Looking Inside ‘Discover Meteor’

Do you want to see the future of book publishing?

Discover Meteor‘ is an interactive book recently released by Tom Coleman and Sacha Greif about the Meteor JavaScript framework. And it’s a book as dynamic as the framework it describes.

In this post, I provide a few impressions of this book in form of screenshots and hope these give you a good idea of what to expect when purchasing Discover Meteor.

There is a brief conclusion at the end of this post as well.

Impressions

Impression 1: The main entry point to the book is a web page, which shows the table of contents of the book. Clicking on any of the links will open the respective chapter as a web page.

Impression 2: Apart from browsing the book online, you can also download HTML, PDF, epub and Kindle versions.

Impression 3: The web version of the book is nicely formatted and easy to read. Each chapter starts with a quick summary.

Impression 4: The chapters look very similar in the rendered PDF version.

Impression 5: There are plenty of source code examples. Each example offers a link to a git tag and a live instance of a Meteor application using the example.

Impression 6: Below the linked page of git and the associated live instance from the example above.

Impression 7: Each chapter has an associated discussion thread. Many threads are quite lively and the authors provide help if needed.

A Quick Conclusion

Discover Meteor seems like a great resource to get started using Meteor. The book is very applied. Every two or three paragraphs there will be a source code example, which drives the development of the example application pursued throughout the book (‘Microscope’) forward.

This is a book about solving problems with code. So, don’t expect philosophical discussions of issues, which might arise while building a Meteor application. Nonetheless, ‘Discover Meteor’ will surely allow you to discover Meteor and learn to solve many common problems effectively and quickly by following the example solutions provided in the book.

Most impressive for me was the presentation of this book. This is not your usual reading experience, this is web reading. The book is made to be opened alongside your development tools and provides an interactive experience for working your way through the examples. On the downside, this is not a book to be enjoyed as part of a poolside techbook session. But that’s not too bad, I think – more time to play with the kids instead.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Sasha for access to the book.

Bulk Convert Google Docs Files to Microsoft Word

Background

Word is evil, is it not? Shouldn’t we be converting files away from Microsoft’s vile format into the open web world of Google Docs? Maybe so.

But is Google Docs really that open? How many applications are there which allow us to VIEW and EDIT Google Docs documents – particularly applications not made by Google? Not very many.

I would like to ascertain to be able to access my documents in 20 years’ time. Unfortunately, I do not know what kind of services Google will offer in the future and which services they will discontinue. On the other hand, there are dozens of applications today by dozens of vendors which support Microsoft Word files. Somehow I feel having my documents readily available as Microsoft Word files is the safer bet to achieve the goal of having these documents available in an uncertain future.

Thus, I decided to convert all my Google documents into Microsoft Word files.

Solution

Luckily, this was not all too difficult using the folder export feature of Google Drive. I used the following process:

  1. Right click a folder which contains Google Documents.
  2. Select the option ‘Download’

  1. The ‘Convert and Download’ dialog will open. Assure that documents will be exported as Microsoft Word files.
  2. Click [Download]

  1. After a short moment, the download of a ZIP file will start.
  2. Unpack the ZIP file after it has been downloaded and voilà! All Google Documents will have been converted into Microsoft Word files.

Potential Problems

Other file types contained in the folder might not be as easy to export in the same way. For instance, Google Drawings cannot easily be converted into a ‘standard’ format. Also, the quality of exports for Google Spreadsheets and Presentations is often worse than for text documents.

References

Google Docs Batch Export

Google Analytics Does Not Load – Shows Yellow Bar

The Problem

You can load the page http://www.google.com/analytics/ without any problem but when you click on [Sign In] the following happens:

A yellow bar appears briefly on the screen before it unceremoniously turns blank.

Solution

This problem appears to be caused by the popular Chrome plugin Ad Block Plus. When the empty page is loaded, a small red stop sign with the text ABP should appear next to the URL.

Click this red stop and deselect the check box ‘Enabled for this site’ as shown below:

Links

Also check the Google Groups discussion ‘Analytics won’t load