Daily Tech Observations 7


There has been some movement in the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing project over the last few days. Earlier it was announced an app would be released after the Easter period. This has not happened so far, some of the project partners have even pulled out (reference). The project is driven by the Arago founder Chris Boos.
Though the app is not out, both documentation and some sourcecode has been released under Mozilla Public License on github. This is a good move, it creates transparency and allows to fork the project if needed. I have not seen other projects in the same tracing space to release their sourcecode. Time to have some hands-on with the sourcecode, more in an upcoming post.

ROBERT Protocol

The ROBust and privacy-presERving proximity Tracing protocol (ROBERT) by Inria and Fraunhofer Institute. Both are member of the PEPP-PT tracing project but the documentation can or should be the base for any implementation of a tracing app. Find the documents at github. This is the only way forward to create transparent apps that will be accepted by general public. Highly recommended reading.
It is key to differentiate between the centralised and decentralised approach, read more here.


As the ROBERT protocol is a solution with a central component, there is also a group proposing the a decentralised approach, DP-3T – Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing. This proposal is aligned with the mutual Apple-Google proposal. Also highly recommended reading. Sourcecode is available on github as well.
Drop by the comic style explanation by Nicky Case.

By Nicky Case (CC-0)

TCN Protocol

Similar to DP-3T , there is TCN (Temporary Contact Numbers,) a decentralized, privacy-first contact tracing protocol. Find the specification here.

Open-Source Corona Apps

Two mobile apps have been released in the US

COVID-19 Data

More Research and Whitepapers

OpenSource Hardware

OSS is nothing really new anymore, even Microsoft announced 60% of their software (they use!) is OSS. But OpenSource Hardware is still fairly new, at least on a broader market. Over the years I read about various initiatives to launch this kind of products. I believe only geeks and hackers are attracted by hardware they can build, program and configure to their needs and ideas. Many years back I did some electronics (during my studies), but often started from the scratch with simple stuff to control household devices, as simple as dimming the light with a remote, etc.

I came across the Arduino board which gives you a micro-controller platform that you can connect to your Windows, Mac or Linux desktop to program it and let it run independently. It is all open and documented, you can control something simple like a LED but can go to the extend of reading acceleration, temperature, controlling cameras, an almost infinitive field of appliances. Google for Arduino projects and you find amazing stuff, built on top of a 29$ device.

I recommend at least some basic knowledge of electronics, but even without any clue, you can get started, there are plenty of books and websites with tutorials.

Get started here: www.arduino.cc and buy the device from here, and if you live in Singapore from SGBotics.

Arduino Platform

OSSPAC 2009 – Open Source in Singapore


– The first (of its kind in Singapore?) conference attracts developers, adopters and companies from Singapore and the neighboring countries to follow a diverse string of sessions, talks and labs for 3 days this week.
From some very general talks and keynotes to very specific technical sessions and labs everyone should have found his cup of tea. I was surprised by the small number of participants, despite Singapore being a technology hub (not in terms of OS..) and attending the SUN TechDays (blog entry) some 2..3 weeks back with a overwhelming number of people (a commercial roadshow at the fraction of the price, I know).
The conference reflects the OSS landscape in Singapore: Small and not very vivid (yet) as in other countries and cities around the world. Still a way to go ! It lives by participation ! I try to add to it.

I like to compare OS communities a bit with the arts scene, it starts very small, usually by individuals or small groups without any professional or commercial backing, eventually it would pick up pace and more people join in and ultimately companies to sponsor or finance it. It (the initial spark) cannot be engaged, enforced or bought.
Joining last years OS conference in Sydney Australia (blog entry), I found a very vivid and colorful event, some of that spirit could be injected here.

I really welcome the organizers effort to get this conference started, hoping this will be a regular event in the OSS community of Singapore. So far it was worth attending, some very good speakers and  I get to know some new people, companies and products.


  • A simpler conference location could bring down the price and allow more individuals to join.
  • Try to inject more interaction. (QA for keynotes)
  • Maybe you need a moderator for the individual tracks.
  • Where are the lightning talks ?
  • OSS conferences are not a place to wear ties.
  • The light (and sometimes the sound) setup was crap. But thats a general conference problem.

Conclusion (for me):

  • I will join again. OS is based on community and particpation.
  • Gonna hava mor detailed look at Jaspersoft BI and Ingres DB.
  • Signed up for Suse studio !

OpenSolaris 2008.11 released

2 days ago the latest OS version was released under the CDDL (free software license by SUN). Currently downloading the iso image I will have a look at its features. With my need to run several boxes for testing and development it is another option besides the various Linux distributions. Interesting enough, some hardware vendors (Toshiba,..) will start to ship notebooks with OpenSolaris preloaded.

Download the Live CD from http://www.opensolaris.com (link)

My Office Toolbox

In previous company I used usually (was asked to use) Microsoft Office, MS Visio and MS Project. In my current company I endeavor to use opensourece or free applications as far as possible.

Here the list of alternative products:

  • MS Visio turns into DIA (link)
  • MS Project turns into OpenWorkbench (link)
  • MS Office turns into OpenOffice (link)
  • Nothing turns into FreeMind (link)

I am not into the religious war of Microsoft is evil and dislike everything that comes from Redmond. NO, I use the products as well (and even have 1(!) proper license for MS Office and Visual Studio 2008), but I prefere to stay clean in terms of licenses and I need the above applications on a range of notebooks and desktop PC’s.

On SourceForge.net (Part 2)

I just released the latest version of my UUID Generator. Now as 0.3Beta, moving away from Alpha status. Not to sure what is the proper distinction between software in Alpha and Beta Stage. Despite the very limited amount of functionality my tool offers, it is still a good exercise to understand the logic of SF Open Source projects. I created feature requests, one of them is in the new release. Still observe the ranking, interesting enough in the second week it shot up to rank 998 then after a couple of days inactivity down to 2268. Now with the new release up to 1924. Guess it is the same like with blogs, you dont write, no visitors. With new entries visitors come back. Thanks 😉

I am browsing around SourceForge.net and check out other projects. Not sure how many projects are there in total, but there are many dead ones, also test rubbish with big title and ambitious description but no activity at all for months (years). I also notice that only serious projects do bugtracking and have a active forum. Almost no project offers documentation. Reflects a bit the real world though.

UUID Generator 0.3B

UUID Generator 0.3B

Project site at SF.net (link)