The Fujitsu ScanSnap v600: a Book and Magazine Scanner

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.

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Get the Most Out of Audible Without Spending a Fortune

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.

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“The Martian Chronicles” Read by Ray Bradbury

Martian Chronicles audiobook, read by Ray Bradbury

Nice finding in one of my old iTunes account I was about to delete: a bunch of audiobooks, including The Martian Chronicles read by Bradbury himself.

Random House produced it, and it’s from Audible.com. I could not find much else about it, besides this webpage. If by any chance you have more info, contact me.

What bugs me is that I can’t find any trace of this book, or the other that were waiting for me in this old iTunes account, anywhere in my Audible Library. That’s odd, because many of the audiobooks I’ve purchased along the years on Audible have since then been removed from the shop, but all are still available in my Library for download.

Is it possible I had purchased these directly through iTunes, hence them being backed up by Apple but not appearing in my Audible account? Whatever, I’m glad I found them, this one in particular, and I’m glad Apple is so much more reliable than me regarding backups.

Having been an Audible customer since around 2001, it means these books might be 17 years old? No way, I can’t be that old 😛

Maybe I should look for some way to strip the files from their DRM, even if it’s not planned anymore to close this account. And seeing how Apple has preserved them for me–despite my own carelessness–it’s not like there is any urgency in backing them up either.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I think Ray’s been waiting long enough to tell me his next Martian chronicle 😉

Wolf Reintroduction Changes Ecosystem?

A documentary (in French or German) showing the impact of the reintroduction of wolves on the entire ecosystem of the Yellowstone Park, since 1995:

Les loups, sauveurs du parc de Yellowstone

As many documentaries, this one broadly sketches the situation and focus on a selected few aspects. But it was still interesting.

Seeing how the reintroduction of top predators (wolves being the focus of the documentary, even it concerns other predators too) helped reduce the elk population that were overgrazing. Which helped many plants to grow back, including willows. Willows, that are necessary for a healthy population of… beavers. Beavers, that are helping to reduce the erosion of streams… Streams, that willows need to grow. And so on.

One could say it’s what an ecosystem is all about: finding an equilibrium, no big deal. Sure, but I’d never had thought wolves would help willows grow, or other plants, that would help beavers, birds, and so many more different species to thrive.

Fascinating.

Some things I’d have liked to have more informations on:

  • Is the aim to get back a “normal” earlier state for this ecosystem? And who defined this “normal”, based on what criteria/informations?
  • Or are the changes too radical? After their >70-year leave, looking at the pictures shown in the documentary one can see how the landscape has drastically changed since we exterminated the wolves. Is there any real hope to get back to how it was, or is it going to be different? If so, how is this change studied?
  • How and how many types of data do scientific and ecologists collect? It can’t just be the wolves’s geolocation. I mean, we’re not in a laboratory experiment, it’s a slice of nature they’re studying: the amount of data must be astronomical and incredibly varied.
  • More critical voices on the project? If we were to do something similar in France, I can easily imagine many critical voices.