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Scan both sides of a front-back document into a single PDF with PDFsam

Today I decided that, in order to get out of the office before night, I just had to bring home some work. Among the various things I needed to do was a huge amount of paper documents I wanted to get rid of for good. I own a HP CM1410 MFP Multi-Function printer, which has a 30-sheets tray and great scanning performances, so I thought I was good to go: I quickly found out that I wasn’t, because most of my documents were printed on both of their sides and I quickly discovered that my beloved printer didn’t have a native front-back scanning feature.

I thought I could scan all the sheets and then reorder them with Adobe Acrobat, but that would require a reasonable amount of time as most of these documents were 50-pages long or so. I was just about to give up on that task and move on, when I remembered a great freeware program I used to have in the past when i had to deal with huge PDF files: its name was PDFsam, which is the acronym for PDF Split and Merge: I decided I had to give it a try, so I searched for it on Google… Guess what? Not only it still exists – and in great shape too – but it also flawlessly solved my problem in a matter of seconds!

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Disable Windows 10 Tracking, an application to stop Microsoft’s personal data gathering

We all know that Redmond loves to know more about us: Windows 10 makes no exceptions here, introducing a revamped user data gathering framework which isn’t exactly ideal for everyone. The reasons given are, as always in these scenarios, greatly altruistic, we would say almost noble: collected data will be used to grant each user with an unique and finely tailored Windows experience: on top of that, their registered behaviour will be also used to improve the future iterations of Windows. Pretty neat, isn’t it? If you’re happy with that, you don’t need to do anything: if you would like to opt-out, you might as well keep reading and learn how you can get rid of it.

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Jquery.scrolling: check HTML elements visibility in Viewport after a page scroll or resize

With responsive design and adaptive layouts constantly increasing their audience, the importance of controlling the visibility of HTML elements inside the viewport is continuosly increasing. Unfortunately, neither javascript nor the popular jquery frameworks provide a native way to check the visibility status of an element after a page scroll or resize.

This is the main reason behind the development of jquery.scrolling, a jQuery plugin that does exactly this: it basically adds the scrollin and scrollout custom events that will fire when any given element becomes visible/invisible in the browser viewport. This allows you to:

  • automatically or programmatically show/hide any HTML content as soon as it comes inside or outside the browser viewport (i.e. when the user scrolls to them).
  • prevent unnecessary processing for content that is hidden or is outside of the browser viewport.
  • trigger a custom function or behaviour (such as loading external AJAX content) when a certain point of the page is reached.

and more.

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Using GitHub with Mercurial and TortoiseHG

Introduction

I don’t think there’s a single developer who doesn’t know GitHub, the popular source-control web hosting service for Git. If I’m wrong and you never head about it I strongly suggest you to fill this huge gap by reading (at least) the GitHub and Git wikipedia pages. Taking a look to the github.com and git-scm.com official site won’t hurt either.

If you know what I’m talking about, keep reading: you’re most certainly aware that in order to use the GitHub service you need to adopt Git, which is not only the most used source-control manager (SCM from now on) of the current decade, yet also a very brilliant and innovative piece of work due to its distribuited, versatile and elegant approach. These – togheter with the GitHub project itself- are the reasons why it gradually crushed the competitors, including some very praised open-source industry standards such as CVS and SVN – which were based on a traditional, less-modern centralized SCM paradigm.

While Git is widely adopted by either Windows and Linux developer communities, the latter certainly is its true love source – after all it was developed by a certain Linus Torvalds. Conversely, it’s still slightly less popular between Windows users for the following reasons:

  • a late win32 porting of the most used UI  – msysgit e TortoiseGit among others – which tend to be preferred by most Windows developers who tend to despise a bare command-line interface.
  • the almost-simultaneos diffusion of Mercurial (formerly HG), another distribuited SCM featuring tools and settings as neat as Git ones, with a generally better support for Windows platforms, software and developer frameworks.

Another strong reason which favored Mercurial over Git on windows platforms was, in 2008, the launch of the bitbucket.org website, entirely based on Mercurial (until 2011, when Git was adopted too) and very similar to GitHub in almost any way.

I don’t want to go further than that, let alone saying which SCM would be better and why: in my personal opinion, being an enthusiast of both Git and Mercurial, I think that they are two amazing products which – despite their slightly different architectural approach – are equally able to perfectly fullfill almost any modern developing scenario. To put it in other words, I don’t think I ever missed one of them while working with the other one.

If you’re looking for a deeper analysis of the similarities and the differences between Git e Mercurial I strongly suggest you to start by reading these two excellent (despite their age) posts. The first one is practical, technical and analytic, whilst the latter is more theoretical and fun: just pick the one you feel most suited for your style, just like you’ll often end up choosing your SCM.

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