How to convert a textbook for PowerPoint (or HTML/PDF)

If you want to process a batch of files to change file-type or file-size or file-names, IrFanView may be a godsend.  It’ll just tickle you pink.

It’s been a couple of years since I captured textbook page images for import into PowerPoint so I’ve forgotten the protocol I had devised for doing this.  So it’s time to describe the steps for future reference.  These days I have a better scanning device making the process nearly painless.  This will work well with other kinds of images, whether scanned or not, just as well, and for other destinations too.

Primary benefits are

  • Drag-n-Drop images from file explorer onto slides without resizing
  • Reduce image file-size for faster loading
  • Rename all files with renumbering if needed

Drag-n-Drop images from file explorer onto slides without resizing.

The main advantage of this process is that it will resize all images so that they all fit in the space below a PowerPoint title.  You can drag and drop images from a file explorer window directly onto a slide and each image fits without manually resizing.  I resize the textbook page images to 7.5 inches tall.  You can choose other sizes to accommodate other document types or purposes.

For instance, this process is also handy for creating thumbnail images for embedding into web pages.

Load time is much improved because the image byte-count is smaller.

The file-size of the JPG (or PNG) is markedly reduced.  Any PPT file (or PDF or HTML or whatever) will be slim and trim and load much faster.  You can control the image compression (the resampling  of the image and the reduction of file-size and image quality) at the same time.  This reduction of file-size is controlled independently of controlling the image size (height and width).  Well, yes, the image-size and file-size are related, but you can control them somewhat independently.

Rename and renumber file-names if needed.

If your scanner or camera has given you annoying file-names, you can recast the file-names, even serializing [putting rising numbers into the name], perhaps assigning a page number to each image, at the same time you manage the image and file sizes.

These instructions are specific to my PowerPoint slides for showing textbook pages in class, but you can easily change the numbers and steps.  You can also run a batch that does only one task:  renaming files, resizing files, resizing images, casting images into a different format.

In this case, I have used a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 portable scanner.  It is a tiny marvel.  It handles only 10 sheets at a time, but the bundled software makes it easy to continue a run in batches of 10 up to 100 page-sides.  It scans both sides of a sheet in one pass, i.e. one sheet slides through the ScanSnap one time yielding two page images.  I scanned 51 sheets, 102 pages, in 17 minutes, including the time to slice off the spine binding the book.  Each page was scanned in high quality at 300dpi.  

In this case, the ScanSnap software allowed me to set the file-names with a format of  “TITLEpage##.jpg”.  The scanner I used to use was not so flexible about naming files, and camera image file-names like DSC00123.jpg are annoying too.  Step three makes adjusting such names fairly easy.

Step Zero:  Install IrfanView.

Step 1:  Run IrfanView and choose File… Batch Conversion/Rename…

Step 2:  Choose Batch conversion – Rename result files

Make some or all of the following choices and settings for Batch conversion settings.  Output format JPG –  JPG/JPEG format, with options at default of 70% quality.  Use advanced options (for bulk resize…), RESIZE: Set new size, Set one or both sides to: Height 7.50 inches, Preserve aspect ration (proportional), and User Resample function (better quality). 

In this case, I also chose to Use MISCELLANEOUS selection to Overwrite existing files because I had already made a copy of the entire folder of images (I was still remembering how to get this done).  I think I would normally work from a folder of original, as-scanned images and direct output to a new folder.

Closing the Batch conversion settings window called “Set for all images:”, continue.

Step 3:  Build a list of files in the box called “Input files:”.  As I recall, this step was not intuitive the first couple of times.  I kept ignoring the white box where input files should be collected and organized, and having selected a “Look in:”  folder, I expected it to operate on all the files in that “Look in:” folder.  No, it doesn’t work that simply.

What you need to do is to filter and select files from the Look-in folder by using the buttons called “Add” or “Add all”.  If “Add all” exceeds your expectations and pumps file-names into “Input files:”, use the buttons called “Remove” or “Remove all”.

That much, getting a list of files into the Input-files box, has been enough for my purposes, but you may want to sort files by date or name or whatever, or you may want to manually sequence the files by using the buttons called “Move up” and “Move down”.

Step 4:  Setup the destination for files and any patterns for renaming files.  The button called [Options] can help compose file-names in exquisite detail.  Working inside the Options dialog window, I used this [Name pattern], “$Nppt”,  so that my new files would keep the original file-name ($N) and add the characters “ppt” [the file-type is not affected].  Example:  original “ThisFile.png” becomes “ThisFileppt.png”.  By doing this, I’ll be able to distinguish “before” files from “after” files and know which ones are good [sized and compressed] for PowerPoint slides.

Having set the Batch rename settings using “Name pattern:” and having set the Output directory for result files, I am ready to let IrfanView work on the batch.

In fact, I found out that the batch produced a mixed result for me.  Now I had pairs of files like ThisFile.png and ThisFileppt.png.  My bad.  I could have saved myself some trouble by working from one directory into another, “result”, directory.

Whatever.  I cleaned up the situation by manually selecting and erasing the originals. I would have saved myself this extra work by erasing the whole folder and rerunning the batch.

So much flexibility.

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Hey, Kids (gyeongju university students)

AeDeulRa! 애들아! Hey, Kids, I’ve enjoyed the week with you more than you can know.  It has been a wonderful week spending time with Korea’s youngsters.  You are the next rulers of the world.  Getting to know you has been fun.

But it has also been a bit frustrating for me.  Maybe it has been a bit frustrating for you too.

My frustration arises because [I am frustrated because] our conversation is a little bit slow.

We are talking with each other slowly [talking together slowly] for a couple of reasons [because of two reasons/ two causes].  First, your English is not strong and you are still learning how to hear me.  That’s because I am a new voice for your ears.  Until you have become used to many English speakers, your ears will need some time to become accustomed to each new speaker [used to each new speaker].

Second, our conversation has been slow because I am learning how to hear you because you are a new generation and you are different from me.  You use technically advanced tools as naturally as I breathe.

I am an old guy, an old dog, a member of a different generation.  Because I have always been a technology expert, I know “all about” technology.  That’s my job.  I know how to make technology work. 

But you don’t know “about” technology;  no, you know technology itself and you know it naturally.  You simply, and without thinking, know technology and understand it and do it.  And you do it without thinking.

That is very interesting to me.  I want to talk about it, your curious adoption of technology.  I want to talk about this amazing situation.   But you are wondering why this old guy is asking all these questions about “what we do all day long”. 

To me [to my eyes], technology is a thing to be watched and studied and used.  I know how to make technology do special things for me.  I am an expert at doing this; it’s my job.  I use technology well because I watch it intently, and study it seriously, and apply my understanding to use it, to make it do things for me.

But not you.  You have no “intensity”; you do not watch it intently; you don’t study it seriously.  No, not at all, and I am jealous (yes, and a bit irritated:  why aren’t you taking this seriously?)

You youngsters, in contrast to me, simply use it.  It’s a reflex.  You install kakao [or some other kind of texting app] and text your friends all day long as naturally as I use my tongue.

Talking with you this week has been wonderful and also difficult.  I marvel at the Korea that you live in and marvel at the technology that you use.  But you are not amazed.  How different! 

My eyes and your eyes look at the same world from very different places.  I hope that you will take as much delight from that as I do [I hope that you too will be delighted by sharing the views from my viewpoint and from your viewpoint].

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liking the chrome extension Shortcuts for Google

There are 145 Google services.  I use a few regularly.  Some of them are quickly available, e.g. type mail.g, allow the guesser to flesh it out to mail.google.com and hit enter.  Some are not so easy to find or remember.  Once customized, clicking the button of this extension drops my short list down and a second click completes the selection.  No more remembering or hunting.

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Can’t stop laughing – Time Most Influential

Take a look at this.  It’s the Time 2011 Most Influential Person Poll on April 9.

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With 224,675 people boosting Rain, and only 20.953 attempting to offset, Rain is the indisputable leading candidate.  I’m laughing because I’d bet that most people have no idea who he is, unless you are Korean.  I remember Susan Boyle.  Having lived in Korea with 700 high schoolers the past couple of years, I’ve heard Beyonce beyond my ability to tolerate, and have heard of Lady Gaga.  At 13, I recall that Rihanna was very popular with my high schoolers about 18 months ago.  At number 10, Ron Paul, with a rank about 9% of Rain’s, is the first credible, to me, entry.

The teenagers of Korea seem to have coopted the Time Poll.  It seems to be a testament to the universal connectedness of Korean kids.  What a hoot.

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Ecstatic Bing Maps Enthusiast? Almost.

I am enthusiastic and very pleased.  Bing Maps routing is damn near perfect.

Here’s a Quick Answer for seekers of “how do I save a Route so I can work on it again?”  I’m sure I’ll be a seeker in another 3 months, 9 months, or a year from now.

Don’t use Google Maps; the workarounds are too bizarre. 

Use Bing Maps.  When ready to quit working on a route for the day, email it to yourself.  When ready to work on it again, click on the URL inside the email.  Work on it.  DON’T forget to email it to yourself again.

Oh, and use Internet Explorer 8+.  Chrome was choking on some popup windows. I don’t know about Opera or Firefox or whatever.  This blog/rant isn’t about browser incompatibilities.

I’m pretty happy with my emailing workaround.  If the Bing Maps programmers knew what I was trying to do, and if they made a couple of minor changes to the [My places editor], I could be freaking ecstatic.

Update:  as a measure of how confusing it was to try to find the expected [Save] I found a stupidly ineffective way to email myself a copy.  The Easy Way was right in front of me, but by that time I’d stopped looking for obvious.  Obvious is just click on the speedy looking [Envelope icon].  I will leave my embarrassingly tortured route just as a wrote it, as follows.

How do you email the route to yourself?  It’s easy to do.  It’s also so totally non-intuitive.  Start while you are looking at your route in Internet Explorer 9.

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First, click the [Star icon] that hover-reveals “See your places” in the lower left quadrant.

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Your [My places] window pops up.  Don’t click on any.  Click [Actions].  Click [Send].  Click [Email] (shown below after the first two clicks, Action, Send).

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I use Outlook.  Following the third click, on [Email], Outlook starts an email with a long URL in the body.  Notice that my waypoints “Peach Blossom Dr”, “Lawrence KS”, “Denver” are given with their GPS positions.  Look carefully and ignore the HTML encoding “%2C%20” stuff.  I was so surprised.  Aren’t you surprised?  I think you should be.  I started in the context of my route, but changed to the context of [My places editor] where my route is nowhere to be seen.  If I were going to email one of my places, I would expect—in this context—to be emailing the first place in the list.

As a matter of fact, and this blows my mind, if you click on any of your places, the pushpins will appear on the map, but they will NOT be included in the URL sent in your email.  My context and Bing’s context are obviously not shared.

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Some background about where I came from on this.  I take long road trips from time to time.  Have always used Google Maps to play around with the length of each driving day, determined by diversions to parks near the route, cheap but good places to stay, balancing long days with short.

I take a long trip once a year or so.  Consequently, because I forget unpleasant experiences as quickly as I can, each time, I waste an hour or so looking for the last step, how to save the route so I can return to it and play around with my options.  More accurately, I save the route, and then some time later return to play around with it, and am dumbfounded once again that much of the goodness has evaporated.

Well, then, after rebuilding the route from scratch, presuming that I fumbled the [Save] last time, I start looking for how to save the google route in it’s entire richness. 

And so, six months or a year after I last did this, I end up once again googling for the answer:  “You can’t.”  More and more frequently lately, I end up binging for the answer, but that’s another rant that other people have been venting quite well so here I need not do that. 

I have to piece together this answer, “you can’t”, from ambiguous bits of forum conversations (seekers and solvers don’t realize that they are each talking about saving different stuff) and finally convince myself that it’s true:  If you want to save a google route, configured just so, AND some time later make some changes to the route, despite all of the appearances that this is possible, you are out of luck. 

Yes, despite your reasonably formed expectations to the contrary, it is not possible to save a google route so that you can open it back up and see the mileages, times, and directions with your annotations.  You can see the directions and your annotations.  If you have a website you can try building a map on a page there and maybe annotate it with mileages and times.  I think I did that once as a workaround, but that certainly was not my main intent.

But, if you want to re-route, that’s what you must do:  build it again, from scratch.

And if you want to see mileages for “a day of driving”, open up the calculator and punch in the numbers.

So I was delighted by the Bing Maps trip routing; if you add waypoints (A, B, C, …), it gives segment (A-B, B-C, C-D, …) mileage and driving duration. 

Here is what the waypoints look like.

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And here is what the trip segments (trip legs, sections) look like.  See the A-B:  550.5 miles, 8 hr 1 min.  That’s what made me so happy.

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Hallelujah!  How difficult was that?

I was delighted.  And apprehensive.  The apprehension was warranted.  I blew away a couple of hours looking, binging, googling, and finally, by clicking with stubborn persistence on everything that was reasonable or not, finding the simple and simply unintuitive workaround given above.

I started:  How do you save stuff here?  Scan the upper right quadrant, looking for [Save] or [My something…].  Scan the other quadrants.  Bing for a quick answer.  Help for a quick answer.  In the forums, there’s a familiar smell in air, seekers and solvers talking at cross purposes.  I had, much the same, finally found the Star  in the lower left quadrant, a Favorites-meme-alike that opens [My places editor].

I played around with [My places editor] for a while, hoping to find how to save my route.  Saving some places.  Figuring out how to move them into a List of my own making.  Whoa, “Keep it simple, stupid” turned into “Keep it simple AND stupid”.  Click on a place in a list of [My places], in the popup click [copy], choose a list, (didn’t make a list yet?  Then return to square one and come back to here to choose a list), then return to the other list and click on the original place, and in the popup, [delete] it.

Oh, yes, and did my route disappear while I was clicking around to find this Grail of Click Sequences?  Yes, in all the clicking around, it disappears.  To get back to the route you are working on is simple.  Just press Backspace as many times as necessary. 

Glad that works. Get that route map back in view and try finding a click-sequence that saves the thing.  No?  No.  I kept returning to [Edit route] expecting that surely where one edits one can save.  No. And No. And No again.  No [Save] anywhere.  Had I exhausted all possible click sequences.  No, but I did feel I had Backspaced my way back to my route map far too many times.

Okay, so I cruised forums until I was tired and had forgotten what I was looking for.

Déjà vu!  My nose was right:  in Bing Maps as in Google Maps, “you can’t”.

As with Google Maps, in Bing Maps it seems perfectly reasonable to expect that having allowed you to spend a bunch of time composing a route for a trip, the same programmers would have provided a way to save the fruits of this work.

Click on the [Star] icon and a place to save places (location points with Title and Description and Tags and storage containers called Lists) is provided.  Surely the place to save the route is right here too.  But no, it isn’t.

Yet, it shouldn’t be difficult to provide.  Here’s how an agile programmer might write the Use Case descriptions.

Use Case 1: 

Bing Maps Enthusiast creates a route.  Enthusiast looks for [Save Route].  Would it kill to put some text in the [Edit route] window, “click on the star to save your route”?  Enthusiast can’t find it, but does find [Star icon].  Clicks.  [My places and routes editor] pops up (with a new name)  showing “route n+1” in [Unsaved places and routes].  Enthusiast clicks [Save now], changes Title etc.  Looks for a collection to move to (oops, dropdown is needed).  Enthusiast selects collection.  Clicks [Save].  Enthusiast is Very Very Happy.

Use Case 2:

Bing Maps Enthusiast returns to Bing Maps.  Looks for the [Star] icon. Clicks.  Clicks [My places and routes].  Selects list.   Sees route saved earlier.  Clicks.  Route appears with routing and option to [Edit route].  Enthusiast is Flaming Fantastically Ecstatic.

Yes, I know I can email it to myself if I know (and remember) the magic click sequence.  But do I feel Ecstatic?  Did you read this far?  Do you feel ecstatic?

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Migrated to WordPress, lost heartbone.net ?

I hadn’t expected it.  It makes sense, now that I think about it, but hadn’t expected that my albeit neglected presence on the web would just disappear with some of the content subsumed into a WordPress URL.  On the other hand, it is fairly consistent with a sense that owning a domain name is becoming less and less important.

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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