Firewall (the movie)

Today I’ve been to see Harrison Ford’s movie. What a surprise! These Hollywood guys haven’t had time enough to make mistakes about computers and hackers, simply because the main plot of the movie isn’t hacking or computing, it’s kidnapping.

The hero is a fifty-some years old director at some lost network security department of an important bank. Everybody wearing suits, a very “corporative” look, and all very serious and boring. There are nothing about hacking, so there aren’t pitfalls about it. 🙂

About the movie itself? Well, if you like thrillers and action movies, it could be for you, but don’t expect much more.

My first Python game

This evening I’ve been doing some testing in Python to see the language power. I love making little videogames, so, why not to try it in Python?

Pygame is a module that makes easier the task, providing classes and functions to manage the display, sprites, collisions, fonts… and has a documentation good enough. Using that documentacion, the Python language reference, a sprite managing tutorial and googling here and there, I’ve developed this tiny example: a number mental calculus videogame.

Number mental calculus videogame

The player starts with the number zero, and collecting some sheets in a particular order, can perform arithmetic operations on his/her base number in order to get the goal number.

The main character in the game has “momentum”, so it’s a bit tricky to have control over it. You can press [ESC] whenever you wish to terminate the program, and then press any key.

If you like, you can download the source code and try it. I would be very proud of reading comments about it. 🙂

2007-03-11 UPDATE: I’ve received a request to make clear under which license is the code published. You can consider the python source code file (and NOT the icon files)published under public domain, as well as under GPL license. The problem about the icons are that they are borrowed from some KDE style package I can’t remember about (and I’ve tried hard). Such package should be GPL or similar also, but I can’t state it for sure.

2008-11-26 UPDATE:
I’ve adapted the source code to run on Ubuntu Hardy. Download the new version from here.

Converting OpenOffice documents using command line 2.0 splash screenNow that 2 is getting more and more popular, people is starting to migrate and to write documents in ODT format. However, for people who still aren’t able to install OO2 on their machines (outdated distros, outdated hardware or whatever) it’s a pain to receive such documents by email.

It would be nice to have a tool that allows command line document conversion. So, a company can have that tool installed on a centralized host and the users would ssh into it in order to convert documents. to old formats or even to PDF.

Browsing the web, I have found an article telling exactly how to do that. I’ve tried the instructions and all worked fine.

I went beyond and move the macros to a common place (/opt/openoffice.org2.0/presets/basic/ConvertidorPDF), so they can be used by all users without the need to install them in every account. You may need to edit some script.xlb files to make it work, just have a look about how it has been done for the other macros and macro libraries.

In addition to that, I wrote a script and put it in /usr/local/bin, so all users can now convert documents to the format they like without the need to launch any window.

I stopped here, but I’ve great ideas in mind: create a kind of CGI, maybe in PHP, and publish a webpage in our intranet, so everyone could go there, submit his or her document, and receive a PDF or an older format.

English learning radio

The EarthPast week I discovered a new radio station in the Vigo area while driving in my car. The point about that station is that it’s focused into English learning and the speakers are talking in English all the time. Listening to it is a good way to practice English listening and so get used to different English stresses (american, english and scottish) and levels (from children to high level).

The station can be tuned at 91.8FM or listened in internet through this Playlist (if it doesn’t work, try the direct stream URL). You can also visit Vaughan Systems main page or the Vaughan Radio page to get more information.

Making usermode linux work

During this month I’ve been using my spare time to update my Linux system administration knowlegde, that was a bit outdated. One of the basic things I couldn’t live anymore whithout was usermode linux, so I put myself at work an decided to learn about it.

Next, I’m going to explain the steps taken to put usermode linux working for me. At the end, you will find internet references that would help you in the process. Continue reading Making usermode linux work

Discovering Python

This afternoon, listening Dape‘s comments, I’ve been curious about Python and decided to give it a try.

Looking at the official documentation I discovered that it’s much like pseudocode and indent and colons (“:”) play an important role in the language. It hasn’t semicolons (“;”) and follows the rule “a line, a sentence”. It’s a very curious language… and doesn’t seems difficult to learn.

As some of you already know, I like KDE very much, so I decided to research about if a KDE program could be made using Python. I discovered PyKDE, but it isn’t included in Sarge. I found also a tutorial on writing Qt applications, so I give it a try. It seemed interesting. 🙂

Hello world screenshot