Sunday, March 1, 2015

Convert your scanned documents to text files with free Google Drive OCR

Google Drive offers a free Optical Character Recognition service. If you have scanned documents that you've always wanted to convert into searchable text files, try this.

Here is what Google says in its help page:
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) lets you convert images with text into text documents using automated computer algorithms. Images can be processed individually (.jpg, .png, and .gif files) or in multi-page PDF documents (.pdf). These are some of the types of files suitable for OCR:
  • Image or PDF files obtained using flatbed scanners
  • Photos taken with digital cameras or mobile phones
To access this service, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Google Drive.
  2. Upload your scanned image or PDF.
  3. When the file is done uploading, right-click on its icon and choose Open with... > Google Docs.
  4. Wait a few seconds (longer, if you have a bigger document) as Google Drive processes the file. Your document will open in Google Docs with the converted text inside.

Note: There are limits, so please read the Google Drive OCS help page.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Hunter and The Outfit (comicbook adaptations of Richard Stark's Parker novels)

This comicbook series is a superb adaptation of the Parker novels by Donald Westlake (writing as Richard Stark). Tightly written, cleverly plotted, and witty in unexpected places, the novels' protagonist is Robert Parker, a thief with a surprisingly strict and simple sense of moral code.

In The Hunter Parker returns from a long hiatus to go after Resnick, a former heist partner who betrayed Parker and left him for dead. Parker simply wants his money back, but things escalate quickly when Resnick asks for protection from a criminal syndicate known as The Outfit. So Parker shifts his sights to get his money back from The Outfit, who somehow can't believe that Parker is crazy enough to go all the way to the top just just to recover, get this, the exact amount of money that Resnick stole. But Parker is a sociopath, and it is often said that many sociopaths are geniuses.

Parker executes a plan that, in the end, gets him back his money. How he does this is the highlight of the story, so I will not spoil your reading pleasure.

What is interesting about Parker's character is the turmoil of internal conflict operating within his psyche, which he all somehow controls with internal strength. Parker's world is ruled by fairness: you get what you deserve. If you take something from me unfairly, I will take it back from you, no more, no less. Parker will not hesitate to use force on violent adversaries but he will not tolerate harming people not involved in the conflict.

The Hunter inspired three movies Point Blank (starring Lee Marvin), Payback (Mel Gibson), and Parker (Jason Statham). Darwin Cooke's minimalist drawings and sparse coloring evoke the original milieu in which the Parker novels happened.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The benefits of Scrum come naturally

The benefits of Scrum come naturally if you keep the practices and understand the Agile principles behind them. 

The ceremonies and artifacts performed each sprint, combined with regular inspection, adaptation, and transparency, motivate the Team to get into "The Flow". In turn, "The Flow" allows the Team to surmount any obstacle, getting better and better at each iteration.

As long as we learn and grow, the team enjoys what it does. When the team enjoys what it does, it delivers an enjoyable product. The end of each sprint makes the Team look forward to the next sprint. We go home highly satisfied.

See also: Shu ha ri.