Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to make screenshots and screencasts easily in Mac OS X?

In Mac OS X you can take a screenshot of the complete screen by pressing Command-Shift-3 and a selection of the screen by pressing Command-Shift-4. This is usually sufficient enough, but if you try to use this key combination to capture a screenshot of a movie running in the Mac OS X DVD Player you will be surprised to find out that this doesn't work. The same is true for the built in Grab Application.

If you still want to do capture a picture from a DVD you could use the screen-capture shell utility in the Terminal application - as described in several webpages.

But if you would like something more convenient you could use an application such as Jing (http://www.techsmith.com/jing/). It allows you not only to take a picture even from a movie running in the DVD Player but also to make a short videos of the your screen and provides several options to edit, save and share this pictures and videos afterwards. There is a Free version available as well as a Pro version with more functionality.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

7z files with Mac OS X

I am a fan of the free open source format 7z (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7z) for data compression and encryption. With keka (http://www.kekaosx.com/en/) there is a nice, simple GUI application available for Mac OS X.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Create a Video DVD in Ubuntu 9.10 - the Karmic Koala

Assuming you have created a video file that you want to burn to a video DVD in Ubuntu.

A nice and simple tool for this is DeVeDe - a program to create video DVDs and CDs (VCD, sVCD or CVD), suitables for home players, from any number of video files, in any of the formats supported by Mplayer.

After you have created the .iso dvd image with DeVeDe you can easily burn it to the DVD using Brasero.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Merge multiple PDF files into one PDF file

Recently I needed to combine two PDF documents that I created with the TurboScan App on my Iphone (file sizes 528.5 kByte and 421.9 kByte and was searching for free options I can use with Ubuntu Linux. I found the following options:

The web service http://www.mergepdf.net/:
  • Usability: Easy; excellent for merging PDF files
  • Functionality: no other functions available
  • File size of the merged file: 950.1 kByte
The free online PDF editor PDF Hammer http://www.nitropdf.com/free/hammer/index.htm.

  • Usability: almost as easy as mergepdf
  • Functionality: other functions available
  • File size of the merged file: 949.8 kByte
The Linux command line pdftk toolkit: http://www.accesspdf.com/pdftk/
  • Usability: follow examples on the webpage; easy if you are comfortable with the command line
  • Functionality: other functions available
  • File size of the merged file:  949.8 kByte
The open source PDF editor PDFedit http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfedit/ and http://pdfedit.petricek.net/en/index.html
  • Usability: intuitive usage for merging PDF files possible
  • Functionality: other functions available
  • File size of the merged file: 950.3 kByte
I couldn't see a difference in the PDF quality. The file size was almost the same.

Keep in mind, that the online services - even if they are easy to use and platform independent (you need only a web browser) - use unencrypted file transfer. In addition to this security risk you have to trust the service provider. Therefore you might not use this for PDF documents containing confidential information.

For documents that don't contain confidential information http://www.mergepdf.net/ is very nice and simple to use and you don't need to install anything. If you don't mind using the command line, pdftk might be the best tool for you. Otherwise, PDFedit might be the tool of choice.

BTW - On Mac OS X 10.6 the functionality to merge multiple PDF files is already part of the Preview application installed as part of Mac OS X 10.6 (see e.g http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4075).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Update to Ubuntu 9.10 (code name "Karmic Koala")

Yesterday I updated to the new Ubuntu 9.10. The update was as usual very smoothly (I accepted the default values when ask something).

After restarting, the following error message appeared:
Starting Google Desktop manually via the application menu did work. Still, I had to reinstall Google Desktop  via Synaptic in order to avoid this error message during startup.

The next message I got was:

I clicked on "Run this action now", followed the instructions and the missing language components got installed.






I used the following language settings:











Afterwards I enabled the third party repositories again (in "Software Sources"):

  • deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ stable non-free
  • deb http://linux.getdropbox.com/ubuntu karmic main
  • deb-src http://linux.getdropbox.com/ubuntu karmic/
  • deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ karmic free non-free
  • deb-src http://packages.medibuntu.org/ karmic free non-free
  • deb http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/pculture.org/miro/linux/repositories/ubuntu karmic/

After reloading this packages, the following packages got upgraded:

skype, skype-common, googleearth, googleearth-data, nautilus-dropbox, libdvdcss2, w32codecs.

Afterwards, I could enjoy the improvements and new features of Ubuntu 9.10.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

How do I erase a computer hard disk securely with linux?

After I decided to scrap my more than 4 years old laptop, because it repeatedly failed after working some minutes after booting (when it fails, nothing worked usually any more than the mouse movement, sometimes even the screen display starts to blur; even booting from Live-CDs Ubuntu 8.10, etc. showed the same effect), I was looking for a secure way to delete all data.
I settled with:

shred -vfz -n 10 /dev/hda"

from stackoverflow.com, I had to use a very small Linux distribution (DSL), that was running completely in the RAM in order to be able to start the shred command (with other Live-CD's the laptop was failing already before I was able to start the command via a shell).

Update: This command was running nearly one week. At the end I tried to verify the success by removing the Live-CD and start to boot again. To my surprise, Ubuntu was still booting. I am still not sure, how to explain this. Anyway, I decided to remove the HD and destroy it mechanically. That should work and was much faster. Everybody, who has some idea what went wrong is welcome to leave a comment.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Use Western Digital WDH1NC10000E My Book World Edition 1TB NAS network drive as backup destination for time machine on Mac OS X 10.5

As my 500GB Time Capsule has reached the limits (my Macbook and the iMac of my wife used it as backup destination for Time Machine), I decided to buy another backup drive and settled with the Western Digital WDH1NC10000E My Book World Edition 1TB NAS external drive. The main advantage (besides the price: I bought it for EUR 146,95 (incl. VAT and free transportation) for me was that I could easily connect it to a free Ethernet port of my Time Capsule - at least that was what I did expected. But after I connected the My Book to my network as discribed in the My Book manual, I had to discover that although it was available in the finder and I could manually copy files to it, it wasn't available in Time Machine as a back up destination.

Furtunately obvioulsly others experienced this problem before and after some googling I came to the solution described in the post "Time Machine backups on network shares in Leopard" from Florian Kruse. Following the steps described there I was finally able to use the
Western Digital WDH1NC10000E My Book World Edition 1TB NAS connected to my Time Capsule as back up destination for Time Machine on my wife's iMac.

I wounder, why Apple don't enable the usage of network shares in Time Machine by default.

2011-07-23 Update: The upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) broke that solution. I am currently waiting for an update by Western Digital. For more information go to their webpage.


2012-05-28 Update: In the meantime, an update is available from Western Digital. This could be easily installed via the automatic update function of the Western Digital Configuration Tool (login via Bonjour in Safari). For more details see the Release Notes for Firmware 01.02.12 available from the Western Digital webpage. After the firmware had been upgraded, the Western Digital disk was again available in Time Machine. After connecting, the Time Machine backup was finally working again.