Many Pies

Many Pies

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another pie - Perl Catalyst framework

As the strapline to this blog says, I have my fingers in many pies. One of the pies that's come my way is a project involving the Perl Catalyst framework. Although I haven't heard any talk of it outside of this project, it does get mentioned in the same breath as Ruby on Rails, Django, J2EE, Zope etc.

Another learning curve to ascend... It's fun though.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Learning that Lasts

I was on a course we run called Learning That Lasts last week. I can recommend it highly.

One of the tenets of the course is that people learn best by doing, so the course teaches you how to teach in an interactive and hands-on way. Of course, the teaching on the course itself is interactive and hands-on. A significant part of the course is where every learner (as we like to now call ourselves - students study, but learners learn!) does a 40 minute presentation, which you then receive feedback on. It sounds scary, but isn't at all.

The course book is "Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach" by Jane Vella. Another book recommended was "The Accidental Trainer: You Know Computers, So They Want You to Teach Everyone Else". I think the subtitle says it all. I'm going to get a hold of that soon.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Sign language project details

More details on the sign language project I mentioned earlier.

It's called WoSP which stands for World Sign Processor. It's "an attempt to
provide software to help the Deaf and others as they work on recording
sign-language data".

The WoSP notation will be a computer readable notation which contains the
component parts of signs, and also allows computers to generate rough 3d
animation and SignWriting ready for final editing. It needs to capture the
essence of signs, without missing out on detail, such as facial movements
and body movement, and without over-complicating things, such as capturing
the position of every finger to the micrometre.
Getting signs into the encoding is another challenge. "Just use motion
capture" I said to a colleague when discussing it. The trouble is motion
capture isn't a simple technology and converting lots of motion capture data
to the sign encoding is another challenge. The preferred method may be a
combination of choosing an existing sign plus some keyboard input, though
things are at an early stage.

Getting the information out again is the third challenge. Ideally you want
- static diagrams, maybe with arrows
- animated diagrams
- computer animated figures
all from the same source of signs.

There are other, smaller, challenges on the way, such as how you move from
one sign to another without the hands suddenly jerking.

Here are some more relevant links:

There's an excerpt from our prayer DVD on the subject of sign language
translations of the Bible
.

For analysing sign languages for translation purpose there is Elan
- "a professional tool for the creation of
complex annotations on video and audio resources "

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Relevant prayer topics

From the current prayer page on wycliffe.net (changes weekly) two items that are relevant to me:

Bible translation consultation for sign languages follow-up England. Thank you for praying for this April 16-20 event. Nearly 40 people attended, including Deaf people, members of Bible translation projects, and administrators from several agencies. Praise God for the enthusiasm and ideas that were generated as people shared their work with each other. Many important questions were discussed, such as, "What extra skills do translation consultants need in order to work effectively with sign language teams? Pray that God will continue to guide each agency and team into effective strategies so that his Word will soon be available in the heart languages of Deaf communities across Europe and West Asia.

Biblical Hebrew consultant arrives safely in heaven UK to Glory. Steve Bartram was focusing on the 'Key Terms in Biblical Hebrew' interactive lexicon project which will help translators who don't have a good grasp of Hebrew to understand how the important Hebrew words and concepts were understood by the original writers. It is especially aimed at translators who don't speak English as their first language as they have very few resources available to them. Steve was also part of a team that is trying to develop computer tools to help record sign languages. He went to be with the Lord on Monday April 30. Ask God to comfort his family and all who mourn his death."Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15


I would often see Steve at coffee break. :-(

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Raiser's Edge: Good news, bad news

I sent this out this morning to our RE users:

Good news: I have a new version of Raiser's Edge to install.
Bad news: It requires a number of other bits of software to be installed before the new Raiser's Edge itself.
Good news: As a result of the changes made in the "shutdown week" before Christmas this installation can be done in an automated way.
Bad news: It takes between 10 and 20 minutes to do the installation.
Good news: err, you get to have a breather after you get into work.

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