Archive for March 30th, 2008

3/29/08: Sequences

So we’re still trying to declutter the house.

One of the things I want to get rid of is this big pile of stuff upstairs.

One of the biggest components of that pile is the old PC which we replaced with a shiny new iMac in October. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of old computer hardware but that PC (and its monitor, keyboard, etc.) are still there because there is some data on it that I have to get off of it before I can send it away.

The biggest piece of the data is 16 out of the 19 issues of Bento, which are in FrameMaker binary format. FrameMaker is not available for Intel-based Macs (it’s a Classic app), and there’s just about nothing that reads FrameMaker binaries other than FrameMaker itself, so if I’m going to get those issues of Bento out of FrameMaker and into something else (like, say, posted on it will have to be done on the old PC. (I could install Windows on the Mac, of course, but I don’t want to have to maintain a Windows environment. Too much work to keep it updated and secure.)

So I’ve spent most of the last three days turning those old Bentos into PDF, PostScript, and HTML format. This is an unfortunately manual process, especially the HTML part. FrameMaker does have an HTML export option but both the usability of the workflow and the quality of the emitted HTML are crap. So I’ve been going through and inserting the HTML codes by hand.

A big part of this process is doing the opposite of a lot of the things I did when I created these issues in the first place: turning em-dashes back into –, un-curling quotes, and so on. (I could turn them into the equivalent HTML codes like ’ but that would be error-prone and even more work.) It’s tedious and repetitive and takes longer than I’d hoped, but once I have done that, the rat will begin to gnaw the rope, the cat will begin to chase the rat, the dog will begin to chase the cat, and I will finally be able to get rid of this fershlugginer PC.

The good news is that I get to re-read thirteen years of Bento. There’s some good stuff in there. It will be posted to the web soon, once I’ve finished (just an issue and a half to go) and Kate has proofread it.

Meanwhile, we’ve been having fun with people from Seattle. Dave Howell crashed on our futon Thursday night, Hal O’Brien is there tonight, and we just came back from a lovely Thai dinner with Janna Silverstein (Jay Lake, Adrienne, and Bronwyn were there too, along with Robin Catesby, Dave Howell, and Karen Abrahamson from Vancouver BC). And tomorrow is Kate’s birthday.