But is Nitro, even in its new form, a worthwhile replacement for the other desktop and command line task management tools that I’ve used in the past? Let’s take a look and find out.
Archive for the ‘Software’ Category
If you have any ebooks on your computer, you’ve probably heard of and maybe even used calibre to read those books. While far too many people think of it solely as a desktop ebook reader, it’s actually a powerful tool for managing your ebooks.
Having said that, calibre’s viewing features are better than pretty good. And since I’ve started writing and publishing ebooks, I’ve been taking advantage of those features to view how the EPUB editions of my books look and work.
Let’s take a look at using calibre to view and test ebooks.
If you’ve been reading the posts in this space for any amount of time, you probably know that I use LaTeX quite a bit. It’s one of the most powerful tools in my writing and publishing toolkit. While I’m no LaTeX wizard, I do know enough about it to create some nice-looking documents.
But over the last year or so, people have asked me what LaTeX is and why I think it’s such a great tool. To be honest, I’ve gotten a bit tired of climbing up on to my soapbox. So, for those of you who don’t know what LaTeX is and want to learn more, I’ve written this blog post.
So, let’s take a little trip into the world of typesetting with a twist. LaTeX is definitely not your parents’ (or your) publishing tool.
The humble (and often, not-so-humble) text editor. It can be a wonderful thing. I know more than a few people who are zealous about their editors, and view them in the same way that they view their toothbrushes. Yes, they’re that hardcore.
Having said that, I know more than a few people who actually shy away from text editors. Why? Because they view editors as strictly a programmer’s tool. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though I’m not a coder of any stripe, I find a text editor to be a valuable tool. More than that actually. For me, a good text editor is indispensable.
You might be writing an article, either in straight text or with Markdown or Textile. You might be editing the HTML of your web site. You might be peeking at a shell script. Or you might just be taking a peek at a README file or change log for some software that you’re about to install. Pulling those kinds of files into a word processor is overkill.
Those are situations in which text editors are very handy. But with so many editors out there for the Linux desktop, how do you choose the one that’s for you? And by you, I mean someone who isn’t a software developer or (too much of) a techie. Someone who thinks that C is the third letter in the alphabet, for whom regular expressions are an ordinary way of speaking.
Everyone has their own favourite editor. Here’s some advice I give people who are looking for the right one for them.
As someone who writes for a living, I can attest that an effective outline is a key part of any writing project. Why? A good outline provides a structure for what you’re writing, as well as a roadmap from beginning to end.
Whether you’re creating an outline or just a list, I’ve found that the best way to do that is with a dedicated piece of software. Most of the outlining software that I’ve tried on the Linux desktop has been OK. Nothing special, but OK. One outliner I keep coming back to is TreeLine.
Let’s look at it.
Confession time: to say that my graphic design skills are rudimentary would be a compliment. I can barely draw a stick figure, let alone come up with an interesting and attractive design for … well, for anything.
Even the best tools can’t help make up for my lack of skills in that area.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t try. One area in which I’ve had to try to use those skills is creating book covers. While the three books that I’ve written over the last year have been ebooks, I’ve had a couple of occasions to get some books printed. I needed to create a cover for the books. The problem was how. After looking at a few options, I found the solution to my problem right under my nose. And that solution was Inkscape (a popular vector graphics program for the Linux desktop.
Let’s look at what I did.