Journal Entry

computer stuff
fri 4 July 2008

Been obsessed with some computer projects, lately, so here I am to type about them.

Working on SO's Computer

Significant Other had been complaining about his computer crashing. Actually he'd been complaining for at least a couple months. I just didn't want to deal with it...

It's just not fun to work on other people's computers. Who knows what viruses they've got running loose, and cleaning up viruses is so tedious. And then, who knows what random programs they've downloaded and think they need. ugh.

And also, digging around in someone's computer is like digging around in their journal. Normal people don't even know what kind of random stuff they leave, here and there in computer programs. And even tho I have permission, and even tho I honestly don't care, I still don't feel comfortable about it. Privacy is an important issue.

So I had been procrastinating about fixing the computer, even tho Significant Other had said it was crashing about five minutes after checking his email. Yesterday, I had to scan something, and the scanner is on SO's computer. I decided to stay and see if I could crash his computer.

At first, I didn't see a problem. But when I closed out all the programs I'd been testing, some random program that he probably thought he needed had tripped an error in the background. hm. I tried everything again, and I was able to replicate some problems nice and faithfully.

SO got home and said he never used that random program. I got rid of it, along with four of it's filthy pervasive friends. And hopefully, that problem will stay solved.

The PDF story

I have acquired some books in PDF form. Most of the books have pictures and graphics in them and they are quite appropriately PDFs. But there are a couple books which are pure text, and I was interested in converting them to a TXT file to read on my handheld.

The other day I went looking for a program to convert PDFs into some kind of text. yeah, it sounds simple but evidently it is next to impossible.

The first program I got was a little command line thingee which didn't work and I couldn't be bothered to figure out what files I needed or what compiler it wanted. I used to do programing, but I never enjoyed it.

Next I went to And I realized the hit-or-miss situation of PDF conversion. I picked through the leavings, and downloaded three free programs.

The first program crashed, just trying to access my PDF book. The second program acted like it was working, steadily taking its time making a DOC file. Except when I opened the doc, it was exactly one page long. I tried again, this time narrowing the conversion to 50 pages... the one page that got converted this time was page 16, "This page intentionally left blank". laugh!

The third program did what it was supposed to! yay! However, there were no carrage returns between paragraphs, and of course all the page numbers and page header info was included.

I decided to clean up a couple books, just to see how long it took. Basically, went through each file, line by line, inserting carrage returns and deleting headers and then fixing them up so they'd look pretty in eReader.

I completely converted two ebooks. They both took two hours each. Two hours. And to top it off, the actual text of the books were the equivalent of a normal 100 page book. Oh, that pissed me off! Two hours for a stinken' one hundred page book??! argh!

heh. Well, at least that particular obsession has been worked out of my system!

Oh. And Happy Independence Day, USA.

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