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Introducing PyroPlayer

I love fireworks. At the crossing between science and art, beauty and power… So when last year, we were proposed my friend Adrien and I to develop a fireworks launch system, I immediately got very enthusiastic about the idea. And not only for the finality, but also because it was the perfect project to deploy the technologies we love.

Together with Adrien, we reviewed a panel of technologies before making our decision. We wanted to be able to prototype something rapidly, we had only 3 months before the first show. Boxes are built on top of Arduinos and XBee modules together with a special power cape we developed. Extensible, plug-and-play, and reusable. On the software side, we also had the constraint to be cross-platform. And to glue bricks together in a quick and clean way, what other language than Python?

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Deploying Trac with Nginx and Gunicorn

I very recently re-deployed the Trac application on my server. The first time I did this, I used the included tracd server, but I had a very hard time configuring it on a non-root path with Nginx. So I decided to use Gunicorn, which is also reported to give better performance (is it true? I did not test).

The configuration is a front-end server running Nginx coupled with a back-end server running Gunicorn + Trac and the database which will be PostgreSQL. Static files will be deported at the end to the front-end server for performance. I will not go too much into details in the process of installing the components, as they were packaged for the distribution I use (ArchLinux) and my environment did not need a strong separation into a virtual environment. So these steps are rather easy and better explained on the official website.
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Updating the Excito B3’s U-Boot

I currently run an Excito B3 device as my main router. Originally shipped with Debian installed, I got Arch Linux installed on it last year. I then decided to keep the original U-Boot despite its problem with L2 cache preventing it from booting any kernel newer than the 3.1 branch. Since then, the community did an incredible work, integrating the B3’s board first into ArchARM’s custom kirkwood kernel and then even in the mainline, and porting the board to the newest U-Boot. Continue reading