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27Feb/130

LMD – Linux Malware Detect

malware

Ifyou're a sys admin on a shared hosting server you know the headaches you have maintaining all you user accounts. This users / customers upload all the kind of junk scripts with exploits and such on their websites and in this way they compromise not only their accounts but the whole server.

R-FX Networks developed a project thinking on this called LMD - Linux Malware Detect.

This is a small piece of software that detects and monitorizes a range of dangerous scripts on your machine. For me, one of the top features is that anyone can contribute to make the database of known threats grow in order to protect us all. To do this, we simply have to report a file that we believe that may be threat and they analyze that later.

The only flaw I found on this project is the false positives it generates, anyway you can also put that false positive files on a list of ignored files so it won't alert you anymore on the same file.

To read more detailed information about this project just go to their official website http://www.rfxn.com/projects/linux-malware-detect/

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18Nov/120

Codebits VI and the project PNS

Another Codebits happened!

Another year full of good things, good talks, good projects, good gifts .....

This year brought me André Gil, Claudia Frutuoso and Gonçalo Basto to make a funny project.

The project is called PNS - Personal Notification System.

The concept is simple, a device that can be added to any garment or accessory that allows a communication bridge between the user and your mobile phone via bluetooth.

This device allows you to interact with your phone without removing it from your pocket, which can be helpful during our jogging session, a meeting, while driving or even in a situation where expose our phone in public is not our intention.

Thus we can set patterns for RGB LEDs that allow us to identify what we are receiving in our mobile phone:  for example a twit, a post on facebook directed at us, a SMS, a call from a certain person. We can also program each button to perform an action on your phone. We can reject or forward a call, send a message back to whoever called us to say that we can't currently talk, send a twitt or foursquare  post with our geographical location, we can even program a button to check the status of the weather on the internet and show a sequence of LEDs as the weather will be.

The boundary between the things we can do with this device and a smartphone is your imagination.

This device can be used by both advanced or basic users,  there is a page like a user community where you could add your code snippets where you can  share to the others or download them to your phone and then assign them to our device .

To carry out this project we used a android phone, an Arduino Uno and a bluetooth module as well as a webapp created using Ink.

Obviously a device with these features has to be small and easy to customize and the final version of our prototype was anything but small although functional!

28Aug/120

Another project is already rolling out

A few months ago Nuno Ferro has invited me to collaborate with him in an interesting project.

The main idea is a rental platform for bikes that are spread in a certain location. With the help of some funny devices the user with a card, that should have funds, can take a bike for a ride.

Here is the result.... (this is in portuguese... sorry)

30Jul/120

Arduino Leonard

Arduino Leonardo

Arduino Leonardo

For those who are unaware,Arduino Leonardo was already lunched and it brings great features. For me one of the best features is the fact that there is no longer a chip just for the USB connection. The microprocessor Atmel’s ATmegaXU4  already has that funcionality embeded and this allowed a reduction on the cust price. Don't be surprised if the arduino Uno stops being produced in a near future.

Besides this there are some more new features like:

-4 more digital pins,
-1 more PWM pin and improved timers,
-1 more analogue pin,
-Some changes on the Serial Comm
-SDA/SCL pin
-Keyboard and Mouse Emulation.

This emulation point is for me a great addition since we can easily use 2 POTS and a button to create a plug and play device to use the mouse pointer on-sceen or another sample would be a datareader that will send the output directly as a keyboard like some barcode scanner do

To see more details about this fantastic new addition to the Arduino family please visit this link: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardLeonardo

 

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21Jul/120

Codebits 2012

Codebits VI

Codebits VI

 

And here it is! The 2012 Codebits edition is starting to rock and roll!

For those who don't know what Codebits is I will write a little review about it.

Codebits it's an event organized by SAPO.PT and believe me these guys put a lot of effort on this event, and thanks to their work not only the event is free but they provide food and beverages, a nice welcome pack, and a lot of talks and presentation and awesome partners stands.

This is the biggest and geekiest technological event in Portugal and it worth every single minute in there.

This year (for the ones that already know the event) it will be in the same venue but seems like the place will have some big news (they say that the division that was diving the main stage to the rest of the area will be a fancy curtain allowing the people outside the main stage to see what is happening!).

As every year the 24-hour programming contest will be on the run too...

Remember 800 geeks'n freaks can attend to the event via a pre-selection method so be sharp and stay tuned on www.codebits.eu!

19Jul/120

Resizing all the components on a java.awt.Frame in Java

When we are used to use a programming language, sometimes we get our tasks a little bit automated.

I come from a background in C# and I am now doing some tasks in Java and I found some concept differences very quickly!

Task: Change the size of all the components inside a dialog based on a java.awt.Frame

After some failures figuring out how to reach my goal here is the best result I got.

protected void changeContent(Container parent) 
{
    for (Component comp : parent.getComponents()) 
    {
        changeFont(comp);
        comp.setMaximumSize( new java.awt.Dimension(comp.getWidth()*2, comp.getHeight()*2) );
        comp.setPreferredSize( new java.awt.Dimension(comp.getWidth()*2, comp.getHeight()*2) );
        comp.setSize( comp.getWidth()*2, comp.getHeight()*2);
        if (comp instanceof Container) 
        {
            changeContent((Container)comp);
        }
    }
}
protected void changeFont(Component comp) 
{
    AffineTransform at = AffineTransform.getScaleInstance(2, 2);
    if (comp.getFont() != null)
    {
        Font font = comp.getFont().deriveFont(at);
        comp.setFont(font);
    }
}

 

In my case, this little methods solved my problems and made my form grow like a charm! I hope this is usefull for someone else...

19Jun/120

Arduino + WebCam = Volumetry

One of the projects I have worked occasionally in recent months was finding a way to measure materials volumes with "low-cost"!

I thought about the challenge and started to get down to work and got amazing results using an ordinary webcam and a sensor with an Arduino.

To begin with let's talk about hardware:

- Arduino + Distance Sensor Sharp GP2Y0A02 (20-150cm): I must say I thought it was the easiest but failed miserably.

To achieve acceptable results (about 1 cm of deviation in distances near the limit of the sensor) I have had to follow a set of procedures that's tricky because the sensor tends to return lots of noise and so we do not have accurate results.

First I do 10 readings and determine the average value, then determine the upper and lower limit values ​​from this first average, capture another 10 and make the average ​​of all the values.

I must say it worked really well

float GetAverage(float * _values, uint8_t size)
{
	float avg = 0;
	for(int i = 0; i< size; i++)
	{
		avg += _values[i];
	}
	avg = avg / size;
 
	float setMax = avg * 1.15;
	float setMin = avg * 0.85;
	float precisionAvg;
	int counter = 0;
	for(int i = 0; i < size; i++)
	{
		if((setMin < _values[i]) && (_values[i] < setMax))
		{
			precisionAvg += _values[i];
			counter++;
		}
	}
	return precisionAvg / counter;
}

To achieve volumetric measuring I used Emgu library and a few filters  to find the contours of the object based on a mask. In other words we must have a mask from the background in order to make the exclusion of what it already was there and just stay with the new object in the image. We use a few tricks of image processing, some trigonometric calculations and voila here is the result

 

12Jan/121

Smart Defrag

Defrag

During this whole week I was trying to defrag my office's laptop, everyday at night I was trying one more time running the windows disc defragmenter but the results were poor, and the red color was still dominating the graph.

Today I decided to google a little bit about defrag tools and I found this one quite interesting

Smart Defrag 2:

Until now these are the pros and cons about this software

pros:
-low resource consumption
-small application
-extremelly fast
-efficient
-freeware

cons:
-Be carefull when installing it has toolbars and other stuff that asks to be installed!

The usability is simple and there are just few and precise options what turn this software very intuitive.

Smart Defrag allows us to do 3 types of defrag:

-Simple Defragmentation
-Defrag+Optimization (fast)
-Defrag+Optimization(complete)

Basically you can choose the speed of the defrag and it's  eficiency. It's curious because this software analyses your files and directories in order to know which ones are must used and the optimization will move them to the fastest areas of your hard drive.

Also you have the possibility to keep the disc defragmenting in background all the time, and it will not consume too much resources on the machine and also the boot defragmentation that is an option to allow to defrag files that are usually locked by the OS!

From now on, this will be a must have on my computers!

You can download it here.

 

14Nov/110

meo|kinect @ codebits 2011

SAPO Codebits 2011 was great, as always, but I found my project presentation a "little bit" compromised by some evil events

First of all I will talk about the project itself and then I'll talk about the disastrous presentation.

Meo|Kinect

Probably you don't know what "Meo" is unless you're at Portugal.
Meo is a triple play service provided by Portugal Telecom (the main telco in Portugal). It gives you IPTV, broadband ADSL from 6 to 200Mbps and Voice Service.

To watch IPTV the hardware required is a Router Thomson and a Scientific Atlanta’s KMM3000 IPTV Set or similar model!
These boxes contain a WinCE as base OS with Microsoft MediaRoom. Microsoft MediaRoom is a extremelly closed software with a lot of license policies around it. Only the service providers and special licenced developers have access to the MediaRoom SDK so basically this is a Black Box.

 

It is possible to send commands that are remote like keys to the box with telnet and send  post via an http a request to open applications.

 

Now that you are more aware of what is the Meo Service I can go on and explain what was my concept:
One day before the contest on the codebits webpage there was a post mentioning that there would be a team helping to develop for this boxes and giving full support, also I saw that a microsoft team would be there too to help on Kinect based projects.

1+1= meo|Kinect

So I was interested in interfacing the kinect gestures with the meo box using a PC in the middle!

 

Since day one Gonçalo Basto (one of my team members) was doing some widgets for the box in order to explore the kinect use in the box with interactive widgets. We talked several times with PT Inovação, Microsoft,  sapo.labs teams and our ideias should be partially changed and the presentation on the main stage seemed a "little bit" compromised. They said that it wouldn't be  impossible but would require some work from the organization to do it. "Keep in touch we will try to handle that, also try to talk with the organization".

We put a lot of efford on that part reducing the development time and the solutions were getting delayed time after time.

We got the interface recognizing the gestures using hotspots on the computer screen that would send nice and clean commands to the box and time to end the project was near at the end when I finally went to test it on a test environment with all the required hardware and network configurations.

It was a success. But we were only 4 hours away from the presentation and nothing was done on stage.

We went there to test the main stage environment 1 hour before and they sent someone to put a network cable on the router and do the magic but it wasn't working at all

I talked with Celso about our issues and he said... "that's too late for such things" and I replied that we passed 3 days trying to get someone to help us. Celso grabbed his cellphone and said "I'll see what I can do for you although I can't promise you nothing it's less than a 1 hour for the presentations"...

 

I was desperate....the team wasn't motivated, I was thinking about giving up, and someone from the organization told me, "we will make that happen"

Miguel Vicente from Microsoft, which I most send kudos to him, was always giving us good advices and telling to not give up, PT Inovação Team was really interested in make that happen too. And suddenly magic things started to happen.

The organization moved our project to the last one on the list so we could win some time, PT Inovação sent a guy to do the set up, and we where literally laid down in front of the stage configuring all the necessary component to make the presentation... even if it was untested.

We finished all the set 5 minutes before our turn on stage and our presentation guys was insecure has I have never saw him. We didn't believe that it would work on stage and IT DID WORK, but our orator was under a lot of pressure believing that it would never work and he was speechless.... all the presentation we trained, all the talk about making Interactive TV a new concept, the speech recognition features, the new market that could be possible to gain with such features... all was left behind and all we heard about it was: "As you can see I can go to the menus, and do some workout as I do it!"

The presentation was a failures dispite the demo worked after all.

I give my sincere thanks to all the Codebits organization to make the impossible happen, to PT Inovação for giving us a big help and for having one of the top techs on MediaRoom in Portugal laid on the ground in front of 800 persons just to help to configure the DNS hosts, to Miguel Vicente for all the motivation he gave us, and to my team that was under a great pressure due to all our missfortune events.

Soon I will publish more about this project including videos of it working.

It was a great codebits and a great challenge.

8Nov/110

Codebits 2011 is comming…

The greatest geek-nerd-techy event in Portugal is about to happen!

It's only 2 days untill the codebits start!

Yes! It will have a 48 hours programming challenge
Yes! It will have a geeky quiz
Yes! It will have O'Reilly books
Yes! It will have lot's of food an beverages
Yes! It will have arduinos
Yes! It will have Nuclear Tacos
YES! CODEBITS FTW!

and NO, there shouldn't be no sleep!

Be Aware!

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