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Further IA e-book news

I attended a meeting of the newly reformed METRO Smartphone & Mobile Computing SIG this week, and at one point I mentioned that Biodiversity Heritage Library books were available in ePub format through the Internet Archive. Someone answered that ePub couldn’t be read on the Kindle. When I answered that they could if converted using Calibre, they said that conversion was too complicated a process for the average library patron. A point which I’m not sure I’m ready to concede. In any case, it’s a moot point, as IA just began offering Mobipocket format as well, the basis for the Kindle’s native format. I’ll post what I find out when I get the Apples of New York in .mobi from the site.

Update: I’ve downloaded Apples of New York, and it appears to be identical to the ePub version, save the introductory cover images. The OCR is broken in exactly the same places.

First BHL e-book experiments

Last week the Internet Archive announced that all their online books were now available in ePub format as well, which meant that the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) books were too. Nice when you get stuff like that for free. Anyway, I went and downloaded one of MPOW’s contributions, a particular favorite of mine, The Apples of New York. Since all of IA’s ebooks are in the open ePub format, they couldn’t be read on my Kindle without first converting it to .azw format – I used Lexcycle’s Stanza for this, but you could as easily use calibre, an open source app which has a multitude of great features. I loaded it on my Kindle, opened a copy of the ePub in the Stanza app on my iPhone, and tried reading it in the Stanza desktop app on a Mac.

Screenshots below:

Stanza desktop:

mac stanza book.jpg

Stanza iPhone:




The books have some problems – there are OCR issues, but for the most part they’re remarkably readable. This is a great development, and makes the BHL material even more accessible, an important part of the consortium’s mission.

Boy vs. Lobster

Who wins?
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More Falmouth Road Race

Third wave or so
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Falmouth Road Race

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Copic Drawing (Fountain) Pen Review

While idly browsing JetPens recently I happened across some Copic Drawing Pens. That Copic makes drawing pens is hardly news; I’ve been using their markers and Multiliners both refillable and disposable for awhile. What was interesting about these Drawing Pens was that they were…fountain pens. I beseeched the folks at JetPens to provide me with samples for review, and they were kind enough to oblige.

There are 3 pens available, as pictured below.

a 0.2 mm nib with black ink,
a 0.1 mm nib with black ink, and
a 0.1 mm nib with sepia ink.


The pens are not refillable. The nibs are unmarked, appear to be made of steel, and are reasonably smooth. Unsurprisingly, I found the F02 nib to be a bit smoother than the F01s. Both are firm approaching state of nail – they appeared to yield to some amount of pressure, but did not yield any significant line variation in use. They put down a decent wet line with good flow, though the F01s wrote a bit dry when I first uncapped them and needed a gentle shake or two. (Incidentally, the barrel of the pen advises you to not “shake hard and drop,” as “ink may leak.” Thanks.)



I sometimes draw a bit and have also been known to put a splash of watercolor on those drawings when “finished.” The Multiliners are great for ink and wash drawings, completely waterproof. Well, the barrels of the Drawing Pens say “Copic-proof” (how recursive,) but, ominously, NOT “waterproof.”

Below are the results of dragging a Niji waterbrush across some doodles. This was done maybe 20 minutes after the “drawings” were finished.


As you can see, smearing (along with its old friend beading – these were done in that hipster paragon the Moleskine sketchbook) occurred. If you’re buying these to use with Copic markers, you’re, well, Copic-cetic. If not, expect smearing and tears (yours, not the pens, which as we all know are inanimate objects incapable of tears.) I’m somewhat confused as to why Copic introduced these, as they already produce a pretty extensive line of drawing pens and markers. My only surmise is that these are meant to compete with the Tachikawa line of disposable Manga pens. These are a reasonably decent, inexpensive fountain pen, and probably a step up from a Preppy or a Varsity.


Words to live by
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Today’s pens 07/23

Left to right:
Aero 51
Pel m600
Swan self-filler
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But only to each other

They’re private conversations.
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Update: it’s since been corrected. Thank God for screenshots.

Tintin & Captain Haddock

Tintin & Captain Haddock, originally uploaded by Richard Parmiter.

Was looking for a Capt Haddock icon for avatar purposes and ran across this. Way cool.

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