I was holding up on posting until I can say more about PythonForAll (it’s not that I didn’t get out of the building, just that it’s becoming a bit more serious so I can’t publish things before they are final) but I just have to write about this:
For a long time I’ve wanted to code a screensaver showing matrix code, just like the gajillion clones you can already find on the internet, but instead of showing random characters, this one would capture (“sniff”) network packets and show them in encoded form.
The theory is that if you watch this long enough, you’ll begin to “see through the code” – at first, you’ll learn to decode the characters into numbers, and at more advanced stages you’ll learn to parse the network protocols intuitively. I have many reasons to believe this:
- I’ve seen people learning languages and musical instruments (and experienced it myself)
- I’ve heard that one of the Samba developers can decode raw NBNS packets in his head (one of the most horrible encodings I’ve seen, see here 1.3.1)
- I knew someone who could synchronize a dial-up modem with his voice
Today I saw this HN thread and was reminded of this idea. I decided that the time had come. A night of work later, an alpha version exists and the main feature works well:
You can get it on github. If you are not experienced with compiling linux software, I advise you to wait for a more user friendly release. Drop a comment saying you’re interested, it will motivate me to create one.
There’s work to do on friendliness of installation and on shininess of visualization. Other than that it’s complete. Python and Cairo rock!