Today, my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl weighing in at 3,276g. Both she, and her mother are well.
This also answers Kim's question about my sleeping patterns: I count on getting no sleep in the coming months...
When I first started spawning ideas about an RSS reader that would print the articles as a regular newspaper, I had a tough choice to make between output formats. My main options were:
There are also other document formats (RTF, etc) I considered but quickly rejected.
Let's look at each of these formats in order to see how I came to my final decision. The main factor guiding my choice was having the result look professional, with justified multicolumn paragraphs for instance.
The thing is that I would love to be creating an HTML page with CSS styling because of the portability. Basically the full published issue would be contained in one HTML page (with a few hyperlinked image files). This package would open on any computer with a decent web browser. Also, page breaks are readily available using the
<br style="page-bre tag. However, the problem comes when trying to figure out the size a chunk of text will use when creating the pages.
The MS Word or RTF choices are immediately more attractive because they expose an API to create the documents, which should produce more maintainable source code. On the other hand the Word format is a closed format as well as the API.
Then we have the third option, PDF, which on the surface doesn't offer any benefits over MS Word (besides being an open format), only a more quirky client which by default takes ages to start up. But some research-hours later and after finding iTextSharp I reached the conclusion that PDF is the way to go for FeedJournal! iTextSharp is an excellent open-source component written in C# for generating PDF files using the .NET platform. Using an open-source API for creating the PDFs is a significant improvement for a developer, allowing deep debugging of code sections and finding the root cause of exceptions. And should I find a bug or limitation in the component I have full control over the source and can fix it without being dependent on others.
Then of course there is the additional benefit of supporting the new ubercool eInk gadgets hitting the market right now, with all of them supporting PDF natively. More about these in future blog posts.
I have previously used the name "RSS Star" for the project, but from now on the name will be FeedJournal. Information about this project is available at www.feedjournal
I got an e-mail from Microsoft letting me know that I will be one of the 12 finalists in the Made In Express Contest. That's way cool! I will keep a blog updated at the contest site but I intend to double-post the entries hare as well.
I am thrilled to get the privilege of competing as a finalist in the "Made In Express Contest!" with my vision of an RSS aggregator in the form of a paper-based newspaper or magazine. What is most exciting for me is the opportunity I am getting to build the project within this contest, with all its opportunities of making it visible to the public.
Anyway, this is a very good sign that my newspaper project can find a niche in the market. Now, I just have to wait for Microsoft to make their final choice...the suspense is unbearable!
One of the most useful Firefox extensions I have installed must be ViewMyCurrency, which helps me to convert currencies inside the browser. Basically you define which currency you want all prices to be converted into and then many major world currencies will automatically be converted and displayed along with your own currency inside any web page.
If you regularly browse sites with prices not in your preferred currency you will greatly benefit from this extension. I have been using it for several months now both at work and and at home, and I can't imagine surfing without it. Highly recommended, and of course free!