A few years ago I moved my private library to the cloud. It uses Calibre to catalog my books, and the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) to provide an Internet-capable catalog. OPDS is built in to a lot of publisher-independent e-reader software. My e-readers can generally retrieve books from Internet hosts that provide OPDS.
My latest library uses COPS to construct the OPDS catalog from my Calibre database (book list). I update my library by keeping a copy of my Calibre database and directory of book files on a web server.
Continue reading The practical digital library updated
If you have the technical interest to read this, you probably do a lot of your finances with your personal computer. Taxes, monthly budgets, check printing (on those rare occasions), and tracking numerous accounts – computers are far better than people at handling such details. A typical personal computer, or smart phone for that matter, contains company names, account numbers, login credentials, and everything else an identity thief might need. This is reasonably safe as long as you don’t lose your device and/or its hard drive.
But when you replace your computer or hard drive, or (God forbid) someone steals it, your intimate financial details are “out there” unless your drive is encrypted.
Continue reading Encrypt All Hard Drives!
I started collecting digital content in the 1980s. Before that I was satisfied to print things out, bind them, and put them on a shelf. My graduate research produced about three linear feet of printed papers sorted by author. I wrote my first book mostly from printed references, though all the writing was online. When I started my second book, Authentication, I decided to collect, catalog, and save my references digitally. I stored everything in a tree of folders, one per author, stored alphabetically.
My library now contains several thousand items, from Gutenberg ebooks to marketing brochures to technical papers. It uses over 8 GB of storage, including catalogs and metadata. I used to read classic fiction on Palm Pilots and early smartphones. Now I read everything from fiction to technical reports on a tablet, either Android or iOS. This environment poses a whole set of challenges. I’ve found some tools to make my library work, more or less: Calibre, OPDS, and DRM-free books.
My main objective is Get it Once, Organize it Once, and Read it Anywhere.
Continue reading Towards a practical digital library
Ok, this is a backwards observation.
One of my hot buttons is to spot “cyber security principles,” that is, general but pointed observations on how to improve cyber security.
A long-held principle is “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” Thanks to Moore’s Law and the constantly falling price of ever bigger, faster, and more complex tech, no one puts much effort into keeping things simple. The extra features draw more customers even if they make the tech more fragile.
Continue reading Example of KISS