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Showing posts from October, 2015

Hacking TrueType Fonts For Character Information

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Those of you who have ever been curious about making your own font should know that doing so on the computer isn't easy.  Sure there are several good programs out there that can help you take your design and digitize it, but a well-made font has been crafted with much care and attention to detail by a computer scientist just as much as a designer.  Some considerations that need to be made on the technical side include, for instance, how to "hint" rendering at very large or small sizes, accounting for grayscale devices in such hinting, making characters by compositing glyphs to save on file size (e.g. fi = f + i), and dealing with different platforms and character encodings across different computer systems so the font can be portable across Windows, Mac, and others.
Now, think back to one of my long-time projects that relates to displaying text and images.  Yes, BriteBlox can certainly be capable of displaying messages set with TrueType fonts, and this has been supported i…

Observing OCR Technologies for PDF Parsing

I’ve gotten the opportunity to investigate some Java-based OCR technologies recently for the purpose of analyzing PDFs, and wanted to write about some aspects of them that aren’t very well-documented.  I hope to incorporate this into these tools' documentation at some point, but for now, here it is... in loooong prose.
TightOCR
Couldn’t get this one working at all.  Was hoping to run it on Python, but it tends to claim certain functions for parsing JPGs, TIFFs, and PNGs do not exist when obviously Tesseract on the command line knows how to handle these types of files adroitly.  It also has a dependency on CTesseract which seems not to be updated for the revised Tesseract APIs (function headers with more arguments) as updated in Tesseract version 3.03, so you have to install Tesseract 3.02 to work with CTesseract.
Tess4J
This was a real hassle to install on my Mac.  I first started by trying to compile everything from scratch and use GCC, but faced a number of weird compilation problem…

Simple Example of Mapmaking with GIS

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For a while, I have had it in mind to produce a physical map of stores and resources one might wish to go to before or during working on a project at Dallas Makerspace.  The map would consist of places one would go to procure raw materials, consumable supplies, or tools to finish a project in electronics, arts, woodworking, scientific endeavors, or you name it.  After spending a while scouring message board threads for local stores and resources previously mentioned by members, I called out for suggestions for any additional ones beyond those I scouted out.  After this, I sought out each place's address, geocoded it, and then visited each point using Web tools in order to test the accuracy of the geocoded list.

Here is a diary of my trials and tribulations throughout this journey.  Not having used GIS software before, you should know that many people have spent years building in all sorts of intricacies for dealing with many situations, from different datums one can select to orien…