A bit of fundraising

So if the body holds up I’m planning on doing a few Tough Mudders this year.  I also thought I might try and raise a bit of money for Dementia research. With that in mind I have set up a Just Giving page.  So if you fancy it, donate a little bit of money.

Tough Mudders are 10 -12 mile long muddy obstacle course races. They aren’t timed, they are all about helping your fellow mudders, having fun and getting round the course.

Here are a few pics from ones I did last year.

Posted in Tough Mudder, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2014 in review

I really ought to try and write more 🙂 The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 770 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Silhouette from Nearly 200 Years Ago

I posted back in 2012 about a trip my GGG Grandfather, Tom Jones, took with his friend Jim Welfair to London (described here). This was before 1841 when he married. During this trip he had a silhouette done which my GG Grandfather mentions he still has . Apparently this has been passed down the generations and I have recently just learnt my cousin still has it. A scan of it is shown below:

Silhouette of Tom Jones

Silhouette of Tom Jones

By comparison here is one done of me a couple of years back (any resemblnce?):
Silhouette of Author

Posted in Family, Geneaology, Jones | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Author-it, Calibre, Macros and Batch files

It’s a while since I’ve written about anything to do with my work, but I thought how I’ve worked towards creating ebooks might make an interesting post. I’ve pondered over this problem for a long time and while it is relatively easy to create an ebook using Calibre, it is difficult to automate it and get the formatting right. My criteria for this project are:

  • Create a reasonably well formatted ebook from an Author-it output.
  • It has to be done automatically from publishing profile in Author-it with no manual intervention.
  • I have to be able to publish from any book within Author-it  i.e. once set up a book a publish to Word, PDF, or help is also publishable to eBook.
  • I should be able to set the actual eBook format, i.e. epub, mobi, etc within Author-it.
  • There had to be no cost involved (barring my time in setting it up).

Calibre is a free  tool that allows you to create eBooks in a variety of formats.  Author-it is a component content management system that allows you to store and publish content in various formats but not eBook.

After a bit of experimentation I decided that the the best format from Author-it would have to be a Word document converted on the fly by a macro to a filtered *.htm format. The main reason for doing this step was due to the fact that when I converted a Word doc directly all the numbering was screwed. I could have published straight to html but I found that there were just too many things wrong with the initial output, and while using CSS to correct the output may have worked going via the Word route made sense (at least it did to me).

The macro code I used to covert the Word doc to htm is shown below:

Sub SaveAsHTM()

Dim FileName As String  

FileName = ActiveDocument.Name
FileName = Mid(FileName, 1, InStrRev(FileName, ".") - 1)
FileName = ActiveDocument.Path & "\" & FileName & ".htm"

ActiveDocument.SaveAs2 FileName, FileFormat:= _
wdFormatFilteredHTML, LockComments:=False, Password:="", AddToRecentFiles _
:=True, WritePassword:="", ReadOnlyRecommended:=False, EmbedTrueTypeFonts _
:=False, SaveNativePictureFormat:=False, SaveFormsData:=False, _
SaveAsAOCELetter:=False, CompatibilityMode:=0
ActiveWindow.View.Type = wdWebView

End Sub

However, I had another problem, when I publish normally to Word I run an adjust table macro that aligns and sets the width of all the tables. This caused a problem in the htm format as the width was now set as absolute and when converted to eBook the tables would go off the edge of page. This was easily fixed by disabling the macro in the after publish macro in the Word template, but this also meant, as I still wanted to run it for normal outputs, I had to change all my other Publishing Profiles which run the after publish macro, to run the adjust-table macro on its own. Once I’d done this the output looked much better.

There were still problems, I don’t think an eBook needs a mini TOC at the beginning of each chapter so I removed these with another two macros that removed the Word styles for the document. The code for one is shown here:

Sub DeleteMiniTOCItem()

Selection.Find.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("MiniTOCItem")

With Selection.Find
.Text = ""
.Replacement.Text = ""
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = True
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
End With

Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

The next problem I had was running all this automatically. Luckily you can run Calibre from the command line and from Author-it you can run batch files from a publishing profile and also pass in arguments. There are many commands I could have used with Calibre and I have used only a few here, I suspect with more time there is a lot more I could do.

It took me a while to work out the syntax for Calibre, but it turned out it was quite simple and I’m just stupid. So the batch file that runs looks something like this:

ebook-convert "C:\Users\davidj\Documents\AITPublishing\ebook\numero interactive Classifier Trainer Guide\numero interactive Classifier Trainer Guide.htm" "C:\Users\davidj\Documents\AITPublishing\ebook\numero interactive Classifier Trainer Guide\numero interactive Classifier Trainer Guide.epub" --enable-heuristics --disable-markup-chapter-headings --page-breaks-before /

But with the arguments that Author-it can pass into it much simpler:

ebook-convert %1 %2 --enable-heuristics --disable-markup-chapter-headings --page-breaks-before /

  • %1 = “<SYS_PUBLISH_FOLDER>\<ni> <Guides>.htm”
  • %2 = “<SYS_PUBLISH_FOLDER>\<ni> <Guides>.<epubextension>”

If you know Author-it you will know how flexible it can be, you’ll know that with the system variable and my own defined variables I have complete control of what I publish from Author-it, down to the type of ebook I produce. Currently I am only interested in epub and mobi file formats but if at some future date I want to create other formats I can just add them to my <epubextension> variable.

The output I’m getting now is OK, or it looks OK in the Calibre ebook reader.  A screen shot is shown below.

Sample ebook

Sample ebook

I need to check it on a few devices to get a better idea of what it looks like. I’m not happy with the main TOC as it has page numbers as does the index. I can exclude the index easily enough through the publishing profile but I think the TOC is still needed so I need to devise a way of either regenerating it through Calibre (which I think you can do) or modifying it in some other way. There are a few minor indentation issues but I should be able to sort those out relatively easily.

In general I’m satisfied with what I am getting, now once I have finished writing or editing a book I have a new publishing option, available as a single click with no further manual intervention.

Posted in Author-it, Technical Communication | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Arthur Pegler’s Will

Recently they have begun digitising WW1 soldiers wills. I did a quick search and found that Arthur Pegler’s will had already been digitised so I ordered it hoping that it would contain something interesting. Unfortunately this was not the case, his will is transcribed below. It is  no nonsense and straight to the point:

Arthur Pegler's will

Arthur Pegler’s will

In the event of my death I give property
and whole of my effects
to Mrs A J Pegler (mother)

3772 A J Pegler  Sergt 4th dragoon Guards

Some what disappointing – no story as described in the original BBC article, however, having transcribed his letters last year which were generally short and to the point it doesn’t surprise me that much. He was a career soldier and knew his duty.

Posted in Pegler, Somme, Uncategorized, WW1 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

34 Years School Head (1930)

East Hoathly Retirement

Family Record Broken

E A  Jones and Family

E A Jones and Family

After nearly 34 years as headmaster of East Hoathly Schools, Mr Ernest Alexander Jones is retiring 30th April next, and his many friends will be glad to know that he does not intend to leave the village, where he has been for so long a popular and energetic figure. Mr Jones came to the school house nearly 60 years ago, when his father, Mr F. Jones, left Hellingly School an accepted the headship of East Hoathly. In 1887 he was  a candidate teacher, but preferring business life he went to Brighton and London. After a few years he won a Queen’s Scholarship and entered the York Diocesan College, where he qualified as a first class certified teacher, especially in the higher art subjects. In 1891 he was appointed assistant teacher in the Higher Grade and Model Schools connected with the Diocesan Training College, York, and five years later became headmaster of Crowborough White Hill Council Schools. While here his brother, Mr F. T. Jones , who had succeeded his father as head of East Hoathly Schools, died in 1896, and Mr Jones returned to East Hoathly at the managers request.

Referring to Mr Jones’ retirement at the church meeting, the Rector said that the school reports during Mr Jones’ term of office had invariably been of the highest kind, and the managers and staff had received the thanks of the East Sussex Education Committee. During that time 25 scholarships and free places had been won for secondary schools. Twice the gardening class had won the silver spade , and in cricket the boys had been runners up and winners of a silver shield.

Besides his official duties Mr Jones has devoted much time to village affairs, being a parish councillor, parochial church secretary, chairman of Carnival Society, treasurer of the British Legion, chairman of the East Hoathly Cottage Gardening Society, representative of the pension board since 1916 and a Governor of the Royal Sussex County Hospital, while in 1902 he was one of the headmasters appointed to serve on the Advisory Committee after the Education Act came into force.

Mr Jones has a good record in the field of sport. Hetook over the duties of choir master at the Parish Church from his brother, and has continued as such up to the present time. HE was played in the York City cricket eleven and for the Sussex Press Club, while for over 20 years he was captain of the village cricket club. In football he played in Yorkshire for seven seasons, both Rugby and association, and at one time in later years he kept goal for Uckfield, while he was the first secretary of the East Hoathly Football league, holding the position for six years.

For over 13 years  he was a sergeant in the Volunteers (Prince of Wales Own and Cinque Ports), being a platoon sergeant of the local force during the great war.

Mr Jones took over the duties of choirmaster  at the Parish Church from his brother, and has continued as such up to the present time. He was hon. secretary to the Diamond Jubilee and the Coronation festivities of both King Edward VII and King George V, as well as at the celebration on the homecoming of the local men from the Great War.

It is interesting to note that Mr Frederick Jones, Mr Jones’ father who is 88 years of age, has for over 20 years acted as correspondent to the schools. If he is spared for a few months there will be two retired headmasters (father and son) living in the village. Mrs E. A. Jones is a teacher at the schools. Mr E. A. Jones’ eldest son, Mr T. A Jones BSC., has followed in his fathers profession. There is however, no possibility that the long connection of the family with the East Hoathly Village Schools, which extends over a period of 60 years will continue, as owing to the re-organisation of schools it has been decided to appoint a headmistress at East Hoathly.

Posted in Education, Geneaology, Jones | Leave a comment