Google Body Browser

I knew google can read my mind.

For some time now I was looking for something like GoogleEarth for human anatomy. I even thought about asking Google to make something like that.

Now I learned they did just that. They even did it as a showcase for WebGL which is part of the upcoming HTML5 standard.

Have a look at http://bodybrowser.googlelabs.com/

You will need a browser with WebGL support. At the moment the beta versions of Firefox and Chrome are known to work well.

My first Android App

Yesterday, my first Android App hit the Market. Just search for flightpred and you should find it. It should run on any device running Android 1.5 and above. The App doesn’t do a lot so far. Essentially, it downloads an xml file from the flightpred server and displays the predictions for how many kilometers it thinks are possible to fly in the next three days in some flying sites on the small screen. Later I also want to add a GoogleMapsView with the circles like on the flightpred website.

I used to develop some small projects and my diploma work in Java some ten years ago. Since then the language progressed noticeably. I especially like the templatized containers. Back in the days, the containers were not type safe and I always had to cast when accessing elements. Also, the lambda’s look good.

A new flying site "Gebidum"

These days I don’t often discover new flying sites, especially not if they’re so close. Last year when searching for new sites in the Wallis I found something about Giw on the internet. That’s above Visperterminen. The chairlift was closed already, so I went somewhere else.

When thinking about where to go this weekend, that came to my mind, and I decided to go there. From the top of the chairlift one has to walk about half an hour uphill to reach the takeoff. While hiking, I saw the other mountain more north, which I thought must be the goal of the private cablecar from Eyholz. So I went to find out…

The mountain has the funny name “Gebidum” and is indeed where this obscure cablecar goes to. It’s only to service all the antennas at the top. The view was marvelous. Only the take off is not so perfect. One can take off in almost all directions, but it’s very flat, has stones, little bushes and steps. To make it perfect, while I waited and looked around at the top, the wind started to blow softly from the north. I wanted to take off south to fly along the slopes and explore the area where I walked up from the air.

Takeoff went smooth, and it was a gentle autumn flight even with some weak thermals along the way. After following the ridge to the small Giw lake, I crossed to Zeneggen before heading to Visp.

The battery of my phone was empty, so I couldn’t take no photos and no lifetracking. But the good old Garmin could still record.

missing env variables when running from cron

Today I solved another problem that bugged me for a while. Namely, I wanted to run the free flight prediction runs automatically from cron. When I ran it from the commandline or a script, it worked well, but when I tried to run it directly or through the same script from cron, it always failed with the following message : “critical error : basic_string::_S_construct NULL not valid”

Continue reading “missing env variables when running from cron”

Powered paragliding

After a long time I did some paramotoring again. We swiss poeople have to leave the country to do so. Paramotoring is forbidden in only two countries in the world. One is North Korea, and guess which is the other…
But it looks promising that the new electric engines might get approved in Switzerland.

Anyway, it’s lots of fun for the autumn when the thermals start to disappear.

paramotoring

Android Phone

Last week I got my new phone. A Samsung Galaxy 9000 with Android 2.1 (soon 2.2). So, the Openmoko Freerunner was my main phone for less than a year. I tried many different distributions on it. Namely OM2008, SHR, Hackable, Android 1.5 but the one I like most is QtMoko. The freerunner is still the closest you can get to as true opensource phone. Albeit it offers some unique features not found in any other phone, the user experience is not quite the same as with a commercial phone. Some stuff still has to be done at the command line or editing configuration files. Other stuff you have to try 4 times before it succeeds.
Playing around with a pre installed Android is a really pleasant experience. It comes with lots of cool stuff that I didn’t expect from it.
People say, rooting the phone voids the warranty. So, I better make sure the device has no hardware defects prior to installing debian…. To be continued

debian/postinst froze when restarting apache2

With my flugbuch2 and flightpred projects I had a problem for a while in the debian packages. Namely the installation froze after restarting apache2, while the installation seemed to have succeeded as the websites were accessible. When I reloaded apache instead of restarting, the installation ran through but the websites could not be found.

After endless googling, I found that the debian gallery packages used to suffer the same problem and that it was fixed. So I examined the source. What triggered the problem is an apache installation that’s not properly configured. Namely, if your apache complains that it cannot resolve the fully qualified hostname upon startup, then restarting apache inside my old postinst script would fail the postinst script. It has something to do with debconf waiting on some open file descriptors.

To make it short: move the db_stop to just before the apache restart and that solves the problem.

Back from Holidays

We’re back from our family holiday on the French atlantic coast. We were at the Dune du Pyla, europ’s biggest sand dune. It’s a big playground for children as well as adults hanging below a paraglider wing. Conditions were good on three days to fly on the big dune. So I trained touching the flat slope with the wing tip without hitting the sand myself. Levin did his first four hour kayak trip, of which he slept more than an hour.

I wasn’t so cut off from the internet for a long time…

Levin in Action

Receptiongreet basic functionality working

Today I did important progress in another toy project. It’s name is receptiongreet and you can find out more on SourceForge.

Basic functionality was running today for the first time! The app starts up, reads all the face images provided in a sub directory and trains them. It then observes the area with the web cam, looking for faces. If it detects a face, it compares it to the trained ones. And if that leads to a match, it outputs a personalized greeting to the pc speakers.

So, from here on it’s polishing.