Google Docs: Presentation

Some time ago Google Docs (gdocs for short) was advertising their new presentation editor. Yesterday and today I decided to prepare two small presentations for a mini-meeting tomorrow, and use gdocs for that. The editor is not anything extraordinary, mostly a pair of text areas where one can write the slides content. As my slides are mostly items on lists, this is enough. I got in the end happy with my prepared presentation.

It all was fine if I didn’t want to export the presentation to PDF, so I can get it in a flash drive and use it during the meeting. Unfortunately gdocs presentation export system is completely broken.

First, let’s see how a slide appears in the online editor:

And this is how this same slide looks in the exported PDF document:

Cute, huh?

A lot of Google results to be paged

Sometimes Google has so many document hits that he needs to paginate them. Some other times, Google has so few documents hits… that he needs to paginate… huh? something strange here…

Google paging no results...


Map-Reduce, or why I hate software patents.

In the recent times you should be hearing a lot on map-reduce. I first heard of the term in last year Codebits. Although I wasn’t there, there was a talk with that title. I confess that knowing that map and reduce are common functional operators on different programming languages, I did not look to the talk abstract. During this year Yet Another Perl Workshop Europe, in Pisa, I saw a book on Hadoop, asked what it was about to a friend that wanted to buy it, and he said: a framework to implement Map-Reduce.
That made me think.. wait.. this should be the name of something different from what I though it was. Looking deeper I understood the concept. Googling, I found Google filled the patent request in 2004, and patented it in 2010. Found also that I used that construct in 2007, and documented it on my PhD thesis in 2008. Of course I did not call it Map-Reduce. In fact I did not call it anything fancy. It was just a way to get to results. Named it as my “divide and conquer approach”. And I did not heard of Google approach as well. I just got to it because I needed some results.
So, this is yet another reason why I hate software patents.

Google Indexes TTL

I really would like to know what is the time to live (TTL) of Google indexes. This blog of me changed design and back end in July (OK, end of July). We are in the beginning of February. Being a nice boy, this counts as six months.

And, after six months, I still have lots of lots of missed hits to posts that were published in the old engine and that are, yet, live in Google servers. What I need to do to make Google update their indexes and remove all this crap from there?

Google Wave first impressions

google_wave_logoReceived today the invitation to join Google Wave project. Sincerely, I had no idea about what was Google Wave when I asked a friend for the invitation. But Google has nice projects and I like to know them (and use them when I think they can help on my everyday life).

I did not have much time to use digging out Google Wave. Just used it for twenty to thirty minutes. I think it is a nice JavaScript application, in the sense that explores JavaScript, explores asynchronous calls, and real time. But I can not find any other relevant application of it on my everyday life. I do not think it is useful for writing documents cooperatively (it is too much confusion to do so in a thread like approach), I do not think it gets anything new to common forum applications (only the JavaScript thing, probably) and do not think it is better than common IM for user communication. Probably it can be good to record a discussion on some sort of topic, like a forum, but in a faster way. But I am not sure.

For now, I think it is a good way to waste memory and CPU cycles. My Firefox (under Mac) did not like much the experience, and we had just 4 simultaneous users.

Holidays trends

This graph was prepared after a talk by Enrique Alfonseca, from Google Zurich. He shown usage of Google tools for various Natural Language Processing tasks. Probably I will post about some of them later. For now, here is a simple graphic of Google Trends showing Halloween, Christmas and Easter trends. Do you think it is a coincidence that the intervals are regular, and that the peaks match the holidays days? I do not think so…


Summerbits 2009

Sapo Summerbits is a grants program similar to Google Summer of Code. Its main differences are the proposing institutions that are Portuguese, the projects that are focused on the Portuguese community and the students that should be attending at a Portuguese university. Thus, this is a tiny Google Summer of Code clone for the Portuguese country.

This year it is running by the second year. Also, I am involved again in a Project. This year, instead of being involved as mentor for only one project, I am involved in two projects, being mentor in one of them, and being a co-mentor or just a developer in the other one.

One of the projects is related to card sorting, a psychology application where the individual is asked to sort or group a set of cards. These cards have words. The individual will read these words and try to associate a concept to each one. Then, these concepts are the things that should be grouped. Giving the same set of words to different people will result on different groups. These groups can then be analyzed and conclusions obtained.

The second project is related to the Portuguese language. At the Natura Project we are responsible for the Portuguese dictionaries for Firefox, Thunderbird and other Open Source applications. This year a law appeared changing the language, trying to approximate the Portuguese from Brazil to the Portuguese from Europe. While I could discuss the benefits or the problems of this law I prefer to just say the Portuguese dictionaries need an adaptation. These changes can be done manually by linguists, or we can try to infer them looking to texts before and after the law taking effect.

So, this summer is full of projects. Unfortunately I am not sure of what I will be doing in two months, as I should get unemployed.