Type casting type

Being type-casted is typical for type

Being type-casted is typical for type.

CIRP Citation Style for Mendeley

For previous academic work I have been using EndNote as my reference manager. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to use it at the company where I am doing research for my thesis due to heavy software limitations. So I switched to Mendeley, a great alternative in which you can manage your reference online as well. And using a little trick found in the forums of PortableApps.com I was able to run the desktop version of Mendeley on my company provided laptop.

But the next step was to use the correct citation style for my thesis. Unfortunately the one I need, based on the CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology, wasn’t yet available. So the only way was to create it myself using the great visual editor Mendeley provides. For those interested, you can download the CIRP Citation style for Mendeley here:
Download

Since the CIRP annals are not very extensive about the citation styles I have made a couple of assumptions on how to display several items based on the general IEEE citation style. However if you think it needs changes please contribute to the style and adjust it accordingly!

For those interested, you can read more about my thesis on the Circular Economy on my blog.

DoToKnow

After nearly a year of working on a new collaborative portfolio platform it is about time to start announcing it.

With a couple of friends I have been working on DoToKnow. A website on which you can keep track of your projects alone or together, and with that automatically updating your portfolio. This way you can build great portfolios based on any kind of project. Whether you work on it alone (building a bike) or together with colleagues (designing a building). By keeping track of your project you are not only building your portfolio but you can share your knowledge with others and you can gain their knowledge again. Because for sure there are more people around the world working on a similar project facing the same problems and tackling them identically. So why spend all that time reinventing the wheel again while the answers are right out there?

With this platform we hope to open up new resources of information while your able to build a great portfolio or exhibit of your work. Of course we aim for the best privacy standards and allowing you to choose whether to share information or not. But we hope you will since only together we can make the next step!

So if you are interested, feel free to subscribe now. Soon we hope to open up the Beta and allowing you to try out this new great platform!

Biofuels a renewable or limited energy resource?

After a quick research done on the topic of the Double Counting policy induced by the Renewable Energy Directive of the European Union I came to several preliminary conclusions about biofuels.

Basically the question is whether biofuels are – as currently seen by many governments and organisations – a sustainable future energy resource. There are some worrying consequences based on forecasts. Especially the required land usage and nutrients (fertilizers)  needed to produce all those biofuels is still of great concern. The preliminary conclusion is that due to the limited resource of phosphates and nitrates (required to grow the algae or other crops for biofuels) as well as land usage, biofuels can be seen as a limited resource. This would mean that it is questionable whether biofuels can be seen as a renewable resource.

Why?

Well to answer in short: The expected demand for biofuels will increase a ten fold in 40 years. This means that we will rely more on dedicated grown feedstock for biofuels since residues or waste based feedstock for biofuels is limited – we are not going to eat more potatoes to generate more waste.  The increased dedicated grown feedstock will increase demand of nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates. Since these are limited (the easy to mine nutrients) it will have consequences for the availability and price of fertilizers and cause increased competition between agriculture for food production and biofuel production. Also land is a limited resource to grow the feedstock for biofuels, another factor competing with agriculture for food production. The land change required to grow the crops for biofuels also has consequences on increased carbon emissions, increased monocultures and less biodiversity.

Below you can find the poster with some more information from this small research. Unfortunately it does not cover everything due to time restrictions, however I hope to present a more thorough paper here sometime soon.

Poster on Advanced Biofuels and the Double Counting Policy for Biofuels

Poster on Advanced Biofuels and the Double Counting Policy for Biofuels

Removing Ambiguous Anchors in Illustrator

Sometimes after merging shapes it happens that a vector in illustrator has anchors that you don’t need. These anchors might prevent you from doing some other great things with your vector. Unfortunately the simplify function of Illustrator is not sufficient enough to get rid of those, so that is why I wrote a little Illustrator script to get rid of the annoying redundant anchor points.

For a recent project I created some simplified maps of Europe with either horizontal, vertical or 45 degree lines. With the Live Paint Bucket tool I was able to fill a grid built up of triangles. This way I created the borders of countries in a simplified way. However after I tried to stylise the vectors by applying rounded corners to it I noticed that only a few corners were rounded.

After zooming to 6400%  I noticed the following. Many corners anchors in my path had redundant anchors close around them:

Two ambiguous anchors in a corner of a vector.

Two redundant anchors in a corner of a vector.

Unfortunately I could not find any plugins that can solve this issue by removing the redundant anchors. So I decided to write my first Illustrator Script.

The script is not optimal yet, but it worked like a charm in most of my use cases. These are some of it functionalities:

  • It removes the redundant anchors
  • Several methods to determine the optimal anchor (which one to keep), or interpolate between the possible options. It does this by looking one anchor back and one ahead of the group of ambiguous anchors.
  • It can solve multiple groups of anchors at the same time (be careful that
  • Adjust the threshold of how close anchors may be together to be called ambiguous

Download & How to use:

Download
  1. Download the script.
  2. Save it your Adobe Illustrator Presets/Scripts folder. In my case that was: file:\%ProgramFiles%AdobeAdobe Illustrator CS6 (64 Bit)Presetsen_GBScripts
  3. Open your file with ambiguous anchors
  4. Select with the Direct Selection Tool (A) part of a path, or select an entire path
  5. Execute the script by going to FileScripts > RemoveRedundant
    1. If the script is not present in this submenu, either you did not save it at the right place, or you have to restart Illustrator
    2. You can also navigate to the script by clicking on Other Script…

Options:

There are some global variables you can change to optimise the script for your usage. You should open the script in a text editor to do so.

  • Turn on debugging (several alerts will be presented when executing the script), default is off
  • Show a prompt dialog when executing the script to ask for the precision (threshold) for finding redundant anchors, default is off
  • The default precision. The default is 0.1;  (I have used it between 1 and 0.01)
  • Maximum number of anchors to evaluate. This is a precaution to prevent your illustrator from freezing. Default is 100 anchors.

Issues:

  • Trying to solve too many anchors, or heavily anchored paths at the same time might freeze illustrator
  • Sometimes certain ambiguous groups are completely removed (could not identify yet how). This happens often when multiple groups are being solved in one go. To prevent this select one group of ambiguous anchors at the same time.
  • Grouped paths will be skipped at the moment. So select your path at the lowest level possible!
  • It only works for straight cornered anchors. If you have smooth anchors these will be converted to corner anchors.
  • On large files it can be a bit slow

If you come across any issues or have some suggestions please let me know! In some future I might try to turn this into a proper plugin which would make the script run much smoother and faster.

Smarty’s hidden global variables

Recently I have been working on some web design projects in which we are using the templating parser Smarty. And even though the parser itself is very extensive, the documentation is not. To use variables across nested template files you need to globalise variables. I wrote a tiny Smarty plugin that does this job for you.

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