Monthly Archives: January 2010

How I read PDFs now

I find I have a lot to read these days. Mostly electronic stuff. And I can’t/don’t always print things out.

I would love an Amazon Kindle, but almost everything I read is in .pdf format. And I like writing notes on paper, or if I’m reading on my laptop, I use OneNote or Tomboy Notes.

Of late, I tried out speed-reading techniques, and found that I read best when I’m able to look at the entire page at one shot. The problem with trying to do that on Adobe Reader is that if you view the entire page at one shot, the font size is too small to read without squinting.

So. What I do now is to flip the screen by ninety degrees. Ctrl-Alt-leftArrow. I get the same feel as reading a book, my finger running down the page, as is recommended for speed reading. I’m just surprised it took me so long to arrive at this. The downside, or rather, the upside of this is that I can’t do anything other than read, because typing, moving the mouse pointer via the touchpad and everything else becomes more demanding.

It’s definitely not a substitute for paper, but it’s better than the other options.

What other options, you ask? I found this tool called Readability, which makes reading HTML pages so much easier. I tried converting pdf to HTML, but when you have a combination of text and images and tables, like in many published papers, the conversion is not perfect, and there are quite a few hiccups in reading seamlessly.

I also tried converting .pdf into the Sony Mobipocket format, but again, seamless conversion is a lofty aim, it turns out. The results are hard to read.

So… for now, it’s Ctrl-Alt-leftArrow.

Do you have a better way to read PDF files? Please do share.

I_Am_Back post… and a webapp idea

I’ve had an extremely nice two weeks, and have come back fully rejuvenated. Not once during the two weeks did I think of what’s on during my quarter. Now I guess I can restart all that.

Now I have an idea for a webapp. Something quite easily implementable on Google Appengine, I guess….

Let’s call it Don’tLiftMyContent!

It’s primarily supposed to be a service that checks if your blog’s or website’s content is being plagiarized elsewhere. Like, you give in your blog’s URL, and it gives you a list of pages that use your images and your text. And for this, it can use existing stuff like Google/Yahoo/Bing for text and TinEye for images. While the web search engines are reasonably good for text, TinEye doesn’t yet have such a comprehensive database of images, and this would probably be the limiting factor of the webapp.

I guess timestamps can be compared in order to eliminate sources your blog has plagiarized/borrowed from 🙂

Since this idea occurred to me just a few minutes back, all the existing work I could find are websites which enable teachers to check if their students are plagiarizing. I haven’t yet found a website which does this for blogs, and will be very glad to know if there is.

What say about the idea? Interested? We can code this together, if you want.

Food for thought: how will I know if someone gets the idea from this post of mine and goes on to create this webapp and not give me any credit at all? 🙂

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