Saturday, October 25, 2008

Converting files from Acrobat (.pdf) to Word; Back-country Internet

Sometimes you have a .pdf file and need access to the contents. While in many cases you can copy and paste bits, if you want an easier way to access the whole thing, check out for a free online pdf to Word converter.

Also, if you don't have easy access to high-speed internet because of where you live, you may want to check out - lots of ideas presented in the comments section on how to get access in challenging areas.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Reference and Bibliography Manager

You may want to check out for an open source reference and bibliography manager. It runs within FireFox and is attracting a LOT of attention, with quite a few people switching to it from Endnote and the like. It can easily be carried around on a jumpdrive, etc., and in fact, you can use a portable version of FireFox on your USB drive, install Zotero to that, and then use it anywhere. They're also beta-testing a sync solution which would allow you to backup and share your database between all your machines.

In my preliminary tests I'm quite impressed. I like its ability to grab online data (whether you're browsing Amazon or your library database) and inserting that info rather painlessly in your local "library" file. It does a number of things better than Endnote, and needs a bit of improvement on a few others. Since it's open source and has a strong and enthusiastic following, I'm confident those improvements will be coming. I haven't switched over entirely yet (I've only been using it since about 1am this morning...) but most likely will do so. Compared to $300 for Endnote ($200 academic, $100 each upgrade) or $100/year for an individual subscription to RefWorks, free is a great deal!