One hour and eleven minutes of me trying not to swear

The awesome Laura Dawson invited me to do a webinar on the basics of book design, as part of a series for Bowker’s SelfPublishedAuthor.com. Our kindly hosts/co-presenters at Data Conversion Laboratory have posted a video of the session, so now you can follow along with bated breath as I try to remember not to say […]

Manually editing ruby on Chinese characters in InDesign

Manually editing ruby on Chinese characters in InDesign

WARNING: The following is exceedingly geeky, but I’m posting it here so that six months from now, when I’ve utterly forgotten how I did this, I can look it up. And who knows? Maybe someone else will want to know how to do this, too. Or will want to tell me I’ve been doing it […]

Castoff Calculator

Castoff Calculator

Yesterday at work I was generating price breakdowns for a bunch of POD printing situations, doing it the old-fashioned way by dedicating a separate chunk of a spreadsheet to each variation, when it occurred to me that maybe it would be easier to set up a dynamic calculator for these scenarios in Python, which I’ve […]

What stupid is

What stupid is

I was sitting on my couch hoarding a “Sharing Size” box of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies and clicking and re-clicking “x new Tweets” this evening, when I was rescued by a friend who was having some technical difficulty with an e-book she was building. A few of our Twitter friends made suggestions on how to troubleshoot […]

It ain’t up goer science

It ain’t up goer science

After two years as a full-time e-book developer, I’m back on the print wagon—or, at least, one foot is—working for CN Times Books as (executive?) managing editor of print and digital production. CN Times is a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing MediaTime Book Co., and about half of its staff members are Chinese, with several […]

PDFs in EPUBs: Test results

PDFs in EPUBs: Test results

What a thing was this, too, which that mighty man wrought and endured in the carven horse, wherein all we chiefs of the Argives were sitting, bearing to the Trojans death and fate! —Homer, Odyssey (translated by A.T. Murray, 1919) A couple of weeks ago, Hugh McGuire tweeted this: and then he blogged the replies […]

Degristling the sausage

Degristling the sausage

One of the things I do at my job is clean up and beautify e-books that have been produced by a “meatgrinder”—the sort of automated conversion process that an outsourcer uses. My company has worked with a couple of conversion companies, and there are definite differences in the quality and markup philosophy of the files […]

E-reading application showdown, part 2: Typography

E-reading application showdown, part 2: Typography

Cross-posted at Digital Book World. Part 1 is also on both this site and DBW. When I first decided to try reading an e-book on my iPod Touch, I assumed—since I’ve been designing and typesetting book interiors for more than a decade and have strong opinions about what makes text readable and appealing—that poor typography […]

E-reading application showdown, part 1: Annotations

E-reading application showdown, part 1: Annotations

About two weeks ago, in a fit of pique, I posted some gripes about my current e-reading application of choice, which is Kobo for the iPhone/iPod Touch. I was pressed for time, so I didn’t provide any context, such as why Kobo’s is my favorite e-reading app, which apps I’ve chosen it over, and whether […]

Because I am mean and like to rain on parades…

Because I am mean and like to rain on parades…

All day I’ve been seeing tweets from @kobo and friends about their having the No. 1 e-reading app in the iTunes store—e.g., I’m so happy for them. No, really. For several months now, Kobo’s iOS app has been, mainly because of the stats and the activity tracker, my e-reading application of choice. That said, it’s […]