Today, we made history·

12.11.2014: boldly bringing @philae2014 where no man-made object has been before.

Thank you @ESA_Rosetta for letting philae piggybacking and for waking up on time. Thank you @philae2014 for getting us a comet, no less! We are so proud!

Philae got us a comet.

Isn’t it amazing? Isn’t that romantic? People often say Engineering is aseptic. I beg to dissent. This is entirely what engineering is made of. It takes passion, creativity, competence. It takes nerves, and hearth.

Send two man-made objects hurtling down space, let them sleep for ten years, wake them up successfully from milions of miles afar. Catch a comet. Land on it. Send back wonderful images.
Been there, done that. Thanks.

Image from Rolis on Philae, 3km above the landing point

3k m above the landing point


Usb Device Driver not found

Now and then I used to come in touch with a PC (a laptop) of a friend of mine. This PC used to display a rather strange behavior.  This PC, running Windows 7,  would not correctly mount any usb hard disk or pendrive, except for a few new USB 3.0 drives. This Asus laptop had a really convoluted installation history, as even specifying the precise model it is not very easy to uniquely determine the specific driver to install for a given device. It turns out that every re-installation is made is a sort of trial-and-error procedure and the final outcome is, as one can see, not very nice.

Continue reading

Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 14.04 LTS on less-than-optimal hardware

Another time, another LTS release. It’s has been a while and our 12.04 LTS is now pretty old…time to switch to the new 14.04 LTS. Or maybe not.

The good news is that it’s completely possible to do an upgrade from 12.04 LTS to 14.04 LTS. The good news is this update can be partially done offline, using the 14.04 bootdisk, or and usb drive made with Ubuntu’s startup disk creator or your favorite bootdisk application. Another good news is that the in-place upgrade works, without the need of re installing everything. I am not a big fan of mayor number version upgrade, but it may come handy sometimes. Of course a good backup before upgrading is recommended and nearly mandatory. It may be necessary to re install some packages after the upgrade (I suspect this happens with third party packages). Unfortunately, the upgrade didn’t say which ones, or maybe I wasn’t paying attention.  Continue reading

Capitano Giuseppe Palminteri (1978-2014)

Ronnie Macdonald

Godspeed, my friend.

HTC Cricket missing menu button and Taskos

I believe Taskos [] is a a great way to sync with Google Tasks. I usually suggest this to my customers when for any reasons they need to an  alternative to the otherwise excellent Gtasks [].
Taskos  has a clean and handy interface, and it’s usually quite bug-free. So I was quite surprised when one client I referred to Taskos went back  to me complaining that he could not find the Menu-settings on his HTC One SV (Cricket) [].
I must admit I was quite baffled when, I too, was not able to find the Settings Menu,  not a graphic button at least. What is it?
A quick google search confirmed my suspicion. The HTC One  HAS a menu button, and it’s in plain view.

Miss having a Menu button? []
So depending on your settings, digging in the Taskos menu is as simply as keeping the Recent apps button pressed.
HTC One SV (Cricket)

HTC One SV (Cricket) (image from

GTasks comes also in a premium flavour, for a little fee [].
Both Taskos and GTasks seem to have a good record when it comes to privacy, but if you have sensitive tasks, you may wish to reconsider granting any third-part app full access to you tasks list. Taskos has a clear stated Privacy policy (see here).
Disclosure: to date, I have no business with the Taskos team or with GTasks team.