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 about.me:

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

iText on Android: first prototype

After browsing the first edition of Unlocking Android and reading the MEAP version of Android in Practice, I managed to write an Android app that uses iText to create a "Hello Bruno" PDF document on the SD Card of my smartphone. I still need to do some work before I can share this small demo application with the world, but this is what I've done so far:

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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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"iText in Action" reviewed in "Freies Magazin"

Freies Magazin is a monthly German magazine about Free Software. In this month's edition, there's a review of the book "iText in Action". Here's a snippet of the German text:

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iText in the Cloud

I'm an author at Manning Publications, and as such, I have a login to their document system. A while ago, I found chapter 12 of the new book Hadoop in Action in one of the public folders. It was probably put there by mistake, but I couldn't resist taking a look at it, and much to my surprise, the first section in that chapter mentioned iText.

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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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Google+

See also Bruno's profile on Google+