Digi-quest

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 June, 2008, 12:00am

A friend says there is a great way to save things I find on the internet so I can read them when I have the time. And it's not bookmarking sites. Do you know what kind of technology my friend is talking about?

Dick, Discovery Bay

DQ: I put your question to some serious internet surfers. One of them hit on something that sounds just what you are looking for. It is called Instapaper(www.instapaper.com) and is a free product that works with Firefox and Safari. You drag a little icon called 'Read Later' to your browser's bookmark bar. Once there, you just navigate to a site you would like to read later and click on the icon. It is that simple to set up. Possibly even more interesting is that you can put 'Read Later' into Firefox and Safari so the pages you have saved will appear in both browsers. This gives Instapaper something that a mere bookmark doesn't have. The application also works with the iPhone. Marco Arment, Instapaper's developer, says the application's website is not a repository where you can keep your articles for a few hundred years. The idea is only to hold these articles for a short time. Use it at your own risk. If something is really important, you would be better off using a bookmark.

I want to use Chinese calligraphy on a project for a friend. Is there some way to accomplish this in an attractive format without having to buy software and learn how to use it?

Name and address supplied

DQ: There are several places on the internet where you can get Chinese characters generated in a readable format by an operating system that has no Chinese-language support. I suggest you get a friend to e-mail you the characters you want, then copy and paste them into a site such as www.chinese-tools.com/tools/calligraphy.

html. You may have to experiment with the encoding but Unicode should work for most purposes. Most modern operating systems should allow for reading Chinese, even if you cannot input Chinese. Experiment with lots of fonts and sizes so you can determine what you want. Be very careful about any phrase you choose. I strongly suggest you ask someone if the phrase conveys the same meaning in Chinese as it appears to in the English translation. Sometimes, the translation will miss a minor point, such as when a particular phrase is used only at funerals! Calligraphic images can be generated at www.chinese-tools.com/tools/calligraphy.html