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Plain text ASCII. Boston City Hall.

From: Don Saklad
Subject: Plain text ASCII. Boston City Hall.
Date: 21 Jun 2004 23:22:02 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2

          Thank you Pascal Bourguignon!

          Regrettably writing scripts is the diffculty !

>> a. How might I set up a free public service with the public notices of
>>    Boston City Council Committees Public Hearings that the council
>>    distributes merely by email in microsoft word format ?...
>>    Ironically, the council has been unwilling to see how to distribute
>>    public notices in plain text ascii
>> b. Would there be something like a list server that would
>>    automatically convert forwarded public notices in microsoft word
>>    format and make them readable on the web?...
>>    I get the microsoft word formatted notices in rmail in emacs and
>>    could forward them regularly, if necessary. It is the converting
>>    to plain text ascii that is the difficulty.
>There are a couple of free tools that can be used to read MS-Word
>document and generate RTF or ASCII text from them.
>For example word2x, or wv:
>$ rpm -q -i wv
>Name        : wv                    Relocations: (not relocateable)
>Version     : 0.7.2                 Vendor: SuSE Linux AG, Nuernberg, Germany
>Release     : 189                   Build Date: Fri 28 Mar 2003 07:32:57 AM CET
>Install date: Sun 26 Oct 2003 06:37:21 AM CET Build Host:
>Group       : Productivity/Publishing/Word    Source RPM: wv-0.7.2-189.src.rpm
>Size        : 1124855                         License: GPL
>Packager    :
>URL         :
>Summary     : A Word 8 converter for Unix
>Description :
>WV is a program that can understand the microsofts word 8
>binary file format (office97), it currently converts word into html,
>which can then be read with a browser.
>    Caolan McNamara <address@hidden>
>Distribution: SuSE Linux 8.2 (i586)
>> c. Or would there be another way for me to forward the microsoft word
>>    formatted notices to a web link where anyone would be able to check
>>    the current and archived notices?...
>> I could get an email address submitted on the email list that would
>> effect forwarding of the microsoft word public notices automatically.
>You could easily subscribe a convertion robot to the mail list (check
>> The council public notices full text are not available on the web. A
>> screwy calendar of public hearings dates is available but its
>> difficult to navigate and does not include the full text of the
>> notice, only time, location and minimal descriptor keywords.
>> If any of you kind folks out there would, please ask for the emailings
>> of public notices of city council committee hearings, take a look at
>> the microsoft word formatting and let me know any ideas, hints, tips
>> or pointers for setting up plain text ascii formatting on a web link
>> or how to set up a listserver type thing and its archives.
>Basically, you'd put an alias such as:
>    text-robot:"|/usr/local/bin/text-robot"
>in /etc/aliases on your host, have it receive email to:
>    address@hidden
>(or if your host is not "really" on the internet, then subscribe a POP
>email account (for example, and use fetchmail to fetch the
>messages and forward them to text-robot.
>And in /usr/local/bin/text-robot you write a little script using
>metamail to extract the attached MS-Word file, and wvHtml to generate
>an HTML file, or wvText to generate an ASCII file, and then use
>sitecopy to upload these files to your web server (or merely cp if
>your host is also your web server).
>__Pascal Bourguignon__           
>There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not
>want merely because you think it would be good for him. -- Robert Heinlein

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