"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Test drive: Ubuntu-Gnome 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn” on the EEEPC

Like every year the Ubuntu (second) upgrade season is coming. Like every year I'm taking e brief test of beta releases in order to have preview of novelties and, most important, possible problems. I downloaded so both the latest Ubuntu-Gnome ISO disk image (Utopic Unicorn Beta 1) and prepared a bootable SD card to test it on the EEEPC.

First impressions

The live disk with Ubuntu-Gnome booted in a reasonable time, welcoming the user with the usual flat-looking Gnome-Shell look
at a first view there are no big news (no news good news especially on old computers) but after a deeper look some interesting novelties appear.
First in the top-right menu a “location” option has been added:

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Test Drive : KDE Plasma 5 on the EEEPC

I like KDE from a theoretical point of view: I especially appreciate its philosophy about flexibility and configuration capabilities. On the other hand, on the practical side, I never felt comfortable using it even if I tried more than once. By the way after reading the recent news about new KDE “Plasma” version 5 I decided it was worth giving it a look.
I so downloaded the “Neon 5 Project” live disk image, based on Kubuntu, available on KDE site and put it on my USB disk using Ubuntu start-up disk creator tool.

First impressions

I tested the newly prepared USB disk both on my desktop computer and on my netbook. KDE worked fine, of course, on the Veriton desktop but I was surprised to find I worked decently even on my old EEEPC.
At boot the EEEPC show an error about a Kwin unexpectedly closing, whatever causes it KDE starts and it seem to work normally.
the desktop is organized in a very traditional way with a functional “start” menu on the lower left:

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Neo4j and Java: demos with an embedded Ne04j graph

After my first experience in installing Neo4j graph database I decided to continue my experiments by writing a little Java demo program. The scope of my program just to learn how to connect to a Neo4j embedded graph, to generate ,connect and query some hundreds of nodes. Neo4j site and the downloaded manual provide plenty of documentation about interfacing with Java, and the other supported languages.

Project set-up

Setting up a Java project is quit simple: just matter of including all Neo4j libraries jars, available in the 'lib' folder, in the project class-path. To make easier future projects set-up I prepared, in Netbeans, a custom library configuration.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Test Drive: Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” on the EEEPC 900

Some time after Ubuntu release also Linux Mint has came out with its latest version: number 17 codenamed “Qiana”. Even if a little late since the release date I decided to give Mint Qiana a quick look by running it live on the EEEPC. I've been a Mint user for a while, what mostly interest me is to observe evolution of Mint desktop: Cinnamon. The EEEPC 900 is getting old and, even if it's still functional, Gnome Shell is getting less responsive every update. I was so thinking about switching to a lighter window manager.

First impressions

Here is how Linux Mint 17 looks like:

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Now something completely different: Neo4j

I've been interested in the variegated world of “NOSQL” databases since a while but I was mostly undecided which one start experimenting with. Most of NOSQL databases give their best in high data volumes, high availability, high scalability, “high everything” use cases. Going to test such databases in a realistic way is not an easy task. Testing them on a EEEPC while traveling by train is definitively impossible. I so concentrated my interest on “Graph Databases”: a kind of NOSQL databases designed to represent data tied by complex and deep relationships, hard to be described by the classic table form.


Among the many, Java based, graph databases the one that got my attention has been Neo4j. Two things made me decide for testing Neo4J: first Neo4J is embeddable in your Java project, the second is the huge amount of documentation and examples available at Neo4j site.


Installing Neo4j has been quite simple just matter of extracting the downloaded archive into a folder in my home directory (I have a “Projects” folder for this)
tar xv neo4j-community-2.0.3-unix.tar.gz
this is more than enough for a test installation or if you are going to use it only embedded in anoter Java project. Installing a Neo4j server would be a little more more tricky.
Neo4j service can be started by shell using the “neo4j” script provided in the bin directory:
cd Projects/neo4j-community-2.0.3/bin/
./neo4j start
at start it gives a warning about not running it in a Oracle Java JVM but during my tests it worked fine even with OpenJDK JVM. Of course fro a more intense use it'd better follow the suggestion and use the right JVM.
The same script can be used to stop Neo4j service:
./neo4j stop
User interface

Neo4j offers a web based user interface on the “http://localhost:7474” address. The web interface provide an easy way to send commands to Neo4j with the help of a good variety of saved scripts and examples available with one mouse click.