Articles of Matteo

Hosting problems

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Cheers to WebService. It's not free but at least we know that our faith in their capacities and honesty are well deserved.

As the interest for some of our projects rapidly grew some months ago, we had to move some of them to a new host with more bandwidth. We chose 110mb. No advertising, bandwidth and disk space in excess. It seemed like a dream. Even if the perceived uptime is slightly lower than the advertised 99.73%.

Until we received, after several quiet months, an email in our GMail spam folder, found by chance, that invited us to write at least 50 posts in the 110mb users' forum in two weeks or to pay a 10$ one-time fee to leave the MySQL account active. We decided to write the 50 posts. Today the db account is disabled. They say it will be reactivated in three days.

Meanwhile there's not even a way to put up a page that checks whether the DB can be accessed or not, to choose what content it should show to the user: as soon as you call the mysql_connect function, the script gets killed. The only solution has been to replace the dynamic page with a static one and check periodically when the db access comes back up to manually replace it back.

We are pretty sure that this sudden change of policy was necessary to filter the users and to curb the use of resources, probably gone through the roof far more than expected. On the other hand the service is good and what they offer "for free" seems far more than what everyone else does. And being able to say that your host supports (or soon will) Python, Perl and Ruby in addition to PHP sure is cool :). So for the time being we stay. With an idea to update the site, thinking about static content.

Until the next unwelcome surprise from 110mb.


PS: MySQL is back online as promised and so is our projects' site. Unfortunately I have to take back my word—they did it actually: they have enabled Python and Perl but they are available only after a one–time fee of 17$. I suppose they'll do just the same for Ruby too.

More trees

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I've just released a new version of Offshoots (1.2) on our projects' site!

A new short movie of it:

FastIcns v3.0 - out!

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FastIcns projectImportant changes in the new release of FastIcns, now at version 3.0. You'll find it on its page: Projects.

Offshoots released

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Just released on our projects' site Offshoots version 1.0 for Mac OSX.

Offshoots animates your desktop growing trees on it! And they are following your mouse!

PS 04/15: Offshoots updated to version 1.1 and released as two executables: stand–alone and screensaver.

I also made a short demo video:


When we released the first versions of our little softwares, especially FastIcns and InstantShot!, we had no expectation for a warm response from the "Internet people".

We were contradicted by tens of statements, comments, reviews around the web that we were very, very happy to read. Some of them have inspired us for new developments of our softwares — and that made us gain even more praise. Some others were just very gratifying.

The biggest gratification, anyway, came from finding out that three persons went so far as to send us a gift from our Amazon's wishlist. To them we would like to express our most sincere thanks. That truly means a lot to us.

Animal Copyright Foundation

This is an essay I wrote for my English class that I'm now shamelessly recycling as a blog post!

This essay refers to an article from The Economist (available only as a premium content) and to a conference freely available for download at TED Talks. In short, Mr Gregory Colbert made in this conference a proposal to get 1% off ad campaigns using animals as a "copyright tribute" for their image, to fund environment preservation projects around the world.

Mr Colbert had a fascinating idea but probably expected it to be far easier than it was in truth.

While building a global fund to finance conservation projects that would know no shortage of money would be a dream for many, questions do arise as to whether that dream can actually become true.

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