Friday, 30 April 2010

Improving your monitoring applications with Gnuplot

Why bother about building a plotting component when you could use a very good one from a third-party? That's what I thought while I was trying to build a plotting component for monitoring my applications. Then I remembered when I was doing some practices with Octave at college and when I was playing with it I thought that it was a very good application.
Afterwards I modified my log and monitoring files for adapting them to gnuplot, a portable command-line driven graphing utility for linux, OS/2, MS Windows, OSX, VMS, and many other platforms. With this, you only need to focus on writing the log files, and let gnuplot draw your files in nice plotting windows with a lot of powerful features like moving axes, changing the view, etc.
With simple commands like these:

C:\>gnuplot         G N U P L O T         Version 4.4 patchlevel 0         last modified March 2010         System: MS-Windows 32 bit         Copyright (C) 1986-1993, 1998, 2004, 2007-2010         Thomas Williams, Colin Kelley and many others         gnuplot home:         faq, bugs, etc:   type "help seeking-assistance"         immediate help:   type "help"         plot window:      hit 'h' Terminal type set to 'wxt' gnuplot> set isosample 40 gnuplot> set ticslevel 0 gnuplot> splot (x**2)*(y**2)
we can draw amazing plots like this:

And even better, if for example we are monitoring our cpu, then we can plot the results:

Now, you only need to know how the command line works and use it in your applications. I'm sure you'll enjoy it, and the best part is that you can save time.

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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Flickr Slideshow generator

Yesterday I bumped into this component by chance and I thought it could be interesting to post something about it. It's not a really a customizable one, but at least  it can provide you with a nice slide picture shower . With a simple HTML encrustation you can build nice web pages with a presentation of your photos. You can find the HTML generator from here. The only thing that you need to consider is that you have to provide your ID number. In the following link you'll find a very good explanation of how to achieve this.

Here you can see the result...Amazing!.

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then you need to choose which one suits you the best!.

Friday, 16 April 2010

The trip to the power of the mind by Eduard Punset

This afternoon I had the privilege of attending to one of the conferences held by Eduard Punset who was talking about his last book "The trip to the power of the mind". The event took place at FundaciĆ³ Caixa de Girona where a lot of people was trying to listen the interesting histories that Eduard was telling. I've been following him for several years and this was the first chance to meet him personally and it was awesome!. He was talking about 3 important things we need to consider. The first one is to focus attention, the second one: to learn to work in a team by collaboration and not by competitiveness. And the last one, make decisions in an appropriate manner. He also talked about different topics discusseds in my blog, like neuroplasticity and how to change things (social and emotional learning) for building better citizens. I think that the most interesting part was when he was explaining that we need a real change (at least in Spain), and we need to use our skills to solve conflicts through emotions. If you want to know more about this you'll need to read his last amazing work!.
In conclusion, I would like to thank his dedication and passion because now I understand better how my brain works and how can improve my mind and help the other people.

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Thursday, 15 April 2010

Encrypting with OpenSSL

These days I've been immersed into new projects creating certificates with the OpenSSL tool, and I found interesting the part of encrypting files. Then, with simple steps, we can encrypt/decrypt our documents and share information safely. I've tested both of the versions (for Linux and Windows) and then following example is for windows. You can find a little distro of the OpenSSL for windows here. Once there, you need to download the full version (with source). This one will copy all the necessary libraries you need to generate certificates and encrypting documents. You can find the OpenSSL app into the next path : C:\OpenSSL\bin. You can also download and install the available version in "Shining Light Productions" The version I've tested is the Win32 OpenSSL v0.9.8m. If we want to encrypt a file we need to execute the following sentence into the command dialog:
C:\OpenSSL\bin>openssl aes-256-cbc -a -salt -in "fileToencrypt.rar" -out "fileToEncrypt.rar.enc"
  • Openssl command to launch the OpenSSL.
  • aes-256-cbc The encryption system used is AES 256 bits.
  • -a The encrypted files is in base64.
  • -salt Add strong to the encryption.
  • -in Input file.
  • -out Output file.
For the desencryption, we only need to do:
C:\OpenSSL\bin>openssl aes-256-cbc -d -a -in "fileToEncrypt.rar.enc" -out "fileToencrypt.rar"
  • -d decrypting command.
  • -a The encrypted files is in base64.
  • -in Input file.
  • -out Output file.
We can play with all these parameters, and we'll find more information on the help page.

If in windows, you find this error message:

unable to load config info from /usr/local/ssl/openssl.cnf

you only need to add at the end of the OpenSSL command the option: -config openssl.cfg.
you can find a little description of the problem here.

Then, if we want to create a little certificate, we can do it with a simple command like this:
C:\OpenSSL\bin>openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout key.pem -days 3650 -out certificate.pem
After the execution, you'll need to fill up all the fields needed, and then your certificate will be generated.

C:\OpenSSL\bin>openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout key.pem -days 3650 -out certificate.pem
Loading 'screen' into random state - done
Generating a 2048 bit RSA private key
writing new private key to 'key.pem'
Enter PEM pass phrase:
Verifying - Enter PEM pass phrase:
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:AU
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:Australia
Locality Name (eg, city) []:Sidney
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:Sky
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:Sky
Common Name (eg, YOUR name) []:Test
Email Address []
If you open the certificate.pem you'll get something like this:

Improving your digital identity

Nowadays is very important to know something about how to improve your digital identity and simple steps to spread out yourself through the net. I've been so busy these days and I have to get round to writing more often, but sometimes it's impossible. 
It's important that we limit our field of expertise and to carry out a good digital growth in order to create our own digital identity. To promote your digital identity is necessary that you focus on the correct channels. I've been working this field in my own blog, spreading out my identity throughout the net, by the constant presence in Twitter and in professional networks such as LinkedIn or others. We shouldn't lose sight of our own presence on the network and verify that it's making a good use of it. In order to improve your digital identity you should take into account that you have to verify your identity in the net by searching your name into the google engine for example, and see whether your profiles are public or not. If you want to gain exposure, you can add yourself to the most known search directories, for example wefollow or twellow where you can add your twitter account and let the other people find you and follow you easily. You also can add yourself to other sites like StumbleUpon or Netvibes and customize your home page as you desire.
In conclusion, with all these sites you can spread yourself all over the network, and share your posts and thoughts in several channels in order to gain exposure and let the people know you.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Google SketchUp

This post is about Google SketchUp a 3D modelling program with a lot of powerful features for drawing 3D models with no problems. In this article you'll find related articles and interesting videos showing the amazing things you can do with this application. The first release of the program was in 2000 but now after several updates version 7.1 have a lot of interesting features like improving the visualization engine for bigger models and smoothing  drawing. I have experience with 3D modelling applications like Rhinoceros and Autocad 3D and others that I don't even remember the name. By that time, the modelling was something difficult to implement, but after seeing the videos from Google SketchUp, everything seems very easy. I felt some kind of astonishment when I saw what the application is capable of,  and I think that this program would help a lot of people building their designs.

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