Monthly Archives: February 2007

Very important discovery about Adobe Acrobat Standard

I just made two very important discoveries. As much as I loathed buying Acrobat Standard, and as poorly as it ran on my machine using a case sensitive filesystem, it does have a redeeming feature.

It has a built-in OCR engine, which I knew. I hadn’t tried it. I decided to try it on an academic paper that I had in my archive. However, when I loaded the paper (which looked scanned) I was already able to select the text, though I didn’t know why. I was also able to do so in Preview, so it couldn’t have been a feature of Acrobat.

I took another paper that was clearly scanned, and tried to run OCR on it. It didn’t have the selectability that the first one did to start with. However, after OCR… it did.

So, the two important discoveries are that Acrobat will overlay your scanned documents with selectable text information transparently, and that Circulation Research appears to have already done this on their downloadable PDFs from older articles.

This explains why PDFs that I thought were scanned have been showing up in Spotlight searches that pick up their contents.

ADDENDUM: Apparently Acrobat Pro can do this in batch mode. This has major implications for me. I might even consider buying it at some point, once they come out with a universal binary.

Redefining Needs

Since getting rid of my car, I order pretty much everything I need via the internet. I was kind of doing that even when I had a car. This lends itself nicely to keeping lists of stuff to buy, and it’s even beneficial because it makes grouping stuff for shipping easier.

Of course, most people keep lists of things to buy on or off of the internet anyhow.

Anyway, in order to prioritize the order in which I … uh, order stuff, I started breaking the list into three categories:

  1. Needs – Things I need. These must be ordered when I have the money available.
  2. Wants – Things I want. These would be nice to have, but not necessary.
  3. Wishlist – Things I think I might want to buy, if I had enough money. Maybe I don’t really want them, but they seem interesting and maybe useful.

To keep my life functioning properly, Needs has to include more than the typical, “food, shelter, water”. In the interest of thrift and functionality, I have redefined a need as something that:

  • Costs more not to have than it does to purchase such as groceries and cooking utensils. Without these items, a very basic need of nutrition will have to be fulfilled from restaurants, which after a short period of time outpaces even the cost of cooking utensils.
  • If not purchased, will result in the loss of something that I’m not willing to lose, such as plane tickets to see Amanda on a regular basis. I’m not willing to let the quality of our marriage suffer in favor of a few hundred dollars per month.

A good example of a combination of these is property (or renter’s) insurance.

This has nicely separated out my needs and wants. The wants vs. wishlist separation is typically done on utilitarian grounds. For instance, I want dish towels for the apartment so that things can be wiped up without going through paper towel, but my desire for a green laser pointer (when a red one would work just fine) goes on the wish list. The green laser pointer is an order of magnitude more expensive than a red one, with only a little added functionality.

Cardiac EP Finding of the Day

I say finding rather than fact, because sometimes a finding is later revealed to be incorrect, or subject to qualifications. Anyway, I read a lot of papers, and sometimes there are little useful nuggets of information that you might not be able to easily find if looking for them.

Here’s today’s.

According to Hearse et al 1977, the specific gravity of the left ventricular tissue of mongrel dogs is about 1.5.

I had no idea what the specific gravity of LV myocardium was. If asked to estimate, I probably would have placed it between 1 and 2, but I couldn’t have been much more specific. This could be useful when, say, someone gives concentrations in terms of wet weight of the myocardium.