Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goodbye Dennis...

These are really sad days for the IT world. Last weekend Dennis Ritchie (dmr) died at 70 after a long illness.

His contributions to techlonogy have been outstanding: he was the creator of the C programming language and the father of the UNIX operating system along with Ken Thompson.

He received the Turing Award, the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal and the National Medal of Technology.

The influence of his work and creations is widespread in each and every software product you are using right now, either as direct heritage or as indirect influence on developers and programming languages.

Linux, BSD (and therefore MacOSX and iOS) users owes to him much more: the core concepts, stucture and basic utilities of these operating systems.

His collaborators remember him as "a quiet and mostly private man" and it was sad that the news of his passing spread with this delay only because he was not a pop-celebrity.

Then, thank you Dennis for everything you made possible with your work and passion!
I borrow my last salute to him from the internet because, in my opinion, there's nothing more appropriate than this:
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
    printf("goodbye, dad\n");
    return 0;

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Goodbye Steve...

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary.

Steven Paul Jobs
February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Of Neutrinos, Tunnels and Ministerial Stupidity

It's simply true! Experimental evidence says that lightspeed is not an universal limit. But if Theory of Relativity will need a fix to comply with these new findings, Einstein has not to worry so much, because Italian Ministry of Research demonstrated another of his theories, the one about Human Stupidity.

From Gran Sasso and CERN researchers say that after 6 months of checks and reviews looking for measurement errors, it seems that Neutrinos travel a bit faster than that almost confortable universal limit, which was the pivot of 20th century Physics: c, the speed of light, 299 792 458 m/s in perfect vacuum (Google It!).

But the best was yet to come! Few hours after the announcement, just in time for getting the credit for the result (which is described like a victory ?!?!) italian Minister of Research Mariastella Gelmini sends her congratulations to the scientists in a Press Release:

Here you are the translation of the absurd part:
Italy contributed with an investment esimated in about 45 million € to the construction of the tunnel between CERN and Gran Sasso, in which the experiment was conducted.

Yes... you understood correctly! According to the minister and her staff, the experiments with Neutrinos have been possible thanks to a 732 km straight tunnel from Geneva to Gran Sasso (Central Italy) with a maximum depth of 11.4 km into the ground!

We as Italy, contributed with "about 45 million €" for its construction!
A few bucks if you consider that the just finished Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland - the longest to date with its "poor" 57km in length - had a cost of 10 billion dollars.

Of course, we could ask for the minister resignation and for the idiots at the ministry press office to be fired. But we are in Italy, and nothing will happen... at least until meritocracy and professionalism will become, for the Italian People, common values.
This change is the key for any real economical and cultural growth for Italian society and for a better country... finally outside the tunnel of nonsense!
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Marinelli 3, Drupal 7: HTML entities shown in banner image_title and image_description

Today I was beginning to create new content on a website in Drupal I renewed updating to D7 and installing the great Marinelli Theme (7.x-3.0-beta11)
I noticed that some characters in banners title and description showed as HTML entities (i.e. & #039; for the single quote symbol).

I digged in the code and I fixed the issue in a quite rude but effective way.
Learning more about the t() funcion from Drupal I found what was the meaning of Parameters give to that function
  • !variable: Inserted as is. Use this for text that has already been sanitized.
  • @variable: Escaped to HTML using check_plain(). Use this for anything displayed on a page on the site. 
The generation of banner title and description string is there made with the @ parameter. Unfortunately somewhere else in the code a further check_plain() call is made on the same strings. This second application of check_plain() function simply converts the symbols into HTML entities and this is the cause of the issue.

My solution was to replace the @ parameter with the ! one in t() function calls into marinelli_banner_markups()
This function in marinelli/logics/

Here you are the code snippets:

'alt' => t('!image_desc', array('!image_desc'=>$banner['image_description'])),
'title'   => t('!image_title', array('!image_title'=>$banner['image_title'])),


'longdesc' => t('!image_desc', array('!image_desc'=>$banner['image_description']))

Keep on hackin' ;-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

ArchLinux: kdeinit4 segfault at shutdown because of Phonon Config

I tried to change the Phonon backend from the default Gstreamer to Xine.
Then I couldn't manage to open again the Phonon pane in System Setting's Multimedia.

The only way to get it work and to set Gstreamer again, was via the manual modification of the backend configuration file:

And in the end I caused this bug:

The solution?... Nothing simpler than:

$ rm .kde4/share/config/servicetype_profilerc

and a reboot (or maybe even a Logout) ;-)

Keep on Hacking! ;-)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday, February 24th 2011, little big manoeuvres in LEO

It's due to the respective longer or shorter launch delays if today, Thursday, February 24th 2011 became a day of many events in LEO.

The first is NASA with the night launch of the Glory satellite, which will study Earth's climate. It is already atop the Orbital Science Taurus XL rocket at Space Launch Complex 576-E at Vandemberg Air-Force Base in California.
Yesterday's launch was scubbed because of a wrong reading from the sensors interface between the rocket and the ground station. With a launch windows of just 48 seconds there was no time to investigate on and solve the issue. Hence the 24h delay.
If everything will be in shape, the next target launch time is 5.09am Eastern Time (11.05am CET).
As usual the launch will be covered by NasaTV, with the trasmiossion start at 9.00am CET.

From 4.15pm CET the cosmic scene will be for the space ballet between ESA's ATV Johannes Kepler and the International Space Station (ISS). 
Docking is foreseen around 4.45pm CET. The event will be streamed live on the ESA website, at this page:
and definitely will be covered by NasaTV which will relay those images.

Finally, at 4:50pm EST (10.50pm CET) after some months and extensive repair work, the Space Shuttle Discovery will lift-off for STS-133 mission, which will be its last and the first to be carried out of the remaining three in the program.
Heading to the ISS, Discovery will expand the outpost with the last pressurized module of the US segment, the PMM (Permanent Multipurpose Module). This module is nothing but the Italian MPLM Leonardo refurbished and modified for a long duration stay at the Station.

Hoping everything will proceed smoothly, I've nothing more to say that "Enjoy the show!" ;-)