Author Archives: Alexander Belikoff

Recently I ran into a website that wanted me to upload several documents but it asked me to write my ID on each page of those documents in order to “make processing faster.” I’m not going to debate the intelligence of this system (given especially the fact that the during the upload I am already logged into the system, so the backend ostensibly knows the ID of the person uploading a document), but there was no chance I would “make processing faster” by…

  • Printing all documents (some spanning several dozens of pages).
  • Writing an ID on top of each freakin’ page.
  • Scanning those pages back.
  • shredding all those newly printed pages.

Why? Not only it is stupid, it insults my intelligence! Most importantly, I am lazy.

So the challenge is to create such an ID on each page programmatically, which is actually not that hard in Linux.

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In a Flask framework, one typically renders JINJA templates directly from Python router. This is fine but what if one uses AJAX to add interactivity?

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Being a life-long proponent of dark mode for everything (starting from VT 220 and Wyse terminals decades ago), I do tend to experiment with various dark themes every now and then. Until recently, I’ve been sticking to the awesome Dracula theme (which at this point exists for pretty much every program under the Sun), but I’ve discovered that the Dark+ theme for Visual Studio Code is even more appealing to me – it is reasonably constrained, trying not to be too flashy for its own good – overall, a pleasure to use.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 5 years, you should have noticed the imminent extinction of paper statements from most of the consumer services. Whether we like it or not, e-bills are the way of the future.

One problem with e-bills is that they still need to be stored – preferably, in a way that makes them easy to find. One also cannot rely on the service owners to archive old bills, as they rarely keep them for longer than 1 year.

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I built a computer-driven watering station that takes care of my peppers for me. At this point, my involvement is only needed to periodically add water to the water tank (about once every 2-3 weeks). Apart from that, the system is fully self-driven.

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There are two types of people: those who set on one font/color theme for the rest of their life and those like me, who constantly tweak their setup. Not that it helps productivity, but hey – RMS created .emacs for a reason!

Since typing in font names over and over again is a pain, I’ve created a neat function that can be called interactively to rotate between various programming-friendly fonts installed in the system. The list of fonts is partly mine, partly borrowed from Programming Fonts  (which is awesome on its own). This allows a very quick way to see how one’s code looks with different fonts (and make a final decision for the next 3 weeks or so).

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Первое практическое применение JavaScript на пользу человечеству (после динамических меню): транслит на Язык Боярский!

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I am currently working on an app that loads data in relatively small incremental payloads from the server side for offline use. Payload files are in ZIP format and the way the app knows whether it has the correct file (which might not be true – the file might be missing, partially downloaded or simply changed by developer) is by checking it’s checksum against the local file. If there is a checksum mismatch, the file is (re)downloaded.

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This is the final part in the series of articles (parts 1, 2, 3) about building a remote home monitoring system based on Arduino.   Lessons learned The monitoring task I’ve had was unusual enough to justify building my own system. For more typical tasks, like monitoring the inside/outside temperature, it would be much easier to buy a relatively inexpensive thermometer with a PC interface.   Overall cost of the built system is in the ballpark of some $150-170 – still way below what the commercial systems cost (especially with multiple sensors and flood detection)   When it comes to the power consumption, commercial consumer electronics sensors are way more efficient. A typical temperature sensor can run on a couple of batteries for many months, whereas an Arduino-based device would have to draw AC power.   Wireless communications are painful 🙂 I am yet to look into the message corruption issues…

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