Thursday, March 13

end of eliterature blog

This blog will no longer be maintained. The converter is no longer relevant and links to it have now been removed.
Plucker files can be downloaded from for use on handheld devices.


Tuesday, July 10

Connection failure using an express card on Mac OSX in Australia and the solution: uninstalling wwan support

The problem
Express card (Novatel Merlin XU870) cannot be found by MacBookPro after an OS Update using a Vodafone sim card (other providers also no doubt).
How I met this problem
I installed "WWAN Support Update" (1.0) when it was offered to me by my mac's software update. This was a mistake, but one that many people made. This update prevented my Novatel Merlin card from being found by the Vodafone software which had previously worked without problems (in Germany).
The software update installed files to support US providers but prevented the European ones from connecting (the software finds the newly installed Cingular driver before the Vodafone driver and fails to find the card).
To get around this, German Vodafone support told me to delete some files whose names I unfortunately did not note down at the time. This solved the problem. I think they were all files with Verizon in the name.
I had to be careful not to reinstall that update, the support people told me and I didn't. But apparently after an update in Australia of the Mac OS - MacOS Update (Intel) (10.4.10) - the connection again failed.
After trying to solve the problem with the friendly Vodafone support people in Australia, I came up with the following strategy based on discussions with them and other sources.
The solution
Open Macintosh HD.
The following files need to be deleted (Administrator password needed):
  • Library/Modem Scripts/WWAN Support
  • System/Library/Core Services/Menu Extras/ WWAN menu
Now two Kernel extensions have to be deleted (also requires administrator password). To get to them, open Macintosh HD and go to /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext, then ctrl+click (or right-click) to "show package contents". This enables you to find the path to:
  • Contents/PlugIns/AppleWWANSupport.kext
  • Contents/PlugIns/AppleWWANVerizon.kext
Remove AppleWWANSupport.kext and AppleWWANVerizon.kext.
That is four items deleted. This may be sufficient. However I was also advised to remove these three files, which also have 'Verizon' in their name, from:
Library/Application Support/
  • AppleVerizonSupport.kext
  • AppleVerizonSupportKicker.kext
I deleted these three too and it worked, but you may like to try it without deleting these last three. I am also not sure if they really were in: Library/Application Support/ or in a sub-directory.
I wrote this down while on the phone with my advisor. I can't check where they were because I moved them. Please leave a comment if you can confirm this location. Also if it works without deleting them.
Deleting them has apparently had no adverse effects.
Now you have to re-install the Vodafone software without the Merlin card inserted, restart the machine, insert the card and start the Vodafone application. Choose a location-provider which will run a modem script with connection details (e.g. AU Vodafone).
Then it is ready to connect.
Thanks to:
technik spielkram (German)
for their solution
Ahmed from Vodafone support
I offer this information without any guarantee.

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Wednesday, February 7 has all the Gutenberg texts available in various formats for most mobile devices. This is the place to get Gutenberg texts which do not need to be converted at all. Thanks to Dick Tracy at Mobile Read Networks for the tip.


Monday, February 5

MobileRead Networks
MobileRead Networks is a forum for people who use mobile ebooks. I read there about how to cut and paste from a plucker document on a Palm. Use View > Export to Memo which saves the current screen as a memo.
Depending on your needs this would be a simpler procedure than converting both an html and a text version of a Gutenberg text when just a short piece of text needs to be quoted (as suggested in a previous entry).

Monday, December 25

How to Install Wikipedia on a Palm OS

I recently tried to install the latest Wikipedia (only in German) on my Treo 650 only to find that I needed to use a new installation procedure which was not explained sufficiently in the documentation. Instead of just one .prc file which could be transferred to the Palm using hotsync, there was a file and a sub-directory. The sub-directory would not transfer using Mobipocket and the Palm desktop. The directory just wasn't recognised.
The installation information from Mobipocket did not provide enough information, so I went to their on-line help. The forum works well and getting an answer was fast. Others had also had this problem. Although the forum did not have the best solution, I was able to contact someone who emailed it to me.
Here is how to do it.
  • Download Wikipedia. This took me about 7 hours using 3G.
  • Unpack the zip file.
  • Get Card Export 2 from This software allows you to access the file system of your palm like a USB stick. The trial version works fine but you need this software on your palm so you might like to buy it.
  • Using your PC file system (e.g. with windows explorer), which will now display your palm file system, transfer the directory subdocs (including its contents) and the file wikiStart.prc to your palm into the directory eBooks. This will take some time.
  • Now wikipedia will start on your palm through Mobipocket. You need to have Mobipocket installed on zour palm.
  • Set Wikipedia up for optimal navigation and use it.
I would like to thank Thomas Dornscheidt from the Dusseldorf Palm Users Group for this solution, which as well as solving the installation problem also expanded the potential and accessibility of the Treo for me as the one device which does everything. It is amazing that people like him are available on the web to solve others' problems (during the xmas holidays!).
Accessing the palm's file system increases one's understanding of the palm and adds a new dimension of functionality.
Another solution suggested on the forum was to buy a card reader. This would also work, but who needs a card reader when you have a palm? For me a palm is all about avoiding multiple devices when I am mobile. So I was very happy to use Thomas's suggestion.

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Saturday, April 29

Why and how this converter removes line breaks

On a large screen, line breaks are not a problem really, except they reduce the width of the text.

These line breaks can be shown as paragraph marker symbols as in this image:

To put the same text onto a handheld computer, the width has to be made even smaller as in the next image. If there are manual line breaks, the text is then broken in too many places, both automatically and manually. It may look like this:

or like this.
When the manual line breaks are removed, the lines break or wrap only automatically with the smaller width.
The converter then adds html tags so that the page can be read as a web page. This allows a program such as Sunrise Desktop to convert the text, without additional line breaks, into a format which can be displayed by Plucker (installed through Sunrise) on your handheld computer's small screen.

Monday, April 3

Treo online international

If you need to use a Treo as a computer but not as a telephone (but with the capability to receive calls and if necessary make them) find a pre-paid arrangement with a telephone provider. Avoid post-paid plans.
One company in Australia offers a year's access for $A30 including occasional calls and occasional data downloads, such as webmail retrieval or sending. This much won't last long if used often, but suits occasional use. Similar deals can be found in other countries.
When travelling internationally, buy a new prepaid card for each country as global roaming charges are far too high.
If travelling within one country, a post paid plan can offer what you need if accessing internet and email regularly. Beware that providers only provide access to their own email accounts so you may have to use internet mail if you have separate providers (see update below for correction). Retrieving your bigpond email from a vodafone server usually will not work.
Accessing your email is in fact possible from an internet connection using any server. It is necessary to set up your email client for authentification of out-going mail. This is usually done by checking a box which says something like "server requires authentification" in the out-going mail server settings. ISPs may not require this for the email of users of their own network, but when accessing other networks the user name and password has to be given again.

Friday, March 31

How the converter works

This converter is designed for converting text files to html (web pages), when they have a manual line break at the end of each line (crlf = carriage return line feed). The converter removes the breaks which are not paragraph markers so that the text can automatically wrap. Then it adds html formatting for paragraphs and document formatting so the text can be read as a web document. Or alternatively you can save the modified text document without the manual line breaks and put it onto your handheld too to be read with a text editing programme.
The converter is a Java programme so it needs a Java environment to run. If you have Java on your system, the converter will start online from your browser if you click on the jar download link. You can then start using the converter.
The purpose of the converter is to get inappropriately formatted text files onto a handheld device so you can read them. Inappropriate formatting may come about from scanning texts and using text recognition software to save them in text format. (Or old-fashioned typists who add a carriage return at the end of each line of typing rather than allowing the computer to word wrap the text.) If you have used text recognition and made texts like this, the software here is what you need.
I developed it to get access to texts which mostly have this format. It is a great source of e-books, but they need reformatting for my Palm.
To use the software without a Java environment either for Gutenberg texts or other texts with manual line breaks:
  • download a Java Runtime Environment and install it
  • double-click the link on this page to download the java jar file
  • follow the on-screen instructions
This is free software. It works fine but comes with no guarantee. I am happy if you can get plenty of good texts to read on your handheld device.

Saturday, March 25

Ebooks and cyclones

While I was travelling on a ship up the east coast of Australia last week and reading an e-book on my Treo 650, I noticed a small twister on the horizon near some rain clouds heading south. I raced to the top deck at the front to get a better look. Because I had been reading one of those reformatted Gutenberg texts on the Palm, I automatically had a camera with me and took a photo of it.
Shortly afterwards, Cyclone Larry hit the coast near Cairns just south of where I was. Was this the embryo of the cyclone? Everyone I showed it to believed it was. It was the only circular wind I saw on the whole stormy trip.
After taking a picture with my low resolution Treo, I ran to the back deck to show others. None of them had their high resolution cameras with them. One had a paperback book, but it couldn't take photos! Who carries a paper book and a cameera with them while relaxing on a ship. One was drinking beer and raced to his cabin to get his camera, but by the time he returned the twister had passed and was harder to see.
On that trip, the flexibility of the Palm was constantly being demonstrated. With Wikipedia on it, the Palm was constantly in demand for information in the absence of an internet connection at sea. My photos were the most spontaneous because of the accessibility of the device in all situations and I always had a range of etexts available to read in quiet moments while others played bingo.

Sunday, February 12

Keeping control of your e-texts

New download
As promised there is now a new converter for Gutenberg texts available to download.
It does the following:
  • Starting from a text file - mostly with manual line breaks
  • Create the same text without the unnecessary line breaks
  • Create an html file from the text for your handheld
It requires:
It's free!

You can:
  • Keep control over your supply of your texts because the text file without line breaks is so simple to search, copy and paste, look at.
  • Read Gutenberg ebooks in an easy to read html format
  • Put the text file and the html on your handheld - use Plucker for the html and Documents to Go for the text.
  • Easily read and edit on the move
  • Get thousands of free books from and keep control over the format.
  • Avoid being stuck with e-texts which you can only read, or which you can only read in pieces on-line with ads all around them.

Friday, February 10

Editing with ebooks

I wrote recently that one of the advantages of ebooks was that text can be copied and pasted into other applications. This is not true. If you download an ebook you don't have access to its text source file.
A good way to work around this limitation is to use the eliterature converter to make your ebooks and keep a copy of the original text (txt) file to copy and paste from.
When reading an ebook formatted for Plucker, bookmark a search term and use this to search in the corresponding text file for the text you want to copy and paste.
Use sunrise to send your html files to Plucker on you palm, and Documents to Go to send your text files.
Shortly I will make available a new version of the converter for Gutenberg texts, which can make both html files for Plucker and text files without manual line break. These are more favorably presented on your palm without unnecessary white space.
This approach is preferable to dowloading already formatted texts which can only be read in specific applications and cannot be edited.
Using the eliterature formatter with original Gutenberg texts, you keep maximum control over you texts and independence.
One other advantage of etexts over paper books occurred to me. You can read them in the dark. Ideal for insomniacs who share a bed, or for those who like to read outside at night.

Tuesday, January 24

The future of the e-book

The Wall Street Journal Online discusses the future of the e-book focussing on the new Sony Reader.
They suggest that the failure of the e-book to catch on has been the lack of any "user-friendly way to read e-books" and that people do not enjoy reading on a computer screen. WSJ refers to the 17000 available free downloads from although it does not mention that they are mostly not in a suitable format for use on book-style devices, i.e. handheld computers.
They omited to mention that reading e-books on a device such as a Palm is in many ways superior to reading paper books, especially when it comes to reading large texts such as the Gutenberg classics.
  • having a small amount of text on a small screen prevents you from losing your place when reading
  • scrolling is smoother than page-turning
  • an e-text always re-opens exactly where you were last reading
  • you can search the text for any word you need, so in Freud you can search for "dream", "unconscious", etc.
  • who reads one book at a time? Take them all with you with an expansion card.
  • on public transport you can read downloaded texts from the web, or short text fragments such as Nietzsche's aphorisms from or another peice of a long text without losing your place (bad luck car drivers)
  • copy and paste good quotes into your email or research text, blog etc
  • carry only one device which can serve as phone, email, camera and book)
So why haven't they caught on?
The Sony Reader has a larger screen and fewer functions than a Treo. It looks more like a book. Are people just conservative when it comes to reading and want more of what they are used to?
It seems that most people have not tried reading e-books on the appropriate device. Or they have not found a good source of free books and free software to display and convert them. Universities and schools do not require their students to read e-texts or demonstrate their advantages. Most teachers do not know.
Sony will market e-books with their Reader. Perhaps the market can turn text consumers on to the books they offer, better than educators have been able to get their students to use highly functional reading technology to do research.

Friday, January 20

Wikipedia despite legal action

If you are having trouble accessing the German version of Wikipedia which has had to curtail its internet presence for legal reasons, you can also download the off-line version of from here. So if you can't get online access to this massive source of information, you can always have the off-line version on your pda.
The problem is caused by legal action concerning the hacker
Boris Floricic whose parents are involved in a court case against the German Wikipedia. Floricic died in unclear circumstances

Monday, January 16


Wikipedia is now available for off-line use on a Palm. At present only the German version is available. The Mobipocket-Wikipedia-Version can be downloaded and requires Mobipocket installed on your computer and Palm. More information can be found at Wikipedia (German).
The download takes over an hour (broadband) and to transfer it onto the Palm also takes this long. Make sure you have a large expansion card to put it on and set up the transfer accordingly.
The off-line wikipedia is an amazing source of information wherever you are. It offers thorough information about a huge range of research topics which you can access wherever you have your Palm with you.

More ebooks

Another source of free e-books is manybooks.
A lot of the books in the Gutenberg collection are available there in various formats for loading onto a palm so they do not require conversion from the Gutenberg text format.

Saturday, January 14

Converter downloads

New download files are now available for the converter. A Windows version which will install the programme on your computer is available here (290 Kb). A cross platform executable jar file, which will execute when you click on it and which you can locate wherever you prefer is available here (7 Kb). The zip file is still available as before here (7 Kb).

Friday, January 13

Aphorisms by Nietzsche

Aphorisms are an ideal form of text to read on a palm. They are short and contain compact information. In a café, you can read an aphorism while waiting for a cup of coffee or a friend. Good aphorisms provide great content for reflection.
Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil is a book of aphorisms with universal and timeless relevance. It is a classic text whose ideas remain contemporary and are discussed in many contexts.
Beyond Good and Evil and the German original Jenseits von Gut und Böse are both available for free download at They are only in text format so they need to be converted before they can be read on a palm.

Tuesday, January 10

Ebooks: Converter for Gutenberg Text Documents is a great source for classic texts with thousands of books available for download. The only problem with them for ebook readers is that they are mostly in a text format which cannot be loaded easily onto a PDA. They will transfer over, but are not suitably formatted and hard to navigate. Lines are of odd length. Scrolling goes line by line.
So I have written a Java programme which will convert Gutenberg text files into well-formatted html. Download it. Then start it by clicking on the gutenberg.jar file. Follow the on screen instructions.
To use the converter, Java needs to be installed on your computer. It can be downloaded from Sun.
The obstacle with Gutenberg text files is that they have a paragraph marker at the end of every line. This interferes with any attempt to simply paste them into an html editor or to make a pdf out of them.
The converter removes these unwanted carriage returns and reformats the text into an html document which you save on your computer. The etext then has all the features of html.
Using Plucker, these html files can be read on your Palm or Treo. Easy navigation, searching and bookmarking are some of the features. Use Plucker on your palm with Sunrise Desktop on your computer for synchronisation. Sunrise also requires Java.