Jun. 22nd, 2017

alexpgp: (Default)
Recently, I've started getting emails from Academia.edu, notifying me that, for example, "31 recently uploaded papers" mention my name, or that 5 people viewed an article I wrote on "Optimization in C" back in the early 90s.

All well and good, I suppose.

And I can apparently log into the site, as well. But if I want to know more—say, the titles of those papers where my name is mentioned—the site requires me to upgrade to their premium level of service, at a cost of $8.25 per month, billed annually, i.e., $100 up front.

This amount may not be an obstacle for professional academics, and I suppose that giving free access to academics whose papers are accessible through the site would result in a fairly small pool of paying customers, but I also can't help but think that my content (that article, for example) is helping draw people to the site, and feel a tinge of resentment at not being able to at least see, for example, the titles of the papers where I am supposedly mentioned.


I suppose I shall have to blacklist the site's email, just so I don't experience that small jolt of disappointment whenever they deign to tell me that folks out there—small as that audience may be—are interested in work done in an earlier career.

alexpgp: (Default)
I must confess to "sidewalk diving" from time to time, when items being disposed of appear to still be serviceable, as was the case with a file cabinet my neighbor across the street put out for pickup a couple of days ago. The only defect I could see was that the bottom drawer was ajar and the lock was in the locked position, preventing the drawer from closing completely.

I thought to myself, "What a great opportunity to put all that time I had devoted to lock picking to good use." In the end, I think the lock gave way simply because there was nothing else it could do when faced with the Irresistible Force that was the little nail file jigger-do that folds into a standard set of nail clippers.

The cabinet now effectively cannot be locked, but I don't need it to lock—I need it to cabinet!

alexpgp: (Default)
My client sends me a huge (50 MB) Word file that frankly, can only be transmitted using exceptional means (i.e., Dropbox, Skype) because few, if any, email systems will allow attachments of such size. My task is not to translate the monster, but to reduce the size of the file.

My first step involved doing a search-and-replace on the graphics, searching for ^g and replacing with nothing. The resulting file was less than 2 MB in size, so it's a safe bet that reducing the size of the graphics (in the sense of data volume, as opposed to display dimensions) is called for.

I did not quite write a macro to do this, but I think one could be written with little trouble. The general algorithm would be:
  1. Make sure ImageMagick is installed with the legacy convert option enabled.
  2. In Word, find the next graphic
  3. Cut the graphic to the clipboard.
  4. From a DOS command line, in a known directory (say, C:\temp) run the command convert clipboard:myimage image.png.
  5. In Word, click on Insert|Pictures, navigate to the known directory from step 4 (this only needs to be done the first time), select image.png and click on Insert.
  6. Unless all of the graphics have been replaced, go to step 2 and repeat the subsequent steps.

The final product was a hair over 6 MB in size, which is still large enough to make some email systems gag, but completely usable elsewhere.



alexpgp: (Default)

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