Well, I think my presentation of my Langston Hughes paper went pretty well yesterday, so I’m going to go ahead and post it. And also plug a new site that just opened from private beta, called Scribd. It’s basically a site for you to upload documents, and it displays them in Flashpaper, and allows downloads as .pdf, .doc, and even converts to .mp3. I’m not wholly convinced that this is a needed service, since documents are so easy to upload pretty much anywhere, but the conversion to different file types is nice (would work as an online .pdf converter, in fact, if you don’t have one), as is the Flashpaper display. I also like that you can embed documents in the Flashpaper player (because I’m a huge fan of embedding everything). Like this:
So it could be that this does fill a useful niche, though I doubt it will ever take off like YouTube or Odeo or Flickr. Right now the site’s servers are pretty slammed, though, because it’s getting press from TechCrunch and other Web2.0 trackers, so converting is really slow ATM. Anyway, it’s an interesting entry into the Web2.0 space, so I thought I’d mention it.
While I’m mentioning things to do with .pdfs, I need to return for a moment to my PDF Rant from a couple of weeks ago, because I actually found a .pdf reader that does what I need to do. I mentioned that Foxit Reader let me do some annotation, but I gave it short shrift. After poking around in the menus for a while, I found additional toolbars that let me add comments, arrows, even a “typewriter” tool that puts the comments directly on top of the .pdf. (The comment tool puts a marker box that you have to click to see the comment.) The highlighter tools still don’t work if the document is a scanned copy as opposed to OCRed text, but you can work around that by using drawing tools around the part you want to highlight. It’s still not IDEAL, but until people quit using DRM, it’s passable.
And while I’m mentioning things with websites, I must transfer my anger from .pdfs to Blogger. Not too much anger, because I don’t have to use it very often, since I gave up using it as my blogging platform a long time ago. But I would like just once, JUST ONCE, to be able to leave a comment on someone’s blogger blog without having to type in the verification code MULTIPLE TIMES. Note that I don’t have a problem with the verification code. It’s a very good idea to have it. But there’s some sort of bug or something in blogger, because every single time I leave a comment, I type in my comment, type in the verification code, hit “post comment” and it pops up with red text telling me to enter the verification code. I DID! And so I do it again. Sometimes it works this time, but often I have to do it AGAIN. Google, the last upgrade to blogger fixed a lot of things, and added a lot of helpful functionality. But the comments are still broken! (Also, I dislike the fact that posting comments opens a second window instead of just doing it all on the same page, but that’s an aesthetic choice, I guess.)