VZ Netzwerke message backup

A few days ago I read that the VZ Netzwerke (a group of dying social networks once popular in Germany) will be renamed to or restarted as idpool. Reading about those networks alone reminded me that ever since I stopped using them I wanted to backup all my messages. Hearing that the platform will be undergoing serious change some time soon made me take immediate action.

I wrote a Perl script to extract the messages and store them in json-files. To view the messages I wrote a simple web interface in PHP.
I ran into some problems with SSL connections which is why the script uses a session ID instead of an e-mail address and password as a launch parameter. Additionally, when dealing with large amounts of messages the script decided to freeze after a certain amount of parsed messages, so I wrote a second version using threads to parse messages and in case they freeze simply parse the message again. This second version, however, is painfully slow because of my crappy implementation — but since it does a job that only has to be done once I'm fine with that. :D

Concerning the web interface one thing was very important for me: having messages and answers that belong together being displayed at the same place. A thing that the VZ Netzwerke never offered, you only have your in- and outbox. Separated. Absolutely terrible if you want to read an old conversation again. So ... my web interface shows all messages to and from a person at one place. : )

In case you'd like to backup your messages too, here you go: vz_messageparser.tar.gz
Run perl vzmp.pl studi|schueler|mein <sessid> (use vmzp_crap.pl if neccessary) and view the index.php (webserver required ofc) as soon as the script finished.

Here is a video showing how it works.


Impress Presenter Screen + awesome

edit: modkey + o moves windows between displays — that pretty much solves the whole thing. Sometimes patiently reading though a man page solves your problems more efficiently than asking Google for help. (Thanks to Wolfgang for informing me about the key binding.)

Getting LibreOffice Impress' extension presenter-screen (aka "Presenter Console") to work when using awesome turned out to be a bit tricky.
So, if youre using awesome and want to use the extension, here's how it works:

Assuming you're using a laptop with a resolution of 1366x768 and present on a beamer, connected via VGA with a resolution of 1280x960. (Use xrandr to find out the actual output and resolutions.)

1. Display setup

Your own screen: xrandr --output LVDS --mode 1366x768 --primary
The beamer: xrandr --output VGA-0 --mode 1280x960 --right-of LVDS

2. Impress

Make sure the extension is recognized: Tools -> Extension Manager
Set the presentation display to "Display 2": Slide Show -> Slide Show Settings
Place the Imress window on the beamer display and start the presentation.

You should now see the presenter screen on top of your presentation's slides, both on the beamer display.

3. awesome

With your cursor, hover over the presenter screen.
Press modkey + m (maximize window) twice.
Move the presenter screen to your laptop's display.

This all would be much easier if there was a key binding for moving (maximized) windows between displays, not only tags. I'm not aware of one.

tags: linux


Time-lapse photography for less than 2$

A few weeks ago I thought it would be nice to try out time-lapse photography. I searched for ways to trigger my DSLR in given inverals and found, that the plug for wired remotes was some proprietary Nikon thing and timer remotes cost 40€ upwards.

Fortunately, DSLRs can also be triggered using an infrared signal. I already owned an Nikon ML-L3, a normal IR remote compatible to my Nikon D80. So what I did (and what you can also do to have fun with IR devices) was this.

Simply connect an IR LED to an audio cable and use it to record and send IR signals. It's that easy. : )

If you're interested in further information on this topic have a look at the following links:
Jim Watters - Nikon D70s MC-DC1 remote
www.doc-diy.net :: camera remote release pinout list
DIY Infrared transmitter for iPhone, iPod
Arduino – IR remote/ intervalometer for Nikon D80 DSLR (that means timelapse photography yarrr!)
bigmike.it - infrared remote control for Nikon



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