Jan 302011
 

Just a quick post that my Monitor Calibration page has been updated. It can be found here:

I’ve included some information on wide-gamut displays and colour management. I’ve reprinted the references here:

  1. Making fine prints in your digital darkroom – Monitor calibration and gamma
    http://www.normankoren.com/makingfineprints1A.html
  2. The Lagom LCD monitor test pages
    http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/
  3. Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml
  4. The Darkroom Makes a Comeback
    http://www.creativepro.com/article/the-darkroom-makes-a-comeback
  5. The sad state of web browser color management
    http://gearoracle.com/guides/web-browser-color-management-guide/
  6. Color Management and iPhone 4
    http://correctcolor.org/cccommentary/?p=140
  7. Color Management on the Internet
    http://correctcolor.org/cccommentary/?p=88
  8. Colour management for dodos
    http://dpanswers.com/content/tech_colmgmnt01.php
  9. Deconstructing Chromaticity
    http://www.photo-mark.com/notes/2010/sep/08/deconstructing-chromaticity/
  10. ICC specifications
    http://www.color.org/icc_specs2.xalter
  11. Is your system ICC Version 4 ready?
    http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter
  12. Monitor displays & viewing conditions – ColourStandards
    http://www.colourstandards.com.au/monitor_display.html
  13. Choosing an LCD Monitor for Photo-Editing/Viewing
    http://www.clarkvision.com/photoinfo/choosing_an_LCD_monitor/
  14. Why Use the ProPhoto RGB Color Space?
    http://www.outbackphoto.com/color_management/cm_06/essay.html
  15. Color Working Spaces: ProPhoto RGB vs. Adobe RGB (1998)
    http://codphoto.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/color-spaces/

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Jan 272011
 

I was going to post something about the recent BBC Horizon episode “Science Under Attack” but I held off as I needed to calm down after witnessing, in my humble opinion, the bizarre behaviour of Daily Telegraph journalist James Delingpole. Well, I’ve calmed down now and have seen that richarddawkins.net has some commentary on this so I’d recommend people to go there and contribute to a very interesting discussion.

I would just like to add that, after slagging off the general state of Horizon a while ago, I was most impressed with this week’s episode “Science Under Attack”. It looks as if someone at the BBC has been putting some hard work into making Horizon a premier science documentary again. Well done BBC.

The main point about “Science Under Attack” is that the scientific community needs to become a bit more media-savvy. This is especially important when cranks and kooks, with their siren songs of unreason, get equal or more air-time than true science. And, as Ben Goldacre so wonderfully explains in his book Bad Science, the public have a warped idea of what a scientist is and this is reinforced by the behaviour of the media such as when a newspaper reports “scientists have come up with an equation that indicates that your best chance to meet your most compatible partner is on the first Friday after a public holiday” or other such nonsense. Science is not decided by journalists; there are established processes, the scientific method, presentation of evidence, peer review, etc. It isn’t done in the headlines of a newspaper. But at the same time, science needs to be more inclusive of the general populace. And that’s a real challenge.

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

- Carl Sagan

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Jan 252011
 

Being Human posts a rather interesting article about Buddhism, amongst the religions, probably being the closest to a fully rational philosophy; the article goes on to describes some of the problems with Buddhism as a religion. What has bothered me most with Buddhism has been its irrational elements, the superstitious elements such as karma and re-birth. There are, of course, many Buddhist sects, each with a different set of philosophes and superstitions; some sects de-emphasising the superstitious elements. The Dalai Lama, although seen as a hero my many, is much steeped in superstitions although there have been attempts over the years to put some spin on this.

Get rid of all that re-birth, karma, etc and what do you have? Sam Harris’s famous article, Killing the Buddha, argues that the original core tenants of Buddhism would be better served if they were not wrapped around a religious framework (a PDF version is also available).

CRW_1949ab

Being Human explains that the original Buddhism, stripped of the superstitions and the other claptrap added by later generations, is a compelling philosophical framework. Perhaps. But is it sill recognisable as being “Buddhist”? I do not understand why a secular Buddhist philosophy is needed as there already appears to be an innate moral code in all of us, and I am not sure that secular Buddhism adds anything meaningful, However, but I am receptive to what it says so further research is called for. The Secular Buddhist appears to be a good place to start.

On a related note, I do recognise that there are many people who are uncomfortable in living without a ready-made philosophical framework and perhaps a secular Buddhism would help, even if as a transitory phase to a life free of dogmas. Those disillusioned with with Christianity or Islam, for example, may look at Buddhism where a secular form may appeal. Being Human has made a similar argument for Epicureanism philosophy and has, of coursed, noted the similarities with the early forms of Buddhism.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Jan 172011
 

The CBC recently aired a “Marketplace” programme on homeopathy. By all (credible!) accounts it was a very good piece of investigation and exposé of homeopathy. Two articles worth reading are:

These are the CBC videos on YouTube:

Part 1
Part 2

I think that the programme should have emphasised the results from clinical trials rather than the lack of active ingredients in homeopathic treatments. It is clinical trials that indicate if an hypothesis is correct, and homeopathy fails big time; there is no doubt in the results. Still, good programme.

Science, through proper clinical trials, has shown that homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo, and homeopaths are ignoring such evidence. Homeopathy is not a mystery; it’s a placebo. What is a mystery is why this nonsense gets so much support; homeopaths keep pushing their pills and sometimes at the expense of real medicine, causing harm in the process. That mother giving homeopathic treatments in lieu of real vaccinations should be reported for child abuse. And treatment for cancer? It certainly seems that homeopaths are unethical.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Jan 102011
 

Found this video about the history of god mentioned at AnAtheist.net. Actually the Judea/Christian/Islam god.

Part 1 is below. Other videos are at Evid3nc3′s YouTube Channel.

A History of God (Part 1)

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Jan 092011
 

Found this via Pharyngula.

Tracy Spicer takes Meryl Dorey and the fraudulent anti-vaxers to task.

http://www.2ue.com.au/blogs/2ue-blog/to-vaccinate-or-not/20110107-19i9a.html

“…dangerous, disgusting, disgraceful information from people like Meryl Dorey”. Thank you, Tracey, for bring this issue to the attention of your listeners and to the wider world.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Jan 062011
 

Science-Based Medicine has a rather comprehensive article regarding Andrew Wakefield and the fraud of the MMR vaccine scare:

Other background information here from May 2010:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Homeopathy kills

 Uncategorized  Comments Off
Jan 052011
 

It still amazes me that the sham called “homeopathy” has any foothold in the medical market. Homeopathy has been shown to be bullshit, being nothing more than a placebo. Homeopathy “treatments” can stop or delay people from seeking real treatment, see What’s The Harm. Homeopathy endorsements from oafs such as Prince Charles contribute to the bullshit and the harm. And not just the harm from a physical perspective, but harm from an intellect perspective where it is insidious in its ability to destroy critical thinking.

Here’s another post from Quackometer regarding the rather disgraceful privileged position of homeopathy in the UK and the BBC’s recent Newsnight programme:

Remember, homeopathy kills.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Jan 032011
 

[There is now an update at http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2011/06/30/617.html]

I recently changed Outlook 2010 from my POP3 account to an IMAP account with Google. When I first initialised Outlook 2010 it took a very long time for all the folders to by synched. But once this initial synchronisation was completed further sync actions were quite rapid so I was quite pleased with that especially with others reporting slow continuous IMAP sync times.

However, there was one problem; Outlook 2010 does not provide a notification message for arrival of new mail via IMAP. That seemed to be an easy one to fix; I set up an Outlook rule to provide a notification for arrival of new emails for the IMAP account. This was a partial success. The notification window only stays on the screen for a few seconds before disappearing, the Outlook taskbar icon does not change, and the Outlook SysTray icon also does not change (the Outlook SysTray icon is hidden on my system anyway).

What this means is that if I am away momentarily and return to the PC I have no way of determining if new mail has been received except by manually switching to the Outlook window. Not ideal. But I had a solution; AutoHotkey.

I actually already use AutoHotkey to automate some tasks on my system so I hoped to be able to generate a pop-up window when new mail arrives. This pop-up window would appear on the taskbar and also on the SysTray if I so wished. This was successful. I created an .EXE file from the following AutoHotkey script:

#NoEnv ; standard AutoHotkey header

SendMode Input ; standard AutoHotkey header

SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir% ; standard AutoHotkey header

MsgBox, 1, New mail notification, Switch to Outlook?

IfMsgBox OK

{

GroupAdd, newmail, New mail notification ahk_class #32770

WinClose, ahk_group newmail

IfWinExist, Inbox – ahk_class rctrl_renwnd32

{

WinActivate, Inbox – ahk_class rctrl_renwnd32

}

else

{

Run outlook

WinWait Inbox – ahk_class rctrl_renwnd32

WinActivate Inbox – ahk_class rctrl_renwnd32

}

}

else

{

GroupAdd, newmail, New mail notification ahk_class #32770

WinClose, ahk_group newmail

}

The .EXE is executed by an Outlook rule whenever new mail arrives. Works a treat.

new mail notification

new mail notification

Note that selecting “OK” or “Cancel” will result in the closure of all .EXE notification windows. I chose a nice envelope icon for the .EXE file. You can choose some great ones from these two sites:

Once I got that working I found another problem. Sometimes Outlook would throw up an error that the IMAP server closed the connection.

Outlook IMAP error

Outlook IMAP error

This error message would be just sitting there and I would not know about it unless I switched to Outlook. AutoHotkey came to my rescue again. I actually had to use two scripts. This is the main script called IMAP_ERROR.ahk:

#NoEnv ; standard AutoHotkey header

SendMode Input ; standard AutoHotkey header

SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir% ; standard AutoHotkey header

Loop

{

sleep 50

IfWinExist Microsoft Outlook, Your IMAP server closed the connection

{

WinClose

}

}

I’m keeping an eye out on the IMAP error messages to determine if other error messages are being generated; if they are then I will need to change the text matching for IfWinExist. Note that the sleep command is needed to stop the infinite loop from consuming all your CPU cycles.

The other change I made was to put the following code into AutoHotkey.ahk so that the above script would always be called-up and sit there waiting:

DetectHiddenWindows On

SetTitleMatchMode 2

WinClose IMAP_ERROR.ahk – AutoHotkey

run C:\Utils\scripts\IMAP_ERROR.ahk

So far everything seems to be working as required. The code list here is quite basic and I probably need to add better error-handling and undertake some code-optimisation, but at the moment the code is fine and should assist anyone else who’s having similar problems. Hopefully the next version of Outlook will have better handling of IMAP and error messages. And thank you AutoHotkey for making this so easy to solve!

System config: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, Outlook 2010 (32-bit)

[There is now an update at http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2011/06/30/617.html]

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011