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Living Room / Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« on: June 13, 2011, 05:59 AM »
I've had a kindle for a long while now and I have bought maybe 2 books from Amazon. I use Calibre to convert from other formats like pdf. epub, rtf, text etc etc to mobi then load them on the Kindle when I want them. If you haven't seen Calibre then you must! It is first class software and free, but welcomes contributions. It also has Plug-ins that make managing the Kindle a breeze.

I agree with everything said about DRM but it is important to distinguish between the device and the format.

I am a reader so anything that makes that easier is really welcome. I live in NZ so the range of books here is restricted and limited. Amazon removed all those limitations. Furthermore, in our recent series of earthquakes (2 major ones today!) we lost most of our good bookshops and most of our public libraries on Feb 22. The Kindle didn't stop though. I can read newspapers from pretty much anywhere in the world when I cannot even buy a newspaper from another country here.

I imagine all of that was not covered in the original article as just about all of such articles are very US-centric where as the device is global. I often imagine what Kindles are doing for other parts of the world. I've seen them being read in Mandarin.

Anyone can publish on the Kindle and there are heaps of sites that promote just that. The Kindle is doing for books what the ipod did for music.

In case anyone wonders I am not in the employ of Amazon ;D but when I come across things that can and are changing the way the world works then I applaud it.

One last thing about books. I agree with most things said previously about real, books but consider this. I can buy a book then pass it on and it gets passed on etc etc with as many as let's say 100 readers. What does the author get for that? She/he certainly doesn't get 100 payments. If there is an upside to DRM it is that authors will get better paid for their work. As a reader I say that's bloody good, it means that good authors will get rewarded more.

From the place that shakes and shakes with endless quakes...peace from Christchurch NZ

Task Coach

I've used this for a number of years, simple, portable and free

I built our help desk system from scratch based on know what we as a company wanted. I've worked there for almost 10 years so I have a fair idea. A user can phone our help desk or they can send an email. We usually find that they email if it is not urgent and phone when it is. From the phone calls most of them are classed as "completed on first contact" in other words the techie solved the problem on the phone.

Creating calls from emails works well and we us it extensively from our automated overnight processes. When they go wrong they send a coded email to the help desk to the email and that gets turned into an assignment that is automatically assigned to the right person. We have done this by implementing a system of "filters" that recognises pre-determined phrases in the emails. It works incredibly well and saves us hours of techie time by sparing them from trying to find out who to assign it to. By the way we are geographically dispersed.

As for access, only IT staff can create the calls but anyone can see them, the system is entirely open and we have nothing to hide. We want visibility about how long things take to fix and what are the things that consume the most time. For example we changed our email anti-spam system just on the basis of how many calls we had about blocked emails.

We did consider a web portal so users can click on options to either arrive at a solution themselves or at least create a meaningful call on the first go. In the end we found that that wasn't a problem that needed solving.

We use this system for everything that is IT related even assigning calls to external companies that we contract various services from.

If I was doing this exercise again I'd do it the same way as we get no complaints about the system itself. By allowing users to see their own calls they can see the progress themselves. My advice to anyone else would be to make it as open as possible and to not miss out on what you can achieve by automating the email process to create calls automatically.

Good Luck

I'm a coder and my typing is pathetic to be honest....I use Phrase Express for simple typing corrections like chnage to change and I have many inbuily typing defects all of which get corrected on the fly as I type badly. Brilliant.

But where it exceeds all the others that I tried is that I can type in "slabentry" without the quotes and have all this code automagically appear:

Dim session As New NotesSession
Dim db As NotesDatabase
Set db = session.CurrentDatabase
Dim view As NotesView
Set view = db.getView("XXXXXXXX")
view.AutoUpdate = False
Dim vc As NotesViewEntryCollection
Set vc = view.AllEntries
Dim entry As NotesViewEntry
Dim doc As NotesDocument
Set entry = vc.GetFirstEntry()
While not entry is nothing
Set doc = entry.Document
<some code here please>
Set entry = vc.GetNextEntry(entry)

and this just one of many bits of pre-configured keywords I have put makes the boilerplate bits of coding immediate without annoying typos and errors.

When first installed it can seem a bit overdone and daunting but you can delete out all the crap stuff that is in there by default.

Highly recommended. BTW I've not been nagged about commercial use.

Hi Tim, this looks like a marvelous piece of work, I appreciate the effort you have gone to. As a programmer, I often find that the best solutions come from our own frustrations rather than our fantasies :)

I have 2 things to add to this thread:

1. Can it deal with Non-US spelling? as a non-US person I find that all kinds of programs and websites want to correct my (already correct) spelling to American English (including this one!)

2. Have you considered including the same functionality thats been around for years on mobiles and is called predictive text or T9. I'm surprised that the great MS haven't ever included this is in Word and to be honest I have never seen it in any word processing or text editor program. Why is that? It can't be hard can it?

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