Archive for Software

Kindling

From the (estimable) inventor of Kindle It:

Kindle It lets you send articles you find on the web to your Kindle or other e-reader for easy reading. It is being developed as part of the Five Filters project to promote independent, non-corporate media.

Kindle It works by processing web pages in roughly the following way:

  1. Article extraction using our Full-Text RSS tool
  2. HTML cleanup
  3. Conversion to Mobipocket (the Kindle format)
  4. Email to user’s Kindle address

This is damn’ handy if you have a kindle and you encounter a web page or blog article (pretty much anything really) which you would like to read, but it’s too long, or you’re too busy at work. You think I must remember to read this when I get home tonight and promptly forget about it, or where it was.

With this browser add-on, you can – instead of forgetting – take instant action in your browser as soon as that ‘I’d like to read this at home tonight’ thought occurs to you. Just click on the kindle icon, or use one of those there deft keystrokes (here, it’s Control-Shift-K) and a window pops up with the article in it (so you can have a quick look to see if what you want is all there – it usually is). If you’ve set up your kindle to allow emails from this service address (kindle@fivefilters.org) then just click the button and your kindle will pick it up for you the next time you refresh it.

The text is well laid out – not too surprising since you’re generally starting from html and not pdf – and you’ll probably find all of the relevant images (if – say – there were any photos in a blog article) have arrived too.

And of course you don’t even actually have to have a kindle – you could just use the kindle emulator software (but it’s not the same).

This is why they invented computers.

ÜberGøgl

How does one ask google to find out if there’s a technical term for the practice of deliberately leaving struck-out text in place?

There are probably two cases

  • in proof-reading, a need to see prior versions the history of the text.
  • in rhetoric, to pretend to hide an insult in praise

It’s specifically the second rhetorical use I’m after. There’s clearly no need for it. Technology has eliminated that. Why leave the ‘uncorrected text’ when you can just delete or reword without trace? Leaving it behind can only be to make a point, to amuse or to otherwise mess with the reader’s brain.

And that’s why the Ancient Greeks were invented, to provide us with those classy classical Greek terms like anacoluthon and catachresis. But it seemed unlikely I’m going to find one, principally because they didn’t have this kind of technology.

But we practiced such nonsense^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^hdeceptions on teletypes before we could tracelessly remove text. We’re not likely to see old stone carvings visibly showing explicit ‘control h’ (or some ancient equivalent of a carved mark for backspace delete). But there are many documents (including ones cast in stone) with visible corrections or amendments. Doubtless some deliberately left more unhidden than they strictly needed to be.

So the Greeks probably did have a word for it. But what is it? Are there any examples out there? And how do you ask google?

Soft sell

Introducing the LIBRE | PRO eBook Reader by Aluratek and the latest craze in the current digital revolution. … Also boasting superior battery life you can read up to 24hrs continuous use with an auto off feature if you just happen to fall asleep. Try the LIBRE | PRO eBook Reader and experience why the future of books has gone digital.

Not completely sure about the marketing approach here. First of all, I’m being told that this device is just part of a craze, so maybe I shouldn’t take it too seriously. Secondly, it’s hinting that the very act of reading is so boring I may fall asleep. And finally I’m being invited only to try – not to embrace with any kind of commitment – the new world of digital bookery.

I am a Camera

Not sure if this is what Christopher Isherwood had in mind when he came up with Goodbye To Berlin 60 years ago. His protagonist’s position was essentially as a passive recorder of things encountered. But how about actually streaming live video straight from your smartphone to a website, which anyone in the world can watch? This seems to me – for the next few years at least – to be something you’d actively commit to as a concious (though possibly spontaneous) decision.

In a few years time, when cameras are built in to your spectacles or headbands or even right into your bionic eyeballs, you may find it simpler to assume that everyone you meet is probably recording you on their own personal live streaming video channel. This should make everyone behave a bit better towards each other shouldn’t it? (Well, that’s one way of looking at the total lack of privacy).

So how easy is it right now? Turns out it’s a doddle and you can set up your phone to do it in about five minutes. And it can cost you nothing at all beyond what you’re already paying for your mobilistry.You can choose your phone from quite a large selection of them – if your phone can record video at all then you’ll probably be able to download the qik app for it.

I got it the usual way, by having my app store send me an sms with a link, from which I installed it. Then your phone camera starts and you’re invited to create an account (user name, an email address, your mob number if you like, a password) and – if you’re doing this at home (or on the move with a nearby public browser to hand) – within minutes you can see your live phone video streaming away in a little window on a website whose sole purpose is to stream your live video. To be able to do that so quickly is quite gratifying. Even just five years ago it might have been considered witchcraft by most mobile phone users.

But you might want to create your qik account first, before you download the app to your phone (but obviously this may turn out to be a waste of time if you can’t later get the app installed). If you do it that way, then you can instead opt to use your facebook or twitter account (smoke ‘em if you got ‘em). So you may not need to create yet another set of credentials for yet another web service.

On the qik website itself, you can set up your profile and connections to your blogs, to your tumblr account, to your aforementioned facebook and twitter accounts, to your youtube account, etc. “Now why would it be that it’d be that which you’d be wanting to be doing?” I hear you say in your best faux-Irish accent. Well, it’s because you can save your videos to any of those services you’re already using for sharing videos or audioboos or pictures with your extant social circle (or ring).

So when you encounter a difficult public servant or a truculent official or a cowboy builder or whatever – and it occurs to you to start recording them on video, you can be reasonably confident that even if nobody happens to be watching your live video stream at the time (which you have to admit is going to be pretty damn unlikely, who the hell do you think you are anyway – Tarantino?) your video will be posted to facebook or youtube or your blog where you and your chums can gasp in awe and point with appropriate derision at the antics of your filmed adversary. And this video will stay up on the intertubes for as long as you like.