Do you dislike Apple Preview app’s auto-saving feature?

Apple has always decided what it thinks is the best experience for its Mac users, even against conventional wisdom or established, known user preference. This has been frustrating for power users through the years, from lack of two button mice to the latest reductionist “flat design” trend in iOS7.

The latest “we know better” feature is the automatic document auto-saving (with no warning) in its home-grown applications, like Preview, TextEdit or the iWork apps. I don’t want to recall how many original photos have been destroyed after a session of quick exposure experimentation.

Good news: you can completely disable the auto-saving via this terminal command:

defaults write ApplePersistence -bool no

This comes from a helpful topic on StackExchange.’s Bezos is buying The Washington Post

Amazon founder Jeff P. Bezos is buying The Washington Post.

Six years ago, Mr. Holovaty held the title “editor for editorial innovation” at The Post, but left in 2007. The co-creator of the popular Web framework Django, he thinks Mr. Bezos will bring “fresh, baggage-less thinking.”

No baggage — and deep pockets — means room to try new things. Might Mr. Bezos apply tech industry concepts like frictionless payments, e-commerce integration, recommendation engines, data analytics or improved concepts for mobile reading?

Multiple Authors with WordPress

You can easily add new authorized users (authors, contributors, admins) via the Dashboard.

Inviting Contributors, Followers, and Viewers

As for adding more than author to a post, see here for a plugin that can do this:

And, this article has a more complete list and guidelines for multiple authors in general:

10+ Must have Plugins if You have Multiple Authors in WordPress

* * *
Also, it is imperative that your WP blog be current and have all updates installed.
Plus there are several plugins that are important to detect malware that might have crept in during time periods when older WP versions had vulnerabilities (since patched with v 3.4.2).

Making rich graphical emails from your desktop email program

A client recently asked about placing graphics into an email template — namely, background graphics.

Email programs (Outlook, Entourage, Thunderbird) are not designed to easily create rich graphical HTML emails. They make it difficult to embed background images (for mastheads, say); they vary in their support and tools for styling CSS, and there are greatly varying display abilities of email platforms across the internet.

HTML emails need to be designed as simple as possible — no backgrounds, complex CSS, floats, etc. since there are 100+ different email readers/webmail systems [hotmail, gmail, yahoo, aol, cpanel webmail, etc.] with varying levels of support. In all, your emails’  html and css must be very simple to be cross-platform.

All the fancy emails you and I get (from Amazon to Gap to Starbucks to NatGeo) are sent by dedicated email publishing systems… carefully constructed to let the sender add design elements to the templates that will work on most email platforms.

The client, if its needs are growing for rich graphical emails, needs to use a 3rd party tool like Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp, or build its own email publisher tool.

These types of emails are useful for communicating with their audience.  For internal emails, using Outlook can work, since all employees are likely on the same platform.

We can hack and tweak our way to success in Outlook or Entourage or Thunderbird, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

To make a template in Outlook, for example, a background image behind the title text can’t just be copy/pasted in. Outlook provides an import/place menu command to insert the image in the background.

Copyright Purpose

Copyright, CopyLeft.

Control of one’s creative works is complicated in the era of YouTube, rapid expansion of computing power, the shaken music industry, and Open Source software.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once wrote:

“The Framers intended copyright itself to be the engine of free expression. By establishing the marketable right to the use of one’s expression, copyright supplies an economic incentive to create and disseminate.”

Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985). O’Connor was joined in the decision by Chief Justice Burger and Justices Blackmun, Powell, Rehnquist and Stevens.

A new book, “Free Ride,” by the journalist Robert Levine, discusses copyright, the Internet and the impact of digital piracy.

Copyright often encourages free speech. It sometimes inhibits free speech. The idea that copyright is the be-all and end-all of free expression is simplistic. The idea that it inhibits free speech is simplistic. I think this is true of politics in general, but everyone argues about stuff like a 4-year-old.

Read an interview with Levine by

Mac PowerPoint How to Export Text from Slides

PDG is continually astounded at how unhelpful and unintuitive Microsoft programs can be. But thankfully in this case, my not-uncommon gripe has a happy ending.

The unmet need, as framed as a typical google search query:

I want to export all of the text from a 20-page PowerPoint file to a plain text file.

Why? so that we can translate the text easily… or perhaps to proof read the text, or use the content in another medium, like in an email or Word document.

Out of thousands of hits, only 1 website solved the problem. I’ll share with you the solution next.

Thinking (wrongly) that surely PowerPoint 2008 for Mac lets us export the text from slides, I hunted for the option. First discovery: there is no export function. Okay, let’s try Save As… no, these options are useless, as the RTF outline text or HTML options do not export any slide text! Astounding.  The “Outline” option requires some unusual structuring that ignores any actual content on the slides! And the “HTML” option actually flattens all the text into a graphic. Wow. Because in this SEO era, we surely don’t care about text-based content on our web pages, right?

I found one helpful web page out of thousands that had a solution. It involves running a simple macro snippet, after adding it to the PPT file. I have never used Macros before, but I was able to figure it out in under 5 minutes.

But this technique does not work for POWERPOINT:MAC 2008 — because Microsoft removed Macro support in Office 2008.  Astounding again. Who does the thinking at the Mac Business Unit there?  UPDATE:  Macro support is back in Office 2011.

However, luckily, I also have Office 2004 for Mac. If you do too, follow along.

powerpoint Mac 2004

The website with the macro solution is here, at the PPT FAQ site. Credit to Stephen Rindsberg, who modified code from Kris Lander.

Copy the 2nd chunk of code. Here it is for you:

Sub ExportText()

  Dim oPres As Presentation
  Dim oSlides As Slides
  Dim oSld As Slide         'Slide Object
  Dim oShp As Shape         'Shape Object
  Dim iFile As Integer      'File handle for output
  iFile = FreeFile          'Get a free file number
  Dim PathSep As String
  Dim FileNum As Integer

  #If Mac Then
    PathSep = ":"
    PathSep = "\"
  #End If

  Set oPres = ActivePresentation
  Set oSlides = oPres.Slides

  FileNum = FreeFile

  'Open output file
  ' NOTE:  errors here if file hasn't been saved
  Open oPres.Path & PathSep & "AllText.TXT" For Output As FileNum

  For Each oSld In oSlides    'Loop thru each slide
    For Each oShp In oSld.Shapes                'Loop thru each shape on slide

      'Check to see if shape has a text frame and text
      If oShp.HasTextFrame And oShp.TextFrame.HasText Then
        If oShp.Type = msoPlaceholder Then
            Select Case oShp.PlaceholderFormat.Type
                Case Is = ppPlaceholderTitle, ppPlaceholderCenterTitle
                    Print #iFile, "Title:" & vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
                Case Is = ppPlaceholderBody
                    Print #iFile, "Body:" & vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
                Case Is = ppPlaceholderSubtitle
                    Print #iFile, "SubTitle:" & vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
                Case Else
                    Print #iFile, "Other Placeholder:" & vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
            End Select
            Print #iFile, vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
        End If  ' msoPlaceholder
      End If    ' Has text frame/Has text

    Next oShp
  Next oSld

  'Close output file
  Close #iFile

End Sub

Now open the PPT file in PowerPoint:Mac 2004, open the menu item “Tools –> Macros” and you will see the Macro editor. It will be empty at first.

PowerPointt 2004 Macro dialog box

You will not see this macro like I show, at first; to begin, type in a simple name, then click CREATE.

Copy/paste the visual basic snippet into the new dialog/edit box that appears, then SAVE it.

Now you can RUN this macro. Voila. The exported txt file will be placed in the same directory as the PPT file itself.

It worked seamlessly, without a hitch.

And his script works for Mac and PC.

Try it out! it saved me lots of manual copy/paste time.

WordPress editor has an iframe glitch

If you have been trying to paste in Amazon product iframes, then you will discover that the WYSIWYG editor in WP (provided by TinyMCE) strips out the entire Amazon html snippet that you’re trying to embed.The editor does not know how to show the iframe, so it strips it out. Argh.

WordPress configures TinyMCE (i.e. the Visual Editor) to strip IFRAME tags. So it’s not a bug per se. It’s just terribly inconvenient for those wishing to embed a product from, like this:

One way to stop this is to keep the post in HTML view/editing mode. Do NOT switch to Visual mode, ever, for that particular post. But this is a hassle.

A blogger posted a solution in this WordPress Forum post. It involves editing your Theme’s functions.php file. I tried it and it works well; just be careful if you every update your Theme; it likely will be overwritten.

You can also install the plugin TinyMCE ADVANCED by Andrew Ozz — it has the option in its Settings config to allow iFrame tags. Go to:

I don’t prefer solving the problem by using this plugin, however. The TinyMCE editor is heavy already; adding 17+ new buttons and features will slow the page load times even more.

Recommendations: edit the functions.php file with the easy fix by Chip Bennett. It is:

function mytheme_tinymce_config( $init ) {

// Add IFRAME to list of valid HTML elements (so they don't get stripped)

	$valid_iframe = 'iframe[id|class|title|style|align|frameborder|height|longdesc|marginheight|marginwidth|name|scrolling|src|width]';

	// Add to extended_valid_elements if it alreay exists
	if ( isset( $init['extended_valid_elements'] ) ) {
		$init['extended_valid_elements'] .= ',' . $valid_iframe;
	} else {
		$init['extended_valid_elements'] = $valid_iframe;

// Pass $init back to WordPress
	return $init;
add_filter('tiny_mce_before_init', 'mytheme_tinymce_config');

It works great for this blog.

Popular Ebook formats

Not interested in a Kindle? Try Ebooks

There are many ebook formats. New services aim to simplify the complexity.

Scribd (website) is a document-sharing social network. Lulu (website) is a user-controlled book publishing service.

Both Scribd and and book publishing service Lulu support multiple devices including PC, smartphones and e-readers, and a variety of formats like ePub and PDF.

You can upload a file in any format and convert it to all other formats. So, your ebook reader and Kindle can both display your digital content.