Dec 27, 2011

Best of science fiction movies for 2011 or my sci-fi top 10

We can't really  say that this was one of the best years of sci-fi movies, maybe the year of remakes and sequels/prequels but there were few that were worth mentioning, so here we go:
10. Battle: Los Angeles

There are these kick-ass aliens coming to Earth with an invasion plan that includes taking over all major cities throughout the world. US has figured it out what is happening at the last minute bit it is too late. So since most of the bases are destroyed LA relies on the marines to save the day.  It has a lot of similarities to 'The war of the worlds' but with shooting and killing all over the place and that is all you should expect. A great action movie with awesome special effects but nothing more.

9. Source Code
Another great action thriller centered on officer Colter Stevens who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. The soldier, played by  Jake Gyllenhaal meets Michelle Monaghan, but since they’re both going to die in just a few minutes, well, there’s not much point in making friends. Also, I must say it bears a strong resemblance to classic 12 Monkeys.

8.Another Earth
On the night when duplicate planet shows up in the solar system, an ambitious young student and an accomplished composer cross paths in a tragic car accident. Let's say that a planet showing up from nowhere into our solar system somehow does not disturb the natural rotation of the planets and has no physical implications whatsoever to anything why would anyone pick such a painful topic ? This film is a  great tragedy but not a sci-fi movie, expect to the fact that a planet shows up from nowhere it is just painful and too slow. During the entire film, you are going to feel like an ant pushing some big burden towards some pointless goal. So why is it even on this list? Well, it opens up a few questions for us. What would we say to ourself in  the other planet? Are they different from us? Is the other me a better person?
Has he/she done the same mistakes? Are we going to do the same choices in the future?

7. Super 8
Another great J.J.Abrams movie, so  what is the story:
"In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth - something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined."
Many people say that this was the greatest movie of this year but not me. This is not because there were many great ones but because Super 8 did not offer something new. On the plus side, it has a big resemblance to Stephen King's 'Stand by me' with alien and military included. The good thing is that  Abrams is becoming more and more influential in the world of science fiction and the support from Spielberg definitely does not hurt.

6. Rise of the planet of the Apes

The original ‘Planet of the Apes’ is a classic film, with many memorable scenes like the one when Charlton Heston comes across a half-buried Statue of Liberty. This film is in a way prequel to the original and it offers  a believable  explanation as to how humans become second-class citizens. Cure for Alzheimer's disease creates genetically-enhanced chimpanzee uses its greater intelligence to lead other apes to freedom. That chimp is the well known Cesar ...

5. The Adjustment Bureau 

The story is about an affair between a politician and a ballerina is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart. This is a  surprisingly engaging romance, based on a Philip K. Dick short story called Adjustment Team. The move starred Matt Damon as the politician David Norris who meets this beautiful ballet dancer Elise Sellas, played by Emily Blunt. The politician finds out that there are forces keeping them apart and he sacrifices everything to get the girl. Undoubtedly a great romance with a taste of fiction and great acting worth watching.

4. The Thing 

I loved the original 'The Thing' and for those of you who haven't seen it go for it right away, seriously find it on-line get it from amazon, just get it. The original has John Carpenter all over it and the role of R.J. MacReady is just perfect for Kurt Russel. The story of this movie comes from John W. Campbell Jr. and it's about scientists in the Antarctic that are confronted by a shape-shifting alien who very is killing. The remake is not as good as the original but it offers a modernized version of the story and I believe that is worth seeing.

3. Limitless 

Interesting concept about a wonder drug that allows super human abilities. A failed writer takes this experimental drug that allows him to use 100 percent of his mind. When on the drug he evolves into the perfect version of himself, perfect intelligence and with that best possible decision-making. Again not the classic sci-fi but extraordinary acting by Bradley Cooper and this movie becomes a great thriller.

2. Real Steel 
More of a family movie than a classical sci-fi, Real Steal is set t in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport. Robo boxer, played by
Hugh Jackman, during his rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father. Together they try to make a mark on the robot boxing industry. The movie has elements of Rocky in it and that is not just because its about boxing. The reason, why I liked this film so much, is because it is very believable that in the near future we could have something like this. Lot of innovation has been done in the name of entertainment why not boxing robots?   

1. X-Men: First Class

I'm usually skeptical about prequels because sometime they try too much to explain how characters we know became those characters. This was not the case for First Class, yes it did show what the lives were for Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr before they took the names Professor X and Magneto, but they did it in a very interesting manner.  It showed how Magneto and Professor X discovered their power's and how close they were before becoming archenemies. In the process of working together, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-MEN.  After watching it, I must say that X-Men world makes more sense, at least to those of us who only watched the movies...

Nov 26, 2011

10 Years Eclipse Party at JugMK

Not the Eclipse you are looking for ?
A few days ago at JugMK we had the Eclipse 10 years party so I thought it would be nice to write a few words about  Eclipse.
Ten years ago IBM decided to opensource eclipse 1.0 which had releases for both Windows and Linux which is very important since at that point of time Windows was at it's strongest point. The Eclipse consortium was founded the same year but Eclipse  Foundation wasn't created until 2004, the same year that the first EclipseCon took place. It's fun to remember some of the companies like Borland that were side by side to  the giants like SAP and IBM and of some importance in the Java world. These days  there are hundreds of companies that are members of the foundation.
A few top level projects that are essential were mentioned :
  •  Eclipse Modeling Project 
This project main focus is on the evolution and promotion of model-based development technologies within the Eclipse community by providing a unified set of modeling frameworks, tooling, and standards implementations
  • Eclipse Runtime  
One of the great top level projects that is under the Eclipse umbrella is Eclipse RT. This top level project has sub projects like the Jetty Web server  and the well known EclipseLink JPA provider. RT projects target "clients" and "servers" across embedded devices, desktops, and enterprise systems, and provide those intermediate software services which enable applications to be more easily and concisely constructed across these environments.  

By providing a consistent symmetric architecture, Eclipse RT technology enables developers to focus on the business problem at hand and still have many system architecture options available at deployment time.

The future 

Eclipse has made big difference over the past decade  and it is more than clear that is here to stay. There are several projects that got my attention that are still in incubation:
  • e4
e4 is the incubator for Eclipse 4.x which is created to be  the foundation on Eclipse and OSGI. 
There are few simplification that allow easier writing of plugins, better control over all Eclipse based solutions  and simply enabling  more and more programmers to program on the platform while at the same time keeping the backward compatibility with the applications based on clean API's . In order to reach these goals, Eclipse APIs are re-factored into services that use a uniform application model  which supports dependency injection to run in multiple different contexts ;the Workbench is uniformly modeled to provide introspection, CSS styling and declarative UI markup  and many more initiatives in areas such as-flexible resources, command recording, scripting and writing plugins in other languages. 

  • Eclipse Orion
Orion is one of the projects under the Eclipse top-level project. The project is currently in the Incubation phase. The premise behind this project is simple, why do we web apps on the desktop when we can do it on the web ? Tools are written in JavaScript and run in the browser. Unlike other attempts at creating browser-based development tools, this is not an IDE running in a single tab. Links work and can be shared.  Great care has been taken to provide a web experience for development. There is something called OrionHub  where you can tryout  the current version. While this is still at the very beginning it look very promising.
A few links : 
  • Eclipse Recomenders   
As  frameworks  are big part of today's software development  we need something that can help us easily and simply use them.  Before frameworks can be used efficiently we have to learn their correct usage which often results in high initial training costs for our company and lot of time for us.
Code Recommenders supports developers on learning new APIs by providing tools which learn correct API usages or valuable API usage patterns by analyzing example code and re-integrates this regained knowledge back into your IDE by means of intelligent code completion; extended javadocs ; smart bug detectors, stacktrace search engines and many others...
Although Eclipse currently gives pretty good suggestions on what should appear first on auto-complete and what variable a method should use this project makes everything noticeably better.
Chain Completion Engine
Template Completion Engine
Intelligent Call Completion Engine

Eclipse at jugmk 
We already have had two presentation directly connected with Eclipse in the past one was about Graphical Editing Framework in eclipse aka GEF by Aleksandar Nikov where he showed powerful  and easy way of creating visual applications using the GEF. This framework enables easy way of working with graphical apps by abstracting the most common  operation one application of this type needs like dragging, dropping, selection, outline  . You just need to worry of your specific business domain and re-use the rest of the services. The platform is entirely open-source like most of the stuff from the Eclipse Foundation, which enables you develop and easilly to package it as your final product.

The other real cool presentation that we had was called  :
See what my IDE can do - Aleksandar Nikov and Saso Lazarevski.  Where basically we had Eclipse vs Netbeans show of that was very awesome and extremely funny. At the end of this presentation we concluded that we are happy to part of the Java community where we have choice.

Also important part of our celebration was the eclipse cake that you can see below as well as other photos from the party.

10 Great years of Eclipse

Other links:

Oct 27, 2011


For the past 2 months with a  few colleagues from Netcetera, we have been working on something called RoboMap as an after-hours project. The idea was to create an autonomous robot that can get inside any room and create a map of the place.
Initially, we started with setup of WowWee Rovio +beagleboard+ Kinect on top of it. Great thing about this was that the programming side for controlling the robot  was extremely easy.  The Rovio has embedded HTTP server that accepts commands via HTTP requests and the control of the robot was done by simply sending and receiving data over HTTP.
The beagleboard  is running Ubuntu for ARM and after some time we realized that we needed more computing power so beagleboard currently works just as the proxy and  we send the Kinect data over WiFi.

On the desktop/laptop side, we read this data directly from the socket and we have written a Java program that reads the  Kinect data and accordingly controls the robot.  The biggest challenge at this point was stitching the images that we get from Kinect. In order to do this, we needed to find the location of the robot in 3D. Now we did get some data from the Rovio about the location but this was very inaccurate.  On the other hand, the Kinect has the built-in accelerometer, so we tried to combine that  data but apparently this was not such a good idea. After some digging around we decided that the best way to do this is using computer vision.  Without getting into details, we used a combination of nestk + OpenCV + PCL. I personally have used OpenCV in the past, but Point Clouds are also something very awesome when working with 3D data.
So we get the data from Kinect using lib Freenet, this is a story just by  itself but  I hope that I'll get the time to explain this part in some other post.
By using this library, we were able to get information about how to stitch every new scene onto the full map.
After working some time on this we decided to go with a different robotic base, so we switched to LynxMotion A4WD1 v2 Robot. This was done so that the robot would become more stable also the coolness factor did not hurt.
We got the version of the robot that had just the frame and the motors, so in order to control them we used Arduino. We first want to remove most of the bugs that can happen and after that we plan to release the source code of the entire project. Let see the video and just to remind you that this is the work in progress.

Oct 18, 2011

Speed of the new Arch Mirror in Macedonia

A few day's ago arangel with hosting from neotel setup-ed  Arch Linux unofficial mirror.
The server URL for /etc/pacman.conf

Server =$repo/os/$arch
The speed is awesome 

Jun 27, 2011

LibreOffice: oosplash.bin eating 100% CPU

In some of the newer versions of LibreOffice, there is a problem with oosplash.bin,
for some unknown reason it's eating up the CPU.
The temp fix for this is to disable the loading of a splash screen by default.
So just edit

that is the symlink to

And change

and the splash screen should not appear. More on
LibreOffice: oosplash.bin eating 100% CPU (Page 1) / Applications & Desktop Environments / Arch Linux Forums

Now also available on Planet

I'm from planet earth all the time but now I'm also available on

Jun 1, 2011

NSND Ohrid

Nista se nece dogodite (NSND)  or roughly translated into English - Nothing will happen is a geek/hackers  unconference  where people get together to share knowledge about pretty much anything. This time it was in Ohrid and here are some of the stuff that didn't happen and i liked it.
So here are my favorites


  • SystemD the new init system for Linux
    • Damjan Gergievski
      • I unfortunaty missed this presentation and now I'm sorry for that but anyway i got to talk to Damjan and he explains me most of the general concepts. I current dont have much time to play around with systemD but I'm sure that it  is the future of Linux.
Also Bojan's recreation of intro from The Robots by Kraftwerk was pretty awesome, because he did it using a music programming languages and various cosine transformations  :)

The full list can be found on

Some photos:

And the icons of NSND Ohrid

May 31, 2011

Small remake of Acpitool based power widget for Awesome3

Frist you need to have acpitool installed which is basically a Linux ACPI client, allowing you to query or set ACPI values and display them. Basically said it parses /proc/acpi or /sys/class entries and presents the output in a well formatted text. Acpitool is available in most of the Linux distros and the requirement is that your kernel has the support for ACPI, which it probably does.

Here is the code, also don't forget to register  mybattmon to the widget list in rc.lua

mybattmon = widget({ type = "textbox", 
                     name = "mybattmon",
                     align = "right" })

function battery_status ()
    --output buffer
    local output={} 
    -- read data from battery
    local fd=io.popen("acpitool -b", "r") 
    local line=fd:read()
    -- we match the output from acpitool
    local battery_load = string.match(line,
                           " (%d*\.%d+)%%")
    local time_rem = string.match(line,
    local discharging -- temp var for opening tag
    if string.match(line, 
                   "discharging")=="discharging" then 
                -- discharging: set the color to red
                discharging="< span color=\"#CC7777\">"
    elseif tonumber(battery_load)>85 then --almost charged
                discharging="< span color=\"#77CC77\">"
    else --charging
                discharging="< span color=\"#CCCC77\">"
    if battery_num and battery_load and time_rem then
       discharging.."B "..battery_load.."%% "..time_rem..
       "</span >")
    elseif battery_num and battery_load then 
    --remaining time unavailable so the battery is loading
       table.insert(output,discharging.."B "..battery_load..
       "%%</span >")
     -- even more data unavailable: 
     -- we might be getting an unexpected output format 
     -- so let's just skip this line.
    return table.concat(output," ") 
mybattmon.text = " " .. battery_status() .. " "
-- every 30 sec call the fucntion battery_status()
my_battmon_timer:add_signal("timeout", function()
    mybattmon.text = " " .. battery_status() .. " "

and I must say Lua is really good scripting language.
The original code works with multiple batteries and can be found here

May 24, 2011

Today I learned about YouTube Snake

Apparently you can play snake on YouTube while the clip is playing or loading.
I acceptedly found this Easter Egg while using the up key.
There is a web site for this
Also it's been a while here since 2010.
When a video is selected, press the [left] key for two seconds and [up] key. 
So play it now :)

May 4, 2011

Inside look at amilo xa 3530

Inside look at amilo xa 3530. This is pobably one of the worldst worst laptops. Low qualty plastic, bad desgin, overheating issues and finaly now its dead. Fujitsu-simens should not be allowed to write "design in Germany" on such low qualiy products

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

May 3, 2011

Apr 21, 2011

UNIX dig command, basic info

I recently became familiarized with  dig or domain information groper, or in short it is the outstanding tool for DNS lookups. It has great functionally ant it is preinstalled on most of the distributions today.If we don't tell it to query a specific name server, dig will try each of the servers listed in /etc/resolv.conf.

The command goes something like this:

dig [ @server ] [ -b address ] [ -c class ] [ -f filename ] [ -k filename ] [ -p port# ] [ -t type ] [ -x addr ] [ -y name:key ] [ name ] [ type ] [ class ] [ queryopt... ]
dig [ -h ]
dig [ global-queryopt... ] [ query... ]


Or why I use dig mostly for. Let say I want to see all the redirects from the top level ns to my server.

 dig +trace

and we get something like this:

; <<>> DiG 9.7.1-P2 <<>> +trace
;; global options: +cmd
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
.   46703 IN NS
;; Received 228 bytes from in 44 ms

com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
com.   172800 IN NS
;; Received 494 bytes from in 136 ms 172800 IN NS 172800 IN NS
;; Received 118 bytes from in 174 ms 3600 IN A 3600 IN NS 3600 IN NS
;; Received 102 bytes from in 126 ms

And basically we got the redirects from the top-level domains to our host.
Let say we want to know the MX records for a server, we write
 dig mx 


; <<>> DiG 9.7.1-P2 <<>> mx
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 23455
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 5, AUTHORITY: 0,

;   IN MX

;; ANSWER SECTION:  3586 IN MX 30  3586 IN MX 10  3586 IN MX 40  3586 IN MX 20  3586 IN MX 5


For the full description take a look at the dig man page or on-line at:

Other references

Apr 12, 2011

Knuth in a year or two, and more...

 The idea is similar to Generally speaking the motivation is also very similar, so let see:

The Motivation

I do have an Informatics and Computer Engineering diploma degree(well in a month or two) but we have only passed some of the parts of TAOCP and definitely not in that much detail. Also, this fits nicely with my idea to go back to the basics once more. I have been working in Java EE, and I feel that web application programming does not give too much space for using innovation at least not in using algorithms that are a little bit more advanced. Java haters would now say that this is because I'm using Java, but that is definitely not the case, I have also used python and a little bit of clojure and this does not change the problem. Yeah maybe some language is more elegant for some job but in the end, it is just a language. Now yes I was working on financial products, but that does not give me any excuse, maybe some other web apps require another skill set. Also, I think that if I had better algorithmic knowledge, that maybe I would not make some mistakes, also it's fun.

The plan

The Art of Computer Programming series are currently on the plan, but also I'm planning on going back to C once more, Little bit of Unix programming for I believe that Linux System Programming: Talking Directly to the Kernel and C Library would be a good start then I think that next good step would be Operating Systems Design and Implementation (3rd Edition). And we'll see what would be next.

The best part is last

I'm not alone (YEAH!!! ). I have found at least one other person interested in the project so this will be great.

We are going to make a reading plan in a day or two. And we will try to make regular meetings each week, the first few months will probably the meetings will take place in "Кика - Хаклаб" and they will be open, during the summer we'll move everything online.

You don't have to be from Macedonia to join us!

Currently, you can find us at #lugola,

We are going to post the plan shortly

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