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My rants, thoughts, half-baked ideas, reviews, howtos, solutions, complaints or whatever I feel like about whatever I feel like. Awesome, right?

Sep 04, 2009

Bluetooth Proximity Locking

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"Add security to your desktop by automatically locking and unlocking the screen when you and your phone leave/enter the desk. Think of a proximity detector for your mobile phone via bluetooth."

I've been using blueproximity for a while now and recommend it to anyone that is sick of typing passwords all day... I started using it after getting sick of typing my password all day long. The work day consisted of 1) login 2) need more coffee, ctrl-alt-l 3) get coffee 4) repeat. Setup and configuration is fairly straightforward:

  1. Install:
    yum install blueproximity
  2. Pair your bluetooth device: (GnomeBluetooth)
    Setup New Bluetooth Device
  3. Start blueproximity:
    Start BlueProximity
  4. Scan for devices, select your device:
    Scan for Bluetooth Device
  5. Scan for open channels, select one:
    Scan for Channels on Bluetooth Device
  6. Adjust proximity settings to your liking:
    Adjust Proximity Settings

You could also configure what commands to run other then the defaults via the "Locking" tab. Enjoy!

Jan 07, 2009

FUDConF11 Mass Transit

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The instructions on the Wiki were not complete enough to make transit a breeze for myself. The following is what I did with great success:

  • Locate the nearest place to purchase a CharlieTicket/CharlieCard
  • Purchase transit credits; I opted for the 7-Day unlimited so I have a fixed cost of only $15
  • Board the closest Silver Line T Bus (Airport Terminals) directly outside of baggage claim.
  • Exit the Silver Line at South Station
  • Take the Red Line towards "Alewife"
  • Exit the Red Line at the Kendall/MIT Station

The hotel is directly outside of the Red Line. Very awesome.

FUDConF11 Boston

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I've now arrived in Boston after a full day of travel.

I'm back in Boston again for the first FUDCon of 2009. Today was not the best day to travel but generally the flights were ok. The day started with finding out the screen on my Freerunner has a crack in it and is only getting worse. Thus, I did not bring it along with me. The good part about this is I can now justify using that hardware as an SMS gateway for a project I have been working on in my spare time, what little of it I have. The dayjob has been keeping me busy for quite some time and we are launching a new version of our site on January 21st so I've been on my laptop and blackberry all today. My flight out of DIA was on time and safe. The arrival into Charlotte was a little bumpy, but on time. On the way into Charlotte I saw a quite awe inspiring sight, a full circular rainbow on top of the clouds. That was a nice treat to end the first leg of my trip to FUDCon. However, this is where things started to turn.

After a $15 airport bagel, chips and a drink lunch, I got an email from Orbitz warning of delays in Boston. Sweet. We boarded on time in Charlotte but the wind had picked up since I arrived. This closed down all but one runway for arrivals and departures. As we taxied out on time from the terminal at Charlotte, I thought we would have a delay in the air waiting to land in Boston but then proceeded to wait over an hour for a slot to just take off. Luckly I had some podcasts from work and a project to do. I started up some music and worked on dialing out my blackberry for Internet access while waiting on the taxiway. I wanted to get a clone of pyJigdo to work on and develop some discussion points for chats at FUDCon. I never did sucessfully dial up AT&T, but I'll be sure to get it working before my flights home (and submit the needed chat/config scripts for the Fedora barry package.) After a little bumpy takeoff, we were on our way to Boston. Since we had the delay in Charlotte, we didn't have to pay the normal 300% markup on a coca-cola ($2/each) so that was nice. We caught a pretty strong tail wind and made up time getting to Boston. The weather in Boston must have cleared before we arrived as the landing was smooth and uneventful.

I'll be writting up some more detailed instructions then what is on the wiki on how to get to the hotel from Logan International Airport using the Boston public transit system soon. Hopefully, this will help others as they arrive. Tomorrow I will be using the entry as notes for myself and Jeroen van Meeuwen, who I plan on meeting late afternoon at the airport. If you are going to be arriving around that time, drop either of us an email.

May 08, 2008

Similarity-Enhanced Transfer and Live-Spins

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Similarity-Enhanced Transfer (SET) looks like it could prove very useful for efficiently sharing collections of Live-Spins without having to re-download an entire ISO image for every desired Live-Spin.

What is Similarity-Enhanced Transfer?

After a brief skim, it seems that SET is a concept similar to BitTorrent but without arbitrary chunking of data. By using handprinting both similar and exact match chunks can be identified and utilized in the download process. The concept looks very interesting and I'm hoping to set aside some time to work on proof of concept code in the near future. I would also like to extend an invitation to the community to help develop and prove the viability of such a solution for mass-hosting of Live-Spins and Live-Spin collections, such as localized spins based on the same package set. We could easily setup an upstream git repo (likely on fedorahosted) or we could just add a branch to the existing pyJigdo repo and get right to work.

Why should this Concept Even be Considered?

Well, I'll quote the abstract and hope it's enough to encourage reading the entire paper:

"Many contemporary approaches for speeding up large file transfers attempt to download chunks of a data object from multiple sources. Systems such as BitTorrent quickly locate sources that have an exact copy of the desired object, but they are unable to use sources that serve similar but non-identical objects. Other systems automatically exploit cross-file similarity by identifying sources for each chunk of the object. These systems, however, require a number of lookups proportional to the number of chunks in the object and a mapping for each unique chunk in every identical and similar object to its corresponding sources. Thus, the lookups and mappings in such a system can be quite large, limiting its scalability.

This paper presents a hybrid system that provides the best of both approaches, locating identical and similar sources for data objects using a constant number of lookups and inserting a constant number of mappings per object. We first demonstrate through extensive data analysis that similarity does exist among objects of popular file types, and that making use of it can sometimes substantially improve download times. Next, we describe handprinting, a technique that allows clients to locate similar sources using a constant number of lookups and mappings. Finally, we describe the design, implementation and evaluation of Similarity-Enhanced Transfer (SET), a system that uses this technique to download objects. Our experimental evaluation shows that by using sources of similar objects, SET is able to significantly out-perform an equivalently configured BitTorrent."


Himabindu Pucha, David G. Andersen, Michael Kaminsky
Purdue University, Carnegie Mellon University, Intel Research Pittsburgh 

Read the whole thing.


Apr 25, 2008

pyJigdo - v0.3.0 Released

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pyJigdo version 0.3.0 has been sent off to the Fedora build system. There has been a lot of work put into this release to make it a stable starting ground for everything we want to achieve with pyJigdo.

pyJigdo Logo

No more jigdo-lite...

I'm delighted to inform the community that we now have a good alternative to jigdo-lite for downloading the up-coming Fedora [jigdo] release. There has been a good amount of testing that has gone into this release. This amount of testing, coupled with the complete rewrite, has proven to be quite fruitful. Two [important] things that remain to be tested are running this release on F7 and F9; I have done all my testing with F8. This release already has many more features then jigdo-lite and, in most cases, saves time. Some of the more notable new features include the ability to auto-mount an existing ISO image (via fuseiso,) the ability to efficiently search directories for needed files, and the ability to use mirror lists. See pyjigdo --help for all of the currently available features.

Where to download?

I've just sent out the builds, so if you don't want to wait for it to hit updates-testing (and then updates) go to the pyjigdo koji page for builds. If you do end up testing it, please mark your comments via Bodhi for F7 and F8. This release should be yum installable soon enough, however.

Where do bugs go?

Please file bugs either in the redhat bugzilla, or preferably on the Fedora Hosted pyJigdo trac instance.

What does the future bring?

We have a lot planned for pyJigdo, so please keep an eye out for more releases (or send patches for features and fixes.) Also, watch for changes to our roadmap as I am going to try to get everything/anything I plan on doing into trac before I start working on it.


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