Posts Tagged With: using

Using Preview as a Handy Image Editor

Personally I never use iPhoto. For me, using iPhoto is like bashing my head repeatedly against a brick wall. Gods forbid that something straightforward like organising my photos into simple user-friendly folders should be anything other than incredibly fantastically complicated!

Anyway!

Having tossed iPhoto back unto the blackest pit from whence it came, for any image editing needs I use Preview instead. Of course for complicated graphics and painting related image editing I use GIMP or MyPaint or similar, but for easy tasks Preview works just fine. Preview is simple, straightforward and user-friendly which is all I ask. Continue reading

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Categories: Art & Design, Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

e-Books: The search for free books online

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough

or a book long enough to suit me.”

– C.S. Lewis

Although I am now converted to the use of an e-Reader I do not like to pay for e-Books. Or rather, I REFUSE to pay for books that I already own in non e-Book form. I feel that if I have paid 6.99 or 8.99, or in many cases much much more (some hardbacks are so overpriced!!), and therefore physically own the real thing I should not have to then pay AGAIN for the e-Book.  I mean I have so many different copies of Lord of the Rings (anniversary editions, one complete book editions, rare editions, film editions, the list goes on…), I don’t think I should have to pay for the same words again unless it has been updated or has a different introduction or includes a new map -HA! most eBooks don’t seem to cope well with pictures- or something else that involves me receiving new materical that I don’t own on paper.

This is the equivalent of buying a CD and then being told you have to pay for mp3 versions of the tracks in order to listen to them on your iPod.

Which is Ridiculous!!! 

So I use sites which offer free e-Books.  These are free to download, usually in a variety of formats.  The only drawback is that you often have to trawl through to find exactly what you are looking for.  But as with all things I never look a free gift horse in the mouth (never really understood that phrase). So I thought I’d list up some of the places I download e-books for free.

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1.)  Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the number one place for free books in my opinion.  Considering Amazon gets a lot of its e-Books from PG it saves a lot of hassle just getting them straight from the website. 

Because of the sheer number of files available for one title it can be difficult to find exactly what you are looking for.  I will demonstrate by searching for The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

If you type “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” into the search it lists all files associated with this title.  This includes audio books (mp3s) and single stories and so it can take quite a long time to find what you are looking for.

It is much easier to browse the Catalogue and find your book from there.

From there you can browse by Author, Title, Language or Recently Posted.  I prefer to search by author.  So I choose “D” for Doyle.  Then scroll down to Arthur Conan Doyle.  Obviously there’s still a fairly lengthy list.  But at least it’s clear and manageable now. 


So if I want this as an ePub or pdf or any other written format I choose the link with the book symbol next to it and then download whichever format I want (I always choose ePub if I can get it).

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2.) MobileRead

MobileRead is a forum where people upload books.  It is more limited in many ways than PG but you can often find obscure books here which are not listed on PG.

With this website you can search for a title or author using the search and then narrow your search by format and genre.  Clicking on the link will take you to a post where you can download the book.  It does warn you about legal/illegal downloads but I feel that if I already own, for example, 2 paperback copies of Pride and Prejudice (yes, one is mine and one is a written-off damaged copy – perks of working in a bookshop),  then I am not illegally downloading it in written format. 

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3.) ManyBooks.net

ManyBooks.net is another good site for books.  I find this site has the best and easiest search tool.  Although again not always as many files available as PG.  This is a great site for just browsing for something new as it has a large number of genre options including some which are not available on PG.  It also has a very good range of formats available for download.  The layout and interface are both really aesthetically pleasing: clean, simple and easy to use.  Navigation of the site is very straightforward and self explanatory.

The  Advanced Search is extremely specific and useful even if you don’t have all the information about the book you are looking for.  Each book has a page with detailed information so you can check it’s the one you want.  You can also read an excerpt and choose the specific format you wish to download.  For example, here’s the page for Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense.

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4.) Internet Archive (Archive.org)

This is a really big archive of online texts which I found while looking for a specific copy of The Count of Monte Cristo. Still haven’t found it but I’ll keep looking. 

Anyway, this site searches the web for the eBook you are looking for.  It can access all sorts of pages like Google Books and so on and then allows you to download the files in several formats.  The search is pretty extensive so you have to narrow your search using specific key words.

The Advanced Search is EXTREMELY advanced.  I don’t really understand half the shorthand items you can search by.  But I can understand the basic ones.  You can either use the Advanced Search, which adds all the terms for you, or you can type them.  For example, if I want to search for The Count of Monte Cristo published by Little, Brown & Co. I would type:

title:(count of monte cristo) AND publisher:(little, brown)

However, this would bring up lots of results so I add and minus keywords which I know are likely. So, in this case, I can minus likely title keywords such as “works”, because I don’t want an omnibus, and I can add the author so that sequels written by other people are excluded.

title:(count of monte cristo) AND publisher:(little, brown) AND -title:(works) AND creator:(alexandre dumas)

When you find the text you are looking for you have several format options for downloading. You can also read the book online for free and check it is the one you want. This is INCREDIBLY useful if you want a specific publication.

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5.) BookOS (Now Bookzz)

 Book OS is my new favourite for eBooks.  The range of genres is so huge you can find almost anything.  I kid you not!!!  This is the ultimate free book paradise, so much so that I was surprised I hadn’t seen it on other sites.  It has everything from non fiction, such as art and architecture or reference, to fiction.  As with the other sites there are options for various languages.  The layout and interface are, if possible, even cleaner and simpler than ManyBooks!!  And it is extremely simple to use. 

When searching you can either use the main search which searches the whole site. Or you can browse by genre/category by clicking on the Books tab in the top right corner. If you know exactly what you want you can click the Exact Matching box.

 So for example, if I am looking for an exact translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses I can click the Exact Matching box and type:

Ovid Metamorphoses “Translator’s Name”

and it really will only produce results that match this exactly.  None of this typing-lots-of-ANDs-in-between business.  Just straightforward efficient searching.  Wonderful! 

One thing to be careful of is that unless you specify your language in the search, it will search for all languages.  These are marked on the side of each search result as are the size and the native format of the file.

With every file you have the option to download in another eBook format.  However, it warns you that the quality may not be as good as that of the original file.  I haven’t tried downloading any of the non-original formats so I can’t report on them but the original files have been fantastic quality.

This website is now called BookZZ.  Here’s a link –

http://bookzz.org/

Categories: e-Books & e-Readers, Free e-Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to change font style, size and colour in WordPress.com

There are many helpful posts about this on the WordPress Support.  But trawling through scores of posts to find a specifically relevant AND detailed one can be a bit of a nightmare.  So I thought I’d write a post on it myself.

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Using HTML in WordPress.com

Most themes in WordPress.com have an inbuilt font.  This means that however much you change the colour and things they often revert to the default theme.  With other things you don’t have the options available in the default WordPress.com Edit Post screen.  But you can override all this by using HTML.

In order to change your text style, size etc. you need to use HTML tags.  A lot of posts tell you this. And then don’t tell you how to switch to the HTML side of things.  Yay, helpful!

In order to use HTML you have to click the right hand tab labelled Text on the Edit Post page. 

So, to completely avoid all and any misunderstandings or confusion, I will write down all the details.  If you know the tabs I mean just skip this.

Go to Dashboard > Post

then go to the post you want to edit and click Edit.  You should now be on the Edit Post page. 

There are two tabs to choose from when you’re editing your posts:

Visual (default normal tab)

or Text (HTML tab)

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Now onwards to the actual editing!
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> Changing the Font Style

If you want to change your text font style and you are handy with font names then you don’t need to use these resources.  If you are not sure of the names of the fonts you want there are some handy resources at Wavian.com  It’s a page with links and a decent font list with a good variety of styles.

There’s also a page discussing the standard web safe fonts here.  I personally don’t pay that much attention to whether they are standard or not as this blog is purely for my own amusement, but it depends what you need.

OK, so after finding out the name of the font you want go to the html tab (the text tab).  I will use,

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

which is an amazing quote from the immortal Sherlock Holmes.

When you use HTML tags to change the font in WordPress.com you always need to remember to create an open tag and a close tag. So you always open with (span)* and close with (/span)*.

*NOTE: I have to substitute () in my tags as wordpress deletes them otherwise. You need to use

span

where I use (span) (/span).

For example, if I just want to change the font for the first part like this:

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

I contain just that part in between the tags like this:

(span style=”font-family: lucida handwriting;”)”Once you eliminate the impossible,(/span)

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> Changing the Font Size

In order to change the font size you use a similar tag.  For example, if I want to change the next part like this:
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

I contain just that part in between the tags like this:

(span style=”font-size: large;”)whatever remains,(/span)
o

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> Changing the Font Colour

In HTML every colour has its own code.  For example, Black is #000000, White is #FFFFFF, Red is #FF0000, Blue is #0000FF, and so on. There is a great resource called HTML Color Picker which you can use to find the HTML colour code you want.

In order to change the font colour, you again use a similar tag. For example, if I want to change the next part like this:

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

I contain just that part in between the tags like this:

(span style=”color: #009999;”)no matter how improbable,(/span)
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> Changing Font Style, Size and Colour

In order to change all of the above you need to include them all in one tag.  For example, if I want to change the final part like this:

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

I contain just that part in between the tags like this:

(span style=”font-family: courier; font-size: x-large; color: #800000;”)must be the truth.”(/span)

o

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So, things to remember about these HTML tags.

1.) Always remember to open with and close with (span) and (/span)*.
(see note abpve on replacing all brackets used in my tags!!!)

2.) Always remember to create a close tag.

3.)  Check your spelling!  Misspelled tags won’t work.

4.) If you are changing more than one thing, make sure that

  • the quotation marks “” include everything between the = and the >
  • each separate part (style/size/colour) is separated with a semicolon ;.

5.)  Remember, not all font styles and colours will work.  Trial and error is the best way to find out what works for you.

OK, that’s all from me.  Have fun HTML-ing.  Hope it goes well.

Categories: Using Wordpress.com | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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