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Showing posts from 2012

What can tell your hard disk? Be S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T. is a self-monitoring capability of hard disks that can provide many interesting details about the sanity level of the drive, and about the usage in general. There are several utilities around but smartmontools is multiplatform and quite low level giving all the details.

The hard disk has several monitoring attributes that are incremented during the lifetime and stored in a persistent memory when the disk is powered of. The list and description of such attributes is also posted on Wikipedia.

Some of these attributes deals with the usage or aging of the drive, while others are related to error conditions. The ones related to aging can be understood based on the mechanics of the hard drive. The drive is first powered up and then the disk starts spinning. Then the heads are moved out of the parking condition and perform their operation. Sometime, based on the operating system and the usage the heads get back into place or stop spinning.

These are the indicators with some numbe…

Haptics as seen from Books

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The last Haptic Symposium in Vancouver celebrated the 20 years of this conference and in that occasion Bernard Dov Adelstein provided an interesting historical talk about the evolution of the field. As a mean of presenting such an evolution along the years he employed Google N-Gram Viewer. This tool allows to search for the statistics of word occurrences in the large corpus of English books scanned by Google and covering a large set of whole published books. In this post I would like to share with you what can be understood by looking at such statistics.


The starting point is the term “haptic interface” that emerged when the first interfaces started to be recognized as something beyond robotics and tele-operation. It is well known that haptic interfaces emerged from the domain of teleoperation when it was clear that the slave could have been replaced by a computer generated model:





What is specifically interesting is the following comparison between haptic perception and the technologica…

Drupal one Module after another

I have recently the need of updated a community website for an IEEE committee with the aim of strengthening the interaction among members and easing the dissemination of the activities on the domain. I've evaluated some content management systems like Word Press, Joomla and Drupal and then picked the last one because it seemed the one with the best extensibility capabilities. In particular there was one feature that I was not able to configure with the other two even by means of additional modules: defining additional fields for the registered user with the option of making some of these fields editable only by the administrator.

At this stage I've found that Drupal 7 is providing any function I need, and if, after a look at the configuration, something is missing there is a module that provides the required functionality.

The aim of this post is to provide an idea of the adopted modules and how they can help other people configuring a Drupal website. You can also check if th…