The Swiss Folding Team has its own webpage!

Please have a look:

I have managed to create the homepage for the team, which still is far from perfect, but at least it offers the required information for new users. The homepage features support for multiple languages (translation still need to be made though) and a very simple forum, which we may use to exchange information between us and with new team members of course!

The hosting company couldn’t decrease the prices on the long term but still, they offered us the free registration of our domain for one year which is a nice gesture from their part.

I have been able to configure the site as it is also thanks to Roberto who is always a valuable source of information.

And here we go… nothing stands us in between now! We may very well start spreading the word about the team and the whole project! Put the link on Facebook, in your mail signature… get it going and let’s make The Swiss Folding Team the best performing team in Switzerland!

Swiss Folding Team: looking for a hosting service

I’m so excited! Since weeks I have been thinking and/or dreaming of the best ways of promoting our Swiss Folding Team. Of course we are going to need a homepage to do that and this automatically implies having a hosting service. I have done a quick research on what is available on the Swiss market now and the cheapest (at least on paper) seems to be ServerTown. I have asked my hosting service if they can do something similar and this is why I’m so excited right now.

On a first thought it would have been definitely better to go directly with Server Town without wasting energy/time in formulating an appropriate request to my current hosting company since the kind of leverage I have is very small: it is not that I don’t have any kind of leverage as I’m a customer having new ideas and plans for the future which may evolve and create a bigger business for them too and, let’s don’t forget, satisfied customers promote by word of mouth: I already have sent to my friends a message on what’s app announcing my request… if it goes well, for sure I will be happy, not only because I have received something that costs less, but also because, it would mean that somehow I have managed to move someone else to support our Swiss Folding Team! In fact, since I was writing to have a better offer, I took the chance of explaining what it was all about: just a few lines to explain about the Team, put it in the link to Stanford University… maybe if I don’t get the rebate we may get a new Team Member, which would also be great!

I have been thinking that should my provider not be able to directly reduce the prices maybe they could offer me some kind of sponsorship in exchange of some advertisement on the homepage: I could do that by publishing the name and logo of the hosting company. Although this is would probably the only one advertisement I would allow, as I don’t like having flashing banners everywhere…!

I really hope they don’t come with answer like: “I’m really sorry but our packages are already configured and we may not modify them”. Which basically is what I think I will receive as answer as it is very common (also they couldn’t do an exception for every crazy guy asking for rebates, do they!?!), but… do you imagine how cool this would be if they would offer me something? For me it would be great, not only because the Swiss Folding Team would have a cheaper hosting service, but because in order to achieve an objective, human beings were able to do an effort and come together.

Am I exaggerating things right now? Maybe. But I feel this way and it feels great to have such expectations, even though it is for a very, very small thing! 🙂

I’ll let you know how it goes, for sure. And… I also decided that, no matter how things will proceed, I will send the link to this post to whoever from the hosting company answers my request (hopefully it won’t be an automated answer 😀 ).

BTW before I go: I used Hostingliste to get a comparison among the best Webhosting services in Switzerland.


Bee home – Three weeks later

It is impressive how this animals keep up the good work. As for the moment being the bees keep filling the small bamboo tubes with eggs and close them with mud. This time I was lucky enough to to record a bee while it was placing some mud so to close the entrance to one of the bamboo tubes. Have a look at the video!

Beehome – Two weeks later

The beehome is standing since two weeks: the number of bees hasn’t increased by a lot. There are probably two or three bees which are flying in and out the small bamboo tubes, but there is no continuous buzz. On one hand I’m relieved, on the other I start wondering where all the other bees have gone. Already “installed” in the beehome, you should receive 15 bees as starting population.  Probably it will take some more time for them to completely develop.

In any case there have been impressive changes in the small hive: multiple tubes have already been closed by the bees with mud, which means that they are already filled with eggs!

At least six bamboo tubes have already been completely closed by the bees. Inside the tubes the bees place eggs and once finished they “close the door” with mud.

As I was there checking the progression of the work and tube counting 😉 I had the opportunity of recording the following video, which is very sweet. I’m not sure if this behaviour is an exchange of information regarding flowers (direction, distance, …) or if it  is a part of the mating process, still is very sweet to look at. Enjoy!

Swiss Folding Team: riprende il sostegno alla ricerca!

Ho scoperto questo progetto quando ancora andavo all’università: si tratta di un’attività a fin di bene in cui si regala all’Università di Stanford la potenza di calcolo dei propri computer quando non sono in uso o quando non viene sfruttata al suo massimo: il progetto si chiama Folding@home (a volte abbreviato anche come F@H o FAH).

Come funziona?

Si tratta di installare sul proprio computer un piccolo programma che è in grado di collegarsi con l’università, recuperare i dati che devono essere elaborati (definiti come Work Unit) , eseguire i calcoli ed infine inviare i risultati al laboratorio. L’intervento dell’utente è richiesto unicamente durante l’installazione e serve per indicare il proprio nome/soprannome, il codice della squadra e una passkey (fornita dall’università) che permette di identificare univocamente l’utente.


Per scaricare il programma si può usare questo link.

Swiss Folding Team – Numero di squadra: 3129

Per aggiungersi alla squadra Swiss Folding Team si può inserire il codice 3129 durante la fase di iscrizione. Ad oggi la squadra è piccola e necessita di nuovi membri, fatti avanti dunque 🙂 Sarebbe fantastico poter diventare un punto di riferimento a livello Svizzero e per raggiungere questo obiettivo è necessaria la collaborazione di tutti, anche di te che stai leggendo, sia per prendere parte attivamente al progetto o anche per condividere questa idea con altri amici!


Per chi volesse si può controllare il proprio punteggio o quello della squadra sul sito Kakaostats.

Un po’ si gioca, un po’ si compete…

L’università è stata brava a sfruttare la competizione per far diventare la donazione più accattivante: come avete visto poco sopra per ogni Work Unit (WU) completata si riceve un punteggio: tanto più in fretta si accumulano punti, tanto più si sale in classifica.

… ed un po’ si impara! Più in dettaglio, che cos’è Folding at home?

Si tratta di una ricerca scientifica, eseguita dal Pande Lab presso l’università di Stanford, che ha l’obiettivo di individuare il processo con il quale le proteine assumono determinate strutture tridimensionali.

Perché è importante studiare questo processo?

Malattie come il Parkinson, Alzheimer, il morbo della mucca pazza e diverse tipologie di tumori potrebbero essere causate da proteine che, durante il ripiegamento su se stesse, incontrano delle difficoltà e assumono strutture scorrette che impediscono lo svolgimento della loro funzione. Studiando il processo si vuole capire come mai succedono questi errori.

Cosa ha ottenuto la ricerca sino ad oggi?

Il gruppo di ricerca, il cui direttore è Vijay Pande, è riuscito, a simulare la corretta formazione della proteina NTL9:

Di seguito un altro video che racconta come si è evoluto lo studio delle proteine:

A questo link è invece possibile leggere a quali risultati si è arrivati su molteplici delle malattie trattate.

Ma l’università non ha accesso ad un super computer per poter fare queste simulazioni da sola? Non sarebbe più efficiente?

Ho provato a fare una brevissima ricerca, che non ha nessuna intenzione di essere esaustiva, ma solo quella di dare un’idea: da quanto descritto in Wikipedia, risulta che il Centro Svizzero di Calcolo Scientifico ha una potenza di calcolo pari a 16 petaflops.

La soluzione distribuita scelta dall’università di Stanford sembra aver toccato la soglia dei 90 petaflops. Anche con tutte le approssimazioni del caso trovo il distacco veramente molto, molto grande e a favore della soluzione del calcolo distribuito!

Heating system: pressure loss

It is a few weeks that I have noticed and increasing loss of water pressure. Everything started three weeks ago, when I decided to stop the heating of the house since it was getting warmer and warmer. In that occasion I discovered that the pressure was lower of almost 0.5 bar.

I have already spoken with the plumber but he is not too sure about the reason why our heating system is loosing so much water in such a short time without leaving any kind of traces on walls, floor, whatever.

Now I have filled the system again in order to reach a pressure of about 2 bar. I’ll keep observing the manometer and see how fast it declines.

I’m starting to think that the expansion vessel might be not working correctly anymore. The name of the make is Pneumatex, while the model is Statico SD80.3Here some further specifcations.

Many weeks later I decided to try to solve the issue: have a look at the follow up!

Marinella, the famous ties shop, is leaving Lugano

Past weekend I was walking through Lugano and while looking at the shop windows I saw that Marinella is closing. Until the end of March they will still be opened and they are liquidating their inventory and you might find some interesting.

The shop address is the following one:

Marinella, Via della Posta 2, 6900 Lugano

Link to

The aim of this post is not really to publicise Marinella’s shop, but is more related to the devolution of Lugano. I have been reporting, on a more general scale about this phenomenon already in the past: What future for Ticino?

Marinella is not the only luxury brand which has left Lugano, Bulgari left almost one year and half earlier. What about the other luxury brands, will they have interest in staying in Via Nassa?

What intrigues me is what may come next, who will be interested in taking the spaces which are going to be left empty after Marinella closes?

Beehome: one week after 

Recently I have bought a tiny home for bees. The idea came from our gardener and when I understood the peculiarities of the Beehome idea I decided to go for it. Here is the homepage if you want to have a look at it: Wild biene und Partner. I decided to go for it for multiple reasons, here a short recap:

  • I love bees
  • This specific kind of bees don’t require particular care as they don’t produce any honey
  • They have a very little and soft stinger which they don’t use unless severely mishandled

The whole project is a spin off of the ETHZ and works incredibly well as in regard to organisation: when you place your order you can decide when to receive the bees: in my case it worked as planned. When you open the package you don’t have to worry as the bees still need to develop therefore they won’t attack you as soon as you set them free. On the contrary, as you open, everything will seem pretty silent.

Knowing that inside of the small house there are living organisms I decided to take it outside as soon as possible so that the bees could start breathing fresh air again.

And now, after one week of having them, I have already seen the first bee coming out one of the small holes and flying around on some kind of orientation flight.

As for the moment being it seems to be just one of the 25 that you receive I didn’t want to go to near and disturb it while on his orientation flight therefore I don’t have pictures yet: still the bee is pretty hairy, mid-sized, and makes a decent buzz while flying… I’m so in love!

The Beehome
This it the Beehome I installed on our balcony

A few hours later I was able to record a very short video.

Zyxel USG20W-VPN – Opening ports for “For Honor”

Although I thought of knowing how to open ports on a firewall I was proven wrong when I had to open the ports for the videogame For Honor. Therefore I have asked help to Zyxel which has been very kind and their answer successfully solved the issue. Downbelow how they suggested to proceed.

Network configuration

The network I was working on is configured as follows:

Modem –> Firewall Zyxel USG20W-VPN ~~~ Wireless Network ~~~ Gaming PC

Checking WLAN settings

As the gaming computer is connected through a wireless connection first of all it is necessary to check if the WLAN is sending the data on the right network, which in our case was LAN1. In order to do that proceed as follows.

Add the WLAN to the right zone:
Configuration> Object> AP Profile> SSID
Select the desired SSID and click on “Edit”.
Under “Local VAP Settings”, select “Off” for VLAN Support.
As an “Outgoing Interface”, select the zone to which the WLAN should connect to the Internet, eg: lan1.

VLAN support is turned off and the outgoing interface is LAN1

Assign a static IP address to the gaming PC

Next, you assign a static DHCP address to your game PC on the interface using the WLAN as an “outgoing interface”.
(Network> Interface> Ethernet)


Double click on “lan1”, activate the “Advanced settings” and scroll down until you find “Enable IP/MAC binding”. Activate the checkbox and in the “Static DHCP table” click on “Add”. Assign an IP address to the MAC address of the wireless or ethernet card of the Gaming PC.


Create an address object under Object> Address / Geo IP for your game PC with the Static DHCP address.

Adding as an IP address to the Gaming PC

Creating ports and assigning to a service group

Under Object> Services> Services, create all ports that you do not already have.

In order to recongnize the port I have decided to name it ForHonor_13000: that way I understand that the port is dedicated to the game ForHonor and that the port is number 13000.

With the same procedure create the objects for the following ports:

TCP: 80, 443, 13000, 13005, 13200, 14000, 14001, 14008, 14020, 14021-14024
UDP: 3074, 3075

A list of the ports that should be opened for PC, PS4 and XBOX is found at this link.

Please note, however, that opening these ports will result in a significant security risk.

For later use it is very convenient to create a “Service Group” with the ports created before. In Object –> Service Group tab add

Give a name to the group and then select from the list on the left all the ports that we have created before. Once selected make them member of the new group you created by moving them to the right. The picture shows the already completed transfer, I’m now ready to press “OK” in order to proceed with the group creation.

Creating a new Virtual Server object

Under Network> NAT, create a new Virtual Server object
Original IP: Any
Mapped IP: Game PC
Port Mapping Type: Service Group
Original Service Group: Game Service Group

Adding a NAT Rule called “ForHonor”

Once added the table should look like this:

In the table the rule FH which stands for “For Honor”. Because of privay concerns I was asked to grey out the other data.

Creating a security policy

Go to Security Policy> Policy Control and create a rule
From WAN To LAN1
Source: Any
IPv4 Destination: Game PC
Service: Game service group
Action: Allow

Adding a security policy. Please note that when selecting the service you’ll have to look for the group we have created before: in order to do that you’ll have to scroll down almost the whole list, as the single objects (ports) are listed before of the groups.

Finally “For Honor” is displaying a green NAT Open.


I didn’t undestand why, but even if the game works and shows NAT Type open if the ports are tested with the site: the results are negative for each of the ports.

What future for Ticino?

It is a recurring question. It is, because economical conditions are worsening since the bank sector is reducing it’s importance in the whole of Switzerland. But for Ticino, which is a small territory and the bank sector was the main driver, this has even worse consequences. And, as if this wasn’t difficult enough there is a big neighbour, Italy, which has an even worse economical situation: there are almost 60’000 commuters coming from Italy every day, which are now working in Ticino, taking qualified jobs for a fraction of the Swiss cost. Still, since the Italian cost for living is lower, for Italians also a fraction of the Swiss salary is a decent alternative to staying home unemployed. For locals it is difficult to compete: therefore politics has taken some actions in order to reduce the phenomenon. Nevertheless I believe that protectionism, even though it is a natural reaction, it won’t solve the issue. Also because, I would like to remember, commuters is not the main issue: Ticino’s biggest business sector, banks, has taken a major hit. With what should we replace it?

Tourism could be an answer, although the strength of the Swiss franc doesn’t help.

It should be mentioned though that the few times I have visited some hotels in Lugano, either they are really expensive, or if you try something more accessible it is depressing: many are still from the sixties and never refurbished. Decadence all over the place! It is true though that some new hotels have been built in Lugano: I believe one is an Ibis hotel, which being very near to the motorway exit, is very convenient, but is not going to be the choice for someone who would like to stay a bit longer than one night.

I’m afraid that some new ideas should be found in order to promote Ticino and make it more interesting for companies, of course companies bringing value and not only warehouses, as it has happened in the past. Maybe companies of the technological sector?

I mean Ticino already has many things which are interesting for companies. Being in Switzerland there is a stable government, taxes shouldn’t be that high, infrastructure is available, bureaucracy is not as heavy as in other countries, … probably the main issue is that salaries are so expensive. Still, they are cheaper than in the rest of Switzerland, I would say! 🙂

Or someone has better ideas?