Sunday, May 29, 2016

Amazon Echo review

I heard lately about a device called Amazon Echo which is designed by Amazon company. I searched over the internet and see tens of review videos and articles about it and have the following conclusion:

Amazon Echo is a cloud-connected device which means that it relies on the internet to upload voice, convert it to text, find the answer as text, then download this narrator voice to the device again. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have a relatively fast internet connection to feel it responsive in real time.

For sure, one good point about Amazon Echo that it depends on the cloud which makes it easier to develop and get smarter with time.

It is mostly rare to pick up amazon Echo in safari trips or on beach as it needs both electricity and internet and in this case the smart phone wins.

Amazon echo is designed with 7 microphones, so it can captures voice well even if the talking person is relatively far from the device (they call this far field technology)

As a speaker, I think it does not compare with home theater or high wattage subwoofers
From my point of view, I don't feel it special because a smart phone application can do the same job of assistance.

The Amazon Echo, is always connected to power source which limits its portability across home rooms. Therefore, it should be used in fixed place as a piece of furniture near a power supply. Even if Amazon added internal rechargeable battery for it, it will still need to be recharged frequently.

For sure, it will be quiet profitable for Amazon to make you have at least one piece per room.

Among most of reviews, the best place to use Amazon Echo is the kitchen where you can ask it to add items to shopping list, add tasks to "to do list", and play music while preparing food.

It can also do basic functions like timer, alarm, reminder, calculator, currency and unit converter, etc.

It does not have too much useful applications in real life. I personally find this device so much funny for lonely or introvert people.

Amazon Echo is an input/output device, but it will not act at all unless you give it an input.

One good point, that Amazon Echo always stand by and available for everyone at home. From the other side, it can be used only by one person at a time which makes smart phone wins also this time.

If Amazon Echo is used as a friend or a family member, then it will destroy the relation between family members.

In all reviews, most of people were asking Amazon Echo many general questions, and it successfully answered it, but these questions are so basic. It can be used for basic internet searches and for sure it is not that useful for professional who are seeking deeper details.

If Amazon Echo has an LCD, hologram, or projector display I will feel it more entertaining than the current situation.

Amazon Echo is always hearing you, so each time you want to keep your private conversations away from being uploaded to the cloud you have to mute it.

For me, it is a silly thing to know that Alexa (the name of Assistant in Amazon Echo) has the same synthetic voice and gives me the same tonality and answers as if someone else asked.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cool Effect: How to convert picture to monocolor in Powerpoint

A quick tutorial in PowerPoint to make a cool effect for pictures.

(1) Insert a a transparent background .png image in PowerPoint. In my example I use the following image. Alternatively, you can insert a picture and remove its background.

(2) Select the picture then go to Format - Adjust - Color - Picture color options

(3) Set the brightness of the image to 100%

(4) Now, all colors are converted to white

(5) Again go to Format - Adjust - Color and select one of the "Recolor" options.

(6) Here you are the result as you can see in the picture below:

(7) Enjoy...

This effect may be used to create shadow boards for hand tools for 5S. So you can arrange your tools and create and preview your custom shadow boards on PC, then print it on paper with the proper size (A4 to A0). Additionally, you can export the shadow picture (after re-scaling it) to any CNC cutting software to cut your shapes precisely on foam piece to make foam insert. Also, you can convert the monochrome picture to scalable format using any software or online service. For me, I use which gives good results and details.


DIY 5S shadow board for hand tools

Do it youself shadow board for hand tools

Home made shadow board for hand tools

DIY foam insert for hand tools

How to make drawing effect in PowerPoint

In the following quick tutorial I am going to tell you how to make a drawing effect or contour effect for a transparent .png picture.

(1) Insert the picture in PowerPoint

(2) Make glow effect and set the glow color. This color will be the drawing color.

(3) Set the brightness of the picture to 100%. This will transform all colors in the image to white

(4) Apply "Set transparent color" effect on the picture and select the white area.

(5) Now you have a contour of you picture

(6) Apply "Wheel" animation effect on the picture. Now, it will make a drawing effect.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

PowerPoint VBA: How to get shape name

This is the simplest ever way to know shape name in PowerPoint so you can use this name in VBA code:

[1] Open animation pane

[2] If you already have the shape, select it, and add any animation effect to it

[3] You will see the shape highlighted in animation pane with its name.

[4] Delete the animation effect.

[5] Done...

This methods works for shapes, images, and textboxes.


PowerPoint VBA How to get shape name

PowerPoint VBA How to know shape name

PowerPoint VBA How to get picture name

PowerPoint VBA How to know picture name

Saturday, May 14, 2016

PowerPoint VBA disappear animation effect


PowerPoint VBA disappear animation effect

Power Point VBA disappear animation effect

PowerPoint msoAnimEffectDisappear

Power Point msoAnimEffectDisappear

Without any complications, PowerPoint has four group of effects:

[1] Entrance effects

[2] Emphasis effects

[3] Exit effects

[4] Motion paths

PowerPoint has a list of animation effects names that you can find in the following Microsoft page (by the way, some of them does not appear in the GUI of PowerPoint, so you can call them by VBA):

The tricky part is that there is no exit animation effects in VBA because exit animation effect is just the reverse (opposite) of the entrance effect (see the pictures below and compare). In other words, there are set of animation effects that can be configured to be "Entrance" or "Exit" where the default configuration is "Entrance".

That means -in our case- there is no "Disappear" effect to be called by effect name like "msoAnimEffectDisappear", but it can be called by configuring the effect "msoAnimEffectAppear" to be "Exit".

The following macro adds "Disappear" effect to shape number (1) in slide number (1)

Private Sub AddDisAppearEffect()

Dim Shape1 As Shape

Dim ShapeEffect as Effect

Set MySlide = ActivePresentation.Slides(1)

Set Sahpe1= MySlide.Shapes(1)

' Add the appear effect
Set ShapeEffect = MySlide.TimeLine.MainSequence.AddEffect _
(Shape1, msoAnimEffectAppear, , msoAnimTriggerAfterPrevious)

ShapeEffect.Exit = msoCTrue      ' This line to configure the animation to be exit effect

End Sub

Now, I think it is done. Stop googling this again :)