flok writes: The 17 and 18th of October, the 49th computer chess tournament by the Dutch computer chess association will be held in Leiden, the Netherlands. Since Kasparov lost a couple of matches in the previous century, the development of chess programs did not stop. In fact Deep Blue will be dwarfed by the current chess programs. Also a surprising number of people are creating new chess programs. New techniques for parallelizing tree-searches, tricks for cutting branches of the search-tree, different evaluations. Everybody is welcomed to pay a visit and if you like you can participate with your own chess engine as well!
flok writes: Barbie has always been something from the old age. Mostly static, no interaction, no blinken lights; just dead plastic. I pulled her into the 21th century and made an animatronic from her. To make the update not to invasive I used the smallest Arduino available. To improve the exhibition I added some emulated candles in the groundplate. In the link you'll find photo's of all steps together with a video from the result.
flok writes: We all love the arduino with its 2KB of RAM and not much more than 16MHz of speed. Normally we use only one in a project but a thought came to me: what if I take a couple of them and put those in a cluster? I started soldering and the result is 4 Arduinos connected to each other via an I2C bus and all directed by a Raspberry Pi. Together these 4 Arduinos calculate the Mandelbrot fractal, directed by the Raspberry Pi (it divides/schedules the work between the Arduinos). On my website you'll find a demonstration, schematics and all source code. In theory a cluster of at least 120 Arduinos could be setup. Electrical power is the limit!
flok writes: IRC is old. IRC is of the dark ages of the internet. One would think that everything has been implemented and invented in the client software of it. Well, no. f-irc, a relatively unknown IRC client with a "different" user interface introduces a new concept: the marker line. No more "now where did I leave off when I changed channel", the markerline will tell you where you were! Rumor has it the idea was stolen from multitail.
flok writes: BitMessage allows you to send e-mails truly anonymous. It also hides from where you're sending, to what location you send your message to and the contents of the e-mail. It is like using PGP/GPG but without the hassle of distributing keys. The way it does all of this (technically) is copied from bitcoin. Remembering a BitMessage address might be a bit of a challenge though (e.g. BM-Gu86guT7aSL68SuMd7Uhkq9tYcAc7Hti).
flok writes: Pinging a webserver used to be boring. An endless of stream of black on white text with uninteresting numbers that no-one comprehends. An end has come to this depressing situation with HTTPing v2.3.1! This program which not only measures the network-latency but also the responsiveness of the webserver itself, introduces fancy graphics with lots of colors compatible with every terminal capable of displaying ncurses output! Check out the youtube video to see what this is all about.
flok writes: It is nice when your open source pet project is populair but sometimes the constant stream of feature requests can be intimidating. The CatInCan website can help you with prioritizing your efforts while making some money on the side. See it as a Kickstarter-variant where people can raise funds to get functionality in software realised or maybe to get that long ignored bug fixed. It works a most people like a financial incentive!
flok writes: There are a couple of commercial products which can tell you where you are by the mac addresses from access points in your neighbourhood. E.g. the iphone uses this. There's now an open offering for this: OpenWLANMap. With this website, you can enter your access point mac address with your GPS location and then others can use that to navigate. There is also an App for your mobile which automatically enters this data and you can upload data from e.g. Airomap and other wardriving applications.
flok writes: "We all know the fancy computer screens in movies and tv series. All kinds of non-comprehensible information scrolls by, merely looking fancy. An often heard complaint is that when managers/sales persons walk into the system administrators room, they see a lot of screens they don't understand and which look boring. This made me think: why not implement something that involves a lot of animations, fancy scrolltexts, colors, etc while still giving usefull information? So I started to work on SysopView. It has moving windows, scrolltexts, can show live webcam streams, nagios status, mrtg graphs and lots more. I would like this to be a community project. There must be a lot of ideas out there how to improve it and — maybe some can even write code! Please check http://www.vanheusden.com/sysopview/ It is still in its infant state. And yes, that's me in the video:-)"
flok writes: "Deduplicating software/appliances are the bomb currently. Everyone wants them, everyone is developing such a thing. Software finds duplicates using hashes, and using advanced algorithms those hashes are looked up from huge memory-caches. But wait, looking up data, isn't that the task of a database? This made me think and after a couple of hours I implemented MyDeDub, a deduplicating network block device which stores its data (and hashes) in a MySQL database. As it looks now, filesystems on MyDeDub stay consistent, massive space is saved and it even performs, well, somewhat. It is implemented in Java so even an old windows 98 system might suffice. You can find the software here."
flok writes: "In the past if you wanted to tell someone something, you would take a piece of paper (or card) and give that to a company which would then take care of delivering it to the recipient. This costed a few bucks and took at least a day. Now that we have e-mail and twitter nobody ever does this anymore. But still, don't you ever miss the joy of finding such a card on your doorstep? Some of them had pictures on them related to the text on the card, others had drawings, etc. etc. A while ago some people decided that they would like again to receive those cards. Feel the joy again and such. www.postcrossing.com let's you relive this: you can pick at random someone to send a card to and submit your address to receive a card yourself as well. And the best: it is free! Well, apart from buying the card and postal costs."
flok writes: "The Tor anonimity network is a generic carrier for all kinds of (TCP) traffic. Its goal is enabling people to use the internet without anyone between them and the destination point being able to determine what is happening. It also allows you to offer services without anyone being able to trace back these services to you.
Now botnets need to communicate with a central instance which lets them know what to do (e.g. send spam, ddos websites, etc.). Tor is an ideal carrier for this: no outsider can see what kind of traffic comes out of a system running such a bot and no-one is able to see whereto this traffic goes. So you can't stop the traffic between the bot and its master without blocking the whole Tor network and it is kind of hard as well to find where all this traffic goes to (the botnet master node). So; what should we do? Dis-allow hidden services in Tor? Or block Tor totally?"
flok writes: "Since Claude Shannon designed his evaluation algorithm for chess positions in 1950, almost every known chess program has been using it some or other form. Now I was wondering: are there any out there using other algorithms? Maybe some statistical approach like that Go program that a few weeks ago won from a Go pro?"
flok writes: "Currently not all hardware works under Linux. But which does? Now the site hardware4linux.info is started to automatically collect statistics about what works and what not. All you need to do is execute some script, upload the results, and tell the site what of the detected hardware works or not. Others then can easily navigate through the results (shown in nice reports with graphs) and see if that new laptop they're going to buy will work. Please help this by uploading the reports of your system!"
flok writes: "The new Google Sky option in Google earth is great, but something fishy is going on. As you can see here (mirror) Google is censoring part of the sky! What would be the reason? A spaceship? The face of god? Or is there really a square part of the sky without any stars?"