Jul 31

El blog es fa major d’edat

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Ja fa 18 anys des de la primera entrada que vaig fer al blog. Avui escric des del camping “El Delfín Verde” a la Costa Brava; on estic passant les vacances amb la família. Escriure en aquests entorns és realment complicat i no pas per la connexió a Internet sinó per trobar una estona on no hagis de patir pels nens. Tornant a l’efemèride del dia sembla realment increible el temps que ha passat. El més sorprenent de tot és que amb tants anys no li hagi arribat a aplicar una estratègia clara i focalitzada al blog. Sempre l’he definit com a una finestra a mi, un espai on comparteixo idees, coneixements i d’altres inquietuts que m’envolten. Quan no ets una “celebrity” això no és mai motiu suficient per atreure moltes visites i encara menys per tenir una gran quantitat de comentaris. Tot i que si que em serveix per tenir el meu petit espai d’influència sobre un entorn proper i variale, dit d’altre forma, em permet perdurar en el temps cert valor que vaig compartint quan hi penso i amb qui i penso.
Mai he descartat fer un pas endavant i donar-li un enfoc molt més professional, o amb una intenció més clara al darrera. Una cosa tinc clara, mai és tard i ara mateix això no esta dins de les meves prioritats. Tampoc vol dir que demà pugui estar-hi. En qualsevol cas és tracte de decidir prioritzar les meves inversions cap a un lloc, o un altre. Per cert, quan parlo d’inversions sobretot són d’energia; el valor més preuat quan la prioritat vital esta en cuidar els petits i fer que la família tiri endavant.
Una de les funcions implícites d’escriure un blog és que fa de “lifestream”, podriem entendre-ho com un tracking de temps de les coses que vas fent. Mai és fidel a nivell de detalls i de tot el que fas però si que té un grandíssim valor per tenir un gran aparador de caixetes amb milers de notes, esquemes, troços de codi, videos, etc. disponible siguis on siguis. És quan tires enrera i recuperes aquestes caixes -els articles- mirant ni que sigui què has fet des del darrer aniversari i troves algunes perles o temes realment apassionants que t’adones del grandíssim valor com a “lifestream”.
No puc extendrem més perquè les obligacions em reclament però em quedo amb les ganes d’anar més al fons amb molts dels temes que he posat sobre la taula. De ben segur això canvia amb el temps i és qüestió de que els petits guanyin amb indepedència perquè les entrades guanyin en freqüència, i segurament també en qualitat. Tot i que diria que darrerament les aportacions que he anat fent tenen força qualitat i valor, almenys per mi. Però el que tinc molt clar és que un dia o un altre hauré de fer un salt cap a professionaitzar l’acabat de l’entorn i el propi contingut.

Jul 06

URL shortener service: https://url.joor.net (pygmy)

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Lately, I started running my own URL shortener service because of Google URL shortener service is going to shut down. Below there is a short video showing how the service runs and also there is a Google Chrome extension which I created for integrating the service with the browser.

For quick access and reference the URLs are:

Final notes:

  • Base URL is not the shortest one, but for my personal requirements, it’s more than enough.
  • Service is in early stages, especially the extension. Expect errors, bugs, and unavailabilities.
  • Service is open and free for everyone. But remember, the main purpose is my personal use.
  • I know that pygmy has more features than I publish but I don’t need them and I don’t want to maintain those parts of the applications.
  • I appreciate the effort of Amit for so good application.
Jul 05

A history of connectivity in Torrelavit: from 1.200bps using packet radio to 1Gbps on fiber optics

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

This is a chronology of my history using the Internet, and no-Internet, connections. I never thought this is going to be possible; currently, my Internet connection is faster than my local network. The best speed test that I’ve got so far is the one that you have in the attached screenshot using an old Dell Studio XPS with Linux Mint. The paradox is that more modern computers get worst performance than this one and all of them synchronize the network card to 1Gbps with the Mikrotik CloudSwitch which acts like a gateway applying NAT rules before the fiber optic bridge.

By the way, that news at home makes me spend some time remembering all the Internet connections I had at home since 1992. During Barcelona Olimpic games I was on Netherland with a holidays family trip in that trip we met a guy who told me how to connect two computers using a ham radio station, this technique is called packet radio. I was 15 and my life changed at that instant. The idea was using a radio station of 145MHz, or 433MHz (there were more frequencies but they are unusual) connect the speaker and mic of the radio station using an audio jack to a TNC (Terminal Node Control), or a Baycom, which are at the end of the day like a modem that converts analog audio signals to digital serial port signals. Using the serial port connected to the computer a terminal application was run for user interfacing with the network. Protocol used for the WAN network was AX.25 a variant of X.25, used in the past on most ATM networks, the packet radio network had not only client stations, also BBS (Bulletin Board Systems), Weather Stations, email, FTP, nodes (repeaters), and gateways to other WAN networks like Fidonet, and Internet. How to get those resources without a searcher like Google, it’s another story.

Exchange data was a nightmare, because communication was at a bandwidth of 1.200bps on a shared media, the air, using a simplex (half-duplex)  communication. In plain words, this means to send a 10KB pictures could take an afternoon and usually, terminals weren’t multi-task so you had the computer busy doing that all the time. The first time that I run a browser was for Gopher service which inspired Web service at some point, I had two use two computers one of them running as TCP/IP to AX.25 gateway and the other with Windows 3.1 running Mosaic and using IP over parallel port (PLIP) for exchanging data with those two computers. Mosaic was the first graphical browser of the story as far as I know. Finally, I remember that I developed a small implementation of TCP/IP stack over AX.25 on an EPROM for a TNC, it was very basic but good enough for mapping ham radio IDs and TCP/IP addresses. BTW, my ham radio ID was EB3EWH.

This part of the story lasted about 5 years, I remember the late 90s when good enough plain old telephone line (POTS) was installed at home and a super modern 9600bps telephonic modem which evolved very fast to different speeds up to 56K was the only option for connecting to the Internet. We used Infovía and Infovía plus a Telefonica service for getting data network instead of regular calls to the ISPs, really painful part of the story. Slow speeds also and really expensive services for what we get. Maybe the most fun thing about this part of the history was when someone at home pick up the phone and data connection was interrupted. Other roughly 5 years with this connectivity pattern.

In the early 2000s, I installed an ISDN line at home with two 64kbps at home, on those was permanently connected to the Internet and the other one was available for voice calls. ISDN was a really interesting and very stable technology I’m out of the market currently but I think it’s still possible to buy links using so old technology.  This part of the history was shorter than the previous ones and the funniest story was a thunderstorm and lighting day when the TR1 exploited in front of me I scared a lot.

At the end of 2002 a 256Kbps ADSL was installed on top of a new POTS line installed again at home. It was like a dream, finally, I was navigating with broad bandwidth. ADSL speed up to 2Mbps it was impossible to improve the speed to higher speeds than that because I’m too far from any ADSL distribution point. I remember in 2012 I was paying for 6Mbps internet connection which was the smallest possible to hire and my maximum speed was 1.9Mbps measured with the proper equipment for quality lines test. 

In the end of 2013 I installed a WiFi link with a guy who re-sell fiber optics connection in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia using a link to the Ordal which is a mountain that I can view from home, about 10km link using 5GHz frequency. Speed was 6Mbps/300kbps. This link was active until two days ago, but since August of 2014 the main Internet connection was using another WiFi link with a company called XTA (Xarxa de Telecomunicacions Alternatives), a.k.a. WifiPenedes which is part of the Guifi.net project. This is the same company which installed fiber optics at home the day before yesterday at home. The WiFi link that I had with WifiPenedes was 20Mbps/1Mbps and currently, with the fiber optics I have 1Gbps/300Mbps and there is no backup link with any other technology. BTW, I have a 4G subscription which can be used for emergencies.

Of course will be nice to go deeper with each of those points, finding anecdotes I lived with those 26 years of history connecting to wide area networks (WAN) maybe one day I’ll find the priority for sharing so amazing moments and people that I met thanks to those networks. If I have to admit that networking changed my life and I have had access to a broad knowledge thanks to that. Thank everyone and every company which makes this possible, it has been a pleasure to enjoy this fantastic processes. I finish accepting the challenge to improve my LAN for getting the best from my new Internet connection.

Jun 06

Portable FTP server for Windows

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Usually, simple things are the best, in the case I want to recommend an FTP server for Windows. This is a really simple but super useful FTP server for Windows. I’m using in Windows 10 and it works perfectly. Configuration is done in less than 10″ and installation is not required, I love that. Super portable.

Don’t expect sophisticated options but the most useful and advanced ones are there. If you need something like that my recommendation is:

Quick’n Easy FTP Server Lite by Pablo Software Solutions

Just a summary and extracted from the product webpage this is a summary of features:

  • Simple, intuitive and cool looking user interface, with several pages for managing the users, configuration and security.
  • Easy to setup using the build-in FTP Server Setup Wizard. 
  • Add new user accounts with the User Account Wizard.
  • Support for systems that are a part of a network with a router and/or firewall.
  • Configuration is saved in XML format.
  • Realtime server trace, which displays every command and it’s reply on the screen.
  • Everything can also be logged to a file.

Screenshots are always lovely, some of them are:

Finally just say THANKS Pablo for such good job and so useful stuff.

Jun 05

Android ROMs and maintenance

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Some day ago I had problems with two mobile devices, the last one was with Nexus 7 tablet; the problems started because of so stupid issue I confused my Nexus 7 V2 (2013) with a V1 (2012) and of course flashing recovery and system images everything was broken. Finally, I had to re-flash stock images for recovery and system. In the middle of the process and thanks to XDA-Developers, I found a really useful toolkit called SkipSoft

I just want to remark the work done by people of SkipSoft and give thanks to them for their great work. They simplified long processes downloading and flashing images to my devices to a simple wizard process with their scripts.

BTW, thanks also to Pof who gave me the inspiration for solving my mistakes flashing improper images to the Nexus 7.

May 29

Vaciar la mochila: el mundo no entiende porqué regalo cosas

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Seguro que después de pensar un poco en ello todos estamos de acuerdo que nuestro activo más valioso en esta vida es el tiempo. Nacer es activar una cuenta atrás que no tenemos ni idea en que moment va a acabar. Luego vamos adquiriendo factultades que nos hacen cada vez más autónomos pero esta autonomía nunca es total debido a la fuerte dependencia que tenemos con la sociedad que nos rodea; alimentación, descanso, cobijo, transporte, etc. Somos totalmente interdependientes en todo momento.

En todo este camino llega el momento en que empezamos a acumular objetos, no sólo por necesidad sinó por apego a los mismos. Desde piezas de ropa hasta objetos absurdos, o que simplemente ya no nos son útiles. Todo esto se va sumando a una mochila imaginaria que consume nuestra energía por varios motivos. En mi caso, lo que noto es que cada vez tengo que recordar que tengo más y más cosas, pensar como archivarlas, como acceder de nuevo a ellas, pero sobretodo como optimizar el espacio en casa porqué estas cosas cada vez necesitan un volumen mayor.

Por otro lado, esta la mochila emocional, esa que aparece cuando me encuetro algún objeto que quería usar para algo concreto y que olvidé desde hace tiempo, o simplemente volví a adquirir pensando que jamás lo había comprado. No hablemos ya de miles de componentes informáticos o electrónicos que se acumulan en infinidad de cajas, cajitas, cajones y otros rincones que en muchas ocasiones han quedado obsoletos o que simplemente pertenecen a aplicaciones que jamás voy a recuperar.

Particularmente todo esto me causa mucho estrés, me cosume mucha energía y me hace sentir mal al ver la presencia de todos estos objetos ocupando espacio en mi vida y actuando como vampiros de mis ganas de hacer cosas. Así pues, ya hace unos cuantos años he reducido mi armario en más de un 80% y recientemente he culminado una primera fase de limpieza de cosas relacionadas con mi pasión y mi trabajo. En las entradas anteriores al blog podeis ver referencias a listas de cosas que simplemente regalo, o las cedo a precios de risa.

Saber que todas estas cosas van a tener otra vida y que serán útiles para algunas personas me recomforta y me da mucha paz. Así pues, a la pregunta que más de una vez me han hecho estos días: “porqué regalas las cosas?” la respuesta es: “porqué me da mucha paz”. Cuando doy algo a alguien lo más importante es que ese objeto no vuelva a mi. No quiero que me vuelva a consumir tiempo y en consecuencia energía. Obviamente quiero que sea útil para ese alguien que lo ha recibido pero mi contrapartida es a cambio de que no me suponga más desgaste.

Esto no acaba aquí y seguir limpiando mi mochila, dejando sólo las cosas que quiero y puedo disfrutar y mantener este acuerdo conmigo mismo es cuando me noto ligero. La mochila ya no pesa, o pesa mucho menos y esto me permite llenarla de muchas otras cosas sobretodo cosas no materiales. Porqué cuanto menos tienes menos dependicias arrastras, o esa es mi percepción. Lo realmente complejo de este tema en mi caso es que debido a mi pasión; que además es trabajo, debo disponer de un cierto nivel de stock de mil y un componentes, conectores, aparatos, etc. Así pues, el reto de la conexión con esta paz interior es todavía mayor.

Pero cuanto más avanzo en el camino de la vida más claro tengo que lo estoy haciendo bien y esto es maravilloso. Porqué rodearse de paz y harmonia me permite ganar en otras muchas cualidades que tenia enterradas debajo de un montón de cosas que no sabía realmente en que las iba a emplear.

Con el deseo de que esta reflexión haya podido ser útil para alguno de vosotr@s me despido y animo a vaciar vuestra mochila, sea lo que sea que esto quiere decir en vuestro caso.

May 09

Avui en faig 41 i vull fer-te un regal

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Bon dia, cada any aprofitant el meu anviersari faig algunes reflexions que comparteixo a través del blog. La veritat avui no estic massa filosòfic i no ús penso ni recordar massa coses ni fer reflexionar sobre la vida. Això si, vull aprofitar aquesta entrada al blog per fer-vos un regal. En els últims mesos he recopilat fins a 50 coses que tinc per casa i que ja no vull, així doncs, les he fotografiat i les he posat en un PDF.

Podeu baixar el PDF amb les coses que “regalo” clicant aquí.

Abans d’agraïr-vos haver llegit l’entrada només dir-vos que aquests dies he estat pensant, com l’e-commerce va passar de ser algo que vindria en el futur fins a algo que ja ha transformat completament la meva vida. Quan era un nen i somiava amb el que es podria fer en el futur sempre pensava que per desgràcia això no arribaria mai al meu poblet, Torrelavit. Doncs bé, dona gust veure que m’equivoco i que no només ha arribat sinó que a diari veig furgonetes de repartidors entregant material que de ben segur els meus veïns han comprat a través de les xarxes. Realment si ús poseu a reflexionar una mica sobre això ús adonareu com n’és de gran i de global el canvi que hem patit des de fa 30 anys cap aquí.

Que tingueu un grandíssim dia, jo per la meva part reitero el meu agraïment a la vida: GRÀCIES.