Content in this section may still be a little thin on the ground, but any time I feel I have something worth showing off or giving away, then this is where you’ll find it.
Free blog templates
It often seems like blogging is the new religion, fired by the efforts of Blogger and similar services that make it easy for the ordinary Joe with little or no knowledge of HTML or internet technology to publish their thoughts and daily activities on the Web.
The limited range of free templates these services offer is augmented by many other good folks around the globe, who want to “give something back”. It strikes me that a lot of these template designers are female, and while many are talented individuals who produce high quality work, the results are often rather, well… girly. (That’s no criticism; it’s simply that not all of the guys out there might want their blogs garlanded with roses, for example.)
So I’ve decided to make a few contributions of my own, the first of which is available now. These are offered free of charge for you to use pretty much as you wish, but please note the accompanying conditions.
Free HTML books
The Project Gutenberg (PG) philosophy is “to make information, books and other materials available to the general public in forms a vast majority of the computers, programs and people can easily read, use, quote, and search.”
PG does this by providing “Etexts” — plain vanilla ASCII text versions — of books and information in the public domain, taking in a wide catalogue of works by the world’s greatest authors of the past. (Past, because a book must be out of copyright in order for PG to copy and reproduce it.)
While the PG etexts provide for more esoteric functions such as the ability to search for specific quotations, etc. without anything more sophisticated than the simple search features found in text editors and operating system utilities, for most people PG is all about providing free access to a world of literature without having to buy printed books.
Some time ago, the HTML Writers Guild initiated a project in which I became involved to mark up PG etexts in XML or XHTML. There were many good (but to the average Joe, pretty boring) technical reasons for doing this, but the main benefits to most people would be
- ready access to books through the Web
- the ability to view books directly in their web browsers, rather than downloading files and opening them in a text editor or word processor
- instead of seeing the "plain vanilla" presentation of the etext, readers could enjoy styling (colours, fonts, proper text emphasis,and so on) provided by the markup that makes the text more like a book than like a 1970s computer print-out.
The project seems to have ground to a halt, as mailings just stopped and the project web site hasn’t been updated in a long time. However, I had begun marking up a few texts in XHTML, including this classic of Scottish literature, available for free download.