Monday, July 26, 2010

Creating your own Kindle Book

I recently read the Dr. Dobbs Journal article "Technical Writing for the Kindle" by Al Stevens and I thought it was quite informative.

Part of the article discusses how traditional publishing works and the advantages of using Amazon to self-publish a book. Al discusses the pros and cons of publishing your own book which consists of doing all the writing, editing, formatting, proofing, etc. yourself versus having professional help from a traditional publisher. Self-publishers also loose the might of a traditional publishers marketing knowledge and budget.

In essence publishing your own Amazon eBook for the Kindle is like working with a "vanity press" - publishing for the reason of saying you have a published book. (Sounds good to me!)

The most helpful / informative part of the article is from the 2nd page on where Al gives you advice on how to create your own book including the correct types of fonts and layouts to use for technical books. It's at least worth a read, if not a reference point for your own future "vanity" book!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Downgrading iPhone to iOS 3.1.3 from iOS 4.0

I should have known it was a bad omen when I upgraded to iOS 4 from 3.1.3 and during the upgrade process an error occurred sending my iPhone 3G into a continuous restart loop. I had to take it into the Apple store the next day so they could show me how to put it into a "restore mode".

Ever since I got the iOS 4.0 working on my 3G it slowed my phone to a crawl. Text messages took about 20 seconds to come up if they came up at all. The Maps program took just as long. The iPod crashed more than ever. Then I saw the Lifehacker article on how to How to Downgrade Your iPhone 3G[S] from iOS 4 to iOS 3.1.3 and I figured it was worth a try.

The instructions on Lifehacker are kind of long and not exactly straight to the point. The instructions I am posting below are summarized from the Lifehacker article and they include using both Windows 7 and Mac OSX. I used Mac OSX for the RecBoot software because I had easy access to it and the Windows version isn't as easy to setup (since I didn't try it I shouldn't say if it really is or isn't).

Basic iPhone 3G Downgrade Instructions:

  1. Download iOS 3.13 for the 3G phone here.
  2. Plug your iPhone into your computer.
  3. Power it down by holding the sleep/lock button and sliding to power off.
  4. Once it's powered down, press and hold both the sleep/lock button and the home button for ten seconds.
  5. After ten seconds, release the power button but continue holding down the home button.
  6. If you did it right, iTunes will pop up a window telling you that it's detected an iPhone in recovery mode and your iPhone's screen will be black. If it didn't work, start from the beginning and try again. (For me it just appeared in iTunes without showing the window!)
  7. Click on the iPhone in iTunes (select it).
  8. Hold down the shift key and click Restore which should open up an explorer window. The shift key is for Windows only. I'm not sure what key it is for Mac OSX.
  9. Select the downloaded iOS 3.1.3 file and let the restore complete.
  10. Download RecBoot for OSX here. Note: This is where I switched to the Mac. If you use a Windows machine you can download RecBoot for Windows; it requires .NET 4.0 and some other software program. Good luck.
  11. In the downloaded RecBoot software there will be two programs. Click and run the RecBoot program called RecBoot Exit Only which will cause the iPhone “exit recovery mode” and to restart.
  12. Sync your newly downgraded iPhone

Good luck. Needless to say I'm on the waiting list for the iPhone 4. However this whole experience plus the iPhone 4 issues have me considering leaving the iPhone family (not seriously, at least not at this point). Maybe once my contract is up on my iPhone 4 I will.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The History of Browser User-Agent String

I thought this was a good, albeit old, article about the history of web browsers in a funny / sarcastic way. Check it out:

Sunday, July 4, 2010 and

I guess it's just my nature that I'm constantly unhappy with the way my websites look. I'm often most satisfied with them when they're just a basic white site with a few links. My current design of features a nice HTML page with a few links, a bio and my most recent blog entries for this site but isn't much beyond that. I don't know any of the APIs for sharing content to the majority of sites I belong to (Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc) so the site has to be pretty static. Although I did manage to use Google's AJAX and Feed Wizard for the RSS feeds.

In order to get around the site being static and without turning it into another blog, I started playing with a few months ago. I think I've finally got it into a basic design that I like and it shares my Facebook Statuses, two blog posts, LinkedIn profile, Flickr photos and YouTube posts. It doesn't have my bio but I'm okay with that. It also doesn't have a way to link with Google Buzz which would be cool but it's not a deal breaker. I think I like it enough to pay for the "premium" $20 a year features which will allow me to use the domain name.

Check it out:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Change the registered owner of Windows

This is an older hack works on most version of Windows including 7, Vista and XP. You can change the registered owner (name) and organization of Windows after you've already installed it.

Follow these steps to alter the owner and organization information:

  1. Launch the Registry Editor (regedit.exe from the search field)
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version
  3. Locate and double-click the RegisteredOrganization value
  4. Change / Add the registered organization's name
  5. Locate and double-click the RegisteredOwner value
  6. Change / Add the registered owner's name
  7. Close the Registry Editor and restart your machine for the changes to take effect.

Some of the names / values may change with different versions of Windows but their location in the Registry will be the same.