Monday, May 15, 2006

Weird Graphics Issue

I ran into a completely nonsensical, flat-assed WEIRD graphics problem last Thursday while trying to help out the Day of .NET gang gin up some PocketMod schedules.  I had terrific luck with using PocketMods as schedules for the Dayton-Cincinnati Code Camp, and passed on my template to Josh, John, and Jason.

Thursday evening Josh asked me to fix up a couple things with their files — they were having some odd exception errors when trying to run the PDF to PocketMod conversion tool and he was swamped with other tasks.  It took me a number of hours, but I finally found that two GIF files were giving the converter grief.

Here’s the rough cut of what was occurring: 

  • Alter my working template in MS Word
  • Insert several graphics, one PNG, two GIF
  • Print to PDF using PDF Creator
  • Attempt to convert the PDF file to PocketMod format
  • Get an exception during the conversion phase

As I said, I isolated the trouble to two GIF files.  Simply changing the two graphics to PNG format wasn’t enough, I actually had to alter the content of one of the files.  Here’s weird for you: I had to open up one of the files in Paint Shop Pro and use a very light, diffuse eraser to alter one specific region of one specific color.  I have no friggin’ clue how or why this solved the problem, but it did.  Believe me, I had tried a large number of other avenues, none with any success.

Frankly, I think Josh just pulled a fast one on me and was just trying to get my stress level up near his, John’s, and Jason’s.  (I’ve always felt the best way to deal with fear or stress is to get someone else equally wigged out.)

I’m going to pass on this odd problem Chad Adams, the really ingenious guy who came up with PocketMod.  Maybe he knows something about it.

Please pass on any theories about why this might have happend.  It’s certainly one of those things I’ve thrown my head up and said “How friggin’ weird is that?”  (Actually, I said something else, but I try to keep this blog somewhat family-friendly.)

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