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URLs "p1" 20190721 – 72 resources

I am an avid WWW surfer, with hundreds of websites visited each month, sometimes daily. I bookmark them all, at least for logging purposes. These posts having the "urls" category, capture what was on my browser on a specific date. I hope you enjoy some of these shared resources.


Listening to Dan Misha Goldman – "Champion of the Afterworld"

For some reason, music from Canada has been coming my way. This Toronto creator performs mostly slow compositions, with eventual lyrics. “Champion of the Afterworld” is an album labeled as “folk”, but I am not sure about that classification.
“Folk music” should be closer to traditional songs, passed from one generation to the next. These tracks do not feel traditional. To me, they feel innovative! They paint audio landscapes, sometimes with no lyrics at all (as in “Corners Reprise”), or they chant beyond-superficial phrases. Tracks like “Pipo Romero”, featuring a classical guitar, might justify the “folk” label; still, the blending of it all is different and very pleasurable!

Here is the corresponding Spotify playlist:

Listening to Mercedes Peón – Deixaas

This album in an outlier in my music library. To my preferences, vocals come in second place, after instrumentals, yet all tracks here are sung in Spanish. Moreover the featured voice(s) go beyond melodically reproducing the lyrics, and often enter “performance” territory. Spanish music is also underrepresented in my collection.

Against odds, “Deixass” landed on my desk, got my attention, and I am enjoying it. This album feels new and different, except between some of its own tracks: periodically, the listener will perceive the repetition of its original musical constructs.

Here is the corresponding Spotify playlist.

Making use of MS LifeCam

I cannot get my old Microsoft LifeCam camera to work with any other program, other than Microsoft’s own and web browsers. I usually work my USB cams via iSpy, but although it once recognized the camera, and still does, something is wrong and it does not display its video or still picture, so I am stuck with MS’s corresponding software.

Unfortunately, the original software does not allow configuring where to save videos and pictures. It always saves them to

<system drive:>\Users\<user name>\Pictures

So, for user “xpto”, and system at drive C:, it always saves to

C:\Users\xpto\Pictures

I would prefer to save elsewhere, so I replaced the “Pictures” folder with a symbolic link to a different drive.

Using the command line, here is my input and the system’s output.

C:
C:\Users\admin>cd C:\Users\admin\Pictures

C:\Users\admin\Pictures>rd "LifeCam Files"

C:\Users\admin\Pictures>mklink /D "LifeCam Files" i:\av3\ms_lifecam
symbolic link created for LifeCam Files <<===>> i:\av3\ms_lifecam

Intro to Digital Humanities, day 2

In my second day studying “Digital Humanities” (DH), I watched two videos and answered two related questions.

#1 – About computational methods in DH

The student is asked to watch this:

Then respond to “How would you describe computational methods applied to humanities research? Can you imagine applying computational methods to your own work in the humanities? How do Jeffrey Schnapp’s comments change or challenge your thinking about Digital Humanities?”

My contribution was:
The computational methods applied to humanities research will depend not only on what the research subject is, but also on a custom research path, and other practical factors, namely resources available (including time). In this sense, the computational methods in the DH will vary as they would in other fields: they adapt or are adapted to the task, in a context that includes the researchers’ own preferences.

In the video, Jeffrey Schnapp presents one perspective, where researchers in DH tend to work either on patterns identification, or on exceptions that may break the monotony. Schnapp seemed to focus his comments on the differences, but as he spoke, he also implicitly hinted the similarities: one cannot point exceptions without a general case.

What I see as distinctive in DH research is the higher probability of the need for a multidisciplinary approach to problems.
Human behavior and human expression, in any form, can eventually be modelled as computational data and logic, and even one day be automatically researched (!) with Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). If that day is to arrive, the A.I. must learn from what I perceive as an infinite pool of different possible questions, different desired visualizations, different sensibilities, different audiences in need of answers, etc. Handling this beautiful diversity may be a strong and appealing characteristic of DH research.

#2 – About what is DH?

The student is asked to watch this:

Then respond to ” In what you’ve seen so far, how do these examples fit with your own work and your own professional interests? What opportunities can you identify that you might like to explore further or learn more about?”

My contribution was:
I enjoy writing, including writing computer software. For years, I felt computers demanded more than what they gave me back; hence, I gained an interested in task automation, including automatic file organization, and several forms of automatic Internet activities. I think that part of my software developer experience can be helpful in DH research; for example in ingesting and processing data from different sources.
But there is a very significant shift going on, towards the use of certain Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and Machine Learning (M.L.) frameworks, for many potentially DH related tasks.
The effectiveness of that AI/ML approach can be stellar; yet it may come with a “freedom” and “pleasure” cost. Researchers have to abstract ever-greater layers of logic: at this stage, many researchers become mere users of processes that they do not understand, and do not have to, since their focus is the “results”.
In my view, there is this “abstraction frontier” that can be set to a critical level; once the line is crossed, one risks paying a “motivational” and “pleasure” price, factors once too many times not acknowledged as important to do sustainable research.
Suzanne Blier mentions “fun” in the video. Racha Kirakosian mentions “you don’t have to be an expert in everything”, hinting this abstraction now required to handle different and complex computational tools.
Long story short: I would probably have more fun in using digital tools totally developed by myself, but that has become impossible. I should be grateful if I can understand a required minimum to make effective use of what tools are available.

#3 – I also commented on colleague’s (Alex Kashkine) post:

Yes, to me, that also seems significant in DH. Yet, I think DH goes beyond digitalization, statistics, and open access for collaborative work. Tools can produce new data, not directly available in the input documents. For example, one day I watched a NHK Japan documentary about how researchers, after having trained software to reckon ancient calligraphy, were able to “complete” poorly preserved scripts and extract full text from originals with many missing bits. This would be an example based on tangible historical evidence, made “intangible” and subject to a digital interpretation process.
In other applications, totally new data can be created.



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Technical Details

24H of plant growth in 60 seconds (2019-07-19)

Here is another ridiculous project of mine.
I bought a starter hydroponics kit and decided to track the plants’ growth.
The kit holds six plant pods, the set immersed in 2.1 liters of water, with two teaspoons of liquid plant food (to be administered every 2 weeks). Each pod is a simple plastic structure holding an argil substrate with the plant seeds. The substrate sucks the water, the water reaches the seeds, hopefully the seeds grow, a plant appears and its roots will feed by drinking the water with nutrients.

To track the spectacular growth of the plants, I bought a small POE (Power Over Ethernet) Chinese camera. The camera arrived one week too late, but is the perfect small size. It delivers great video, but poor time-lapse captures. The poor time-lapse results are due to the effect of the artificial sun light in the camera sensor. The effect is inoffensive in real time video, but becomes obvious on interval snapshots, because the lights and/or the sensor itself are/is irregular in radiation distribution/capture, hence some strips will appear in the videos.

These plants are growing on an 18 hours cycle, meaning they get 18 hours of artificial sun light and 6 hours of whatever natural light I have in the kitchen.

One of the reasons I embarked on this project was to show my kids how kinetic plants are. They move a lot! I intend to regularly publish 24 hours of plant growth footage, smashed in less than 1 minute.
The stripes on video are annoying, I know. Moreover, the video may feature kids’ hands playing with the plants :), or adults’ hands cutting off leaves for cuisine purposes!

URLs "p1" 20190719 – 82 resources

I am an avid WWW surfer, with hundreds of websites visited each month, sometimes daily. I bookmark them all, at least for logging purposes. These posts having the "urls" category, capture what was on my browser on a specific date. I hope you enjoy some of these shared resources.


Fix Ubuntu upgrade v16 to v18

I tried to update Ubuntu v16 to v18 in VMWare Workstation, only to be stuck at the “login” screen. In fact, there was no chance for login, because the computer was not displaying the means to do so. Technically, the machine was responding, because it was still somewhat moving the pointer on mouse moves, but clicking and using the keyboard produced no useful feedback.

I managed to salvage Ubuntu v18, but at one point, I was very close to revert to a previous snapshot.
All credit for the salvage goes to this resource:
https://askubuntu.com/questions/1149957/unable-to-login-to-account-in-ubuntu-18-04-vmware-workstation-15-after-update

and to an answer by user
Caleb McKay

Basically, do as follows:

  1. boot Ubuntu in recovery mode
  2. drop to root shell prompt
  3. edit GDM3’s configuration by entering the command
    sudo nano /etc/gdm3/custom.conf
  4. while editing, just change
    #WaylandEnable=false
    To
    WaylandEnable=false
  5. save your edit (CTRL^O followed by CTRL^X)
  6. restart the machine

In my case, this solution worked: Ubuntu v18 booted without further issues.



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Technical Details

Listening to Atsuko Chiba – "Trace"

To me “Atsuko Chiba” sounds like a Japanese band name, but no. According to their bio at Spotify they are from Montreal (Canada?). That is irrelevant. What is relevant is that I am enjoying their music. As usual, I am no good with labels.

Oddly, this album remembers me Diego Trip (see https://arturmarques.com/wp/2019/07/07/listening-to-diego-trip-al-espacio/): the same blend of old and new, less lyrics, less predictable.