Checker Plus for Gmail

It’s been a long time that I look for the right way to read emails. I tried a few notifiers, gadgets, clients, but I’ve never been really satisfied with them. A client was an hassle to configure, gadgets are simply useless, and just reading the mail from the browser I needed to poll the page all day long.

Then I thought: “There must be a Chrome extension to check the mail for me”, and I stumbled on this one, Checker Plus.

Image

I have to say that this is the best I’ve tried up to now, it’s simple, quick and it notifies with a chime when I get a new email. Moreover, it can manage multiple Gmail accounts, a feature that I needed a lot.

It has also a text-to-speech feature, but it’s kind of funny when it tries to read italian.

You can find it here

Annunci

A mosaic from your photos

A while ago, I’ve attended a class about image processing with Matlab. It’s been a lot of fun, because I’ve learned how images are defined, what is a histogram, what effects have the main operations that you can do bitwise or image-wise.

So I decided to make an experiment, and convert a picture in a mosaic, where each tile is another – very little – picture. The obvious choice was Matlab, since it’s the tool we used during the course.

The first step for this little game is to take many pictures – I used all my library of images – and resize them to make small tiles. I’ve chosen the 40×40 pixel size, to have them reasonably small but still readable. The same script renames the images with a number that represents the average color of the image: in this way, it’s possible to associate it to a pixel.

Some of the resized images

The first step for this little game is to take many pictures – I used all my library of images – and resize them to make small tiles. I’ve chosen the 40×40 pixel size, to have them reasonably small but still readable. The same script renames the images with a number that represents the average color of the image: in this way, it’s possible to associate it to a pixel.

My awesome cat ๐Ÿ™‚

Then, we need a picture to convert into the mosaic: what better than a cat?

This is an easy image to render, because of the good contrast and the limited amount of colors – they require quite some pictures to represent each hue.

Then, another script takes the image, and creates a blank one scaled of as many times as it’s the tile size (in our case 40). So, since I’ve previously scaled down the image to 60×45, the final image will be 2400×1800. Of course it’s possible to use higer resolutions.

The script for each pixel looks for the most similar image (quite easy, because we used clever names ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and places it in the new canvas, in the same position. The result looks like this:

Here we are!

Ok, let’s practice with blogging…

But what am I supposed to talk about? Uhm…somewhere I’ve read…that blogging about blogging (or meta-blogging) is very bad…whoops!

Let’s start again.

Well, I should pick a topic that I know very well, where I can give my indiscussed knowledge to the world, to enlight people with inedit and amazing stuff. Unfortunately I’m short with ideas, so I’ll just put here some random stuff, hoping that some butterfly in New Zealand flaps its wings and bring some order here.

What to expect: well, by now I’m in the Netherlands, I’m doing an internship for my master degree in Electrical Engineering, at NXP semiconductors. Meanwhile, I’m keeping myself busy with basketball, photography, a bit of tourism, and this funny new game: geocaching.

But there is much more, and I absolutely don’t know what next post will be about…and I like it!