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Hello everyone, it's a lot of time I don't write in public on the internet. When something difficult/weird comes to my mind, it happens that I go to :)

Here's my difficulty: I'd like to have a device, for personal use at my home, but it doesn't exist - so I can't just purchase it.

It's something that probably technically can be done these days, and I have an overall idea of how to, but can't go from start to finish myself without spending an inappropriate amount of time.

So I thought: it's 2019, the Internet and everything, of course there are communities who "design and build together" things, like software, hardware, etc.
But I'm not sure which could be, for hardware+software devices for personal use.

Thus my question: do you have recommendations? I'd basically would like to post the necessity, and try to contribute as anyone else over time, but hoping that someone smarter than me, together with someone else smarter than him/her, etc. could help with significant progress so to not wait for a lifetime for having it operative on my home's balconies.

The device that I would like to build is something that detects pigeons on balcony with artificial vision and ML, using several cameras and raspberry pi's or whatever, and moves one or more flashlights to point towards the pigeons and try to persuade them to go away. And/Or, moves a robot owl or a robot falcon, that goes towards them, scares them until they go away, and then goes back to the charging station.


Developer's Corner / Don’t Understimate Language Issues
« on: July 15, 2012, 11:51 AM »
"Don’t Understimate Language Issues": that's the title of a blog post by an Italian entrepreneur (and great coder) living in USA.
I'm sharing the link here (hoping it's not too much OT), because I think his candid writing can bring some awareness of this kind of problems, just in case someone is actually underestimating them.

Webcam Video Diary / Feature request: in-video notes
« on: January 02, 2011, 01:01 PM »
The following would be useful for lucid dreaming purposes (by using Webcam Video Diary to record dreams):

- when recording or playing a video, it's possible to pause and define a "in-video note", that is made by a "title" (input line field) and a "free text" (textarea field);

- the in-video notes are stored into a sqlite database, or whatever (text file?): a record (or text-file line) is an identifier (name?) of the video they belong to, the timestamp in that video, the note's title, and the note's free text;

- possibly, when you insert a in-video note, typing the title it autocompletes using the other in-video notes' titles of every video with the same identifier label (I mean, "%IDENTIFIER%"); and also show the entries somewhere (a popup?) in a sorted-by-occurrence list, where you can click one of those titles and it gets copied into the title input field, together with the associated free-text into the textarea field (but you can still edit both, of course).

Besides, in some tab of the app or wherever you want:

- for a selected %IDENTIFIER%, show the in-video notes' titles sorted by occurrence, and through filters on the free text;

- by clicking them, jump to the corresponding video and timestamp (and play the video from there).

So, for lucid dreaming purposes, for instance one could use the titles for simple descriptions of the hooks (e.g. "pink elephant"), and the free text for some conventional string, e.g. "__IMPOSSIBLE__".
The software could allow to filter notes containing (or not) the string "__IMPOSSIBLE__" into the free text; and eventually also more complex queries (e.g. notes not containing string "__IMPOSSIBLE__" and containing string "stairs").

Zero Install staff is searching for some brave coder who's capable of porting the system to Windows. So I'm asking here:

1) if someone reading feels being the one;

2) a suggestion to find someone (besides posting a call on's forum ;)

Note: see also the Windows related page.

I'd like a program where I create "projects", and inside them I specify a list of local folders and the corresponding remote ones to be synched via ftp.
I would like it to act as follows:

I click on checkboxes near some projects, or near some folders under the projects, and click a button "Start monitor changes on filesystem". The app should log in a file every change I do into the selected folders.
Then, I should be able to click a "Commit changes" button, in order to synch local and remote stuff.

I've found the following two freeware tools similar to this concept, but both follow a different approach:
FTP Sync

  • the first one makes a realtime synchronization, i.e. whenever I make a change in the specified folder, it is not logged anywhere, but committed asap.
  • the second one is more complex and well-done, and commits when I click a button, but it does not monitor and log changes while they are done: it just traverse the remote and local folders, and takes its time to check if something is changed/different

Both nice, but not what I would like: I repeat, a silent tool that sits in my tray and "writes down" every change I make on filesystem in specified folders (or groups of folders, i.e. "projects"). Then, in no time other then that required to transfer/delete files via ftp, it should commit those changes only when I ask it to do that. Of course at every successful commit, the "log" file should be deleted (or renamed), so next time it can start with an empty one.

Post New Requests Here / IDEA: ebay watcher and robot
« on: December 18, 2007, 12:27 PM »
I've just posted an idea for a somehow useful thing to the Opera widgets forum, as I can easily imagine it as an Opera widget.
Btw, it makes sense to post the same idea here, as it could also be a desktop application with an "always on top" option. So, here we go (cut and paste from here):


This is a widget I'd like to have, and it seems to me it doesn't (still) exist. If I'm wrong, please suggest.

The widget should include a set of tools to assist ebay users which are interested in buying stuff.
It would appear as a small box (used in "always on top" mode) with some little buttons: "home", "force", "configure", "wishlist", "compact/normal".

The "wishlist" view lets us add new "entries", as many as we want. An "entry" is created by specifying some fields in a form, which could be somehow similar to the "advanced search" of ebay. Something like:

  • label
  • search string
  • check every...
  • price min/max
  • sellers
  • location
  • (some other options...)
  • (sort options...)
  • ending within...

Only the "label", "search string" and the "check every..." fields are mandatory. E.g. we add these three entries, just by specifying the label, the search strings, and the time interval between two automatic checks:

  • 1. [gc contr.] silver gamecube controller original (check every: 2 days)
  • 2. [t. car] tesla car -poster -photo -image (check every: 30 days)
  • 3. [inv. cl.] working invisibility cloak (check every: 30 days)

Of course, the "label" field is a text with a very limited number of characters which we'll use to recall what a whish number is, in a compact view.

When going back in the "home" view, the widget takes action, sending to ebay the requests as specified in the "wishlist" view; it will parse the results, and show us a list (in the widget). Probably, we'll have some results from the first entry, and nothing from the other two. Let's say we have two "gamecube controllers", and a "tesla car", so the home view will be something like (just text, no images please - it has to be a very compact widget!):

([wish number], [label], [time left], [from country], [current price], [shipping], [buy it now or not], [paypal])

  • 1 (gc contr.): 3 days, Australia, 10 € + 40 €, B.N., P.P.
  • 1 (gc contr.): 2 days, UK, 16 € + 5 €, B.N., P.P.
  • 2 (t. car): 5 days, China, 1E9 € + 1E8 €, B.N., P.P.

Of course other fields could be included with some processing by the widget (seller informations, etc.), this is just an example similar to the ebay results output, and it should be ok for most needs. The "config" view of the widget could be use to add/delete the fields showed and every other "config" option.

The widget, following the specified time intervals for each entry, will query ebay, and if it will find some differences it will update the list with more (or less) items. E.g., after 3 days, it will eventually show:

  • 2 (t. car): 2 days, China, 1E9 € + 1E8 €, B.N., P.P.

The "force" button will send the query to ebay for each entry of the wishlist and update the list in the home view, regardless of the time interval still not reached.

The "time left" showed for each entry will be dinamically shown by the widget, and synchronized whenever an ebay query is done; it will be a "smart" indicator, that is we'll see for each entry a self-going countdown like:

2 days, 1 day, 20 hours, 10 hours, 5 hours, 4 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours, 1 hour, 50 minutes, 40 minutes, 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 59 seconds, 58 seconds, [...(go on)...], 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second, CONTACT!

Whenever the "force" button is pressed, or it's time for a query to ebay for some entries of the wishlist, the informations retrieved will also be used to update the "current price" of the already shown items.

Moreover, every shown item has a checkbox at its side, and in the bottom (or top) of the widget there is a select field with some actions which can be performed on the selected ones (think to the Gmail web interface): the most important action I can think is "ignore", so that it's possible to exclude some non-interesting items from the home view, regardless of the fact they're retrieved and fitting the specified parameters.

Of course, every item shown is a link to the corresponding ebay page.

Hitting the "compact/normal" button, the "home" view switches between the "normal" and the "compact" mode (the button will show the complementary label). The "normal" one is that I've just described. The "compact" one makes the widget a very-very little box, wasting nearly no space on the screen and shown with transparency: it will just show, if any, how many items are there for each entry of the wishlist; with the previous example, it would be something like:

1:2, 2:1

The little compact box would be resize-able, and the content would be a one-line text with automatic wrap. And with a very very small font size.

I'll eventually add some other hints I've in mind for this, but that's enough for now, I'll wait for someone able to accomplish what already described, which is not simple.

Of course this is a widget I would use as an auto alert for something I would like to have, hoping it will eventually pop in ebay some day, avoiding the effort to search and check ebay for it every now and then. It would also help in following the auctions when I'm interested in some items, with the counting countdowns...

I hope I've been clear enough and you can "envision" the final thing like I do, if you think something could be explained better please add your comments. And of course, suggestion time is open!

Let's also vote in the poll to see how many of us would find this widget useful. (NOTE: this doesn't apply to DC's forum system: in Opera forums a poll can be included with a thread)

Thinking at the TV world, it's not so hard to know what that famous actor, or singer, or showman, is doing now, if he/she's still in the show-business, or not, what's the new activity, etc.

Let's collect in this thread which are the current occupations for the men/women of the past in the computer (hardware/software) business, if they have a site/blog, if they're working on some projects, etc. Please be really concise, do not list everything related: those reading and interested will have enough elements for a deeper search for informations through Google or similar services.

Please suggest whatever "form" to complete fits for your case, but let's try to stick on a shared one after some posts.

Stimulated by an Amiga resemblance thread I can think to this contribution for the start:

name: Carl Sassenrath.
in the old days (mainly): worked as Manager of Operating Systems at a small startup called "Amiga" (yes, the one we all know ;) then for "Apple" at the Advanced Technoloy Group, and lot of interesting stuff.
today (mainly): CTO at REBOL Technologies

Post New Requests Here / IDEA: configure double-click max speed
« on: September 16, 2006, 08:35 AM »
I'd like to have a way to choose the level of speed of two consecutive clicks for the OS to say it is a double-click. This is not the same thing that we can configure from the Control Panel -> Mouse, it's somehow the opposite: i.e. I'd like to discard double-clicks which are too much fast, making them behaving like if they were just single clicks.

So, to make it clear:
Click-[some time]-Click
  • if "some time" is less than the specified interval of time, we translate it as a "single click"
  • if "some time" is greater than the specified interval of time, we translate it as a "double click"

It would be great if it was done as a AutoHotKey script. I think it's not easy, we need to "capture" the double-clicks and avoid them to do what they're going to do, that is behaving like normal double-clicks... I wonder if it can really be done or it's impossible.

Post New Requests Here / IDEA: simple quick'n'dirty alarm
« on: September 12, 2006, 05:23 AM »
I'm sorry I don't know if there is a better place than this in these forums where similar help requests can be posted, so please forgive me and point me to the right forum. Btw, what I want is someone fixing this little script for me, as I can't see where the bug is. Simply I'd like a script where I manually edit the alarm time, and it beeps when the time is passed. It loads fine, no error messages, but it just doesn't work. Thanks in advance, and please don't forget to tell me which is the right place where to post help requests on little coding snacks which probably are not fresh "ideas" and could already exist somewhere...

alarm=2030 ;alarm time (hhmm)
checkevery=59000 ;time between checks in ms


If (now>=start)

MODx is a nice opensource CMS and PHP framework. A very annoying thing when using it is that you edit templates, code snippets, etc. in a small textarea. Of course it's really dirty, so I think everyone like me uses his favourite text editor, and paste into the textarea.

This process believe me is time-consuming and boring, you have to try it. So here it is what I'd like to have:

an AutoHotKey script which triggers when I press a hotkey: I press it when there is a textarea in the browser, in a MODx manager instance, and I want that the actions taken are:
  • copy the text found in the textarea into the clipboard
  • make a temporary file somewhere with .php extension
  • load this file into my favourite text editor (which will syntax-highlight the code because we've set the right extension for it)

Ok then I make my changes to the file, and when I'm done I press another hotkey, so that the actions taken by the script are:
  • save the file (Ctrl-S, or other user defined keystrokes, depending on the text editor... hey it's a script, so I can easily modify it by myself ;)
  • copy the text into the textarea in the browser, where the MODx manager instance is
  • optional, for the very lazy: submit the changes pressing the "save" button for me into the MODx manager interface :)

That's all, isn't it useful? The MODx community would rejoice... Btw it could be easily adapted to whatever CMS out there, if needed.

Hi to all there! This is an idea I had years ago, I've sometimes searched for an app like this because I'd like to have and use it a lot, but still no luck, I don't know if it exists btw I can't find it.

Really, I think this is an app that could potentially grow big so it would need some more development efforts than "one hour" of work I suspect ;)  Btw, I think the "core features" could be coded in a small amount of time by someone who knows how to take a map of the screen (something like a screenshot program). Maybe it's possible to make everything described here with AutoHotKey, but I've discovered it just yesterday so I'm not able to do it by now.

So let me try to explain the idea, then the app. Lot of times I'm there waiting for my PC to have a job done, or I simply would like to catch an event, and usually I have to use my eyes, even if I'd like to look elsewhere, or even turn the monitor off... I call it the damn human polling, something that imho should be reduced as much as possible, cause we "multitasking users" like to do lots of other stuff away from the PC when it's working for us, especially when it wants not to be disturbed to complete the work well. This is why interrupts have been invented, but still we have not a good and uniform system for human interrupts while using a PC: it is definitely something that should be hardcoded in the OS.

Meanwhile, waiting for an OS with this hardcoded, why not anticipate the times? ;)  Think to a system trayed app, which can be enabled/disabled. It lets the user define "interrupts", and "actions". When defining a new interrupt, there are some "primitives" that can be used, and logic operators. The most useful primitive for me (and this is what I'd like in the very first implementation of the app, if it should not grow in future, otherwise it will be useless for me) would be "look for event in desktop area": it would let the user define an area of the desktop with the mouse (the entire desktop being the biggest "area", and a single pixel being the smallest one... and in case of use of multiple desktops, it would be nice to support monitoring them too, but this is feed for advanced implementations!), then the user should define the "event" to look for, choosing e.g. between:
  • changes
  • becomes...
  • includes...
  • includes color...
  • (...other eventual ideas)
Choosing "changes", the app will look for whatever pixel change into the defined area; choosing "becomes...", the user have to also submit an image (or a color, if the defined area is just one pixel) for the app to confront with; choosing "includes color..." the user have to also submit a color for the app to look for its presence in the defined area; etc.

Another useful "primitive" would be "look for text in desktop": it would let the user define a word or a group of words, for the app triggering when the same text is found somewhere in the desktop. As a sample text, think something like "completed" or "100%" or "done" ;)

Another *very useful* one would be "look for window caption", so that we can trigger our app using the features of other apps like AutoIt2 or AutoHotKey, we let them trigger on the desired event not implemented in our app, and make them pop a window with the caption we've defined, so that a big amount of already implemented "primitives" is ready to serve the user ;)))

Ok, that's enough for primitives, of course there are lots of them we can invent, btw I think you've caught the concept by now.
It's important the "logic operators" implementation to bind multiple primitives: that is, the interrupt can trigger for example when the primitive "look for event in desktop area" OR "look for text in desktop" triggers; of course there will be AND, OR, NOT operators.

Then, the "actions": simply let the user define something to do; defining actions, they can be associated with interrupts. E.g. an action could be "execute program" (and the user will specify a path and parameters for the application to run), or "play sound file", or (really important for me, because I often have my speakers off) "play sound with PC speaker (beeper)", or "say...." (and the user specifies a text to read with voice synthesis), etc.

Moreover, the app should let the user define a label for every entry (interrupt + action), and it should be possible to load the app with a label as parameter: this way, an AutoHotKey script could detect that I'm burning a DVD, and automatically call the app passing the label parameter "scream_when_burned".

Good, I hope everything's clear. Let me summarize with an example setup:

  • entry "scream_when_render_completed":
    interrupt "progress bar reaches the end" = primitive "look for event in desktop area"
    action "play sound file"
    check frequency: "every minute"
  • entry "beep_when_burning_finished":
    interrupt "burning program has done is job" = primitive "look for event in desktop area" OR primitive "look for text in desktop"
    action "irritatingly beep with PC speaker until mousemove or keypress"
    check frequency: "every 5 seconds"
  • ...

You see, we can define as much "entries" as we want in the app, with corresponding one-word "labels"; each one is an "interrupt"-"action" pair, where an interrupt is defined as a group of primitives bound through logical operators, with every primitive having parameters defined by the user; every interrupt has a multi-word label, so that they can be reused for other entries; actions have a multi-word label too, so that they can be defined and reused at pleasure. I've specified "check frequency" values for each entry, because e.g. it would be unwise to check every microsecond if the render has been completed, maybe it would slow down the render itself! Or e.g. it would be useless to check every minute for a task which completes in about a minute; so it's clear that each entry must have a corresponding user-defined check frequency.

I hope someone finds this idea interesting to implement, as I'd like to leave my PC doing its time-consuming tasks while I'm playing with my brother in another room and set loud horns to call me when the job's done and my PC is ready to go with other tasks. Or I'd like it to automatically turn off when it completes a big rendering, because I'm sleeping deep in my bed and there's no option in my rendering program, and the only thing changing in the screen when it completes is the progress bar reaching the end...

-- EDIT: A complete app would be very appetible if provides integrated tools for easying the process of interrupt definition as much as possible, almost "on the fly". Mainly, the primitives involving detection of graphics or texts in the desktop (changes, inclusions, coincidences, etc.) should have aid tools. I think to this process, e.g. for a CD burning job:
  • the user starts the burning with his favourite program
  • from the system trayed app, he launches the menu entry capture the no-trigger situation ("still working")
  • the app internally saves a dump of the words found in the desktop: something like a AutoHotKey's "window spy", done on every window of the desktop
  • the app lets the user define a rectangular region on the desktop with the mouse, and saves a dump image of the chosen region (and tooltips could hint the user on how to choose the region selection, and to try taking it as small as possible)
  • the app saves a dump image of the entire desktop
  • the user waits for the burning job to complete and go on "steady state", then from the system trayed app he launches the menu entry capture the trigger situation ("job done!")
  • the app again internally saves a dump of the words found in the desktop
  • the app saves another dump image of the the previously user-defined region
  • the app saves another dump image of the entire desktop

Having this done, the app can provide some sort of "diff" of the two text dumps, and a ready-to-use couple of images dumping the interesting areas, for the definition of the primitives; e.g. the user could set a primitive to search in the screen for the first region image (so there will be no fixed position for the area to watch), then watch the region in the found position and compare it with the second region image.

The more precise of you there maybe have noticed I've included also a "the app saves a dump image of the entire desktop" in the list, and again after the job's done situation; these dumps have no meaning it seems, as the user defines a specific region... but here it is why I've included them: the app could provide a "simulate!" feature; that is, after the user has defined everything, he could roughly try if everything should go well just executing a very quick simulation. It could be accomplished making the app show the first desktop dump image during a defined time window, followed by the second desktop dump image during another time window, and redirecting every text check to the text dumps rather than the real desktop entities, of course using the first text dump during the first time window and the second text dump during the second time window.

Maybe it seems a bit twisted to read now, but I have a clear idea that everything would be neat and easy to use for everyone if well implemeted. But, as previously anticipated, I'm convinced that this is not really a "coding snack", so if there is a more appropriate section in this forum where to post it, please let me know and excuse me, I'm really new there. Bye!

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