Web Ben's Information Station

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Dia2Code and AutoDia

I mentioned at tool that converts Dia diagrams to SQL last month, tedia2sql, and I'm not sure why I neglected to also mention Dia2Code and AutoDia also.

Dia2Code will convert a Dia diagram to any of a variety of languages including C, C++, Java, PHP, Python, Shapefile, SQL, and hopefully C# as soon as version 0.9 becomes available. It's available from here:

AutoDia will convert code in a variety of languages to either a Dia diagram or Graphwiz (for generation of other image files such as png), dot, vcg, xvcg (for Postscript), or HTML etc. if you write your own template (which supposedly only takes 20 minutes). AutoDia will handle source files in several languages including Perl, Python, PHP, C++, Java, Torque, DBI, and SQL. It's available from here:

Video Effects with SDL and EffecTV

I was pondering whether it would be possible to create a MythTv/Freevo like application using Mono and it seems that it may actually be possible by using GTK# and SDL.

SDL stands for Simple DirectMedia Layer and it provides some interesting features for 2D and 3D screen manipulation as specified by its homepage blurb:

"Simple DirectMedia Layer is a cross-platform multimedia library designed to provide low level access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick, 3D hardware via OpenGL, and 2D video framebuffer. It is used by MPEG playback software, emulators, and many popular games, including the award winning Linux port of "Civilization: Call To Power."

SDL is available from here:

SDL has a .Net port, available from here:

Here's an example use for SDL as a realtime video special effects processor called EffecTV, available from here:

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Text to Speech with Festival

Since I mentioned Sphinx2 for Voice Recognition I thought that I should also mention Festival for the reverse, i.e. voice generation from text, AKA Text to Speech.

Festival is available from here:

Interestingly Carnegie Mellon University is involved with both Festival, in the form of Festvox, and Sphinx through the CMU Speech Software site here:

Voice Recognition with Sphinx2

I was reading about Sphinx4 and how fantastic it is the other day. Sphinx4 is writtin in Java however. Since I'm striving for an Opne Source only PC at home Java, although available though Gentoo, is really not an option. Which leads me to Sphinx2, it's written in C, and it's available from here:

Monday, September 27, 2004

SSL in C# with Mentalis

Surprisingly .Net doesn't seem to have support for SSL in any form other than HTTPS. Consequently, Mentalis has filled the void with their Free Open Source library available from here:

I'm not 100% sure if it's compatible with Mono on Linux yet though.

Update... It seems that .Net and C# do support SSL albeit without an equivalent of the Java SSLSocket class as documented in "Professional .NET Network Programming" available from here:

Professional .NET Network Programming from Amazon with really long URL

Update 2... Note that Mono actually already has SSL functionality built in:

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Printers with Gentoo

One problem that I've been having with Gentoo, well... disappointment really... is that RedHat 9 was able to print in colour, with my Epson C82, while Gentoo wasn't. Note that I use the word "was" rather than "is", since this has now been resolved...

It turns out that there are several steps that need to be taken to fix this, namely:

install gnome-cups-manager
install gnome-system-tools (not really required but is fun to play with)
install gimp-print (it has the Epson C82 driver)
install foomatic (it creates the cups PDD file from the driver)

Here is an explanation of the various steps:

I haven't tried it all yet, but it looks like it may work...

Labels with gLabels

If you want to create address labels or business cards gLables works well, available here:

The best thing about this app is that it is preprogrammed to support many of the standard avery paper stock formats.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Star gaze with Stellarium

Forget buying an expensive telescope, star gaze with Stellarium instead, available from here:

Stellarium lets you gaze at the stars with semi realistic atmospheric effects including fog and sun haze on the horizon. It seems to need some degree of 3D hardware acceleration, but I was able to zoom in on Saturn and see some rings.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Synergy2 desktop sharing

I just saw an article on Slashdot where someone was asking about a software KVM, or rather a software KM, i.e. they wanted to still use 2 screens.

It looks like x2x is an option, however, Synergy2 seems to be more impressive as it not only allows you to control more than just 2 native screens with a single keyboard and mouse but you can actually cut and paste between screens also. Synergy2 works between muti OS clients as does VNC.

VNC has its place, namely to control remote desktops whose screens are not within your field of view. However, if you have multiple physical screens available to you you can share the keyboard and mouse seamlessly using Synergy2.

It's available from here:

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Linux Video Editing with LiVES

I few days ago I was looking into the various Linux Video editing solutions available and decided that LIVES was the best bet.

LIVES is available here:

Blender 3D Modelling

I've been looking for a program to use for 3D CAD and I just found that Blender will export to AutoCAD DXF files which kills multiple birds with one stone.

Blender is available here:

You can also render your Blender model with POVRay after exporting it, POVRay is available here: