Transliteration as a standalone tool
How to write Amharic or Tigrinya in Gmail, and in Google Docs:
- Go to Gmail Settings (the little gear icon in the top right corner of the Gmail window) and click on Settings.
- In settings, under the "General" tab, in the "Language" section, click on "Show all language options" and then click on the checkbox to "Enable input tools".
- Click on the "Edit tools" link right next to it. A large window will pop-up with various languages on the left under Input Tools, select Amharic and move it over to the right column under "Selected input tools" using the big arrow, in the middle of the window, and click OK
- Save the settings: back on the settings page, make sure you scroll all the way down and click on Save
- Once you have done that, you will see the አ icon right next to the gear icon in the top right in Gmail. Just click on that icon whenever you want to switch to typing in Amharic
- Then when you type phonetically in roman letters, and as you finish each word, the corresponding text in Ethiopic shows up.
- You don't have to memorize any rules, just type naturally the words as they sound, and it will figure out the best transliteration. For example "negergn" becomes ነገርግን but "negeregn" becomes ነገረኝ. Notice that "gn" gives different results in the two cases. The transliteration shows up as you type, showing multiple candidates, and when you hit space at the end of the word, the top one is automatically chosen. You can also select the several other choices if the top one is not what you mean.
- This also works in Google Docs, Blogger, Google Sites and most Google products that have text input.
P.S. Ethiopic fontNote that before you can use transliteration, your computer must have an Ethiopic (Ge'ez) font installed. Most recent versions of Windows or Mac have it pre-installed so you can skip this part. If you can see the following text "ሰላም ዓለም" (or read the text on this web page, then you have an Ethiopic font installed. If you can't see it, then you need to install a font like this one for example.
"If Internet is all you need, however, TWC offers its “Everyday Low Price” plan for just $15 per month. This includes 2 Mbps download speeds, 5 emails accounts and 100 MB of email storage. Need to go faster? Try Basic (3 Mbps and $30 per month) or Standard ($35 per month with 15 Mbps). If you’re an online gamer or download large files on a regular basis, the 20Mpbs of TWC’s Turbo plan ($45 per month) may be the best option, while home business users may want to try out the Extreme plan, which offers 30 Mbps download speeds at $55 per month. Finally, if you have a large family or Internet users or connect multiple devices on a daily basis, you may need the Ultimate plan, which provides download speeds of 50 Mbps, 30 email accounts and 10 gigabytes (GB) of email storage for $65 each month."
- The first 2 Mbps costs $7.50 per. Fair enough.
- But then the next 1Mbps costs $15!
- The next 12Mbps cost just $0.42 per!!!
- Then the next 5Mbps cost $2,
- And the following 10Mpbs are $1,
- And then 20Mbps more at $0.50 each.
"Net neutrality" a hot topic again these days. Plus ça change, plus ça reste pareil. Given the amount of confusion out there it seems like it won't be the last time.
When people say "neutrality" they could mean any combination of:
1) dominant access or backbone providers should not discriminate between customers, they should offer a similar prices to any buyer
2) all / most / many networks must exchange traffic free of charge with each other
3) all traffic must be treated the same regardless of application
4) all end users must pay a flat price for unlimited usage
My view, as regular readers... < crickets > ... can guess, is that 1) is the only good version. 2) I've written quite a bit about before, and I still think it's wrong, but thankfully 2) is rapidly joining 3) which has been obsolete for years. 4) is fine when feasible but demanding it be a requirement of all forms of access is just silly.
But 1) is really important! I hope that somehow emerges as the dominant focus this time but I'm not holding my breath.
For example, in the US right now there's a real danger with Comcast: local access monopoly x continental scale + vertical integration with content. Huge issue. This is all about 1), but the general public thinks the issue is 4), which means "net neutrality" will be defeated as irrational whining.
Is optimism good?
The question sounds strange because Optimism, today, in American culture, is automatically assumed to be A Good Thing. Like "pro-active". People use that word as if it's synonymous with "good". E.g. Person A: "Don't do this bad thing." Person B: "It's not bad, it's pro-active!" Noooo.... Just like sometimes, being pro-active is evil, being optimistic is not automatically good.
Let's define optimism as follows: Having high expectations for a positive outcome. That is to say, compared to most "normal" people's probability distribution of outcomes, yours has more weight on the positive side. Say we both bet on the same horse, and one of us thinks we'll lose and one thinks we'll win. So when is it good to be the optimist? I would slice it on three levels:
- Of course if you turn out to be right, then great... But that just means you got lucky.
- What if you had to make the same choice over and over again, and on average the optimistic view is more accurate? Great, but that's not really optimism, it's having a better probabilistic model, better foresight.
- Now what if you believe the same probabilities as everyone else, but you are more willing to take the risky choices and eventually you're better off? You are good at taking the right amount of risk for reward, and if in the long run you are better off (technically i.e. if you are on the efficiency frontier in the risk, reward plane), then ... well that's good judgement.
People (including Corporations!) of the world, listen to me: Value luck, foresight or judgement. Not optimism. That's just silly.
- To get maximum depth of focus: set the aperture to be as small as possible (f/22) and let the shutter speed be automatically determined. By the last few frames, the exposure time is up to 3-4 secs.
- To compensate for the lack of trains: added a hurricane!
It consists of:
- one photo every 5 minutes,
- 101 images which become
- a movie of 10 frames per second,
- for a speedup of 3000 x real life.
- Plug camera into laptop via USB.
- To remotely control camera: a program called EOS Utility which comes included with most Canon DSLRs. I'd never even looked at those discs that came with the camera, which is more than 3 years old. Good thing I never threw them away!
- To make the HD movie out of the JPEG images: Movie Maker tool in Picasa.
- Americans pay $1 Trillion a year for War and ‘Security’. In fact, that understates it a bit, for 2012 the US is spending over a trillion dollars on national security.
- The US spends more than the next 10 biggest military spending countries... combined! Taking #2 China and #3 Russia together, the US still spends 3 times more.
- Military spending doubled in the last decade. The US spends more today than it ever did during the "arms race" of the cold war against the Soviet Union, and that's adjusted for inflation. More than at the peak of the cold war!
Rather here are 5 non-fiction books I really enjoyed, that had a deep influence on my world view, and that just happen to bubble to the surface at the moment:
- Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter. Absolutely brilliant exploration of logic. Recursion is just so... fundamental. The human mind must be an instrument of God. Made me love J.S. Bach (and "Alice in Wonderland"). And a proof of Gödel's incompleteness theorem.
- Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond. Very ambitious, basically the history of civilization organized around a few very compelling ideas. Geography is very very important. Innovation diffuses latitudinally.
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by T. E. Lawrence. Supremely elegant writing. Story of the middle east during the first world war. Essential reading if you want to understand a lot of international politics today.
- Life is long if you know how to use it, by Seneca. Beautifully concise stoic philosophy. Don't sweat status.
- An Autobiography, or The Story of My Experiments with Truth, by M. K. Gandhi. The great man's early life and journey to satyagraha, truth through non-violence.
- The Discoverers, by Daniel Boorstin. A masterful, sweeping history of science. Extremely educational.
- An anthropologist on Mars, by Oliver Sacks. The human brain is really really interesting. It's easy to not realize how amazing our vision, memory, etc. are .... until something goes wrong.
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley. Powerful life story. I learned a lot about the USA in this one.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig. Not the best writer of the bunch, but this book had a profound influence on me. Key word: Quality. What is good? What is not good? Also, I'm not sure if I learned it in this book, but I believe that you should never get upset by something that was predictable.
- Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, by Ron Chernow. Very thorough biography of a fascinating man in a fascinating time. Very relevant today. If you are thinking of pursuing an MBA, don't. Instead, read books like this one.