Love Indeed

Yesterday I went to a forum held by japanese media Itmedia Inc. and IBM, as an audience.
I had found its announcement on the web and got interested in the contents about open source OSs in Business.

It was indeed very interesting. IBM recommended replacing “PC-server” with their products designed specially for server use.

Let us confirm about what “PC-server” is. PCs(personal computers) were originally created with an aspect of lowering costs, thus they could not use for servers, which should go on and on with hard work. But recently PCs have been so improved that they could be used as server, moreover they keep offering low costs and they are provided by a variety of venders, thus more and more customers are tend to choice servers with the same architecture as PCs’.

In many sessions I heard, power and abilities were compared between IBM’s current servers and PC-servers, and superiorities of the former to the latter were presented.

Then a question came floating up to my mind. The architecture for “PCs” was originally owned by IBM itself. Decades ago it made the architecture open, that enabled many other venders to produce their PCs following the specifications. Thus one could say the boom of PC-servers today was originated by IBM itself. How do the IBM men feel about this peculiar history?

I casted the question to one of the IBM engineer. He told “Oh, I think PC servers should play their own roles,” and he spared me lot of time to explain every feature of PCs for and not for various uses as server.

Some of his explanations were understandable and others not for me. But there was one thing I got sure- his love for whatever called a computer, regardless of architectures or venders.

What had pushed the computer technology so far forward as today? Desire for better life, big flows of money, they might be some driving forces. But the biggest energy of innovation is love of people, engineers, sales, and also users, for computers, I believe. Indeed love is for everything.

Slideshows by iPhoto

Mac bundles a pretty application called iPhoto to store and manage photos from digital cameras.
One of its supreme function is to export a slideshow from a group of photos.
But sometimes this function is too splendid, as many other functions in typical Mac apps, to make a simple and practical slideshow.

The easiest way to export a slideshow is to select “Export” from the File menu (Sorry I have only a Japanese interface)

You can select many targets to export, one of them is a “slideshow.” Here in this setting menu you can select the size of the slideshow movie.

Then all is done. But take a look at the slideshow created in this way:

Between the slides a cross-dissolve effect is applied.

There is another effect processed in each slide. A single original photo is copied to a series of edited ones. The copied photos are cropped and magnified in a series of slightly different extent to fake zooming motion. It is called as “Ken Burns effect.”


Well, this Ken Burns effect is rather moderate, so I made an illustration of more distinctive example.

These default effects are in most cases so handy to make a dramatic slide show, but sometimes it would not be necessary or rather disturbing. Today’s topic is how to remove any effects and make a plain slideshow, that each photo would be simply switched to another.

Then you have to create a new slideshow project. That is done by selecting “New Slideshow” from the File menu.

Then a slideshow editor is displayed.

At the right-bottom corner of the editor 4 buttons are given, which invoke setting windows for “text impose,” “theme,” “music,” and “general settings” respectively, left to right.

To remove all Ken Burns effect, change theme from the default “Ken Burns” theme to “Classic.”

To remove all transition effect, change the transition setting in the general settings.
You might miss this setting, because the checkbox is sleeping at first.

You have to invoke the selection by checking it, and select “None” from the spinner.

In using this custom setting mode, you might sometimes need to take care of the size setting. In this example I found the size was set to a peculiar aspect ratio “16:10,” while I wanted a 16:9 movie.

BGM might be also attached in default. If you want a silent movie, you need to check the music out.

Thus you could get a simple movie. This issue seems a good example for the modern world – sometimes we are forced to be applied with “extras” or “presets”, and rather consume time and labor to be freed from them.

Draw the Lines

These day I have drawn many pictures based on the Bible’s stories. I like it very much, but I like to write about my experiences in programming, too.

Yet these days I had nothing special to write about it, which means my work went very well.
“Thank God” – I don’t know whether I could use this word in pure meaning, or it should be ironically used. In your world of christianity, the existence of God and Jesus would be so fundamental in your lives, so there might be various meanings to call Them. So I use my own word to thank God: “Kamisama Arigatou Gozaimasu, my work had been zu well to write something here.”

Today I had indeed a difficulty to understand a block of a source code which were provided by Google Android development team in the development kit.

It was like this: the reason the image is a bit too small is that I don’t intend to write in detail about the source (the code is from ApiDemos.java in Android SDK sample).

This block was so complicated, because it included many of a peculiar pattern, like:

x = y == z? v:w;

It means, if y equals z, x is assigned with the value v, otherwise with the value w.
In the above block this pattern was used iterated, cascaded, or in many ways. For example:

if ( ( x != null? y:0 ) == z)

It’s meaning is dependent on whether x is null or not null.
In the case x is not null, it means “if( y == z )”.
In the case x is null, it means “if( 0 == z )”.

Well, I might wrote wrong, because such expressions were so complicated, and now I am quite tired after struggling with them.

The block contained in this way so many “if” sentences, which meant if some part of the sentences was used, some of the other part became completely unused. If those unused part were hidden, the whole block would be easier to understand.

So I took the method below:

(1) I took a screenshot of the source code in the editor, as I show the one above.
(2) Opened it in a painting software.
(3) Magnified it larger.
(4) Using a colored brush, drew lines on unused part of the block, corresponding to each case:

In some case,

or other,

Thus I managed to understand the whole block.

I drew those lines manually, using the mouse. What I liked to say today’s post is: it was an analog way which was more effective for my study on computer. Yes, it was quite analog, except that an LED display was used instead of paper.

Speakerphone Mystery

I was in a handy phone store, where I heard a customer said to the shop assistant, that his phone often behaved odd.

“Every time I answer to this, the voice of the caller starts to sound loud. It’s annoying,” he said.

That took my attention. What on earth the strange trouble came from? Wrong wiring within hardware, or bug on the software?

It seemed neither the shop assistant could understand the phenomenon. He begged the customer to explain more about it.

I kept myself from watching them directly, because they are too close to me and I thought it impolite to watch at them directly. Instead I just set my ears pointed to the conversation.
That was even more interesting to me to build up an image of the phenomenon only from the talking voices.

“Whenever the handy rings, I push THIS to answer to it, then the loud voice comes from it.”
“Ah…it is not the button to answer, but the one to start the speaker.”
“No, I don’t mean THIS…oh…it’s too close to THAT.”
“I’m afraid you might often press THIS instead of THAT.”
“Maybe you are right. I often press the button in such a hurry, that I press the wrong button. ”
“I’m sorry, the arrangement of the buttons on this model is somewhat confusing.”

So it was a trouble not on the hardware or the software, but the usability. I thought it be serious enough to be fixed. I wished that the customer’s precious information would be announced to the maker by the shop, in order to improve their products and services.

Farewell Party

Recently in Japan there was a great data loss of a web hosting service.

Let me make a humble explanation on the background.
As it costs much money and labor to have a web server(machine, software and advertising contents) inside each company, it often ask a specific company, who has everything to run a website, to handle all their data. Such service is called web hosting, which is at most accompanied by mail service.

The accident occurred in a famous web hosting company, which had many customers.
It was caused by a series of fatal bugs in the maintenance program in the server.
At last a serious amount of web & mail data were completely deleted, that is, web sites and mailboxes of quite a few companies and offices were disappeared. The recovery was hopeless.

Today it was reported in a news that the customers, who were deprived of their data and had to recover all by themselves from a blank, had a party in downtown – a farewell party for their data.
More than 100 people gathered and talked about their difficulties and struggle, over food and drink.

By this news I was much moved to appreciate the sense of humor, and undefeated spirit of IT professionals.
To enjoy the trouble of themselves – it would be impossible without courage to cope with them.

It was even more incredible, according to the news, that at the end of the party they also expressed their sympathy to the engineers of the web hosting company which had lost their data, saying “they must have been much difficulties, too!”

I wish appreciate all engineers struggling with servers through many sleepless nights, not only those who were involved the trouble in question, and not only in Japan, but all over the world.

Word to HTML

I’m writing another book. I write the draft in MS-Word template.
Often I would like to write more than the planned volume. So I write the excess documents in HTML form to upload on my website.

Often I hope, I could write all the documents in Word template, and convert some to HTML form.
But the resultant HTML, from Word, is so dirty, with so much ornamental markups.

This is the example. I wrote a simple sentence in Word 2011 for Mac.

In this example I wrote “My name is Bibuji. I write blogs on WordPress,” in which “Bibuji” and “WordPress” are written in alphabets.

Let’s save this Word document as a Web page.

Oh! Word didn’t offer the extension “.html.” It claimed to save the file with “.htm,” which seems now rather strange…

By the way, to show all file extensions in Mac, select “Preferences…” in “Finder” menu.

In “General” window you can select “Show all file extensions.”

Thus I created an HTML page “hello.htm.” Let’s open it with Safari web browser.

Really a simple page!

Then how is the source code written? Let’s open this file with a text browser.

Thus I created an HTML page “hello.htm.” Let’s open it with Safari web browser.

What is that!?

There is more code, automatically written by MS-Word…

…more…

…more…

Where is “my” description!?…there it was at last!

This complicated markups were because I mixed Japanese and alphabet, which were marked to be rendered with different fonts.

It was miserable, that I inserted the Japanese symbol “。” between “Bibuji” and “WordPress.”

For the document is converted in such a complicated manner, I always write HTML markups manually, like this:

How simple! Yet the appearance in a web browser is much the same…

Oh!?

Sorry, I made a mistake. Although I marked the document as “UTF-8” encoding, I saved the file as “Mac Japanese” encoding…Dealing with Japanese is so complicated like this.

Setting the encoding to “UTF-8” explicitly…

Then it was rendered correctly.

Then I found a option in Word, on converting the file to HTML. “Save only the rendering information.”

It seemed that the default option was to convert all information as Word document into HTML – though I never know what kind of information on earth it was. With the latter option, the resultant markups got to be much simpler.

Yet more complicated than to write manually, though…

By the way, how our WordPress blogs are marked up? To look at that, select from the browser’s menu to “Show source code.” For Safari, it is located at “View” menu.

My Blog also had a complicated header. So may it well, because it provides such a nice appearance.

But the content itself was marked up so simply. I think it’s a very good template.

Anyway, the fact was confirmed, that I should write my HTML documents from the scratch.

1904/1/1

In the previous post, We found in MS-Excel, the date 1900/1/1 could be converted to the number “1”, and the dates after is to the number counted from that.
For exameple, 1900/1/2 is to “2”, 1900/1/3 is to “3”….

And “1901/1/1” was converted to “367” by the automatic converting system.

367-1=366.

So was the year 1900 a leap year?
I was shocked to know it wasn’t.

Below is what I learned later:
It was a man-made rule for the ongoing calendar, in order to fit arithmetic rule to the astronomic event.
And MS-Excel doesn’t know it.(Year 1900 problem explained in Wikipedia)

To eliminate this problem, one can set the lower limit of the date to be the year 1904, which is a leap year.


Mac’s “Excel Preferences”…


“Calculation”…


“Count from the year 1904”

Then you would be able to handle all dates from 1904/1/1 without errors. In this system, the date 1904/1/1 is counted as “0”.

How complicated to handle dates and calendar in computer!…On the other hand, it means “The history of human being is far beyond computing.”… “Personal” computing, though.