Bruno Lowagie's blog

Library: mission accomplished

Yesterday, I wrote about my library, and how I cleared all my bookshelves.
I've spent all afternoon, and part of this morning organizing all my book. This is the result:

Mission accomplished! Now I have to see if I find a table or a desk to put there.

Cleaning up my library

I can't enter my working room anymore. It's full of paper documents, wires, DVDs and CDs, hardware (a crashed hard disk, an old and a new printer,...), boxes with books, and so on. I'm too ashamed to take a picture. Because of this mess, I've moved downstairs and... I've been working on iText on the kitchen table the last few weeks. That's not an ideal situation, so I need to do something.

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Taming Text MEAP

I've finished reading the six chapters of Taming Text that are available through Manning's Early Access Progam. See one of my previous posts to find out more about the first three chapters. These are the other chapters I've read:

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Books I've read last month

After my first book was published, I suffered from something that felt like "word blindness." No, I didn't have a neurological condition, but I shared some of the symptons: whenever I started reading a book, I forgot what the first sentence was about by the time I reached the third sentence. I had to read the same sentence over and over again before I understood what it was about. It's as if I had lost the ability to read. Before, I used to read at least one book a week, so I was very worried when this happened.
I blame it on the proof reading process of the first edition. I think I overdid it. In any case: I was much more relaxed writing and editing the second edition. After the first edition, it took more than a year before I managed to read a complete book, and even then my "one book a week" average was a thing of the past. Until recently.

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About me

The project is still in beta, but I already reserved my name on

For the moment, the service is free. I'm not sure what they'll add to justify a premium account.

Taming Text

A couple of years ago, I think it was in 2008, but I don't remember if Inigo was already in the hospital or not, I reviewed a proposal written by Grant Ingersoll for a book named Taming Text. We spent a lot of time on fine-tuning the table of contents, and I wondered what had happened with the book. I searched the Manning website, and found out that six chapters of the book are available in the Manning Early Access Program.

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Birth of a new website

About a year ago, a consultancy company made a SWOT analysis for iText. This SWOT analysis was very interesting because it opened our eyes: the facts laid out in the reports were known to us, but somehow we saw them as separate concerns and we missed the overview to choose priorities.
One of the weaknesses is demonstrated in the following slide:
I'm an engineer, not a web designer. In the past, I've built websites for iText. Whenever I needed something new, I started a new website from scratch. As I didn't have much time, none of these websites were ever complete, and more importantly: none of my websites gave a professional impression.
This had to change, so I launced a request asking for web designers to create a new web site for iText. I received many responses, and the quotes ranged from too cheap to be true to so expensive only a major such as Adobe could afford to pay for it.
One of the replies surprised me. I was looking for a company that could write me HTML, CSS and maybe some PHP, but Namahn answered with a counter-question: Is that what you really need? Wouldn't it make more sense to think about the information architecture first? You can change the way your site looks, but does this solve your problem? Wouldn't you rather build a structure for your site before you think about its appearance?
These unexpected questions were very much to the point, so I decided to work with these guys.

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Google Analytics

Every month I peek at Google Analytics to find out if my different sites are doing well.
Bruno Lowagie's Online Gazette has been dead for a long time, so it will take a while before you see something that looks like a heart beat:

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An evening with my (former) colleagues

I've been working at home for my own company for exactly two months now, and I really enjoy my sabbatical. Yet, there are times when I miss having colleagues nearby, especially: having lunch with colleagues.

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Royal Library of Belgium (2)

A week and a half ago I wrote that I paid a visit to the Royal Library of Belgium because, according to a Belgian Law dating from 2008, I had to donate two copies of my new book (2011) and while I was there, I also took a copy of my first book (2007).

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