technology, tips

Quickly convert .doc to .rtf

The Mac OS has a lot of neat things built in that we never see. One of those neat things is something called textutil which does quite a few things. In this case I only wanted it to do one thing: convert my .doc files to .rtf files.

Why? Because I don’t trust that .doc is an archival format. Some older versions of .doc are barely supported by Microsoft. What’s to say that my files will open in another ten years? Nothing as far as I can tell. I ‘m a writer so I need my files to last. When I paint, draw, or print photos I use acid free paper because I want those things to last. Using .doc files is like using acidic paper. I don’t use the format anymore but I did and had almost a thousand .doc files to convert. That was daunting.

Mac OS Hints shared a clever terminal command using find and textutil to batch convert files, I took that and built an applescript out of it so that my friends could use it easily. This applescript asks for a folder, gives the option to convert or convert & delete the original, and then converts every file in the folder. It will even convert files in subfolders. I might build it up at some point to use more of textutil, but for now I am offering this simple applescript.

doc2rtf applescript

tips, whatnot

Batch Converting to MP3 with Lame

I had a folder of .wav files that I wanted to convert to mp3 using lame. I thought I remembered an easy way to have it convert the entire folder but I couldn’t make anything happen. So I came up with an easy system using the mac’s terminal. All I have to do is go into a folder and type mp3ed and I get mp3 conversion just how I like it.

Here is how to do it:

  1. open the terminal and type “nano .bash_profile”
  2. type or paste to the end of the file (or as the first line if it’s a new file):

    alias mp3ed=”find *.wav -exec //usr/local/bin/lame –vbr-new -V0 ‘{}’ \;”

    (If you have a lame setting you like better you can change the “–vbr-new -V0” part of course.)

  3. hit control-x, then y at the prompt, then return at the last prompt.
  4. restart the terminal

Now, all you need to do to convert a folder of wav files is go into that folder (cd myfolder) and type mp3ed.

Of course for this to work you’ll need lame installed. If you are even just a tiny bit comfortable with the terminal that is easy enough (hint: decompress and paste cd ~/desktop/lame-3.97; ./configure; make; make install). To install lame you’ll also need apple’s free xcode, which you can download or install from the disks that came with your mac.