Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Value of Having Lots of Apps

Last night I had spent a considerable amount of time composing a rather carefully worded email, only to have my email client (Thunderbird) fall into a persistent vegetative state upon attempting to send said email. Nothing I did had any effect and I reluctantly accepted that I was going to loose all that work. But wait! Could there be a workaround? (Workarounds are an essential part of doing battle with Windows.) First, I took a "picture," or screen capture, of the ailing email window with FastStone Capture (a free and very handy utility that allows me to capture any part of my 2 screens, save it as any type of graphic, and even annotate it). Next, I used PrimoPDF (a free PDF maker) to make a PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file of the picture. Next, I used Adobe Acrobat itself to run optical character recognition (OCR) on the PDF file. (I could have just used Acrobat to make the PDF, but it was giving me trouble at the moment--I've since repaired it, but luckily I had an alternative handy.) Finally, I saved the resulting text as a txt document in KewlPad (a skinnable Notepad replacement). Total elapsed time, 5 minutes. Work saved. What's the moral of this story? Could be two: One, having lots of applications that work well can, and often does, save the day. Two, maybe if I didn't have all those apps I wouldn't run into trouble so much in the first place. Take your pick, but I like to think it's the former, not the latter.