Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Daze festival @ Bond Park, Cary NC

GEDC0362 by sumantamandal
GEDC0362, a photo by sumantamandal on Flickr.

It was a beautiful cool day in Cary today. Bond park was the perfect place for the festival. Besides the usual craft, arts, popcorn and live music, here is a couple of remarkable highlights from the event:

The Town of Cary's earth day celebration. It is structured around ten focus areas

  • Pre-treatement
  • Stormwater
  • Recycling
  • Horticulture
  • Greenways
  • Sustainability
  • Aquastar
  • Hemlock Bluffs
  • C-Tran (Public Transportation)
  • Water Conservation
I was excited to see town officials getting involved in some of the topics very close to my heart.
I had a very good conversation with the folks at sustainability booth. The conversation
was about the clothes drying rack. I'm thinking of following up with the town officials about my work.

Hemlock Bluffs sounds like another fun place for me to check-out. This could be a fun trail for running.

Natural Soap
I have been very focussed on food, shelter and energy aspects of self-sufficiency for last three years. Soap has been in the periphery. The ladies at Natural Soap Cauldron detailed out the ingredients of commercially available soaps and their products. Many medicines are applied as a patch, so prolonged exposure of chemicals on skin can lead to their infusion in blood stream. I do not want to highlight any specific company in this blog but few concepts which will drive our soap purchase decisions in future
* Natural component
* Home made/locally artisan made

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Scanner Improvements

The book scanner continues to evolve with passage of time.
Last week's work has been a great success.
The three improvement areas are:

  • Camera
  • Switched from regular camera to five year old Nikon D50 SLR.
  • This camera allows remote controlled operation. The remote allows a single operator to scan books. The operator does not have to physically touch any buttons on the camera to take a picture, the relative location of the camera to the page remains constant even after multiple shots.
  • The picture taken by the SLR camera is exactly the same as seen from the view finder. There is no offset and there is no need for guessing.
  • This camera allows fine control over shutter speed, aperture and ISO in the manual mode. It is possible to fine tune these parameters to get an awesome picture in normal room lighting conditions. Thus eliminating the need for any additional lighting.
  • Aperture - Lower aperture (high F stops) as the image does not have depth. This leads to a sharper image (F11)
  • Shutter speed - Lower shutter speed to compensate for poor room lighting conditions (1/2.5 seconds)
  • The lowest ISO number for the camera is 200.
  • Book Stop
  • The book stop prevents the book from sliding. This allows a fixed location of the camera to the book as the successive pages are flipped.
  • Software
  • Wrote an auto-numbering script last year in python. This script auto-numbers successive even/odd pages to the actual number of the page.
  • Photoshop allows batch operation. Once a picture is cropped, then the same cropping settings can be used for multiple images in an automated manner.
  • OCR software was able to convert image to text with a 6 Mega Pixel image resolution images.

It is now possible to get good quality images with minimal room lighting conditions.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Apple Mac multi-user environment

Getting the most out of a machine is one of objectives.
When I purchased the Mac laptop last year, I was not aware of its multi-user capabilities.
Mac allows the creation multiple user account and provides a very helpful Parental control
capabilities. These two features are available user System Preferences.

It is possible to be logged in from multiple user account simultanesly. Example:
One can record TV shows from account while doing some other account at the same time.

Parental Control provides a very granular controlling mechanism:
  • Apps
  • Web
  • People
  • Time Limits
    • Weekday time limits
    • Weekend time limits
    • Bedtime
  • Other

Book Scanner Stabilizer

Book Scanner Stabilizer by sumantamandal
Book Scanner Stabilizer, a photo by sumantamandal on Flickr.

The book scanner platform has a tendency to move during the page flipping process.
The movement of the platform changes the orientation of the page relative to the camera. In order to prevent the movement of the platform, I took pieces of 2/4 wood and cut notches in them. The scanner platform legs are inserted in the notches. The 2/4 is anchored to the workbench using hold fast.