June 2008

Send and receive free faxes over the internet [solved]

I’ve used both the free and pro versions of efax for some time now:
Efax is a nice service to send and receive PDFs over the internet. When faxes come in they get forwarded to your email. You can sign up for a free account to receive faxes, though it costs money to send faxes or to have a local fax number.
I couldn’t justify paying a monthly fee just to send a couple faxes a year, so I just use the free account and this service:
Faxzero lets you send PDFs over the internet for free. They are supported by advertisements they put on your cover page. However, the fax does not look like spam because your cover page has your information on it and the rest of the pages are untouched. I have used this service for very professional applications (loan applications, etc.) and have never had a problem. You don’t need to register an account with them but do need to provide a valid email and confirm your address for each fax.

Fill out PDF forms easily with formulatepro – Free on OS X [solved]

I’ve been filling out PDF forms online for a while now. There’s always something – applications, contracts, leases, etc. I keep my signature as a graphic on my computer. Typically I’d been filling them out using photoshop, but it’s a pain in the butt–import the PDF one page at a time, use the text tool to create lots of text layers on top, print, scale to fit media, and re-save as PDF. Since photoshop doesn’t handle multiple pages, I had to use the free utility joinPDF to join each page together. I got so sick of this that I searched for better alternatives.
And I found one:
FormulatePro is a free beta program that loads a PDF, lets you easily add text, add images, and print (and save to PDF using OS X’s built in function). It’s way easier than using photoshop.
Other people have suggested using Word to do this, by importing the PDF as a watermark into a document and then writing on top. There is more info here for PC users and others that would like to try it.

My only complaint about formulatepro is in photoshop I could use ‘darken’ blending to have my signature transparently overlay the line it’s supposed to go on, as opposed to a white box behind it. I haven’t tried using a transparent image yet though.

Next up: faxing in your PDF for free over the internet

Toshiba SD-K860 won’t eject [solved]

My two year old upconverting Toshiba DVD/divx player from Woot.com wouldn’t eject my rented DVD (I am Legend). I would push eject and it would say “Open”, do nothing, and after a few seconds say “Loading” and play the DVD again. Once the harassing blockbuster calls started coming in I decided to try and fix it.
I found a great site called Fixya, which is similar to this site but focuses on hardware.
This page addressed a similar problem with the Toshiba SD-4990. That page linked to a service manual here (https://www.vancebaldwin.com/shop/research_new/TBA/SD4900.pdf ) which was similar enough to be extremely helpful.
Some suggested that it was a software issue and unplugging the machine for half an hour to let reset it self. However, after unplugging it all night the problem remained the next morning.
I took the machine apart (6 screws on the outside) and unmounted the drive (4 more screws), unplugging the three cables and remembering their orientation (blue wire faces the back). I unscrewed the top chasis (2 screws underneath soft rubber & glue) and got the DVD out. Then after some finagling I found the eject levers on the bottom (long slide switches) that opened up the DVD tray. I massaged the tray back and forth, and did the same with the laser mechanism on its track. The tray belt was in tact and there were no loose solder joints or wires. So I plugged the drive back in loosely (without reassembly) and plugged the power back in. Carefully, without touching any capacitors I hit the eject button and the drive tray started working again. It must have just been jammed. I unplugged the power, reassembled everything, turned it back on, and it’s back to normal!
This may not be the problem your SD-K850 or other DVD player was having, but perhaps these steps will help you solve your problem.

Open Declaration/Include doesn’t work in PHPEclipse [solved]

On most machines that I use PHPEclipse, I can control click on a method, function or include and open it immediately. F3 does the same thing. On my Eclipse installation in parallels, this doesn’t work. I’m not sure why – I followed the instructions here:
and it still doesn’t work. I thought it was parallels acting up initially but now I think my Maven configuration is misconfigured and interfering with it, because I get errors building the workspace when I save files.

Yay, I fixed it by updating eclipse, maven, ajdt, and phpeclipse. FYI PHPeclipse’s new automatic site update URL seems to be here: http://phpeclipse.sourceforge.net/update/stable/1.2.x/