Moving to iWeb

I am moving away from which Sergey will be monitoring as well.

My new blog: recycledM is going to be more spontaneous and more personal maybe.

I’ll keep blogging here with releases of jEditOQMath and maybe ActiveMath-svn which Eric is also slowly taking over.

jEditOQMath release 2010-09-22: add a language more luxury

This release is a stabilization of the previous big move.

  • but first a cherry on the cake: Add-a-language now uses the services of automatic translations (which does mess up things a bit) and also avoids removing the entity-references such as $.
  • QMath binary for Mac OS X-PPC is now in (10.4).
  • sadly I had to remove the accented file-names of the spanish QMath contexts (Matematicás, etc); it created issues in the build process of jEditOQMath and more importantly it failed to expand on Windows. This has not been much requested.

jEditOQMath release 2010-09-17: new QMath, and a few zappers

The latest jEditOQMath is uploaded to the developer preview and the download area.

It includes a brand new QMath which is also compiled for less platform: no ppc anymore (please help if you have one at hand with 10.4 or so), and only generic linuxes. This new QMath is a bit faster and is hopefully a lot more explicit for the error messages, it is the release candidate 1 of QMath.

Please give me feedback if works or doesn’t on your platform!

more refactorings:

  • Zap duplicates is introduced, and zap gremlins characters…
  • add-a-language is a a bit better now (no x-all, …)

ActiveMath-SVN rev 48

This release approaches the math-bridge service release.

It can be previewed on

Among others, changes include:

  • like/dislike buttons
  • surveys for math-bridge evaluations
  • tutor books
  • exercise steps logging is correct again

Find it from ActiveMath-svn.

Copy and paste with MathJax... it shouldn't be still source!

I just met Copy and Paste Math|MathJax which is very interesting but really:

it shouldn’t stay so!

Copy-and-paste MathML should happen as soon as you invoke the copy command after having selected (part of) the formula.

Hopefully, MathJax will consider implementing that part as well.

In this video, I find the paste phase pathetic: one really needs correct media-designation in the clipboard so that such is only needed when you have special desires. That one is a normal desire.

ActiveMath-svn revision 36: towards 1.1

Quite a few polishes in: - Includes input-editor enhancements; Drag-and-drop of formulæ now works again. - Dutch and French internationalization polishes - Groups should be mapped from Moodle courses.

And a lot more, see Jira issue list towards 1.1.

Revision 36 should come to all authors.

Copy to Clipboard - ambush and abuse by javascript

A fascinating discussion has been started by Tim Berners-Lee on the TAG mailing list, here’s the pointer to the archive:

it is based on a blog post by John Gruber, Tynt, the Copy/Paste jerks which is also fascinating as a rebellion.

somewhat crazy temperature

I observed the following fancy bit on a wolfram alpha’s answer:

Current temperature in Lyon: -6 x 10-6 °C (degrees Celsius)

Tastes like monstruously freezing ;-).

See picture.

jEditOQMath video

An introduction video of jEditOQMath used to author ActiveMath content can be seen here:

(379 Mb, MOV file, plays in Quicktime Player and VLC).

roots and polishes

Revision 11 is posted on ActiveMath-SVN.

It now displays roots in HTML (but fails at nesting of roots). It also attempts at displaying the port number in amStartup on unixes. Finally, the notation elements now also work in MathML.

To update… svn update as in ActiveMath-SVN. Nicer display of roots may need an index rebuild.

ActiveMath-SVN update: collection metadata, author-menus, ...

I’ve just brought the trunk of ActiveMath, as can be seen on devdemo, on the ActiveMath-SVN-stable. This brings a large amount of fixes and features:

  • polished MBase reload, most of the issues that were reported are solved
  • content-collection-based menus when you are an author
  • hidden user-model per default (no more confusing bullets, can be changed in view options)
  • enhanced cache invalidation: you can now reload and request the objectives selection menu again
  • bookmarkable course-generation requests (can be given to learners for example)

jEditOQMath update: collections metadata

  • new StaticBookMaker makes the collection-info, e.g. the list of files
  • content-collections now have a collection-metadata (which is inherited) by default
  • newly created content-collections now have a creatie-commons-attributions-sharelike by default
  • templates are now organized in three sections: documents, items, formulæ (thanks Yecheng)

Open-content topographic maps, something real is here

The need is extreeeeemely common: you want a map of some region to be included in the next flyer, in your web page, in your learning material. The map should be of good quality, be realistic, and certainly must contain your own annotations. How can you do?

Until yesterday I only knew the answers such as the Google-Maps-Embeddings: very limited annotations, extremely constrained licenses (no flyer for example), pretty slow, … but now I discovered OpenStreetMap.

drop-shadow with convert

I’ve been musing with ImageMagick and found a little snippet to produce drop shadows on the command-line with this amazing open-source library.

Given my file input.png I can obtain a version with drop shadow as target.png by running:

convert -depth 8 -threshold 0 -negate input.png  -bordercolor 'rgba(255,255,255,255)' \
   -border 20x20 -gaussian 0x7 -shave 10x10 - | \
 composite -geometry +5+5 -gravity northwest input.png - target.png

Generalized Metadata Inheritance now running in ActiveMath

A nifty feature has just emerged on daily activemath builds and jEditOQMath: advanced metadata inheritance. Basically, it allows an author to avoid most of the repetition of metadata by simply putting that metadata in an enclosing element.

Snow Leopard Compatibility and Performance?

Are there any known issues or welcome surprises concerning the compatibility and performance of ActiveMath under Snow Leopard Client and Server?

Academic confusion about notations

This is the story of a confusion which grew from each other’s copying a “nice example”: it’s about what is the normal notation for the binomial coefficients in Russian and French.

It starts as a paper we are writing, which copied another paper of mine (at MathUI), itself copying others sources, without precise citations (1, 2, and 3), the most authoritative one being MathML 2: all these sources claim that in Russian, the binomial coefficient (the number of subsets of cardinality k within a set of cardinality n) is written tex:\hbox{C}_k^n while in French, it’s written tex:\hbox{C}_n^k.

MUI(Mathematical User Interface) For Potential and Vital Consumers

I have been desperate for quite some time for my pupils to have a simple MUI(Mathematical User Interface) to be able to type Mathematics into Active Maths and into Web Pages, easily, consistently and semantically.

Could you please advise?

PHP a trustable language?

I came accross Why PHP should never be taught which is hilarious!

I always had a small mistrust of PHP as being a too easy language but this post is a perfect illustration of how things can go wrong if you have the slightest ignorance about all the details of the environment you are programming for! As a summary it says… equality-test in PHP is not transitive!

rsync -avc

I am in love with the rsync command-line tool. It’s a careful tool, a brilliant implementation, and well-thought command-line interface that surpasses cp, scp, and many others.

OmniOutliner to write a LaTeX article

This is a very nice experience I am having: I am editing writing an article in LaTeX and that is with OmniOutliner, the incredibly nice outliner of the Omni Group. Luxury is there to manage the texts, to hide parts temporarily, to apply styles and to navigate while the quality of the LaTeX output remains.

two examples of wrong web

Recently I encountered two websites which are really for educational purposes, even for math education purposes, two educational entreprises that aim at making mathematical content web-accessible. But it really is only “user-browser-web-accessible”… two examples of the wrong approach of rich internet applications.

"end of an era"

David Carlisle informed us today that:

chapter 6 is now chapter 7…

(indicating that we now have reorganized the chapter 6 of MathML specification to become the chapter 7 and vice-versa).

This had the topic “end of an era”.


Not at all. Funny it is but the fact that it needs a mail with such an emphasis proves the care taken to develop the MathML standard at W3C: the wish of ongoing compatibility goes as far as chapter numbers. And indeed, it really means that people speaking of chapter 6 will have to change their words.

Precious fun!

Software Agent

An Agency is an entity who is capable of doing some act. Or some one who acts on the behalf of some other one. In software Agents the code is not executed on demand but runs continuously and decides for itself when it should perform some activity. They are capable enough to deside and select their tasks by their own, only the thing is they need some triggers to start their work. They can prioritise their tasks. They have most of the time a goal to achive. So their activities are directed to some goal. They can make decisions with out human intervention.

The Semantic Web is not Restricted to Ontologies

The Semantic Web is not Restricted to Ontologies!

The semantic web is a nice strand. Something where AI should be able to do a huge job based on the massive knowledge spread around the web. Is it about AI or more generally machine processabiity? The last call for paper for the WWW conference actually broadened the semantic web track call to “Semantic / Data Web”.

Failing to create a book discover

I have created a collection “Essai”, and I would like to create a book “discover” with items of this collection (theorems, examples, exercises…). However, it is not possible: the answer is always “no items available” “go to users data to change your profile” (or something like that). Something must missing in the oqmath/omdoc files, but I do not know what… Many thanks for an answer!

Hey AJAX guys... remove X or drop JSON!

Over and over the discussion of JSON vs XML (vs YAML…) appears: they are compared as languages to serialize object graphs. I may be old fashioned but I find there’s no valid reason for anything but XML.

Here’s a set claims in favor of JSON (or YAML it seems):

  • JSON is more readable: I am sorry but I don’t find this true, being XML it’s much easier to know where parts start and end since end-tags are named. Most of the times the object graph is not sufficiently indented to recognize any structure hence readability only appears after you’ve tweaked a bit.

Translation tools requirements

Translation tools are many… but what good are they? To my surprise, there’s always some folks that find a tool that sounds cute but then it never helps. Let me try to identify the hard questions of translations’ management:

  • workflow of updates (by developers) and management of translators’ contributions
  • recognizing context when translating phrases
  • managing translation duties for documents and phrases

The fancy conclusion? No tool I’ve met really helps any except the management of duties and generally they do so by making completely impossible the others.

First Cabri play... nicely usable!

By chance, I noted that my daughter Pénélope’s math-book had exercises for geometry “with software”. So I gave it a try with her: she manipulates the mouse and tries… I just guide. It worked real well!

A Content-dictionary is a social thing

You know what?

A content-dictionary as can be found by tons on is mostly a social artifact. It’s a set of descriptions of symbols so that one can mean what others means.

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