vrijdag 13 mei 2016

Hotline HTML

In my post No Panic you could already read that Foreign and Domestic Politics of Japan and I don't quite have a good relation. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the classes and thought the material was pretty interesting (no, I'm not being sarcastic), but the collective paper left kind of a bitter taste at the end. And that taste kept hanging around for a while because we (or do I mean "I"?) got two assignments with that paper as the lead; rewrite the introduction of the paper and convert it to an e-book. I had a better feeling about the first assignment because we had to work together - so I thought - and we already received the ingredients for a well-written intro: definition, controversy, motivation, objectives, limitations and different points of view. Unfortunately we didn't get the ingredients list for the conversion to e-bookformat, which could've come in handy.

During the class in which the first assignment got announced, we got to work on our introduction 2.0 per group. Well, who of your group actually took the class Methodology and Digital Literacy, which caused us to be with only half of our group. And of that half only two third contributed to our new introduction, which actually reminded me of the actual paper; some things never change (no shade). Unfortunately, we couldn't save it the way Mr. Coppens wanted: "Create new revision, no moderation." This option wasn't available for us yet, causing our work to be done for nothing (partially because I forgot to save it somewhere). Weeks later when I was converting it to e-bookformat, I realized that I still hadn't finished the assignment, so I tried to rewrite the intro by myself (with the emphasis on "tried"). Luckily, the option "Create new revision, no moderation" was available now and I could save it directly.

Converting the paper to e-bookformat I had a completely different problem: aesthetics. This because I'm a bit (now don't you fool yourself) of a perfectionist. Problem number one was that all of our names were arranged in such a clumsy way, but I couldn't fix that so it still is an issue (especially for me). The second problem was the table of contents in which I forgot to mention it is a table of contents, so I had to re-do it again. I did this for three times because I kept on forgetting to add page breaks, causing it to look really sloppy. Problem number three was giving the introduction the title of "Introduction", which I realized I forgot after the third attempt. Besides that, I'd also forgotten to give the table of contents the title "Contents", making this the fourth problem. Eventually I attempted converting my paper to an e-book for at least five times, because I kept on hoping the names would be arranged less clumsily, but as you know I failed. The e-book Scheiding van Religie en Staat is now available (in Dutch) for all of you to read (in Dutch).

Besides those two assignments I also converted my wiki-article Kenzo Takada (original: Kenzo Takada) from HTML to PDF. This went laboriously because I kept on having issues with pictures in HTML (and of course with Pandoc), as mentioned in Do Pandoctors Exist?. Perhaps I should work less stressfully and be more at ease when I try programming that stuff. Pandoc is just being Pandoc and isn't doing the weird stuff, while I'm the person who is.

zaterdag 7 mei 2016

Do Pandoctors Exist?

Since today, May 7th 2016, I'm part of the list "Pandoc users Authorea" on Twitter (no, this doesn't make me a Pandoc-prophet). The reason why I'm part of this list is very simple: I tweeted about Pandoc. And because most lists get triggered by a, or more, keyword(s) I got automatically added to this list. It began when I started converting a wiki-article, Kenzo Takada more specifically, in markdown or just plain text. I had a hard time trying to convert my article, especially because I just couldn't make head or tail of it (but who does?!). Eventually my hard work did pay off with a nice portfolio post which isn't publicly available, but to be honest I am pretty proud of myself (if that's acceptable?).
I'll be honest with you and admit that I was searching the web for a tutorial during about an hour - maybe an hour and a half, maybe more. It was a pretty fruitless search leading me to think that Mr. Hans Coppens just made it up or something (I was literally this close to quitting). Then I had the exquisite idea of taking a look on Toledo (a closed community for students, professors and other people who go to my university), where I found a tutorial by Mr. Coppens himself (this was supposed to be step one); finally I could start with the real deal. I've gotta say that I did it in a quite unorthodox way, but it's all about the result (this isn't algebra where the formula is more important than the outcome).
As in the tutorial I started by installing Pandoc (after which I got added to that list). Terminal was needed as well to complete the assignment successfully, but I didn't even know where to find the application (perhaps in the file Applications, know-all?). So I used the useful shortcut Command-Spacebar to open Spotlight and search for Terminal. Once found I thought: in all those years I didn't need you, I didn't even notice you and now you're so important in my life (I'm such a drama queen). After this I pretty much deviated a bit from the tutorial because the commando's didn't work when I inserted them, but luckily I found my own way to do this all. You can see what I did in the following plan.

First I saved my wiki-article in Evernote.

Secondly I exported the note, in which my wiki-article was saved, as HTML.

Then I opened this HTML-file in Atom.

After that, I copied everything and pasted it in StackEdit, whereafter I deleted everything outside of the body tags (I also deleted the image).

Thereafter I copied everything in markdown en pasted it in a portfolio post (I added the image later).

I hope that if somebody would try my way of converting they'd get the same result as me, because I know my way isn't the way. It did work out for me, didn't it? Unfortunately I didn't get to work with Pandoc and I do think it's unfortunate. I'd really wanted to feel like a programmer who inserts all those abstract commando's with the enter key as a magic wand to make more weird symbols appear in that small dark box. I guess that'll be for another time.

woensdag 27 april 2016

With or Without Diaeresis?

I've got allot of emails in my student mailbox which, even though I've read them, are marked as "unread". One of those is a mail of Mr. Hans Coppens in which he asks us to search ourselves via Google and to tell him in a blog post what we think of the results. This is done best in a private window or logged out from every possible website, if not you'll get pretty biased results. I decided to open a private window, because I'm logged in into way too many - I'm talking about possible dozens - websites. Then there was only one question to be answered: Should I give the "i" in my last name a diaeresis or not? I realized that I didn't use one on some website because it wasn't possible to have one. An example of this is the Japanology lab, where I use "Nesrine Naimane" as my username, without the diaeresis on the "i", so I searched myself with and without diaeresis.

Google found 17,800 results in 0.74 seconds (pretty impressive, huh?) concerning "Nesrine Naimane", but only four or five actually matter. The first link is to my Twitter account, NSFrenchFries, where you can read, like and retweet my - for now - 7.059 tweets. On my Twitter account my birthday, 668 pictures and videos, which are often linked to my YouTube channel, and a link to this blog can be found. With this information you'll easily know a bit more about Nesrine Naimane without diaeresis. Link nr. 2 is to a post from the Sint-Joseph Institute, my secondary school, about the "Groot Bokrijks Dictee" (Eng. Grand Bokrijk Dictation, can be compared with a written spelling bee), which is held annually with obligatory participation. I won with solely five flaws, but I remember that some other co-winners and I weren't quite allowed to be proud of it. The former directrix thought that because of our ethnicity we had to study harder to learn the Dutch spelling and that's the reason why we scored excellently on the "Groot Bokrijks Dictee". I still don't know whether this was supposed to be a compliment or the opposite of one. You can read more about my secondary school on LinkedIn, where I'm on the second place (what? No gold?) of the list of top twelve - top eleven according the Google link - profiles for Naimane, right under the Canadian Naima Naimane of which I don't know if she's family.  I must admit that I'm not really proud of the last result because it's proof of a 9-year-old me who wants to tell everybody the following: "i like chiro!!!!!" (yes, with five exclamation marks and chiro, is something like scouting).

Google found a lot less results for "Nesrine Naïmane": 660 results in 0,51 seconds (quite illogical, isn't it). This results are spread over thirteen pages (or O's), of which eight are spent to Style Saint Society, a social media site with fashion as its focus. When I just started blogging I received an invitation to try this site out, but I didn't use it anymore afterwards. The remaining three pages concern nine other results, but two of them are dead links. That's because I deleted those two accounts, Pinterest and Chictopia, since I didn't use them anymore and didn't know why I should keep them around. Yet again Twitter stands at the top of the results page, followed by Google+ which I only have an account on because I use YouTube, which is a result as well, and Gmail (like many other Google+ users). The third result is Facebook, but again this isn't a real result since the link leads to a page saying there aren't any users with the name Nesrine Naïmane. This - apparently inexistent on Facebook - Nesrine Naïmane is also very active on the wiki of Japanese History, where she's done some WikiGardening (time to go back to first person singular, because this is getting creepy). The digital place where I'm active most is Instagram where I post daily or try to. Almost every picture in the image results for Nesrine Naïmane is on Instagram.

Luckily we've got the freedom to post whatever we want on the internet, and I like to use that freedom. But sometimes you've gotta think at least twice before you post something, because some things we'll be on there forever (see: "i like the chiro!!!!!"). Even though I wanted to take that statement down a couple of years ago, I'd rather have it not removed because I'm not ashamed anymore for the 9-yearold me. I know you can hide some results from Google, but this doesn't mean they'll be deleted. You know, a stitch in time saves nine.

woensdag 20 april 2016

No Panic

Last semester I heard a co-student ask an extra-ordinary question: "Would it be okay for us to adjust the CSS so we can make blood drip from the top of the screen?"Apparently their paper's topic was on bad blood between Japan and China and according to them it'd be an added value. The professor was kinda shocked by the idea, meanwhile I was rather shocked by their potential skills: What?! They can do that? I also thought it was pretty odd they'd seen CSS so comprehensively, but apparently Informatics is currently taught by Prof. Truyen and Mr. Hans Coppens (my co-students will understand what I'm talking about). And because I followed that class the year before I only had Prof. Truyen who taught us more about Excel rather than CSS and HTML. I knew I had to work on my HTML- and CSS-skills as soon as possible if I wanted my paper to be as impressive, because - you've gotta admit - nothing can beat blood dripping from a screen. Soon I realized it wasn't gonna happen, me teaching myself more about CSS in a short period of time. And that's why my collective paper is a female blackbird (am I being too specific?) amongst a flock of paradise birds, but without the blood.

Even though the group paper came to a semi good end, it still felt like I had to improve my skills. But because I was doubting whether I was gonna need those skill in the near future, I didn't work on them at all. I WAS WRONG (don't worry, the capitals symbolize my sense of humor. In that first class of Methodology we discussed Markdown, Pandoc and Virtual Box. And there was me with a pained grin on my face. Markdown was something completely knew, but I already heard some (bad) stuff about Pandoc. Virtual Box was the one I was most familiar with and I've gotta admit I was pretty proud of myself for having worked with it once. Pandora though... When we we're working on the paper, Ada told me about Pandoc, but - as I said before - nothing good. She'd already worked with it once and that made her write a pretty ugly blogpost called "Blood, tears and strawberries!", which unfortunately isn't open for public. I thought those two periods couldn't get any worse until Prof. Vanoverbeke and Mr. Hans Coppens informed us about of assignment: rewriting the introduction of our paper. And there was me - again - with a grimace because I'd just told somebody I was so relieved we didn't have to work on that paper anymore. Luckily I wasn't the only one because the paradise birds didn't feel like it too.

So all of that means that I've gotta learn to work with HTML, CSS, Markdown and Pandoc - not per se with Virtual Box since I'm pretty satisfied with my current operating system and its applications - if I want to write an impressive paper. I'm the kind of person that like to learn new things - and somethings more difficult means more fun - so I'm feeling it. Actually I really want to start writing my Bachelor's paper because I've been wanting to do that since my junior year (looking like some freaky academic rn).