E-books and other stuff from Peter Macinnis

Note: as yet, there are very few live links to e-books here, because the books are still being prepared, or are yet to be placed on the Web I am still arranging to have the commercial material placed on a secure server, which we expect to set up late in 2001. There is now an ebook on project ideas and methodology, located at http://www.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/projects.prc. This is free, but it is very much a working draft, loaded with useful guidance -- and some gaps, which are clearly marked. Waddaya want for free??

WARNING! For some reason these files may not download with Netscape, though they will download through Internet Explorer. I have read a technical explanation of this, but I was too busy to take in the details, and I am unsure about other browsers. This was a problem with Microsoft's .lit files, which I am no longer supporting, but the .prc format will download if you right-click on the link and select 'save link as'. A bit of a mess but at least it works!

(Nobody need miss out: the same content is on the Web as http://www.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/projects.htm, and also as a PDF file, http://www.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/projects.pdf.)

Why have I given the .lit format the flick? Too many hassles with Digital Rights Management, making it hard to read those formats on the various hand-helds that are out there.


History of Science
Science project help
Science Yearbooks
Science Periodicals
Science Dictopedia
Australian Language
Sydney and beyond
Tales of Crooked Mick

Other things

Print books
Radio talks
The descants
Other pages on this site

About the planned books

All of these books are produced from HTML which has been fed through the Mobi sausage machine, and squeezed into the .prc format that can be read by most handhelds, and also by Mobi's Reader Emulator, which you can download at http://www.mobipocket.com/soft/MobiPocketReader_Emulator_US.exe, an excellent product, much better than the Microsoft Reader software, or a device that can read those files.

The advantage of the .prc format is that it is highly portable, and has none of the digital rights management problems we see with MS Reader. It isd also morte highly compressed -- the comparable file was 107 kb against 141 kb.

The books here fall into two classes: those I have done for my employer, and some I have done in my own right. That is why you will find different copyrights in them, but as I will be using some of my material in the stuff I do at work, it is more complete to put them all here in one place. And they will all be going on the one server, as well. E-book retailers please note: please get in touch if you are interested in carrying some of these titles.

Would-be e-book authors please get in touch if you are interested in working with us, if you have factual material relating to Australia, science, or Australian science and culture, but no unpublished novels, family histories or autobiographies please. Describe in two paragraphs or so what you want to do and why, and explain why this really should be an e-book, not a print book, then we can dicker -- and expect to get a fair contract with no hidden gotchas.

For those wanting an independent assessment of where e-books are headed, may I recommend The Battle to Define the Future of the Book in the Digital World by Clifford Lynch? It is excellent, erudite and brilliant.

The available or impending works

Australian language

Want to know how to take a butcher's at something, what to put in a bewdy boddler, or what it means to be as flash as a rat with a gold tooth? This guide reveals all, complete with examples from Shazza, Tezza, Bazza and Johnno, as they use Oz language to discuss semiotics (Tezza thinks this means listening to something with half an ear), post-modernism (Shazza thinks this means replacing the power poles) deconstructionism (Bazza thinks you need a sledgehammer, and so do I, but for a different reason) and more.

This one is complete, and ready to go. The same text is also to be found at www.websterworld.com, where it is part of our "Sydney and Beyond" tourism title

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Sydney and beyond

Want to know why Sydney's cliffs are like that, where the best walks and picnic spots are, where to see great views, how to find cheap eats, accommodation and travel? In a sense, this is an egg-head's guide to Sydney, written for people who hate glitz and Disneyfication, but we are adding a layer of information about the rest of Australia as well. Forget about carrying a heavy guidebook, just take your Palm Pilot or your Franklin e-bookman, and have all the low-down and highlights on Sydney, with plenty of places to go and things to do beyond Sydney.

This is availavle as part of www.websterworld.com, and should appear in 2002 as an e-book.

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History of Science

This is a collection of historical explorations of science as it has developed. There are biographical entries for about 800 scientists and historical figures, about 8000 timeline entries, and selections from the works of most of the more interesting scientists. To give the reader a context, historical and literary figures like Moses, Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Adolf Hitler appear in their appropriate places, but so do Benjamin Franklin, Sir John Franklin, Rosalind Franklin, Albert Einstein, Soddy, Aston, Verne, Wells, Pauli, Pauling, Arrhenius, Berthelot, Berthollet, Prout, Proust, and 785 more.

This book was created out of a love of science, but it grew too big ever to go inside the covers of a book -- and besides, it needed hot-linking for it to really work, so here it is, in an appropriate medium, with about 3500 internal links.

Note that this text is also on our www.websterworld.com online encyclopedia, but it is less portable in that format.

Target date for release: when the server is up and running, with secure e-commerce in place.

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Science Yearbook 2000

The first of these to be completed is the 275,000 word Webster's Science Yearbook 2000. If you have the Webster's World Encyclopedia CD-ROM 2001 or later, you will already own most of this text in a different form, but you may wish to have it in this portable form as well, though we have left out most illustrations in this e-book version, to reduce the file size, and you miss out on the cross-links to encyclopedia entries. The CD-ROM goes up to October, this version goes to the end of the year.

This is ready to go, and is only awaiting the secure server before it goes out. I have tried this one on a number of school teachers and science enthusiasts -- it looks as though my instincts were right. Look for the 1997 to 2001 Yearbooks, a selected monthly (WHICH WILL BE FREE), and more.

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Other Yearbooks

Webster's Science Yearbook 1997: Completed ahead of schedule, ready now.
Webster's Science Yearbook 1998: Completed ahead of schedule, ready now.
Webster's Science Yearbook 1999: Completed ahead of schedule, ready now.

The Collected Science Yearbooks is a project that may or may not happen, but if it does happen, it will probably not be until late in 2001, and is likely to include all of 1997-2001, about a million words of new science.

The Webster's Science Yearbook 2001 will be available about the middle of January 2002.

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Science periodicals

We plan to issue monthly science collections, with perhaps quarterly and/or half-yearly collections as the year goes by. Watch this space for more details.

We are on track to start selling the monthly versions quite soon, but we have to settle in a huge encyclopedia and get is stable first. Keep watching!

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The Dead Poets collection

This is a set of cross-referenced English-language verse from around the world that I have been collecting for some years. I have allowed my employers to use the collection in the Webster's World Encyclopedia CD-ROM, but it is still my collection, and here it is. The poems here are all public domain to the best of my knowledge: I plan to use the proceeds to purchase rights to selected poems from a number of more modern or living poets for the next version. Main use: when you think "What was that poem about the boy on the burning deck?", but it also serves as a full-text dictionary of quotations.

So what is a science buff like me doing collecting poetry? I happen to like poetry, and you may be surprised just how many science references there are, once you begin reading. The work is complete, but likely to grow, over the years -- it is now in excess of 350,000 words, 240 poets, 1150 poems, and I am starting to fill in some interesting gaps, and discover new sides to some well-known poets, like Kipling's devastating parodies of other poets.

I produced a shorter version of this collection for Anzac Day, containing a range of well- and little-known poems that relate to war and peace. This sample can be had on request the cost will be that you may later receive up to three promotional e-mails sent to you to advise you of what is happening and when. They will be short, to the point, and will direct you to a Web site -- and our e-mails can be ignored. Ask, and it will be given!

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Project help

I expected to have the first of these up in late March, but I am still writing it, so you will need to be patient for a bit, as other writing tasks have been getting in the way. Among other titles, I expect to do these:
  • Background to doing a project;
  • Preparing collections;
  • Growing living things;
  • Field measurement and mapping;
  • Statistical records and analysis, designing experiments; and
  • Several titles related to sets of the ideas.
The target date will be for one a month until they are finished, once I get going, and much of the material will also appear in www.websterworld.com entries. As indicated above, a draft form of the first title is now available on the Web. Go to http://www.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/projects.prc and remember to download with Internet Explorer, just in case.

The delays in getting the Help stuff done are in part due to the fact that I wrote a book on sugar between February and August, which ate a lot of time. Now I am working on another book, so we will have to wait and see how long it takes.

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The Dictopedia of Science

This is a collection of explanations of science ideas and concepts. The idea is that the key terms of science that you hear at the start of the 21st century ought to be explained, either in the Yearbooks or here. The target date for completion is about Februuary 2002, and I will be including the same content in the www.websterworld.com, as part of our new children's encyclopedia. Right now, this is above 400,000 words and climbing fast, and I am almost at the end of the boring stuff.

Crooked Mick of the Speewah

Crooked Mick of the Speewah is an Australian folk hero. If you like tall tales, you will love Crooked Mick, but I have to tell you now that everything there is totally true. You can find two free samples called Crooked Mick on the Railway and another called The Great Speewah Flood by clicking on the links here, but it is probably best to read the stories in context. You also get a handy glossary of some of the more unusual Australian terms, and there are usually hotlinks to the glossary from the first use of the term. This is completed and ready to go on the new server.

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Print books

Just for completeness, a couple of my children's picture books are still in print, but rather than tell you myself, go to one of the pages about me at Clevertots -- and when you have done with that, give Clevertots themselves a look over -- they are a Brisbane-based educational and book supplier.

There is another children's book for Penguin on the way, this one on the Great Barrier Reef, a companion to "The Desert" and "The Rainforest". We plan on calling it "The Reef", and it features the same team of myself on keyboard and reference books, Jane Bowring on blue pencil and Kim Gamble on brushes -- plus a lot of mutual meshing -- Jane does the practical things, and pulls my head out of the clouds, Kim's luminous water-colours make it all spring to life.

One of the impediments to this set of plans is that I have just been given a contract to write a book on the natural and social history of sugar for Allen and Unwin. Sugar cane was probably the first crop grown by humans, and it started in New Guinea. At one time, each ton of sugar produced cost a slave's life, sugar cane reached America on Columbus' second voyage, and Australia in the First Fleet. That's all you get for free -- buy the book when it comes out -- if you want to know about the Great Boston Molasses Flood, Queen Elizabeth's teeth, the Anti-saccharites, The Sugarcane, a Poem, and what Doctor Johnson said about it, or Shakespeare's father's breeches. Please email me if you know a particularly interesting fact or five about sugar.

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Radio talks

One of my hobbies is doing essays for voice, and I have been delivering these in small doses on the ABC Radio National program "Ockham's Razor" since about 1985. you can find links to them by going to Six Months of Sundays

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I hardly know whether to mention these small essays in etymological exploration of words, across English, and across other languages, which I do for my own amusement. I want to sell them as a print book, but I am likely to end up selling them electronically -- and giving them away by e-mail as I do now, on a list called the Banyan Tree, operating out of E-groups. You will need to watch this spot to see what transpires, but there are now some samples available.

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©The author of this work is Peter Macinnis -- macinnis@ozemail.com.au. Copies of this whole file may be made and transmitted, stored or printed for personal or educational use. It was first posted on January 11, 2001, this version was completed on September 25, 2001, and it gets updated about once a month, depending on what I have to report.
This site had 219,000 hits on the index page from 1999 to January 2007 and an unknown number on other pages. In January 2007, a combined counter was placed on all of the pages, counting page hits which now total