Ben Pettis

Other Projects

  • Adobe Acrobat PDF Fixer - 2022
  • Do you have a professor who provides PDFs that look like they’ve been run through a meat grinder? Are you a professor who provides PDFs that contain multiple scanned pages on a single page?
  • We’ve all been there – someone has generously provided us with a PDF copy of a book chapter or article. But there’s one problem – none of the text is actually searchable. And each page of the PDF actually contains two pages of scanned text.
  • PDFs in this format are not accessible to people using screen readers, and keeping multiple scanned pages on each PDF page can make navigating the document inconvenient and cumbersome. Adobe Acrobat can make those PDFs more usable, but manually fixing your scans each time is tedious.
  • This Acrobat Action will semi-automatically process a scanned PDF to separate each scanned page onto its own PDF page and run the entire document through OCR to create searchable and selectable text.
  • Read More about the Acrobat Action here: Fix Scanned Book Pages
  • Lantern Logo - 2021
  • During the Summer and Fall of 2021, I have been working with Eric Hoyt to upgrade and the backend and redesign the interface for Lantern, the search platform for the Media History Digital Library. This has been a highly involved project, and has required me to essentially recreate the entire website with a newer version of Ruby on Rails to use a more recent version of Blacklight. The Lantern 2.0 website is currently in a small-scale testing phase, and we hope to have it ready for public deployment by early 2022.
  • In addition to redesigning the website, we decided to create a new logo for Lantern as well. The old website's logo was distinct and recognizable, but we only had very low resolution versions to use in the new site. The need to create higher resolution versions, as well as to actually save vector versions, was an opportunity to make minor changes to the logo. This new version has a distinct lantern design, which is still recognizable even when at the small size of a favicon. Additionally, it has small use of color - with the red flames.
A close-up photo of a CRT television set. The screen is on, and displaying a heavily distorted image of the lo-fi hip hop radio girl
  • YouTube, but on an Old TV - 2021
  • At the beginning of the year, I found an old CRT TV set sitting on the side of the street, amongst a pile of other things that its previous owner was trying to get rid of. The TV immediately stood out to me because of its classic woodgrain style, and I knew I had to take the TV and find some sort of a project for it. The eventual result was a delightfully low-quality viewing experience. Unfortunately, my home network setup is a bit of a bottleneck at the moment, so the stream is quite choppy. My eventual goal is to have this exist as an ambient background listening/viewing experience.
  • Additional information

  • I'm really entertained by the idea of getting old and new forms of media to operate with one another, and saw this TV as an opportunity to explore this idea. I purchased an HDMI-to-RF modulator so that I could connect modern devices to the TV, and set connected an old Chromecast to the TV. From there, I wrote a simple little python script that uses Castnow to play YouTube videos (downloaded locally via youtube-dl) on the TV.
  • Finally, I pointed an old iPhone at the TV screen and installed an IP camera app to create a local RTSP stream. I take that stream and then use FFmpeg to loop some surprisingly vibey music on top and stream the whole thing to Twitch. It isn't a 24/7 stream, but I do pull up some random videos and play them on the old TV from time to time.
  • NASA Perseverance Rover Landing - Watching YouTube but it's on an old TV
  • A full writeup of my process, including example code and stream configurations, is forthcoming.
A highly pixelated image of a man. There is text overlaid that says 'y'all got any more of them pixels?'
  • Needs More JPEG - "Hey There Wisconsin" Podcast
  • I created this short audio podcast as part of Eric Hoyt's "Digital Media Production for Graduate Students" course. The purpose of the assignment is to communicate my research in an audio format rather than the traditional written article style. The goal was to create a podcast episode to explain the significance of our work to an everyday Wisconsinite. Much academic writing is highly specific to one particular community (other academics) which can create disconnects between researchers and broader communities. By communicating scholarship in additional formats, including the audio podcast, we can make our work more relevant to wider audiences.
  • In this podcast episode, I briefly describe one of my recent papers which considers low-resolution images and degradation of image quality when sharing memes.
An illustrated graphic. There is a circle split into several sections. On the top, there are illustrated hills with a sunset. In the middle, there are the words 'Eugene, OR.' On the bottom of the circle there are illustrated pine trees.
  • Eugene Snapchat Geofilter - 2017
  • I had originally created this simple vector graphic for the 2017 UO Zero Waste Screenprinting Workshop. Several months later, I decided to modify the image to match Snapchat's guidelines for community filters. I resized the graphic, and inverted the colors - and submitted it for the Eugene area.
  • I had submitted my design not expecting it to ever be accepted and appear within the app, so I was pleasantly surprised to see other users beginning to use the graphic that I had designed and submitted.
A photograph of several stickers on a table. Each sticker is a rectangle with the words 'Break the Hegemony' in large type. These words appear to be breaking through a brick wall
  • SOJC Majors Night - Media Studies - 2016
  • Each Fall, the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication holds a Major's Night event to showcase the various programs that it offers: Journalism, Advertising, Public Relations, and Media Studies. The event is targeted at Freshman and other undeclared students who might want to pursue a degree in the SOJC.
  • I designed “Break the Hegemony” stickers that we distributed to students, as well as a short video to display on a loop during the event.
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