Posts Tagged ‘Image’

Color Psychology – Color Mind Programming or how big companies boost their sales and make up your mind

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Colors Programming Color mind Programming, how big companies boost their sales and make up your mind

As I've pointed earlier there is plenty of "secretly" kept and less known by public research on how colors influence us daily. The biggest companies are heavily taking advantage of what is found and known for colors impact on our minds (psyche). Actually there is a whole branch in psychology which deals with impact of colors perception on us.Besides companies, many modern governments are well aware of the many facts on how citizens percept colors and use this in color 'installment' in government offices and government institutions.

There is no universal knowledge on how colors completely affect us as every human on earth is very unique and saying this or that color has this or that impact on indivirual or group is not 100% accurate. However there are general traits nowdays formed especially with globalization and unification of TV ads and big companies corporate image, a unification started on how different nationality people perceive colors.

Nowdays in developed countries there are more and more people who perceive certain colors in similar fashion. Therefore every serious top marketer should carefully study colors and their relation with ancient time people believes and understanding on what each of the 'rainbow' colors symbolize. Most likely because there is no completely unified understanding of colors between various individuals may companies like Google and Microsoft started using all the rainbow colors in their basic company logos and branding for more on this topic please check my previous blog post Color trick Microsoft and Google use to keep their users loyal

Another large industry area, where color programming is very heavy is Computer and Video Games. You certainly still remember large portions of the games like Sega’s Sonic the HendgeHog or Mario Super Bros. or even the old arcade machines with games like Punisher or Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Street Fighter etc.
All this old arcade games have a big portion of Color programming embedded in and this is one of the main reasons we remember them for a long time and playing them evoked such a strong feelings in youth.

This trend of using colors to make up our minds is being observed for many other physical goods as well as is starting to get more and more heavy adoption by websites branding on the internet.
Actually those with most succesful businesses on the internet have already integrated some kind of color programming scheme. An example for this would be the Internet top domain names seller GoDaddy. The have adopted a green scheme as a primary color combined with some other ones to create in the customer a feeling of ecology, naturality, peace and solitude.

The study of color programming is one major field to be known by anyone truly willing to understand why certain big store chainslike Carrefour, Lidl, Billa, MediaMarkt – in western europe or TechnoMarket, TechnoPolis (MediaMarkt copied tech equipment by shops here in Bulgaria) are decorated inside the way they are. I personally didn't like the concept of color programming since from Spiritual point of view it is a big evil. Trying to manipulate people perception to do something you would like to in general is very evil from spiritual point of view. A mixture of rainbow colors in a natural environment for example flowers in the wood or wild mountain place is one thing, but making it artificial and placing it in certain pre-desired order is totally another. Besides that the colors in the natural environment are natural and therefore the impact on us even if colorful is very much better than if it is done with a certain intention like in the big supermarkets stores, fast just food companies – McDonalds, Burger King etc.

The research on color mind influcence – Color mind programming is a controversial science. Nowdays many big businesses however use this as a granted science, even whole business sects with some mambo-jambo believes universities, children garden and schools in modern countries have employed the use of some type of color programming aiming to influence their pupils, students (organizational members – you call it).
Color mind programming and heavy use on advertisements on the TV, the Internet, Stores and mostly everywhere are however starting to took their tolls. The high increase in mental problems and dumbness in developed and some undeveloped countries as well as the increased number of people who go insane because of too much color programming is reality. The believe that mental programming is one of the ultimate tools to influence somebody and push him to do things you want like consome more of a product or generally consume (buy) more goods creates another severe issue it makes people to constantly over-consume (eat more than the body needs) and this increases the number of over-consumption evoked diseases …

But color programming doesn't stop with just the material (physical) surrounding world it is a concept highly employed in online based marketing. Online business is seen on so many top used websites, social networks like take for instance (facebook). It is so spread that even the software primary vendors like Microsoft, search engines Google Inc. have already heavily employed the color programming as a basis of their products.

There is another reason why most vendors nowdays issue their physical or 'virtual' products so colorful using all the colors of the rainbow. The reason is the fact that as a kids through animation, cartoons, toys and surrounding environment we have been exposed already even from our very youth age to a kind of color programming through kids toys we've been given by our parents). Hence the young years color programming became a basis for a future time color programming. The colorfulness of our kids years are already sub-consciously stored in our minds, so almost naturally there is a feeling of joy to pop-up once we see something childishly colorful.
 

Converting JPEG Images to ASCII Art text (picture) in Microsoft Windows (2000 / XP / Vista / 7)

Friday, May 18th, 2012

A friend of mine, just mentioned about a program ASCIIPic – capable of converting graphic images in JPEG to plain text ASCII in Microsoft Windows OSes.
Yesterday I blogged about caca-utils (img2txt) – console tool to convert picture graphics to plain text ASCII , so knowing of the Windows freeware ASCIIPic existence catched my attention and I decided to give it a try to get idea what is situation with Images to ASCII text convertion in Windows? 🙂.

1. Generating ASCII from JPEG images with ASCII Pic

As I don't have a Microsoft Windows OS at hand, I downloaded it and run it on my Debian notebook with WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) MS-Windows emulator.

For my surprise the program run succesfuly its GUI interface and worked pretty smooth even emulated on Linux.

ASCII Pic 2.0 JPG PNG GIF to ASCII text MS Windows Convertor screenshot

As of time of writting, the latest version of the freeware program available is 2.0. You see in above screenshot the program is pretty intutive to use. You select an Input file, an Output file and you're ready to Process the image to TXT.
One small note to make here is the program couldn't recognize as Input files images in PNG or GIF formats, it seems the only image formats the program recognizes as input are JPEG and BMP.

ASCII Pic Windows image to ASCII program picture shot

The converted images to ASCII results are quite unsatisfactory, I tried converting few pictures originally in size 1024×768 but the produced ASCII was messy huge (the program didn't automatically set height / width dimensions to 60×80 and therefore, when I revied the produced pictures, they were very ugly and hardly readable. It could be the same image looks better if reviewed in MS-Windows Notepad but I seriously doubt that …

I thought some improvement to the produced ASCII image might be possible from the app options so I played around with the Zoom, Negation, Brightness and Monochrome options, none of them had a drastic change on the output. Using any of the program options didn't make the output TXT "image" to look closer riginal JPEGs..

ASCII Pic 2.0 Windows picture to ASCII Program options screenshot

ASCII Pic official website contains a number of other tiny tools, like WinKill and RemoteShut, however most of the tools are already too obslete and useless just like ASCII Pic

If I have to compare ASCIIPic produced ASCII Images to libcaca's Linux img2txt, asciipic's ASCII images are a piece of crap.

2. jp2a command line tool image to ASCII generator

As of time of writting a good alternative program I found for Windows is jp2a
jp2a is a free GPL-ed software available for all major operating system architectures Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, Windows.
jp2a is a command line tool and lacks any GUI interface but if compared to ASCII Pic the output ASCII image is awesome.

jp2a Windows binary can be downloaded from here , also I've made a mirror of windows jp2a bin in case if it disappears here

3. ASCII Generator 2 (asc2gen) – Windows GUI Images to ASCII generator

ASC 2 Gen is actually the best I can find program to convert images to ascii in Win as of time of writting.
Just like img2txt it generates pretty decent looking text images.

ASC2Gen failed to run emulated on my Linux host with wine version 1.0.1, hence to test it I used a a Windows host via teamviewer.

Below are few screenshots illustrating most of the options ASCII2GEN provides:

asc2gen Microsoft Windows image to ascii generator inverted penguins screenshot

asc2gen penguins in inverted color set (black color text background)

ASC2Gen backhead penguins ascii picture screenshot

ASC2GEN flipped backhed generated image to ASCII

ascii2gen generate images to ascii in colors Microsoft Windows shot

Picture to ASCII text converted with ASCII colors

Dithering Windows image to ascii text generated picture ASCII

ascii2gen dithering level option shot

asc2gen jpeg, png, gif to plain text ascii brightness contrast screenshot pic

asc2gen contrast / brigthness atune shot

ascii2gen penguins converted images to plain text inverted with capital letters for picture

asc2gen save as options shot

Something else nice is it supports a lot of image file formats as input including (BMP and GIF) images.
I've also made a mirror of asc2gen v. 2.0.0 here

While researching online, I found plenty of other Image to ASCII geneartors, however as I didn't tested them I can't say if they are  better ones.
Anyways I will be happy to hear if anyone knows other good ASCII generator alternative progs for Winblows?

How to digital watermark to a picture – Protect pic with copyright image or text with composite, convert and Phatch on GNU / Linux

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Watermarking is a technique to identify a physical or non-physical object with its owner (creator). First watermarks in history originates from very ancient times.

There are two basic types of Watermark types:

I. Physical Watermarks (classical)

II. Digital Watermarks

Historically Classical Watermarks, were mostly important. As we tend to use more and more visible and we switch to use of more invisible stuff, nowdays the importance and use of digital watermarks is steadily raising.

You have most likely already seen pictures from websites which contain a copyright holder message stamp or website logo on it.
As you could imagine the picture watermark is placed in order to prevent pictures from being re-used in another internet space ,without the picture copyright holder explicit permission…

Watermarks have entered most if not all areas of our life, but we often don't recognize they're there / rarely think about them.
Few of the many "physical watermarks" we use daily are:
 

  • paper money watermark (to protect against anti money forgery)
  • bank debit / credit cards stamps near the card chip
  • postcards paper stamps

There are too many different kind of "physical watermarks" and since this is not the accent of this article, I will continue straight to explaiin a bit on Digital (picture) watermarks and how to watermark images with ImageMagick image editting command line suit.

Just like with physical watermarks, there are different kinds of digital watermarks. There are:
 

  • Picture (Images) digital watermarks
  • – Steganography

  • Video watermarks
  • Audio stream digital watermarks
  • Visual digital watermarks
  • – Visible area of text or picture over another text picture or video

  • Invisible digital watermarks
  • – digital information (files) metadata with watermark content etc.

The topic of watermarking is quite wide, so I will stop here and focus on the main idea of this article – to show how to place digital watermark on graphic image or collection of pictures.

The most straightway non-interactive way to do picture watermarking is with ImageMagick's composite command line tool. This little handy tool is capable of creating watermarks in single and multiple pictures.

If you prefer to have a simple text as a watermark, then you should use imagick's convert cmd.

1. Putting a watermark of picture in the right bottom corner

$ composite -gravity southeast -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \
output-watermarked-image.png

Snoopy Writting pc freak watermark picture text watermark on the right bottom corner with composite

2. Placing watermark to picture in the bottom right corner

$ composite -gravity northeast -dissolve 80 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \
output-watermarked-image.png

Snoopy Writting pc freak picture text watermark on the right bottom corner with composite

3. Watermarking picture in the bottom left corner

$ composite -gravity southwest -dissolve 90 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \
output-watermarked-image.png

Snoopy writting watermarking picture on the bottom left corner imagemagick (composite)

4. Watermarking picture in the top left corner

$ composite -gravity northwest -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.jpg \
output-watermarked-image.jpg

As you see from above example, composite even accept mixing up input / output between PNG and JPEG pictures 🙂

Output Watermarked Image picture on top left corner with pc-freak logo image Imagick composite

5. Put a watermark in the image center

$ composite -gravity center -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \
output-watermarked-image.png

position watermark on the picture middle (center) composite output picture

6. Sealing image with custom text / Text Watermarking a picture

a) Writting text watermark to an image centered in "footer"

$ convert image-to-watermark.png -pointsize 20 \
-draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 \
'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image.jpg

This will place a watermark in position 0,12, meaning the text will be added in the bottom center of the watermarked image.

Watermarking a picture sealing with custom text image imagick composite pic

-pointsize 20 defines the text font size. hip0s Watermark is the actual text that will be stamped.

b) Writting image watermark with font type customization (Arial Tahoma etc.):

To list all available fonts ready to be used by convert, type:

$ convert -list font
$ convert -list font |grep -i arial
Font: Arial-Black-Regular
family: Arial Black
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial_Black.ttf
Font: Arial-Bold
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial_Bold.ttf
Font: Arial-Bold-Italic
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/arialbi.ttf
Font: Arial-Italic
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/ariali.ttf
Font: Arial-Regular
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial.ttf

$ convert -list type
Bilevel
ColorSeparation
ColorSeparationMatte
Grayscale
GrayscaleMatte
Optimize
Palette
PaletteBilevelMatte
PaletteMatte
TrueColorMatte
TrueColor

On my system, I have 392 of fonts installed, to check the number of installed fonts ready for use by convert I used:

$ convert -list font|grep -i 'font:'|wc -l
392

To only check exact fonts names usable in convert:

$ convert -list font|grep -i 'font:'

To use the red marked Arial-Regular for font of the text picture timestamp issue;

$ convert watermark_picture.jpg -font Arial-Regular \
-pointsize 20 -draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 'hip0s Watermark'" \
output-watermarked-image.jpg

Watermark and with Arial-Regular font image magick convert screenshot dog type writter

c) Using external font with convert to place image text watermark

Lets say you would like to use an external font (arhangai.ttf) not listed in convert -font list usable fonts:

$ convert image-to-watermark.png -pointsize 20 \
-font /usr/share/fonts/truetype/arhangai/arhangai.ttf \
-draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 \
'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image_7.png

Talking about fonts, if you would like to add some external, nice free-fonts (ttf) files to your current logged in user, exec:

hipo@noah:~$ cd ~/fonts
hipo@noah:/fonts$ for i in \
$(lynx -dump http://www.webpagepublicity.com/free-fonts.html|grep -i .ttf|grep -i http|awk '{ print $2 }'); \
do wget -r -l2 -nd -Nc $i;
done

This will add 85 new nice looking fonts. Putting fonts in .fonts/ directory, are red while fonts are looked up by applications installed on respective the server or desktop GNU / Linux systems. Any font put there is ready to be used across all ImageMagick command line tools, as well as will be added across the list of possible fonts to use in GIMP and the rest of gui editors installed on the system.

According to the (watermark) texts font size passed to convert on some pictures the text written will exceed the picture dimensions and only partially some of the text intended as watermark will be visible.
If you encounter the exceed picture text problem, take few minutes and play with fonts sizes until you have a good font size to fit the approximate dimensions of the (expected minimum / maximum – horizontal and vertical) stamped picture dimensions.

For the sake of clarity, here is a list with arguments used in above, composite and convert examples.
 

  • composite — The ImageMagick command that combines two images.
  • -dissolve 80 — The number after the option determines the brightness of the watermark.  100 is full strength.
  • -gravity southeast — Determines the placement of watermark.
    Possible options are; north, west, south, east, northwest, northeast, southeast, southwest, center
  • watermark_picture.png — The watermark image is the first argument.
  • image-to-watermark.jpg — The second argument is the original image to be watermarked.
  • output-watermarked-image.jpg — The third argument is the new composite image to be created.
    N. B. !  If you don't specify a new file, be careful, the original file will be overwritten.

As ImageMagick is cross platform graphic editting suit – it runs on both *nix (Linux,BSD) and Windows. I have tested it on Linux, only but on FreeBSD and other BSDs it should work without any problem.
The composite and convert above examples should be easily rewritten to run on achieve watarmarking on MS Windows too.

7. Watermarking multiple pictures in a directory

To watermark multiple pictures within a directory use, a short bash loop in combination with either convert or composite could be used:

$ cd your-directory/
$ for i in *; do
convert $i -pointsize 20 -draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image.jpg
done

convert and composite also support wildcards like '*.JPG, *.PNG', but I'm not sure if this syntax can be used for mass picture marking?

8. Adding watermark and doing other various advanced Image Edit, Convert and Compose stuff with Phatch GUI program

Another program that is capable to put watermarks on pictures and besides that doing a number of routine graphic manipulation operations achievable with expert Image manipulation programs like GIMP / Inkscape is PHATCH = PHOTO & BATCH

Phatch is swiss army knife for doing web design or or graphics design on Linux.

Phatch is really great and easy to use program. Tt makes putting basic designer effects on pictures with no requirement for any design skills.
With Phatch you can become a designer for a day literally 😉

If you haven't used it yet, make sure you try it!
Below, are two screenshots of Phatch running on my Debian G* / Linux

Phatch Linux Debian Squeeze Screenshot

Phatch Linux Debian Squeeze Screenshot Watermark effect

Phatch is installable via apt on Debian and Ubuntu Linux. It has also a phatch-cli tools, which are a possible substitute to ImageMagick's composite / convert tools.

On deb based distros install Phatch with:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install phatch phatch-cli

In Phatch it is also possible, to create a combination of filters to be later applied to an image file or a group of image files all in a directory. The program capabilities are really outstanding, it is pure joy to work with it.

Using Phatch GUI interface is hard to comprehend in the beginning, I needed few minutes until I can get the idea how to use it. Anyhow once you know the basics, its very easy to use onwards.

Phatch currently can perform the following actions:
 

  • Auto Contrast – Maximize image contrast
  • Border – Crop or add border to all sides
  • Brightness – Adjust brightness from black to white
  • Canvas – Crop the image or enlarge canvas without resizing the image
  • Colorize – Colorize grayscale image
  • Common – Copies the most common pixel value
  • Contrast – Adjust from grey to black & white
  • Convert Mode – Convert the color mode of an image (grayscale, RGB, RGBA or CMYK)
  • Effect – Blur, Sharpen, Emboss, Smooth, ..
  • Equalize – Equalize the image histogram
  • Fit – Downsize and crop image with fixed ratio
  • Grayscale – Fade all colours to gray
  • Invert – Invert the colors of the image (negative)
  • Maximum – Copies the maximum pixel value
  • Median – Copies the median pixel value
  • Minimum – Copies the minimum pixel value
  • Offset – Offset by distance and wrap around
  • Posterize – Reduce the number of bits of colour channel
  • Rank – Copies the rank'th pixel value
  • Rotate – Rotate with random angle
  • Round – Round or crossed corners with variable radius and corners
  • Saturation – Adjust saturation from grayscale to high
  • Save – Save an image with variable compression in different types
  • Scale – Scale an image with different resample filters.
  • Shadow – Drop a blurred shadow under a photo with variable position, blur and color
  • Solarize – Invert all pixel values above threshold
  • Text – Write text at a given position
  • Transpose – Flip or rotate an image by 90 degrees
  • Watermark – Apply a watermark image with variable placement (offset, scaling, tiling) and opacity

Most of the function / effects Phatch in the up list works fine as I tested them to get to know the program.
The only effect that didn't worked for me is Blender effect.
Trying to apply the Blending effect I got error:

Can not apply action Blender:
'dict' object has no attribute 'rfind'

dict object has not attribiture rfind error screenshot my linux

Its really a pity blender filter don't work. I've seen on Phatch's website some pictures showing the blender effect in action and it looks really awesome.

In attempt to work around the err, I tried downloading Phatch's latest release and running it with python interpreter but it didn't work out …
I tried also to install some packages to the system that somehow seemed to be related to blenderversatile 3D modeller/renderer program but this worked neither.
I suspect Phatch blender effect is not working on Ubuntu too as I've red complains in some Ubuntu forums.
If someone succeeding making blend effect work please let me know how?

Interesting feature of Phatch is the program support for applying its predefined filters using a cli interface.
The syntax for phatch cli, should be something like:

phatch -console action_list.phatch

Where action_list.phatch is a Phatch predefined filter. Anyways I didn't manage to figure out how to use the program CLI. I'll be glad to hear if someone succeeded in using the program console, if so please share with me how?

9. Adding Watermark to pictures with GIMP

To add a watermark text or picture in GIMP, there are plenty of ways but is more time consuming by both Phatch or convert, composite..
There is a script in gimp plugin registry site – watermark.scm which adds watermarking capability to GIMP

On my system this script was installed with the deb package gimp-data-extras. To apply the plugin on a pic, I used GIMP menus:

Filters -> Eg -> Copyright Placer

GIMP Copyright Holder plugin Watermark Screenshot

If someone knows about better or quicker ways to do watermarking, please share 🙂

What is the facebook recommended profile picture (logo) size for better SEO Marketing / Few basic Facebook marketing tips

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Facebook marketing Likes good recommended logo sizes, Facebook profile logo

I hate facebook, from the deepness of my guts! However, unfortunately in one of the companies I'm employed, occasionally I have to use it as an advertisement media to improve the Search Engine visibility for their websites (gather them some more likes). As a not big lover of facebook, I'm also not a facebook-pro, anyways with this circumstances, I'm starting to learn basic tips on, making a facebook page / profile more user friendly and hence more attracting to facebook users.

From what, i"ve read there are plenty of factors that can affect on how attractive a facebook page / company profile , anyways some of the factors are more important to tamper than others. Such two factors of top importance are:
 

Let me evaluate a bit on each of the three aforementioned fb marketing weight factors.

1. Using Page likes for popularization.

– Lets say that you would like to make marketing to a company websites which is involved in Financial or Investment market.
Enter with the company created page or profile and facebook and think for and search for as many keywords related to the company business as possible.
Check each of the results if the Page / Group is liked by hundred thousands of other people, then just give it a like too.
By doing so for a couple of seconds all this (hundred thousands or millions) of people who has also liked it will see for a second (or less), what hangs on your Facebook profile 😉
The chance someone gets interested into what is your profile saying here is high especially if this pops up to a some 100 000+ of logged people who previously liked a fb page 🙂

2. Joining groups as a way to drive more visitors to a facebook profile

Joining big groups consisting ot thousands or millions's logic is the same like with the page likes. The only difference is some groups are kept private the so called (Closed Group).
Finding a number of similar (Open Groups) to your company activities and joining them will possibly display your company facebook profile to as many profiles as the group has.
Most of the groups are not too active therefore joing groups as a way to drive attention of facebook users to a desired profile is not so efficient as with Page Likes Adjusting a profile picture logo dimensions to a wide skyscraper.

It might seem strange but actually the size of profile picture set to pages or profiles in facebook matters, different profiles dimensions could have impact on Page Likes 🙂
The reason for the fb picture profile having influence on the marketing is very simple. If you have a wider picture you can graphically include more data visible for the user that is always stuck to the page and hence seen by the user.

I've realized this after, I've red few articles online on the same topic along with that I've noticed many big brand pages on Facebook like for instance BMW (Cars) with over 8 000 000 of likes, Adidas and Nike – with over 6 000 000 likes, have set up this wide skyscraper dimensions logos.

Here is a crop taken displaying the wide skyscraper profile picture set by BMW cars.The profile picture used by BWM (cars) has an image dimensions of: 180×500 heigh x widthAdidas's profile logo has a size of 180×489.

Nike uses a bit of unstandard 390×720 (but while uploaded facebook website automatically crops the image to a size which is fittable for a wide skyscraper) with dimensions like (200×400)Another franchising company with big likes base, I've seen is McDonald's with 19 900 000+ likes! again with a banner logo consisting of wide scraper with picture dimenions (180×439 – height / width )There are some comparatively big user base facebook pages, like Ubuntu's non-profit organization with 555 000+ thousands of likes, and their logo has dimensions of 180×181 pixels.

Not all of the highly liked (visited) facebook pages however use a wide skyscraper as a profile logo and still has enormous number of likes.
One contra-example showing that there is no clear relation between facebook profile picture dimensions and page popularity (number of likes) is Metallica (Musician/Band) fan page – (http://www.facebook.com/Metallica), which as of the time of writting this article has the UNIQUE HIGH NUMBER of 23,725,897 LIKES! 🙂

As far as, I've further red on many blogs, there are two general facebook standard banner profile picture recommendations:

 

1. One is facebook square like profile picture

– (this is the classics), if you just place a picture that is not too wide automatically facebook upload scripts will tailer the picture to have dimensions like: 180×180 pixels

The other recommended facebook pictures size is the wide wide-scraper and it should possess an image dimensions size similar to:
width x height -180×500 pixels

This is pretty much the few basics I  so far, know of can help to easily gather a custom fb company Page Likes.
As facebook is really HUGE nowdays  fb marketing has advanced tremendously.

I'll be glad to hear some cool tips & tricks you know? which can help a facebook page / profile popularity rise up.
Looking forward to hear for your good or bad facebook experiences 🙂

  • Likes of pages, which are liked by thousands of hundreds or millions of people
  • Belongings to groups / Membering to big groups (consisting of thousands)
    which hold similar interest or business activity
  • Profile picture logo dimensions

Convert single PDF pages to multiple SVG files on Debian Linux with pdf2svg

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

In my last article, I've explained How to create PNG, JPG, GIF pictures from one single PDF document
Convertion of PDF to images is useful, however as PNG and JPEG graphic formats are raster graphics the image quality gets crappy if the picture is zoomed to lets say 300%.
This means convertion to PNG / GIF etc. is not a good practice especially if image quality is targetted.

I myself am not a quality freak but it was interesting to find out if it is possible to convert the PDF pages to SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) graphics format.

Converting PDF to SVG is very easy as for GNU / Linux there is a command line tool called pdf2svg
pdf2svg's official page is here

The traditional source way compile and install is described on the homepage. For Debian users pdf2svg has already existing a deb package.

To install pdf2svg on Debian use:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes pdf2svg
...

Once installed usage of pdf2svg to convert PDF to multiple SVG files is analogous to imagemagick's convert .
To convert the 44 pages Projects.pdf to multiple SVG pages – (each PDF page to a separate SVG file) issue:

debian:~/project-pdf-to-images$ for i in $(seq 1 44); do \
pdf2svg Projects.pdf Projects-$i.SVG $i; \
done

This little loop tells each page number from the 44 PDF document to be stored in separate SVG vector graphics file:

debian:~/project-pdf-to-images$ ls -1 *.svg|wc -l
44

For BSD users and in particular FreeBSD ones png2svg has a bsd port in:

/usr/ports/graphics/pdf2svg

Installing on BSD is possible directly via the port and convertion of PDF to SVG on FreeBSD, should be working in the same manner. The only requirement is that bash shell is used for the above little bash loop, as by default FreeBSD runs the csh. 
On FreeBSD launch /usr/local/bin/bash, before following the Linux instructions if you're not already in bash.

Now the output SVG files are perfect for editting with Inkscape or Scribus and the picture quality is way superior to old rasterized (JPEG, PNG) images

How to install Microsoft Windows XP SP3 on Debian GNU / Linux Squeeze

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Windows XP Service Pack 3 QEMU Debian Squeeze

I have never did a proper install of Windows XP on Debian before hand. Even though I experimented once long time ago. I had zero success with installing Windows XP Service Pack 2 . The only Windows I can make correctly working before hand on these early days on my Debian powered notebook with qemu virtual machine emulator was Windows 2000 .

I decided to give it another go today as I hoped the qemu has advanced and I’ve seen many reports online of people who were able to correctly make Windows XP SP2 work out.

As I’ve seen many blog posts online of people who succesfully run with qemu Windows XP SP2, in order to escape from repeating the other guys experience and conduct a fresh experiment, I decided to give qemu a try with Microsoft.Windows.XP.Professional.SP3.Integrated.June.2011.Corporate

Before I proceed with using latest qemu I,

1. Installed qemu using the usual:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes qemu qemu-keymaps qemu-system qemu-user qemu-utils uml-utilities
...

Afterwards,

2. Created a new directory where the qemu Windows image will be stored:

debian:~# su hipo
hipo@noah:~$ mkdir windows
hipo@noah:~$ cd windows
hipo@noah:/home/hipo/windows$

As a following step I loaded the tun kernel module which is necessery for Qemu to properly handle the Windows LAN networking.

3. Load and set proper permissions for tun kernel module

In case if /dev/net is not existing first step is to create the proper device, however in most cases /dev/net should be there:

debian:~# mkdir -p /dev/net
debian:~# mknod /dev/net/tun c 10 200

As a next step its necessery to load tun kernel module and set the proper permissions:

debian:~# modprobe tun
debian:~# echo 'tun' >> /etc/modules
debian:~# chgrp users /dev/net/tun
debian:~# chmod g+w /dev/net/tun

Next step is to create an image file with dd or with qemu-img which will be holding the Virtual Machine Windows installation.

4. Create image file for Windows using dd

I decided to create a the image file to be with a size of 5 Gigabytes, this is of course custom so other people might prefer having it less or more the absolute minimum for a proper Windows XP SP3 install is 2000 Megabytes.

debian:~# su hipo -; cd windows;
debian:/home/hipo/windows$ dd of=hd.img bs=1024 seek=5000000 count=0
0+0 records in
0+0 records out
0 bytes (0 B) copied, 1.5505e-05 s, 0.0 kB/s

Notice here that the file dd will create will appear like 0 kb file until the Windows install from a BootCD is run with qemu.

5. Download an image of Microsoft.Windows.XP.Professional.SP3.Integrated.June.2011.Corporate from thepiratebay.org

Microsoft.Windows.XP.Professional.SP3.Integrated.June.2011.Corporate is currently available for download from the thepiratebay.org if in the times to come it is not available it will most likely be available from torrentz.net, isohunt.com etc. so I’ll skip more explanations with this step and let you use your favourite torrent program of choice to download the MS Windows iso. Just to make a note here I used transmission as this is my favourite torrent client. After downloading the iso I used K3B to burn the Image file as Bootable ISO. I’m naturally a GNOME user so to burn it as Image I just open it with K3B by using the GNOME menu and selecting Open with K3B

Next I instructed qemu to boot from the just burnt CD.

6. Boot windows Installation with Qemu from the Boot CD

debian:/home/hipo/windows$ qemu -boot d -cdrom /dev/cdrom -hda hd.img

Notice here that I’m running the qemu virtual machine emulator with a non-privileged reasons. This is important as qemu might have holes in the emulation of Windows Networking stack which if executed as root superuser. Can allow some malicious attacker to remotely compromise your GNU / Linux PC …

Qemu window will pop-up where one installs the Windows as it will install it using an ordinary PC. To switch qemu to fullscreen mode to have the complete feeling like installing Windows on an non-emulated PC ctrl + alt + f can be pressed.

The Windows installation took like 1 hour 20 minutes on my dual core 1.8 Ghz notebook with 2 GB of RAM. But I should say while installing I had multiple applications running; xmms, transmission, epiphany, icedove, evince etc. probably if I just run the Virtual Machine with no other applications to extra load my PC, probably the Windows install would have been done in max 50 minutes time.

After the installation is complete. To

7. Further run the installed Windowsdebian:/home/hipo/windows$ qemu -hda hd.img -boot c
...

As a next step its necessery to;

8. Bring up the tap0 interface and configure it for the user

I’m running my qemu emulator with my user hipo , so I run cmds:

debian:/home/hipo/windows$ su - root
debian:~# tunctl -u hipo
Set 'tap0' persistent and owned by uid 1000

9. Enable ip_forwarding and arp proxy and for wlan0 and tap0

debian:~# echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/wlan0/proxy_arp
debian:~# echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/tap0/proxy_arp
debian:~# echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/tap0/proxy_arp

10. Install the proper Network Drivers inside Windows

That’s just in case, if they’re not supported by the Windows default existing drivers.
To do so, I downloaded my LAN drivers from the Vendor and put it on USB and sticked the USB drive to my laptop. In order to make the Kingston USB drive I used to transfer my LAN and Video drivers. I had to restart qemu with the parameter -usb -usbdevice host:0951:1625 , where I used lsusb to check and get the correct USB ID 0951:1625, like shown in the command below:

debian:~# lsusb |grep -i kingston
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 0951:1625 Kingston Technology DataTraveler 101 II

After on I booted again the Windows XP with the following command line in order to make qemu detect the USB Drive:

debian:/home/hipo/windows# sudo qemu -boot c -hda hd.img -usb -usbdevice host:0951:1625

One oddity here is that in order for qemu to detect the USB stick, I had to run it via sudo with super user privileges.Don’t ask me why this is the only way it worked …
Next on used the Windows device manager from Control Panel -> System -> Device Manager to point my undetected hardware to the correct Win drivers.

For the GUI preferring user qemu has a nice GNOME GUI interface called qemu-launcher, if you like to use qemu via it instead of scripting the qemu launcher commands, you can install and use via:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes qemu-launcher qemuctl
...
debian:/home/hipo/windows$ qemu-launcher

QEMU-Launcher Debian Squeeze Screenshot

Another GUI alternative to qemu-launcher, which easifys the work with qemu is qemulator; here is a screenshot:

Qemulator 0.5 - Qemu GUI Screenshot Debian Squeeze

How to copy CD or DVD on GNU/Linux and FreeBSD using console or terminal

Monday, November 14th, 2011

CD Burning Console Terminal Linux / FreeBSD picture

These days more and more people start to forget the g* / Linux old times when we used to copy CDs from console using dd in conjunction with mkisofs .

Therefore to bring some good memories back of the glorious console times I decided to come up with this little post.

To copy a CD or DVD the first thing one should do is to make an image copy of the present inserted CD into the CD-drive with dd :

1. Make copy of the CD/DVD image using dd

# dd if=/dev/cdrom of=/tmp/mycd.iso bs=2048 conv=notrunc

/dev/cdrom is the location of the cdrom device, on many Linuces including (Debian) /dev/cdrom is just a link to the /dev/ which corresponds to the CD drive. Note on FreeBSD the location for the CD Drive is /dev/acd0
/tmp/mycd.iso instructs dd CD image creation to be placed in /tmp/ directory.
bs argument instructs it about the byte size portions by which the content of the CD-Drive inserted CD will be read. bs value of 2048 is actually only 2KB per dd read, increasing this value will decrease the time required for the CD image to be extracted.

2. Prepare CD image file to be ready for burning

After dd completes the image copy operation, next to prepare the extracted image / ISO to be ready for burning mkisofs is used:

# mkisofs -J -L -r -V TITLE -o /tmp/imagefile.iso /tmp/mycd.iso

The -J option makes the CD compatible for Pcs running Microsoft Windows. The -V TITLE option should be changed to whatever title the new CD should have, -r will add up status bar for the mkisofs operation.
-r is passed to create specific file permissions on the newly created CD, -o specifies the location where mkisofs will produce its file based on the CD image /tmp/mycd.iso .

3. Burning the mkisofs image file to a CD/DVD on GNU / Linux

linux:~# cdrecord -scanbus
linux:~# cdrecord dev=1,0,0 /tmp/imagefile.iso

If all wents okay with cdrecord operation, after a while the CD should be ready.

4. Burning the mkisofs image file to CD on FreeBSD

freebsd# burncd -f /dev/acd0 data /tmp/imagefile.iso fixate

How to make wicd systray to appear in GNOME on Ubuntu 11.10 / How to fix missing wicd network manager systray on Ubuntu

Monday, November 7th, 2011

After upgrading my sis’s notebook from Ubuntu 11.04 to Ubuntu 11.10 on her Acer Aspire 5736Z the default gnome wireless network manager started behaving oddly.
The Network Manager did not show any networks, even though the network drivers showed that are loaded properly on the Linux host and using the normal commands like iwlist or iwconfig I could list and see the networks and even connect to a network.

As my sister is not a console geek like me it was necessery of course to have an easy way to connect herself to the Internet with nice GUI application. I personally love WICD Network Manager and as the default gnome manager was misbehaving I immediately installed her wicd.
With wicd , the wireless networks were properly listed and there was no connection issues to the wireless networks, however the wicd system tray was missing and hence everytime she wanted to connect to a wireless network, she had to keep wicd-client running active in the Dock or run it manually every time on connect, when she had to change her physical location and connect to another wireless network.
This of course is quite unhandy and gives her a bad image of Linux and I definitely want to make her love free software and GNU / Linux. Thus I want to give her a GNU / Linux she will be easy to use.

To make her more satisfied with her Ubuntu I googled around to see what causes the wicd systray to be missing after some research online I found out, its probably due to either wicd bug or some kind of interface changes in unity newer versions of Ubuntu. Some people online suggested a fix via changing values in gconf-editor but this work around by changing the values in gconf-editor:

'desktop' -> 'unity' -> 'panel'

I tried this suggested fix which was reported to work on Ubuntu 11.04 but the gconf registry suggested pathway was missing at all so this solution did not worked.

I further read some other suggested solution using wicd-client by invoking it with two args like so:

stanimira@ubuntu:~$ wicd-client -n &
...stanimira@ubuntu:~$ wicd-client -a &

This proposed solution did not worked either, then I found in one of the Ubuntu bugs reports, a little shell script (add-wicd-to-whitelist.sh) that changes some values in gconf so I proceeded downloaded and give it a try:

stanimira@ubuntu:~$ wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/add-wicd-to-whitelist.sh
...
stanimira@ubuntu:~$ sh add-wicd-to-whitelist.sh
...

For my surprise running the script doesn’t immediately changed nothing and wicd wireless connectivity indicator was still missing from the tray.
I thought it might need to reload gnome so I give it a restart and HOORAY! after the restart the WICD connected wireless strength show up, like you can see in the screenshot below 😉

Wicd indicator running in systray on GNOME in Ubuntu 11.10

Now hope this fix will, help out there experiencing the same issues to work around his wireless network connectivity issues 😉 Cheers.