Don’t Use the Force, Luke!

DSC_0754I am happy to announce an update to the Amalgamation Project, adding basic direct printing support.

I struggled for a while with printing, and discovered that many others on the world wide web struggle with the same issue. Site after site asks the same question, screams the same outrage: How does one make Adobe Flex print in landscape mode? How do I force the FlexPrintJob class to a certain behaviour or effect? How do I get control over this process?

Funny, that. The simple answer is that you don’t.

The user choses the print preferences and page orientation, and the printer hardware may dictate a particular format or further restrictions. You, and I, and the Flex software, aren’t supposed to enforce any particulars. We are supposed to deal with it.

In terms of software architecture, this is an interesting and welcome shift of policy. Once I realized that this is what happens, the printing solution falls out just so.

One never stops learning, and one shall never stop re-thinking things once learnt.


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Amalgamation Update

baby-lottieJust a little note to say that the Amalgamator has been updated with its third-generation algorithm. It’s a surprisingly tough challenge, but I am well pleased with the current engine.

Error-free amalgamation of the demo text with an overall ratio of 0.76, compared to the previous algorithm, which reached an overall ratio of 0.84 on the same text (and not without errors in the general case) – I am well pleased.

The Amalgamation site is right here.

Amalgamation ‘r’ Us

baby-lottieNow here’s is something that kept me both excited and busy for quite some while. It is no wonder that I am both very excited and pleased, therefore, to announce the beta release of the Amalgamation Project.

The Amalgamator Project is a little digital visual arts project of mine, and it goes like this:

Consider a versatile greetings card, containing all the greetings, congratulations and condolences you’d ever want to send. The words are listed such that by crossing out the unwanted words (or circling, or highlighting, the desired ones), all the original greetings, congratulations and condolences can be created.

The picture shows one of these cards with crossed-out unwanted words. We made this “by hand,” and discovered that the manual process is highly error-prone and brain-wrecking. You will alwaysbe expected to do the crossing-out or highlighting by hand, make no mistake. But the merging of messages into one jumble of words “by hand” is quite an effort.

I am pleased to announce the first release of a software solution. The amalgamation algorithm takes your greetings and get-well messages, your thank you notes and condolences, or any other message you’d want to convey in any language you can type on your computer, and amalgamates these messages into a jumble of words of the quality described above.

This first version of the algorithm has a known inefficiency, but it doesn’t appear to cause severe errors. I think of this release as a starting point only, but since it cost me quite some sweat to reach this point, well, I’m pleased.

The Amalgamation site is right here.

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