Tag Archives: Tech

Prettify Project Gutenberg Books

I’m dead tired, but before I go to sleep I wanted to inform you of a neat tool you might dig. Month before last at the Houston Palm Users Group (which I lead) we did a bit on creating ebooks. I covered the Palm Markup Language which is a sorry excuse for a markup language. To balance out how bad PML was, I wrote a little tool that would convert Project Gutenberg texts to a format more sutable for ebook reading. See the problem with the Gutenberg texts is that they are plain ASCII files which wrap every 76 characters or so. What this means on a PalmOS device is that you get a line and a half of text, and then a break, and it makes reading anything a major pain.

So what HPUG DocIt! does is combine paragraphs of text into one line so you don’t get funny line breaks everywhere, except where you want them between paragraphs. It’s pretty basic, but I’ve found it incredibly useful and a number of members of the group have as well. Even though the only other time it’s been mentioned was at the meeting and on the HPUG website, it converts about a dozen documents every day. Anyway I’d just like to put this out there as a service. The interface should look pretty familar to Texturize users, with the additional option of being able to upload text files. If there is interest there is definitely a lot of room for improvement in this tool, for example it could convert the ASCII faux text styling (stars for bold, underscores for underlined, etc.) to HTML equivilents, and it could also determine when the nend of a line is a hyphenated word and deal with the break accordingly. But for now, it does one thing and it does it well. Enjoy.

WordPress Preview

Partly as a personal todo list, and partly as a special bonus for Photo Matt readers, here’s what’s currently done or in development for WordPress .72, slated for release on [date]. This is in no particular order.

  • Improved quicktags — create ordered and unordered lists easier, <ins> support WITH datetime attribute, possibly cursor aware.
  • HTML Sanitation — Bad code checks in, but it doesn’t check out.
  • MetaWeblog API support
  • Multiple category support
  • Completely revamped options system, never edit a configuration file ever again.
  • Password-protected entries
  • Movable Type import

There are going to be some under the hood changes mainly paving the way for multi-blog support. Also significant is the documentation efforts that have been ongoing. A few other changes mostly related to RSS may or may not make it in, depending on how quickly everything comes together.


The inimitable Joe Clark’s Ten Years Ago in Spy has a brand-spanking new all-CSS layout from yours truly. As Joe said, “Take that, Alex Isley, Christiaan Kuypers, and B.W. Honeycutt!”

I didn’t do a strict before and after comparison, but I estimate at least several K have been saved. The biggest savings should come from the table, which had an elaborate system of classes that I was able to all but eliminate thanks to the flexbility provided by Joe’s semantic markup. Enjoy, and take some time to browse the archives, it’s quite entertaining.

Hey Hey Hey, Z1A

I don’t know how to describe my mood except elation. Remember the laptop that broke last week? Well I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to take it in to Best Buy until today. If you remember, my hard drive was hosed. I was bringing it out of hibernation and it hung. When I restarted it I was informed that there was no operating system found. Many hours, recovery disks, and general messing, it seemed that the hard drive was fubar.

Obviously it had gotten jolted out of whack or something, and I went in to the store expecting them to send it away and maybe it would be an easy fix so I would have my laptop back in two weeks instead of a month and a half. However they just checked if they had another Z1A in stock and exchanged it out for me. Sweet! The timing couldn’t have been better because I had just started to notice the wear and tear that inevitably happens.

Anyway now we’re trying to fix Josh’s computer, which he’s trying to upgrade to work with Star Wars Galaxies, however Murphy has intervened and nothing seems to be working right. Hopefully we can work things out though.

Update: Josh’s problem was a bad CD-ROM drive. He’s now up and running with Windows XP (which is running really fast on his machine) and everything seems to be working. He hasn’t installed the game yet that prompted this slew of upgrades (XP and 120GB HD) so it’ll be hilarious if it doesn’t work.

Mozilla 1.4

THANK YOU Mozilla 1.4 for deleting all of my bookmarks. This could take months to recover from. I must have a copy somewhere…

Otherwise things are good on my front, the rhyming email project has been going well.

Update: I found the bookmarks.html file and was able to import it successfully. Whew!

Zoom Zoom

Nothing says “have a nice Monday” like a shiny new Athlon 2600 in the mail. For the past 5 minutes I’ve been opening and closing programs just to see how fast they start. I think after this post I’m going to go back.