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Not only am I a connoisseur of fine fic, but I am also a fan of life hacks, so I'd like to take a moment to elaborate on my current favorite gadget and accompanying programs. I got a Kindle Keyboard for my birthday last semester, which I wanted for the enormous amount of internet-based reading I have to do. (God save me from PDFs of badly-scanned Frakturschrift.) Since then, however, I have discovered that it is a far superior device for reading fic on the go. I've sort of fallen out of the habit of reading fic, though I was obsessive about it when I was younger (er, much younger). The thing is, the glare from the screen really gets to me after a while and a laptop, though my lifeline, is pretty cumbersome. I want to curl up in bed with a good story and I spend 70% of my time on the computer as it is.

With the Kindle, which is extremely affordable by the way, I don't get any glare, and the operating system is simple and the whole device feels super low-tech, which is nice if you're a neo-luddite like me. I like being able to underline and make marginal notes with the weird little keyboard, but I like to have minimal access to the internet when I'm reading, because I'm a notorious procrastinator multi-tasker.

I find two programs indispensable for use with the Kindle. The first you should have whether or not you choose to read fic on the device: Send to Kindle. It's the coolest, easiest-to-use program I can imagine, and it integrates amazingly into your workspace. With Send to Kindle, you can open up a folder and find a document -- PDF, .rtf, .doc, .txt, .mobi, whatever -- right click, select "send to Kindle," and -- you guessed it -- it sends it to your Kindle. It's that easy! And you can input a title and author but the program is pretty decent at figuring out that information on its own.

The other program, which is just as cool, is called FanFictionDownloader. With FFD you start by simply inputting the link to a fic. Actually, you don't even have to paste -- just copy the URL in your browser, toggle to FFD, and it automatically inserts the link from your clipboard. That's a nice feature. Once you finish geeking out about that, you select which chapters you want to download, select the output form (.rtf, .mobi, html, whatever), and hit "download," whereupon it grabs the fic and all its accompanying info for you and packages it up and sticks a nice ribbon on top. You can even set it up so it automatically includes the author, title, fandom, etc in the document title.

(It should be noted that FFD supports a number of archives: FFN, Mugglenet, AFF, FictionPress, Ficwad, and, of course, AO3, among others.)

Even if you don't have a Kindle, you could benefit from this program. Got a favorite 200k fic that you want to be able to access offline? Use FanFictionDownloader! No more copy/pasting tons of text one chapter at a time. RELIEF AT LAST.


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rad braybury

July 2013

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