April 21, 2013
I’ve been trying to get a camera-ready article for the Signal Processing Magazine and the instructions from IEEE include the following snippet:
*VERY IMPORTANT: All source files ( .tex, .doc, .eps, .ps, .bib, .db, .tif, .jpeg, …) may be uploaded as a single .rar archived file. Please do not attempt to upload files with extensions .shs, .exe, .com, .vbs, .zip as they are restricted file types.
While I have encountered
.rar files before, I was not very familiar with the file format or its history. I didn’t know it’s a proprietary format — that seems like a weird choice for IEEE to make (although no weirder than PDF perhaps).
What’s confusing to me is that ArXiV manages to handle
.zip files just fine. Is
.tgz so passé now? My experience with RAR is that it is good for compressing (and splitting) large files into easier-to-manage segments. All of that efficiency seems wasted for a single paper with associated figures and bibliography files and whatnot.
I was trying to find the actual compression algorithm, but like most modern compression software, the innards are a fair bit more complex than the base algorithmic ideas. The Wikipedia article suggests it does a blend of Lempel-Ziv (a variant of LZ77) and prediction by partial matching, but I imagine there’s a fair bit of tweaking. What I couldn’t figure out is if there is a new algorithmic idea in there (like in the Burrows-Wheeler Transform (BWT)), or it’s more a blend of these previous techniques.
Anyway, this silliness means I have to find some extra software to help me compress. SimplyRAR for MacOS seems to work pretty well.
February 23, 2013
I signed a petition to the White House a while ago about increasing public access to government-funded research — if a petition gets 100,000 signatures then they White House will draft a response. Some of the petitions are silly, but generate amusing responses, c.f. This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For on government construction of a Death Star. The old threshold was 60K, which the petition I signed passed. On Friday I got the official response from John Holdren, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The salient bit is this one:
January 12, 2013
Posted by Anand Sarwate under Uncategorized
| Tags: news
| 1 Comment
Aaron Swartz, who most recently made headlines for expropriating a large amount of information that was on JSTOR and making it available to the public, committed suicide. Cory Doctorow has a remembrance of Aaron and also a reminder of how we should remember how terrible depression can be. In making sense of what happened it’s tempting to say the threat of prosecution was the “cause,” but we shouldn’t lose sight of the person and the real struggles he was going through.
November 23, 2012
This is an amazing video that makes me miss the Bay Area. (via Bobak Nazer)
Also via Bobak, we’re number 8 and 10!
Since it’s holiday season, I figured it’s time to link to some profanity-laden humor about the holidays. For the new, The Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog, and the classic It’s Decorative Gourd Season….
A Game of Food Trucks. (via MetaFilter)
Larry Wasserman takes on the Bayesian/Frequentist debate.
LCD Soundsystem + Miles Davis youtube mashup.
My friend Erik, who started the Mystery Brewing Company, has a blog called Top Fermented. He is now starting a podcast, which also has an RSS feed.
September 4, 2012
Here’s a little bit of news which may have escaped notice by some in the information theory community:
“In view of its concerns about excessive reviewing delays in the IT Transactions, the BoG authorizes the EiC in his sole judgment to delay publication of papers by authors who are derelict in their reviewing duties.”
Reviewers may be considered to be derelict if they habitually decline or fail to respond to review requests, or accept but then drop out; or if they habitually submit perfunctory and/or excessively delayed reviews.
I’ve said it before, but I think that transparency is the thing which will make reviews more timely — what is the distribution of review times? What is the relationship between paper length and review length? Plots like these may shock people and also give a perspective on their own behavior. I bet some people who are “part of the problem” don’t even realize that they are part of the problem.
June 6, 2012
Posted by Anand Sarwate under Uncategorized
| Tags: LaTeX
|  Comments
So IEEE wants PDFs that appear on IEEExplore to have two properties:
- all fonts are embedded
- the compatibility level is 1.4
Seems simple, right? Except that their instructions for PDF Express are for those who use Adobe Distiller, which I don’t have. You’d think there would be a simple workaround, but no…
This post suggests using
ps2pdf command line options, which works if all of your figures are in EPS, but not if you have PDF or JPG figures. Daniel Lemire suggests converting the PDF to PS and then back to PDF.
That didn’t really work for me — I alternately got errors saying they wanted Adobe version 5 or higher (corresponding to compatibility level 1.4) or that fonts were not embedded. I blame Mac OS. On the 10th attempt at uploading, I finally got it to work. Here’s what I did:
- Generate the PDF however you like (command line or TeXShop)
- Open the PDF in Preview, duplicate, and save a copy. This will embed the fonts but make the PDF version 1.3 or something. Say the file is called
- In a terminal, run
pdf2ps copy.pdf to generate copy.ps. This will create a PS file with the fonts embedded.
pdf2ps14 -dEmbedAllFonts=true copy.ps to generate a new version of
copy.pdf that is both 1.4 and has fonts.
This is dumb. I wasted about an hour on this idiocy and still don't understand why it's such a pain. It seems that on a Mac,
dvips does not embed fonts properly by default, and
pdflatex also cuts corners. Furthermore, it doesn't seem like one can pass command line options (and make them default in TexShop) to automate this process.
I am sure there are better ways of doing this, but for the time being, this at least works.
June 5, 2012
I was walking back from a seminar today and talking to Yury Makarychev and he mentioned that he and his brother Konstantin had written a paper and submitted it to the IT Transactions more than 10 years ago on a new proof of the Gács-Körner result that common information is much less than the mutual information. They submitted it, got reviews back, submitted a revised version, and then it was lost in the aether of Pareja. Now, a decade later, it is finally available to read and will appear in a future issue.
May 23, 2012
In case you want to tell someone who is not an academic why open access to research is important, check out access2research and the video there. It’s important even for non-academics to sign the petitions — this is about access for everyone, not just cheaper access for universities.
May 22, 2012
Signing this petition is something that you can do now to help make taxpayer-funded research accessible to taxpayers.
May 17, 2012
When I was a freshman I took an intro bio class co-taught by Prof. Lodish. One of the things he harped on (and which annoyed me) was how you could make a lot of money if you discover things like how EPO works. I guess that is true if you hype your claims, but is that how science is supposed to work?
The EU pushes for publicly funded research to be, well, available to the public.
Via Bookslut, Richard Rorty on Heidegger as a Nazi, and how to negotiate the line between a writer’s politics (which may be abhorrent) and their ideas (which may be brilliant). Not sure I agree with him, but it’s worth reading.
Alex Smola makes a case for not sharing data. As someone who works a little on data sharing now, I appreciate his point.
I grew up on a steady diet of David Macaulay’s books, including the fantastic and hilarious Motel of the Mysteries. Via MetaFilter, here’s a collection of links to interviews and other fun stuff.