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Rubular ~ A regular expression is a sequence of characters forming a search pattern, used mainly for matching text data in computer log files for example. A good regex is hard to construct and Rubular, an editor written in the Ruby programming language was such a help recently when I needed to produce my own, I wanted to give it a mention and help spread the word.
Sky-map.org / Wikisky ~ Spectacular, but ultimately largely unusable online planetarium, that aims to offer a view of the sky as it looks through a high-powered telescope. It’s a brilliant concept and hence the recommendation, but at the moment it’s too cumbersome, the navigation is obscure and loading is a painfully slow business, even on a fast link…
Sky View Café ~ One of the best planetariums I’ve seen online, this site uses Java technology to recreate your view of the sky for a time and location of your choosing. Based on detailed astronomical data presented graphically or numerically, it is easier than ever subsequently finding your way round the planets, stars and the constellations.
Solar Fire 8 on Linux Mint 13 ~ Ed Gillam of the Exeter Astrology Group, writes extensively about how he has managed to get one of the leading astrology programs for Windows, up and running in possibly the most popular Linux distribution nowadays. It’s a hack based on a compatibility layer that isn’t really in the spirit of things, but he says he has it working mostly, so respect.
Speedtest Global Index ~ The world has shrunk over recent years, in proportion to the exponential growth of Internet bandwidth. Though you can always covet your neighbour’s download speeds, why not see things on a global scale, when the data updates monthly? Singapore or Iceland are the places to be at the time of writing, especially reviewing their upload statistics.
Star Chart ~ While folk wax nostalgically for their dumbphone, I’ve discovered an application that makes my smartphone worthwhile. I have long been keen to encourage my students and contemporaries to look at the night sky, since astrology doesn’t stop with your ephemeris or computer. This app makes stargazing ridiculously easy. Just point your phone at the firmament.
Stellarium ~ Stellarium is a free open source software planetarium for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. It prides itself on offering photorealistic views of the sky from your chosen location, so although I did try running it a few years ago and quickly uninstalled it, a new version has been released recently that promises considerable improvements.
Swiss Ephemeris ~ After all the talk about the tz database here over the past few weeks, any coders listening have the data they require to adjust time zones around the world. Now you simply need a good ephemeris and this is probably the best, plus it’s free if you embrace the GNU GPL software license, which these days you so obviously should.
Terminal.sexy ~ This recommendation is aimed at the dwindling bunch of diehards who eschew the banality of Twitter, the limitations of web templates, a blog or that huge invasion of privacy known as Facebook, to code and maintain their own site. If this offering attracts you, or you are remotely amused by the name, let me explain. You’ve been at your computer, far too long…
Time Zone Database ~ The tz database is a compilation of data about the world’s time zones, primarily for use within computing and such. It is a free download weighing in at only a couple of hundred kilobytes. For the most comprehensive understanding of this subject you’ll ever find, extract the archive when it lands and open up the files with your text editor.
Top Cities For Malware Infections ~ While nerding out with an eye to cybersecurity, this article caught my attention. These are published statistics from the authors of an antispyware solution, ranking the top twenty cities in the US according to the prevalence of malware infections. Global data would be better, but I was intrigued nonetheless. Tampa, FL takes the crown again…
Top Ten Linux Distributions ~ Back to DistroWatch, after last week’s mention of all the Linux distributions that are available to try. Here is a breakdown of the current top ten, based on their popularity and with a screenshot of each one, together with some background and history. As I’ve said, if you burn a free live CD/DVD, you can try many risk-free on your own PC.
Translate Gate ~ Though remarkable, the technology behind Google Translate is far from perfect. Folk have discovered random phrases masquerading as certain languages like Somali, Hawaiian, Samoan or even Irish, might yield unexpected results. Repetition, contrived spacing and strings of vowels usually do the trick. This is a massive reference for those eager to investigate.
True-Node Astrology Tools ~ Doubtless this appears intimidating unless you are a coder or an astrophysicist. However, the author has been online for a looong time and makes all kinds of calculations available, for those intrigued by more than their horoscope. At the time of writing, I found the ephemeris tool named eph1 to be the most complete and polished entry so far…
Universal Leet Converter ~ Following last week’s introduction to Leetspeak, a representation of text that replaces the letters in a word with numbers or other characters, I was delighted to stumble on this Leet Converter. Enter the word or phrase that you wish to encode or decipher and it’ll do the hard work for you, while you are learning what usually signifies which combination.
Virtual Moon Atlas ~ Another offering from Patrick Chevalley, the software engineer behind Cartes du Ciel (SkyChart), an excellent freeware planetarium. While you are asked to make a donation if you find this program useful, it is also free and aimed at those drawn to selenography, the scientific mapping of the Moon. It has been recommended by the European Space Agency…