Apr 142014
 

Another great video from potholer54 where he explains the need to get facts regarding climate change. Truth matters.

And potholer54’s playlist is simply brilliant:

Oct 062013
 

Razib Khan (Gene Expression) and Christopher Chabris (The Invisible Gorilla) are not impressed with Gladwell’s latest work “David and Goliath“. Further info at:

A few years ago I tried to read Gladwell’s book “blink” but I didn’t get past the first few pages; I’m obviously not the target audience. And that’s quite ironic considering the premise behind “blink“!

The interesting thing about the articles from Khan and Chabris is it’s clear that, although Gladwell does not have good evidence for a lot of things he promotes, it does provoke debate. Perhaps Gladwell just needs to be a bit more transparent to his readers that his conjectures are not supported with good evidence, but are worth exploring. But then what do I know? I couldn’t get past the first few pages of “blink“!

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Sep 132013
 

I’ve previously highlighted the videos by potholer54 and his doughty work to show how to sort the wheat from the chaff, and to expose the myths in the climate change debate. potholer54 has just put up a new video in response to the more recent misinformation in the media. In particular, potholer54 exposes David Rose of the Daily Mail as the guilty party for such misinformation:

Latest myth from the Mail on Sunday: Arctic ice has returned

Make no mistake, potholer54 will challenge and expose anyone for their lies, exaggeration and misinformation regardless of their support or denial of global warming. It’s the truth that matters.

I beg your forgiveness for repeating potholer54’s quote, but it is irresistible:

There is a lot of inaccurate nonsense about climate science written in blogs and the media, whether exaggerating the effects of climate change or seeking to undermine the science behind it. This series checks the sources of these claims and shows how they have been misinterpreted or deliberately altered. I have no expertise in climatology, I am a former science journalist, so checking facts is what I do. And I always cite these sources so you can check them for yourselves. Along the way, I explain the real science as relayed by researchers in published papers, in a way that makes it easy to understand.

Check out his playlist, you will be enlightened:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Mar 102013
 

The potholer54 YouTube channel has a lot of easily understood videos on science and highlights some of the lies and misinformation in the media and on the Internet. He says:

The main purpose of this channel is to explain in simple terms the conclusions of scientific research, and correct some of the unsourced crap we get fed on the Internet. I am a former science journalist (see the “Who I am” video) with a degree in geology.

In particular, potholer54’s series on climate change is simply unsurpassed when it comes to detailing all the nonsense out there on both sides of the so-called “climate change debate”. He says:

There is a lot of inaccurate nonsense about climate science written in blogs and the media, whether exaggerating the effects of climate change or seeking to undermine the science behind it. This series checks the sources of these claims and shows how they have been misinterpreted or deliberately altered. I have no expertise in climatology, I am a former science journalist, so checking facts is what I do. And I always cite these sources so you can check them for yourselves. Along the way, I explain the real science as relayed by researchers in published papers, in a way that makes it easy to understand.

I highly recommend you view this series if you want to know what’s really going on. The series is several hours long but is available in a handy playlist here:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Jan 122013
 

Introduction

I’d previously reported that I had experienced corrupted PNG images in Firefox if I enabled ICC v4 support within the browser:

That was way back in September 2012 and there have been many releases of Firefox since then, and my Windows machines have been through a number of Service Pack and revision updates since then including some changes to my implementation of monitor calibration.

I’ve also noticed this PNG image corruption is logged as a bug at https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=791456 and there is suspicion there that the profile embedded in the PNG image may be corrupted in some way. I’ll have to do some separate checks on that suspicion but I could not detect any embedded profile in the PNG image and it appears to be a simple greyscale-formatted image. In the meantime, I have undertaken some quick checks on ICC v2 and ICC v4 support and seeing the effect on viewing the xkcd PNG images.

Tests

With the release of Firefox 18 I thought it was about time to test again. I undertook five tests, with configuration and results detailed below. Generally, I used the ICC test page at http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter to confirm ICC version compatibility, and I also checked the PNG image at http://xkcd.com/1108/ for PNG image corruption. My system is a Windows 8 Pro 64-bit machine with all the latest updates as of today (12th January 2013) in a dual-monitor configuration using two Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP 30-inch wide-gamut monitors.

1. Test 1 – ICC v4 monitor profile (matrix-based), ICC v4 enabled in Firefox

Config: The ICC v4 monitor profile was created with x-rite “i1 Profile” using an i1 Display Pro colorimeter. The profile type was matrix-based.

When I checked at http://xkcd.com/1108/ the PNG image there was not corrupted.

When I checked at http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter the image colours were shown in an unexpected manner:

icc4-test1

Clearly something was very wrong.

I then checked the integrity of this monitor profile using “ICC Profile Inspector” and CHROMIX “ColorThink”; the profile seemed fine, so I suspect that the error is within Firefox. I would like to have used ArgyllCMS to create an ICC v4 profile to help in validating if the error is within Firefox and not within the profile but, at this time, ArgyllCMS does not support ICC v4.

2. Test 2 – ICC v2 monitor profile (LUT-based), ICC v4 enabled in Firefox

Config: The ICC v2 monitor profile was created with ArgyllCMS + dispcalGUI using an i1 Display Pro colorimeter. The profile type was XYZ LUT + “swapped” matrix.

When I checked at http://xkcd.com/1108/ the PNG image there was corrupted.

When I checked at http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter the image indicated full ICC v4 compatibility:

icc4-test2

ICC v4 support and LUT-based support is excellent here but the downside is that the PNG image was corrupted. Oh dear.

3. Test 3 – ICC v2 monitor profile (LUT-based), ICC v4 disabled in Firefox

Config: The ICC v2 monitor profile was created with ArgyllCMS + dispcalGUI using an i1 Display Pro colorimeter. The profile type was XYZ LUT + “swapped” matrix.

As soon as I loaded Firefox I knew there was a problem; all of the Firefox app window colours were messed up. And, of course, so were the colours on the Internet.

When I checked at http://xkcd.com/1108/ the PNG image there was not corrupted but other elements had incorrect colours.

When I checked at http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter the image indicated ICC v2 compatibility but all the colours were incorrect:

icc4-test3

What does all this mean? Well, the ICC v2 profile was LUT-based, to which was added a deliberately wacked matrix. Firefox was clearly not using the LUT data when ICC v4 is disabled and instead used the matrix data as shown by the wacked colours. So the lesson here is not to use LUT-based ICC profiles (at least with ICC v2 profiles, as I was not able to create LUT-based ICC v4 profiles).

To clarify the above, the Firefox setting “gfx.color_management.enablev4″ enables ICC v2 LUT support support as well as enabling ICC v4 support; you can’t have one without the other.

4. Test 4 – ICC v2 monitor profile (matrix-based), ICC v4 disabled in Firefox

Config: The ICC v2 monitor profile was created with ArgyllCMS + dispcalGUI using an i1 Display Pro colorimeter. The profile type was matrix-based with curves. I used a matrix-based profile as it was clear from the previous test that Firefox was not reading correctly reading LUT-based profiles.

When I checked at http://xkcd.com/1108/ the PNG image there was not corrupted.

When I checked at http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter the image indicated ICC v2 compatibility:

icc4-test4

5. Test 5 – ICC v4 monitor profile (matrix-based), ICC v4 disabled in Firefox

Config: The ICC v2 monitor profile was created with ArgyllCMS + dispcalGUI using an i1 Display Pro colorimeter. The profile type was matrix-based.

When I checked at http://xkcd.com/1108/ the PNG image there was not corrupted.

When I checked at http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter the image indicated ICC v2 compatibility:

icc4-test5

Recommendations

These tests are by no means exhaustive or even as rigorous as I would have liked but I can recommend the following:

  1. Avoid the use of ICC v4 monitor profiles and, instead, use ICC v2 profiles whenever possible.
  2. Avoid the use of LUT-based monitor ICC profiles and, instead, use matrix-based ICC profiles whenever possible. A mixed LUT+matrix profile is acceptable.
  3. Ensure that ICC v4 support within Firefox is disabled (gfx.color_management.enablev4 = false). Note that this will also disable ICC v2 LUT-based profile support.
  4. Wait for Mozilla to confirm and fix colour-management issues with ICC v4 profiles!

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Jul 122012
 

[Update 17th September 2012: Don't do this! See problems experienced at http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2012/09/17/1008.html ]

Granger-Chart

I’ve previously described how to configure Firefox’s colour management features in Windows 7:

I noted at the time that Firefox 6 had problems working with ICC v4 profiles and, coupled with the rather sparse support for ICC v4 in other software, I recommended that the user stick to using ICC v2. It has come to my attention that more recent versions of Firefox (currently 13.01) now properly support ICC v4. But Firefox needs to be explicitly configured to support ICC v4; this is done by setting the Firefox property gfx.color_management.enablev4 to “true”. I’m not entirely convinced that we need ICC v4 support in web browsers as most images on the web are untagged. But there may be specific requirements for particular users so lets try to enable it.

Setting gfx.color_management.enablev4 to “true” is easily done; see below.

Type the following into Firefox’s address bar and hit the Enter key:

about:config

Thu 12-07-12 18-17-15

You’ll then be presented with a huge list, at the top of which is a “Search” bar.

Thu 12-07-12 19-16-58

Type the following into this Search bar:

gfx

You will now be presented with a list similar to that shown here.

Thu 12-07-12 18-21-29

Just double-click on the property gfx.color_management.enablev4 to change it to the value of “true”. Then just restart Firefox.

To check that it all works, point the browser to:

http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter

Hopefully, you should see something like this:

http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter

By the way, Internet Explorer 9 also seems to pass this test but it doesn’t really, it’s lying. Look here:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Mar 162012
 

Granger-Chart

[Update 13 July 2012: Note that I now have a Part 2 on this article at http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2012/07/12/979.html ]

If you care about accurate colours on the Internet, especially if you have a wide-gamut monitor, then you need a fully colour-managed browser on a colour-managed operating system (OS).

I’ve explained previously why Firefox is the best browser to use, at least on non-OSX platforms such as Windows, when colour fidelity is important to the user.

However, I’ve found a couple of forums where some people are finding that Firefox does not appear to provide correct colour especially when using wide-gamut monitors; this may be a result of having not correctly set up colour management within their OS and/or within Firefox. I think it’s safe to assume that this could be fairly common so I’ve written below a concise set of steps to help. Note that I’m using Windows 7 and Firefox 11 so some of the screenshots may look a bit different depending on your version of OS and Firefox.

Step 1 – Select operating system

If you wish to use colour management within Firefox, the first thing you must do is to ensure that you have an OS that supports colour management (such as Windows 7).

Step 2 – Calibrate and profile your monitor

You must, must, must calibrate and profile your computer’s monitor. This is best achieved by using a hardware-based device such as the Datacolor “Spyder3Elite” or the x-rite “i1Display2”. It’s pretty straightforward these days, however make sure that you create profiles that are compliant to Version 2 of the ICC Specification and not to Version 4 of the ICC Specification due to the rather sparse and sometimes broken support for the latter.

Using non-hardware based software tools is not recommended although, if forced, I can point you to http://www.normankoren.com/makingfineprints1A.html but don’t expect miracles.

If calibration and profiling is not done correctly then you may as well not bother with colour management.

Step 3a – Configure Firefox

To ensure that Firefox’s colour management is correctly configured, we need to makes some changes within Firefox.

I’ve detailed below the steps to take using manual entry but there is an Addon available that provides a GUI front-end to colour management but I’ve not used it.

Anyway, to continue with the steps. Type the following into Firefox’s address bar and hit the Enter key:

about:config

img1

You’ll then be presented with a huge list, at the top of which is a “Search” bar.

img2

Type the following into this Search bar:

gfx

You will now be presented with a list similar to that shown here.

img3

The listing will be different on different versions of Firefox and perhaps also if you’ve done upgrades or fresh installs of Firefox.

Step 3b – gfx.color_management.mode

Mozilla’s documentation for the gfx.color_management.mode values says:

Color management allows images and colors to be displayed consistently across a variety of devices. Mozilla recognizes embedded ICC profiles in image files and uses a local color profile to perform the color adjustments. This preference determines if Mozilla should make these adjustments.

Possible values and their effects

0 – Disable color management

1 – Enable color management for rendered graphics

2 – Enable color management for tagged graphics only. (Default)

In more recent versions of Firefox (e.g. Firefox 11), the property gfx.color_management.mode has a default value of “2”. In much earlier versions of Firefox colour management was disabled by default with gfx.color_management.enabled set to “false”.

I have gfx.color_management.mode = “1” as that aligns with the interpretations of the W3C recommendations that untagged images should assumed to be in the sRGB colour space. I’m not entirely sure why Firefox has the default value set to “2”, but I do think that this is a mistake. So, go ahead and change gfx.color_management.mode to “1”.

A note: I would add that those who have not already calibrated and profiled their monitors are likely to see mismanaged colours with gfx.color_management.mode = 2 or 1. Firefox’s  default value for gfx.color_management.mode should therefore have been set to “0” so as to avoid using profiles that do not match the monitor; the user can then change the value to 1 when the monitor is correctly calibrated and profiled.

Step 3c – gfx.color_management.display_profile

Mozilla’s documentation for the gfx.color_management.display_profile values says:

A string containing the full path to an ICM profile for output. Default is an empty string in which case the systems global profile is used. If no global profile can be found a default sRGB profile is used.

If you’ve followed Step 2 and have just a single monitor then leave the property gfx.color_management.display_profile to a blank value. This will instruct Firefox to use the default monitor colour profile.

Step 3d – for a multi-monitor system

If you do not have a multi-monitor system then you can skip this step.

If you do have a multi-monitor system like mine, then you have to tell Firefox which monitor colour profile to use. The property gfx.color_management.display_profile will need to have its value changed to the path of your monitor profile.

The choice to make here is which colour profile to use; Firefox will only display colours properly when displayed in the monitor of the chosen profile. I’m lucky, in my dual-monitor set-up, that both of my Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP wide-gamut monitors have an almost identical profile so I was quite happy to use either of my two monitor profiles. I chose the one for my primary monitor where Firefox lives most of the time. I do wonder which of the two profiles Firefox would choose if I left gfx.color_management.display_profile to a blank value; perhaps an experiment for the future.

Here’s the path to my main monitor’s colour profile (this is for a Windows 7 machine so your mileage may vary):

C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\color\Monitor_Fri 18-02-11_1.icc

Not that the date in the filename is old but only because I’ve re-used the same filename for each of my regular re-calibration and re-profiling exercises so as to avoid changing the value in my other colour-managed software.

Step 4

Just restart Firefox and that should be it; a fully colour managed web browser showing correct colours on your monitor(s).

Good luck!

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

[Update 13 July 2012: Note that I now have a Part 2 on this article at http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2012/07/12/979.html ]

Jan 222012
 

Further to what I think of as Google abusing its dominant position in constantly targeting Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browsers and asking the user to switch to Google’s Chrome browser, there appears to be a change now. My previous rants on this:

Well, today I noticed that the annoying “Install Google Chrome” popup message appeared in Firefox 9 for the first time:

Sun-22-01-12-09-59-32

This popup also appeared in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 (as expected) and also in Apple’s Safari 5 but, strangely, not in Opera 11. I was able to close these Google popups in each of the affected browsers without the popups returning when I revisited Google’s search homepage. I have not checked any other browsers yet.

So, let’s just hope that those annoying Google popups don’t come back again. Although I’m not sure how Mozilla and Apple feel that Google are trying to be a bit more aggressive in trying to wean users onto Google Chrome!

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Nov 032011
 

Pharyngula posts a YouTube link of Terence McKenna, about the dangers of “relativism” where equal respect is paid to all ideas. McKenna is right. We need to call “Bullshit” when we see it, and fight the “politically correct” sensitivities of our society so that reason can be taught. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so keen on McKenna’s other ideas but here he gets it right.

Now, I can see some people being uncomfortable with what they perceive as stridency. Such stridency can appear rude and off-putting to those who are genuinely seeking knowledge. It is not normally my intention to be rude but sometimes, when one is engaged in discussion to explore and consider ideas, the other side abandon reason, abandon knowledge and seek refuge in ignorance. This does not foster an environment conducive to polite discussion. However, I try not to be rude to anyone in particular unless they’ve demonstrated their idiocy. I have no qualms at all in condemning ideas and intuitions which peddle bullshit. And if someone does delight in their own ignorance and refuses to engage in reason then I will be rude.

Kate Smurthwaite was right on the money here; these people are idiots and well done for her to say so:

More at her blog article and the vile response from some people:

And some good stuff here from Pharyngula:

Can I call Deepak Chopra and Bill O’Reilly a couple of idiots?

Carl Sagan was one of the great explainers and he is not known for being rude. His Baloney Detection Kit is a wonderful tool to use in the fight against unreason, superstition and other bullshit. And when I use that kit to analyse what Chopra and O’Reilly are saying then I can come to only one conclusion. Actually, I didn’t have to use Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit at all…the conclusion is self evident.

Too many idiots in too many places. But that’s why I increasingly use my blogs to highlight idiocy in the hope that people are exposed to reason and understand the bullshit being spread far and why by the idiots. And I hope that not too many reasonable people get put off by the stridency in these posts.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011