Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prepare to analyze a huge blogger blog with Nvivo 8

(Finally got all files imported.  Please check update posting on how I got the entire blog and more imported to Nvivo 8 SP4.)

This problem I am trying to tackle now... and since yesterday....

How do you analyze a blog with over 1500 postings with Nvivo 8 SP4? (A price I have to pay for having this congenital disease called verbal diarrhea... 8-X lol)

After a whole lot of trial and errors, this is what I have gotten so far these past two days.

Gathering all documents on my hard drive:

I downloaded the entire Ratology Reloaded blog using HTTrack.  Apparently, one can also use Adobe professional to convert the entire site into Pdf files directly; yet, since I already had the entire site downloaded and I didn't want to convert all external links into Pdf files, I didn't go through with the Adobe professional to download the whole site.

Converting documents to word/text files: 

Before you want to analyze anything with Nvivo, you need to be able to get the info in.  If there were fewer number of postings, such as something like 100, now, I would consider simply copying and pasting.  Yet, since I have 1500 something postings, I have to find ways to batch process documents into something Nvivo could handle.

Nvivo 8 doesn't support html files.  Thus, you either have to find a program to convert html files directly into word documents or you have to find a program to convert html files into Pdf then into word documents.

Partially having to do with the fact that I couldn't really find a free/trial software that allow me to batch file conversion from HTML to word and retain the pictures, I had converted all files from html to Pdf using the batch conversion option of Adobe professional last night.... 

Unfortunately, this morning, I found out that... oops... I had problems importing pdfs into Nvivo while, apparently, Nvivo 8 doesn't quite handle Pdf all that well.  Most importantly, it would be crazy to import all 1500 pdf files into Nvivo anyways... duh... lol

What I have accomplished so far is to test out various programs (trial version) that allows for batch conversion of files from Pdf to word.  Although others might have their preferences, I find my preference to be DeskUnPDF.... as I am typing out this... file conversion in process in the background.

Clean up the files

Some of stuffs on the files could have been cleaned up in batch at html phase.... which I would recommend you to do.

However, I didn't come to the realization until after all files have been converted into Pdfs.  These might include info such as the title of the blog and other stuffs that gets added by blogger and service providers alike automatically to your post.  Programs such as dreamweaver would allow you to edit out most of them out in batch.

In my scenario, I would have to find a software that allows me to batch edit things out of the word documents... including the notes added by DeskUnPdf to show that the file conversion was conducted using their trial version... 8-O

To Be Continued... since still in the conversion phase.

Batch conversion from PDF to Word for Nvivo 8

One task involved in using Nvivo 8 to take a look at the Ratology Reloaded blog is... document preparation... including... file conversion.

Following is my experience so far with some of the software programs that performs batch conversion from PDF to Word:

DeskUnPDF: My favorite so far is DeskUnPDF.  It retains some of the format and pictures as well. Although it concerts files with Chinese title, it doesn't convert Chinese.

For trial version, it has the restriction of converting only the first 3 pages or so.   Two things really annoying about its trial is that... it adds texts to the end of your document to remind you that the file conversion was conducted using their trial software.

Also, the trial version only allow you to convert 30 files in one setting and it takes forever to close out all the Pdf files after the conversion process is done.  Every time I tried to close all 30 files together, the program would simply hang there for some time as if it has crashed.... and... it moves... actually thought the program crashed for the first few times... After a while, you know.. well.. so it stops...... so it stops... 8-O lol

However, much lighter a file to be imported into NVivo 8 and hasn't crashed the Nvivo 8 yet during the import process.  This is why I decided to stay with this program.

Some other programs I have tested out as well.  Before DeskUnPdf, I actually was debating between PDF Ripper and Convert Doc... until I realize that files converted through convert Doc crashes Nvivo often during file import process:

PDF Ripper: The trial version gives you 15 days and it also allows you to specify an entire folder to convert.  It only allow you to convert files into rtf format but not word format.  In addition, one big problem I have with this program... but maybe be no problem to others.. the software doesn't recognize foreign characters such as Chinese.  When conducting batch processing by specifying a folder to convert, the program stalls when it encounters a file with Chinese file name.  Even if you change the file name to English, the converted file would still be all scrambled...

Convert Doc: Convert Doc works and tries its best to retain the layout when converting PDF to Word.  Unfortunately, too many graphics here and there.  In terms of HTML to other file types, have not been able to get it to work.  When trying to import the converted files into Nvivo 8 SP4, at least 3 out of 4 trials failed... and crashes the program.

PDFtoWord: For the trial version, you could only convert 1 file at a time with the max of 5 pages.  The resulting file is huge... 19 mb for a 2 page document with 2 pictures or so.  I won't recommend it.

AAA PDF to Word Converter 2.0: Installed the software but it wouldn't even launch.

123File Converter: Maybe it is file the trial version, the batch processing option either can't be found or doesn't exist.

A-PDF Word to PDF: Doesn't run on 64 bit windows.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A problem concerning exporting blogger blog to Nvivo

This problem I am trying to tackle now...

How do you export a blog and analyze it with Nvivo?

Nvivo 8 on Windows 7 problem?

Encountered a problem loading Nvivo 8 SP4 on windows 7 x64 earlier...

I tried twice and still showing me error loading kind of thing...

So, I right-click to "Run as administrator."

Problem solved.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Embed youtube clip in flash and Captivate 5 with Actionscript3

Was trying really hard to embed youtube in Captivate 5 with Actionscript 3... since Adobe got rid of actionscript 2 in Captivate 5....

Big issues for people who have been doing development using Actionscript 2 all these years.

One thing I could tell you is that... the simple script I used worked for embedding youtube clip in flash and, after embedding the flash file as an animation in Captivate 5, it also works in the library window... 8-O lol

Although the final product DOES allow me to see the clip stream for 3-5 seconds.. sort of like ships passing in the sea.... following is the product of my defective trial... (8-O lol).

Would like to share with you the simple codes etc I used... but... wait for another day... time for beauty sleep... especially when it was yesterday when, thinking about it, I really had to do something with it...

Since captivate 5 is still relatively new, I will just wait till them experts to cook up some resolutions since thinking too much might speed up my aging proces! lol

Seriously... experts... help!

Update: FYI-- Please check postings in the following Adobe Forum for a potential solution: http://forums.adobe.com/message/3147130. Unfortunately, no longer do I have a copy of the software on this machine; thus, I haven't gotten the chance to try it out myself. Hope the solution provided in the forum will help solving your problem.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Youtube Video Editor

Trying out the Youtube Video Editing function as I am watching TV...

It works... including patching your youtube clips together, trimming the clips and even adding some simple transition effects...

Assign a file name and click publish...

Except for... after applying transitions, if you try to preview the clip you are making, you might get the following error message...

DivXLand Media Subtitler caption software tutorial and problem

I did a simple tutorial for DivXLand Media Subtitler caption software.... also published activate notes to go along with it.

It took me 2 seconds to got the software going but it took me almost the whole day to get this tutorial up... mainly due to technical problems related to the video file at the end of the tutorial...

Could have gotten it done better... but... enough work for the day... time for TV... 8-O lol

The one DivdXLand related issue was that sometimes the "preview" function of the software doesn't work.  You might try to preview it but it simply doesn't show.  One way to workaround it is to close out both the caption and the video files and reload both.  This should solve the problem.

And, by the way, yes, this software works on Windows 7 64 bit.

(I know I am an expert in crashing things... but... with a clip or two shorter than 30 seconds and transcriptions these many words.... that's some special talent.. I guess... 8-O lol)

Youtube caption technology again

Just updated the captions for the clip:

The caption is much more synchronous now with the speech...

Not that I spent another night fine-tuning it...

Rather, I spent a few minutes recreated an srt file using a caption shareware "DivXLand Media Subtitler" and replaced the new file with the old caption file I used for this clip on youtube.

Easy to use GUI interface, the fact that I already had all transcription ready made the process even faster because I could simply import the transcription.... shortening hours of work (literally) into minutes.

Since I have been playing with captivate, I did come up with a tutorial for the DivXLand Media Subtitler software.

Following is the updated caption file downloaded from youtube:

You must be listenting right.

It is very bright here

But where you are is too dark.

I can't see you.

Please don't hide where I can't see.

Come to where I can see.

Please allow me

to see you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Youtube caption technology

Tried out the youtube caption technology recently...

Theoretically, if you are lucky and the video is in English, it seems like you could simply upload the captions. According to Youtube, they has implemented some sort of voice recognition technology to synchronize the texts with the voice.

Unfortunately, the clip I selected was in Korean and yours truly have to prepare a text file containing things like the following. By the way, please bear with this Taiwanese English translation. To be honest, I don't know a word he said... translated based on the Chinese translation I found from a different clip 8-O

You listenting?!
It is very bright here
But where you are is too dark.
 I can't see you.
Please don't hide where I can't see.
Come to where I can see.
Please allow me
to see you.

When upload it using the type specifying "caption file (include time code)".

A pain in the back task (and pain in the back is a very very bad thing...)

Despite of the imperfection, I finally gave it up... because more details you have to go into than getting a dissertation done... (should be ideas... ideas... 8-O lol oops...)

I also put up with this error message that kept on showing up after the file is loaded since the captions seem to sort of work anyways. (8-O lol)

Error message in English
Error message in Traditional Chinese
Granted, there is a whole universe of caption software all over the planet.. 

What good do I see in the Youtube caption technology?

First, it is free.

Second, it is platform independent... for instance, the clip below was the "usability testing" I did making my mom using the ubuntu machine... since she will be the person using the machine...

Back to the topic, not only did I edited the clip using da ubuntu machine, I also completed the caption for this clip using the same machine...

What I meant by... platform independence... as indicated by the conversations over grandma on ubuntu.... with the music of garbage pick-up truck downstairs in the background.... 8-O lol

Third, it is independent of the file type (e.g., .fla, .avi, .gt)... as long as it is "youtube-compatible". 8-O lol

The process is also simple... after you get the caption or transcription ready, which, of course is one huge task, it involves nothing more than a bit of clickings.... clicking to upload the caption file and to delete the old caption file in case you want to upload a new file.

The cons?

I guess... more user friendly kinda GUI interface will eventually be rolled out.

Also... a tip for you... after the caption file is uploaded, if you want to see whether the updated caption file is working fine, remember to refresh the browser because the video on the page is cached and your changes won't be shown this way.  Cache or not cache?  A trade-off I guess... Yet, so what?  Didn't your teacher tell you to refresh the browser to see the updates every time you change the codes in your, say, HTML 101 class? 8-O lol

Educational implications?  For one thing... instructional supplement... I guess...

Monday, September 20, 2010

How to make Google Doc folders and files public to the web

In the following clip, I created a folder titled "Ratology: Down with Meds" and made the folder "Public to the web"

Hope this tutorial helps!

Gigabit network... how I miss thee...

Been trying to download some files to clean up my account... no more than 160 MB .... and it's been over an hour....

So I thought...

Gigabit network... how I miss thee... (of course, above and beyond the people...) lol

(actually, only 35 mb took me over 2 hours...) 8-O

Blank page for Google docs shared folders - public to the web?

Haven't touched google docs for a while...

If I remember correctly, months if not years back, google did not allow users to upload pdf files.

When I took the blog down in Feb. 2008, blogger still did not have the option of "Exporting" your entire blog.  At that point, all that I could do was to save my postings by month and in html format... and later, converted them to pdf files.

I had tried to upload the files to other free file sharing places... unfortunately, that service requires the user to log back in something like every few weeks or months... By the time I remembered, the account was deactivated and them files cleaned out.

This is why I was so excited when finding out google docs allows people to share and work with pdf files.... although... only had the chance to test out the sharing part.

So, I created a folder in google docs and uploaded my old blog Ratology: Down with Meds, with them pdf files nicely filed into subfolders (e.g., 1/2007-6/2007).

Since the intention is to share the docs back to the public, I decided to set the viewing level of security to the most relaxed level... "Public to the Web."

However, there is no "apply it to all subfolders and files" option, as a result, I had to apply it to all subfolders and files and make them all "Public to the web."

So all things went well and fine when using the browser that I am logged in to... shared folders, subfolders and all files loading and showing.

So perfect that it almost felt like paradise...

Then, I used IE to test it out... trying to load the main folder of "Ratology."

Oops... nothing but a blank page.

I tested out using Firefox... same thing.

So, with IE, I decided to log in to another google account of mine, and, found all things fine, and, it also went fine when loading the url into yet a different google account using Firefox.

I, therefore, came up with the conclusion... regardless of the browsers, if you would to load a URL for shared folders, you will have to log in to a google account; otherwise, you would be staring into a blank page.

However, the next question came to my mind was, "What about individual files?"

I logged myself out of google for all three browsers and tried to load the url for one of the shared files and it worked fine for all browsers.

Thus, until the time when google get it fixed... if people can't see the Google Docs folders that you made public to the web, tell them to log in to a google account and it should work...

Strip with real

Not I go stripping for real.... especially when... ain't like I am wearing all that much in this picture anyways... 8-O lol


Strip with real... or stripping music off video files using real converter...

For what purpose?

Since no intent for self-incrimination... well... with this skill, you can download all of the videos I uploaded to my youtube account, strip the sound tracks off all my videos and put them on whatever player you have..

Except- I have no idea why anyone would do a thing like this.... unless...

8-O lol

Sunday, September 19, 2010

youtube bug? No "張根碩" or "장근석" only "Jang Keun Suk" 8-O

A strange bug I found on youtube...

I tried to create a new playlist using "張根碩" or "장근석"... neither worked... I had thought the create new playlist might had stopped working... until finding out... "Jang Keun Suk" worked.

No foreign characters in playlist?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Audacity 1.3.12 on Windows 7 x64

I tried to use the built-in sound recorder to record my voice these two days.  However, the sound level is really low and I could hardly hear my self calling myself あちまコンクリート (阿達媽konkuri) or あちまショト (阿達媽秀逗 or the head is short-circuited)...  (which might be God's will? 8-O lol)

Anyways, it would be a bit too boring for me to be listening to myself saying things like... "testing, testing, 1 2 3..."

Ended up, I downloaded Audacity 1.3.12 beta and the program seems to be doing fine on Windows 7 x64.  In addition, the Lame MP3 Encoder also works fine.

After I exported the recording into files of .wav and .mp3 format, I use the Windows Live Movie Maker to make a simple movie file embedding either of the audio files and uploaded these files up to youtube... using the upload function provided by Windows Live Movie maker.  All things went smoothly as well.

Audio in .wav format (file size: 378kb)

Audio file in .mp3 format (file size: 35.5 kb)

Guess... now I have the audacity to say that... even あちまコンクリート (阿達媽konkuri) might have some utility to it?!  A lesson I learned after listening to me repeating this same phrase over and over again.... 8-O lol

Also, I was replaying and rerecording the same phrase so many times that... at some point, my mom made a point of telling me.... "You are learning Japanese, right?  You know you are not supposed to call people... あちまコンクリート (阿達媽konkuri)?!"  8-O lol

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Them screenshots...

One thing funny about them screenshots I took from this ubuntu machine is that...

Chinese everywhere.... because this install... is Chinese.

Funny enough, since I hardly use any OS in Chinese... not to mention ubuntu.... sort of really awkward at times....

Like... this stupid question I had earlier today....

The 影片 directory is equivalent to the "my video" directory...

Should I put down the path as ./影片 or ./my video? (the answer, is, apparently, ./影片... 8-O lol)

On a second thought... well, the texts are in English but pictures in Chinese only...  Seems to be failing on the usability kinda department...

Ended up, I went ahead and took some screenshots using the English version of ubuntu to go with those of the Chinese version.

Converting ogg file to avi in ubuntu

The process of converting an ogg file to an avi file is fairly simple... although you do need to use command line syntax...

To launch the terminal in Gnome...

Launch terminal in Chinese version of ubuntu.

Launch terminal in English version of ubuntu.

Unless you already have mencoder installed, otherwise, the first thing you have to do is to install mencoder after launching the terminal.

You need to type the following "sudo apt-get install mencoder" after the command prompt.  After you press the enter key, a second line will appear asking for your password: "[sudo] password for chang:".  After you type in the administrative password, the installation process will begin.


Second, you will need to figure out where the ogg file is located and how to switch to that directory.

To figure out where you are currently, you can type in the "pwd" command and press enter key...

chang@chang-desktop:~$ pwd

In the above two lines, I typed in "pwd" after the command prompt.  After hitting the "enter" key, the second line appears "/home/chang"-- telling me that this is the directory I am in.  You could also type in the "ls" command to list all items in the "chang" director.

In this scenario, the "usable" movie file in ogg format is located under 影片 (my video) directory.  Since I know that the "影片" directory is a subdirectory of "chang," when writing the command line code to run mencoder, I could either switch to the "影片" directory first or include the path info in the command line as well.

By the way, "usable" in the command line is the file name of my ogg file and "usability.avi" is the file name I assigned to the output file.   In other words, you can replace usable with the name of your file and "usability.avi" with whatever output file name you desire.

Switching to the "影片" directory before running the command to convert the file.
You can also provide the path info directly.

If you encounter messages like the following and you are sure that the file name is correct, you might have provided the wrong path:

chang@chang-desktop:~$ mencoder ./usable -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -o usability.avi
MEncoder SVN-r1.0~rc3+svn20090426-4.4.3 (C) 2000-2009 MPlayer Team
File not found: './usable'
Failed to open ./usable.
Cannot open file/device.


Otherwise, if you see text like the following going on and on and on.... congrats!  Conversion might have been in process... and... good luck!

Hope this helps!

P.S. You can skip texts from this point on... this is but an example of the log..

chang@chang-desktop:~$ mencoder ./影片/usable -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -o output_movie.avi

MEncoder SVN-r1.0~rc3+svn20090426-4.4.3 (C) 2000-2009 MPlayer Team
success: format: 0  data: 0x0 - 0x3710b7c
[Ogg] stream 0: video (Theora v3.2.1), -vid 0
[Ogg] stream 1: audio (Vorbis), -aid 0
Ogg file format detected.
VIDEO:  [theo]  720x576  24bpp  15.000 fps    0.0 kbps ( 0.0 kbyte/s)
[V] filefmt:18  fourcc:0x6F656874  size:720x576  fps:15.000  ftime:=0.0667

My first video production -- on Linux: "ubuntu usability testing"

I decided to do a simple usability testing... involving my mom and ubuntu...

I set up this machine for my mom cuz this guy could hardly move when running XP....  Therefore, I put ubuntu on it instead.

Then, as I was messing around on this ubuntu machine, I thought of puppy... I have always liked the baby blue color of the default puppy interface... at least that version I got...

So I thought... because it is so cute... it must be more usable for my mama.  (some logic here... 8-O lol)

Just before I wipe the machine out and put puppy on... I decided to do a "usability testing" on my mama using ubuntu...

End result: It worked perfect because I left only one icon on the desktop... all that she had to do is to turn on the computer, double-click on the Firefox icon, and, the Taiwanese stock market page of Yahoo will be loaded by default.  I was having some difficulties getting her to turn off the machine when trying to have her retest it again....  8-O lol

Regardless, the following really boring clip as the end product...

Step 1:

Importing the clips.  

When the camera is connected to the computer, you should see the pop-up window asking you which software program to use for further processing. 

If you select F-Spot, you should be presented with the next window.

Select the pictures to download... Chinese version.

Select the pictures to download... English version.

Once you selected the files you want to download, click "Copy."

When the process is done, you would see the window like the following...

Download complete window in Chinese.
Download complete window in English.

Editing the video 

I have used the PiTivi program to edit the video.  The process is straight forward... with the only trick... for reason known, on the desktop where I have installed the Chinese version of Ubuntu, to import video, you have to use the import icon that looks like a green cross.

However, when testing it out running the os directly from my usb drive using the thinkpad laptop, it did allow me to drag and drop the videos into the program...

The PiTiVi program that came with the ubuntu install.

Drag and drop videos into the PiTiVi program.

Drag and drop videos into the timeline in PiTiVi program.

Converting from .ogg file to avi file

Unfortunately, the output of the PiTIvi program is in ogg format.

After I uploaded the file to youtube, it would only play the sound but not the images.

As a result, I had to use the mencoder program to convert the .ogg file into an avi file.... after a lot of trial and errors, it finally worked...

(Please see my other posting on how to use mencoder to convert .ogg file to avi.)

Change Ubuntu Screen resolution

I was thinking of switching from ubuntu to puppy because I like the baby blue desktop of puppy....

Then, I thought... I am really あちまショト (阿達媽秀逗 or the head is short-circuited)...

Did some simple usability testing yesterday... asking my mom, the designated user of this computer, whether it is simple enough for her...

She thought it is fine...

Yet, on a second thought, at resolution this high, it might be more difficult for my mom to see and read things..

So, I decided to lower the resolution.

The process is simple and straight forward using the GUI interface:

The following screenshots are in traditional Chinese:

Click system and select preference. Choose "Screen" from the second level drop-down.

Screenshot on how to locate the monitor setting (Chinese Version).
Screenshot on how to locate the monitor setting (English Version).

This window will pop up...

The screen resolution window in Chinese version of ubuntu.

The screen resolution window in English version of ubuntu.

After you click on the current resolution (e.g., 1280x1024 (5:4)), you will get a list of all available resolutions in the dropdown.  I selected 1024x768 (4X3))

The screen resolution window in Chinese version of ubuntu.

The screen resolution window in English version of ubuntu.

And click Apply.

Another pop up would show up asking you whether you want to keep the setting.  In this scenario, I decided to keep the setting.

The confirmation window asking you whether you want to keep the new setting.
Chinese version.
The confirmation window asking you whether you want to keep the new setting.
English version.

After you close out the second pop up, the screen resolution window would still be open.  At this point, simply close out this window.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Canon PowerShot A570 IS: Battery always low?

I got this Canon PowerShot A570 is about 3 years ago.... Think about it... I've had this camera for all most as long as I become physically disabled... 8-O lol

Anyways, I don't know since when... the camera would start showing the "battery low" indicator even right after I put in two newly charged batteries.... something apparently a known issue...

Like everyone else encountering the same problem...

I started pondering whether it is the problem of the camera, the rechargeable batteries or the battery charger....

Gotten so fed up by it... I was even thinking about getting another camera...

Then, today, I decided to see whether I could google up some potential solution for this problem before I do anything drastic...

Somewhere over the web, I read that one fix for this problem is to take both batteries out and press down the power (ON/OFF)  button for 30 seconds to reset the camera. 

So I went ahead and tried it out...

Voila!  It worked...

So I took the camera out with me when I took my walk inside of the East Metro Mall....

It worked fine for a while and I was able to take quite a few pictures and video clips.

Then, it happened again...

I saw this big red message blinking on the screen again!

So, I took the batteries out and pressed down the power button for at least 30 seconds.... while continuing with my walk...

After I put the batteries back in again, the battery low message disappeared again....

Apparently, this is a fix, not a cure.... Yet, at least there is a fix... I guess...

In addition, sometimes I would simply take the batteries out and put them back in... or, put the same batteries into different slots.... Magically, many a time, the camera would start taking pictures again after showing me the black screen of "Please replace your batteries."

Hope it works for you!

Man... it is bad enough that I am あちまショト (阿達媽秀逗 or the head is short-circuited)... Why my camera as well? 8-O lol

By the way, after you put the batteries back in, make sure that the grey plastic piece with a round dot in the middle is pushed all the way back.  The same plastic piece and round dot you used to open the cover to get the batteries in and out.  I found it to be the problem at times.  After I pushed it all the way back or after it is securely closed, the camera was back to operate again. Updated 6/26/2012

Since I can't use my own Canon a570 is to take a picture of itself, I found a pix online to show you what I mean by the grey piece of plastic and da dot visually.
Don't don't know whether there is still anyone out there using Canon a570 is.  Something new I discovered these two days, a plausible alternative to fix the never-ending battery always low problem... Rubber Band. 8-O lol  8/18/2013

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don't track your own pageviews

I have been exploring the Stats function of blogger recently...

One thing I discovered is that... the "Don't track your own pageviews" function doesn't work... or... doesn't really work.

Or, it works sometimes and not others... 8-O lol

Well, it appears that... if you go to the main page of your blog, it appears to work.  However, if I click on internal links in my blog, they seem to be tracking still.

Apparently, as of Oct. 4th, 2010... the issue remains unsolved... for many of us..

A question I have after reading the linked page is...

What does Hammer Gatsby with mean? 8-O lol

China visit gone?

So I checked out the google stats again...

The recorded  visits from China could no longer be found for Technologies in Ratology though records for Ratology Reloaded remains... 8-O

Data is data.  Once captured... should simply be captured...

One conclusion I have is... something ain't quite kosher about the Stats function of blogger....

Visits from China disappeared: Records for today/yesterday. 
Visits from China disappeared... records of visits this week.

The records for visits from China are still here for Ratology Reloaded.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Visit from China again... 8-O

Earlier today, I posted Visitors from China?

Earlier today, after I got back from the doctor's visit, I checked out the stats again...

And... oops... got another visit from China today?! 8-O

So I thought... Maybe the google stats doesn't really work.....

That's why... even I specify to not track my own pageviews, sometimes after I visit some older posts, I would see it reflected in the stats.... As a result, when checking out the stats, I mostly ignore them visits from Taiwan... considering it my own visit...

Then, it occurred to me what I read earlier today...

Apparently, the Internet in Hong Kong, though part of China, is uncensored.

Would it have been a visit from Hong Kong--- though identified as a visit from China?

So I found a working proxy in Hong Kong and tested it out by...

First, loading blogger.com.... and it worked.

Second, I tried to load one or two of my postings such as "Visitors from China?"... and the pages loaded...

In addition, every time I load a page, I could refresh the stats page... and found the stats to be reflected immediately...

Ended up, coinciding with my page load... on the stats page, I also saw the number of visits from Hong Kong increasing all the way up to 3...

Apparently, Hong Kong is not identified as China here....

Then... yours paranoid delusional thought... OMG... could it be... somebody with some kind of administrative privilege.... or simply a bot of some kind... 8-O

Though... on a second though.... a blog with on 12 minus at least 3 visits today... even I wouldn't give a rat's ass about it... How would anyone else? 8-O

(Despite so... I went back to the screenshots I have taken and edited out my email address from the image... Time for my meds... I guess... 8-O lol)

(Questions about setting up the proxy? Check Set up a proxy with Firefox 3.6.9)

Google China?

When I first got on to the computer in Shanghai, I tried to google for info of some kind....

Interestingly, I found myself landed on Google Hong Kong.

Since my brother-in-law's sister lives in Hong Kong and she left the same day I arrived in Shanghai, I thought they might have changed the home page of the browser to Google Hong Kong.

So I simply went with google Kong Kong the entire time and never found there to be anything strange about it... until... just now....

Ended up, google had gotten rid of google China in March and redirected users to Google Hong Kong (A new approach to China: an update).... 8-O

From then on, google has been redirecting users in China to Google Hong Kong.

Apparently, google has been trying to do some more stuffs with the China Market... and have been pushing out music, translation and shopping related services (An update on China)... though... when trying to do a simple google search, you will realize that... what you clicked on is an image, linking to Google Hong Kong... not a textbox...

To experiences it yourself... click the following link to go to the google landing page in China.
(Come to face my lack of common sense... 不好意思... 8-X)

Visitors from China?

I love numbers.

Maybe one of the reason why I love numbers is that I have a legitimate outlet to exercise my abnormally over-active imagination... 

One thing about numbers is that... like everything else... you don't see what you don't see.  (Some run-on sentence, I guess...)

So I decided to explore the stats function provided by Blogger again...

Well, many hits from this and that countries... except for... lacking visits from Africa...

Then, it came to my attention....

I had visitors from China to 3 of my blogs not so often visited by myself somewhere between May and August 10th 2010...

Interesting and mysterious observation....

If blogspot is blocked and I really cannot access it in China, how does one get to these blogs from China?  To be more accurate, one could access my blog through a proxy... yet, with a proxy outside of China, the location of the visitor would be shown as the location of the proxy.... unless there is some fundamental flaw in my understand.... How could visits from China be recorded? 8-O

This is really driving me up the wall and I am absolutely confused....

(Questions about setting up the proxy? Check Set up a proxy with Firefox 3.6.9)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Set up a proxy with Firefox 3.6.9

Never had the need to use a proxy in my life until I was faced with this screen stating "This clip has been blocked in your region."

The though that this viewable clip was rendered unviewable to me must have really gotten on to my nerve...

As a result, I decided to set up a proxy for my firefox browser last night and, after an entire evening's struggle, I was finally able to play the blocked clip... (even though I actually had no idea what the clip was about... other than it is an episode of the Korean Drama... 8-O lol)

While the process of setting up a proxy is a no-brainer, the biggest challenge I encounter was to find a proxy server in China that I could connect to.

The first question that came to my mind was... where do I find a free proxy server in China to connect to?

Google it... with key words such as Proxy China... and you will find many websites providing you with a list of proxy servers.  Most of these websites will provide you information in the IP address, port number and location of the server.

Take the information in this picture for instance, the first column contains numbers seperated by "." (period) and ":" (semi-colon).  The second column tells you that these are HTTP proxcy servers.  The last column tells you the location.

The most important information you need is the info provided in the first column.  The IP address and the port number are seperated by the ":" semi-colon.  Take the following set of numbers that I made up for instance:

"" is the IP address
"9415" is the port number

Now that you know how to locate the IP address (the address of your computer over the internet) and the port number for the proxy server, the next step is to put these info to work.

To be honest, all that you have to do is to find the "Connection Settings" window and type in the IP address of the proxy server in China and the port number.  Unfortunately, how you could get to this window is dependent on the version of Firefox you use.

Take Firefox browser version 3.6.9 for instance...

Click on "Tool" and select "Options"

Once the Options window opens, click "Advanced".

Under the Advanced section, switch to the "Network" tab and click "Settings".

The Connection Settings window will open.

Check the option of Manual proxy configuration so that you can put down the IP address inside of the textbox next to HTTP Proxy and the port number next to the word: Port.  When this is done click "OK" to exit out from all these windows.

Voila!  C'est ça!

Yet, don't get too excited!  Many of them proxies listed fail to connect... Other times, the connection would drop dead after the first page or two loaded....

In addition, you can use websites such as IP-address, or whatismyip to check your IP address and the location of the proxy server,

Personally, my preference is ip-adress.com because it also tell you where "you are located".

This function is very helpful because sometimes, although the listing tells you that the proxy server is in China, it might end up being identified as in Indonesia... and... happened many a time....  Unfortunately,  what I wanted to connect to was not a proxy in Indonesia, France or the US... rather, I want to connect to a proxy inside of China... 8-O lol

In case anyone would like to know what it be like to browse the web inside of China, the proxy I found was that of 浙江省嘉兴市 电信.  Once you have the proxy set up, you can also check out some of the websites listed in Wikipedia to see what it is like to have websites blocked.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_websites_blocked_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China

Gotta say, though, information literacy... Just found out in the wiki listing that "blogger.com" was not blocked though... it is blocked.