in English journal poems quotations tech

Ram Dass: Be Here Now – brightened PDF for e-readers

Download brightened version for e-readers (low res 600px pages, I’ll maybe generate higher res sometime later). As far as I know, it’s ok to distribute it, as a dozen other websites already do.

This is a PDF of Ram Dass’ book: Be Here Now. I started reading it and loved it, since it started very, honest according to my experience.

I uploaded it to my ReMarkable e-reader tablet, but it was unreadable because the scan was too dark. This superuser page got me started fixing it with ImageMagick.

My original commands used the JPEG format so if you actually do the below, you’ll likely end up with slightly better quality. If you like, you can share the result with me. :)

mkdir folder1
mkdir folder2
convert -density 600 ram\ dass\ be\ here\ now.pdf  folder1/output-%03d.png

Then, brighten the images.

There’s a problem though: The scanned images, they’re not all the same dimensions, and worse yet, sometimes width is larger than height, and sometimes the other way around.

So what happens is that when converting back to PDF in the next step, ImageMagick decides the rotation of each image on each page based on the width/height ratio of the image. So you end up some pages in portrait orientation and some in landscape. Which sucks. So we -resize all images to roughly the same ballpark size, and then use -extent to enlarge the canvas to make sure all the resulting bitmaps end up at the exact same dimensions.

If we were smarter we could probably avoid resizing altogether and somehow figure out how to make the canvas have the same aspect ratio despite differences in pixel size. Alas, we’re not that smart, and we’re a bit lazy.

It’s good though. So let’s brighten up the … umh, pages:

mogrify  -path folder2 -format png  -fill white   -brightness-contrast 10,60
 -tint 150 -resize 610x630 -extent 610x630 folder1/output-*.png

Finally, convert the images back to PDF and we’re good to go:

convert folder2/output-*.png lighten-ramdass-beherenow.pdf
civil rights in English journal tech

On privacy, safety, openness, and growth

I propose that privacy is key to having any kind of healthy value base in society.

This was inspired by What Happens Next Will Amaze You and by The following companies just betrayed billions of people.

Privacy is not only a question of individuals being smart enough to not share anything too personal online. That was the advice often given in the end of the nineties and the beginning of the 00’s. Instead, the grand scale invasion of privacy through our technology, offends the basis of what it is to be an active, independent member of society in the first place.

I am a big believer in privacy online. I also believe openness is a core value in a functional society. Superficially openness and privacy appear to conflict; in reality, they support one another.


Roughly, the end goal for an individual in society is growing up to be an adult. A responsible, well functioning, well being, free member of society. Not an adult in a patronizing definition, where a biased authority assess your adult-ness. Be it your parents,  your political tribe, or your religion.

Real adulthood is ultimately measured by your independence in making your own decisions – carrying your own responsibility. That is what determines if you are living your life genuinely, as yourself. You define what you are, you are capable of sharing to others what your values are without being discriminated.

As an adult, you are capable of living a life of not dominating nor
subduing/submitting yourself to others. You are capable of genuine
cooperation with equals, who are (just like you) allowed to be flawed
(broken, confused or helpless) – while still being considered equals?

The possibility for both openness and privacy are painting the very same picture in society. The name of that picture is trust.

Openness is defined by being voluntary. (Being open involuntarily just means being spied on.) To be open, to open up to other individuals, we must first feel we are safe to do so – even as we are not perfect.

Safety rises from being able to trust you are not going to be violated.  Learning to trust that you have privacy, respected by the surrounding society, is a foundation for learning to communicate openly, to become empowered members of society.

Let’s build a society where becoming an adult remains possible.

in English journal tech

GTD app review: ThinkingRock, Tracks, Google Notebook, Toodledo, Checkvist

I have been through several apps for Getting Things Done (excellent Google Talks presentation video). ThinkingRock, Tracks, Google Notebook, Toodledo, Checkvist each had their times during the last five to six years. And, perhaps typical for a usability practitioner, I tend to have strong opinions about their user interfaces.

ThinkingRock home screen – thanks Dragos Roua for the screenshot.

in English tech

Ultimate NucleusCMS to any blog migration (here, WordPress)

This is not based on migrating the database, but on keeping both systems, Nucleus and the new blogging software working, and the old one’s URLs intact (using some simple .htaccess magic) while adding the new one’s urls.

The downside is that when Nucleus has security holes fixed, you have to keep upgrading it, as well as the new one. This could be solvable by making a static mirror of the nucleus site using, say, wget. Then you could delete the old nucleus installation and just upload the static files in their place – but you would not have the posts in any semantically rich format any more – unless, of course, you backed up the old database before doing this.

in English tech

Setting up DansGuardian on a single home PC running Ubuntu

I am available for hire! Usability evaluation and testing, software development, Moodle development. See portfolio

Please note: there are newer howtos at ubuntu forums (howto1, howto2). These are probably more thoroughly tested than mine is. Thanks.

Dansguardian (nowadays E2Guardian; see commercial options) is efficient, even mostly out-of-the-box web content filtering to protect from the filth flowing on the internet. On Ubuntu Linux (which rocks), do:

in Finnish päiväkirja tech

Edullisia passikuvia nettikuvapalveluista – digikameraa ja kuvankäsittelyohjelmaa käyttäen

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed
under a Creative Commons License

Huom! Suomessa on 21.8.2006 siirrytty uusiin passikuvavaatimuksiin, vaikeuttaen homman hoitamista kotioloissa. Kamera-lehti: Passikuvalle uudet vaatimukset (PDF, 1,42 Mt), Poliisi: valokuvaohje