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.