March 2006 Archives

CPAN has some very interesting Perl module which allow to manipulate images, that is: convert between various graphic formats, resize, rotate, regulate contrast, colors, add primitives, watermarks, and all the such. Imager is one of them, and it's quite interesting as it's stable, easy to use, powerful, and well enough documented.

I created a little program, bdtouch, which makes use of some of the features of Imager. You can download the Perl source code here, or you can read on if you're interested in the explanation of some of its parts

Pride & Prejudice

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Rating: 9

This movie is the most recent of the ones based on British writer Jane Austen's classic masterpiece. Well, you all know the story, I won't tell it again; if you don't know it, please type Pride and Prejudice on your favourite search engine and look at the results. ;-)

Even though there have been other cinema versions of this novel, this one ranks very high on my list of most well-made movies. The 1800s British upper-class atmosphere is built very well, and every detail is almost perfect. This is a story about the somehow-rich, the very rich and the enormously wealthy, and the places you see all reflect their owners as if they were part of them: there's the Bennet's mansion, the Bignley's luxury house, and Lady Catherine De Bourgh's castle.

However, what really makes this movie stand out is Keira Knighltey's outstanding performance. The British actress is perfect in the role on a girl who always says what she thinks, in a society where she shouldn't. It's just like the way she behaved in Pirates of the Caribbean: the middle-class who just can't fit in her role. In a word: charming.

Beginning Perl Web Development: From Novice to Professional
Steve Suehring
Apress, 2005
ISBN1-59059-531-9
US$ 39.99 (US$ 20.00 as ebook)

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Click here for the Italian language review - Clicca qui per la recensione in italiano [Perl.It]

Apress has a bunch of interesting Perl-related books, and the quality of them puts this editor on par with O'Reilly, which has always been the best source of Camel-language books even though in recent times new writings lack. Beginning Perl Web Development is one of these new titles, and - as the name says - it aims to turn a novice into a professional web programmer.

Reinas

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Rating: 7

When I went to see this film with my friend Mitra, I thought I was going to see Rob Reiner's latest work, but I made a mistake with the day, and the cinema was playing Reinas. I entered anyway, and it was a mildly good choice.

Reinas means queens in Spanish, and the movie is all-Spanish, with that "brad and salami" way of acting and the not-so-excellent image quality. It looks like Almodovar - there are even the right actresses - but it's a brilliant comedy. It dives into a difficult subject such as gay marriages, but it doesn't take them seriously; even the characters do not take themselves too seriously. The movie is in fact about what happens around these marriages, and besides the main theme it talks especially of women: the mothers of the spouses. It's almost always so brilliant to be even fun, but it still manages to make you understand the uneasy situation of gay people who want to marry. With a smile, which ain't bad.

Wireless hacks, 2nd edition
Rob Flickenger and Roger Weeks
O'Reilly Media, 2006
ISBN 0-596-10144-9
US$ 24.95

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

I've always been interested in anything that doesn't have wires, and WiFi is the most exciting thing for wireless hackers of this millennium, at least as of now ._Wireless hacks_ is the book which tries to make all of this available and understandable not only to the hardcore geek, but to everyobody who is mildly interested in ethereal networking.

There are the needed tips to build an antenna (wether it's a Pringles, slotted waveguide or whatever) and the guidelines to mount it on the roof or wherever you need it. Everything is done usine the things one probably already has at home: chairs, tables, and the such. This book will probably guide you to save some bucks by giving you the correct ideas on how to reuse your hardware.

Once your network is correcly set up, you'll find here the right suggestions to secure it, and to find problems in it. There are a lot of pointers to good software available on the Internet, which you can/should use to create a safe and high-performance network.

Plus, there's a section on mobile phones and GPS systems: I find it to be the less interesting, but - curiously enough - it's located at the very beginning of the book. ;-)

The book is structured in hacks, that is to say recipes (there are 100 of them) of varying length, each showing you how to accomplish a different task. The quality of the hacks is not all alike through the book: for instance, the ones regarding the antennas are quite a bit more detailed than the ones regarding software. All in all, this book is an excellent choice for the wireless enthusiast: for every thing one would want to do, there's suggestion or a hint. However, when you want to dig more deeply into one thing, you need to look elsewhere. But - for it's good price - this book is well worth.

Pros:
- A tip for everything that is wireless-related.
- Just US$ 24.95 list price.
- It's made for the home hacker: it teaches you how to use the things you already have in you house.

Cons:
- Not all hacks are of the same good quality.

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