11 December 2013

My first VM instance on Google Cloud!

Google Cloud Engine is similar to Amazon AWS-EC2; Google Cloud Storage is similar to Amazon-S3. As hypervisor, EC2 uses Xen; GCE uses KVM. Both uses REST for the APIs.

My test instance is called "i1" and the instance type is n1-standard-1 (1 vCPU, 3.75 GB RAM, 0.114 USD/hour if hosted in the Europe region which has two zones). I run a CentOS 6.5 image provided by Google.

08 August 2013

rPiTV: Your Google TV with a Raspberry Pi

I got to install the Raspberry Pi TV (rPiTV) on my Raspbian Raspberry Pi.

See here for all the information and installation procedures:

Build your own Google TV Using Raspberry Pi, NodeJS and Socket.io
by Donald Derek
Blog (Explanations) - Youtube (Video) - Github (Code)

rPiTV allows you to watch Youtube videos (and only that) on your TV screen. With your remote control (that's your smartphone), search the video you want to watch and then start/pause/resume/stop the video which will play on your TV.

The rPiTV will first download the video on the SD card then play it with OMXPlayer.

As the space on the SD card is very limited (mine has 4 GB), and as the downloaded video file is not removed after it is played, the SD card runs rapidly out of space... That's why I have connected an external USB hard disk (120 GB) and moved the rPiTV application on it. I also had to use a more powerful power supply (2.5 A in place of 1 A). Of course the whole stuff is now a little bit more roomy...

I made a slight adaptation to play the video in HD 720p (if available) in place of SD 380p.

What is needed:


- Raspberry Pi
- SD card (mine is 4 GB Class 6)
- USB HDD (mine is 120 GB)
- USB Hub + Power supply (5 VDC - 2.5 A)

Remark: if you use the USB Hub power supply (5 VDC - 2.5 A) to power the HDD and the Raspberry Pi, then the native power supply (5 VDC - 1 A) is no more needed.


- Raspbian


Some of the sofwares which are used:

- Node.JS (platform to run Javascript applications)
   - Socket.io (handle connections via websockets)
   - Express (Web server using Node.JS)
   - Omxcontrol (module to control the OMXPlayer)
- Chromium (Web browser)
- OMXPlayer (Video player)
- Youtube-dl (script to download Youtube videos)

The Raspberry Pi with the three cables.
The Raspberry Pi and the TV.
Raspbian on the TV screen.
rPiTV on the TV screen.
Youtube video playing on the TV screen.
rPiTV remote control (smartphone).
USB HDD (120 GB) and USB Hub added.

13 May 2013

Speed test on my 4G/LTE mobile Internet connection

Since today I have a Belgacom Mobile (Proximus) data subscription with 4G/LTE enabled.

This is the speed test results made here in Liège with my Samsung Galaxy S4:

Server Building

04 May 2013

Trip to Bad Ems (Germany)

On Sunday 27 May 2012, I visited with my family the town of Bad Ems in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which is known for the Ems Dispatch (1870) and as a bathing resort on the river Lahn.

The Ems Dispatch (French: Dépêche d'Ems, German: Emser Depesche), sometimes called the Ems Telegram, caused France to declare the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870. The actual dispatch was an internal message from the Prussian King's vacationing site to Bismarck in Berlin, reporting demands made by the French ambassador; it was Bismarck's released statement to the press that became known as Ems Dispatch. The name referred to Bad Ems, a resort spa east of Koblenz on the Lahn river, then situated in Hesse-Nassau, a new possession of Prussia. (c) Wikipedia.

See my Google+ Photo Album for more pictures and descriptions.

This memorial stone indicates the time and place of the meeting between King William I of Prussia and the French ambassador, Count Benedetti.
Statue of Emperor William I of Germany.

23 April 2013

Speed tests on my VDSL and 3G Internet connections

Fixed (VDSL)

At home, I have a VDSL2 line from Belgacom used for Internet and Belgacom TV.

Subscription plan: Intense

Synchro Downstream: 70 Mbps
Synchro Upstream: 6 Mbps  
Downstream: 50 Mbps (Internet) and 20 Mbps (up to two HDTV streams with one STB)
Upstream: 5 Mbps

Bbox2 (modem/router) status:

Speed test results: 

Mobile (3G)

I have a Belgacom Mobile (Proximus) data subscription.

I am connected on Internet with a PC using my cellphone (HSDPA+ / 3.5G) as a portable WIFI hotspot.

Speed test results:

11 April 2013

Trip to Bamberg, Coburg, and Gotha (Germany)

From Thusday 11 to Sunday 14 April 2013, I visited with my family the cities of Bamberg and Coburg in the state of Bavaria, and Gotha in the state of Thuringia.

The Belgian dynasty (and others as well) is originating from Coburg (until 1826: duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld; from 1826 to 1918: duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha). The first king of the Belgians (Leopold I) was born in the Ehrenburg palace in Coburg.

The state of Thuringia was formerly part of East Germany.

Bavaria. (c) David Liuzzo.
Thuringia. (c) David Liuzzo.

See my Google+ Photo Album for more pictures and descriptions.


The hotel: Arkadenhotel im Kloster (old Carmelite monastery).
Very old brewery (bar), anno 1405: Brauerei Sclenkerla.


Ehrenburg palace. In front the statue of duke Ernst I (first duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; elder brother of king Leopold I of the Belgians).
Equestrial statue of duke Ernst II (second duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; son of duke Ernst I and nephew of king Leopold I of the Belgians) in the gardens of Ehrenburg palace.
Galacoupé, Brussels, c. 1840. Carriage used by king Leopold I of the Belgians and the queen Victoria. Museum of the fortress of Coburg (Veste Coburg).


Friedenstein palace.

09 April 2013

La dynastie belge en images : Anciennes gravures du XIXe siècle

Je viens de publier un livre d'Histoire : La dynastie belge en images : Anciennes gravures du XIXe siècle.

- Couverture en couleur
- Intérieur en noir et blanc
- Broché
- 52 pages
- 216 x 279 mm
- ISBN : 978-1482768916
- Editeur : CreateSpace
- Date de parution : 3 avril 2013

Description : Dans les pages de ce livre, vous allez découvrir une cinquantaine de gravures réalisées durant la deuxième partie du XIXe siècle et toutes en relation avec la dynastie belge, c’est à dire correspondant aux règnes de Léopold Ier (1831-1865) et de Léopold II (1865-1909). Toutes ces gravures, que j’ai acquises il y a environ 15 ans pour les premières, et il y a seulement quelques mois pour les plus récentes, ont été scannées avec soins pour être reproduites dans ce livre. Ce sont soit des portraits de membres de la famille royale, soit des évènements ou des lieux liés à la famille royale.

Achetez le livre (avec la possibilité de prévisualiser certaines pages) :

Version papier sur Amazon
Version électronique sur Payhip

26 February 2013

How images are handled in Google Blogger

What is described bellow is only useful to know in case you upload big images (more than 1600 pixels) to Blogger. Google will automatically re-size these big images to 1600 pixels (in Blogger) and 2048 pixels (in Picasa / Goggle+) to be better suited for the Web and then be displayed properly on a computer screen. Small and medium size images (less than 1600 pixels) will be left untouched in Blogger / Picasa / Google+ (see example n° 2 bellow).


- If an image is added to Blogger, it will be stored in a Picasa / Google+ album which has the same name as the Blog.

- The image put in Picasa will:
  • be resized (scaled down) to 2048 px max (width or height);
  • have the printing resolution set to 96 ppi max.
- The image in Blogger (taken from Picasa) will be displayed:
  • in small (200 px) or medium (320 px) or large (400 px) or x-large (640 px) or original size (1600 px max);
  • if you click on it: in original size (1600 px max);
  • the printing resolution will be 96 ppi max (as it is the image from Picasa).
- The image URLs will look something like this:


https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/alSavum6Z63rVI6hLSs0KJhLRzmKGmo_MZljepmK1tE?feat=directlink → 2048 px max


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Wh09JwWlMjU/USzLLKKgGlI/AAAAAAAABc0/AvCflXWOQKg/s1600/test.jpg → 1600 px max

- s1600 = image displayed at 1600 px max.
- If you replace s1600 by another value (e.g. s1200), the picture will be displayed at 1200 px max.
- If you replace s1600 by a value bigger than 2048 (e.g. s4000), then the image will be displayed at 2048 px max (max size in Picasa).
- If you set sXXXX, and the size of the image is YYYY px, with YYYY < XXXX, the image will be displayed at YYYY px.


1) image1.jpg: 4000 px X 2000 px @ 600 ppi (very big image with very high printing resolution)

In Picasa:

- 2048 px X 1024 px @ 96 ppi

In Blogger:

- 1600 px X 800 px @ 96 ppi (default = s1600)
- 2048 px X 1024 px @ 96 ppi (s2048, s3000, etc.)
- 1200 px X 600 px @ 96 ppi (s1200)

2) image2.jpg: 600 px X 300 px @ 72 ppi (small image with small printing resolution)

In Picasa:

- 600 px X 300 px @ 72 ppi

In Blogger:

- 600 px X 300 px @ 72 ppi (default = s1600)
- 600 px X 300 px @ 72 ppi (s2048, s3000, etc.)
- 300 px X 150 px @ 72 ppi (s300)


- If the image has been re-sized by Picasa, the Program name metadata of the image file will be set to Picasa.
- If you edit the image in the Picasa web interface, the Program name metadata of the image file will be set to picnik.com.