Turn Long PDFs into Booklets

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Me with a booklet I just made

I love books, and I’ve had fun making my own from time to time. If you have a duplexing printer, or if you can turn stacks of paper over, you can create quick booklets out of PDFs. Not only does it save paper, but it’s also an easy way of carrying long-ish documents with you. Throw on a cover made from a cereal box, and you’ve got a nice little book that’s much easier on the eyes than your computer monitory.

If you have a Mac, just download this free Create Booklet service. It will add a “Create Booklet” option to your print window.

For Windows, or if you prefer web-based options, use the free website BookletCreator.com. This online service provides a few more options. For example, it will let you set a maximize number of pages for your booklets, in case you are printing a very long document and need to break it up into smaller pieces.

Happy reading!

How to Read 100 Blogs a Day

Sometimes people ask me how I keep up with so many blogs, websites, and general news. My secret (other than being easily distracted) is my trusty RSS reader. Using an RSS reader and some simple information management skills, you can easily skim dozens of blogs each day.

What is RSS?

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” It’s a way for websites to “syndicate” their content for use by other websites and software, just like a syndicated newspaper column can be published in hundreds of newspapers at the same time. At minimum, the RSS feed will contain the title of the new article and a brief summary, but many websites will make the full text, images, mp3 or PDF attachments, etc., of their articles available through RSS. For these websites, you can read their entire content without ever visiting their website. The RSS content is called the website’s RSS feed.

Why is RSS better than just visiting the website?

RSS feeds are better because of time and attention. Continue reading

Spore

I am pretty excited about the new game Spore, from Will Wright, the same designer who created SimCity and The Sims. It allows you to build a creature from scratch, watch it develop over millions of years, and then help it build a civilization, even create spacecraft. It sounds like Civilization on steroids.

The NY Times ran an article describing the game’s debt to evolutionary biology. Wright states that he was inspired by biologists like Richard Dawkins and Edward O. Wilson for the game’s evolutionary concept. But note the description of how the game is played, from a game of Dr. Thomas Near of Yale:

The next time [after his creature died once], Dr. Near’s luck changes. He gains enough points to move to the next level of the game. His creature grows a brain. “Oh man, it’s like I graduated college,” he says. Dr. Near can now alter his creature. He stretches the body to give it a neck. He adds a pair of kangaroolike legs.

As one of the scientists interviewed in the article notes, “The mechanism is severely messed up.” In fact, it almost sounds like another theory, which, I should note, is not mentioned once in the entire article.

Scrivener

I have just started reading Andy Crouch’s new book Culture Making, and, for some unknown reason, I decided to start at the back, in the acknowledgments. Among the people thanked:

Keith Blount, an unapologetic English atheist, [who] created the marvelous cultural artifact call Scrivener, a program which justifies the existence of the Macintosh computer all by itself and which made completing this project an unexpected joy.

Amen, brother. Amen.

OneManOffice: MacHeist Bundle

MacHeist is a website that periodically offers discounted “bundles” of software for Macs.  They offer 14 pieces of software for only $49, and two of the programs – DEVONthink Personal and TextExpander – are ones that I use and recommend.  Unfortunately, I already own DEVONthink, and don’t have enough use for the other software to justify the price.  But, if you don’t already own DEVONthink or TextExpander, it’s a great price for some great apps.