Being the proud new owner of a Kindle book reader, I’ve recently rediscovered my love for reading (after switching wholesale to audiobooks, which I still listen to). Brian (a.k.a. seventyfourmanx), pointed me an eBook Trifecta:
- Calibre – eBook management software (for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows)
- Drinkmalk Stanza/Aldiko Catalog Site – A huge ebook resource
- Stanza – An eBook reader for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and Android users
With Stanza and Drinkmalk, you have access to a huge catalog of eBooks that you can download to your phone and then sync to your desktop. When I started this Kindle craze, I was a little worried about having to re-purchase all of my books in eBook format. So far, I’ve found what I needed at Drinkmalk. (As a disclaimer, I’m not encouraging you to pirate books. I already own physical copies of these books and am just looking to have them available digitally.) The Drinkmalk library is only accessible via Stanza. Luckily, Stanza has the ability to offload those books from your phone.
The main star of this post, though, is Calibre. Calibre handles translation of eBook formats and maintenance of your eBook library. Its main feature is the ability to translate eBook formats. In my own library, I had EPUB and PDF versions of books. I was able to translate those into the Kindle’s MOBI format and copy them to the Kindle all within the app.
You can also add metadata to your eBooks such as cover images, author, ratings, ISBN, etc. This comes in especially handy when you are browsing through the plethora of free eBook libraries such as:
Given all this, I already have a “stack” of books waiting to be read and re-read. This brings me much joy and happiness.
Thanks for the tips, Brian!
Of the myriad number of ways to “speed up” your internet connection, one way is to find a DNS server that performs best for you.
namebench is a handy little open-source utility that will do all the dirty work for you. It comes in linux, os x and windows flavors. There’s even a command-line version.
Twitter evolved from being an SMS mailing list to an ubiquitous, constantly evolving social network platform. Some use it as a microblog, summing up a day’s or hour’s (or minute’s even) experience in 140 characters. Some use it as an easy way to update your Facebook Status. I see it as a never-ending conversation with “hundreds of your closest friends.”
With the microblog-purple project at code.google.com, you can now install a Twitter plugin for Pidgin and/or Adium. I’ve been using the Pidgin plugin for 10 minutes and I already love it. It really feeds the “conversational” mental model I have of Twitter.
The plugin provides all of your basic Twitter interface needs (e.g. replying, retweeting, favorite-ing) but what’s noticeably missing is a “direct message” link and the ability to view direct messages sent to you. The former is easily circumvented by just using the normal Twitter convention of prefixing a “d” before a username, but the latter doesn’t seem to have any workable solution.
All in all, though, I’m sold on this plugin (until the next best thing comes along).
I’ve read about Dropbox awhile back and the general consensus seems to be of awesomeness with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Even though I’m already a heavy JungleDisk user, you can’t argue with something that is free and easy to use, so I gave it a shot.
Dropbox runs on Windows, Linux and Mac, makes file sharing very easy and (here’s what won me over) has simple revision control just in case you accidentally overwrite or delete anything. I can see using this for collaboration on a project for users who don’t want to deal with conventional revision control systems like CVS or Subversion.
The UrlbarExt add-on for Firefox 3 is one of the handiest extensions I’ve seen.
The functionality of the default buttons include, from left to right:
1. Copy the current site URL or custom formatted URL.
2. Shorten the URL using your favorite service or right-click for more options.
3. Search the current site using Google for the selected keyword. Right-click opens a dialog for adding keywords.
4. Go up one level, or directly to the root of the current site with a double-click. Right-click gives you a list of levels to choose from.
5. Tag and bookmark the current page from a menu of tags.
6. Navigate through sequential URLs. (if the URL ends in a number, it will take you to the next numbered URL)
7. Surf anonymously using online phproxy servers. Right-click lets you view the Google Cache along with other options.
If you haven’t seen the buzz in the blogosphere yet, Google is releasing their own web-browser, dubbed Chrome, tomorrow. I just perused the info-comic (made by Scott McCloud of all people) explaining the ideas and architecture behind Chrome, and I must say that I’m curious.
Here is what stands out to me:
- Multi-process *and* Multi-threaded – Each browser tab will be its own separate process with its own thread pool. If a website causes a crash, the whole browser won’t go down–only that one tab. There will also be a built-in task manager that will enable you to kill processes and threads and also identify exactly what is causing the crashes. This will require more memory up front, but could potentially save memory in the long run.
- Process compartmentalization – Google reinforced process boundaries to an even higher degree to prevent malware attack and bad plugins from hosing the entire browser. The “sandbox” (as they call it) is completely user driven.
- Using WebKit – The Webkit rendering engine is fast, light-weight and used in both conventional laptops/desktops and mobile devices. Potential iPhone app anyone?
- Omnibar - This will be Chrome’s equivalent to Firefox’s “Awesome” bar, or what we traditionally refer to as the location bar.
- Open Source – Google’s entry into the browser war can only help the internet as a whole. The entire Chrome project will be open sourced so I’m sure we’ll start to see some of these features absorbed into Firefox, Safari, IE (maybe), etc.
- Stability – Google has an index of, I daresay, trillions of webpages. Apparently they are subjecting test builds of Chrome to millions of websites each day and are approaching asymptotically that “100% compatibility” mark.
Google Chrome is available for download now for Windows users.
Firefox 3’s “awesome bar” is just that. If you start adding tags to your bookmarks, the awesome bar becomes a website launcher akin to Quicksilver for the Mac or Launchy for Windows. If you have a del.icio.us account and want to take full advantage of Firefox 3, check out this handy tool which merges your del.icio.us bookmarks with your Firefox bookmarks and preserves all of the tags.
Being able to do google searches via a Linux-like shell interface appeals to my mouse-hating inner-self.