Monthly Archives: September 2008

TeX/LaTeX on Mac OS X

I just installed TeX on my MacBook Pro, and boy is it a lot easier than installing it on a server a decade ago. Just download MacTeX-2008 from TUG and you’re basically done. MacTeX installs a nifty little System Preferences pane that allows you to have different versions or distributions of TeX installed and switch between them with a mouse-click. It even sets your PATH and MANPATH variables automagically using the /etc/paths.d directory facility in Leopard. In my case that didn’t work because I have a custom .tcshrc, but the “What Is Installed” document in /Applications/TeX/Utilities/Documents explained exactly what they are doing so it was easy to update my path.

It’s good to be using TeX again, though I’m still learning the new stuff. I’m doing latex, latex, bibtex, latex, dvipdf, but I think the new way would be to use pdflatex. However, it seems to choke on the EPS file I have as part of the UH thesis example document.

ICS 699 Fall 2008 week 4 & 5: Ubicomp!

It was a long 2 weeks, but it went by quickly. Ubicomp was great, saw a lot of interesting work, some with direct application to PET. Rather than try to summarize it all here, I’ll finish off my Ubicomp blog entries this week.

There is continuing interest in the LaTeX thesis style I worked on back in 1998, with requests from two more ICS grad students. Based on a suggestion from Josh Wingstrom, I’m going to put it in Google Code so that changes can be kept under version control. Hopefully this will improve maintainability and longevity as students graduate.

Of course this means I have to finally get around to installing TeX on my MacBook Pro. It appears the situation is less complicated than it was a year ago, MacTeX-2008 seems like the obvious way to go now. There’s been a lot of changes in the TeXspace in the last decade: WYSIWYG editors, direct to PDF output, etc. Gotta catch up.

Past weeks accomplishments:

  • Prepared short presentation on SocialSense for DAP workshop
  • Presented to CSDL for Ubicomp practice
  • Read workshop papers (on plane)
  • Some GPS data logging
  • Attended 2 workshops and Ubicomp proper
  • Wrote blog entries on Ubicomp

Hours worked: oodles (target: 15 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Finish blogging last 2 days of conference
  • Write up items relevant for PET from conference
  • Write up lessons learned for future conference attendances
  • Read papers on transportation activity sensing for lit review
  • Install TeX
  • Put UHM LaTeX thesis style up on Google Code for broader adoption
  • Create CSDL tech report for proposal draft
  • Start filling in proposal literature review from papers read

Pointers to work products:

Cool links:

  • SlideShare was mentioned at Ubicomp as the preferred way for presenters to make their presentations available to others, basically it’s YouTube for presentations. The preferred tag for Ubicomp this year is ubicomp2008.

Ubicomp 2008 blogging, day 1: activity sensing & wearables

Today marked the opening of Ubicomp 2008. There are approximately 341 attendees, of whom 154 are students. 76 people signed up for the workshops. There were 226 paper submissions (160 full papers, 66 notes), of which 42 were accepted, making the acceptance rate 19%.

Attendees were urged to make their presentations available on SlideShare, and it was recommended that ubicomp2008 be used as a standardized tag for the conference across all sharing sites (SlideShare, Flickr), etc) (hmm, folksonomy breaks down 🙂 )

The first session today was on activity recognition. While the papers were mostly about human motion (in buildings or moving around), PET’s transportation data analysis is clearly a type of activity recognition and presumably the same sets of techniques (Hidden Markov Model, Conditional Random Field) will be relevant, as will the methods of evaluation (such as a confusion table). Good to know there’s a literature I can look towards there.

During a paper on activity recognition in the home, the presenter mentioned providing software for annotating activities to provide ground truth for the activity data set. This might be helpful in my annotation of transportation activities.

Another interesting talk was a fitness motivation system using a glanceable display on a cell phone. The idea is that as the users work towards their fitness goals (recorded either manually through a journal or automatically via a fitness sensor), a garden of flowers is placed as the background on their cell phone interface. This provides a constant reminder of how they are doing in pursuit of their goals. This got me thinking that maybe PET could benefit from a similar glanceable display of GHG emission estimates.

I’m looking forward to the talk tomorrow on indoor inertial tracking.

Ubicomp 2008 blogging, day 0: workshops

Today I had both workshops I was participating in. There was a lot of information packed in, too much for me to summarize in one late night blog post. A sampling of stuff from the workshops:

Ubiquitous Sustainability:

  • Using air quality monitors on street sweepers to provide lots of regular coverage of streets
  • Designing for positive social change, instead of instilling fear
  • Monday 9/22 is no car day in Seoul!
  • Privacy is the counterpoint to measurement (the more you measure, the less privacy you have)
  • Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic motivations for change (intrinsic being more valuable long term)
  • Getting away from any association between sustainability and sacrifice
  • Sustainability is a long term societal learning process
  • Thinking of a building as a country, in which the citizens (users) can vote democratically on the air conditioning temperature!
  • Beijing Olympics, polluters like factories shut down to improve air quality for the games, but now that games are over they want to start up again. However residents have now experienced better air quality and heard discussion about it in the media, and want to keep the air cleaner.

Devices that Alter Perception:

  • Artificial Synesthesia: Stetten et al 2007, finger-mounted laser bounces of objects and returns to a photosensor, which converts the intensity of reflected light into vibrations of the finger
  • Opaque technologies are ones where the technology is the focus, transparent technologies are ones where the task becomes the focus because the tech has disappeared.
  • Haptic research “Feel the Force” that recreates the light saber training that Luke Skywalker got in Episode IV of Star Wars. Sam would love this. 🙂
  • Thinking about haptic output for SocialSense (belt?) to provide awareness of other people without looking at a screen.

OK, tired and that’s only a fraction of my notes. I noticed the split between Mac and PC laptops at about 50/50.

Ubicomp 2008 blogging, day -1: travel

I’m going to try to blog daily about my experiences at Ubicomp 2008. Today was all travel, starting in Honolulu at noon on Friday 9/19, ending at 9 PM 9/20 in Seoul (damn you International Date Line!).

When I got to the airport in Honolulu, I realized that I had no idea when or what I was going to be fed so I grabbed lunch at the new Kona Brewing Company outlet in the airport. The food was fine, marked up like airport food always is. However, I now realize that US airlines crappiness has now lowered my expectations of how air travel should be. Korean Air fed me lunch (which became lunch #2) of bibimbap that was quite tasty, and then dinner before landing at Incheon. This was in coach of course. Their in-flight magazine even has a listing for each route they fly that shows the various meal & beverage services that you will receive, but also the timing of each.

The KAL flight attendants were all female and none could have been more than 40 years old (probably late 20s early 30s). The probabilities of that happening by chance seem low to me. One even had to stare down a passenger that claimed he would pee in his seat if she didn’t let him go to the bathroom (the seatbelt sign was on due to turbulence).

The Incheon airport had a Dunkin Donuts right outside the exit from customs. I suppose I should be sad that American chains are taking over the world, but I have a soft spot in my heart for fried dough and Dunkin Donuts in particular.

On the road from the airport I noticed that periodically along the side there were stationary lights of the type you would see on a police car. Some were on the middle of straightaways, others were at forks in the road. I’m guessing these were placed to get drivers’ attention (maybe to get them to stop speeding). I bet it is effective, from a distance when I saw the first one I thought a cop had pulled someone over.

Tomorrow the workshop portion of the conference starts. I’m attending the Ubiquitous Sustainability workshop in the morning, and the Devices that Alter Perception one in the afternoon. I’m presenting and giving a quick demo of SocialSense at the DAP workshop.

ICS 699 Fall 2008 week 3: slow week

I was on the mainland most of the last week, so I haven’t accomplished much on ICS 699 stuff. I gathered some more data, using the new technique of adding a waypoint (via the flag button on the AGL3080) when changing modes of transportation. I have noticed that it is hard to remember to do this, so the waypoint data is definitely incomplete. Philip suggested that I augment the waypoints with voice memos (possibly via some iPhone application) to record what is going on at that point. Of course one still has to remember to do it. 🙂

I’m thinking that instead of focusing on this constant data collection, I should try a controlled experiment where go through a planned route traveling both by car and on foot while carefully recording where I go. Correctly segmenting that data stream would be the first milestone for the automated data analysis. I also realized that rather than a completely generalized system (that can distinguish between walking, biking, cars, busses, etc), just being able to tell when you are driving and when you are not would provide a large portion of the data I want.

While traveling, I kept the GPS data logger on in airports until it was time to board the plane. However, I think while in the airports of connecting flights I frequently didn’t get GPS signal, which would be a problem for any type of automated analysis of air travel. Perhaps the best that the system can do is detect when you have traveled by air and offer to import the detailed information from something like TripIt.

Sunday is the Ubiquitous Sustainability workshop at Ubicomp 2008, so I’ll be assembling a short talk on PET in case that turns out to be useful.

Past week accomplishments:

  • Continued logging GPS data and travel diary

Hours worked: 2 (target: 15 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Prepare 2 short presentations for the 2 Ubicomp workshops I’m attending
  • Present to CSDL for Ubicomp practice
  • Read workshop papers
  • Continue recording GPS data & travel diary on trip #2
  • Attend Ubicomp
  • Write up workshop notes

Pointers to work products:

  • Blog post

Cool links:

  • Academia is a sort of social networking site for academics. It provides a tree view of institutions, and a canonical place to put up an academic profile page. Right now UH has one department and one person listed.
  • ImageStamper is a solution to the problem of authentication of CC licensed images. Say you grab an image from Flickr that is CC licensed, but later the owner changes the license and harasses you about your use of the image. ImageStamper keeps a timestamp of the image and the license it is shared under for future reference.
  • LimeSurvey is an open source package for running online surveys. Might come helpful when evaluation time comes.

ICS 699 Fall 2008 week 2: GPS data displayed

Having gathered some GPS data using the AMOD AGL3080 GPS data logger, it’s time to download it and start taking a look at the data.

I’ve been meaning to read up on the AGL3080. The user manual and quick start guide are available online (they are also put onto the flash). My unit shipped with the 2.0 firmware, but the AMOD website shows they have version 2.2 now.

The GpsPasSion forum has a thread discussing the AGL3080. Lots of good info there, need to go through it all. One major issue is the static navigation feature on many GPS devices (including the AGL3080). Static navigation appears to be a hack that GPS chipset vendors have put into their devices to help car navigation software. The GPS data is filtered so that the location doesn’t jump around even when that’s what the GPS signal indicates. This is almost certainly not what I want, so I need to turn static navigation off. Luckily AMOD has created two versions of the firmware for the AGL3080: one with static navigation on, and one with it off. Need to dredge up a Windows PC to reflash the firmware though. :/

For quick experimentation, the GPS Visualizer web site looks pretty nice. It’s a web service that will slurp up raw GPS data (among other inputs) and display it in a variety of ways. Here’s my first GPS track displayed via Google Maps. This is interesting, but really what I want is the GPS data shown as little breadcrumbs, not a continuous line. GPS Visualizer has a lot of options, so perhaps this is possible. It’s not clear what happened at the end of that track where it jumps over to the pier near Ward Warehouse, as I certainly didn’t go there. Here’s the same data as a Google Earth KMZ file, where you can do a flying tour.

GPS Babel appears to be the Swiss Army knife for GPS data. It takes in a variety of GPS data inputs and spits out processed data. It’s multiplatform, and licensed under the GPL, which is nice. This looks like the way to go for local GPS data processing.

Once the GPS data has been massaged into a nicer format, the next big step is segmenting it into different transport types. I’m thinking of a multi-pass process where the first step looks for obvious possible segment endpoints such as: long periods with no satellite fix, sudden changes in speed lasting > 1 minute, and location discontinuities. A second pass goes over each inflection point and looks at the data on either side to see whether it is really a change in the type of transport (like getting out of a car and walking) or just stopping at a traffic light.

I’ll be on a mainland trip for the next week, so I don’t expect to make much if any progress between now and next Wednesday. After that I’ll be back for only 2 days before heading out to Seoul for Ubicomp and the Ubiquitous Sustainability workshop, so I’ll be focused on preparing for that in the little time I have.

I was hoping to bone up on LaTeX this week, but it didn’t happen.

Past week accomplishments:

  • Web research portfolio started
  • Downloaded first weeks’ worth of GPS data
  • Dug up information on GPS logger, found issue with static navigation
  • Generated initial plot of GPS data in Google Maps and Google Earth
  • Continued logging GPS data and travel diary

Hours worked: 10ish (target: 15 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Continue recording GPS data & travel diary on trip
  • Read workshop papers if they are made available

Pointers to work products:

Cool links:

  • Nothing springs to mind