.jp/olds

futuristic user interfaces…

This is a very impressive overview of new user interface ideas. It’s a fact that we need new userinterfaces for all kinds of use cases – and as it turns out there are unbelievable cool things going on in the UI research.

Good user interfaces are crucial for good user experience. It doesn’t matter how good a technology is — if we, designers, don’t manage to make user interface as intuitive and attractive as possible, the technology will hardly reach a breakthrough. To gain the interest in a new product or technology, users need to understand its advantages or find themselves impressed or involved.

And here is where creative ideas and unusual interface approaches become important. Innovative doesn’t mean usable and usable hardly means innovative. As usual, it’s necessary to find an optimal trade-off. And some user interfaces manage to achieve just that.”

1

Source: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/17/10-futuristic-user-interfaces/

how to create your own photosynth

Photosynth is publicly available and it’s time to give it a try and play with the technology. Before starting you should be aware of some facts about the public photosynth technology-preview:

  1. all synths are uploaded and only available online (broadband needed)
  2. all synths are public, everyone can access them
  3. the synther tool runs only on Windows
  4. you’ll need a Live ID

When everything is checked you can go and upload up to 20 Gbytes of image data – my test synth takes up 200 Mbytes of the available space – so you have plenty of space to play with.

To start just install the photosynth application to view – and click “create” on the website. After the obligatory login you immediately can upload your pictures. Give it a name, ssome tags and a license and select your pictures.

createsynth_step2

Your pictures should show the same scene from different perspectives – photosynth is all about matching perspectives. After clicking on “Synth” the process starts.

createsynth_step3

And after a surprisingly short period of time your synth is done. Click on “View Synth” and you’re taken back to the website and you can browse your synth. That’s it – easy!

createsynth_step5

Source 1: my first photosynth
Source 2: Photosynth is open for the public
Source 3: create a synth

Fixing the bad bad mouse acceleration in Mac OS X

I finally found a fix for the unspeakable mouse acceleration problem I have with MacOS X. It’s just a fact that Apple seems to have no idea how to do the mouse handling. Some people say it’s the mouse acceleration curve that apple got wrong:

“As wonderful as Mac OS X is, it has a grave defect that can have an immediate adverse impact on the computer’s usability: the way it translates mouse motion into pointer movement. For many users, moving the mouse feels unnatural because of the peculiar way that Mac OS X performs that translation. In industry parlance, the translation is called the “mouse acceleration curve.” What is a mouse acceleration curve, and how is its implementation problematic under Mac OS X?”

It’s a problem I can live with but I am not happy. With Panther and Tiger I had a solution called MacMiceCommand. But with Leopard this solution stopped working and until I found this:

“This is a GUI version of Richard Bentley’s MouseFix. (i)MouseFix is a very simple program that will allow you to regain control of the mouse acceleration in Mac OS X. Both this web page and the program copies large parts from MouseFix because he says: “feel free to take the code and wrap a nice interface round it. Be nice and make it free for everyone to use though :-)””

Source 1: mouse acceleration explained
Source 2: http://www.lavacat.com/iMouseFix/

Photosynth is open for the public

Believe it or not – it’s been 2 years since I first wrote about Photosynth technology. Today Microsoft made it available to the public. It’s not a tool (yet) – like I wanted – right now but it’s built into this website – so you have to upload your pictures, they are processed and then you can browse on this website… well it’s a start for a really great technology.

“We’re pleased to announce the first full release of Photosynth, available now at photosynth.com. Photosynth takes a collection of regular photographs and reconstructs the scene or object in a 3-D environment. For those of you who have seen the videos or tried our tech preview, you could experience synths that we made in the lab and get a feel for what Photosynth is and how it works. But now, for the first time ever you can create synths from your own pictures and share them with your friends. Explore great synths from others or create a few of your own.”

halo3photosynth

It’s not going to work on anything different than Windows. So stick to the movies if you’re on anything else. But as far as I know it’ll run o

Source 1: http://photosynth.net/Default.aspx
Source 2: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,fdc3d1fb-4966-418b-83ea-1e0c12aae833.aspx

giving better looking presentations: pptPlex

There’s a new free tool available from officelabs:

“pptPlex is a plug-in that explores an alternate method for presenting a PowerPoint slide deck. Using pptPlex, you can present your slides as a tour through a zoomable canvas instead of a series of linear slides.”

pptplex

Source: http://www.officelabs.com/projects/pptPlex/Pages/default.aspx

how to push an INN NNTP newsserver dump to a new newsserver…

I happen to have this ginormous archive from a local newsserver – more than 14 gigabytes of text and more than 8 years of history. Now this archive is a dump from the INN NNTP server that was previously used. It’s one folder per newsgroup and one file per article.

So I now want to integrate that archive into my own new newsserver – so what I am going to do is: Writing a small client application that can push all the articles from the folders to the new newsserver via nntp procotol.

Since the NNTP protocol is trivial to code and to explain I won’t reimplement it once again – instead I am going to use Randy Charles Morins nice article about accessing NNTP servers with C#:

“NNTP is an older fading protocol in the Internet protocol family. The protocol is used to retrieve news from news server, a.k.a. NetNews servers. The protocol works by posting messages into various forums, a.k.a. newsgroups. Then other end-users can read the recent posts in the forums. There also exist protocols for distributing NetNews contents amongst various NetNews servers, allowing thousands of servers to share news and forums. The most popular news server is of course Microsoft’s [nntp://news.microsoft.com]. More often than not, you can launch your NetNews client by typing the nntp URL in your browser’s address bar.”

I just made a quick-n-dirty addition of NNTP USER/PASS Authentification because my new server needs a username/password authentification. (NNTP Authentification is specified in RFC 4643)

The tool is easy to use since it’s command line and only takes simple parameters:

pushtonntp

Grab the source and compiled binary here: PushToNNTP.zip (32,82 KB)

I release all of this under cc-by-nc-sa license.

Source 1: http://www.developerfusion.co.uk/show/4472/1/
Source 2: http://www.rfc-archive.org/getrfc.php?rfc=4643
Source 3: PushToNNTP.zip (32,82 KB)

“Virtualization for Dummies” free eBook is available for download

Thanks to Sun and AMD there’s now a free eBook available for download:

“Virtualization for Dummies – Sun and AMD Special Edition is now available! Published by the same folks who create all the “Dummies” books – this special edition version showcases Sun and AMD virtualization offerings, how they work together, and how they can benefit businesses. Learn about the latest virtualization technologies with this brief and easy-to-read booklet.”

virtualfordum

Source: Virtualization for Dummies Download

Vote for us! Stimmt ab für SONES

Ich hatte ja darüber berichtet dass unser kleines Startup “SONES” von der INTERNET World Business zur Wahl der besten Businessidee 2008 nominiert wurde. Nun sind wir unter die ersten 20 gekommen und jeder der es möchte hat die Chance uns bei dieser Wahl zu unterstützen:

Für uns kann man unter diesem Link voten :-):

vodeinternet

Vote-link

Source: initial article

Widelands – an opensource Settlers II clone

Logo

Widelands-Screen

From the wiki about section:

“In Widelands, you are the regent of a small tribe. You start out with nothing but your headquarters, a kind of castle in which all your resources are stored. In the course of the game, you will build an ever growing settlement. Every member of your tribe will do his or her part to produce more resources – wood, food, iron, gold and more – to further this growth. But you are not alone in the world, and you will meet other tribes sooner or later. Some of them may be friendly and trade with you. However, if you want to rule the world, you will have to train soldiers and fight.

Widelands offers a unique style of play. For example, a system of roads plays the central role of your economy: all the goods that are harvested and processed by the tribe must be transported from one building to the next. This is done by carriers, and those carriers always walk along the roads. It is your job to lay out the roads as efficiently as possible.

Another refreshing aspect of the game is the way you command your tribe. There is no need to tell every single one of your subjects what to do – that would be impossible, because there can be thousands of them! Instead, all you’ve got to do is order them to build a building somewhere, and the builders will come. Similarly, whenever you want to attack an enemy, just place an order to attack one of their barracks, and your soldiers will march to fight. You’re really a ruler: You delegate in times of war and in times of peace!

Widelands offers single-player mode with different campaigns; the campaigns all tell storys of tribes or Empires and their struggle in the Widelands universe! However, settling really starts when you unite with friends over the Internet or LAN to build up new empires together – or to crush each other in the dusts of war. Widelands also offers an Artifical Intelligence to challenge you.

In the end, Widelands will be extensible, so that you can create your own type of tribe with their own sets of buildings. You can create new worlds to play in, and you could even create new types of worlds (who says you can’t build a settlement on the moon?). ”

Source: http://xoops.widelands.org/

When a site redesign isn’t accepted by your users…

…they eventually start making their own layout of your site… And you cannot do anything about it but listening to them!

A few days ago a big it-news site in germany relaunched it’s site with a new fixed-with-all-left layout. And more than 3000 comments by users had one and only thing to say: We don’t like it.

They disliked it that much that a few sat down and created their own site layouts by using firefox plugins like “stylish” – where you can create your own styles for sites.

beforeafter

I always wanted to see what these style-altering plugins can do but I never had the drive to think me into it…

Source: http://userstyles.org/styles/9589

littleBits – modular electronics that sticks together

It’s like lego for electronic circuits:

“littleBits is an opensource library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. Just as Legos allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, space-sensitive blocks that make prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to move electronics from late stages of the design process to its earliest ones, and from the hands of experts, to those of artists, makers and designers.”

Source: http://www.ayahbdeir.com/littleBits/