Useful tool for runners, hikers, and bicyclists

There is a feature of Google Maps, which is not enabled by default, called Distance Measurement Tool.  First it has to be enabled as per these instructions.  Then one clicks on points on the map to create the route for calculating the distance.  Here’s a useful video showing how it works:

I don’t know how many times I wanted to do this an couldn’t.  Now I can!

Midi-chlorian therapy

I think I’ve made a couple posts here in the past about how the realm of microorganisms in the body, in particular things like intenstinal flora, are like this other, undiscovered realm which may be far more powerful that we know or think.

I think I wrote about how someone making a sloppy kiss can transmit candida to another person, and how that in effect can be like an attack.  Its like an immune war between people.  There’s this whole realm of how there are these secret immune wars going on between people at the relationship level, familial, societal, and even perhaps planetary levels.  There could be collective dynamics to these immune wars, these secret midi-chlorian wars being fought through humans as their mostly unwitting agents.

I think I speculated on how it could be possible that in fact it is the flora inside the bodies of humans which in certain ways directs their lives, or are responsible for fundamental impulses which affect or direct human existence.

With the past year it has been established that there are at least three basic “enterotypes” within humans – three biologically distinct types of floral ecosystems found within humans.  Some people therefore are more compatible based on their enterotype.

Now today there is an article about research showing how a process of gut microbiota transplantation can possibly prevent diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

In other words, just by transplanting midi-chlorians from one person to another it may be possible to prevent serious diseases.

FREE online sheet music

IMSLP Petrucci Music Library is a comprehensive online source of music scores.  I just got violin parts for a Bach cantata and a mass.  Full scores are available as well as separate parts for individual instruments.  I also saw a copy of Bach’s handwritten manuscript for a violin part to a mass.  This was a scan of a manuscript in a library in Germany.

Documents all seem to be in PDF format which is excellent since they can be imported into MobileSheets in Android and displayed on a Galaxy Tab 10.1.  It might not be the best display to stick on a music stand and read but it works!  It really works!

What this means is that classical music scores can now be easily obtained for free and viewed with an electronic viewer instead of having to need physical copies of sheet music.  You can put a tablet device on a music stand just as you would any book of music and play away (obviously make sure you don’t bump the stand and cause the tablet to fall)!

Ok, this actually does have some limitations over paper scores.  In fact I seem to not be able to make notations and markings in the scores which is a big problem.  MobileSheets appears to have some kind of support for this though so perhaps there’s just something more needed to do this.

One feature of MobileSheets which is really useful – you can set the default zoom level for an entire score.  So if a score is displaying too small you can zoom until it fits exactly in the entire screen and that setting will stay the same for all pages in the score.


Ultra-cool Android hack

This hack is so cool I lost sleep because of it.  Warning, do not do this hack late in the evening.

Basically I wanted to be able to watch Korean tv on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 yet for some reason the app I needed to watch this one channel is not available in the USA and Japan.

But then I found this app called Market Unlocker which makes Android Market (now actually called Google Play) think that you are in a different country.  You can select which country from a list.  The “pro” version of the app is only $2.07 and well worth it.  It does require that your device is rooted.  I posted on here a while ago about how to do this on a Verizon Galaxy Tab and its in fact really easy.

After changing to another country I was able to install the app for Korean tv.  Yaay.  There’s actually a PC app for the Korean tv as well and I don’t mind the $6 monthly fee to pay the actors and staff of these dramas and other shows.

With Market Unlocker it was cool to see what different apps are available for example in Switzerland, Britain, France, Korea, etc.  Really cool.

I actually found another app in the Swiss market called “TV air“.  Its basically a whole bunch of air broadcast tv stations that would be available if you lived in Switzerland.  Since I speak German this would be really cool.

But unfortunately the app is able to tell if you are not in Switzerland based on your IP address and will not let you see the channels “aus rechtlichen Grunden” (for legal reasons).  Mist (crap)!

In fact if one were really determined one could hack around it by using what is called a proxy.  But to have a decent working proxy that could mask your IP so it looked like you were in Switzerland you would have to pay for the service.  Worse than that, because usually the only people who do things like that are those trying to hide from authorities for doing something weird, it made me feel uncomfortable.

Perhaps there is some more up-front way to do it that I will discover down the road.  It would be really cool to watch Swiss tv on my Galaxy Tab.

E-mail needs to be extended

To put it succinctly, the e-mail standard needs to be extended to incorporate other aspects of personal data management.  End of story.

But I will elaborate a little bit.  But I will not get too much into the reasons why this has to happen and why this solution is the one that needs to happen (please see preceeding post.)

Right now the primary protocols for the transmission, archival, and retreival of e-mail messages are IMAP, POP3, and SMTP.  SMTP is a message routing protocol designed to make sure that mail gets from an origin to a destination.  It takes into account various things related to aspects of routing of messages, which are transparent to sender and receiver but which those who operate backend systems need to be aware of.

IMAP and POP3 are related to basically archival and retreival.  There are also backend aspects related to these functions which are transparent to sender and receiver.  IMAP is the most advanced system and essentially defines a cloud-based information storage technology.

These systems need to be augmented.  Since they already handle personal information transmission, storage, and retreival augmenting them to support even further forms of personal information is actually not that big of a deal.  Basically there are semantic differences between the data of a personal calendar and e-mail messages, or contact data.

The above mentioned protocols are actually implemented in real-life via daemons.  Nearly all of the most important daemons which actually handle these activities are Open Source projects.  Postfix, Sendmail, Exim, Courier are some of the most important ones.

Right now when a person gets an ISP account – for an average person this usually means shared hosting on a Linux or BSD server – part of what they pay for is to use the above-daemons to process their personal information.

What a great way to spend one’s money wisely – not getting exploited by some huge, government-bribing company which is trying to take over the world and erode everyone’s rights – but by a company which works to maintain a well-functioning backend to serve clients, using Open Source technology to its fullest.

What another great way to spend money, to support developers who work on developing this backend technology which spreads into educational institutions and developmental activities which encourage sharing and interchange of knowledge, mentoring, best practices, open-standards, etc.

How significantly different this is than going the way of Google, Apple, or Facebook and being essentially a slave.  Because people want “free” this or “free” that – they want “free” e-mail, “free” calendering, or “free” networking on their $600 phone which they pay $100/month for wireless service for, they are willing to sell themselves out and become slaves.

People need to start thinking right and there needs to be guidance occuring at the right levels to make sure that things get going on the right tracks, not the wrong ones as they currently are.

Personal Information Logos: Headed in the Wrong Direction

Things are seriously headed in the wrong direction in terms of Personal Information Logos.  I use the term “logos” to denote data information, retreival, archival, interchange, communication, formats, indexing, and more.  These are all common personal information activities/interactions/comportments which people now engage in as regular matters of course.

Big tech companies are bribing our government and the situation is getting grim.  We are now losing substantial ground in terms of freedom and power.  Losing.  Yes, even with all the gazillions of dollars being invested and spent, and all the resources and thousands of companies and developments and products…

Look at this simple fact:  You maintain a list of contacts.  That list is your personal information.  There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that anyone should need to nor be forced to use any proprietary system controlled by any one company or other entity in order to store and retreive their personal contacts.

Yet today doing so outside of having a Gmail or Apple account is very rare.  The scary thing is the extent to which its all being integrated into the devices.  They are being built so that one has to have these non-free, proprietary, privately-controlled accounts to manage their personal information.  This is a huge no-no and should be glaringly conspicuous.  The way these gadget manufacturers – and I mean phones, tablets, computers, everything have it fixed is that you need to use either Apple or Gmail.  Sorry to Google in this argument.  It seems that one of Google’s founders in fact is very concerned about similar things (how they reconcile with their company’s operations I seriously wonder sometimes).

Just to be able to view a calendar or contacts on my desktop, phone, and tablet device I am forced to use one of these accounts.  This is fundamentally wrong.  A new, open standard must be developed and manufacturers must be forced to support it in all their devices.  Calendaring and contact management should be as open as e-mail currently is.  People who claim that e-mail will die out are extremely misguided and probably do not even comprehend how the basic protocols which support e-mail work.

We are seriously headed on the wrong track and things need to change immediately.  It should be the case – it should be built into standard protocols – that not only are systems like e-mail capable of being operated completely independently of any one provider, but so should contact management and calendaring technology.  What this means is that every device that is manufactured should be required to support the open standard which accesses open systems which are non-proprietary.  In the past companies would not have thought of not offering compatibility, the ability to interface with some standard for the sake of personal information activities, yet this is changing drastically as they learn to corner markets and captivate audiences.  Open access has to be forced onto vendors, gadget manufacturers, everything, because of how entrenched things have become now.

Perhaps the specifications which define e-mail standards need to now be expanded to incorporate calendaring and contacts.  It needs to be integrated into the protocol and it should be possible for any server operated by any person to run standardized, free software capable of conducting essential personal information logos functions.

Right now companies are keen to provide all these glittery, whizzbang features on all these devices, yet there’s a grave problem at hand in terms of personal information.  The most basic functions that one can think of for personal technology devices – keeping a list of contact information or calendar events – are things that should clearly be openly supported and should be the foundation level at the base of all this technology.  Yet while there exist 3D whizbang graphics associated with games and entertainment, the core is essentially rotten.

Many of the features related to basic personal information are cludgy or don’t work.  Calendars are difficult to synchronize.  Sometimes synchronization does not work and data is lost – something that is completely inexcusable given the state of current technology and amount of resources invested in other things.  Clearly the priorities are upon keeping people hooked on different gadgets and types of entertainment while our basic freedoms of technology and the basic functions of personal information management laungish.

As a final comment, if anyone wants to see the effects in the real world of the same kind of narrow-minded, gold-digging mentality which is driving the tech industry today, one need go no further than along the Yuba river to see the scars left from the hydraulic mining of the gold-rush days.

Now the scars being created are not so apparent, but I fear they are even more drastic and severe.

Harmonic Analysis and Figured Bass with Finale 2011

Recently started studying music theory at a community college.  As a classically-trained musician the class fills in so many pieces.  For years I would play classical pieces and sort of feel what was going on.  Based on intuition, common sense, and deduction I sort of knew what was happening behind the scenes, or at least knew that, behind the scenes, certain things were going on.  Now I’m actually studying those things in detail and its very rewarding.

Mostly all of our work is done by pen (actually pencil) and paper, but I’ve been interested in using what is considered one of the top music notation software applications, Finale, to try to work with scores.  I suppose “daunting” begins to describe using an application like it.  But actually I’ve found that just knowing how to do several key things makes a big difference.

One major aspect of what we’re doing in class is analyzing music, determining what chords a work comprises.  Since chords can be inverted, we also need to take note of what type of inversion each chord is.

Many of our exercises require us to mark the symbols for chords beneath notes along with figured bass symbols.

I was able to obtain a copy of Finale 2011 however as far as I could tell it lacks the ability to create these notations.  On the Finale website the makers of the program tout that the new version 2012 has a new font, Finale Numerics font, which is designed for such notation.

When I came across the above page I basically began salivating.  The two links off that page for harmonic analysis and figured bass are exactly what we’re doing in class!

I then began researching this.  Someone in a forum suggested finding a way to get a copy of the Finale Numerics font and simply copy it onto a system running Finale 2011.  Easier said than done, until I found a trick:

Anyone can download and install Finale Notepad which is basically a viewer which can view scores created with Finale.  The trick is to install it and then (under Windows) go to Settings -> Control Panel -> Fonts and look for “Finale Numerics Regular” in the list of fonts.  Right-click on it and select “Copy”.

Now, on any system you have Finale 2011 installed on, copy that file, right-click on it and select “Install”.

Voila!  You now have the Finale Numeric font available for harmonic analysis and figured bass notation with Finale 2011.

For convenience’ sake here is the actual font.  (File has been zipped for security reasons.  You will need to unzip it with 7-zip before installing it.)

Very useful astronomical calendar

Mozilla Lightning is a calendar plugin for Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail client.  With Lightning it is easy to add network-based calendars very easily.  this calendar has important astronomical dates and is very useful:

I’ve seen other calendars for astronomical dates however they had problems.  One main problem is that they don’t have the exact times for major astronomical events, such as solstices and equinoxes.  Even worse, with some the actual date of astronomical events can be wrong because if the time of the event does not get converted from Universal Coordinated Time to your local timezone, it can then show up on the wrong day.

But this calendar listed above works perfectly, lists equinox and solstice events with the correctly converted local times and dates, as well as Mercury retrograde dates and solar eclipses.

Shopping bag resource consumption comparision

Article the BBC had about plastic bags.  Reusing the type of plastic bags which are now banned in many places in fact is far less resource consumptive than alternative types of bags like paper or cotton.

But the bags are getting banned because apparently most people don’t reuse them and also apparently large amounts of them end up getting littered.  Its inconceivable to me how anyone could litter a plastic bag.  Maybe the real problem is too many humans?

Hexagonally-based patterns of phosphorylated tubulins in microtubules

This is one of those articles about a research breakthrough which kind of just goes by unnoticed for the most part, yet its implications are profound:

Scientists Claim Brain Memory Code Cracked

In an article in the March 8 issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology, physicists Travis Craddock and Jack Tuszynski of the University of Alberta, and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff of the University of Arizona demonstrate a plausible mechanism for encoding synaptic memory in microtubules, major components of the structural cytoskeleton within neurons.

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