Jim's Blog Ramblings about novels, comics, programming, and other geek topics


Comic Con 2009

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Last week, I attended Comic-Con for a half-day for my second year in a row. Just like last year, the convention was sensory overload and standing room only. KPBS reported that there was about 126,000 attendees and another 25,000 exhibitors in town for the four day event. Over the four days, it was estimated that the local businesses reaped in about $42 million.

While I was strolling the aisles, I came across Stan Sakai's booth. He was selling autographed copies of the 1987 Fantagraphic's Usagi Yojimbo: Samuri! issue #1 for only $5. At first, I thought I was mistaken to see the 25 year old comic for just $5. I mostly remember Usagi Yojimbo from the TMNT TV series and comics of the 1980s. After snatching up the autographed #1 issue, I discovered that the un-autographed issue's street price is somewhere between $14 and 17. I just wish I could pick stocks and mutual funds with a 200% profit...


Getting your personal DNA profile

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I've thought about personal DNA tests for a while now. On one hand, I'm extremely curious to know everything that I can know about myself. I feel that not knowing might somehow have a negative impact. On the other hand, I feel that knowing too much might change my lifestyle too much.

One of the companies offering personal DNA tests is the San Diego company Pathway Genomics. For about $350, you can get a test that includes your health conditions, ancestry, carrier status, personal traits, and drug responses. You can view their full list of detectable conditions. You can also purchase individual tests, such as only your ancestry test for $200 and only your health test for $250.


How to merge pages from a PDF document

A few months ago, I wrote a small article about extracting pages from a PDF document to create a new PDF document. This article will use the same library, iTextSharp, to merge pages from one PDF document to create a second PDF document.

For this utility, imagine having a PDF document with pages that are 8 1/2" x 11" and you want to combine 2 pages into one larger page. The resulting output document would be 17" x 11" and show two pages from the input document on one page on the output document.