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KEYWORDS= Davrom Consulting Newsletter - Issue # 46 - Dated: 6 May 2010

From the desk of David Clark

Time for another newsletter according to some prompters who haven't seen
one for a while. Thanks for the continued support and encouragement - you
know who you are.

Is it just me or are on-line "search engines" search results becoming less
relevant and more advertisement focussed when searching for key words - being
that only one or two of your search words are actually on the pages the
search returns?

Support for me lately has been working mainly with using Linux utilities
to manipulate text to use and combine with PDF files. One example is
taking multi-page PDF documents and combining them into one document for
e-mailing and filing. Another project has been filling out PDF forms with
text generated by an application to produce completed PDF documents ready to
use (e-mail, print, file). Quite amazing technology to turn plain old text
print outs and text based export files into PDF documents complete with all
the visual niceties. Goodbye pre-printed stationary and brings you into more
of the much desired paperless office (I know, does it truly exist?). This
kind of solution also helps extend the life of the good old reliable
applications that have helped businesses run day after day for past
10-20 years. As always I recommend keeping the text copies as well to
safeguard access to the information beyond todays solutions.

Other than this, lots of Linux based e-mail and Internet work to do.

I would like to thank the reader for their time in reading this


UNIX Quote

From our TellDavrom logs: 707 days of uptime - can only be a Linux/UNIX


For those familiar with VMware, VirtualBox offers an alternative to
running an operating system on your Linux, Mac or Windows PC within your
current operating system.

As the name implies, VirtualBox runs as a standard application on your
operating system and it allows you to install another operating system
to live within your current operating system (eg., Windows running on

Given I live on the upgrade path of Fedora Linux, updates and upgrades
often leave me with having to recompile bits to get the traditional VMware
to run on the newly updated system - which sometimes leaves things broken
for a time.

Having to urgently support a customer via Windows XP but not wanting to
risk wrecking my Windows support PC by making it again the victim to some
third party network interface, VirtualBox came to the rescue.

Within the time it takes to install Windows XP I was able to have a fully
functioning XP machine running on my Fedora Linux desktop. I could then
back this up and could care less if the third party network software
wrecked the entire Windows networking setup - I could just restore over
the top of it and start again.

VirtualBox is easy to install and comes with a host of environment
adjustment capabilities that you come to expect from virtualisation
software. I see VirtualBox as more for the personal desktop user but
could not see why you couldn't run a production server operating system
inside it.

One key point I saw stated was that given Windows can be spied upon by
spyware while using things like Internet banking, VirtualBox would allow
you to run your banking and Internet secure transacting on a Linux
VirtualBox on your Windows PC.

You can download VirtualBox and use it freely as it is Open Source software:


From the Trenches
Some comic or not so comic relief from the support days gone by.

Still following the coffee theme in I.T from the last newsletter....

I once went for an interview with a leading UNIX (actually Xenix)
distributor and was interviewed by the owner/director.

He took me to the cafe dispenser in the office and proceeded to make my
coffee just like his - with _five_ (5!!!) turns of the coffee dispenser
button. I love coffee but don't need to be awake for 150 years.

After making the technical adjustments myself to the coffee: heaps of
milk and sugar to kill the bitterness, the interview proceeded and I
somehow managed to drink the cup of coffee while feeling as though it was
going right through my being and even polishing my shoes as well.

The upside was I did get the job and with the new found courage as an
employee I advised my boss that he is never to make a cup of coffee for
any prospective employee again. From memory he quibbed that it was some
kind of test.

The things we endure to achieve the next step in our work life.

Tech Tip

While on the trail of PDF this month, there can be an issue with
attempting to print a PDF document from the Linux command line using the
CUPS printing subsystem. You can find that the document may not quite fit
the page it prints out.

Often depending on the printer driver installed on Linux you should be
able to print a PDF document to a printer using:

lp -o media=a4 -o fit-to-page inv100501.pdf

This tells CUPS the form size (in this case A4) and the fit-to-page
option seems to be an update to the fitplot option which seems to fix
some of the page alignment issues.

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