Sunday, April 19, 2015

Social networks and avatars

This was a comment I wrote to someone in a social network where their avatar was somewhat direct in its presentation.

The first thing people will look at is another person's avatar (profile picture), which often reveals quite a bit about that person. For example, if an avatar only shows a face, then the picture says "here I am, this is me." — People who look for meaningful relationships tend to gravitate towards those profiles that only show a person's face.

On dating sites that are often used for short-term liaisons, photos of people are more direct with what they have to offer, because potential dates then look for something else than a face or a personality. — Yet such photos anywhere in a profile are not effective on sites where meaningful relationships are sought.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Convert percentage values formatted as numbers into percentages in LibreOffice

The Problem:


Suppose that percentage values have been entered in LibreOffice this way:

(the decimal separator is a comma)
42,63
27,78
14,72

and the objective is to make sure that 42,63 and other cells display as 42,63% and act like percentages instead of general numbers or normal text.

Only that the values are treated as normal (General) numbers. The problem is bigger, if lots of cells are formatted like that, and the dataset's percentage values use decimals, as in 25,5 and so on.

When AutoInput is active (in Tools menu > Cell contents), then entering text with a percentage sign, such as 25,5% — automatically formats the cell and cell contents as a percentage, in which actual cell content is 0.255. But this works when entering data manually.

Adding a percentage sign to data in existing cells may or may not work: in some cases, when adding a percentage sign to 42,63, it will instead become 0,43 or 4263,00%.

The solution:


Select these cells, format them as text.

Use Find & Replace (Ctrl+H) to add a percentage sign:
* You need regexp functionality, so check [\/] Regular expressions;
* Check [\/] 'Current selection' only;
* The 'Search in' drop-down box must have 'Values' selected;
* The 'Search for' field must contain a dollar sign $ to signify end of paragraph;
* The 'Replace with' field must contain an ampersand and a percentage sign: &%
* Click [Replace All].

You're not done yet, as that only adds a percentage sign to the end of each value, but does not put them into percentage format.

Select all these cells, and cut or copy them.

* Then paste cut/copied cells as unformatted text. This opens the Text Import window, where:
* values are (•) Separated by [\/] Tab;
* Check [\/] Detect special numbers
* (To make sure that cells are positioned properly, then don't merge delimiters.)
* Press OK.
Now, each value should be formatted as a percentage, and the percentage sign toolbar button must also be active for these cells.

I don't know if there's any difference when in the Text Import window 'Quoted field as text' is checked while pasting unformatted text.

To keep the original dataset intact, then experiment by using a copy of the file, or at least paste into a new file or new sheet in the same file.

This might also work with OpenOffice.org that supports the 'Detect special numbers' function.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tips on making a good YouTube video

In order of importance:

• Use a tripod or something that can hold your phone in place while you're filming;
• When filming with a modern mobile phone, always hold it sideways to avoid 'tall' vids;
• Make sure the aspect ratio matches the YouTube video box, which is 16:9;
• If video aspect ratio is different, then YouTube allows letterboxing;
• Avoid uploading videos in less than 360p; else they will look pixelated in the video box;

Audio

• Do not upload videos with low volume, because most other videos are louder, and so are video ads;
• Avoid excessive audio treble, otherwise 's' sounds are too loud, which might hurt ears;
• To minimize echo, set up an almost wall-height bookshelf full of books or stuff along at least one nearby wall. Keep it clean and dust-free.

Intro and end clips

• Intro clips should be short, at best up to 15 seconds (else boring);
• If intro has music, its volume should fade in from 0 or 25% to normal;
• End clips should always have lower volume than your video;

Text in video

• Do not use cursive fonts, they are hard to read;
• See if you can do without very thin fonts, as these can be hard to read on small displays or from a distance;
• Do not use too large text size, as that's hard to read, too. It's good only for a separate video thumbnail image;
• Try to avoid colouring each letter, because that is also hard to read;
• Consider text contours or text shadow or some translucent text background color if video content changes from light to dark at text position;

You

• You may look gorgeous, but if you have an important message, then keep your shirt on like Russ Marine (now Civilian) does, so that your listeners won't get distracted.

Other people

• Avoid publishing videos with your own or anyone else's children in them. They are not your dog or cat, and they need privacy, too, even if they don't yet understand what it means — Small children are unable to give consent, as they don't yet have the concept of public/private and what consent is.
• A child of school age can be taught these things, so they will eventually learn to understand, so they can make their own choices.
• There are times and places when publishing videos with children in them are necessary:
If you happen to document any kind of abuse with anyone anywhere, then be ready for the following: You need to have a device of insignificant cost, good recoding features, fast connection, and instant upload to a throwaway account for backup, because authorities are very keen on gatherng evidence.

Speech manners

• When talking,
avoid using words like "don't", "doesn't", "didn't", etc., because these can be misheard wrongly. Try instead "do not", "does not", "did not", and so on with 'could', 'should' and the like. Unless you want to be ambiguous on purpose.
• Do not confuse 'may', 'can', and 'might': Avoid "bad people may or can do something", as if you might be giving them permission, and use 'might' instead; whereas "really good people _can_ do something good."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Proov vanast mobiilist

Niisiis oli seesinane algselt postitatud Samsung SGH-C170 mobiiltelefoniga, mida kasutan paari enda tehtud wap-lehekülje (jah, WAP-lehekülje) testimiseks, sest see telefon on niivõrd piiratud funktsionaalsusega.
Blogisissekande mobiiliga postitatud sisu eraldasin postitust tavalise arvutiga laiendades teksti lõppu.

Samsung SGH-C170

Samsung SGH-C170 on väga algne 2007. aastast pärinev mobiiltelefon, mis toetab ainult GPRS mobiil-andmeside standardit, ning milles on väga algne WAP-lehitseja, mis toetab vaid WML 1.2.1 standardit, kerget XML-i, ning GIF ja JPEG pilte (max suurus vist kuni 30 Kb, kui mälu ei peta). GPRS peaks nagu tähendama 2.5G toetust...

Muud piirangud

2015. aasta probleem kuupäevaga
Esile tuleb tuua seda, et mis tahes 2015. või hilisema aasta kuupäeva ei otseselt võimalik lisada. Kiiruga toimis see lahendus: selleks, et vähemalt esiekraanil näidatud kuupäev peaks nädalapäeva paika, valisin 11 aastat varasema aasta, mis ei langeks kokku peale 2007. aastat olevate aastatega. Sarnase probleemiga mudeleid on veelgi.

Huvitavama lahenduse leidsin antud telefonimudelit arutava gsmarena foorumi postitusest:

• Keera kuupäev 31.12.2014 23:59 peale, siis muuda kellaaega iga kord 23:59 peale ja oota minut seni kuni kukub õige kuupäevaga uus kuupäev.
Ääremärkus: Aasta lõpupoole novembris-detsembris on muidugi aeganõudev kogu see tsirkus läbi teha...

Kuid kui telefoni kasutada vaid ajutiselt (testimiseks vms), siis on muidugi lihtsam sisestada 3-4 või 11 aastat varasem aasta, kus nädalapäevad sobivad olemasoleva kuupäevaga ilusti kokku.

WAP lehitseja piirangud
C170 mobiili WAP-lehitsejas on WML-lehekülje ühe deki (WML-formaadis lehekülje-osa) piirsuuruseks seatud 4000 baiti. Testimisel selgus serveris oleva üheainsa dekiga faili maksimumsuuruseks 4501 baiti, mispuhul on ühe niisuguse WML-lehekülje kerimine väga-väga aeglane. Niisugust (deki)suurust ületavaid lehekülgi konkreetne telefon ei tõmba, sest "lehekülg on liiga suur." Antud mobiili WAP-lehitsejal puudub ka funktsioon, mispuhul leheküljest esitatakse vaid vastuvõetavas mahus tekst ja ülejäänud jääb tõmbamata.

Antud mobiilimudeli WAP-lehitsejal ei ole https-turvaprotokolli toetust, mis tähendab, et andmeedastus ei ole krüpteeritud. Sellest johtuvalt ei ole lõviosa populaarseid e-posti- jms teenuseid üldse kättesaadavad.

Kirjade saatmine

Algne blogipostitus oli saadetud läbi Elioni (hot.ee) e-kohviku WML(XML?)-formaati toetava e-posti keskkonna.

Kirjutatavale tekstile on suuremgi kitsendus, mis lubab koos e-posti aadressi ja teemaväljaga kasutada kõige rohkem 159 märki. Kirja enda teksti suurus sõltub e-posti aadressi ja teemavälja jaoks algselt läinud tekstimahust, kuid üldjoontes tuleb arvestada kirja 128-märgise limiidiga.

Limiidini jõuab siis, kui kirja tekstiväli (sõltuvalt muude tekstiväljade täituvusest) rohkem märke lisada ei võimalda. Siis tuleb igaks juhuks kustutada umbes viimased viis märki või jätta umbes viis märki varu mõttes kirjutamata. Sest saadetud kujul tuli postituse ette kaks tühikut ja taha samapalju tühikuid. Endal oli selline tunne, et kui _kõik_ märgid olid teksti lõpuni alles jäetud, tekkis kirja saatmisel WAP-lehitsejas tõrge.

Nii et lühemaid e-sõnumeid saab saata küll.

Postituse algne tekst on võetud ingliskeelse Wikipedia Linuxi-artiklist:
  Linux is a Unix-like and mostly POSIX-compliant operating system assembled under the model of free and open-source software ...  
Et Wikipedia tekstile kohandatud litsents on Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike tingimustega, tähendab see, et litsentsitingimused peaksid laienema vähemalt antud blogipostitusele ka. (Samas võib muidugi nentida, et teksti lühiduse tõttu on tegemist tsitaadiga, ning tsitaate võib mõistlikus ulatuses vabalt kasutada.)

Lahtiütlus: See blogipostitus ei ole mingil moel Samsungi toetus; blogipostitus kannab informatiivset funktsiooni.

Friday, November 21, 2014

HDTV. UHD. Eesti.

Tarbija24: Eestlased ostavad aina nutikamaid telereid. Jätsin kommentaari siia ka, et see hiljem ära ei kaoks.

Eestis on võimalik üle kaabli (Starman) või ka IPTV (Elion) vaadata HD kanaleid küll. Esialgu on nö uuematest tehnoloogiatest laiemalt saadaval vaid FullHD.

See-eest UHD on alles verivärske ja seda sai näha näiteks FIFA jalgpalli maailmakarika ülekannet vaadates — nendel, kel vastav aparatuur olemas.

UHD standardeid on kaks: 4K ja 8K. Jaapan läks kohe 8K peale üle, teised maad ja riigid on nagu kahevahel, et kas valida 4K või 8K.

YouTube muuseas toetab 4K-d, kui video on selles resolutsioonis üles võetud. Vaja on vaid, et toru oleks lai.

Eestis on minuteada DVB-T digistandard koos MPEG4 AVC pakkimisega, mis peaks võimaldama HDTV-d, aga ma ei tea täpselt, kas see on Eestis digiantenniga vastuvõetaval HD-kanalil ainult 720p, või pigem 1080i või 1080p.

HDTV on DVB-T standardi ja MPEG-4 AVC kodeeringuga võimalik, kuid DVB-T läbilaskevõime võimaldab korraga vist ainult ühte-kahte HD kanalit. Ühe multipleksi kohta mitme kanali jaoks on tarvis DVB-T2 saatjaid, aga meil on vaid DVB-T, mille läbilaskevõime on väiksem. Tõsi küll, MPEG-4 AVC kodeerimine on tõhusam kui MPEG2, mis võimaldab veidi rohkem.

Sest soomlastel on alumises otsas DVB-T koos MPEG2 kodeeringuga, mis on vanem kui meie variant, aga nad juurutavad juba DVB-T2 saatjaid ja paljudel sealsetel telekatarbijatel on see mure, et tuleb välja vahetada digivastuvõtjad või üldse uus teler osta. Mõlematpidi on kulu.

Eestis oli üleminek digitelevisioonile ses mõttes ratsionaalne, et analoogiga võrreldes muutus ülekandmine kõigile odavamaks ja nii sai ka kulusid kokku hoida. Nii riik kui ka eeldatavasti erakanalid.

Eestis on alles neli aastat möödas digitelevisioonile üleminekust, mille hulka kuulub DVB-T saatjate paigaldamine (infrastruktuur) ning tarbijate poolt digibokside ja/või uute telekate ostmine.

Ma ei kujuta üldse ette, et kas ja kuidas ja millal oleks peale selliseid kulutusi otstarbekas DVB-T2-le ja seeläbi UHD-le üle minna. Et kui, siis loodetavasti toimub see siis juba järk-järgult, nagu kunagi ammu oli näiteks mustvalgelt värvitelekale üleminek.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Brand recognition and advancements in technology

Everyone knows this picture, as it has become a meme of sorts.

Two major points:
* that "The iPhone introduced the smartphone to the world, and the iPad the tablet computer."

Well...

* And the opposite argument claiming that 'the HUD [headgear] technology predates Star Trek: Deeep Space Nine by decades in theory and by many years as science fact.'

So...

Even if Google Glass-like devices might have been in use well before Google came out with its own product, then in all actuality they might have been deployed in only sequestered (military, intelligence) and/or niche environments (specific businesses).

If you go to a library an read a 1980's book or major magazine about future computing devices and gadgets, then the headgear is there already. At least I remember on such book when I was younger.

Very often the point is, that some technologies are not acknowledged as being widely in existence until a reasonably affordable, well-branded, and easy-to-use product is successfully introduced into consumer space and gains major mindshare from the press and then the public at large.

The smartphone was there long before the iPhone (IBM, Nokia), ditto the tablet computer (Microsoft's thingy from 2000 was a rather half-hearted attempt, btw), and videoconferencing. There were video capabilities in instant messaging programs long before Skype.

Only that major brands recognized by most people are major only because of very effective promotion in one otherwise backwards (if you will) or underdeveloped, but rather powerful market compared to the rest of the world. That's iPhone in the U.S.

There are other reasons:
* One is that mainstream technology journalism has been dominated by U.S. outlets;
* The other is that they are usually rather partial to Apple. Almost all of them;
* And that the tech press of the U.S. — and by extension its public — were, IMO, in a very desperate need for a fancy product that was ostensibly innovated in United States, marketed by a major brand native to the U.S., and of which every person would want to have a piece of.
* Never mind that actual product was made in China, where industrialisation and labour conditions are historically comparable to those of 19th century Britain. (Yes, there have been some improvements.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Installing the GIMP FFT plugin (in Windows)

The short of it: to install the Fourier FFT transform plugin into GIMP, download the latest version from here (registry.gimp.org). (I chose the Windows distribution, 32 bits).

From this gimpchat.com forum post I learned that both fourier.exe and libfftw3-3.dll must be placed into the GIMP plugins folder (specifically
C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\lib\gimp\2.0\plug-ins).

Unfortunately, when starting GIMP again, I got the error that the file libgcc_s_sjlj-1.dll was not found, so this meant that the filter wouldn't work.

To get the libgcc_s_sjlj-1.dll file, this instruction on another GIMP plugin suggested how to get that file: download the x32-4.8.0-release-win32-sjlj-rev2.7z package from Sourceforge (36.1 Mb); then you need to open the compressed file with 7-Zip (if you don't have it, download and install it separately beforehand), move to directory x32-4.8.0-release-win32-sjlj-rev2.7z\mingw32\bin\, and there's the file.

Extract only libgcc_s_sjlj-1.dll to C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\lib\gimp\2.0\plug-ins .

I became interested in the FFT plugin from a Wikimedia Commons Help section offering instructions about image manipulation, introducing the plugin here and in the next section.