I was looking for some free – like in free beer – alternatives to PDF Expert, the reader I’ve been using for years for its invert colours feature but can’t install anymore (both my licences are not recognised anymore). I found Negative.
This cool little app doesn’t seem to have any tool (no highlighter, no handwriting, no annotations, and so on). But it’s small, fast, free. And it does what it says:
A bad eyesight that’s getting worse make it so that I can’t read print anymore: black text on a white background is illegible for me.
“It’s easy, David,” you could say, “just open your ebook and put it in night mode”. You’re right, and it’s exactly what I’ve been doing for a long time—that or using an accessibility setting in macOS and Windows that allows one to invert the colours of the screen.
And it’s working great until one wishes to read a printed book.
Many older books are not available in digital format, even some recent books aren’t. Because the publisher consider these books are not worth being digitised, or because the publisher doesn’t like ebooks, or fears piracy. Whatever the reason it sucks.
What am I to do? Not read the book I want to read? No, thanks. I’d rather make my own ebook.
Work in progress: the partial scan of “A Grammar Book for You and Me” by Edward Good. It’s opened in PDF Expert, that has the option to display PDF in inverted colours. But it’s a standard PDF with white pages and dark text, as one can see in the thumbnails on the left
Enters the ScanSnap v600, a Fujitsu scanner optimised for books and magazines.
Maybe It’s the child in me that loves being told stories, or it helps with my bad eyesight? Whatever the reason, I’ve always liked audiobooks, and I listen to them more and more.
Also, not being a native speaker I find it useful to listen to the audiobook while reading the ebook: it helps me to get an idea of how words sound, and even more important to get a better understanding of how sentences and paragraphs are constructed to convey rhythm.
For the last fifteen years or so I have mostly been purchasing my audiobooks from Audible. At first glance though, Audible looks very expensive with prices varying between a few bucks to $70 or more for a single audiobook. But that’s only at first glance.
Here is a recap of all you can do to get the most out of Audible without spending too much–and some titles suggestion to help you get started, if you need it.
This Special Edition of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is exactly the same as the standard edition I also own. Both beautifully narrated by Claire Danes but the Special Edition comes with a few cool bonuses: if you don’t already own the previous edition, get this one instead.
To lead my investigation, I retained Gavin de Becker. I’ve known Mr. de Becker for twenty years, his expertise in this arena is excellent, and he’s one of the smartest and most capable leaders I know. I asked him to prioritize protecting my time since I have other things I prefer to work on and to proceed with whatever budget he needed to pursue the facts in this matter.
Beside the fucked-up situation that Bezos reveals, I had to read this sentence two or three times just to wrap my head around this “whatever budget”, knowing Bezos’s personal wealth is estimated at $131B.
It made me realise that Bezos and I may live on the same planet and breathe the same polluted air, but we don’t live in the same world where one must be a multi-billionaire to stand a chance against such threats and the crooks behind them. Something Bezos seems to be well aware:
If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)
If you use and enjoy AirPods as much as I do, replacing worn out AirPods with a fresh pair is the natural next step. Even at $159, AirPods feel like a great value for what they offer if you appreciate portable wireless earbuds. (Zac Hall, via MacStories)
I don’t own AirPods and don’t think I ever will, at least not as long as I have a choice.
In the future, humanity has evolved into an ant-like society, living in nameless cities. A society where science and technology have drastically regressed. A society where everyone must be equal. A society where being taller than the others is already a bad thing, but where being alone, being brighter or having ideas of one’s own is literally a crime.
Many cool improvements in the latest release of GoodNotes. Among which, one of the things that most frustrated me with their previous version: the lack of vertical scrolling. It was so not-practical having to write on the bottom of the screen with the Pencil–another reason why I went for Notability instead of GoodNotes.
We’re happy to finally introduce “vertical scrolling”. In GoodNotes 5, you can set a default scrolling direction for your documents. Both, horizontal and vertical page scrolling, are supported.
Also, worth noting:
The ability to search across all notebooks.
The new QuickNote feature looks interesting.
Some improvements in the UI and access to tools.
But what might convince me to give GoodNotes another go is this:
“Editable PDF” can now be selected in the export options. This will export a non-flattened PDF version that can still be edited in other apps. Also, structures like the document outline, bookmarks, and hyperlinks will be preserved after exporting.
For most users it won’t be that important. For me, it means that I could use a “true” dedicated note-taking app, like GoodNotes, in order to annotate and comments my PDF, and keep those notes editable in any other traditional PDF apps. I will have to see how it fares compared to, say my dear PDF Expert but it’s certainly worth a try.
Let’s just hope that the devs of GoodNotes also made some improvements in the way their app behaves in regards of some Accessibility features. Like the “Smart Inverted Colours” of iOS, that I now require if I’m to see anything when using an app that doesn’t have it’s own integrated dark mode.
My eyesight being what it is, I’m now almost to the point where I can not read a bright screen anymore: it’s really painful on the eyes. Everything is much easier when the screen is dark. So, no surprise, I welcomed Mojave’s Dark Mode as a blessing–a perfectible one, though.
Here is the list of the apps and utilities that help me to take full advantage of this. There are many more, but those are the one I use the most.
Art does not come from the mind, art comes from the place where you dream. And in a sense then, I’m welcoming you into my dream. (…) I want you to see the whole process as it happens, in real time. (Robert Olen Butler)
A series in seventeen instalments of approx. 2 hrs each, made by Robert Olen Butler, and that should date back to around 2001.
I have only started watching the very first video. So, I can’t tell much except that I like the way he uses some old postcard, a little bit of googling, a map, and music, to trick himself into having something worth writing: ideas are everywhere.
But even watching none these vids, just by looking at their sheer length (~34hrs), there is something to learn for any budding writer, and that is: writing takes time.
Something that might not be that easy to understand, and to accept, in our intensely hostile to delayed-gratification culture.
I also like how he doesn’t bother with fancy tools, taking notes and diving in with his word processor of choice–even if I’d rather use Ulysses, but that’s just me being nerdy and… bothering with fancy tools 😉