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Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

Why Les Miserables Begs To Be Shared

In Society, Updates on January 31, 2013 at 10:36 am

Have you seen Les Miserables? A sincere question when spoken by most. Not a mere kicker for other queries about where you saw it—at the Mecca of London’s West End, among the new world cousins of Broadway, maybe at a local production that just barely managed to pay the franchise, or now finally at a nearby cinema. The question does not lead to any measurement of the cost or quality of the performance you watched. Only a probing of how deeply you have been immersed in it. Because seeing the musical is like finding religion. Not a particular one but the salvation that all religions offer.

800px-New_York_Imperial_Theatre_Les_Miserables_2003

Do you hear the people sing? I am fond of the song and its refrains. But I cannot peg it as my favorite. Not when I am drawn by so many others that cause all sorts of different tremors: Master of the House, hedonistic boast of the hilarious Thenardiers; Stars, the beautifully terrifying oath of righteous yet barren Javert; On My Own, the triumph of unloved though loving Eponine; Drink With Me, the lament of rebels who would know greatness but are certain too of their imminent end; Bring Him Home, Valjean’s soulful prayer for a stranger loved by a daughter not wholly his; and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Marius’ guilt-laden eulogy for friends he was fated to join but was blessed to outlive. Read the rest of this entry »

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Notary Me

In Society, Updates on October 3, 2012 at 9:58 am

Does the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 turn me into my own personal notary public?

In his legal note titled “Notary Publics” (see http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/news/view/20080429-133416/Notary_Public_), Judge Gabriel T. Ingles described notaries as being empowered to acknowledge documents and, by affixing their notarial seals, convert these from private to public statements.

But the new law already treats my online content as public and published, while making me attest to its truthfulness under threat of possible prosecution. And, in a sense, my online stuff is even more accessible than the “public” copies stored in the filing cabinets of notary publics.

If so, I’d lobby that ALL elected officials have personal accounts for publishing ALL of their statements, ALL of which will now have the weight of actual affidavits. For example (I repeat, these are just examples), I’d like to see the following as sworn statements:

  • “I did not plagiarize.” – Subscribed and sworn to before all Facebook users on this 11th day of September, 2012 by Sen. Tito Sotto.
  • “I signed the Anti-Cybercrime Law by mistake.” – Subscribed and sworn to before all Twitter users on this 12th day of August, 2012 by Sen. Chiz Escudero.

Right now, I’m thinking of building an Affidavit App for Facebook.

From Megapixels to Inches

In Technology, Updates on October 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm

It seems that we rarely get the details we really need from photolab and printing specialists whenever we ask if our image files are big enough for large-format or high-quality prints.  For example, ask what size image would look good on 8r prints and most  technicians will say 8 megapixels (MPs)—as if there was a correspondence between 4r prints and 4mp images, 5r and 5mp files, and so on.  The actual minimum for an image to look as fine as it could on 8r print is 7.2mp and the math for figuring out this number is simple enough that we don’t have to settle for mere estimates.

When reproducing images, resolutions are expressed in dot pitch—72 pixels per inch or PPI for default screens at a low 640×480 setting, 96ppi for sharper 1024×678 displays, 180ppi for print publication minimums, and 300ppi for photographic reproduction. On the other hand, resolutions in digital cameras are expressed in mega-pixel or MP counts—like the 5mp that got digital SLRs to first be considered seriously, and the 12mp that is now common on point-and-shoot compacts.

Let’s look at the numbers behind these different takes on the resolution count.  An 8 by 10 inch portrait photograph taken on your camera and printed for you by a photo-lab would have to be at least 2,400 pixels (8in. x 300ppi) wide and 3,000 (10in. x 300ppi) pixels high. And, a 2,400 by 3,000 pixel image measures 7.2mp in digicam resolution. It really is that simple—multiply 2,400 by 3,000 to get 7,200,000 or 7.2 million pixels.

Turning the equation around, a 12mp image with the typical aspect ratio of 4:3 (for every 4 units of length for one side, there are 3 units on the one perpendicular to it), would have side lengths of 4,000 and 3,000 pixels …

4a x 3a = 12,000,000

12a2 = 12,000,000

a2 = 12,000,000 / 12

a = square root of 1,000,000

a = 1,000

where 4a = 4,000 pixels

and 3a = 3,000 pixels

If you plan to reproduce a large 6 by 8 inch picture in a glossy magazine layout with sharp 300ppi images, how do you check if your JPEG file has enough resolution? Yes, it is as simple as it seems. Just multiply 6 inches by 300 and you have your width, multiply 8 by 300 again to get your height. So, you’ll need an image that is at least 1,800 pixels wide and 2,400 pixels high.  In this case, even a 7.2mp image will be sufficient. All you have to do is down-size or crop it down from its 2,400 by 3,000 original.  What you wouldn’t want to do is upsize a small, say 3.6mp, image and stretch it into the layout.  Then, you’ll lose the one dot one pixel correspondence and your image will look all “pixelated” as they say—pixelated because the picture elements will be much larger than the ink-dots meant to reproduce each one of them.

Stop to think about it and you’ll realize that the resolution information stored with image files is just a vestigial convenience. Right-click the icon of your image file, click on “properties” in the pop-up menu, select the “details” tab, and finally scroll down to the “image” panel and you’ll find horizontal and vertical resolutions expressed in ppi, while image dimension is measured in pixels.  What the resolution setting does is give your system the necessary variable to compute the dimension in inches if your file is outputted into various media. But, inches or any other real-world units for length hold little meaning while the image remains in digital form.

But in case you do need to tweak ppi resolutions (to have complete control of your photo-prints, or simply to help out your overworked team-mates) just do the following in Photoshop:

  • Click on “Image” in the main menu and select “Image Size” in the drop-down list.
  • In the “Image Size” window, look at the “Pixel Dimensions” panel in the top half of the window and note the pixel width and height of your image.  For example, with a 7.2mp image, you’d note that it is 2,400 pixels wide and 3,000 pixels high.
  • Then, look at the “Document Size” panel at the lower half of the window. Here, find the image’s width and height in inches, and the “Resolution” setting that yielded these measurements.  Change the resolution from its camera default of 72ppi to a print-ready 300ppi.
  • Don’t be surprised when the your change in resolution also changes numbers in the “Pixel Dimensions” panel up top, but not in the inch dimension for “Document Size” at the bottom of the window.  For example, again with a 7.2mp image, the dimensions will have inflated to 12,500 x 10,000 pixels.
  • Now, go back to the “Pixel Dimensions” panel and change back the pixel measurements to what they were before you changed resolution from 72 to 300ppi. Again with the 7.2mp image example, just change the dimensions back to 2,400 by 3,000 pixels.
  • At the end of the exercise, you’ll have an image file that is essentially unchanged, without any kind of up-scaling or down-sizing, but with “Document Size” settings that are tailored for print reproduction, and that show you its actual size in inches if it is printed out.

At the end of the day though, these resolution settings are arbitrary, and your options for getting your images into fine and faithful hard-copies will always be determined by the pixel count.

Wireless Woes

In Technology, Updates on July 31, 2012 at 9:10 am

Wireless network connections are all about getting a valid IP address. If you get a “cannot connect” warning, it may not be because of a problem logging onto the correct hotspot name with the right password. You may already have connected but your device is not getting a valid IP through the connection.

A typical cause? You had once used your device to share an Internet connection – This often causes your wireless adapter to bind to a given IP such as 192.168.1.1, 192.168.6.1, 192.168.254.1 and so on. And, your device itself is trying to serve up dynamic IP addresses to other clients on the network (meaning your device is acting as a Dynamic Host Control Protocol, or DHCP server). Result is that you do not get the IP address and gateway settings appropriate to the wireless network you are joining. Either your static IP address is colliding with that of the designated router on the wireless network (your IP and router IP are the same), or you are stuck on a different logical network (you’re on 192.168.1.xx while the router is on 192.168.3.xx, for example). And, your device is, in fact, competing with the legitimate server that is supposed to dish out the correct settings.

Solution: Make sure your device is automatically getting its IP address and settings from the wireless network itself, is not still using the ones it needed for sharing an Internet connection, and is not still acting as a DHCP server.

A Port For Every Storm

In Technology, Updates on July 30, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Port 587, remember it. If you’re using POP email on a Globe mobile broadband connection, you’d think they only let you receive but not send it out. Nicht so. Just change your outgoing mail SMTP port to 587, replacing default port 25. For some reason, on some of their sub-nets, they’ve blocked port 25 to subscribers. Must be to curb congestion caused by torrent downloaders. I wouldn’t know a thing about that though.

The Life of Pc

In Society, Technology, Updates on July 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Ye old PC: bought with bonus pay in ’99; first flight Pentium III processor, rated at 450Mhz, been overclocked to 600; started off with 32MB of memory, now has 384; ran Windows 95, 98, NT, and 2000, sidestepped with Linux and Ubuntu, and now purrs along with Windows XP SP2; is now on it’s second power supply; has toasted 3 video cards; has burned through 4 monitors; has been manhandled through 4 house moves; went on thousands of flights, drives and incursions with me; compiled years’ worth of code from me; has been my digital darkroom for thousands of portraits and candid moments; has printed out a small forest worth of reports; is nearly a teenager; is now classroom, library, playground, cinema and Internet intriguer for my kids; and, is definitely not for sale.

Geoffrey’s Windows

In Technology, Updates on July 26, 2012 at 12:35 am

This guy I know–let’s call him Geoffrey–he downloads a Windows installer disc image and burns it onto a CD.

He, Geoffrey, then goes to a surplus store where they display pre-owned, branded PCs and finds one with the Windows product sticker still legible on the casing. He copies the Windows product key and leaves without buying anything.

He, this Geoffrey, then runs the Windows installer CD on his 13 year old clone PC and types in the product key he copied from a 5 year old desktop HP he did not buy.

He, our Geoffrey, activates Windows online and what do you know, he now has a legit copy of XP Home on his home PC.

That’s Geoffrey.

Pulp Education

In Society, Updates on July 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I am of the generation that knows the meaning of “sacre bleu”, “mon ami”, “jawohl” and ‘gott in himmel’ not as beneficiaries of a multi-lingual education but as kids raised on a regular diet of Sgt. Rock, The Unknown Soldier, and Haunted Tank. Also, there was Combat.

On Dolphy’s Passing

In Society, Updates on July 10, 2012 at 9:44 am

The comedy up there just got a hell of a lot better.

(Everything else about him have been said better by my betters.)

Between China And A Hard Place

In Society, Updates on July 6, 2012 at 9:50 am

While some of our countrymen protest any and every sign of U.S. military support, China urges us to act in a manner conducive to peace and stability. The former want us to proudly stand alone, the latter wants us humble enough to sit quietly within the borders they grant.