Sunday, July 22, 2012

Howard Miller Accuwave DS Manual

Here's an operating manual for a Howard Miller Accuwave DS "radio-controlled" clock.

Of particular note is the fact that the device does not work very well in California. As such, you must be patient to set these clocks manually -- they seem to need to "struggle" for an hour or so before you can manually adjust them.

Update 3/13/2014: Since the daylight savings time switch, my clock reset itself about four times, frequently setting itself 20 minutes behind the correct time. I determined that the issue was caused by a low battery.

A great way of shrinking image-heavy PDF files

I recently had to cut a huge PDF file down to a reasonable size; the images that were included in the original document were huge. I found the following GhostScript commands to be very helpful. They downsample the images without changing any of the associated text.

gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dPDFSETTINGS=/ebook -sOutputFile=output.pdf -f input.pdf

One can get images to be smaller with a few tweaks:

gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dDownsampleColorImages=true -dColorImageDownsampleType=/Average -dColorImageDownsampleThreshold=1.0 -dColorImageResolution=36 -sOutputFile=output_smaller.pdf -f input.pdf
 UPDATE: For e-ink readers, often times, color images are a waste. Here's a way to convert color to grayscale (greyscale?):
gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sOutputFile=grayscale.pdf -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sColorConversionStrategy=Gray -dProcessColorModel=/DeviceGray -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -f color.pdf

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beer Review: New Belgium La Folie Sour Brown

I'm a fan of sour beers. I find them to be exceptionally easy to drink; they settle my stomach and leave me feeling relaxed and very comfortable. That stated, I had some La Folie at Lucky Baldwin's last night, and I was extremely impressed. The flavor evolves from a pungent sweet-sour cherry, and then mellows on the palate to form a creamy, rich, nutty aftertaste that lingers deliciously. I think this beer is probably the best offering that I have sampled from New Belgium -- even better than their excellent 1554. Find it on tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Old Town Pasadena!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

LibreOffice's "Automatic" text color isn't black in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise!

After using Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin for some time, I noticed that one of the applications that I use all of the time -- LibreOffice -- was not using black (#000000) as the "Automatic" (default) text colour for new documents that I created. This is extremely annoying because I like to copy and paste text into documents and use the "Clear Formatting" feature. Unfortunately, this causes the text to revert to a light grey (gray) colour: #3C3C3C. Yuck!

There is a solution, however. Benjamin Drung (bdrung) wrote Ambiance," and change the default colour to black. To fix the problem:

  1. Open the gtk theme for Ambiance
  2. Search for ntext_color
  3. Replace #3C3C3C with #000000
Re-load LibreOffice; problem solved.

Why LibreOffice uses the GTK theme system to determine its "Automatic" colour is beyond me; this seems like a very irritating "feature."