How to remove the ruled footer line in Word 2007

How to remove the ruled footer line in Word 2007, and leave only page numbers in your document footer.

1. First, add your page numbers: Top Menu | Insert | Page Number.

2. Staying with Insert, find the Header and Footer buttons, next to Page Number button. Click on: Footer | Edit Footer.

3. Very importantly, then make sure you click your cursor inside the footer. Now it can be edited. Changes should be applied globally to all footers.

4. On the Top Menu, switch back to the Home tab. Now find the tiny border control icon in the Paragraph sub-panel…

Choosing “No Border” will remove the ruled lines from all footers, leaving you with the page numbers only…

5. If adding Headers and Footers have thrown out all your carefully done page-layouts, then you’ll also want to reduce the size they take up on the page. In Header and Footer Tools, you can adjust these margins to be more sensible…

Here we have the Header space reduced to zero, and the Footer dropped to 0.1, to force the page number to appear much nearer to the bottom edge of the page.


How to fix VLC Media Player’s playlist-sorting problem.

This post is not about ebooks, but may be useful for many, and possibly especially so for those with downloaded audiobooks.

Problem: While the free VLC Media Player is excellent, one of its enduring mysteries is what happens when you drag-and-drop a 1, 2, 3, 4 etc list of files to a new playlist. The playlist order all too often gets garbled into 4, 1, 3, 2 etc.

Even in the new version 3.0 of VLC there’s still no way to then re-sort a garbled playlist by File Name. You can re-sort in several ways, but not by File Name…

This is annoying if you have a list of tracks that need to be played in order, such as a carefully curated 50-track trance music set, hundreds of short audiobook recording clips, or a webinar presentation made up of lots of small video files in a careful numbered sequence. For various good reasons you’ll want to use the mature and stable and ad-free VLC for these, but you don’t want to have to spend 20 minutes fiddling about with manually re-ordering the playlist by File Name.

And you can’t just use the ubiquitous Windows Media Player to make a correctly-ordered playlist, and then save it and take the list into VLC. Why? Because while VLC claims to understand Windows’ own .WPL and .M3U, in practice it doesn’t. Load a .M3U and VLC’s attempt at playback goes haywire in a never-ending loading loop. Load a .WPL playlist and you only get the first track on the list. Load an .ASX in VLC and the list is intact, but certain files in the album will be greyed out and unplayable. There is no option to save in VLC’s native .XSPF format from Windows Media Player, and no plugin to enable that.

Solution: Here’s how to quickly get a proper 1, 2, 3, 4 file-name order playlist over to VLC:

1. Get the free Windows freeware open source Amarok player, install. (This may be a very slow download, and you may want to shop around for faster mirror servers. It also takes an age to install and then load). Amarok can output the .XSPF playlist format that is needed by VLC.

2. Install and load Amarok, and then load a correctly-ordered playlist thus…

Top menu: Playlist | Add Media.

As you can see Amarock has no problem with then offering the full range of file re-sorting options for your playlist…

Once you’re happy with the order, click the floppy-disk icon below the list, and this will save the playlist in the Amarock database (which is over on the opposite side of the screen). Right-click on this saved playlist name and ‘Export as…’ to .XSPF format.

The playlist must be saved and played alongside the .MP3 audio files in the same folder, and not then moved elsewhere. This is because of the way that the file paths are written inside the .XSPF playlist format.

3. You can now load the .XSPF playlist in VLC, and it will retain the correctly sorted playlist order.

Bulk delete for your Kindle 3’s “Archived Items” folder

If, like me, you have a trillion Instapaper editions lingering as useless ghost files in your Kindle 3’s “Archived Items” folder, it’s annoying that you can only delete them one by one. You need a Bulk Delete option, which Amazon doesn’t provide. Pepa’s Check and Delete to the rescue! It works perfectly, as a simple browser bookmarklet.

How to reboot your frozen Kindle 3

Today I had a frozen Kindle, for the first time since it arrived. The device’s charge was half full, but nothing would wake it from sleep mode. One of the screensavers was frozen on the e-ink screen. Anyway, here’s the secret sauce for restarting it:

1. Find a good watch or clock, that has a seconds hand.

2. Take your Kindle to the clock or watch. At the exact point when the seconds hand clicks to “noon” on the dial, press the power switch on the Kindle.

3. Hold the power switch to the right for exactly 15 seconds, then release it at the exact moment that the seconds hand ticks to 15 seconds past the noon position.

4. The Kindle will remain dead for a few seconds more. Then it will come to life and start rebooting.

5. You will see a “progress bar” on the screen, as the device reboots. When this finishes you can then use the Kindle normally. You may want to then apply a firmware upgrade, since the Kindle is presumably rebooting using a stored on-device operating system — one that’s older than the OS currently available from Amazon.

Readability vs. Instapaper

I nearly swopped from Instapaper to Readability today, for reading newspaper and magazine articles on the Kindle. Readability added Kindle support in late summer 2011. But after a whole load of rigmarole, the Readability service just wouldn’t work for me.

I love the Instapaper format, but it’s getting too flaky about what it will and won’t send. Half the time, four or five articles are missing from my weekly bundle. Other times, article headers come through, but the body of the article is missing. And yes, I did make sure to keep the number of articles under the threshold number for the free version of the service.

So I tried setting up Readability for use with the Kindle. It’s a bit of a hassle. You need to do it all in this order…

1. Sign up for a Readability account at their website.

2. Go to your email in-box, find the new Readability email, click on the link it contains, to activate the account.

3. Install the browser addon.

4. Add the email address to your Account | Manage Your Kindle | Personal Document Settings | “Approved Personal Document E-mail List”.

5. Log in at the website, with your new sign-up details.

6. Use this page to tell Readability what your Kindle’s delivery email address is.

7. Go to Account settings and make sure “Privacy” | “Hide reading list” is ticked.

8. Set your keyboard shortcut in the options settings of the Readability browser add-on. You can also use the browser toolbar “armchair” graphic, which drops a menu that includes “Send to Kindle”.

But after doing all of this, I just could not get my Kindle to receive any Readability articles. Something obviously went wrong, but I’ve no idea what. Articles sent via Amazon’s own “Send to Kindle” print driver came through fine. Sorry, Readability. I really wanted to swop. I correctly and carefully jumped through all the hoops to set up the service. I triple-checked all my setup settings and email spellings. But you let me down at the most vital point — delivery of the actual article.

/Sigh/ Oh well, uninstalled. I guess it’s back to wrestling with Instapaper.

PC Pro’s ‘make a Kindle ebook’ article.

The latest issue of the leading UK PC magazine, PC Pro tells you how to “Publish your own Kindle eBook”. Their rather roundabout route is to make an ePub from Word with Sigil 0.3 and then convert the ePub to .mobi with Calibre. Hmmm. Well, it’ll do the job if you just want to read. But it’s not ideal — and especially if you’re selling the results. For a commercial Kindle Store book you still need hand-coding of simple HTML plus the couple of Kindle-specific tags, and a chunk of basic CSS embedded in the head of the page. And then at least ten passes of proof-reading.

Toward a Kindle zine aesthetic

Here’s my concept page for a Kindle ‘zine page, made directly in Photoshop, and trying to blend the best pixel art fonts with an echo of the old-school Xerox look…

For those who absolutely need searchability in their fanzine for some reason, this could be easily catered for by embedding a half-dozen keyword tags in small-sized type at the foot of each HTML page that holds the images, and then greying out the font colour.

Tutorial: PDF to Kindle for academic journal articles

This tutorial shows you how to convert PDF ejournal articles and book chapters to read on your Amazon Kindle. I’m assuming that you are converting relatively simple arts and humanities articles of the sort found via JURN, and not fiendishly formatted articles from maths, medicine or science. There is no reliable way of converting PDFs for the Kindle, and your results will only be “good enough”, not perfect. Do not use this method for converting PDF content you wish to sell commercially.

The software: The freeware conversion software Mobipocket Creator 4.2 Publisher Edition works quickly and speedily, and produces a “good enough” .prc ebook file, of a type supported by the Kindle. The MobiPocket Creator Software is wholly free software and is not timebombed, crippled, ad-supported, or subject to a “trial period”. MobiPocket is the company that Amazon purchased in 2005 to use for the Kindle, but MobiPocket’s excellent software is still freely available. In my experience, Mobipocket Creator appears to convert a simple academic PDF article in a more acceptable manner that the freeware Calibre software does.

1. Download and install Mobipocket Creator Publisher Edition. Load a PDF file…

2. Select and highlight the loaded PDF file.

3. Click to have Mobipocket Creator convert the PDF…

4. Open the Windows folder where the resulting files have been deposited…

5. The folder will contain the files used during the conversion process, and the final .prc conversion. The Kindle can load/view the .prc format without any problem. If you have installed Amazon’s Kindle for PC software on your desktop PC or laptop, then Windows will already have identified .prc files as “belonging” to the Kindle. Just double-click the file to open it. If you’re satisfied, then drag it over to your Kindle via the USB connection, for reading.

Note that there is also the HTML file used during the conversion, which can be edited for errors with a good HTML editor such as HomeSite. You can then email the corrected HTML page to your Kindle.

6. If the starting PDF file is made up of “hard” page scans (i.e.: has no text to copy and paste), then it will need to be opened in the powerful Adobe Acrobat Pro suite (not the Acrobat Reader) and be subject to an OCR scan, during which Acrobat Pro will inspect each letter and attempt to convert it to editable text. Acrobat Pro will then overlay this editable and copyable text over the page image. When this process is complete, save the file…

Book cover: sequel to The Time Machine
  The new sequel to H.G. Wells’s famous novella! 
Available now in paperback and on the Amazon Kindle!