Work samples

This was one of the first sets of macros I wrote for Microsoft Office. Taken together it provides an automated way to turn folders of images into PowerPoint files with slide captions. As a side effect, it could export HTML thumbnail galleries from the same information. The shortcuts demonstrated here cut clerical time by about 50% vs. doing it by hand. Now thanks to Javascript's open source community, it can be done from your web browser in this demo!


Password required

Usually making an HTML edition of a PDF book would involve an eternity of copying & pasting. Using a data mining program1 I wrote for PDF text extraction, this job was easy, and I was able to dump everything into our web template including glossary links, image pop-ups, and an embedded index of key terms using HTML anchors to bookmark the place on the page to scroll to. I did several astronomy books, including this one, Michael Seeds’ Horizons: Exploring the Universe (8th edition, © 2008 Cengage Learning). For intellectual property reasons, this area of the site is password protected. Look for the login information on my full PDF resume in my initial email to your hiring department, or use the website contact page to send me a message requesting access.


1 Data mining program not available here due to licensing restrictions. However, it runs on any computer with Windows XP and above (.NET 1.1) with a dependency on a $500 abandonware PDF programming library and Adobe Acrobat (not Reader). I am currently rewriting it in Swift to remove these dependencies by running under Mac OSX.

Think back to the last time you did homework problems out of a textbook. Did you ever have a teacher that assigned problems from here and there in the chapter? Something like #3-8 and 11, 13, 15, etc. This tool was supposed to solve the problem of making answer sheets for teachers who did that. It was a computer program developed for Cengage by Cow Town Productions that teachers could use online to generate PDF's with the answers to the problems they selected. My job was to make the answer screenshots, which were PNG format and named according to their chapter and problem number. I made a program of my own using Visual Basic.NET to scan through the PDF files and take the screenshots for me, instead of having to do the hard work in Adobe Photoshop. Here you can find my demo of a solution builder program written in ASP.NET.


Password required

Kleiner's Art Through the Ages is Cengage's flagship Art History book, with an exhaustive list of textbook figures. One of the managers decided that since in making the book they had all these high-resolution JPG pictures, in sufficient detail sometimes that you could zoom in and see new things as if through a magnifying glass. I wrote the art thumbnail gallery that let you do that, using Flash (ActionScript 2), and also did the production work of converting the pictures to Zoomify format and adding captions in XML. In order to protect the artists' copyright, this content has also been password protected.


During the 2000's, Cengage had a problem with digital rights management: how to share online versions of textbooks with paid physical textbook users without allowing them to copy the file and give it away to other students for free. The answer (back then) was FlashPaper, a Flash-based PDF replacement that you could change to only run when hosted on company servers. How it worked was, the FlashPaper Printer was a virtual printer that you could send print jobs to, just like your office printer. However instead of making copies, the virtual printer made an .swf file. The funny thing about the way that it did it was, some special characters such as = and + were turned into grainy bitmaps instead of being preserved as fonts. In order to fix this, I learned to decompile and recompile this FlashPaper using Java, and replace all the text (including the bad text) with that made by a competing open-source project, PDF2SWF, on the same PDF files. This demo will flip back and forth between the old unimproved version of a file and the recompiled one. You should be able to notice a small difference in clarity in the special characters if you scroll down while it flips back and forth.


This is an old Flash gallery I include for artistic reasons. It took forever to make, back in 2001, and I think it's among the best computer art I am capable of. Bonus: it includes my old teacher-student evaluations from UC Santa Cruz (also available in WordPress).