Odds and ends

Good discussion of .epub format. Surprising revelation: because ebook readers have to load up the entire xhtml/html file into memory, that causes latency and slow loads.Eric Wild on XInclude processing in XSLT 2.0 processors. Apparently it works a lot better in 2.0 than 1.0.

Drew Carey political video on free market solutions to traffic problems. Comments to the video are informative as well. (Did you know that tollway companies sometimes use secret covenants with the city about competition and exclusivity deals?)

Guide to filing suit against Telemarketers. I have been swamped with telemarketing calls recently. All of them are messages left on my answering machine and sound like a debt collector. All of them are about names I’d never heard of. The problem is the onus is on the consumer to call them back to straighten things up. If the don’t call back, the autodialer will keep calling and calling and calling. One of two things are happening to me. Either 1)this phone number is being used by a single individual with a variety of names as a kind of practical joke or 2)these are in fact legitimate debts to be collected, but from long ago.

Lately I’ve been trying Windows Live Writer for blogging. (I don’t use it for idiotprogrammer yet). It seems to work fairly well, and apparently it’s going to remain free even after the beta expires. As long as the wp theme is compatible it seems to function a lot better than google docs (for instance). My main lament is that there’s not a way to save it locally as a kind of file that could be useful for ebooks (as xhtml for example). (Oops, that is wrong; now I have a folder labeled My Weblog Posts). Apparently, today’s 2.31 release of wordpress fixes some compatibility problems between wordpress and Live Writer.

Anne Gentle is an Austin-based technical writer who runs the Write Click Now blog (clever title by the way). Here’s her interview about using wikis for documentation. (Here’s another thoughtpiece about wiki documentation and a link to a Harvard Business school case study by Sean Silverstone. She comes from a DITA background and has written about documentation and agile programming.

Here’s a weblog by Solveig Haugland with lots of open office tips and tutorials. (Unbelievably, she was in Houston training NASA people on it). Here’s also a great free package of OpenOffice extras (templates for presentations and even books/ebooks) Looks like this package was put together by Sun.

I’ve been doing research into online evite services. All of them seem to suck, with evite.com sucking more than the rest combined. What I’m looking for:

  1. must be able to create an address book, with the option to send all people on the address book invitations (whether they have joined a website or not).
  2. These email invitations must have a RSVP function (and not require recipients to become members first).
  3. must be able to create recurring events and save previous venues.
  4. Should offer some advantages to those becoming members. (in the 2.0 social networking sphere).
  5. Should offer ability to add event to your calendar.

As it happens, the three most promising sites are Mypunchbowl, planypus, and eventful . Mypunchbowl seems to have the most positive buzz, but apparently it’s for impromptu parties, not for groups that meet regularly. I’m getting to the point where I may look into using some drupal or plone module to solve the problem (loath as I am to run and support these things).

I’ve been adding to my Houston technical writer portfolio site. Here’s a succinct list of technical writing resources, which includes many things I’ve mentioned here already.

Here’s info about the upcoming election in Houston. (By Easter Lemming Liberal).

Next week I expect a lot of news in ebookland. I predict that both Cybook and Amazon.com will be announcing new ebook readers. I will probably buy the Cybook (although I miss the ability to make annotations on mobipocket files). The big question is price and will Amazon kindle look as ugly as the screenshot from a year ago looked?

I’ve been unusually busy this last month. The computer repair/purchase really took a lot of time! Looking for work, etc. Actually, I’ve been reading several good books, including the entertaining Ovid’s Art of Love (Michie translation).

I haven’t seen any decent films this year, but on Tuesday I saw the excellent documentary about a Chinese elementary school. Will you vote for me? Apart from the political implications of the film (there are many), I was riveted by the elementary school classroom.

Also, on Monday, I’ve upped the battle against roaches in my apartment. An exterminator fumigated my apartment and then treated crevices. Yesterday, a maintenance man at my apartment caulked up some of the crevices. It’s been a grueling battle. Every evening I am exhausted by it. (I could go on, but it would gross people out).






4 responses to “Odds and ends”

  1. Preston Avatar

    My Tivo picked up Will You Vote For Me? I’m looking forward to watching it.

  2. Anne Gentle Avatar

    Thanks for the links, Robert! I recently discovered “Austin is a Beautiful Mistress” and I absolutely love it. My husband and I moved to Austin from Cincinnati in late 2000 and it was a very strange time but somehow we managed to keep Austin as our home despite it all. You could expand that essay into a great book. I have so many good stories from that era. Someone needs to be recording it for future generations. 🙂

  3. Robert Nagle Avatar

    Wow, it’s amazing you and I were technical writers and lived in the same city at the same time and never came in contact. For the record, I’m writing a comic novella based upon my experience with computer people.

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