Posts

Lenovo Tab E7 Tablet: First Impressions

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I bought a Lenovo Tab E7 Android tablet.

It was sort of an impulse buy after seeing the device on display at a consumer electronics store and realizing how cheap it is. A buying decision made easier by some Amazon credit I had around. I got the 16 GB version for €74.99 at Amazon.

But there are other reasons I wanted a tablet.


Why I got a tablet I owned and loved the Nexus 7 tablets, both the original 2012 and the 2013 version.

When later getting the massive Nexus 6 phablet with its beautiful large screen, I began using the Nexus 7 less and less. When Google stopped providing system updates, I sold the remaining unit I still had.

Since then tablets have apparently gone out of favor with Android users. And manufacturers significantly cut down on the development and production of new models.

But I have always loved the slate form factor, particularly 7” tablets.

These tablets are small enough to be compact, but with a large enough screen to improve productivity with respect to smartphone…

The Google Product Experts Berlin Meetup 2019

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I attended the Google Product Experts Meetup 2019. The event, which took place from October 21 to 23 in Berlin, Germany, is one perk of the Google Product Experts Program.


The Google Product Experts Program The members of the Product Experts Program, i.e. the Product Experts or PEs, are volunteers who help the users of Google products in the official support venues such as the community forums. To assist the users, we have some additional tools and access to Google for reporting bugs, escalating issues, and providing product feedback.

Google invites the PEs to the program events and covers the travel and accommodation expenses. Another perk of the program is the opportunity of testing new products or features.

The Berlin Meetup The PE program holds at least an event every year.

Google rotates between global summits, which usually take place in California and gather PEs from all over the world, regional meetups, and local meetups where PEs come from smaller areas such as Europe or spec…

How to Use Kivy on Repl.it

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I made the Kivy Python cross-platform GUI framework work in a GFX REPL on Repl.it. Repl.it is a multi-language cloud IDE with good support for Python.

To use Kivy on Repl.it, just create a Pygame REPL, which is among the Kivy dependencies, and install Kivy with the package manager or by adding kivy to requirements.txt. Starting such a REPL in a new session takes a while to download and build the required libraries, at least several minutes. So be patient.

This REPL runs the Kivy Showcase, a demo app that showcases some of Kivy’s features.



The demo works fine except for a few overlapping widgets in the top bar. And it has some latency issues, but the poor performance is mostly a consequence of the experimental state of GFX.

If you adjust the handles along the edges of the REPL panes to close all the panes except the app’s, you can use most of the web page area. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like. I can’t wait for GFX to support running graphical apps as a website, like it’s now p…

Experimenting With Webmentions and Blogger

I’m experimenting with some IndieWeb features on my Blogger blog, particularly webmentions.

Webmentions is a web standard for merging the reactions to a blog post across the web. The reactions typically appear as comments to the original post and link back to the sources.

I followed the IndieWeb Blogger tutorials for adding to my blog an h-card microformat and support for webmentions. It’s pretty easy. For example, adding webmentions through Brid.gy requires adding just one line of code to the blog’s template.

I originally set up Brid.gy to listen to webmentions from Twitter.

This works great but, when a tweet has a link to a post of my blog, the full text of the tweet is published as a comment. Copying all the text of other users’ tweets makes me uneasy, especially considering those users may not be aware of it. Therefore, I turned off listening to webmentions from Twitter and deleted the Twitter reactions Brid.gy had initially added as comments to my posts.

The blog is still listenin…

Hello, Planet Python!

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Planet Python is now syndicating the posts about Python of my blog. Thanks to the project maintainer Bruno Rocha for letting me join.

You may think of Planet Python as the all-you-can-eat source of Python content.


It’s an aggregator of dozens of blogs, podcasts, and other resources on the Python programming language. It syndicates posts that cover Python or are of interest to the Python community. Planet Python is a terrific resource for learning the language and keeping up with what’s going on in its ecosystem. I highly recommend that you subscribe to the RSS feed of Planet Python.

If you’re reading this on Planet Python, hi there!

About me I’m Paolo Amoroso, an Italian astronomy and space popularizer, a Google expert, and a podcaster. I’m a Python beginner as I started learning the language in December 2018. But I have been a hobby programmer since the home computer revolution of the early 1980s. And I have always had a soft spot for programming languages, paradigms, and compilers.

Spotting Satellites With Google Street View

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See A Satellite Tonight is an app for showing where to view artificial satellites in the sky with the naked eye.


The app simulates the motions of satellites across the sky by overlaying them to a Google Street View panorama. This makes it straightforward to spot satellites, especially for users with no space or astronomy background. During a pass you can see where the satellite is in the sky at your location with respect to landmarks and buildings you are familiar with.

It’s a brilliant twist on an ephemeris interpretation problem. Most apps for showing the positions of satellites or predicting passes give guidance through astronomical references such as star charts, the horizon, or coordinates.

Googler James Darpinian developed See A Satellite Tonight. It’s a web app designed to work on both the desktop and mobile devices, such as with Chrome on Android.

The app has a few limitations. For example, you can’t select arbitrary satellites but only the ones with a ground track close to you…

Follow Space Events With Spaceflight News for Android

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Spaceflight News is an Android app that aggregates space news stories and data on space events such as launches and orbital maneuvers.


The app lists the headlines of the stories and links to the respective sites and blogs for reading the full text. The headlines come from the Spaceflight News API, a project by the same author of the Spaceflight News app. The API lets developers add to their own apps spaceflight news from selected sources. So it doubles as a demo app for the API.

The Spaceflight News API is inspired by the Launch Library, a project to provide developers with an API for adding to their apps a wealth of data on space launches collected and maintained by a group of volunteers. The Spaceflight News app provides also Launch Library data, and other information on space events such as vehicle rollouts, docking and berthing maneuvers, and more.

Although there are great and more advanced launch data apps such as Space Launch Now, the free Spaceflight News app combines and prese…