Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to find free e-books for your Kindle using Google

Don’t waste your time with torrents. Google already indexes the locations of many ebooks, you just need to know how to find them.

Just enter your search using the form intitle:index.of Moby Dick epub mobi — replace Moby Dick with your desired title or keyword. This search will turn up file listings with direct downloads for (hopefully) ebooks. You may, in fact, get many more ebooks than just the one you were searching for.

If clicking on a search result gives you some kind of “access denied” message, just go back to the Google search result and click where it says Cached to access the copy Google cached before the file listing was made private. Usually the download links from these cached listings still work.

Kindles don’t support the epub format, so if that’s all you can find, you’ll need to convert it to MOBI format using Calibre.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to use Markdown in Blogspot posts

If your blog is hosted on running Blogspot and you want to use Markdown for your posts, here’s how to do it and future-proof your writing in the process.

  1. Write your posts in a text editing program on your computer and save them on your computer. (I use a yyyy-mm-dd post title.txt format)
  2. Then copy and paste the text into the online Markdown processor and click Convert to generate HTML. (Set "Filter" to "both" for extra typographic goodness.)
  3. Finally, copy and paste the HTML into a new post in Blogspot.

This has two advantages. First, it future-proofs your blog. No matter what happens, if Blogger ever gets shut down or becomes undesirable to use for any reason, in ten years you’ll still have a very useable copy of all your writing. Second, a text-editing program is much less likely to crash than your browser. This approach eliminates the risk of a browser crash causing you to lose large amounts of work.

Getting Blogspot to play nice with your Markdown-generated HTML

This is the area people seem to have trouble with, but it’s really quite simple.

  1. In Blogspot, go to Settings tab, then the Formatting section. Set “Convert Line Breaks” to No.
  2. In your New Posts,
    • Make sure you are using the “Edit HTML” tab
    • Under “Post Options” (at the bottom) make sure
      • “Edit HTML Line Breaks” is set to Use <br /> tags
      • “Compose Settings” is set to Interpret typed HTML

It’s that simple really. Now you can paste in your Markdown-generated HTML without getting extra linebreaks or other wierdnesses.

Solution for persisting "Windows created a temporary paging file on your computer" error

Solution for persisting “Windows created a temporary paging file on your computer” error

My Windows 7 laptop began displaying a notification/error every time I logged in:

Windows created a temporary paging file on your computer because of a problem that occured with your paging file configuration when you started your computer. The total paging file size for all disk drives may be somewhat larger than the size you specified

After clicking OK, it would open the virtual memory settings without any explanation of what you were supposed to check or do there.

This evidently happens because pagefile.sys, the file that Windows uses for virtual memory, has become corrupted in some way.

This Microsoft Answers article recommends running an SFC (system file check). Here’s how to run an SFC. This did not solve the problem for me, but it is something you should try first.

Here’s how I cleared it up:

  1. Log in under a local Administrator account. (Do this after each restart in these instructions as well.)
  2. If it’s not already open, open the virtual memory settings by rich-clicking on Computer, → PropertiesAdvanced System Settings → click the Advanced tab → Under Performance, click Settings, go to Advanced tab, finally under Virtual Memory section click the Change button.
  3. Uncheck the Autmatically manage paging file size for all drives checkbox.
  4. Set a “Custom size” for the paging file on the C drive: 0MB initial, 0MB maximum.
  5. Click OK, close all dialog boxes, and restart your computer.
  6. After logging in again, delete the file C:\pagefile.sys
    1. To do this, you may need to change your folder settings so you can see it first. Open a window of your C: drive and click Organize at the top, then Folder and Search Options
    2. Click the View tab, and make sure Show hidden files, folders and drives is turned on, and that Hide protected system files is not checked.
    3. Click OK and go back to your C: drive, find pagefile.sys and delete it.
  7. Now go back to the virtual memory settings (see step 2 above) and set the paging file for the C: drive to System managed size, and then make sure the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives checkbox is checked.
  8. Click OK, close all dialog boxes, and restart your computer.

A summary of what this does: By temporarily turning off virtual memory, you allow yourself to delete the (now-corrupt) paging file. Then when you re-enable virtual memory, Windows automatically builds a new paging file from scratch, and voilĂ , problem solved.

I was helped by this thread at although I did not find it necessary to do any editing of the Registry or any of that jazz. Try the simplest solution first, I always say.