Archive for June 9th 2012

My poor blog received seventeen spam comments today. Most of them were attached to my recent post about Google Earth, so I guess that hit some search criteria that they’re using to find the best places to post their crap.

So Tartarus is finally off to Createspace to be reviewed. What a pain that was.

Eventually I had to give up on uploading Word files and just export it to a PDF, which Createspace actually imported with all the relevant formatting.

For the cover, I used Gimp.

  1. Download the .PNG template from Createspace
  2. Create a transparent version of the template (create an a layer mask from the greyscale version of the image and then adjust levels).
  3. Put the transparent template as a layer above the background colour, then build the rest of the cover on top. That way you ensure that you won’t be putting anything where it shouldn’t go.
  4. Temporarily disable the template layer and export the image as a TIFF file.
  5. Use ‘tiff2pdf’ to convert the TIFF file to a 300DPI PDF file using zip compression. Then upload it.

Createspace cover. Remember to remove the template layer before uploading!

In a few days I should find out whether that actually works!

What a pain. I believe I’m finally getting this nonsense sorted out. Here’s what I had to do:

After the intro text, add a manual page break which also resets the page number to 1 and switches to a ‘first page of chapter style’ which has the page number as a footer but no header.

Add a ‘successive pages of chapter’ style which is the same as the first page but with the header. Make that the follow-on style for the first page.

Of course Libre Office lets you use a hierarchy of styles for paragraph styles but not for page styles… because… no, makes no sense to me either. So if you change any of these styles you then have to manually change the others to match. Stupid.

And, of course, that doesn’t work when exported to Createspace. It seems to use the first style exclusively for the whole of a chapter and ignore the style change. Now I’m trying to export as PDF and see if that works any better.

I’ve been trying to create a document for Createspace, because I still have a Nanowrimo discount coupon that expires at the end of the month.

You’d think it would be easy, wouldn’t you? I mean, Createspace have templates, I have text, I should just be able to cut and paste it into the template and upload it and it would be done.

But no. Firstly, the Createspace template is incompatible with Createspace. It includes fonts that Createspace doesn’t support, so any document created with the template is rejected. Good one, Createspace.

But it’s worse than that. I try to copy and paste all the text from the original document to the new one and… as well as the text it copies over all the page formatting. How stupid is that? I have a document formatted the way it’s supposed to be formatted, I want to just copy the damn text, and you’d think that should be the easiest thing in the world. Why do program designers think that when I copy and paste text I want to copy all the other associated crap and not… just the damn text? This isn’t just a problem with word processors, 99% of the time when I copy and paste text from a random web page into an email, I just want the text, yet it’s also copying over font and other formatting information that I then have to waste time removing.

I’ve no idea how I’m going to fix this, but pretty soon I’ll have spent more time trying to work around stupid word processor design choices than I did writing the document in the first place. Why should I have to spend an age investigating how page styles work in order to just copy and paste from one document format to another? It’s insane.

On a related note, I started going through the page styles in Libre Office to delete them in the hope that it might fix the problem. But lo! Not only do I have to delete them one at a time rather than shift+click to select them all, but then it puts up a dialogue box asking if I really, really want to delete them, and then it doesn’t delete it. So I have about twenty styles to delete and for each one I have to select delete twice and click OK twice. If I haven’t gone mad by the end of this process I’ll be amazed.

Google are now post-processing aerial photos to generate 3D models of cities for Google Earth. Very cool.

New 3D imagery for Google Earth for mobile

Hopefully this will mean that in future their driving directions won’t tell you to drive off the side of the highway and fall thirty feet to the road below in order to get to your hotel…