Monthly Archives: September 2018

Attempting to Influence the Bosnian Election

Update 10/06/2020: has been down for sometime due to me not wanting to pay the domain name fees while the elections are not on. But fret not, it will return!

I am not going to lie, Bosnian elections make me excited. To all the Bosnians reading this, go ahead and roll your eyes, I am well used to a good eye rolling from a Bosnian. But please, let me get others up to speed before I continue to explain what the hell I got up to.

The Background

The Bosnian political system is one of the most complex in the world. With three presidents elected along ethnic lines, four tiers of governance all of which hardly function, the country barely functions in the normal sense that people in Western Europe or even Australia have become accustomed to. With that being said my jokes about Bosnia’s political system functioning better than Australia’s due to the latter having six prime minsters in ten years with the former having only three have never gone down well amongst the local populace to my extreme disappointment.

But enough of my nonsense. There are plenty of articles about the Bosnian elections that include all the details on corruption, blatant vote buying, and rhetoric that includes threats of secession and on a good day, war. So what is this election influencing all about?

Around April of this year, a local released El-Bake and Flappy Fahro. Not only did the games prove popular and go viral quickly, the act of releasing them was a pretty interesting way to get a point across about what the young people of Bosnia think of their political leaders. These games featured none other than current member of the Bosnian tri-presidency Bakir Izetbegović and the Bosnian businessman, party leader, and presidential hopeful Fahrudin Radončić. The word on the street was that Bakir himself was not too pleased about the game, and the fact the creator decided to remain anonymous is probably a little telling as to the risk that activism like this incurs in Bosnia.

Bakir i Prijatelji

Over the course of a few weeks with the help of some other talented individuals and mentors, I conjured up my own version of Bosnian political activism. Bakir i Prijatelji, or Bakir and Friends for you English speaking type folk, was born.

The aim of Bakir i Prijatelji is simple. Shoot your political enemies with your laser eyes, all the while making sure you do not hit political allies. It’s something that is universal among countries. Politics suck. Metaphors reign. And what better metaphor for Bosnian politics than the main players chasing each other down with their laser eyes.

Now obviously I am not Bosnian. I cannot vote in the Bosnian elections and have no right to tell any Bosnian who they should vote for in their election even if they would listen. I know how much Bosnian’s love it when western types come to their country for a few months and get to hear from them how they can make their country a better place. This was not my intention. I thought long and hard about developing a concept that worked along these principles.

The aim of creating Bakir i Prijatelji was to tap in to that brilliant political satire of El-Bake and Flappy Fahro. Political satire is universal and Bosnia is particularly ripe for it. It crosses borders and is shared among cultures. I hope that some people can get some respite from the elections by playing the game, or even just some laughs.

At the time of the elections Bakir i Prijatelji could be found at However it is currently down. But fret not, it will return!

openSerial: A Graphical Serial Interface Suited for Microcontroller Applications

For a university group project involving IoT sensors I had the requirement of creating a graphical interface that helps send various commands via a serial port, and receive data on the same serial port from the same IoT sensors as a reply. Obviously this can be done fairly easily with command line programs such as screen and miniterm and there are almost certainly suitable programs out there, but as it was a requirement for the group project I decided to give my own a go.  Thus, openSerial was born.

Command line serial programs can at times be a pain, and take more time then they should to get up and running. So I tried to make openSerial as useful as possible for a wide range of situations, although the application is more targeted towards talking to microcontrollers. It was coded using Qt, and utilises Qt’s QtSerialPort library. It scans the available serial ports once a second and updates the port name combo box list. The user can define different serial settings such as baud rate, data bits setting, parity bit setting, stop bit settings, and flow control settings. It also automatically updates the connection status label based on what serial port is connected.

A quick tutorial of openSerial.

The user can read the full serial output in the console window, and send single line commands using the command lineEdit window. A history of sent commands is displayed in the Send Commands Window.

I have tested it out and it seems to work well! Sometimes if you disconnect from a serial connection, you have to unplug and plug the device in again before reconnecting. But this is more likely due to the behavior of the end device I used to test the software with. When in doubt, turn it off and on again!

You can find the source code, and a .zip file containing a binary and required Qt libraries on my github page at The program has been tested on a machine running Ubuntu 18.04. It’s a little messy in the naming department, but should be quite easy for anyone to get their head around. I highly recommend using Qt Creator when working with Qt projects!