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Merge Postscript files

18 agosto 2005

3 commenti

This one is the result of quite of a few minutes of digging in Google. To merge (join, combine, etc.) multiple Postscript files into a single one, just type this:

gs -sDEVICE=pswrite -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH

You need Ghostscript, so if you have no access to a Unix box with gs preinstalled, grab a copy here.

A Windows Calendar

8 giugno 2005

3 commenti

CrispyBytes DateInTrayEverytime I connect remotely to a Windows system to use one of our legacy applications, I wonder why the XP team put such a useless feature on the date tray applet: how often do you need to modify your date and time, or change your timezone? And conversely, how often do you need to check a date in the past or future? This is one of the small usability things that Gnome does better, as you can see in this image.

Given that the legacy application I have to use the most is our timesheet app, some time ago I decided to look for a free calendar and after digging through quite a bit of Google search results I found the excellent (and free) Date In Tray by CrispyBytes Development. As you can see it’s just a tiny application, but when you’re checking dates it’s a real time saver.

Firefox on Windows without admin rights

14 maggio 2005

2 commenti

I am sitting at an Internet Cafe in Macerata where we are spending the weekend, and there’s only IE installed. I did not remember IE was such a pain to use, and since the owner claims that Firefox trashed one of his machines a while ago (uhm…), I have been forced to find a way to install it on Windows without administrative rights. Google is no help in this occasion, but if you resort to one of the basic principles of Unix systems administration (“it’s always a permissions problem, stupid!”) it turns out it’s very easy: just select the Custom install, and select as a target folder one you can write to, such as a new “Firefox” folder on your Desktop.

BeOS is back!

3 aprile 2005

At long last it seems that BeOS is back! YellowTab is getting ready to release Zeta 1.0, a revamped BeOS with lots of improvements. Having been one of the few who bought and used a copy of the original BeOS, I’m excited by Zeta and I can’t wait to try it on my desktop. Zeta supports most of the stuff I use on Linux, so the switch should be relatively painless provided there’s a decent JVM to run J on. Lots of screenshots on OSDir.

Ext2 (or Ext3) under Windows

2 dicembre 2003

One of the customizations I did when I switched back to Windows was to find the best way to access my ext3 partitions. I already knew about explore2fs, a nice explorer-like ext2/ext3 browser, which lets you copy files from your Linux to your Windows partitions.

What I was looking for was a way to natively access my files (I have most of my reggae cds ripped as mp3 on my Linux partitions at home and at work), so I tried a few drivers and finally settled for ext2fsd as it’s the only one that worked on my system. I’ve been using it for the past week and it works very very well.

To set it up, download the latest ext2fsd release (0.10), extract it somewhere, enter the Ext2FsdSetup folder, run setup and install the .inf file. To mount your partitions, use mount.exe in Ext2FsdMount.

I copied mount.exe in %SYSTEMROOT%windows32 (usually c:windowssystem32), and linked to my Start Menu Startup folder a .cmd file containing these two lines:

net start ext2fsd
mount 0 2 h:

where 0 is the first ide disk and 2 is its second partition. Easy.


29 novembre 2003


Not much traffic here lately. I’ve been away to Cambridge (MA) for a while, then got back and had to work pretty hard since I have new projects to manage at work.

The new projects are all Windows-based, so I had to reinstall XP on my office desktop. After many months of using only Linux both at the office and at home, I was suprised by Windows speed, especially in dealing with local files. Of course it’s not hard to be faster than Nautilus, and in Linux I almost never use a graphical filemanager anyway, but it was a pleasant surprise.

After reinstalling Windows I spent some time trying to beautify my desktop. One of the things I have always envyed OSX is its wonderful panel, and after digging around for a while I found ObjectDock which is a really great piece of software. It emulates the Mac OSX panel in Windows, and can be used as a Windows toolbar replacement. There are lots of icons, skins, and docklets (clocks, system monitors, etc.) available from wincustomize, more docklets from YZdocklets, and a C++ SDK if you feel like developing your own docklets. Definitely recommended.

Error deleting file or folder

29 novembre 2003


One of the things that annoys me most of Windows is its supposed user-friendliness. One of its prime examples is its stubborn refusal to delete or move a file when it thinks a process has locked it. Sometimes it does it right, not allowing you to disrupt a running process by removing one its open resources, more often it just gets in the way. Sometimes giving the same command from the console enables you to delete/move the file, sometimes not. A few days ago I was so frustrated by this behaviour that I set out to find a solution to it.

One of the first links that pops up in Google if you search for windows “cannot delete” points to a Microsoft KB article appropriately titled You Cannot Delete a File or a Folder. Among the usual suggestions like verifying ACLs or file system integrity, the document points you to yet another KB article titled How to: Display a List of Processes That Have Files Open, which seems more relevant to the problem at hand. This document suggests you to download Process Explorer, a little-known free utility that allows you to browse open processes, display and close their open file handles, and lots of other useful things. If you haven’t heard of it before, and develop on Windows or power-use it, I definitely recommend downloading it.

Windows Tools

18 agosto 2003

I will slowly migrate my bookmarks (currently scattered on at least 3 machines at work and at home) to this site, even though I’m still undecided about how to do it. One possible option is a new category type for bookmarks, whose entries are not displayed in the front page/RSS feeds, but which can accommodate folders. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I will transfer from time to time useful links from my old site (they’re stored in a MySQL DB, things would — ahem — be much easier if they were in ascii files).

Here’s tonight’s batch, in no particular order:

  • ELM (Multiple Boot Manager) a tiny, useful Japanese bookmark manager that reads the partition table and allows you to boot any valid partition on the disk, very handy when you totally mess up things =)
  • WinMerge and (better, IMHO) ExamDiff, Windows visual diff tools
  • StrokeIt mouse gestures for Windows, pretty nice if you’re into this sort of things

After 9 years of going back and forth from Windows to Linux with brief periods on various commercial Unices, a few months ago I finally managed to get rid of Windows (thanks to Slackware, which I unfortunately overlooked for a loong time), so these links are the first to go, and will slowly be buried at the bottom of my archives. =)