Category Archives: Projects

Trilo: Travel like a hacker

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I love traveling and program curious (but unuseful) things. From time ago I had the idea of creating a travel blog, but creating another account on WordPress.com for “just another travel blog” didn’t looked like the coolest option, so I had a better idea.

What about combining a simple content generation system like Jekyll, some web services a couple links, and a sunday afternoon? I wanted my page to have some specific things:

  • Have a list of visited countries, show the flags, and have the number of visited cities for each countries.
  • For each country, have a map of the different cities.
  • For each city, have a map with the recomended places, and show them in a map.

The result of this idea is Trilo:
trilo_home

The home page is made by two sets of maps, a world scale, and an europe map. Both maps are created using Google Chart Tools.

The flags are obtained using a web service from a two digit code.


This country code will be used also as a category.

trilo_country

In the countries page, we can find the flag that we obtained before, a zoomed map of the cities and a link to the city page.

trilo_city

For each city, we can generate a static map with the Google Maps API from the city name and from recomendations. We also link with TripAdvicor and Wikipedia for more information.

As I wrote before, the system is based on Jekyll, a Ruby written system that allows us to generate static pages from templates, some code and a little bit of magic. It has been interesting for doing a simple mashup with something not related with computing.

The project is avaliable (and hosted) in http://rlbisbe.github.com/trilo/

TinyBmp: A small program for generating images

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We have recently bought a new LED display like those you can find in the train stations for keeping a control of the current release number (important when you are developing super-secret features). The screen contains a 21×7 matrix, so there is not too much to do.

The good news is that the screen supports rendering of bmp images, so I figured that creating a program for generating this kind of images could be fun, and that’s what you can find in TinyBmp:

It contains three different projects in C#:

  • A class library that does the magic.
  • A desktop windows app.
  • A console app, for automating the image generation every time we ship a release.

This is how the tool looks like:

And this is how the output looks like, a 21×7 image in bitmap format (bmp).

foo

I know that we can generate images with C# from text natively, but is not the greatest choice for low resolution problems because the numbers get disorted. In this aproach I’ve generated the number manually, having a 2×4 matrix for each number pixel per pixel.

This has some drawbacks, for example, 0 and 8 are represented by the same character, but I’m working on it.

You can find the code in https://github.com/rlbisbe/tinybmp under MIT license.

If you have any issue or improvement idea, please let me know, or if you hacked the code and found an improvement, send me a pull request!