OneNote + SkyDrive

October 4, 2011

With the availability of a OneNote app for the iPhone and iPad and Windows Phone 7, my todo list has finally become portable. I can have a single version that’s stored on my skydive which synchronizes across my phone and laptop. I no longer need to carry different versions of my todo list. I’ve used this system for several months, and I love it. Finally!


Installing OCRopus on Ubuntu

June 6, 2010
ocropus is an open-source optical character recognition (OCR) software, and per all accounts I could find on the Web the best available technology.  It doesn’t have a UI such as for example Adobe’s solution, and is best used as a server solution for back-end processing. I’m trying to play with it to see how easy it is to use. What’s attractive about it is that it works with Python, which is awesome and another reason I’m interested in ocropus.
I tried installing ocropus on Linux SUSE because I have a Enterprise Edition 11 installed as a VM on my hyper-V server, but after two days of struggling to installing dependencies I wasn’t able to build ocropus. I finally broke down and downloaded the latest Ubuntu version 10.4 appliance onto my VMware player from Not the ideal scenario since I wanted to use it as a back end process, but the process of installing ocropus on Ubuntu is well documented and much simpler.  Most importantly, it worked!
To remind myself how to reproduce the installation process of ocropus on Ubuntu, I listed the steps below:
  1. configure networking:
  2. install openSSH server:
  3. install mercurial:
    sudo apt-get install mercurial
  4. install scons:
    sudo apt-get install scons
  5. install python-numpy:
    sudo apt-get install python-numpy
  6. install python-scipy:
    sudo apt-get install python-scipy
  7. install pylab (matplotlib module):
    sudo apt-get install python-matplotlib python-matplotlib-doc
  8. install python-PIL (python imaging library):
    sudo apt-get install python-imaging
  9. install ocropus:

 To verify that the installation worked, try to "import ocropus" from within a Python interactive window.


May 26, 2010
Test drove Peppermint OS, the "Linux based Operating System that is Cloud / Web Application Centric,
Sleek, User Friendly and Insanely Fast." I wanted to see what it was like. The interface is clean and relatively clutter free, which is good. I think they could have gone with a clear default background so that it would be streamlined, but that’s a personal preference.

Talking about preferences, everyone likes to personalize their desktops and this is no difference.  If the intent is to target the web surfer user, a wizard to walk the user through the process of personalizing their desktop would be nice to consider building.

the Prism functionality that encapsulates a web application to look like a native application is just that: an encapsulation. I was thinking it would provide a more native application experience, but I was disappointed.

The only gripe I have is that I couldn’t delete the Google apps from the Application Manager. I had to search the forum, where others had the same gripe, and find out that I needed to run the following command from a terminal window. Seems like that wasn’t fair play…

"apt purge peppermint-webapps-google"

My personal conclusion was that this version of Linux didn’t provide sufficient benefits for me to want to switch to using it, but I’m sure others will like it. Certainly, it’s a good step in the right direction of building a streamlined OS.

VIM + skydrive = portable todo list

May 9, 2010
If you’re looking for a todo list solution, and aren’t satisfied with any of the free applications available, here’s a simple solution I used.  I had 3 main requirements.
My first requirement is the ability to organize tasks quickly and easily. Most free todo applications I tried don’t give me the freedom to change the ordering of tasks. With the exception of Gmail’s task list, you have to use priorities and due dates to organize your todo list so that the most important tasks to complete for the day appear at the top. That’s not my idea of quickly organizing my todo list.  I want to be able to quickly add, remove, and organize tasks quickly and easily. 
The second requirement for a todo list solution is the freedom to use my favorite editor: VIM. I’ve been using VIM since 1996, and I can quickly perform tasks using this command-line editor. Yes, I’m still a command-line user. By the way, if you like VIM and haven’t tried VIMperator for Firefox, it’s great. It allows me to navigate the web using VIM from the browser.
The third requirement is the ability to access my todo list from all of my computers. I’m still looking for a solution to access my todo list from my smartphone. I might have to build it.
The simple solution consisted of using skydrive to make my todo.txt file (yes a simple text file) available from all my computers. If I don’t have VIM installed on a computer, I can quickly install it. Every developer needs a minimum of tools to function properly, and I’m no exception. Over the years, I keep all of my favorite tools in a skydrive folder.  Using skydrive, I can access my tools and todo list from anywhere. Love it!