Jeff Kusner

Tech






iSpy With My Little i

Posted on April 6, 2011

After publishing Fearful To Fearless© for both the Kindle™ & Nook™ as well as in native eBook format i thought it was time to look into a format for the iBookStore™.  To be honest I've worked with Windows™ machines in business and personally since the 80's and have never felt compelled to wander over to the other side. But I figure that if I had an iPiece (sic) of hardware (iPad™, iPhone™ or iPod Touch™ running iOS 4 or higher) I would prefer to keep it as clean as I could to not be forced to install an alternate eBook reader application just because a book I was interested in downloading was not available in the format I desired.

So the saga began with researching the iBook™ format and how to make it available from the iBookstore™ .

Turns out you need an ITunesConnect™ account which is how you will manage your iBook™... which in essence is an eBook. Once you're approved to publish you need to download iProducer™ for the Mac™,  a Windows™ version is not available. This is where it comes in handy to have friends who are partial to the iFamily (sic) of products, my first choice was my man @pavi who was all too happy to oblige... iThink (sic) deep down he believed it would draw me to the iSide (sic).

iThanked (sic) him for his generosity and proceeded to explore the idiosyncrasies of this new environment... the MacBook Air™. It wasn't long before iRealized (sic) that apparently Apple™ users have no problem with the notion of not having a "backspace" key. It's like it went extinct back in the days when the iBM™ (sic) Selectric ruled. With a quick search iRealized (sic) the difference between a forward and backward delete, along with a few other nuances.

homophones gone wild!

By now you sort of get the iDea that the more iExplored the different iProducts the more I got to wonder about all the other iWords that fit the genre and could actually be a homonym for a real word. I'd give my iTeeth to come up with a long list, for instance when Apple releases a software fix do they call it an iPatch? Or when you attend a training session is it called an iClinic? Or what if you missed an exam, can you take an iMakeup test?

I didn't want a case of iStrain so on went my iGlasses to make sure my iSight™ was clear to iChart my way down this path. It wasn't long before my iLids began to close, but I didn't want to iDrop the iBall so iLash'd out and continued to dig deeper [Ay Caramba!]. It was quite an iOpening experience, iBeamed with excitement at the prospect of finding so many words so quickly.

My head said to stop because it was making my iWater and nobody is going to care about this anyway, but you're an iWitness... it's not for my eyes only. I don't know what's on Apple's iRadar™, but I'm sure that whatever it is it will be like iCandy, both  iCatching & iPopping! [ay yi yi!]

This is probably pretty corny, especially for long time Apple™ users so... all in favor of stopping this nonsense say aye! Sounds like the ayes have it... okay then... aye aye captain!

As of this writing the iBook™ version of "Fearful To Fearless" is still in a pending status, I've read that it can be a while due to the backlog of titles in the iQueue (sic).

I'm off to study iSaac Newton, who is rumored to have had a different encounter with an apple. And for whatever it's worth here is a link to Apple's trademarks.

Now.... who wants iScream?

 

WordPress 3.1 Custom Fields

Posted on March 3, 2011

I'm working on a new client website and installed the new WordPress 3.1.  I soon realized that custom fields were missing from the back end. I wondered whether a problem occurred during the installation or if one of the plug-ins I was using caused a problem.

I soon realized that there were a number of other changes to the user interface as well and then remembered the screen options link.

This latest release of WordPress 3.1 now has the screen options defaulting so that a number of options are toggled off. Options to toggle the visibility for excerpts, custom fields, discussion & comment options, even the slug. So if you were using some of these features and now don't see them remember to check your screen options, just look for the drop down link in the upper right corner.

Here are screenshots for a few of the back end pages.

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How To Create EPUB

Posted on February 1, 2011

Last month I posted about why I decided to publish an e-book for the Kindle format before any other version. This post briefly runs through the tools I used and some helpful links I found along the way in converting Fearful to Fearless to the EPUB format. 

First, what exactly is epub anyway? The short answer is that it is epub is an ebook standard defining the xml and other media and metadata that makes up an ebook. Its documented by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). 

SIGIL E-Book Editor

I use  Microsoft Office™ Professional 2003  so I needed to begin by converting it to a compatible format as a starting point. I began with the same file & format I used to create the format for Kindle, filtered html.  It's basically an html file with the Microsofty tags removed and eliminates any hard page breaks.  Here are the steps to create a filtered html from Microsoft Word™: 

  1. From the File menu, click Save as.
  2. In the Save as type box, click Web Page, Filtered.
  3. Click Save.

Next I selected all text in the document and set the style to Normal, this retained any bold, italics and indents in my document. 

The next step may seem strange seeing as how the document was just converted from Word, but I opened the filtered html file in Word and saved it to a docx format.   I have the Microsoft 2007 compatibility fixes installed to my Office 2003 version which allows you to read and write using the new 2007 format. I had attempted to convert the filtered html file directly to epub but there were still a number of resulting  errors reported, converting from docx using epubgen worked great to get thing started. 

The EPUB Code Project 

Next, you will need to visit the epub open source project at google and download a couple of programs that allow you to convert your docx or rtf document. It may seem a big complicated for a novice since these are Java programs and much of the discussion in the forum is technical in nature, but don't worry you don't need to know java to use the program, you will need to make sure you have the appropriate version of the Java Run Time Engine (RTE) installed however, you can check your computer here

Click to visit the epub-tools project page and look for the download tab/link. On the download page look for the latest epubgenx.x.x.jar file and download it. 

When you are ready to run your document through the epub conversion simply double click the jar file which will open up the epub converter window. It's not your typical windows application as there are no buttons, all you do is drag your document to convert into the "Documents" tab. Once the conversion is complete you drag and drop the new epub document to whereever you want. 

Next you'll need to download the epubcheck files, click the link to download the most current stable build and then click the zip file to download and save the most current binary version to your pc. You might see multiple versions... just grab the most current version, the one with the hightest version number. You'll need to be familiar with working from the command prompt. Before running epubcheck you'll want to run your document thorugh the next step. Al alternative would be to use the online validator from Threepress Consulting

Sigil 

The final download is for a WYSIWYG ebook editor named Sigil [screenshot]. I downloaded several programs that touted ebook converting, editing and converting but this was the only one that passed the epubcheck program which is a requirement if you want to publish in ebook format. Its still in the early stages of development but it allows you to edit, add chapters, update your table of contents and add a cover graphic among other things, plus comes with an online manual and a built in epub checker. Look to download the latest Windows setup.exe file from the Sigil project page. There is also a link to a basic tutorial which is very helpful. When I used Sigil I first attempted to use the filtered html file as the source but it produced many errors and warnings, thats why I took the time to first convert using the epubgen program and then perform the final edits and checks using the converted epub file. Be sure to run the built in epub checker that Sigil comes with, once it passes that I suggest running it by the official epubcheck utility. 

EpubCheck 

epubcheck run from command prompt

Adobe was a major initial contributor to the epubcheck utility, the epubcheck project page contains links to step by step instructions on how to setup and use epubcheck on your computer. Some of the comment threads mention online utilities that have been created however I wanted to know that I was using the latest version of the checker that was available. As mentioned earlier you will need to be familiar with working from the command prompt to be able to run this utility. 

Testing 

Once you have your validated epub document from epubcheck you'll want to test it to see how it looks in an ereader. I tested using both Adobe Digital Editions and Barnes & Nobles Nook for PC. With your epub book opened in Adobe Digital Editions you can also check to see if there are any errors by clicking on arrow and click on "Item Info". 

Helpful Links 

Here are some other helpful links I came across along the way in creating my first epub book. 

How To Edit Facebook Row Of Photos

Posted on January 2, 2011

With the new Facebook® profile comes a row of photos on the top of your profile. The photos are selected from all of the photos that you are tagged in. Privacy being what it is many people are eager to figure out how to remove an image or for those that are more ambitious, to even customize the row of photos as you'll see below.

How To Remove A Photo From Displaying

As you hover your mouse over the photos you will notice a small [X] in the upper right hand corner of each photo. When you click it you will be presented with a dialog asking whether you want to "hide" the photo from your profile page. Click "Hide Photo" to remove the photo.

If there are other photos that you are tagged in, the photo will then be replaced by one of those. Obviously if you are tagged in many photos this could take some time. Repeat the steps until you are happy with the resulting photos that are displayed or until all of the photos have been hidden.  If all photos are hidden the entire row of photos will no longer appear. If that is your intent you will probably need to repeat the steps if you or a friend tags you in another photo.

Unhiding Photos

Once you have hidden a photo you can choose to unhide photos. At this point I'm not certain whether you have the ability to unhide an individual photo or not, however when you click to "edit your profile" and then click the "Profile Picture" link along the left side you will now see that an "Unhide All" button has been enabled. 

Note however that if you click the button to unhide the photos the result is that ALL of the photos are unhidden. The button executes immediately without presenting a dialog stating what you are about to do and the button returns to a disabled state again (until you choose to unhide a photo).  So be warned that if you didn't intend to do that you'll have to start all over again.

If you hide all but just a few of your tagged photos the profile photos will show empty position holders until additional photos are tagged. One tip I discovered is that if you tag your current profile picture it did not automatically show up. If you want it to appear you will have to reload the same image and tag it.

Feeling Ambitious?

If you're feeling really ambitious you might try to do some customization like my friend Gabe (@gabetaviano) did. He actually customized his row of photos to tie into his profile picture to create a photo montage. Great job Gabe, hopefully somebody won't tag you in a new photo and distort it!

You can download the free Photoshop template Gabe used by following the link from howtonew.com.

Wrap Up

Not sure what future plans or functionality Facebook® is planning, but this should get you on your way of removing images you would prefer not show up on your profile.

You can also checkout the Facebook Help Center page for info under "Editing your profile" and "Privacy".

If you have any other ideas or I've missed something leave a comment.

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Facebook Like And Activity Feeds

Posted on April 27, 2010


Facebook recently announced new features available for your blog or website. It's part of their "Social Plugins" project. You can find more info the Facebook for Web Sites page. The plugins are hosted by Facebook and personalized for all users who are logged into Facebook.

One feature provides the ability to add a Facebook Like icon to your site.  The default behavior places the Facebook "Like/ Recommend" icon at the bottom of each page or post, just above the comments section. Since I'm already utilizing a different social media plugin I've placed the plugin into manual mode and customized the page to only display when viewing this post.

You can see how it works by

Using Twitter To Update Facebook Status

Posted on February 17, 2010

I knew other folks were updating both their Twitter and Facebook accounts with just a single entry but wasn't exactly sure how it worked.  There are probably other applications that will do this for you as well but here is a way you can figure your two accounts to work together through Facebook.

By using the Twitter application in Facebook you can have Facebook automatically update your Twitter status, but it also works the other way around too! I want to have my Twitter posts automatically update my Facebook status... so hear are the steps to follow to get that to work for you.