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Old 08-11-2011, 06:38 AM   #31
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I would like to see unboggling's first post, or something very much like it, made into a sticky and a tutorial section in the manual. Documenting an approach that worked is very valuable.

@unboggling: yes, I am volunteering you. Otherwise it won't happen. I hope that you have the time, energy, and patience.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:47 AM   #32
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@chaley. rofl. I have the time (retired) and inclination (calibre has become one of my hobbies), I'm not sure about the energy (being such an old guy, decrepid and crotchety), and as far as patience goes, I have a lot less than you moderators and developers usually display here. And let's not even mention my lack of tact (referencing the childrens' tennis metaphor).
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:31 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
@chaley. rofl. I have the time (retired) and inclination (calibre has become one of my hobbies), I'm not sure about the energy (being such an old guy, decrepid and crotchety), and as far as patience goes, I have a lot less than you moderators and developers usually display here. And let's not even mention my lack of tact (referencing the childrens' tennis metaphor).
Just use your post as a starting point, make a thread for "Keep It Simple, Stupid!" section of Calibre tutorial. Then collect suggestions and polish the text a little bit.
It worked like a charm for the "Regular Expressions" chapter.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:45 AM   #34
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Well done for producing an articulate and nicely put together thread. What a pity that someone tried to spoil it.

I'd like to offer the following thoughts for those new to ebook reading.
  • Don't be in too much of hurry to convert all your books. When I started 2 years ago with my Sony 505 I spent a lot of time creating LRFs...

    Then I realised that this was going to be a dead end so I spent a lot of time re-creating them as epubs...

    Time passed and I realised I had got better at conversions and I was irritated that my early epubs weren't as good as my later epubs...

    Then I learned about epub font customisation so I changed my epub conversion settings again... then I installed PRS+ for the Sony and realised that I could achieve font customisation without having to do anything special with Calibre settings...

    Then Kovid introduced the 'smarten punctuation' conversion setting and I was irritated that my early conversions didn't have curly quotes ... oh and the covers on recent conversions now looked better than they used to... and on and on it goes.

    This probably says a lot more about my obsessiveness than anything else but the point I'm trying to make is that I wasted a lot of time converting that would have been better spent learning (or even just reading). I now only do a conversion just before I'm going to actually read the book. Then I know it's going to look the best I can make it.

    And even if you feel you absolutely must convert every book in your library, whatever you do don't delete the original source. Just because commercial PDFs are a PITA now doesn't mean that in a few years technology won't have moved on and they'll look great on your future reader. Also, conversions of conversions of conversions... may not be as good as conversions from an original source (a bit like photcopying).

  • Secondly, there appear to be two ends of the spectrum for ereader users,
    - those who, on the whole, just want to read and only really care that the words are in the right order with no pages missing,
    - those who insist on very precise requirements from their ebooks, nested TOCs, curly quotes, mdashes, correct indents, line-spacing, fonts, margins, covers, small-caps, dropcaps etc.

    My husband is very much in camp 1. I honestly thought that I was too. However I very soon realised I was deluded. Much against my better judgement, I'm in camp 2 and at the time I didn't have the basic technical skills to handle it.

    There isn't a problem with being in either camp. But, if you're in camp 2, you have to accept that the current state and diversity of ebooks and readers is such that you need to be conversant with HTML and CSS -- whether you like it or not. There's no point coming on forums like this complaining that Calibre should be easier, more intuitive, have more/less features... Manually tweaking ebooks to your very exacting requirements requires some knowledge. Either roll your sleeves up and acquire it or learn to be less picky. Ranting on this forum that you don't have the time/inclination to educate yourself and that Calibre should do it all for you is a waste of energy, and rather insulting to the developers.

Anyway, that's more than enough from me
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:29 PM   #35
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Thank you, jackie_w. Your post includes so much information that is useful to me both as a new calibre user - and as a new eBook reader - that I'm still processing it mentally, realizing there are many things I hadn't known about at all let alone considered yet, and that I need to revise some of my work habits with considerable forethought.

For example, you've made clearer to me now what Starson said earlier - about converting everything all the time not necessarily being good. That is actually beginning to sink in now and make sense to me, and I'm sorry I responded defensively earlier rather than thinking more about it and considering ramifications.

Another example. I had noticed I had a personal internal conflict and a time conflict between just reading books (the ultimate purpose) and learning/doing relevant technical stuff. You clarified that. So to achieve general happiness my first consideration following your post has to be to decide what camp I want to be in, the compulsive readers or the compulsive fixers. (Taking compulsivity as a given in my case.) Or both, with some sort of time-sharing….

Also, I've already experienced similar desire to go back and fix things because by that point I'd learned how to do something, but older books in the library had previously slipped past that "new" fix and needed to be redone. The lack of consistency in the library bothered me enough to iteratively spend considerable time refixing refixed fixes. So now that point is beginning to sink in….

EDIT: And I hadn't even thought at all about technology and formats evolving. That is a huge wrinkle in the tapestry of "potentially ideal" work habits.

Last edited by unboggling; 08-11-2011 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:06 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacir View Post
Just use your post as a starting point, make a thread for "Keep It Simple, Stupid!" section of Calibre tutorial. Then collect suggestions and polish the text a little bit.
It worked like a charm for the "Regular Expressions" chapter.
OK. Where would be the best place to start a thread called something like "KISS Tutorial - Request for Input & Discussion"? Here in general calibre topics or elsewhere?

Edit. Oh, there's a tutorial section?

Last edited by unboggling; 08-11-2011 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:15 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
OK. Where would be the best place to start a thread called something like "KISS Tutorial - Request for Input & Discussion"? Here in general calibre topics or elsewhere?
Edit your first post. Then ask one of the mods to:
1)make it Sticky.
1.5) Split off the only the first post, leaving a permanent redirect on the user comments thread?)
2)decide if you want it made read only (closed to replies). Note mods will have to post your updates.
3) something else.
Moderators are listed at the bottom of the main forum. We are here to serve

Last edited by theducks; 08-11-2011 at 10:51 PM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:22 PM   #38
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I would advise at the beginning to limit the books added to the library. 100-1000 is nice to look at, but pita to change. After many-many months I am still deciding exactly what metadata and where and in which format I want it. I may hide the column, but I still want to have the information.

I keep all kinds of formats in Calibre - original pdf/whatever, aced files if I used mobi creator, final prc or mobi, txt where are notes about what I did (like, 'lit>epub, html>prc. Added such and such things, need to add...etc').

I can use only mobi when away from PC, so finding/choosing suitable format is no brainteaser; if my needs change, I'll convert before reading to different format.

About refixing - I find text file with notes to be handy. I note there what irritated me and if I fixed it; if I ever want to read it again, it's easy to decide what to do, if not...
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:28 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
Edit your first post. Then ask one of the mods to:
1)make it Sticky.
1.5) Split off the only the first post, leaving a permanent redirect on the user comments thread?)
2)decide if you want it made read only (closed to replies). Note mods will have to post your updates.
3) something else.
Moderators are listed at the bottom of the main forum. We are hre to serve
OK, thanks.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:04 PM   #40
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I would advise at the beginning to limit the books added to the library. 100-1000 is nice to look at, but pita to change. After many-many months I am still deciding exactly what metadata and where and in which format I want it. I may hide the column, but I still want to have the information.

I keep all kinds of formats in Calibre - original pdf/whatever, aced files if I used mobi creator, final prc or mobi, txt where are notes about what I did (like, 'lit>epub, html>prc. Added such and such things, need to add...etc').

I can use only mobi when away from PC, so finding/choosing suitable format is no brainteaser; if my needs change, I'll convert before reading to different format.

About refixing - I find text file with notes to be handy. I note there what irritated me and if I fixed it; if I ever want to read it again, it's easy to decide what to do, if not...
I noticed early on that there was a fine line (somewhere) between keeping and maintaining additional information (such as fixup history and rights information) and just having books for reading purposes. Where should I draw the line? Maintaining a lot of tracking info for a lot of books is time consuming. I've realized there has to be some cost/benefit ratio, but I haven't figured out where that is for me yet. For example, at first I tracked book sources in the book record, along with rights info. Then I stopped doing that because it was too time consuming when my bottom-line was just for me to read a book. I thought about tracking fixups similarly to the way you do, but haven't started doing that yet. Maybe I should.

But how do you decide where to draw that line?

Last edited by unboggling; 08-12-2011 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:08 PM   #41
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On second thought, I'll postpone revising the KISS post into a sticky for at least a week or so, maybe longer. I'm learning too much here and now that makes me want to rethink fundamentals.

Edit: erhhh, what I thought were fundamentals...

Last edited by unboggling; 08-12-2011 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:29 PM   #42
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I noticed early on that there was a fine line (somewhere) between keeping and maintaining additional information (such as fixup history and rights information) and just having books for reading purposes. Where should I draw the line? Maintaining a lot of tracking info for a lot of books is time consuming. I've realized there has to be some cost/benefit ratio, but I haven't figured out where that is for me yet.
But how do you decide where to draw that line?
I track source mostly because when, for example, source x books need constant 'improving', I choose rather source y.

Maintaining a lot of tracking info for a lot of books is time consuming. - Yes, but I enter it only once. That's why I decided to go slow - convert, read, add one-by-one and in the process learn what and where. After all, if I add a book that does not fit into existing columns/categories, I see what needs to be changed or added and it's easier to change 50 than 500 entries. Imagine searching through hundreds of books if you have decided to create subgenre! If I decide to delete (column, genre), then bulk is no problem.
It will probably take years just to learn what information I want and how to present it (searchable, sortable, column, comment...)
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:03 AM   #43
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It will probably take years just to learn what information I want and how to present it (searchable, sortable, column, comment...)
Now I understand better why you want to go slow. It makes me want to cry.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:19 AM   #44
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Done crying now. Revising.

Last edited by unboggling; 08-12-2011 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:06 AM   #45
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On second thought, I'll postpone revising the KISS post into a sticky for at least a week or so, maybe longer. I'm learning too much here and now that makes me want to rethink fundamentals.
The trick is to balance the value of your viewpoint as a new user against the risk you might give bad advice because you are ... a new user. A post written by someone who has fresh experience is particularly valuable. Don't be afraid to write your comments, just be willing to rethink and/or consider the comments of others (of which you will get plenty ).

Writing a "keep it simple" advice thread for new users is an excellent idea. I'll also put in a well-done to jackie_w. Her post is right on point.
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