Why Technical English

Changing the theme of this blog

August 26, 2010
1 Comment
By Galina Vitkova

Dear visitors of my blog Why Technical English!

Circumstances wanted me to change the theme (graphical arrangement of this blog). I liked very much a former theme. I think it was ideally suited to the content of my blog. Nevertheless, I believe that the new theme will fit in with the content of the blog as well as the former one. In any case the content of the blog is the most important thing beyond a doubt and the content has been kept. Moreover, the change of the theme forced me to elaborate a classified list of posts on the blog. Now you can find the posts that are the most interesting for you much easier. Just look through the sidebar and choose appropriate post in the List of tech texts on power engineering or in the List of tech texts on computers etc. In fact there are eleven of such lists, i.e. (posts in individual lists are ordered by the date of their publishing):

  • List of Posts: Tech texts on computers;
  • List of Posts: Tech texts on WEB;
  • List of Posts: Tech texts on power engineering and renewables;
  • List of Posts: Tech texts on robots;
  • List of Posts: Tech texts on genetics;
  • List of Posts: Interviews;
  • List of Posts: Grammar issues in tech texts;
  • List of Posts: Students´ opinion on Tech English;
  • List of Posts about Technical Writing;
  • List of Posts about SKYPE conversation;
  • List of Posts: Miscellaneous.

 

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

 

The content of individual lists comprises as follows:

List of Posts: Tech texts on computers

List of Posts: Tech texts on WEB

List of Posts: Tech texts on power engineering and renewables

 List of Posts: Tech texts on robots

List of Posts: Tech texts on genetics

List of Posts: Interviews

 List of Posts: Dictionaries and Grammar issues in tech texts

 List of Posts: Students´ opinion on Tech English

List of Posts about Technical Writing

List of Posts about SKYPE conversation

 List of Posts: Miscellaneous

Good luck in study Technical English using the posts on this blog!

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Have you already procured e-book reader?

June 22, 2010
2 Comments
                                                                                                                          By Galina Vitkova
General  reflection

I like printed books, more than that I love them. Nevertheless, I stopped buying the books short of few exceptions many years ago and the primary reason was the books need too much place in your dwelling.

Electronic books (e-books) are much better from this point of view. First of all, e-books do not demand practically any place in your dwelling. It is incomparably easier to find room for them. Second, e-books are much cheaper than printed ones. Third, they are eco-friendly, above all else because they do not need paper and other substances, which is extremely important at present time. And finally e-books are out of competition when traveling as you can take with yourself your whole library with your favourite books and publications.

But for a relatively long time reading e-books has not given the feeling of comfort. Nowadays e-books together with e- book readers have fundamentally changed the situation with it. Reading e-books has become comfortable and enjoyable. 

However, several buts have still remained. If you are not used to reading from a computer screen, you get unpleasant feeling that something is wrong, when starting to read using an e-book readers. Fortunately, almost all people get easily used to overcoming that. Nevertheless, your eyes could be too sensitive to the screen flicker and you may be very tired in a short time. So, that’s why you need implicitly to have an e-book reader of a high quality, which takes into consideration mentioned troubles.

Technical features of modern e-book readers

The company ECTACO, one of the leading producers of linguistic devices and software, offers very quality devices in this branch including e-book readers. Now ECTACO presents its second line of electronic e-book readers: ECTACO jetBook Lite – the most affordable e-Book Reader on the market with outstanding performance. You can get to know 11 types of present e-book readers produced by ECTACO and Franklin Electronic Publishers and compare their basic characteristics depicted in the table on page e-Book readers.

In general, all these e-book readers support e-book content in most European languages.  Besides, several of them also support Arabic, Farsi, Vietnamese and Hebrew. All books could be stored with their illustrations and pictures. The built in flash-memory allows you to store your favoured books as many as you like.  Moreover, some of these readers contain bidirectional dictionaries for several European languages. As a rule, the e-book readers are preloaded by famous books and publications. All readers have bookmarks and auto page turn functionality and adjustable font type and size. Further, they support screen rotation for both portrait and landscape mode. A large 5-inch VGA reflective monochrome screen make people feel comfortable, when reading, and moreover is thoughtful of the eyes. In the Internet shops you can purchase practically any e-book because these readers support practically entire file formats used in e-books. So, enjoy reading breathtaking e-books, enjoy their illustrations and pictures with the help of modern e-book readers. Just take them with yourselves on these Summer holidays, particularly perceiving that the e-book readers are lightweight (their weights varies in the interval from 6.5oz to 9oz, i.e. from234g to 255g), super-portable and fits perfectly into the palm of your hand.

A price of the e-book readers in the table is within the interval 80$ up to 179$, except a Chinese e-book reader, which costs 349$.

Reference http://www.ectaco.com/main.jsp?refid=35351&vTransferId=null

 


Speech and Handwriting Recognition in Windows 7

March 30, 2010
6 Comments

By P.B.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any practical experience with speech or handwriting recognition. However, I would like to get the experience and to use these new features of Windows 7 when communicating with my computer.

Speech recognition

It is included free as a part of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. The version in Windows 7 is actually unchanged, though some small improvements – such as an expanded dictionary – have been involved.

When a user wants to implement the function Speech recognition, he must do 3 steps:

  1. To set the microphone using a menu:  Start – Settings – Easy access – Speech recognition – Set the microphone.  For faster recognition it is necessary to have a good microphone (in order to avoid background noise). It is better to use a headset microphone than a desktop one.
  2. To learn speaking to the computer – the Windows contains a program which teaches users to use common commands (e.g. open the file, close the folder) in 30 minutes.
  3. To teach the computer to recognize user´s speech – during usage of speech recognition the computer improves its ability to recognize a specific user´s voice profile.

The function Speech recognition is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Chinese (Traditional and Simplified).

Handwriting

Microsoft has been working on handwriting recognition for over 15 years (from Windows 3.0). There were Only 12 languages are available in the Windows Vista.  In the Windows 7 more languages are included and for us it is important that Czech language is in the package. The language, in which the operating system is installed, and English language as well can be always usable for handwriting recognition, but when you need to recognize handwriting in another language besides English, you must have Windows 7 Ultimate and download an additional package.

The reason why all languages, used in countries where Windows may be applied, aren’t included in Windows 7 is simple. For each new language it is necessary to collect samples of native handwriting, to analyze collected data and cleanse it. So, development of a new handwriting recognizer starts with a huge data collection effort. Millions words and characters of a written text are collected from tens of thousands of writers. The problems are that some languages have special characters or accents and people in different regions learn to write in different ways. Differences exist even between countries with the same language as between the UK and US, for example. Characters that may look visually very similar to you can actually be quite different to the computer. This is why it is necessary to collect real data about how characters, punctuation marks and other shapes are exactly written.

Before start of data collecting, recognizer developers configure collection tools, prepare documentation and compile language scripts in the labs. Once tools and scripts are ready, the labs are opened and volunteers may donate their handwriting samples. In the course of samples evaluating a gender, age, left handiness and educational background are taken into consideration. A collection session lasts 60-90 minutes. The donated data is then uploaded and stored in a Microsoft database for future use.

 


B i o f u e l s – do they interest you?

February 3, 2010
23 Comments

Composed by Galina Vitkova

 Biofuels belong to the most quickly developing branches of renewable energy sources, mainly due to oil price spikes and the need for increasing energy security. There are two main sorts of biofuels: bioethanol and biodiesel.

Bioethanol (also called biogasoline or simply ethanol) is an alcohol made by fermenting the sugar components of plant materials It is made mostly from sugar and starch crops. Technological process for producing ethanol requires as a rool a significant amount of energy (often unsustainable fossil fuel). Making ethanol from the sugar cane is less energy-consuming.

Ethanol can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually added to a gasoline to increase octane and improve vehicle emissions. Most existing car petrol engines can run on blends of up to 15% bioethanol with petroleum/gasoline.Many car manufacturers are now producing flexible-fuel vehicles (FFV’s), which can safely run on any combination of bioethanol and petrol.

Bioethanol is widely used in the USA and in Brazil – see the table below:

Fuel ethanol

(thousand tonnes equivalent oil)

2008

Change 08

over 07

Share of total

USA 17 460 41.3 % 50.2 %
Brasilia 13 549 20.0 % 38.2 %
Europe 1337 50.8 % 3.8 %
Total world 34 800 30.9 % 100 %

 

The expanded table with the similar content could be found in Renewables are becoming more and more popular based on REN21 Interactive Map (beta-version).

Green diesel (biodiesel) is the most common biofuel used in Europe. It is a liquid similar in composition to fossil/mineral diesel. Feedstocks for biodiesel include animal fats, vegetable oils, soy, flax, sunflower, palm oil, hemp and many others. Pure biodiesel (B100) is the lowest emission diesel fuel.

Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine when mixed with mineral diesel. The majority of vehicle manufacturers recommend to add up to 15% biodiesel blended with mineral diesel. Many current diesel engines are made to be able to run on B100 without altering the engine itself.

Since biodiesel is an effective solvent and cleans residues deposited by mineral diesel, engine filters may need to be replaced more often because the biofuel dissolves old deposits in the fuel tank and pipes. In many European countries, a 5% biodiesel blend is widely used and is available at thousands of gas stations. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport (e.g. it has a high flashpoint of about 300 F (148 C) whereas petroleum diesel fuel has a flashpoint of 125 F (52 C)).

The structure of the USA buofuels resources is depicted on the chart below:

Second-generation biofuels production processes use non-food crops and do not divert food away from the animal or human food chain. These include waste biomass, the stalks of wheat, corn, wood, and special-energy-or-biomass crops (e.g. Miscanthus). Many second generation biofuels are under development such as biohydrogen, biomethanol, biohydrogen diesel, mixed alcohols, wood diesel etc.. For example, producing ethanol from cellulose is a difficult technical problem to solve. So in cellulosic ethanol laboratories, various experimental processes are being developed to simulate natural enzymatic digestive processes, typical for animals, to make ethanol fuel.

Scientists also work on experimental organisms using recombinant DNA genetic engineering (see also Genetics for common people) to increase biofuel potential. A technology to use industrial waste gases from steel mills as a feedstock for producing ethanol has been developed in New Zealand.

Third generation biofuel is a biofuel from algae. Algae are low-input, high-yield source biofuels. Based on laboratory experiments, it claimed that Algae can produces up to 30 times more energy per acre than land crops such as soybeans, but these yields have yet to be produced commercially. With the higher prices of fossil fuels, there is much interest in farming algae.

References:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –   http://en.wikipedia.org

REN21 Interactive Map (beta-version) – http://www.ren21.net/map/

 P S : You can find a lot of absorbing information about biofuels made of sugar cane on the blog http://sugarcaneblog.com

 


Renewables are becoming more and more popular

January 23, 2010
3 Comments
Composed by Galina Vitkova

REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century) has just issued the newest information about the current renewable policy and its realisation in the form of Renewables Interactive Map (beta-version). The Map can be found on the REN21 website, at http://www.ren21.net/mapThe map contains a great deal of information on renewable energy, including support policies, expansion targets, current shares, installed capacity, current production, future scenarios, policy pledges, etc. It enables you to immediately gain by simple clicking on the country of your interest, depicted on the world geographic map, the current information about:

  • Renewables in General:
  • ♦ Policies (feed-in tariff, investment tax credits, net metering, etc)
  • ♦ Targets (final energy, primary energy, electricity, heating/cooling, etc)
  • ♦ Scenarios (before 2020, after 2020 up to 2050)
  • ♦ Others
  • Statistics (global and for individual participating countries) on geothermal energy, wind energy, solar energy, biofules (mainly ethanol)
  • Information about all kind of renewable which the country concerns (energy of wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass), again for the world and for world regions
  • Technologies in use
  • And others

So the map serves as a central access-point to current renewable energy information, which is very comfortable. Moreover, you will find unknown for you concepts in the glossary accessed from the map.

REN21 has already ensured authentic information for several years, in particular through its Renewables Global Status Report. A new tool, the Renewables Interactive Map is intended to trail more closely the dynamic development of renewable energy production and market development. Furthermore, it provides disaggregated information for particular countries and technologies (see aggregated information on the topic at this blog too, About renewables position just now ).

Studying renewable energy information you improve your technical English, enjoying competent technical texts. Moreover, at the same time you gain very advantageous and comprehensive information about things which we all depend on.

Find below aggregated statistics which denote:

  • Geothermal  energy  (cumulative installed geothermal power capacity in MW)
  • Solar  energy  (cumulative  installed  photovoltaic (PV) power in MW)
  • Wind energy (cumulative  installed capacity  of wind turbines in MW)
  • Fuel ethanol (production in thousand tonnes oil equivalent).

Study the statistics of worldwide renewables adopted from http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/reports_and_publications/statistical_energy_review_2008/STAGING/local_assets/2009_downloads/renewables_section_2009.pdf.

Notice the column „Change 08 over 07“.  It demonstrates that in 2008 capacity of renewables installations is increase in comparison with 2007.   For example, production of ethanol in the USA increased by 42.0 % and makes 52.2 % world production of ethanol. In Europe the production increased by 50.8, but makes only 3.8 % world production of this biofuel. Statistics about usage of solar energy usage in Europe are of particular interest. For example, total increase of cumulative  installed  photovoltaic (PV) power counts up to 69.1 %, where Germany increased its solar  installed  PV power by 37.5 %(40,9 % of world total) and Spain had the growth of its solar  installed  PV power by 422.2 % (24.5 % of world total).

Geothermal  energy (MW)

2008

Change 08 over 07
Share of total
Indonesia

1 042.5

6.1 %

10.0 %

Italy

810.5

– 

7.7 %

Japan

537.3

5.1 %

Mexico

964.5

0.5 %

9.2 %

New Zealand

586.6

24.4 %

5.6 %

Philippine

1 780.0

18.9 %

USA

2 998

2.1 %

28.6 %

Total

10 469.0

4.2 %

100 %

  

Solar energy (MW)

  

2008

 

Change 08 over 07
 
Share of total

North America

1 226.7

39.9 %

9.1 %

incl.:  USA

1 172.5

41.2 %

8.7 %

Europe (without Russian Federation)

9 614.9

92.3 %

71.5 %

 incl.: Germany

5 498.0

37.5 %

40.9 %

 incl.:  Spain

3 291.2

422.2 %

24.5 %

Others

2 603.3

25.1 %

19.4 % 

incl.:  Japan

2 148.9

12.0 %

16.0 %

Total

13 444.9

69.1 %

100 %

 

Wind  energy (MW)

2008

Change 08 over 07
Share of total
North America  

27 940

48.6 %

22.9 %

incl.:  USA

25 237

49.5 %

20.7 %

Europe+Euroasia

65 998

68.2 %

54.0 %

incl.:    Germany

23 933

7.4 %

19.6 %

incl.:   Spain

16 543

12.4 %

13.5 %

Asia Pacific

26 446

59.8 %

21.6 %

incl.:  China

12 121

106.3%

9.9 %

incl.:  India

9 655

23.1 %

7.9 %

Total

122 158

29.9 %

100 %

Fuel  ethanol (thousand tonnes)

2008

Change 08 over 07
Share of total

North America

18 154

42.0 %

52.2 %

incl.:  USA

17 460

41.3 %

50.2 %

South America

13 723

19.7 %

39.4 %

incl.:  Brasilia

13 549

20.0 %

38.2 %

Europe

1337

50.8 %

3.8 %

Asia Pacific

1 586

10.4 %

4.6 %

incl.:  China

1 021

– 2.4 %

2.9 %

Total

34 800

30.9 %

100 %

        

Note: About REN21

REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century)  is a global policy network that provides a forum for international leadership on renewable energy. Its goal is to encourage the policy of development and the rapid expansion of renewable energies in developing and industrialised economies.

 

 


Short communication on multi-touch

December 27, 2009
1 Comment
By Galina Vitkova

It is just to attract your attention, dear colleagues and friend of Technical English, to an extremely interesting and incentive contemplation in Multi touch computing change the next generation of computer  on the blog http://gyandotcom.wordpress.com/ . The post was written more than a year ago, but its challenges remains tremendous till now. It is rather long and the main points turn on the following ideas:

  • multi-touch computing technology enables to communicate with a computer using all 10 fingers, not only touching the screen by one finger.
  • Moreover, more people can touch the wall size screen simultaneously; or it could be several screens connected to one green
  • Perceptive Pixels beginning and achievements and their role in development of modern multi-touch
  • Perhaps most fundamental was exploiting an optical effect known as frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR), which is also used in fingerprint-recognition equipment.
  • Attempts and efforts made by Microsoft, Mitsubishi Wired In and other large, well-known companies are routed to find out the best solution and results of their work are astounding.

My advice – read the post and enjoy it!

            Reference:   http://gyandotcom.wordpress.com/


Handwriting recognition and Windows 7

December 25, 2009
1 Comment
Compiled by Galina Vitkova

Handwriting recognition concerns the ability of a computer to get and interpret comprehensible handwritten input from paper documents, photographs, touch-screens and other devices. Two varieties of hhandwriting recognition are principally distinguished: off-line and on-line. The image of the written text may be estimated “off line” from a piece of paper by optical scanning through OCR (optical character recognition) or by IWR (intelligent word recognition). As contrasted to “off-line handwriting recognition”, under “on line handwriting recognitiona real-time digitizing tablet is used for input, for example, by a pen-based computer screen surface.

 Off-line recognition

Off-line handwriting recognition involves the automatic conversion of text into letter codes, which are usable within computer and text-processing applications. The data obtained by this form is regarded as a static representation of handwriting.

The technology is successfully used by businesses which process lots of handwritten documents, like insurance companies. The quality of recognition can be substantially increased by structuring the document, for example, by using forms.

The off-line handwriting recognition is relatively difficult because people have different handwriting styles. Nevertheless, limiting the range of input can allow recognition to be improved. For example, the ZIP code digits are generally read by computer to sort the incoming mail.

In optical character recognition (OCR) typewritten or printed text (usually captured by a scanner) is mechanically or electronically conversed into machine-editable text. When one scans a paper page into a computer, the process results in just an image file a photo of the page. Then OCR software converts it into a text or word processor file.

Intelligent Word Recognition, or IWR, is the recognition of unconstrained handwritten words. IWR recognizes entire handwritten words or phrases instead of character-by-character, like OCR. IWR technology matches handwritten or printed words to a user-defined dictionary, It leads to significantly reducing character errors encountered in typical character-based recognition engines. IWR also eliminates a large percentage of the manual data entry of handwritten documents that, in the past, could be detected only by a human.

New technology on the market utilizes IWR, OCR, and ICR (intelligent character recognition, i.e. an advanced optical character recognition) together. For example, most ICR software has a self-learning system referred to as a neural network, which automatically updates the recognition database for new handwriting patterns. All these achievements open many possibilities for the processing of documents, either constrained (hand printed or machine printed) or unconstrained (freeform cursive). Moreover, a complete handwriting recognition system, as a rule, also handles formatting, performs correct segmentation into characters and finds the most plausible words.

 On-line recognition

On-line handwriting recognition involves the automatic conversion of text as it is written on a special digitizer or a personal digital assistant (PDA), which is a mobile device, also known as a palmtop computer. PDA sensor picks up the pen-tip movements as well as pen-up/pen-down switching. The obtained signal is converted into letter codes which are usable within computer and text-processing applications.

The elements of an on-line handwriting recognition interface typically include:

  • A pen or stylus for the user to write with.
  • A touch sensitive surface, which may be integrated with, or adjacent to, an output display.
  • A software application which interprets the movements of the stylus across the writing surface, translating the resulting strokes into digital text.

Commercial products incorporating handwriting recognition as a replacement for keyboard input were introduced in the early 1980s. Since then advancements in electronics have allowed the computing power necessary for handwriting recognition to fit into a smaller form factor than tablet computers, and handwriting recognition is often used as an input method for hand-held PDAs. Modern handwriting recognition systems are often based on Time Delayed Neural Network (TDNN) classifier, nicknamed “Inferno”, built at Microsoft.

In recent years, several attempts were made to produce ink pens that include digital elements, such that a person could write on paper, and have the resulting text stored digitally. The best known of these use technology developed by Anoto (see also Discussion – The Digital Pen), which has had some success in the education market. The general success of these products is yet to be determined. Nevertheless, a number of companies develop software for digital pens based on Anoto technology.

                                                                             

 

 

 

 

 

Handwriting in Windows 7

According to Mountain View, CA, December 1, 2009 – PhatWare Corporation announces the launch of the latest version of PenOffice (PenOffice 3.3), which works with Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. PhatWare Corporation is a leading provider of software products and professional services for mobile and desktop computers. Its new product offers customers enhanced security and innovative user interface features. PenOffice 3.3 is an advanced pen-enabled collaboration and handwriting recognition software for Microsoft Windows-based computers. It can be used with any pointing input device, such as graphic tablet, interactive while board, touch screen monitor, Tablet PC, online digital pen, and even standard computer mouse.

In compliance with Stan Miasnikov, president of PhatWare Corp. “Making application compatible with Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 helps us offer our customers compelling benefits, including intuitive user interfaces such as pen-based collaboration, improved security and reliability features, full support for multi-core processing, and sophisticated configuration and management features to improve mobile working.”

Although handwriting recognition is an input form that the public has become accustomed to, it has not achieved widespread use in either desktop computers or laptops. It is still generally accepted that keyboard input is both faster and more reliable. As of 2006many PDAs offer handwriting input, sometimes even accepting natural cursive handwriting, but accuracy is still a problem, and some people still find even a simple on-screen keyboard more efficient.

 

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

                                          


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