Docs, PDFs and open formats. Huh???

So here’s an interesting challenge. Where I work, I had to put together a server that converts word .doc format files to .pdf files for some of our documents. After quite a bit of searching around (doc2pdf type programmes and scripts), I’d settled on linbox converter. Basically it’s a daemon that runs on a windows machine that has MS Office installed as well as ghostscript and python. A client sends a doc with a request for conversion into, for example, PDF format. The daemon receives, runs office and prints to, for example, a PDF file which it then sends back to the client.

The problem I’ve experienced is with this one document that has jpg pictures in it. Linbox-converter (and even printing to PDF from word itself) seem to fail utterly and completely. The result is some garbled 1.5K long file full of nonsense. Here’s the magic: openoffice (2.01) will do the conversion just fine.

Now the question: anyone out there know how one might send cmd line args to oowriter2 to do the conversion for me? That way I can write a daemon (kinda like linbox converter I guess) that’ll just wrap around ooffice2 for the conversions. Thoughts, suggestions? Note: it has to be programmatic/automatic/system addict- yeah.

The Boston Conspiracy

As you know, KarlTK was in Boston this weekend. We had a truly great time talking. Karl’s been one of my Gentoo heroes for a long time, so it was especially cool for me. Boston’s weather showed karl quite a bit of its repertoire as well. From the unseasonably warm temperatures on Saturday to the blizzard like will-my-flight-be-cancelled conditions of Monday before he left, he got to see quite the range. No doubt he is impressed. Oh there was also the Harvard, and Freedom trail stuff, though we neglected to wow him with the Citgo sign. I guess he’ll have to return to Boston for that gem.

The only Gentoo dev missing from all these proceedings was rajiv, and hopefully he’ll be able to join next time. We have quite a little troupe of Gentoo people in the area, hopefully we can all meet in person a little more often.

Doug Flutie, I never knew ye

Yeah, ok I’m missing the blog entries for my trip to Bangalore’s event. I promise to do that soon. In the meantime, I just read that Doug Flutie did some sorta drop kick which is great and kudos to him (as soon as I figure out what exactly a drop-kick is). I always thought it was some sorta wrestling thing. Anyway, the bit that dropped my jaw was this: Flutie is with the Patriots. When did that happen? More importantly, why is he following me around?

Seriously though. Flutie was quarterback for the Bills for a while. He joined them while I was in Rochester, NY (the town considers the Buffalo Bills to be the local team). He then went to play for San Diego the same year I went to Los Angeles to work. As you know (don’t yo?) LA doesn’t have a team, so once again, Flutie was in the next major city over (yeah, it’s a stretch to call either Rochester or Buffalo a major city, but they’re both about the same size city in that region of New York). Now, I’ve been in the Boston area for almost a year, and he joined the “local” team in March, a few months after I arrived.

Is my fate somehow tied to this Doug Flutie? And if this is his last year playing football, what does that mean for me?

OK, enough coincidences, I’m off to bed.