Categorytechnical articles

Free tools to test self-hosted Internet services

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Whenever I evaluate a candidate for a new server provider, migrate to one, or explore new services, I use a series of freely available online tools for many test. I have noticed that I tend to forget some of these tools or their website. So, I collected them once and for all on this page, for future reference. Server reachability and global availability. ping.pe Pings and conducts mtr tests, with...

Effectiveness of Open Science Policies at ESEC/FSE 2019

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Introduction For those who don’t know me, I have been advocating for open science (open access, open data, and open source) practices in software engineering research for many years now. Sometimes I could push my role into a more practical, hands-on one, and I could help developing better tools or platforms towards openness. Other times, my passion has been recognized to put me into more...

ineed.coffee is tracking free

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Over the last years, there has been an ever increasing interest in Internet Privacy to counteract the worryingly demand  by Internet companies to track users and their behavior, often for advertising purposes. I joined the movement and, while I do not consider myself as a privacy advocate, I do provide my fair share of recommendations to family and friends. Something that was bugging me for some...

How to disclose data for double-blind review and make it archived open data upon acceptance

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Openness in science is key to fostering progress via transparency, reproducibility and replicability. While open access and open data are two fundamental pillars in open science, it is open data that builds the core for excellence in evidence-based research. This is why I have striven for years to bring open science practices, including open access and open data, to software engineering research...

How to write an ACM-styled conference paper using Markdown/Pandoc

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I do not have much time for writing this post. Please insert here the obligatory rant against LaTeX syntax despite of its powerful functionality. Also insert here how Markdown syntax is fresh and readable. Let’s go straight to the point. I don’t know about my peers, but if LaTeX lacked support from editors and plugins for achieving desirable features such as quick autocompletion (especially when...

If you can’t beat ‘em..clean ’em. Using imapfilter for remote rules to an IMAP mailbox

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Software engineers receive tons of e-mails. Academics do, too. I am both. As several users do, I use inbox rules to flow my incoming messages. For example, e-mails concerning call for papers go straight to an inbox folder called CFP. E-mails related to editorial concerns go to a folder called EDITORIAL. E-mails sent to several distribution lists go to..the trash. And so on. When using systems...

A beginner’s tutorial for mbpfan under Ubuntu

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Update: As of 2019-10-14, this project is being maintained by the community linux-on-mac. Please head to to download the latest release of mbpfan and to report bugs. The project has also changed since the publication of this tutorial. Thanks! Although mbpfan is not a program for everyone (heck, I do not even provide compiled packages for distros), I received several requests for an easy, step-by...

Review: PeerJ Computer Science

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Given the general appreciation forx my small series of author-based reviews of academic journals, I will now report my experience with PeerJ Computer Science. PeerJ Computer Science is the second journal launched by the academic publisher of the PeerJ journal, which is called PeerJ, Inc. It was launched recently. The first articles appeared on the 26th of June. PeerJ Computer Science shares...

How to synchronize an Overleaf LaTeX paper with a Github repository

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As a happy PeerJ user, I found out that I was eligible for a complimentary account at Overleaf (a.k.a. writeLaTeX). Overleaf is a collaborative writing and publishing system built around LaTeX. Strictly speaking, Overleaf is a Google Docs for LaTeX writers. It is neat and simple to use, to the point that it awakened my desire to use LaTeX again. I encourage you to try it out. One of the features...

How to have a rooted Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900F) without tripping KNOX

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Despite having a quite long history of voiding devices’ warranties, with my latest purchase of a Samsung Galaxy S5 16GB (SM-G900F, with the Snapdragon processor), I started a challenge to avoid voiding the warranty. Therefore, I keep trying rooting my device without tripping KNOX. So far, I have been successful. However, with the slow arrival of Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Samsung Galaxy...

How to dynamically change video.js videos and captions, with JavaScript

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I am involved in a multidisciplinary data visualization research project. A part of it relies on qualitative data, namely video interviews. Regarding the videos, the Web designer wired the following layout: Pretty neat and simple, isn’t it? The user clicks on one of the thumbnails below the video player. The thumbnail is marked as selected via a change of background-color of its container...

Review: Scientometrics

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As there are some proposals to write consumer reports of academic journals, I started to write reviews of journals I publish in. Together with Xiaofeng Wang and Pekka Abrahamsson, I recently published an article in Scientometrics. Scientometrics describes itself as an “International Journal for all Quantitative Aspects of the Science of Science, Communication in Science and Science...

Review: PeerJ

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Similarly to what I did for the Journal of Open Research Software, I keep following some proposals to write consumer reports of academic journals. It is the turn of PeerJ. PeerJ is an open access peer-reviewed journal in the areas of Biological, Medical and Health sciences. While it appears to be out of scope for a researcher in software engineering as I am, it accepts submissions from other...

Review: Journal of Open Research Software

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Update 2014-o6-20: I revised this blog post, and I published it as a journal article in The Winnower. Cite it as D. Graziotin,  “An author-based review of the Journal of Open Research Software”, The Winnower, 2014. DOI: 10.15200/winn.140326.62772. Many questions arise while browsing an unknown, yet promising journal website. How will the editorial process work? Will the submission be acknowledged...

How to use Laika testing framework for Meteor on Ubuntu 13.04

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As a Meteor developer, I have the need to write test cases for my code. While Meteor does not have an official testing framework yet, Laika is an incredibly rich third-party framework for writing test cases both in the client and the server components of a Meteor project. It took me a while to understand how to install and configure Laika, especially because I am not a Node.js developer. In this...

How to have normal and shared Dropbox folders in sync with ownCloud.

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In a previous post about ownCloud, I mentioned that I found a way to employ ownCloud while keeping it synced to a Dropbox folder, as some university colleagues use Dropbox to perform collaborative tasks. OwnCloud external storage support for Dropbox is just limited. It often does not work and it is not reactive, especially when using Dropbox shared folders. I also wanted to use ownCloud while not...

Limit the CPU usage of ownCloud Desktop Sync client under Windows

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Owncloud is an incredible Open Source Dropbox alternative, which can either be installed on a personal server or employed through 3rd party providers. I started using it since the very early releases and it improves more and more each day. Although I still need to use Dropbox with some University colleagues, I was able to make the final switch by bridging the Dropbox shared folders and ownCloud...

How to disable Unity default multi-touch gestures in Ubuntu

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You might want to disable Unity built-in 3-fingers and 4-fingers multitouch handling. Maybe you do not like how the touchpad/trackpad gestures are handled in Unity, or you just want to install Touchégg. I have just updated my post to setup OS X-like multitouch gestures for Macbook Pros running Ubuntu. It should now work for any modern Ubuntu release, from 12.10 to the latest 13.04 Raring Ringtail...

Do not forget Typography and Color harmony for your website

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While I am not (and will never be) a web designer, I recognize that slight changes in typography aspects and in the colors can significantly transform the visual impact of a website. Colors and other text-related dimensions cannot be chosen randomly. Unless you are an expert, you do not have the instruments to wisely choose graphical elements that are in harmony. This is because color harmony is...

tl;dr legal – understand and apply opensource licenses, for humans.

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Have you ever wondered whether you should go with GNU Lesser General Public License v3 or the MIT License? What does the Microsoft Public License say, by the way? We need tools to visualize software licenses in order to better understand them, respect them and (eventually) apply them to our software systems. tl;dr legal is a marvelous website, which helps you to understand the most famous open...

About Author

dgraziotin

Dr. Daniel Graziotin is a senior researcher (Akademischer Rat) at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. His research interests include human, behavioral, and psychological aspects of empirical software engineering, studies of science, and open science. He is associate editor at the Journal of Open Research Software and academic editor at the Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal. Daniel was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers in 2017, the European Design Award (bronze) in 2016, and the Data Journalism Award in 2015. He received his Ph.D. in computer science at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy.