Obama’s Missing Backbone

Barack, when someone accuses you of being Muslim, and catches you in non-Western garb. Why don’t you call out their racism and bigotry, instead of hiding behind your family bible? After the embarrassment we had in the last 8 years, I would hope the next leader of the free world could call out hate and xenophobia when she/he sees it.

For the last year I have been patiently waiting for the presidential candidates to be more eloquent about their mid-east peace policy, and to abandon the empty AIPAC rhetoric that every presidential hopeful must adopt. The truth of the matter is that up until now, their amorphism on the subject has been unchallenged by the media or their rivals. No more!

Ralph joined the race, and hopefully will help bring the debate up a notch. In the first few minutes of his presidential bid, Nader managed to challange Obama’s mid-east stance.

I don’t have much hope that Nader will be our next president, but I am hopeful that he will help keep the Democrat candidate honest, or at least make the hypocrisies clear. Ralph, I’m glad you are in my neighborhood.

Obama’s Missing Backbone

X Marks The Spot

This weekend I spent some extra time in front of the computer. I was itching to get some kind of geotagging support into F-Spot. It was a fun ride, I got to relearn C# and use Monodevelop. Both of which are swell, it is a real plush experience. And Stetic is neat.

Screenshot of geotag extension

Anyway, this extension allows you to take a GPS track file, and correlate it with photos using the EXIF timestamp. The result is a collection of automatically geotagged photos. You could see my start of a geotag collection here.

You could get this work in progress with SVN:

svn co http://monotonous.org/geotag/geotag

To do:
– Tag multiple versions, now only the default version gets tagged (maybe
that is enough?).
– Deal with RAW. I didn’t even test this, or for that matter anything
non-jpeg.
– Allow timestamp adjustments in the dialog. My Canon digital rebel does
not provide a way to synchronize the clock very well, so the timestamp
will never be very accurate (I heard you could do that in Nikon, but
don’t get me started!).

Far future:
– Include a map widget. Unless you are a dork like me walking around
with a GPS logger, this extension is useless. A map widget will allow
people to review the coordinate info, and easily adjust it. I could
personally live without the map now, because I upload pics to flickr,
and it does the pretty map bit for me.

X Marks The Spot

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A long awaited feature has finally landed in Orca’s beta. We now support grade 2 braille.

If you never heard of contracted braille, or grade 2 braille, just think of the sort of shorthand tricks that teenagers use today when they text message each other, “you are great” turns into “u r gr8”. In contracted braille it would be “y >e grt”.

Unlike text messaging, grade 2 braille did not come about because of text input laziness, it came to be generations ago for reducing space and increasing reading speeds. Of course today, in the age of refreshable braille displays, the space concern is less important. Nonetheless, horizontal scrolling is reduced when using a 40 cell braille display, making the Orca experience that much smoother.

Translating a written language in to grade 2 braille correctly is a challenging problem. There are many rules that go into the process of translating a language in to it’s contracted form. Luckily we had a shared library from John Boyer called liblouis. John has been extremely helpful in helping us roll this release out using his library. And has been accommodating to are nutty release schedule.

A special thanks also to Mike for dealing with my braille ignorance, and to Will, who patiently reviewed my shoddy patch (I promise to do more pylint runs in the future).

And to all you users, abusers, and testers out there. We need your input on this stuff. Thanks in advance for that. If there are a non-English braille readers out there I would especially like to get in touch so we could iron out any localization kinks.

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Short Days and Long Nights

I was the fortunate winner of two special things in the last local JVP benefit auction: Knitting lessons from Wendy, and monthly music mixes from Mike. Although I am an eager learner, I thought crafty Terah might enjoy knitting lessons a lot. So Wendy is teaching Terah to knit. I am closely watching the progress as the stitches are straightening out.

Album Cover

Mike has put his whole heart in to making personal monthly music mixes for me. The first one, January: Short Days and Long Nights, arrived in the mail a week ago. It has been a joy to listen to, I have it mostly on constant loop. Mike put together a diverse collection of music with subtle hints of the disc’s theme. I put together an internet radio station that plays the mix in a loop for all you out there to enjoy.

You could start listening here.

Short Days and Long Nights