Working out the kinks in a VisualSFM via Docker workflow

VSFM, for those who’ve tried it, is a right huge pain in the arse to install. Ryan Bauman has done us all a huge favour by dockerizing it. His explanation of this is here – and once you’ve figured out some of the kinks, this is much easier way of working with it. Ah yes, the kinks. First of all, before we go any further, why would you want to do this? Isn’t 123D Catch enough? It is certainly easier, I grant you that. And it does a pretty good job. But structure-from-motion applications each approach the job differently – Ryan … Continue reading Working out the kinks in a VisualSFM via Docker workflow

Zettelkasten in Sublime (a note on Dan Sheffler’s script)

I’ve rapidly become a huge fan of Dan Sheffler’s workflow. One thing that I’m really looking forward to trying out is is ‘Zettelkasten‘(also here), a kind of flat wiki-like approach to note taking. I have always struggled with effective notetaking, but combining his markdown export from pdfs (via Skim) with the zettelkasten (which I could then push to github for open-notebooking purposes, or feed to Jekyll, or text mining, etc) has me (geek that I am) rather excited about the prospects. Anyway, I’ve just gotten everything working. Here’s how: 1. Install Sublime Text 3. 2. Download the MyWiki zip from … Continue reading Zettelkasten in Sublime (a note on Dan Sheffler’s script)

Exporting your PDF Annotations from Skim

I’ve got to write this down now, while I still remember what I did. Dan Sheffler has a great blog. Lots of really neat & useful stuff. One of the things he has is a script for exporting your notes and annotations of pdfs in nicely formatted markdown. (All OS, I’m afraid Windows folks). First two things we need: Skim: Bibdesk: And a pdf of some academic article. Download and install Bibdesk. Open Bibdesk. Drag & drop your pdf onto the Bibdesk window. Add relevant metadata. Crucial: the ‘Cite key’ field is like a shortcode for referencing all … Continue reading Exporting your PDF Annotations from Skim

Quickly Extracting Data from PDFs

By ‘data’, I mean the tables. There are lots of archaeological articles out there that you’d love to compile together to do some sort of meta-study. Or perhaps you’ve gotten your hands on pdfs with tables and tables of census data. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just grab that data cleanly? Jonathan Stray has written a great synopsis of the various things you might try and has sketched out a workflow you might use. Having read that, I wanted to try ‘Tabula‘, one of the options that he mentioned. Tabula is open source and runs on all the … Continue reading Quickly Extracting Data from PDFs

Briefly Noted: Lytro, Light-Field Photography

  In the latest MIT Technology Review, there’s a short piece on the ‘Lytro‘, a camera that captures not just the light that falls on its sensor, but also the angle of that light. This feature allows different information, different kinds of shots, to be extracted computationally after the button is pressed. I want one. They sell for $500. Think of the archaeological uses! I’m no photographer, but as I understand things, a lot of archaeological photography comes down to the creative use of oblique angles, whether to see crop marks or to pick out very fine details of artefacts. … Continue reading Briefly Noted: Lytro, Light-Field Photography

Getting Started with MALLET and Topic Modeling

UPDATE! September 19th 2012: Scott Weingart, Ian Milligan, and I have written an expanded ‘how to get started with Topic Modeling and MALLET’ for the Programming Historian 2. Please do consult that piece for detailed step-by-step instructions for getting the software installed, getting your data into it, and thinking through what the results might mean. Original Post that Inspired It All: I’m very interested in topic modeling at the moment. It has not been easy however to get started – I owe a debt of thanks to Rob Nelson for helping me to get going. In the interests of giving … Continue reading Getting Started with MALLET and Topic Modeling

Thoughts on the Shadow Scholar

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, there is a troubling piece written by a fellow who writes and sells papers for/to students. Which got me to thinking: shouldn’t text analysis be able to solve this? Here’s my thinking: I’m willing to bet every author produces unique combinations of words and phrases – a concept that Amazon for instance uses to improve its search functions (“statistically improbable phrases“).  As the ‘ghost writer’ points out, most of the emails he gets from students are nearly illegible or otherwise atrocious. So – what if at the start of a school year, you sat … Continue reading Thoughts on the Shadow Scholar

7Scenes: Augmented Reality Authoring for Digital Storytelling

I’m very interested in augmented reality for interpreting/experiencing landscapes (archaeological or historical). I’ve explored things like Wikitude and Layar. There’s a great deal of flexibility and possibility with those two, if you’ve got the ability and resources to do a bit of programming. Skidmore College has used Layar with success to produce a Campus Map Layar. (follow that link for excellent pointers on how they did it). But what if you’d like to explore the potential of AR, but don’t have the programming skills? One platform that I’ve come across recently which can help there is called ‘7Scenes‘. It explicitly bills … Continue reading 7Scenes: Augmented Reality Authoring for Digital Storytelling

I know that I know nothing

Commuting in Ottawa is an interesting experience. It seems the entire city disappears in the summer, beguiling one into thinking that a commute that takes 30 – 40 minutes in August will continue to be 30 – 40 minutes in September. This morning, I was pushing 1 hr and 40 minutes. On the plus side, this gives me the opportunity to listen to the podcasts from Scholars’ Lab, from the University of Virginia (available via iTunes U).  As I listen to this excellent series of talks (one talk per commute…) I realize just how profoundly shallow my knowledge is of … Continue reading I know that I know nothing