dimitris kalamaras

math, social network analysis, web dev, free software…

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Network analysis of national soccer teams in FIFA World Cup 2014

This is the abstract of a paper published in the International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport (Vol.15, No.1). In the paper we analyzed the network characteristics of successful and unsuccessful national teams that participated in FIFA World Cup 2014.

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How to setup Maildir style virtual mailboxes in Debian with Postfix

Virtual mailboxes is a clear choice if you want to setup your mail server with multiple domains and non-Linux accounts. Of course, there are other and easier ways to setup Postfix for hosting multiple domains.

The most simple is to host additional (shared) domains by adding them to the ‘mydestination’ variable in postfix’s main.cf. But that solution lacks distinction between canonical and hosted domains ([email protected] is delivered to the same unix account as [email protected]).

A better approach is through “virtual aliases”, which allow separate domains and email addresses. For that, you only need to configure two parameters: ‘virtual_alias_domains = domain1.com domain2.com’ and ‘virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual’. You declare the list of your hosted domains in the first and alias each one to a local linux account with the second (i.e. in /etc/postfix/virtual add “[email protected] root” to have mails sent to domain1.com’s postmaster delivered to root). However, this is not an optimal solution if you plan to host more and more domains or if you just don’t want to give shell access to your server.

The really best solution is to use the Postfix virtual mailbox delivery agent. With this approach, every email address has its own virtual mailbox and you need to setup only one system account (to be the owner of all mailboxes). And each domain’s mailboxes are properly arranged in the file system under the home dir of the owner account:

VhostsDomains

In this how-to, I describe the process that I followed to setup virtual mailboxes in my postfix server for a pet project of mine.

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Creating Virtual Machines on a headless server via VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a great piece of virtualization software. It not only allows us to run and test different Operating Systems inside Virtual Machines (VMs) from the comfort of our main desktop computer with point-and-click, but it also enables us to setup and run VMs on remote headless servers from the command line. And we can control these VMs remotely via a plain RDP client. This is great because when you host your VMs on server hardware (usually without any graphical UI) you don’t really need the full fledged GUI of VirtualBox (and its Qt/SDL dependencies) nor to display the VM output locally. Instead you just need some commands to setup and start your VM. Then all you want is to connect to it remotely and install an OS. With VirtualBox, this is accomplished via the commands VBoxManage and VBoxHeadless. This is how it can be done.

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The new features in versions 1.3 and 1.4 of SocNetV

Over the last weeks, the Social Networks Visualizer (SocNetV) project has released two new versions which brought useful new features and of course a lot of bugfixes. The latest v1.4 closed even 4 years old bugs!

socnetv-v1.4-erdos-random-social-network

socnetv-v1.4-erdos-random-social-network

The strongest new feature of SocNetV is multirelational editing. You can now load or create a social network on the canvas, for instance depicting the friendship ties between kids in a classroom, and then add a new relation (Cltr+Shift+N) which it might depict i.e. “likes” between pairs of the same clasroom kids. And you can be do this very easily as we will demonstrate in this article.

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SocNetV version 1.2 released with lots of goodies!

A new version of SocNetV, the cross-platform tool for social network analysis and visualization, has been released. Version 1.2 brings a major GUI overhaul, a new conceptualization of “prominence” measures, new importance and reachability measures, many new visualization layouts based on the new indices, and fixes a slew of bugs (see below).

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Magnified reality

Here’s a series of 31 images taken with a Dino-Lite digital microscope. I won’t go in details about the original source of the images, since most of them are pretty obvious (i guess).
Some of them are of poor quality, due to trembling hand or low resolution of Kamoso (KDE’s picture retriever). Anyway, have fun…

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Varnish Cache How-To: Intro to High-Availability for Drupal lovers (and WordPress addicts)

Varnish (openclipart)

What is Varnish?

Varnish Cache or just Varnish is an open-source HTTP accelerator and caching reverse proxy for web servers, like Apache or nginx, hosting content-heavy dynamic web sites.  In non-geek speak, Varnish is an free program which runs in front of your web server (which in this context is called backend or origin) and stores (caches) a copy of each webpage served by the web server.  When a user requests a cached page, Varnish steps in and serves the cached copy instead of requesting the same page again and again from the backend server. So Varnish is ideal for developers who run high traffic sites with lots of visitors and like their web application to be highly available and running fast. This how-to is an attempt to present a comprehensive but simple introductory guide to Varnish configuration for web developers who want to scale their projects gracefully.

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