Blog Main Archive - Jan 2017

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1/8/2017 - My slightly modified VUE: Visual Understanding Environment (Software)
1/8/2017 - GNU Emacs: Using helm-unicode; changing the font and font size only for helm-unicode; etc. (Emacs Lisp)
1/12/2017 - VUE: How to detach images from bubbles (also known as nodes) (Software)

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My slightly modified VUE: Visual Understanding Environment
Sunday, January 8th, 2017
05:04:12 GMT

Software

I slightly modified the wonderful concept mapping software VUE: Visual Understanding Environment to work better for me in Puppy Linux.

My modified source code is available from here:

GitHub.com/Apollia/VUE


My top goals were:

  1. To make it possible in Puppy Linux to successfully open files and web pages by clicking resource buttons attached to VUE nodes (or as I prefer to call them, bubbles).

    If I recall correctly, that already worked in Windows XP, but it mostly didn't work right for me in any edition of Puppy Linux I tried VUE in - namely, Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 and Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004. (Except I was always able to open other VUE map files.)


    So, I fixed that, in a crude but effective-enough way. And now I can not only open other VUE maps, but do things like launch other programs and scripts, and visit web pages, just by clicking currently inconveniently tiny buttons in VUE.

    Reminds me a little of HyperCard.


  2. To make VUE visually blend in better with my preferred dark desktop theme.


I don't feel like writing in 100% thorough detail about how to compile the source code, but, one way to compile it is by using Apache Ant. (I used v1.10, and in the past, version 1.9.6 also worked for me.)

Once you have Ant installed, you can run the command "ant all" in the "VUE2/src" folder, which after about 20 seconds results in a runnable "VUE.jar" file which you can find at the path "VUE2/src/build/VUE.jar".

And you can run VUE.jar by opening a console in the "VUE2/src/build" folder and typing:

java -jar VUE.jar


It's also possible to build and run VUE using the Eclipse Java EE IDE for Web Developers Neon.2 Release (4.6.2), and probably other versions.

Eclipse also has debugging features I mostly haven't figured out how to use yet, and the useful ability to generate Javadoc pages like these.


This old forum post on how to put VUE into an Eclipse project was helpful, though I didn't follow all of those instructions. I told Eclipse to base the project on the Ant build file at VUE2/src/build.xml, and that worked fine.

Eclipse still listed a bunch of errors even after I excluded these folders using Eclipse's Resource Filters feature:

src/java15
src/oki/old
src/maclib
src/old
src/build

But, Eclipse still was able to build VUE anyway.

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GNU Emacs: Using helm-unicode; changing the font and font size only for helm-unicode; etc.
Sunday, January 8th, 2017
23:37:45 GMT

Emacs Lisp

I recently figured out that in GNU Emacs, I was using the helm-unicode extension wrong.

After installing that, I mistakenly assumed that the key sequence Ctrl-x 8 Return (or, C-x 8 RET for short) was automatically now using helm-unicode. Then I was confused that the list of Unicode characters only had names and not the actual characters.

Finally, I figured out that C-x 8 RET was only running the command (insert-char), not (helm-unicode). (To find out what command is assigned to a key sequence or keychord, you can type C-h k, then after the prompt "Describe key (or click menu item):" appears in the minibuffer, type the key, key chord or key sequence you're curious about.)


To make C-x 8 RET run (helm-unicode) instead, I had to run this command (and I also added it to my GNU Emacs preferences):




Another useful thing to add is this code to make the font larger only for helm-unicode searches. It's code I slightly modified, most of which I originally found on this page:

If you don't have the "Symbola" Unicode font, you can change "Symbola" to another font name. Or, you can download Symbola from this page:

Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts
http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/




Also, here's some code I found somewhere which will make GNU Emacs display Unicode in any buffer:

The problem with using that code is, it can sometimes make GNU Emacs very slow - for example, if you do the key sequence C-h h to look at the "HELLO" file included with GNU Emacs, which shows translations of the word "hello" in many different languages.




If you want to output the entire Unicode character list as browseable, editable text in a buffer, try this. A slightly modified version of code I found on this page:

I suggest pasting that code into your *scratch* buffer. Then, put your cursor (or "point" as it's called in GNU Emacs jargon) at the end of the "print-elements-of-list" function definition and do the key sequence C-x C-e.

Then, to actually output the list into whatever buffer you're running this in, put your cursor at the end of the last line and do the key sequence C-u C-x C-e.

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VUE: How to detach images from bubbles (also known as nodes)
Thursday, January 12th, 2017
02:12:57 GMT

Software

Last edited Jan. 12, 2016, at 2:37 AM EST.


This blog post applies to both the official version 3.3.0 of the concept mapping software VUE: Visual Understanding Environment, and my own slightly modified version. I haven't tried this in other versions.


I've been a delighted user of VUE since perhaps 2010. But it was not until the past several days that I finally stumbled across a way to detach images from nodes! (Or, as I prefer to call nodes - bubbles.)

These instructions work for me using VUE in either Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 or Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004. Haven't tried this in Windows or on a Mac.


Here's how to detach an image from a single bubble:

  1. Drag and drop an image onto your VUE map.

  2. Right-click the bubble containing the image and choose Remove Resource (keep image).

  3. At this point, the image is still not detachable. To make it detachable, copy and paste the bubble.

  4. Unless I'm mistaken - in the original bubble, the image will still be stuck no matter what you do. But with any pasted new copy of that bubble, you can click on the image and drag it out!


If you want to detach images from many bubbles:

  1. Select all the bubbles you want to detach images from.

  2. Go to the Content menu and select Remove Resources (keep images). (Have to do that instead of right-clicking, because oddly, the "Remove Resource (keep images)" item in the right-click menu disappears when you have more than one bubble selected.)

  3. Copy and paste all the bubbles.

  4. Again, unless I'm mistaken, the images are only detachable from the pasted copies, not the original bubbles.

    You can select multiple images to drag out by clicking one image, then pressing the Shift key on your keyboard when you click the other images. Once you've selected all the images you want, click one of your selected images, then drag all of them as a group to wherever you want.


If you put an image back into a bubble, it can get stuck again, but you can just repeat the above process to make another detached, bubble-free copy. Or use the undo feature.

Happily, detaching the images makes it possible to more easily resize the images, the same way you resize a bubble. (Click on the image to select it, which makes white boxes appear at the corners and edges, which you can click on and drag to resize the image.)


I don't know if there's a maximum size for images, but, you can definitely resize them to be larger than their full size.

And using VUE's Layers feature, you can actually use images as backgrounds for anything on higher layers!


To work with layers, go to the Windows menu and choose Layers, or press Ctrl-5.

Using just the controls in that small window, you can create new layers, lock and unlock layers, show or hide certain layers, move whatever bubbles, images, etc. you want to other layers, reorder layers, duplicate layers, merge layers, and remove layers. And perhaps do other things I don't know about.

The rename-layer feature in VUE 3.3.0 - and in my own slightly modified version of VUE - currently doesn't work in Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 and Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004, and also in a MacOS. No idea how to fix that yet, but I might try to figure it out.

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