Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wrestling with Kindles again

Out running the other day, I had the thought that I should compile all those posts I wrote about Bond films, and stick them up on Amazon as a book. Not because I want to make lots of money from a blog post, but because there's probably a lot of people who'll never read my blog, but who might be looking for something to read on Amazon. It's good to be in several different channels at once, and perhaps some of them would then decide to read Diet Croydon as well.

It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be to convert 23 blog posts into a e-book. Partly this is because the blog had lots of pictures scattered through it, and I wanted to take those out, but also because I moved all the posts into Word first, to reformat them and split them into nice sections, and unfortunately if you're going to create an e-book, Word is not the best place to start.

After my previous hijinks with preparing books for Kindle publishing, I swore off doing it ever again, but a lot can happen in a year. Well, you can forget a lot in a year, and unfortunately I also failed to write a clear enough how-to tutorial last time round, which means I'm starting almost from scratch. This is one of those unpleasant and vaguely aggravating tasks that, by the time you're finished, you're so annoyed with that you can't face trying to document it. Since I create a new book every 14 months, this time I'll try to write it up properly so the future me doesn't go through the same pain. But in short: Word vomits out some very strange, style-sheet riddled version of your book that won't render at all nicely on a Kindle, or plain text, which also won't render nicely on a Kindle. I am amazed they haven't developed ePub support within Word in the last year and a half, but perhaps that just isn't meant to be on the roadmap in Redmond.

I slept fitfully this morning, waking a few times from bad dreams involving Russian roulette, and could hardly peel myself away from my bed this morning. Today I did learn some new things to do with programming procedures in postgres: it's wonderful when your work allows you to make alliterations and get paid for it. However, this does not feel like the time or place to discuss writing loops or functions. I'd feel especially clever if I had managed to chain together postgres and R and build an enormous machine for spewing out graphs, but I fear that may be a task for the end of the week. Just like sausages, the end result will be impressive but the process to get there may be vile and revolting.

Because I didn't get up until late today, I missed my morning run, but since I have been off the coffee for a week, I didn't need the run in order to wake myself up. I still felt guilty about not exercising and went out this evening for a run, but in doing so I learnt something else: a belly full of cheese, bread and chocolate is not a good foundation for strenuous exercise. I didn't actually throw up on the pristine streets of Singapore, but it was a close run thing. The cool air first thing in the morning is still the muggy, hot air in the evening, and that's true whether you're in a suit or a moisture-wicking vest.

Still, when it's subzero in London in March, it's not right of me to complain about a bit of hot air.  I still enjoy complaining though...


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