Yesterday’s absurd computing task. I want to memorise the names of my pupils that I don’t already know. So I asked their class teachers for their photos. Some sent me a folder of photos with filenames matching the pupils’ names, so all I had to do was import to Anki using the Media Import extension and start memorising. However some teachers sent me the photos embedded in a document for a Korean word processor called ‘Hanword’.

Perhaps older versions of Hanword were at some point necessary because Microsoft Word and OpenOffice/Libre Office lacked features for writing Korean, but I’m pretty sure that that’s not true anymore. Unfortunately, Hanword is sufficiently integrated into the Korean bureaucracy that Koreans will default to it. It’s unfortunate because, extremely charitably, it tries to look like Microsoft Word with its ribbon interface, but subtle differences make it difficult for someone who has spent their life on more mainstream software to use. Less charitably, it just lacks features. So in this case the photos I wanted seemed to be backgrounds to table cells. But there’s no way that I can find to get them out of the document and into files again.

First I stretched the table out which, luckily for me, made the images bigger and improved their aspect ratio so the pupils were more recognisable. Then I took screenshots, and used the GIMP’s guillotine tool to slice up the images so I then had about 180 open files on my 2GB RAM school machine. Half of these images were of the table cells containing the pupil’s names, which were useless as they weren’t matched to the photos. So I had to close all these. Then the other half I had to export as PNG into the right folder and type the pupil’s name in Korean. There are over ninety kids in grade 5 so this took almost two hours.

What’s frustrating is that the classroom teachers presumably had the images like I did in the end, as images in a folder (admittedly not named with the pupil’s name), in the first place. I asked one of them to provide them in that form but he seemed to imply that it would take some time to do it, and I can’t really insist of anything because of the hierarchy which I sit at the bottom at. Especially since the teachers who provided their photos in a Hanword document are much older than me.