How to Convert PowerPoint to EPS files

I really want to make a long story short on this one. If you’re reading this, then you have been troubled with this for long enough, so read on:

I’ve been trying to figure this out for a very long time and I finally have a perfectly free and efficient way of converting Powerpoint Presentations (.ppt) of figures, annotated graphs, etc to Encapsulated Postscript (.eps) files for use in LateX documents:

(I suspect that this works with the OpenOffice version of Powerpoint also, for those that dont wanna feed the Microsoft beast any more than they have to.)

1. First you will need a postscript printer. Luckily a virtual printer will do just fine, so go over to PDF995 and download the free PDF printer software. Get the Pdf995 Printer Driver and Free Converter and install them both.

ppt2eps-pdf995-icons.jpg

This will also give you the ability to save any document as a PDF file for free (niiiiice!) (borat rules):). The software is add supported (unobtrusive) and very reliable.

2. Fire up Powerpoint and adjust the page properties to reflect the size/scale that you want your eps image to have. This method will make an .eps file out of a whole slide, so make sure the scale fits your needs: File > Page Setup

ppt2eps-page-setup.png

Note: This is the only place where you may have some problems. The bounding box for your eps image is likely to get messed up if you dont use a square page size that is very similar to the printing size of a normal page. Through trial and error I have found that 7×7 inches works perfectly, so from now on all of my images are perfect squares — something I have found very easy to live with.

3. Design your figure/image. If you have previously designed your figures and have now resized the page, you will find that your images have been squashed. Its best to start a new powerpoint presentation with the page dimensions you want and then just copy and paste your figures from the old presentation. That way the scale of the figure will stay the same.

4. Now we are ready to “print” our PPT figure into an EPS file. Go to: File > Print, select the PDF995 printer and put a tick on Print to File, as shown in the image:

ppt2eps-print-to-file.png

5. Click on the printer Properties > Advanced and change Paper/Output > Paper Size to PostScript Custom Page Size. Here enter the same page dimensions as you entered earlier in Step 2.

ppt2eps-ps-page-size.png

6. Click on Document Options > PostScript Options and set PostScript Output Option to Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) and PostScript Language Level to 1, as shown:

ppt2eps-ps-options.png

7. Click OK, OK, OK. You will be prompted to save your .eps file (I suggest choosing “All files” from the file type menu, to save you having to rename your file. Let the PDF995 advertisement banners time out, close them and you are done! Now your PPT figure has been saved in the EPS full vector graphic format!

ppt2eps-quality-comparison.jpg

Here’s a comparison of the results from using a JPG and a EPS in a LaTeX document, mostly for my viewing pleasure ) I hope this helps you guys.

For a compilation of other really useful LaTeX tips and trips visit Tao Xie’s LaTeX page.

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Bad Rumble Ram on some M3 DS Real Slot-2 Cartridges…

I have been having sporadic lockups when using my M3 DS Real, and its Rumble Ram pack. I thought there was something wrong with me, or the homebrew needed to be manually DLDI-ed or something like that.

DSOpera will only work for about 1 minute, before the erroneous area of the ram is accessed and the whole thing freezes up. Then the other day I installed DSLinux and while the app was loading the Rumble Ram pack (that I had never heard rumbling before) started rumbling at full volume and the DS *Blitzed* on me. Suffice to say that I freaked out. The DS did not want to start up afterwards and a few minutes later with my heart racing I was searching through my stuff for the receipt – if I even had it sitting around…

Long story short, the DS started up after removing the battery and inserting it again. I now attribute the lockups while using DSOpera and other RAM-needy homebrew to a bad Rumble Ram pack. I have contacted Divineo, asking for an exchange (I’ll update this post when I get the replacement — fingers crossed!).

I have done some extra research and have found that several M3 DS Real Rumble Ram cartridges are in fact not working properly, and they disguise themselves as odd/opportunistic problems. The source of the trouble are memory errors that can be found by running the memtestARM homebrew application. memtestARM reports that the RAM is broken at address 0×8200000 (on my specific cart):

memtestarm-m3-ds-real.gif

The exact problem has been documented by this user, who has exactly the same symptoms, other than his memory is broken at address 0×8400000. The video included in this blog, shows the memory errors, crashes and asynchronous rumbling when certain parts of the ram are accessed.

I went ahead and bought myself an EZ 3-in-1 adapter from RealHotStuff (Newegg for Nintendo DS accessories!), because it has been reported to have the best support for homebrew applications and it also contains Ram and GBA capabilities in the same cart (browser and GBA games need to be patched appropriately — see my DS pages for more details). I immediately tested it with memtestARM and it passed with flying colors:

memtestarm-ez3in1.gif

I should have gotten this from the beginning, since I want to end up with the CycloDS Evolution cart eventually. I am sure that not every Rumble Ram pack is faulty, since there are many reviews that tell of the homebrew applications I mentioned working flawlessly. However, if you’re having similar problems please report this here or in the relevant forums, to save people some trouble trying to figure out whats wrong!

Update:

I just got the replacement M3 DS RAM Slot-2 Cart from Divineo, and alas… IT IS ALSO BROKEN AT THE SAME MEMORY ADDRESS… I’ll be sending it back again and again untill they get it right! (I asked them to test it before sending, but didnt really expect them to do so…)

Flash 9 install problem on Mac OS X

I routinely upgraded my flash player on my G4 Powerbook the other day, and was surprised to find that Flash stopped working. I use several browsers and it didn’t work on any of them (Explorer, Safari, Opera). Especially YouTube, had the worse problem, as it wouldn’t show any movies and gave me the strange error:

“ Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe’s Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.” Took a while but I figured it out:

  1. Close all active programs
  2. Go to Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility. Select your hard drive from the left panel and click on “Repair Disk Permissions”.
  3. Download the Flash Player Installer and Uninstaller from here.
  4. Run the uninstaller and then the installer.

It turns out that Opera still doesn’t work, but at least Safari does, and thats good enough for me. Also while surfing around I realized that Mac:Explorer is completely unsupported and I uninstalled it forever.

Installing Starry Night on Vista

There are several versions of Starry Night, all of which have problems when you try to install them on a rig running Windows Vista. The reason is that Vista doesn’t deliver the usual backwards compatibilities that you would expect out of a new operating system. Funnily enough, this turns out to be the solution to our problem:

  1. Open the Starry Night CD, by right clicking on the CD/DVD icon in My Computer.
  2. Locate the setup.exe or install.exe file that is the main file that installs Starry Night. This will differ depending on the version, so do a little bit of searching around if you need to.
  3. Right click on the setup.exe files and go to Properties/Advanced and under Compatibility, select “Windows XP”.
  4. Run the installer.

Thats it. This trick works with every other program that has version conflicts with Vista.

Visual Audio Sensory Theater

VAST is probably my favorite band/artist. When I say that I exclude of course the “default maxima” as I like to call them, which in my case are Metallica, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash. Vast is pretty much a one man band, where at the center of it all we have Jon Crosby, a child stumbling through thoughts and reflections on life, inconclusive and emphatic. I find him very easy to associate with.

Needless to say, every single song in every single album has some… offering. Depending on your mood you will take something new out of them and make it yours forever. “The gates of Rock and Roll will never close on me”. “I live to see the day He comes upon a horse”. “Put me inside flesh that is dying… just dont take your love away”. “…and the moon gives me permission as I enter through your eyes”.

There are no favorite songs. Nor is there a good or bad time to listen to VAST. Its the single most played collection of albums in my music collection. I take it and I leave it. Sometimes on purpose, just because I find it so powerful. It always leaves me in a contemplative and relaxed mood, I must admit. I have noticed that my faith in life and humans is reinforced when I listen to VAST, I guess because it reminds me that someone is thinking this way and that others are listening.

There arent many fans of VAST around. But only because they havent heard it yet. Even if you dont know me, or you’re for some reason unconvinced by my rant here then please just ignore me and go have a look at some songs. You choose for yourself.

Cant Boot from CD using USB Keyboard

This has happened to me several times, but it always catches me off-guard.

I was trying to repair a windows installation and needed to boot from the WinXP CD. I am using a USB keyboard, which was not a problem at all at first, as I was able to press F9 and enter the BIOS. From there I set the computer to boot from the CD. When the computer restarted and asked me to:

Press any key to boot from the CD-ROM…

I was unable to do so. I never found a fix and it was necessary for me to install a PS/2 keyboard to get the computer to boot from the CD. I later realized that running “sfc /scannow” from a command prompt (available by typing “cmd” in the “Run…” box on the Start Menu) combined with a registry backup would have cleared up my problem, but hey…

Some modern BIOS revisions have an option to enable USB keyboard support from the BIOS or OS. Setting this to BIOS will clear up this problem in most cases (mine didnt include this option, but a quick test on a computer at work.

It is good practice to have a PS/2 keyboard and mouse always at hand, just in case something goes wrong with your wireless devices.

WinXP Disk Management Utility

If you have a large hard drive and want to create smaller partitions, or want to consolidate your partitions, you can use the Disk Management utility found at:

Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management

There are several more advanced partitioning tools that let you create, delete, format, defragment, resize, move partitions around, modify their attributes or even copy entire hard disks from one to another. Cute Partition Manager is free and comes highly recommended.