Free? Palm Reader software

Is it just me, or did Palm Digital Media make it a whole lot harder to get the free version of their Palm Reader software? From their front page, there’s no mention of the free version anywhere, and I finally found it when clicking through the ad for the Pro version.

…Oh. I just found this on the free download page:

The free and Pro versions of Palm Reader are now one application. You can try out the Pro features for up to 15 days. After the 15 day trial period, the Pro features will be disabled, but you can continue to use Palm Reader freely.

Well, that seems rather dumb. I mean, it’s still good that it’s free, but not advertising that there’s a free version available is definitely going to turn away a good number of users.

So remember this link: Free Palm Reader download page.

Lovecraft Ebooks

Coming up in the next day or two, some H.P. Lovecraft Palm Reader ebooks, four of his short stories. The cool part of it is they were created by someone else who wanted to donate them for hosting, Leandro Liñares. Once I’ve verified that the stories in question are in the public domain, I’ll have them posted. Stay tuned.

Site Updates

I’ve been busy on this site the last few days with updates and revisions. To wit:

  1. Got the search feature working (finally). This is using MySQL’s built-in FULLTEXT indexing capabilities; it’s pretty slick, the first time I’ve played with it. It does natural language searches using frequency of keywords to produce relevancy scores… if you understood that, drop me a line because you’re as big a geek as I am…
  2. I’ve been adding new ebooks for the Palm Reader. I finally buckled down and loaded the Dropbook software on the new machine at home, and hacked up a PHP command-line script to do almost all of the work in converting Project Gutenburg texts to PML format. Now I can crank out several ebooks a day.
  3. Added the “Word Stemmer” item to the list of projects on the right. It’s a PHP class I wrote myself available for download; I’ll be putting more up there as I get them prettied up, code-wise.

There’s been several other tweaks I’ve been doing behind the scenes, too. Nothing overt, but stuff to make things (hopefully) run more smoothly.

Moving right along…

A few random things.

php|architect is offering a free issue of their new magazine. Anyone who’s into PHP should check this out.

I found a neat site today called StoryMania. From their own description, they’re an “online community and marketplace for publishing, discovering, reviewing, buying and selling creative works — interact directly with authors and other viewers.” The site could use some technical improvements, but I like the idea a lot.

So far I’ve got the first five chapters of Tom Sawyer done in Palm Reader format (.pml). It’s pretty plain, so I’ll be calling it version 1.0 and try to get my hands on the actual book to address additional formatting issues.

Palm Reader eBooks

I’ve been merrily playing with the Sony CLIÉ that I got for my birthday, installing apps and loading it up with data, and one of my bright ideas is to start playing around with eBooks. See, the CLIÉ runs the PalmOS, for which there is a really nifty free eBook Palm Reader available from Palm Digital Media. Palm Digital Media also offers a fairly extensive catalog of eBooks for sale (and a few for free); think Amazon of Palm eBooks.

I downloaded two of the free eBooks, The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling, and The Coming Technological Singularity by Vernor Vinge, and I read the Vinge work while in Las Vegas.

But the cool thing— the really cool thing— is that Palm Digital Media provides you with the software and the means to create your own eBooks for the Palm Reader.

So what I’m thinking is that there’s a real dearth of free eBooks out there—aside from the two I mention above, about the only other free books I found are texts from the Bible. Yet with the software to make books, and the wealth of content available from sites like Project Gutenburg, I don’t see any reason why there shouldn’t be a lot more free eBooks for Palm.

You can probably see where this is going.

My bright idea relating to this is to start creating Palm Reader eBooks (from works in the public domain), and offering them for download from this site. And then distributing them accordingly. For free.

Because it just seems like a neat thing to do.

The first books I plan to convert, I think, will be Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (and then Huck Finn), and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

But then, you know… the sky’s the limit. Any particular book you’d like to see? How many people out there are using Palm-compatible PDA’s, anyway? And how many would read eBooks on them? Email me with answers to these questions, or any other ideas for Palm books.