I'm a nerd, but I Have a Cheap Phone
I just got a new phone because my old one disappeared. I got a Samsung Star, which is not a smartphone, but what they call a featurephone, which seems to mean "it does a lot of things but is cheap, can only be coded in Java and doesn't run android".
Here's some of the features of this baby:
Fake GPS (gives you a 400 meters radius of your location. Good enough for me in the city)
Webkit-based browser that works surprisingly well (it comes with the LGPL as a document and you can't delete it :-)
A 2GB micro-SD card
3.2MP camera (takes video at 320x240).
The camera can take decent photos in good conditions:
And it even has some "advanced" features (by which I mean: things my cheap dedicated camera doesn't do), like smile shutter and panoramic shots:
Other that that... well, it's a phone, what can I say. It was "cheap", which means "it costs more than I want to pay for it, but less than the alternatives".
So, how am I taking advantage of it...
First: I have not had a decent pocket-sized ebook reader since my last Clie died. So, I looked for software to do that.
It turns out that the world of Midlets, as feature phone apps are often called, is aweird place, where things are quite hard to find for the uninitiated.
There is a sort of "app shop" at http://getjar.com but it's by no means comprehensive, and often things are quite hard to find.
After lots of looking, I found a good (I may even say very good) program called Foliant. Here's their home page, russian only ... it's weird, my favourite Palm ebook reader, Palm Fiction also has a russian-only site!
Of course, the fonts sucked (way too large) but it turns out you can convert TTF fonts using this tool so I am now back to the lovely Droid Sans I am used to.
Another nice thing about the new phone is that it can actually play media (yes, my previous phone was so crappy it didn't even play mp3). But... not every kind of media. For audio, just use mp3. For video... it's a bit more complicated.
Here's the short version:
Convert using HandBrake, ffmpeg MP4 video, AAC audio.
Always use the .mp4 extension, the phone is not smart enough to know what a .m4v is.
Don't make the video larger than 320x240.
Number 3 is a problem. For example, you may have a video in a wide screen format, like 640x272, which is a 2.35:1 ratio.
The obvious thing is to cap the width to 320, and that would give you a 320x136 video.
Well, that's wrong. What you should do is find the right height, keeping aspect ratio, for a 400px width. In this case, that would be a 400x170.
But you can't use a 400x170 video! which is why you will use 320x170, and on playback tell the phone to stretch it and ignore aspect ratio. And voila, 400x170 and the correct aspect ratio.
The difference? 320x130 has only 41600 pixels, while 320*170 has 54400, which means you get a 30% better picture.
Yes, it's tiny (3 inches) but it looks pretty sharp, and depending on the kind of material you are watching, it works.
UPDATE: Foliant is better than I thought, once you get the Samsung-specific version. It's fullscreen (no silly soft buttons) and the screen rotates automatically using the accelerometer. It's a pleasure to use, and the UI is very nice.
Spain is much bigger than you think!
On the news today (the newspaper is Tiempo Argentino, sorry about the unreadable photo):￼
It says "In Spain it amounts to less than 340 thousand customers a month, or 0.006% of the total".
This is talking about cellphone users. Now, how many cell phone users are there in Spain?
According to this newspaper, 340000 are 0.006% of the total, so... 5 666 666 667 (aprox.), therefore, Spain has roughly one cell phone for each man, woman and child in the world.
Things I learned publishing a magazine
Today at 00:00:00 GMT-3 PET: Python entre todos was indeed launched, in time (arbitrary but forced) and in budget ($0).
So, what did I learn? I learned a lot!
The only thing you need to publish an e-mag is time and content.
Time can be converted into content, but if you write everything yourself it's a blog, not a magazine. Luckily, PET found great contributors.
If you want utilitarian design, rst2pdf can do the job
In fact, it can do it better than other tools in some ways
I can push a fixed version of the PDFs in 5 minutes for all layouts. How much would it take me using Scribus or other DTP? In a magazine where correctness matters, that's a big deal.
TOCs are better than in most amateur PDF magazines I've seen. The in-content-TOC is clickable, and the PDF TOC is perfect.
Page numbers in the PDF TOC make sense (no, the cover is not page 1)
I am producing 6 PDF versions: A4(bw, colour), A5(bw,colour), Booklet(bw, colour) and I could add any other I want in a few minutes.
I learned about PDF imposition!
Let's explain the last one:
Suppose you want to print a small booklet, and you have 32 pages of content. How do you do that?
The easiest way is to print it 2-up double-sided in A4 paper so that you can stack the pages, fold them down the middle, staple them, and get a nice A5 booklet.
The problem is that the page ordering is hard to get right. For example, for a 4-page booklet, you need to print one A4 page with pages 4-1 on one side and 2-3 on the other. For an 8 page booklet it's 8-1,2-7,3-6,4-5.
Lucklily there's a way to get this done automatically:
1. Install podofo 3. Get booklet-A4.plan (see below) 2. Run this:
podofoimpose my-A5-pages.pdf my-booklet.pdf booklet-A4.plan lua
booklet-A4.plan is this:
---Generic Booklet (A4) --- ---It is said generic as it will try to determine ---automatically how to fit the booklet onto A4 ---paper sheets, scaling pages if necessary. ---it is well suited for office documents for ---which you do not care too much about resulting ---imposition artefacts since it manages to save ---paper! --- -- print("Booklet") -- We output an A4 booklet PageWidth = 595.27559 PageHeight = 841.88976 print("PageCount",PageCount) -- We assume that H > W -- Argh, we now can do better since we have "if" ;-) -- Scale = PageHeight / (2*SourceWidth) if(SourceWidth <= SourceHeight) then -- If you A5 pages are not really A5, uncomment the next line -- Scale = PageHeight / (2*SourceWidth) Scale = 1 rot = 90 xof = SourceHeight yofRA = 0 yofRB = SourceWidth yofVA = 0 yofVB = SourceWidth else -- If you A5 pages are not really A5, uncomment the next line -- Scale = PageHeight / (2*SourceHeight) Scale = 1 rot = 0 xof = 0; yofRA = 0 yofRB = SourceHeight yofVA = SourceHeight yofVB = 0 end do rest = PageCount % 4 totp = PageCount if rest ~= 0 then totp = totp + ( 4 - rest) end inc = 0 count = 0 imax = totp/4 while count < imax do -- We assume that podofoimpose will discard invalid records -- such as those with source page greater than PageCount -- print(totp, inc, rot, xof,yofRA, yofRA, yofVA, yofVB) -- Recto PushRecord(totp - inc , inc + 1 , rot, xof , yofRA) PushRecord(inc + 1 , inc + 1 , rot, xof , yofRB) -- Verso PushRecord(inc + 2 , inc + 2 , rot, xof , yofVA) PushRecord(totp-(inc + 1) , inc + 2 , rot, xof, yofVB) count = count + 1 inc = inc + 2 end end
That code is taken from here: http://www.oep-h.com/impose/
And voilá, you get a scrambled PDF with the pages in exactly the right order (and empty pages added as needed).
Come see me in Bahía Blanca next weekend!
I will be speaking at the Jornadas del Sur in Bahía Blanca this weekend (August 14/15 and 16).
For a change, I will not be giving my old tired talks, but a brand new one, called "The Amateur", and probably a lightning talk or something else.
The usual offer of free beer will not be possible this year, so: If you mention this blog in the QA session, you get... free candy!
After that, I will be speaking at FM La Tribu on saturday August 21st in the Charlas Abiertas 2010 where I will be speaking about a lot of things between virtualenv and nose and tox and other testing-related topics.