Batch generate thumbnails using Image Magick

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I was helping to populate content, only to realise the system wasn’t smart enough to generate its own thumbnails. Someone told me to screenshot the 1st page of each pdf and then upload the image.

This is an utterly waste of time. Hence, I decided to write something to batch generate thumbnails using Image Magick.

Use the command below to generate 100 pixels wide image from the sample.pdf. the [0] means 1st page. You can select the page you want by inputing the page number - 1.

convert -thumbnail 100x sample.pdf[0] sample.png

You can combine them with any PHP, Django script. I’m lazy so I use my Mac’s Automator to batch execute it. You can also use the bash command below.

for file in *.pdf; do convert $file[0] -thumbnail 100x -quality 85 -background white -flatten $file-tn.jpg; done

Scrum Master Certification Course

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I can’t wait to attend the 3 days Scrum Master Certification by ISS. Ever since I was first introduced to SCRUM, I’ve been trying to practice it.

However, I din’t really get the chance to practice it fully as the companies I’ve worked in are very much following the old “Waterfall Model”. And I also believe they are not ready to work with SCRUM yet.

But I have been slowly applying SCRUM principles and techniques into the process, skipping the terminologies and all, hoping to get them comfortable and one day they will realised “Oh, we’re actually using SCRUM.” –if they actually know what it is.

With this certification, I hope to encourage people the best practices of SCRUM and to particpate in a SCRUM team that appreciates it.

Not using standards

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It is embarrassing not to know standards, let alone not to use standards. You may be able to fool your way through, but eventually someone will found out, and you’re gonna to appear silly.

So, know your standards. It’s so easy now with Google Search.

Common Sense

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“Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.” ― René Descartes

Isn’t most things in life strikes us as common sense? Or at least, that is what I thought so, same for many others. But common sense is not so common.

“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.” ― Harriet Beecher Stowe

Common sense “should” be the root of all analysis. However, common sense is highly subjective and requires definition. Many people see things differently, think differently and thus doing things differently with reasons behind it. And I do think it’s rude when one says “Use your common sense”.

Understanding RWD

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We all knew about the PSD-to-HTML workflow but with the introduction of Responsive Web Design (RWD), the workflow has to change.

Given the complexity of RWD, initial planning like content strategy, IA, sketching, prototyping without considering layout changes and alternate viewports may cause opportunities for optimization and innovation to be overlooked.

Also, we can’t be producing PSD for each page and/or view variations, it’s crazy.

Hence, a new appproach is required.

  1. Rethink the internal process with Trent Walton’s Where to Start. There’s an interesting point on browser-centric workflows & style guides being the future. Apparently, many have been talking about designing in the browser.1

  2. Improve on how we craft webpages and the deliverables produced with Dave Rupert’s Responsive Deliverables. This article tells us to break complex page layouts into reusable solutions in terms of modules.

Learning and self-improvement has always been a part of me. And one needs to proactively embrace new approaches than try to shoehorn an old one.

  1. If you want to know more about designing in browser, you can read the Pros & Cons.

3D Printer

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There have been many discussions about 3D printing. And I myself am interested in playing around with the replicator from MakerBot.

Turning body scans into edible gummy candies seems like a really interesting gimmick - FabCafe

And Singapore has its very own 3D Printer by Pirate3DP coming soon! Interesting guys that I have met during the Lean UX Week 2013.

Responsive Site Design

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Increasingly, companies have finally adopted responsive website design. To me, this is not a trend but a necessity; given how smartphones and tablets affects one’s life.

In the past, companies created multiple versions of their websites for mobile users. This is not practical hence responsive design approach saves the day. Although responsive website design has been in the scene for many years, I realised that there are some people who are still confuse between mobile sites and responsive sites.

The basic instinct is to use media queries or css frameworks out there. Depending on the project requirements, here are some options worth considering, skeleton, wirefy, foundation, twitter bootstrap, 1140 css grid, frameless.