Cat’s Panic

It’s been 8 years since the last time I wrote a videogame just for personal fun. As it’s now become a tradition, I took advantage of the extra focused personal time I usually have on the Christmas season and gave a try to Processing to do my own “advent of code”. It’s a programming environment based on Java that offers a similar visual, canvas-based experience to the one I enjoyed as a child in 8 bit computers. I certainly found coding there to be a pleasant and fun experience.

So, what I coded is called Cat’s Panic, my own version of a known arcade game with a similar name. In this version, the player has to unveil the outline of a hidden cute cat on each stage.

The player uses the arrow keys to control a cursor that can freely move inside a border line. When pressing space, the cursor can start an excursion to try to cover a new area of the image to be unveiled. If any of the enemies touches the excursion path, the player loses a life. The excursion can be canceled at any time by releasing the space key. Enemies can be killed by trapping them in a released area. A stage is completed when 85% of the outline is unveiled.

Although this game is released under GPLv2, I don’t recommend anybody to look at its source code. It breaks all principles of good software design, it’s messy, ugly, and it’s only purpose was to make the developing process entertaining for me. You’ve been warned.

I’m open to contributions in the way of new cat pictures that add more stages to the already existing ones, though.

You can get the source code in the GitHub repository and a binary release for Linux here (with all the Java dependencies, which weight a lot).

Meow, enjoy!

A practical recipe to enqueue interesting stuff to read in free time

I guess some of you already know about as a very useful tool to organize the random webpages about interesting stuff that you find in the internet while casually browsing.

What I’ve realized today is that Delicious can also offer your bookmarks as an RSS feed and you can take advantage of that feature to keep a TO DO list of websites and articles you’d like to have a look at. It’s simple, just bookmark the interesting pages in Delicious with a “todo” tag and then subscribe to using your favorite RSS reader.

You’ll have a nice feed ready to be reviewed. The expiration policy of you feed reader will track those pages already reviewed and hide them to you.

Contact sync between K800i, and

Today I’ve finally figured out how to syncronize my contacts, calendar, bookmarks, tasks and notes between my Sony Ericsson K800i mobile phone and Gmail, learning how to synchronize them with the data utility in in the way.

I’ve googled around and read so many web pages that I can’t list all them here. I’ll just post the result here as a recipe for people having a similar phone model:


Just go to , create an account, tell them your phone model and number and follow the instrucions. They will send you an SMS, but if you don’t receive it (as it was for me), there’s a link to get the connection instructions by hand. These are my settings:

  • Server address:
  • User name: A random alphanumeric sequence that they create for you
  • Password: Another random alphanumeric sequence that they create for you
  • Connection: Choose your default internet connection here
  • Applications: Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Bookmarks (choose the ones you want to sync)
  • Apps. settings: Use the following database names for each one of the services: con, cal, task, pnote, bmark
  • Sync interval: disabled
  • Remote initialization: Always ask
  • Remote security: leave it empty

For Gmail:

  • Server address:
  • User name: Your gmail name without “”
  • Password: Your gmail password
  • Connection: Choose your default internet connection here
  • Applications: Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Bookmarks (choose the ones you want to sync)
  • Apps. settings: Use the following name for the contacts database: contacts. i don’t know if the other services are available.
  • Sync interval: disabled
  • Remote initialization: Always ask
  • Remote security: leave it empty

I hope this post to be useful for other people struggling around out there to do the same task. I’d liked very much to have found it while I was googling. If this info is useful to set up other phone models/brands with slight variations, I’d also like to know about them. Please, post a comment about your own experience.

Enjoy it! 🙂

Hi-tech copper coil motor

During last months I’m attending CAP (Curso de Aptitude Pedagóxica, Teaching Ability Course). The subject I chose was “technology”, and we are developing some projects in the classes.

One of that projects was about making a home made electric motor using simple materials: a magnet, coiling copper wire, metal wire, cables, insulating tape and cardboard.

Cut 9 meters of coiling copper wire, loop it around two fingers and wrap it with insulating tape to fix the coil. Make an axis with straight metal wire and pierce the coil with it. Then, using insulate tape, fix the two copper wires in parallel side by side as close to the metal wire as possible, but avoiding short circuiting. Mount the axis over a framework made with cardboard and place the magnet under the coil. Scrape off the insulating varnish from the copper wire and attach two cable brushes to them, trying not to make a short circuit. Connect both cables to a 9V battery, give the coil an initial spin and… what you see is what you get:

Microelectronics and the Personal Computer

Today I was looking in Google for some information about the Xerox PARC Alto computer system. Alto was the first experimental personal computer having a mouse, a window environment, ethernet booting capabilities, sound, light pen, microphone, music keyboard and SmallTalk programming language for the affordable cost of US $32000 (in 1979).

While searching for that information, I found an article written two months before I was birth by Alan Kay for Scientific American, named “Microelectronics and the Personal Computer“. In this article, Alan shows the system and unveils all its potential. Such a system was comparable, in that age, to the printing invention, radio or TV. Its main improvement was the ability to simulate an environment, to be used as a tool to rise human abstraction and trial/error capabilities.

Mr. Kay was also worried by the fact of all that potential could also be misused, in the same way that the fact for a city having a public library doesn’t automatically bring knowledge to its inhabitants, or broadcasting scientific TV programs doesn’t make the audience to become a scientific.

It’s a pity to see how some of the worst worries of Mr. Kay have become into reality. Nowadays children don’t use computers as a tool for world exploration and experimentation, but as a copy-paste machine, a hand bounded interactive movie.

It’s a pity to see how the hard work of teaching envisioners, like Seymour Papert, has been thrown away to the trash can. Learning tools, like the Logo programming language, have been dismissed, and new ones, like Squeak, are still unknown to the teachers nowadays.

We know what computers are today but, what could they have been?

It’s a sad week

It’s a sad week. Galicia, our homeland, is burning in flames. At this moment, more than 50 fires are burning without control. And the worst of all is that the main part of them are caused by men.

I can’t believe how such unresponsible and stupid people can exist. What kind of madness or obscure interests can force them to cause a fire started in some points at the same time, in order to be difficult to suffocate it? What’s the point of so many FEDER grants, so many improvements and innovations, so many animal repopulation and tree reforestation, if at the end there are people that don’t care about Galicia?

The time status at Vigo local weather station today wasn’t “sun”, “clouds” or “fog”, it was “smoke”. I’m desolated.

Smoke at Vigo (Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain)

Corporate T-Shirts

Igalia is renewing its corporate image. In the beginning, we decide to order the logo design to Jon Hicks (the creator of the Firefox and Thunderbird logo), but he was very busy and recommended us to get in touch with Denis Radenkovic, from

As the new logo was born, we are progressive changing all our corporate image: web, presentation cards, document templates… and even have decided to order t-shirts. Here is the result:

Igalia T-Shirt (front)Igalia T-Shirt (back)

Do you like it?

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.