Friday, March 12, 2010

How Geeks Pick Battles

My son’s got a birthday coming up, and we’re having it at one of those local gymnastic places.  On their website is a “print your invitations” link, which turns out to be a 2 page PDF.  More specifically it is 4 rectangles – two front, two back – intended to be printed out double sided on card stock, then cut out and mailed.  Cool enough.

I do not have a double sided printer, though, so I print out both pages and take it down to the local copy place, where I realize that…they don’t line up.  Damnit.    It’s clear what’s gone wrong, the people who cobbled this thing together put a 1” border from the left on both pages – but since page 2 is on the back they should have measured 1” from the right.

The wife tells me no worries, she will just buy some invitations at the store.  I assure her that this is not a problem, I just need to muck with the margins on page 2.

After discovering that your typical PDF reader does not let you play with the margins on a per-page level like that, I switch over to a PDF editor – InkScape, to be specific.  Technically, though, InkScape is a graphic editor with import/export PDF, so I can only edit one page at a time.  Fair enough.

I will save you lots of cussing, but fast forward a half dozen sample printouts when I realize that it’s not that they are not lined up properly (they are not), but that one of the front rectangles is a different size than the others! This is throwing everything off.    That’s seriously annoying.

But!  I’m in an editor after all.  Select all.  Ungroup.  Select background rectangle.  Resize.  Done. :)

I spent maybe an hour and a half on that.  At any time I could have just skipped the whole thing and let the wife buy some new ones, but part of being a geek is taking the battle for supremacy very seriously, and not letting the machines win.  If the only thing standing between a problem and a solution is something involving technology, I’m not about to give up easily.  And it has been known to drive me occasionally crazy.  But I wouldn’t change it. >:) 

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