Tag: July 2008

computer stuff
fri 4 July 2008

Entry #1 of 4 on this page (tagged: july)

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.

thurs 10 July 2008

Entry #2 of 4 on this page (tagged: july)

An Inconvenient Truth has been playing on the ShowTime channels, lately. I've seen it already, and was disappointed at it's limited scope. (Specifically: the movie does not mention that the easiest and cheapest thing you can do to shrink your carbon footprint is to go vegan.) But I've been re-watching bits and peices.

Al Gore says that when he was born the world population was 2 billion, and it will be 9 billion at the end of his natural lifetime. That made me wonder what the population was when I was born.

World Population 1950 - 2050

I was born in 1973 and the world population at that time was about 3.9 billion. Right now the population is 6.6 or 6.7 billion (depending on your source).

I don't believe the world will get up to 9 billion humans... I believe civilization will crash years before we get to that point!


Okay, this is awesome: SuperVegan has an ongoing series of posts from Tod Emko who is currently onboard Sea Shepherd's ship, the Steve Irwin. They are in the Antarctic, saving whales!

There are just three posts so far, but dang, it's exciting! SuperVegan: Blog of a Vegan Pirate.

I love the photo at the bottom of the first post... with the pirate flag flying!!

Oh, and speaking of photos. I took my camera to 4th of July fireworks to try out the "fireworks" setting. And I discovered it's really really hard to take pictures of fireworks. Most of my shots were too early or too late. darn. But I did get one photo that was half decent:


tues 15 July 2008

Entry #3 of 4 on this page (tagged: july)

Today's obsession is with my desktop publishing software. Fortunately, being all jobless as I am, I can follow every silly whim!

So! My software is PagePlus X2 by Serif. In the last couple of months I've been working on a few small projects. I've written letters, made cards, many calendars, journal covers. Last week, I made postcards!

The more I work with my software, the more impressed I am. I vividly recall working with the first version I bought... version 3, back in the very late 1990's: Frustration! because I wanted to do this and it just would not let me. But now we've got version X2. When I want to do this, I just have to figure out how to do it, and then it's done!

For instance, I wanted two postcards printed on one sheet of paper... and I wanted crop marks, not right on the edge but about an eighth of an inch inside. I could have drawn these in, of course, but I wanted them to print automatically! No Problem: I just had to figure out "bleed area guides" in the margin settings.

So, now that I'm a brilliant maker of postcards and calendars and such, I've decided to broaden my horizons to book making.

Now, I'm not talking cut and paste and print pages and staple them together, here. No! Too boring! I'm talking signatures that need to be sown together! And organizing pages for signatures ... well, it's kind of intimidating.

In making signatures, the pages don't flow from page 1 to page 2 to page 3. Well, they do when you're finished with the book ;) but when you print them you actually print page 16, page 1, page 14, page 3, page 2, page 15... yeah. complicated much?

So if I'm going to start the project, I really need to finish it, because if I try to come back to it after a break, the 16, 1, 14, 3 page thing is not going to make sense anymore! ya know? heh.

And the fact that I need to finish my project just makes my Scanner self all panicky. And is why, even tho I've been thinking about desktop publishing a Project Gutenberg book since I got that version 3 software back in the 90's, I've never tackled the project!

oh, hey, I just noticed that Serif has a free site where they give away older versions of all their major software, If you're interested in doing some dtp yourself! (windows Only. Sorry apple people!) hm, check out the store there, too... some interesting and nicely discounted stuff.

  Free Serif Software

sat 26 July 2008

Entry #4 of 4 on this page (tagged: july)

Today is Blogathon. I had already decided that I was not going to participate this year... and it turns out that the people who run Blogathon needed to take the year off as well. So, Day Of Blogs is pulling up the slack.

I've been surfing through some of the blogs. Here are a few that have caught my interest...

  erica of Chasing Bliss is blogging for the ASPCA.
She's got a summer-time theme and includes pretty photos from Flickr and a set of icons in each post.

  Melissa of another so-called life is blogging for Kristin Brooks Hope Center.
She is posting about things that keep her happy and keep her sane. (oops, an injury kept her from blogging the entire 24 hours. darn.)

  JPrintup of Feed A Monk is blogging for Sera Je Food Fund.
Each of her posts is a "self tag", to describe herself and her interests. She's vegan, so I obviously love her already (besides the fact that I supported her last year)!

Reading everyone's so-interesting entries, it's made me wish I would blog more often! So here I am.... Unfortunately I don't actually feel like typing anything. haha, here's a list of things that I don't feel like typing about.

The guinea pigs in my house are very cute. I think they are both left handed.

I've read 49 books so far this year. Last year I read 41 total.

I love the weeds in my garden. I had little yellow flowers, little pink flowers and purple flowers. I don't know what any of them are, but I now know that none of them are invasive species thanks to WeedIn.

I've not worked on my Desktop Publishing project (of the last blog entry) for five days now. I finished three signatures before I quit.

Numbrix fun and easy.

I've been wanting to get my box of journals out and photograph them, and my new handmade ones, too. But my laziness reigns supreme.

That is all. Hopefully I won't wait 11 days to post again. But you never know because I am unpredictable.

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