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We The Media, Creative Commons....

One of the nice things about the Creative Commons, and licensing stuff therein, is that you get some flexibility with the works, albeit at some cost in proceeds to the author.

In my case, I'm looking forward to reading Dan Gillmore's new book We The Media on my Treo 600. But, having not seen it in any trivial format yet, and just announced in PDF under CC, I figured I'd take a stab at doing my own conversion.

First, I fetched the PDFs. Then I used JoinPDF to combine them in order. The resulting PDF is just over 1 megabyte. Unfortunately, Adobe Reader for Palm doesn't seem to sync with my Treo under Mac OS X, so I gave up on that route quickly. Besides, the PDF it created to be readable on the Palm was somehow 6x as large as the original PDF, which would not really do.

I proceeded to hunt around for Mac or Linux-based tools that would text or HTML-ify the PDF. I ended up going with xpdf's "pdftotext" with the "-layout" option, and hacking a bit of extra markup with my favorite lay-markup tool, Markdown. The resulting text should be both Palm readable, and make nice HTML for those who prefer HTML (perhaps via Plucker or something).

And, no, it hasn't taken longer to do this than to just read the text. Well, not as slowly as I read these days, at least... Oh, right, you should know that as of this posting, I'm only done with the first 2 chapters. It's going quickly, although I think I've been leaving the endnotes dangling. Sorry 'bout that.

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