Monday, February 16, 2015

Hedge Your Bets (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future)

This is an excerpt from the Monday Motivator Program of Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please find the original document here. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community of over 71,000 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members.

Last week's Monday Motivator ("Get Out There and Shake It!") definitely pressed some people’s "personal responsibility" buttons! I heard lots of immediate reactivity, but I also heard from people who decided to take new steps forward by setting up lunch dates, asking someone to read a manuscript, focusing their regular conversation with a colleague on research (instead of departmental gossip), and one person simply decided to approach one of her crankiest colleague in a whole new spirit. Bravo!

The fact of the matter is that most departments aren’t set up to support your success and yet, YOU HAVE TO SUCCEED ANYWAY! So, congratulations to all of you who acknowledged that as your reality and stepped out in a new way last week. And since I'm on the general topic ofShaking It, let's move on to the next common mistake new faculty members make: Putting All Your Eggs in One Institutional Basket.

I realize that it's incredibly difficult to get a tenure-track job these days and some of us were in graduate school for so long that we feel extraordinarily grateful to our institutions for simply employing us. In addition, many of us were trained under faculty mentors who spent their entire careers at ONE institution and taught us this was "the way things are" in academic life. Regrettably, the result is that some new faculty members behave as if their very life depends on that tenure decision. They bend over backwards to please everyone at their institution, invest large amounts of time in long term institutional projects, and accept poor treatment out of a desperate hope that they will be deemed worthy and allowed to stay. In other words, their identity and self-worth are so wholly dependent on winning tenure at their current institution that failing to do so would be utterly unbearable.

The problem with this approach is twofold. First and foremost, you don't know whether your current institution is going to make a long-term commitment to you (via tenure and promotion), so why invest 100 percent of your emotional energy, identity, and self in that outcome? More importantly, this desperate stance puts you in a powerless position because you are, in effect, handing all the power over your future to your employer (instead of assuming some control over it yourself).

How your senior colleagues will vote on your tenure case is out of your control, but there are several important factors that are fully under your control: 1) your research productivity, 2) your emotional investment in your current institution, and 3) promoting your work beyond your institution. Below I outline just a few concrete ways that you can protect yourself from the possibility of future loss, by identifying your power today and using it to invest in your productivity first.

Cultivate a Professional Attitude
One of the best ways that you can hedge your bets is to shift your reference group from the faculty at your institution to the broader national arena of your discipline. By understanding yourself as "a scholar who currently works at ______ college/university," you will begin to understand the necessity of not only "shaking it" with your departmental colleagues, but extending your network to get out there and shake it with the other scholars in your discipline. By proactively extending your network and maximizing your research productivity, you increase the possibility that you will be marketable in your later tenure-track years and then have the ability to decide whether or not you want to stay at your institution (as opposed to whether or not others will allow you to stay).

Make a Top 10 List
The best advice I received as new faculty member was to make a list of the top 10 people in my research area and then make it my business to connect with them during my five years on the tenure track. Developing your Top 10 list is critical for two reasons: 1) this is the most likely pool of scholars from which your external review letters will be requested when you come up for tenure review, and 2) these are the scholars that your work is in conversation with (a conversation that can't happen if they are unaware of your published work). Even if you are at a college where teaching and research are equally valued, your institution will still solicit external reviews of your scholarship and they are likely to be drawn from the pool of well-known researchers in your area.

Extend Yourself
Once you have identified your Top 10, figure out how to connect with these individuals. You could invite them to give a talk at your institution, approach them at conferences, send them your recently published article with a personal note, etc. Some will be pleasant and approachable, and others will completely ignore you. What's important is that you begin proactively connecting with people in your discipline who matter to your future success -- as a candidate for tenure and as a scholar. Additionally, feel free to do whatever you think will help introduce other scholars in your field to your work, such as giving talks at your friend's institutions and other local colleges, giving great presentations at conferences, and letting other people know when you have published something they might find useful. The point is to let as many people know about your research as possible, while making targeted efforts with those who are likely to be asked to write your external reviews.

If You Are Unhappy, Go on the Market
Nothing puts your current situation in perspective like dipping a toe in the water! If you have published prolifically in the first few years of your current tenure-track job, then you are a far more attractive job candidate then you were ABD, and you are likely to generate more interest than in your previous job search. Sometimes visiting another campus makes you value your current institution in a whole new way, and other times it can make you wonder why on earth you have worked there so long. Either way, it can be a valuable experience to help you make the mental shift from institutional dependency to independence as a scholar.

Write Everyday
I should have started with this item, because everything else I've said is predicated upon your ability to publish your research. Publications are the currency in the academic market so maintaining research productivity will fulfill you as a scholar, increase your marketability, give you some measure of power over your own future, and provide you with the opportunity to make choices. In short, be sure you are writing every day and doing what you need to do to publish your research.

The Weekly Challenge
Write every day for at least 30 minutes.
Try creating your Top 10 list (if you don't have one already).
Brainstorm ways you could connect with the people on your Top 10 list.
Consider what it would mean to think of yourself FIRST as a scholar, and SECOND as a "junior" faculty member at your particular institution.
If you feel reactive to imagining yourself beyond your institutional walls, gently and patiently ask yourself WHY?
If you find yourself feeling "disloyal” by this type of thinking, remind yourself that your institution will quickly and easily cut you loose if you are denied tenure. Then consider how you could adjust your emotional investment in your institution to MATCH their investment in you.

Life on the tenure track can frequently leave new faculty feeling powerless, vulnerable, and at the mercy of subjective criteria for evaluation. I hope that this week brings each of you to clarity to claim what power you have in your academic career, the imagination to see beyond your immediate campus, and the peace that comes from knowing your future is in your hands.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future: Get Out There & Shake It!

This is an excerpt from the Monday Motivator Program of Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please find the original document here. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community of over 71,000 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members.

This term, I’m focusing on the most common mistakes that new faculty members make. I learned last week that there are a whole lot of folks Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places!And that's OK, because the purpose of pointing out the most common errors is to become aware of them, consider alternative strategies, and make changes that will move you closer to the goal of winning tenure and promotion. In the spirit of progress toward positive change, let's move on to Mistake #5: Being reactive (instead of proactive) in your professional relationships.

In a perfect world, new faculty members would be warmly welcomed into their departments and actively nurtured by enthusiastic mentors. Colleagues would ask you to lunch, offer to read your work, initiate stimulating conversations, notice your stress, become your mentor, and offer to collaborate on projects. In short, you would be embraced and supported by members of a vibrant intellectual community so that your transition from graduate student to professor would be efficient and effective.

Unfortunately, most academic departments are far from perfect! So if you passively wait for others to initiate interaction, you are likely to be sitting in your office alone and isolated a great deal of the time. It is also the case that when you don't extend yourself, others may negatively perceive you as aloof, disengaged, or un-collegial. Most importantly, you may be missing out on important relationships, access to critical networks, professional opportunities, and the mentoring you need to thrive.

To be clear, new faculty members should not be single-handedly responsible for initiating relationships and integrating themselves into their new departments. But this is often the reality, especially for women in mostly male departments, and faculty of color in predominantly white departments. If this is your situation, you cannot sit back and reactively wait for senior faculty (who will be voting on your tenure and promotion) to reach out to you and include you in their networks and activities. Instead, your goal should be to proactively initiate relationships with your senior colleagues so that you are spending time each week discussing research and/or teaching with them.

Moving From a Reactive to a Proactive Stance in Your Professional Relationships

For me, moving from a reactive to proactive stance was one of the most difficult challenges of life on the tenure-track. I was that new faculty member sitting in my office, waiting for the welcome wagon to arrive, and indignant when an entire semester had gone by without a single invitation to lunch or coffee. When I complained to one of my mentors, his advice to me was: "get out there and shake it!"

Needless to say, I was horrified (at multiple levels). But I had to ask myself why -- as a generally outgoing person -- was I finding it so incredibly difficult to initiate relationships with my colleagues? I realized that: 1) I thought it was their responsibility to initiate a relationship with me, and 2) it's hard for me to connect with people who are inter-personally awkward, unpleasant, cranky, salty, don't share my politics, and/or made it clear that they didn't want me hired in the first place. Acknowledging the problem was half the battle, but let me share with you how I moved from weeping quietly in my office to "out there shaking it".

1) Adjust Expectations
While it should not have been solely my responsibility to build relationships with my senior colleagues, that was my departmental reality. So recognize the reality of YOUR environment (whatever that may be) and go ahead and take the first step in establishing professional relationships. I realized I didn't have to like everyone, but these were my colleagues and it was critically important for me to be proactive in developing positive and healthy professional relationships with them.

2) Ask Someone to Lunch
One of my mentors advised me to invite one person per week to lunch during the following semester. If lunch feels like too big of a commitment, then try coffee. If you can't even fathom the idea of coffee with a crusty colleague, then promise yourself you will linger for five minutes in their doorway and have a focused conversation. This will get easier each time you do it, and you can build from doorway to coffee, and coffee to lunch, over time.

3) Ask People for Advice
The easiest conversation starter is to ask someone for their advice. It could be something general or something quite specific, but it should be about research or teaching. People love to give advice to pre-tenure faculty and it creates a foundation for you to seek out their counsel later on when you have bigger problems and don't know how to resolve them. Asking for advice does NOT communicate weakness or incompetence; it communicates professionalism and a desire to establish a mentoring relationship with the person you're asking.

4) Talk About Your Research
For me, lunch and coffee dates became wonderful opportunities to talk about my research. By letting my colleagues know what projects I was working on, what conceptual or methodological problems I was having, and where I hoped to go in the future, I was "networking." The purpose of networking is connecting people, ideas and opportunities. If your colleagues don't know what you're doing and/or what you need, it's difficult for them to connect with you, and connect you with others. This is far more productive than using your brief time together to complain, gossip, cry, discuss personal problems, or talk about departmental politics. Keep the initial conversations focused on your work and keep in mind that ALL your colleagues (even the ones you don't like up front) can have important and helpful things to say about your research.

5) Open Yourself to Others
I learned that everyone is in my life for a purpose and has a tremendous gift to share with me. My job is to open up to them so I can receive their gift. You may think: why should I waste time chatting with some non-research-active senior colleague who can't possibly relate to the ever-escalating demands of today's tenure track? Stop and remind yourself that he/she will be voting on your tenure. Then approach that conversation with a true sense of curiosity by asking: Why is this person in my life and what can I learn from him/her? When I move towards my colleagues in a spirit of openness and hopeful expectation, it shifts the energy of the interaction and I am often delightfully surprised by the gifts they offer me.

Each of these steps helped me move from a reactive stance (waiting for my colleagues to establish relationships with me) to a proactive stance where I initiate contact, shape my relationships, ask for what I need, and focus the interactions on what matters. Using your personal power to move forward in this way will help you feel more connected to others in your department, open networks of opportunity, and help to solidify your professional relationships. And the more comfortable you are having substantive conversations with your campus colleagues, the easier it will be when you are at conferences, meetings, and workshops.

The Weekly Challenge

This week I challenge you to:
Assess your stance towards your colleagues by gently asking yourself: am I proactive or reactive in my professional relationships?
If you are being proactive, then congratulate yourself on being ahead of the game!
If you are reactive, pick one thing you can do to change your stance (i.e., invite someone to lunch, initiate a conversation, or stop by and chat).
Whatever you pick, commit to executing that behavioral change this week.
If you experience resistance to taking the first step with some of your colleagues, patiently ask yourself WHY?
If you haven't completed your semester/quarter plan, it's not too late! In fact, sharing your semester plan with a colleague is an easy way to start a conversation.
Write every day for at least 30 minutes. Daily writing will lead you be more productive and confident as a scholar, teacher, and colleague AND provide you with substantive issues to talk about every single day.

I hope that this week brings each of you the desire to analyze your relationship patterns with your colleagues, the courage to make positive change, and the true sense of empowerment that comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

This is an excerpt from the Monday Motivator Program of Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please find the original document here. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community of over 71,000 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members.

For the past three weeks, I've been focusing on the most common errors that tenure-track faculty make as they transition from graduate student to professor. The first three mistakes (no semester plan, no daily writing habit, and no clarity about balance) generated passionate responses, so I want to reiterate that while the Monday Motivator may feel like tough love at times, I hope each of you know that I am deeply invested in your professional success and personal sanity! If you are mired in one of these mistakes, it's okay. There is no judgment here. I am simply observing the common errors based on my work with pre-tenure faculty and my reading of the faculty development literature. And, of course, I've personally made every mistake that I describe each week and know how much freedom comes from overcoming them! That said, let's move on to Common New Faculty Mistake #4: Investing in Long-Term Institutional Change at the Expense of Your Research Agenda.

If I have seen it once, I've seen it a hundred times. A brand new faculty member (most often female and/or under-represented) decides to work single-handedly to create structural change at her institution. Full of energy and righteous indignation, she bursts on the scene fighting every battle imaginable. She spends many hours each week sending e-mails, protesting policies, serving on committees, writing reports, and/or organizing students while spending ZERO hours writing. She sincerely promises herself that she will devote her breaks to writing.
But when the breaks arrive, her energy has been so consumed by departmental drama and campus conflict that she needs that time to physically and emotionally recover. As a result, no writing occurs. By the end of her first year, no articles have been completed and nothing has actually changed at her institution. Let me be clear, working for change is not problematic in and of itself, but it is an error if you are doing it at the expense of your research and writing (or teaching if you are at a college where teaching is a significant component of your tenure evaluation). I understand the desire to work for change where you are, but if you fail to win tenure and promotion, any progress you've made will likely follow you right out the door.

"Don't Act Like You're Married When You're Only Dating..."
What is a well-intentioned new faculty member to do when surrounded by things that need to change? If you are highly productive, ahead of schedule on your research agenda, and your tenure case is being described as a "slam dunk," then feel free to organize on (as long as your activities don’t make you a thorn in the side of those who will be voting on your tenure case). However, if you're working toward change, but not publishing, here are a few tips:

1) Re-think Your Attitude Toward Institutional Change
If you are an under-represented faculty member, then please understand that your very existence in a predominantly white and male department IS your contribution to institutional change. Your physical presence in the classroom, in meetings, and on campus represents an important change at your institution! Your success in winning tenure will be a further contribution toward change. And as a pre-tenure faculty member, that's enough for now.

If that doesn't resonate with you, let me say it the way one of my mentors said it to me: "don't act like you're married when you're only dating!" I was confused by this at first, but she went on to explain that being on the tenure-track is like dating. If it works out, your institution will make a long term commitment to you by offering you tenure and promotion. And if it doesn't work out (for you or your university), you'll go your separate ways. Post-tenure, your relationship with your university will change. At that point, you're married so you'll be expected to engage in the types of service and leadership activities that are related to institutional well being. It's also when you'll be in the strongest position to work towards institutional change. If you think about it this way, then doing things like chairing a department, re-structuring curriculum, and taking on long-term strategic projects (like creating a new department) when you don't know if you'll be around to see the outcome are questionable. And if you're doing so at the expense of the very activity that will win you tenure (research and writing), it's time to take a step back and reassess what activities are appropriate at this time of your career.

2) Plan Now for Your Post-Tenure Contribution to Change
I encourage you to create a list, file or box where you can keep all of your ideas for change. My list was entitled: "all the things I'm going to do once I have tenure." At the top of my list was "design a mentoring program that actually works". By putting it on my list, I released myself from the need to create that change while I was on the tenure track and instead devoted time to my writing and research. Once tenured, I set out to change the way we understood "mentoring" at my institution and created an under-represented faculty mentoring program that was later institutionalized by my Provost's Office. I also wrote The BlackAcademic’s Guide to Winning Tenure Without Losing Your Soul, started giving campus workshops, and created the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

I was only able to do these things effectively because I was tenured, had an established research record, and could invest time in making the long-term changes I thought were necessary. I'm not writing this to toot my own horn, but to provide an example to encourage you to think of your career in STRATEGIC and LONG-TERM ways (i.e., as a book with many chapters). You can't do everything now, but you can focus your energy today on whatever it is that will allow you the stability, respect, and reputation in the future to achieve a larger set of goals.

3) Limit Current Commitments and Say "No" to Additional Requests
For those of you who are reading this and are already over-committed, list your current commitments on one piece of paper. Ask yourself: what initiative, committee, or project can I work on in a limited capacity that will fulfill my desire to make change with a minimal time investment? Pick something where your senior colleagues do the heavy lifting, risk-taking, and time-intensive labor. Let everything else go by either notifying people that you are over-committed and need to prioritize your research and writing, quietly fading out, or taking a back seat. If anyone asks you to sit on any additional committees, start a new initiative, join a strategic planning project, and/or start some sort of insurrection, just say "NO."

4) Write EVERY DAY For At Least 30 Minutes, First Thing in the Morning
I know you're sick of me saying this every week, but I can't stop! Writing every day will increase your productivity, which is important. But even more importantly, there's something about spending the first hour of your day moving that article, manuscript, and/or grant proposal forward that sends a signal to yourself and the universe that AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME, meeting your research expectation for tenure is your highest priority. Do not take my word for it, just try starting your day with 30 minutes of writing this week (before you check email) and see if it shifts your energy, your sense of yourself as a scholar, your commitments, and how you interact with others on your campus.

The Weekly Challenge

This week, I challenge each of you to:
Create a file, box, or list to capture ideas about what institutional changes you want to work towards once you have tenure.
If you are under-represented in any way, shape, or form, then stop and appreciate the fact that your very presence on campus represents change at your institution.
Take 10 minutes to make a list of all your current service commitments, highlighting ones that involve long-term institutional change on your campus.
Gently and lovingly go through that list and ask yourself: Does this make sense for me at this time in my career? Is this work precluding progress on my research? How many hours am I spending each week on this work versus writing and research? Will I be here to see this change? Is my commitment to my current institution equal to my institution's commitment to me? Edit the list accordingly.
Write every morning this week for at least 30 minutes. And by "writing", I mean any activity that will move an article, manuscript or grant proposal out the door.
If you remain resistant to daily writing, gently and patiently ask yourself: why?

I hope that this week brings you a long-term perspective on your academic career, relief that you don’t have to do everything all at once, and a sense of appreciation for all that you contribute to your campus by just being you!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

How to Log out from Skype accounts shared across other devices

How to log out from Skype on all devices?

May be you have your Skype account shared across several devices, and want to log out from all those except the one you want to use. 

Here's a simple method. I tested this in my PC and mobile device, so it works. 

Go to your device and log-in to your skype account (say your Mobile phone skype account). This is the device now you want to use and want to log out all the other devices Skype accounts (say your home-pc skype account, office-laptop skype account etc.). 

Go to any of the contact in your list and then go to your chat mode (basically go to your chat input). 

Enter this command and press enter. 


This will log out all your other Skype online accounts except the one you are currently entering this command. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sri Lankan girl Natalie Anderson wins the Survivor Season 29

About Natalie and Nadia: Natalie and Nadiya Anderson are twin sisters who were born and brought up in Sri Lanka but are American citizens who completed their secondary and tertiary education there. By the way, Natalie got a tattoo of Sri Lank sketch in her left hand. Best Sri Lankan ever!

After 39 days of battling the elements and competition in Nicaragua, Natalie Anderson walked away with the million dollar prize and the title of sole survivor on the finale of "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" Wednesday night.

Anderson, Keith Nale, Jaclyn Schultz and mother-daughter duo Missy Payne and Baylor Wilson fought hard in the final immunity challenges, but it came down to Anderson, Schultz and Payne at the final tribal council. And after the jury's vote, host Jeff Probst announced 28-year-old Anderson as the winner at the "Blood vs. Water" reunion show.

Turns out, Probst has been a fan of Anderson's game, telling Entertainment Weekly before the finale, "I think Natalie’s big plan is that you have to do each thing at the right time and you have to have certain numbers at a certain point in the game, and then there’s a point where you can get rid of your nemesis." And that's what she did when she blindsided Schultz's boyfriend, Jon Misch, in last week's episode and set herself up for a path to success.

Runner-up Schultz had a good shot too, but Anderson definitely outwitted, outplayed and outlasted in the game.

Suddenlink Internet Speeds Increased for FREE

Got an email from Suddenlink! Wow they moved the 15Mbps speed to 50Mbps for free. Yay!

Dear Valued Customer,
As part of our "We Promise" Guarantee, we continue to make major investments in our communities to bring you the speed you need, now and into the future. As a valued customer, you are among the first to hear your Internet speeds are increasing for FREE. In many instances, speeds will double.

Internet - Speed IncreasesCurrent Speed (Mbps)New Speed (Mbps)Monthly
Allowance* (GB)
15.0 Mbps50.0 Mbps250 GB
To take advantage of this upgrade, simply power cycle your modem.
Unplug the power cord from your modem for one minute.
Reconnect the power cord.
Restart your computer and enjoy!

We hope you enjoy this free speed upgrade. Please call us at 844-790-7477 if you have any questions.

Thank you for choosing Suddenlink.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"The Voice" Season 7 - Final 4 Predictions

Most of my predictions for the 12 playoff contestants are spot on. I'm happy that most agree with these are the best right now. See my previous post "The Voice Winner Predictions before live playoffs"

OK. Here's my predictions for the final 4 from each team and "The Voice" 2014 Season 7 ultimate winner. This may be too early for the ultimate winner prediction, but here goes,

Team Blake: Craig Wayne Boyd
Team Adam:  Damien
Team Gwen:  Taylor John Williams
Team Pharrell : Luke Wade

I really like Luke and Craig they both have a very commanding stage presence. But whether they win or not depends on the song selection. But my bets are on the young "Taylor John" he seems very poise, talented and surprisingly haunting. So I think depends on how well Taylor handles his stage presence and song choice, he seems to win this season.

So my prediction: Team Gwen : Taylor John Williams to win the ultimate "The Voice" Season 7

Friday, October 24, 2014

"The Voice" Season 7 - Winner Predictions (Before live playoffs)

This years The Voice Season 7, there's no clear cut winners so far. I'm not exactly sure which contestant is the front runner from each team. The talent pool is not really good compared to first couple of seasons.

But, here you go. Some of my predictions for the possible winners,

I feel like Team Pharrell got some of better contestants, next Team Adam. But there's still the "Steals" available so this possibly make some team dynamics changed.

My predictions for the live playoffs,

Team Pharrell: Luke Wade, Elyjuh

Team Adam: Damien, Chris Jamison

Team Gwen: Taylor Jhon

Team Blake: James David, Griffin

Monday, August 11, 2014

Amex (American Express) get $20 back after you spend $40 or more at (deal ends on August 31, 2014)

First you need to add/enroll your Amex credit card for the payments. Then simply buy something worth of $40 or more from

Enjoy the deal till is valid by August 31, 2014

AAA Texas New Member Admission Fee Discount/Coupon

I recently purchased the AAA Texas  Classic membership for my cross-country drive from College Station to Wyoming. The membership for the classic is about $52 plus $20 for a new member admission fee.

If you are purchasing a new membership from AAA Texas, remember to give them a call first and check whether they can waive the new member admission fee. I was able to get a waiver for the new member fee and for automatic renewal they reduce another $4.

Its always good to ask before you buy online :) Enjoy.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

NFL Preseason and Regular Season Free Streaming Links

Wizwig TV got several links live for NFL preseason and regular season games.

Here's the link 

If you are a Johnny Football fan, should be excited about the start of this preseason. Fingers crossed tonight with Browns V Lions

Monday, July 28, 2014

Acrobat SDK Plug-in Development: How to extract all the terms from the PDF document and create an index (COS Dictionary)

This code snippet will explain how to extract all the terms from a PDF document and then create a COS dictionary (similar to Java HashMap). You can use this method to collect all the terms and their offset value and use these offset of each term for other purposes such as highlighting terms.

I assume that you've already know how to implement basic plug-in functionality using Acrobat SDK. The version of the SDK used in this code example is Acrobat XI SDK. I also assume following requirements,
ACCB1 void ACCB2 termExtractor()
	// try to get front PDF document 
	AVDoc avDoc = AVAppGetActiveDoc();

	//Display words of the pdf file. 
	PDDoc currentPDDoc =AVDocGetPDDoc(avDoc);
	AVPageView currentPageView = AVDocGetPageView (avDoc);
	ASInt32 pageNum = AVPageViewGetPageNum(currentPageView);

	//Create a PDWordFinderConfigRec object;
	PDWordFinderConfigRec pConfig;
	//Set the DWordFinderConfigRec object's attributes
	memset(&pConfig, 0, sizeof(PDWordFinderConfigRec));
	pConfig.recSize = sizeof(PDWordFinderConfigRec);
	pConfig.ignoreCharGaps = true;
	pConfig.ignoreLineGaps = true;
	pConfig.noAnnots = true;
	pConfig.noEncodingGuess = true;

	//Create a PDWordFinder object
	PDWordFinder pdWordFinder = PDDocCreateWordFinderEx(currentPDDoc, WF_LATEST_VERSION, false, &pConfig);

	// Acquire all the terms inside the PDF page. 
	ASInt32 numWords;
	PDWord wordInfo;
	PDWord *pXYSortTable;
	PDWordFinderAcquireWordList(pdWordFinder, pageNum,&wordInfo, &pXYSortTable, NULL, &nWords);

	// Create COS Dictionary to keep track of all the words and their offset. 
	CosDoc cd;
	CosObj Dict;
	cd = PDDocGetCosDoc(currentPDDoc);
	Dict = CosNewDict(cd,false,nWords); 
	PDWord pdNWord = PDWordFinderGetNthWord(pdWordFinder, nWordCounter );
        for(int nWordCounter = 0; nWordCounter < nWords; nWordCounter++)
		// Get the word as a string
		char stringBuffer[125];
		PDWordGetString (pdNWord, stringBuffer, sizeof(stringBuffer));
		pdfCorpus << stringBuffer;
		// Add each term into COS Dictionary to use it later with highlighting method
		// Offset is the location of each term in the document. First term offset is 0 and next term is 1 etc. 
		bool keyExist = CosDictKnown(Dict,ASAtomFromString(stringBuffer));
		if( keyExist == true) // To-do: Duplicate term
			// To-do: catch duplilcates
		else // new term
			CosDictPut(Dict,ASAtomFromString(stringBuffer), CosNewInteger(cd,false,nWordCounter)); 

Acrobat SDK Plug-in Development: How to create Text Highlight

This code snippet will explain how to create text highlight plug-in using Acrobat SDK. I assume that you've already know how to implement basic plug-in functionality using Acrobat SDK. The version of the SDK used in this code example is Acrobat XI SDK. I also assume following requirements,
  • Read PDF 32000-1:2008, “Text Markup Annotations”, for further information
  • There already exist a COS Dictionary with all the terms in the PDF document. COS dictionary is similar to a Java HashMap. It stores <Key,Value> pairs and in this case <term,offset> values.
  • Offset of a term is the index inside the PDF document. As an example, first term of the PDF document starts with 0, and next 1 so on. 
  • You can use PDWordFinderAcquireWordList() method to get the total word list and then use a loop to create the CosObj Dic. Read my previous post about how to extract terms from PDF and create COS Dictionary
void highlightText()
 // There is a term "explosive" in the Cos Dictionary Dict  and get its offset
 CosObj offset = CosDictGet(Dict,ASAtomFromString("explosive"));
 //Create Highlight HliteEntry object to keep track of the offset (start index)
 //and the length which is how many terms to highlight. 
 HiliteEntry hilite;
 hilite.offset = CosIntegerValue(offset); 
 hilite.length = 1;

 AVDoc currentAVDoc = AVAppGetActiveDoc();
 PDDoc currentPDDoc = AVDocGetPDDoc(currentAVDoc);
 AVPageView currentPageView = AVDocGetPageView(currentAVDoc); 
 ASInt32 pageNum = AVPageViewGetPageNum(currentPageView);
 PDEElement pdeElement;
 ASFixedRect boundingRect; // bounding rectangle of the term
 PDPage pdPage = PDDocAcquirePage (currentPDDoc, pageNum);
 PDAnnot pdAnnot;
 // Set the color you want to highlight your text
 PDColorValueRec red; = PDDeviceRGB;
 red.value[0] = ASInt32ToFixed(1); 
 red.value[1] = 0; 
 red.value[2] = 0; 

 // highlight 
 AVPageViewSetColor(currentPageView, &red); 
 PDTextSelect textSelection = PDTextSelectCreateWordHilite(pdPage,&hilite, 1);

 AVDocSetSelection(currentAVDoc, ASAtomFromString("Text"),(void *)textSelection, true);
 AVDocShowSelection (currentAVDoc);
 // make text selection and get the bounding rectangle of the selection. 
 PDTextSelect selectedText = static_cast(AVDocGetSelection(currentAVDoc));
 // use the bounding rectangle to create a highlight annotation QuadPoints
 // and bounding rectangle Cos objects. We need these 2 to create highlight type. 
 CosObj ArrayObj, RecObj;
 CosDoc cd = PDDocGetCosDoc(currentPDDoc);
 CosObj cosPage = PDPageGetCosObj(pdPage); 
 ArrayObj = CosNewArray(cd,false,8);
 CosArrayPut(ArrayObj,0,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.right));
 CosArrayPut(ArrayObj,1,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.bottom));
 CosArrayPut(ArrayObj,2,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.left));
 CosArrayPut(ArrayObj,3,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.bottom));
 CosArrayPut(ArrayObj,4,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.right));
 CosArrayPut(ArrayObj,6,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.left));
 // Now create bounding rectangle points
 RecObj = CosNewArray(cd,false,4);
 CosArrayPut(RecObj,0,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.left));
 CosArrayPut(RecObj,1,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.right));
 CosArrayPut(RecObj,2,CosNewFixed(cd,false, boundingRect.bottom));

// These are the properties to set in order to create a text highlight
// PDF 32000-1:2008, “Text Markup Annotations”, Table 164 and Table 179
 CosObj cosDict = CosNewDict(cd, true, 4);
 CosDictPutKeyString(cosDict, "Subtype", CosNewNameFromString(cd, false, "Highlight"));
 CosDictPutKeyString(cosDict, "QuadPoints",ArrayObj);
 CosDictPutKeyString(cosDict, "Rect", RecObj);
 pdAnnot = PDAnnotFromCosObj(cosDict);
 PDAnnotSetColor(pdAnnot, &red);
 AVPageViewDrawNow (currentPageView);
 PDPageRelease (pdPage); 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness - Walk through : LEVEL 13: THE HALL OF SEASONS : How to go past Red Ghost!

Yeah, I found my summer time fun, another game like Indiana Jones Infernal Machine. Time to cross out another one from my bucket list. This is one of older version from Tomb Raider game series, but it simply reminds me the good old days of simple 3D graphics and first-person shooter style. 

If you are stuck in the Level 13: The Hall of Seasons with the Red Ghost, and you want to know how to beat it and grab the First Obscura Painting, heres a simple walk-through. I took part of the description from Stella's Tomb Raider page.

RED GHOST/BROTHER OBSCURA: The goal is to grab the FIRST OBSCURA PAINTING from the hands of the statue that's holding it, but the ghostly guardian is not going to give up his treasure easily. If he so much as touches Lara, her health drains away. To further complicate the process, the painting moves randomly from statue to statue. (It glows blue so you can tell where it is.) Also, you can't take the painting unless the ghost is stunned. If you try, the painting will just move to another statue. So you'll need to shoot at the ghost until it stops moving, which only lasts for a few seconds. During that brief window you must run to the blue light and grab the painting.

The ghost can't harm Lara while she's crouching, so immediately duck and start crawling around for the pick-ups. You'll find a large health pack, 2 boxes of V-Packer shells and the V-PACKER SHOTGUN (if you don't already have it) along one edge of the room and 2 more boxes of shells on the other side.

Now figure out which of the standing statues has the blue light. Crawl toward it but don't get too close or the painting will move to a different statue. Remember to save before this step if you find a statue with blue light. Try the closest position to the statue while crawling few times. Stay bit side to the center of the statue with blue light. Now save one more time. Now get health boost (click tab, while holding crouch position). Also get the draw the shotgun. I found that the statue to the left of the main statue (or the front statue when Laura comes to the room) is the best position.  Once you're in position, save your game. When the ghost moves away, stand up, draw the shotgun and crouch down again. (Here is a screenshot of Lara in one of the spots that worked for me. If you need an extra visual aid, check out Jeff's excellent YouTube video, which shows the whole sequence.)

Shoot at the ghost and then duck when it swoops toward Lara, but don't put away that shotgun. Wait till it moves again from back to front side of you. Also Red Ghost moves bit further away from you sometimes. So fire during this time because when stunned you have more time to run and collect the painting. Eventually it will be stunned (shotgun got lots of ammo's, make sure empty rounds and reload when ghost is behind). It's a bit difficult to tell when the ghost is stunned, but if you look closely, you'll notice that when it's not stunned, it sort of leans toward Lara and inches forward before swooping toward her. it takes about 22 shotgun ammo's to stunned the ghost. When it's stunned, it just hangs in the air motionless for a few seconds. When this happens, quickly holster your gun (otherwise Lara can't run straight) and run toward the statue with the blue light. As soon as you see the Hand icon, press Action to grab the painting. Here it may help to approach the statue slightly off center and grab the painting from the side. Then crouch again, check your inventory to make sure you have the FIRST OBSCURA PAINTING and save your game. (Whew!)

Monday, June 16, 2014

You know that Kerala Matta Rice is somewhat similar to Sri Lankan Red Rice?

I recently found that the Kerala Matta rice is pretty similar to Sri Lankan variety of Red Rice. Specially if you are in this part of the world (North America), its pretty hard and expensive to find the Sri Lankan red rice unless you have an Indian grocery store close by with a big Sri Lankan section. After moving from Austin, Texas to College Station, I found that its not easy to get the red rice I used to eat anymore. Luckily, one of Indian store in town "Bryan Mini Mart" got the Rose Matta which is pretty similar in-taste to samba red rice. There's couple of different versions of Matta, "Rose Matta" and "Kerala Kuthari Matta" which I think very similar in-taste and in pinkish color.

Matta rice and kerala red rice are same. Brown rice is unmilled, has only the husk removed, and retains 100% of the bran. Red rice is semi-milled, with the husk and some of the bran removed. White rice is milled and polished to remove the husk and all the bran. Unlike white rices, brown/red rices are high in fibre, have a wonderful array of nutrients, and possess properties that help control blood lipids, and blood sugar levels. 
Similar to brown rice, red rice has undergone minimal processing, still has its bran layers and takes 45-50 minutes to cook. Brown and red rice are somewhat chewy, fiber-rich and chock-full of B vitamins— thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Red rice also has a nutty flavor, but many find it more savory than brown rice.

The caloric density for red rice is similar to that of brown rice, so one-third cup has about 80 calories. Whether your rice is brown, red or white, one-third cup counts as one diabetic exchange—the amount of a particular food that contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate such as 5 crackers, a slice of bread or 3 cups of salad greens. But high-fiber, high-carbohydrate foods like brown and red rice have been shown to improve blood lipids, blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (Hemoglobin A1C), a longer-term measure of blood sugar control. Both have more to offer than their white rice counterpart.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch Coupons (San Antonio, Texas) - Save up to $16 for 8 people.

You need only 1 coupon for up to 8 tickets. Give a copy of the coupon to the ticket gate, and get about $16 off from the ticket price. Current Natural Bridge wildlife ranch tickets costs about $19 per adult, $17 per senior, and $10 per child. 

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Google Voice support for Talkatone is ending on May 15, 2014. Google Hangout App for free WIFI Calling

As you may already know, Google is ending support for XMPP based calling with Google Voice. What this means to you is It simply shuts off access to Google Voice via third-party XMPP clients. Your Google Voice phone number will continue to work just like it does today. The service isn't shutting down, so creating rumors about numbers being canceled or porting refused is preposterous.

Basically my free over the wifi Talkatone is about to end. I’m one of a few hundred thousand customers enjoying free wifi calling through Talkatone. But on May 15th, Google is dropping support for the XMPP protocol that makes this work.

So, what other options you have? Talkatone is asking for you to sign up for a paid subscription phone service. Anything else they are not saying? Yeah, While Google Voice and Hangouts will still offer free calling :)

It seems like Google Voice, free VoIP phone-call, texting, voicemail and voicemail-transcription product will soon merge with the Google+ Hangouts apps on both iOS and Android leading to the complete elimination of Google Voice as a separate service.

I recently tried the Google Hangout iOS app, and it works perfectly for my purpose, just an alternative for my poor 250 minutes AT&T Go-phone service.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quick and easy way to write a research paper publication

First prepare the figures.
Be sure that everything has been done n=3 or more, and be sure to do the statistical analysis (t-tests to compare 2 things that have roughly Gaussian distributions, Mann-Whitney otherwise; use ANOVA if there are three or more things you’re comparing). Something is different if p < 0.05, otherwise its not a statistically significant difference. And remember to put size bars on all the micrographs.

Then sit down with each figure and write a results paragraph for it
Results section – you can write a new paragraph every 5 minutes.  If you have writer’s block, sit down with the figures, and have someone take dictation as you answer the following questions for each figure.
The following set of sentences allows one to easily create a typical results paragraph:

  • what we wanted to find out
    “To determine if extracellular cAMP regulates.......”
  • what has been done before
    “We previously observed that ...”  (these first 2 sentences can be swapped) 
  • how we did the experiment (don’t give details, as these are in the Methods)
    “Control and xyzA cells were starved for six hours and cAMP was added....” 
  • what we saw, starting with a connection between the control and what has been done previously (if applicable)
    “As previously observed, wild-type cells showed a significant decrease in …” 
  • and then compare the mutant or treatment to the control
    “Unlike control cells, the xyzA cells showed no cAMP-induced....”
    “Compared to the control, cAMP caused a significant increase in …” 
  • what this means
    “The data suggest that XyzA is required for ....”
Congrats, you’ve done a paragraph for your first figure!  Now repeat for all the other figures.

Then for each figure do a methods section. 
Pretend you are writing a lab protocol for someone – list exact composition/ concentration, volume, time, temperature if not room temp to do that experiment.  If there is a published paper that has the procedure in it, or you did something following the manufacturer’s directions, just reference the paper or write “..was done following the manufacturer’s directions.” 

The introduction will now be easy to write.
Print out the Results and Methods sections.  Get a red pen and circle all the big words or unusual techniques, and write a simple explanation for someone not in the field.
So for a paper showing that filamin is required for normal circadian rhythms in Dictyostelium, I’d write 3 paragraphs, adding references for pretty much each sentence or statement
  • what’s known about Dictyostelium
  • what’s known about circadian rhythms, and what’s known about them in Dicty
  • what’s known about filamin in general, and what’s known about its function in circadian rhythms and in Dicty
Depending on how things sound, you can swap the paragraphs around; start with the broadest/ most important topic and narrow things down.  So maybe you could start with circadian rhythms, then Dicty, then circad rhythms in dicty, and then filamin.

The Discussion is also easy.
Gather the ‘What this means sentences from the Results and glop them together for the first Discussion paragraph. 
  • “In this report, we have shown that ……”
  • Now start going through that first paragraph of the Discussion, connecting each of the sentences to other things in the literature
At some point do the figure legends, and you’re pretty much done!

This is an extract from Professor Richard Gomer's how to write a paper. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Skip the Line with NEW Chef-Made Bowls at Genghis Grill! - Coupon Code

The Voice - Season 6 - Winner Predictions

its time for my predictions for the The Voice Season 6. Just before the live performances of the best of 12. Here's the current team standings,

Team Shakira: Tess Boyer, Kristen Merlin, Dani Moz
Team Adam: Delvin Choice, Christina Grimmie, Kat Perkins
Team Usher: Josh Kaufman, Bria Kelly, T.J Wilkins,
Team Blake: Sisaundra Lewis, Audra McLaughlin, Jake Worthington

This year the teams to beat are Team Usher and Team Blake.

Here's my final three

Josh Kaufman, Sisaundra lewis, Delvin Choice

I'm actually rooting for Josh Kaufman but my gut feeling says Sisaundra Lewis gonna win this years Season 6 The Voice.