Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Converting the chm files

While I am sure that chm files have their use in the Windows world (as help files), I do not find them all that useful on the Linux side.  That said, I decided to go about converting some chm files that I have acquired into pdf files, which is a more acceptable format if you ask me.

To do that, you are going to have to install "chm2pdf".  I am working on Ubuntu 8.10 and it is a pretty simple install.  As root, execute the following:

apt-get install chm2pdf

After that finishes, you will now be able to convert the files you have.  It took me a little playing with the program to learn how to use it, but it wasn't all that bad.  The manual page gives the options, but you have to run it once to see what is really required.

Here is the command that I used to convert my chm files to pdf:

chm2pdf --webpage -f file.pdf file.chm

The "-f" option allows you to supply the output name.  Feel free to play with the command, but this is what worked for me.  Happy converting!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A twitter a day...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have really become a bit addicted to twitter.  I have found a bunch of interesting people to follow with posts that usually pretty good. 

With all of the people that I am following, the posts that come in get scrolled off the screen on the twitter site pretty fast. I did some looking around for a twitter client that would allow me more flexibility in my twitting.  Well, I found one and it is called TweetDeck.

TweetDeck, by default contains three colums:

  • All Friends  ->  This column contains the normal feeds you would see when visiting your twitter home page.  The difference is that there is a scroll bar and it is configurable as to how many posts you can see back at one time.  That bode well with me. 
  • Replies  ->  When you make a post specifically at someone, and they reply to you, this is where the reply will show up so that you don't have to worry about trying to find it in the "All Friends" feed. 
  • Direct Messages  ->  When someone messages you directly, this is the column you will see it in.
At the top of the interface is where you will see the box you can type your status messages and replies into.  Right under there though, is a "shorten url" line.  This is very nice so you don't have to go to an external site, like tinyurl or any others, in order to get a shorter link to the site you are referencing.

What was a bit weird though was when visiting the TweetDeck site to download the software, the "Download now, its free" link did not work.  I am running Ubuntu 8.10 and usually don't have that issue, so I was a bit weirded by that.  But, do not fret, under the screenshot on the page is a link titled "version 0.25".  Clicking that link will download the software.  (Yes, that link is the link to the software.)

WARNING:  The software is built with Adobe Air.  So, if you do not have Adobe Air installed, you will need to first obtain and install it.  Then, once Adobe Air is installed, it has its own program for installing the file you downloaded.  One warning though, if you are like me and running Linux, be sure to run Adobe Air program installer as root, or with sudo, otherwise you will not be able to install the software.  Just a bit of info to fend off any hairpulling that might cause. 

So, even though the software is still only in Beta version AND this is still my first 24 hours running it, I must say I am already a fan. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


My last post here was back in January of this year.  I had figured out (with the help of a Google search) how to combine multiple pdf files into one, gigantic file.  That was right around when things started to get insanely busy at the job I was working at.  It may have been insane, but I really liked what i was doing.

Yes, I am talking in the past tense.  On March 10th, the company did its third round of layoffs and my job was one of the positions that was eliminated.  I still remember the day.  I was continuing work on a bug that had been assigned to me through the Bugzilla software that they use.  I had a pretty good idea of what the issue is and how to fix it, and had started to code to fix it.  Then I got an email from my boss around 9:26, saying that he wanted to have a quick status meeting in a conference room in 4 minutse (at 9:30). 

I didn't think much of it since he was always busy with stuff and getting something like a status update out of the way was nothing new.  The room he specified was occupied with a bunch of overwhelmingly loud folks, so I went to the room around the corner.  I dialed in to his conference line and he was waiting for me.  He wasted no time and told me that my job had been eliminated.  He appologized, saying he didn't have much choice as he was pressured to release somone after having everyone survive the previous two layoffs. 

After he had told me the news there was a knock on the door and a lady entered with some stuff in her hands.  It was my separation package and paperwork that I needed to sign.  My boss said goodbye and she took over the meeting.  After signing everything she informed me that I needed to pack up and be out of the building asap.  Granted, they trust their employees enough that they didn't post a guard over me or anything (no like it was needed, I am not stupid and don't burn my bridges), but man was she to the point. 

It took me about 2 1/2 hours to clean out everything and get packed up.  I did my rounds to say goodbye to everyone and an email was even sent out by my colleague to let people know.  That is when they started to come over more frequently to bid their farewells and say they were sorry for the situation.

I worked with a great bunch of very knowledgeable people and I consider myself lucky to have been there, but considering the current job market, I really wish things had gone differently.  Heck, I would have truly considered a pay cut if it meant keeping my job versus being in my unemployed state as I am right now. 

I have been actively looking for a job for just over a month now.  I have my resume out to tons of places, but unfortunately, no bites yet.  While I was at Sonus, I really started working with PHP a lot during the last few months and I started to really like it.  So, after being released, I started really picking it up more.  In addition, I have begun really concentrating on the Drupal CMS (Content Management System) for my web development.  Its a wonderful system and being PHP based, its not too very difficult to extend with your own modules.  

Anywho, that is where things stand, and now you know..... the rest of the story.  (RIP Paul Harvey!  1918-2009)

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