Rich Text Format

The Rich Text Format or RTF has been invented in 1987 by Microsoft. And still, it is a format that most word processors can understand. And it is very simple to create files containing RTF texts.

I use it often when I’m creating text automated or half-automated and this text shall be printed. For printing books or such, it is suited way better than e.g. Markdown.

CAVEAT Though most word processors understand RTF in some way, they do not all understand it in the same way. well. Probably your automatically created text is rendered slightly different by different word processors.
So if e.g. AbiWord 2.0 doesn’t show what you want, it pays to test your text with AbiWord 2.5 and/or further versions of other word processors.

UPDATE: In fact, many word processors seem to not understand RTF well. I had considerable problems finding one which can understand a non-standard page size with two columns and page numbers as footer. Below my results.
Disclaimer: The results stated below only reflect the cabilities of these word processors in reading a rtf file which has been created by a completely different software, written by myself. The results do not reflect in any way the abilities of the processors to read files written by themselves or by other word processors, nor do the results imply any opinion on their usability for other purposes.

  • AbiWord 2.8 can handle two-column layout and page size quite ok, but not together with page numbers. It can handle page numbers with some special nonstandard tags, it seems. But still ignores the \pgnstart tag.
  • AbleWord v3.0 is one of the few that can handle two columns, page size and margins correctly. Has problems with fonts, but I may be able to work around these.
  • AngelWriter 3.2 cannot handle two-column layout at all.
  • Atlantis 1.6.6.5 can handle two-column layout, fonts, page format and margins. It even understands the \linebetcol-tag. It has the unique “feature” that a page break will lead to distributing the text on the page to the two columns. Otherwise, maybe the best one for my purposes.
  • Axenicsoft Nifty Author 1.3 is another one that can handle two columns, page size and margins. It even is able to use the fonts orderly. Like Atlantis it interprets \sect\page as two page braks. And it needs some very special non-standard-tags for the footers and does startup quite slowly. No way to switch off the spell checker. But then, all in all, it seems to be ok.
  • Bad Wolf SmartEdit 3.421 cannot handle two column layout at all.
  • Corel Office 16.0 wants to have you register yourself, even for the 30 day trial version.
  • DevVicky Word 2010: According to VirusTotal, the packet I downloaded may be malware infected.
  • Kingsoft Office Suite Free 2013 Writer: Cannot handle page size and margins. And cannot handle well multiple fonts in one document.
  • LibreOffice 4.0 does not handle two-column layout well.
  • Nevron Writer 2.0: Hangs when trying to view print layout.
  • OpenOffice 3.4 does not handle two-column layout well.
  • PolyEdit 5.4 cannot handle two-column layout at all.
  • PolyEdit 6 beta is only available to registered users.
  • QJot 5.9.1 The packet I got from the web is probably malware, according to VirusTotal.
  • SSuite Office QT Writer Express 2.8.1.1 cannot handle fonts nor two columns.
  • Verbum 2012: Does not handle margins correctly. Otherwise not bad, very similar rendering to Nifty Author, but starts up faster. Printing possibility lacks.
  • WordIt 0.1 Alpha 1: does not understand rtf at all.

This is a good desription of Richt Text Format/RTF specifics.

Delayed Hibernation Or Shutdown of Your PC

timeout /t 600 & shutdown /h

waits for 600 seconds and then puts the computer into hibernation.

Sometimes, it is desirable to be able to shut down your PC at a later time. For this task, there is the command line command shutdown on MS Windows PCs. Shutdown has a lot of options and I don’t need most of them most of the time. You can see them by running shutdown /?.

What I want is mostly to put the PC into hibernation in some time from now on. According to shutdown /?, shutdown /h /t 600 should do the trick and put the computer into hibernation in 600 seconds from now. But it doesn’t. I don’t know why, but the switches /h and /t do not work together with the shutdown command. There are two simple workarounds. For Vista and later, you can chain a timeout and a shutdown command with the &. So,

timeout /t 600 & shutdown /h

does what I want.

But on pre-Vista PCs, there is no timeout command. There you can use 600 pings to localhost to wait 600 seconds:

ping /n 600 127.0.0.1 & shutdown /h

shutdown /s /t 600 shuts down the computer in 600 seconds from now. This one works like it should.

Merge and Split PDFs with PDFSam

From time to time I need to merge some pdf files.
One such case happened today. I’ve written a book (Schach-Taktik. Training für Vereinsspieler, Bd. 1, ISBN 9783734731037) and ended up with two separate pdf files. To publish it, I needed to upload it as one pdf to my publisher BoD.

An easy task for PDF Split and Merge or PDFSam like it is called also. I am using version 2.2 and it just does what it should.

Attention: There are installers of PDFSam which want to install some Adware on your PC. So when installing it, be cautious. Do not click Yes without first reading what you are doing. Deselect all the unneeded stuff.
Rollei Rollei

Linux Live USB Creator

Sometimes it is useful to be able to start a computer not with its installed OS, but with another OS.

  • to clean up and rescue data after virus infestation.
  • to rescue data after crash of the system hard disk.
  • to test an OS.
  • to repartition hard drives.

So, people have developed so-called Linux Live Systems. Formerly, these have been usable from CD – and they still are – if your computer has an optical drive.

LinuxLive USB CreatorBut many newer PCs and Laptops do not have an optical drive. If you want to start such a computer with a live system, you need to put it onto an USB stick.

For this task, the Linux Live USB Creator (Lili) has been created.

Though it has got a terrible transparent/half-transparent UI, it is really easy to use, its documentation is decent and you can easily create a bootable Linux Live USB from e.g. the Avira Rescue System or one of dozens of other Linux distributions.

For the Avira Rescue System you cannot have persistence, so skip step 3. Also you don’t want to start your Avira Rescue System from Windows, and normally you don’t want to hide your files: Unselect all three checkboxes in step 4.

If you want to start a live system directly from Windows, you can select the corresponding option in Lili’s step 4. Then a special version of VirtualBox will be put onto the stick and you can run your live system inside VirtualBox.

Troubles With Booting the PC From USB Stick

To make your PC willing to boot from the created USB stick, you probably have to change some BIOS settings. You can reach the BIOS settings by pressing one of the keys Del, Esc, F1, F2, F8, F12 during boot. It is different from PC to PC. Many PCs write a short notice onto the screen during boot which key to press. But also some don’t and with some the text disappears too fast to read it so you have to guess.

If you’ve got a PC with UEFI BIOS, you probably have to enable the Compatibility Support Module (CSM) and/or disable Secure Boot.
You still might get problems: PCs with UEFI BIOS often use the GPT partitioning scheme for their hard drive and many live systems cannot cope with the GPT partitioning scheme.

Avira Rescue CD: Very Valuable

Avira Rescue 2-2In the 03/2014 issue of the german computer magazine com! there has been the very helpful Avira Rescue DVD.

The DVD contains a bootable system with

  • an Ubuntu version as OS
  • the Avira Rescue System including a virus scanner. If an internet connection is available, the virus scanner downloads the latest virus signatures.
  • A Team Viewer client. You get to the Team Viewer client via the second tab Support in the Avira Rescue System. See image below.
  • The Avira registry editor. You can start it via the third tab Tools in the Avira Rescue System.
  • Firefox, may be well used for research
  • Gparted, a partition editor
  • A manual
  • The Linux Live USB Creator

Avira Rescue 1

And the best: the DVD also contains an iso image of a CD which contains nearly all the stuff mentioned above. You can download the rescue iso image and the manual directly from Avira.

Of course, you can put the iso image to an USB stick to make a bootable USB rescue stick, too. The com! DVD contains the Linux Live USB Creator to do this.

The rescue system does work on Win 7 PCs and Laptops and Win 8 PCs, but not on Win 8 Laptops.

Further Tools

Avira Rescue 3The base of the rescue system is a trimmed Ubuntu and it contains a lot of the things usuallay present there. Some of these tools can be started directly from Ubuntu’s Unity launcher on the left. From top to bottom, the start menu is preconfigured with these entries:

  • Unity Dash
  • Avira Rescue System
  • Firefox
  • Home, a file browser
  • GParted
  • Terminal

But there are more tools available, like

  • a screenshot tool
  • an image viewer
  • a pdf viewer
  • Midnight Commander

How to start these further tools:
1. Click onto the topmost icon in the start screen, Dash. This will open a window containing the last used programs.
2. Here, click onto the second icon at the bottom which looks like a ruler besides a pencil besides a pen.
3. In the next view, click onto Show 45 more results somewhere in the middle of the screen.
4. Now you’ll see all the installed tools.

Where is my C: drive?

In the running file browser or other tools, you can find your C: drive under File System/target/C:.

What do you use as a rescue tool?