Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two pdfs in one

Yesterday I wanted to concatenate two pdfs into one. Specifically, I had my BYU transcript and my UofU transcript and I wanted to put them together in a single transcript. This ended up being a fairly easy process.

  1. Open up the files
  2. Print the files (pdf or html) to a file. This should create postscript (.ps files)
  3. Combine the postscript files using psmerge
  4. Run ps2pdf13

Then you have output.pdf which has both of the original files in it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Node placement in Dot

I use Dot to create callgraphs for analyzed programs. It is a very useful and powerful program. In order to clarify entry points to the program, I needed to put main and interrupt handlers all on the same level and at the top. One can do this by setting the rank attribute of the nodes to source. The code looks like this:

{ rank=source;
main [shape=house];
__vector_15 [shape=diamond];
__vector_16 [shape=diamond];
__vector_17 [shape=diamond];

Friday, January 25, 2008

MacBook Air

My wife had not really seen the MacBook Air until she saw an ad for it on TV last night. Luckily, I was home and able to hear her reaction. I say "hear her reaction" because I was in the other room and I hear a fairly loud exclamation: "It's so thin!" I came back into the room to see what she was talking about. She said a few other things along the same lines, but was mostly speechless. It put a smile on my face, just to see her reaction.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I'll admit that it seems like Facebook is a waste of time in most cases. However, by posting that I was looking for a job I have had several people inquire further and I even have a phone interview today. I think this shows some promise, especially since I am by no-means a "power Facebook user." I had already used Linkedin with some success, but apparently Facebook works as well.

Now I just need to actually land a job...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


As mentioned in my previous post, we had some friends over this past weekend and they brought their Wii. I've always expected it to be fun and addicting, but I must say I underestimated it. It was fun to watch my wife get so "into" it. Even creating the silly little Mii for herself and me was a big deal for her.

Playing the games was cool too, although I spent most of the time trying to figure out exactly what inputs the Wii-mote was actually looking for. Although it is designed to mimic real action, you can simulate superlative action if you know what it is looking for.

That is how I managed to hold my own in Wii-sports baseball. For both pitching and batting, I did okay by simulating real baseball, but when I switched over to pitching by hinging on my elbow and batting with a tennis racket, I actually made a game of it with a much more experienced player (but still lost).

Likewise, on mini-games where shaking the Wii-mote was required I totally rocked. I made educated guesses as to the type of input the Wii-mote wanted and normally was correct. I think provided only that input repeatedly.

Anyway, I give the Wii two "big thumbs up" and look forward to owning one someday. Of course, by the time that happens something better will be out...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A/V cords

I have recently had some fun with A/V cords. My expertise in the area of setting up "sweet systems" is very limited because of my budget ($0), but I do like to fiddle around with what is given to me. Unfortunately, our last DVD player puttered out. So I did some research and purchased a new DVD player.

The DVD player which died was a Symphonic WF803 DVD/VCR Combo. It was a little less than four years old and had been in its death throes. I had not been able to play CDs for a while, and had started randomly freezing with DVDs. Finally it just stopped playing DVDs. The VCR still worked/works great. Whenever a DVD is inserted, it just moves the head around and clicks a bunch before giving up. The problem sounds common and is discussed here (briefly).

The DVD player I purchased to replace the dead one was a TOP SDV295 Toshiba DVD/VCR Combo Player. This appeared to have the best collection of features I wanted for the money. What it did not have was a cable tuner hookup. This came as a surprise, but I imagine that if I knew what I was doing then the documentation would have indicated this somewhere. For now I can't record video until I figure out a way to get the signal from the cable cord into the VCR. Other than that, so far the player is great. My TV has a little problem with the S-Video cable, in that it only reads from the DVD and won't look at the VCR part while it is plugged in. For now, no S-Video.

So I used the S-video cord to hook up my laptop to the TV and play video games. My daughter likes to "play" games with me, meaning she holds an unhooked controller and then I play the game. We had some friends over and they brought their Wii. Mario Galaxy fascinated my daughter. So my wife suggested I try hooking my laptop up to the TV and see if that was the exciting part. Sure, it wasn't a Wii (not even close), but it was still exciting for my daughter. So that was good. I almost was feeling the need to get a Wii...