Cutting through the bullshit.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Finally, the end of paper!

Do you ever find longer articles on the internet and wish you could take them with you to read on the bus or something? I used to print them out at work and do just that. Now I don’t have access to a laser printer, so that’s not a solution. Anyway, I usually ended up just throwing the paper out afterwards, unless I could find someone to pass the articles on to.

Well, the other day I did a little search and came up with a solution. You can download all that text, save it as a plain text file and put it on the iPod! This blogger provides full instructions, including a link to this site, which converts large text files into linked 4kb files that the iPod Notes facility will accept. The print on the iPod screen is awful small, but clear enough for even me to read.

One tip I can add is, if you are downloading http from the web, copy it and ‘Edit\Paste special’ as ‘Unformatted text’ into a Word document, then Save as Plain text. The paste special gets rid of all the http formatting junk. If you do this a lot, try downloading Steve Miller’s brilliant little PureText application, which lets you assign a key to accomplish the paste special in one keystroke.

And if you need sources of text to read, perhaps the most amazing resource on the web is the Marxist Internet Archive, a gigantic library of essential and not so essential reading, including, for example, the Helen Keller archive! It’s definitely worth spending some time exploring the site, which is also available on DVD.

Actually, this might be an opportune time to recommend ‘the four essential classic pamphlets’:

The Communist manifesto (of course!)

Socialism: utopian and scientific (extract from Engels’s Anti-Dühring)

Reform or revolution (Luxemburg’s comprehensive rebuttal of the whole reformist project)

State and revolution (Lenin’s explanation why we can’t turn the bourgeois state to our own purposes)

Project Gutenberg has been going for at least 20 years or so and claims 19,000 free books.

Most of it won’t save as plain text, so probably isn’t suitable for the iPod, but for the scholarly, almost all your favourite Greek and Latin authors, many in English translation , as well, along with such classic reference works as Liddell and Scott, and Slater’s Lexicon to Pindar. Sanskrit texts, along with Monier Williams…

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