Sunday, March 20, 2011 “Make Your PDF Files More eReader-Friendly With Briss” plus 1 more “Make Your PDF Files More eReader-Friendly With Briss” plus 1 more

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Make Your PDF Files More eReader-Friendly With Briss

Posted: 19 Mar 2011 12:31 PM PDT

pdf reader friendlyCrop margins out of PDFs to them reader friendly for your Kindle, Kobo or other e-reader device. Briss is a cross-platform program that makes a format, designed with printing in mind, work a little better on e-ink devices.

The PDF is a fantastic document format, looking the same across all platforms and including all fonts and images necessary to print a given file. It was never designed to be read on devices however, particularly the smaller screens offered by modern e-ink devices. This is where Briss comes in.

Briss won’t make your PDF flow like an epub or native Kindle file, but it will cut the excess margins that make full pages of documents too big to read on small screens. By presenting you with all overlapping pages and allowing you to select what to crop, Briss gives you control over the cropping process.

This free program uses Java to run, meaning it works on Linux, Mac and Windows alike (although I had some troubles on a PPC Mac).

Using The Program

Fire up Briss and you’ll see a mostly empty window. Before the fun begins you’ll have to open a PDF, using the “File” menu.

Do that and you’ll be asked if you want to exclude any pages from your cropping:

pdf reader friendly

I recommend excluding the cover, as it looks best complete. You can exclude other pages, however. It’s up to you.

Once you’re past this phase you’ll be presented with all the pages in your document, overlapping each other:

pdf for reader

This is useful, as you can quickly tell where the text is on most of your pages. Take a look and decide what you want to keep of the given pages. Once you’re ready you can select your text, creating blue boxes. You can opt to include everything or to leave some excess imagery behind. Selecting your text looks like this:

pdf for reader

As you can see, I’ve opted to remove some of the graphics around the margins, but for the most part I’ve kept everything in place. I’ve also decided to remove the header and the footer, as they make the page much taller than is necessary.

Again, how you crop a book is up to you; your mileage may vary. Be sure to click the “Preview” button to see what the cropped file will look like!


Done? Save the file and send it to your e-book reader, using Calibre if you’re not sure how to get PDFs onto your device. You’ll find the created file is much easier to read than before:

pdf reader friendly

Enjoy reading your edited PDF on your e-reader!

Download Briss

Ready to dowload Briss? Head over to the Briss project page on SourceForge to download the latest version. The program comes as a ZIP file. Windows users can use the .EXE file enclosed, while Mac and Linux users should execute the .JAR file.

Convert To Epub?

Of course, reading PDFs on an e-ink reader isn’t ideal. Even with cropping, battery life is an issue and it’s not easy to increase the font. PDFs are made to print, not be read on devices designed to reflow text. You could try using epub2go for converting PDFs to epub files, but the results are inconsistent at best. Until there’s a simple, consistent way to get PDFs to reflow, Briss can make reading PDFs on e-readers less painful.

Have any other tips for us? Share them in the comments below.

The screenshots here, in case you are wondering, come from an upcoming MakeUseOf PDF manual that’s been requested multiple times. Look for it later this month!

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Post The Highlights Of Your Day With Microblogging Service Epihu

Posted: 19 Mar 2011 10:30 AM PDT

microblogging serviceEpihu is a new Russian-based social network, available both in English and Russian, where you can post daily updates, or slides, consisting of a short paragraph of text and an image. So why would you choose to use a site like Epihu if you’re already very active on other dominant social networks like Facebook or Twitter?

Epihu’s success to a certain extent depends on social interaction, and at the moment, as a relatively new service, it definitely needs more members. That said, it could become a convenient means of keeping a brief diary of sorts to remind yourself of the highlights of your day.

If you keep your updates completely private, it becomes another quick and easy way to keep a personal diary online. That said, because Epihu doesn’t claim to be an alternative to Twitter, nor does it attempt to replace it, it is a microblogging service, that can be used alongside the popular social network, much in the same way that Dailybooth is used.

Signing up for an Epihu account can be done one of two ways. You can either login through Twitter, or if you prefer, you can create a new account. It’s worth mentioning, however, connecting Epihu to Twitter resulted in auto-following Epihu’s account, and receiving reminder DMs when an update was not posted for any given day.

microblogging service

After you’ve finished the signup process, the first thing you can do is create your first post, or slide. Determine the section it belongs to – life, films, music, book or games, determine your mood, add tags, include an image, and set the privacy level.

A great feature that Epihu provides is the ability to selectively set the privacy of each update – from visible to all, visible only to friends, or visible to no one. The status update itself is limited to 250 characters. If we had one request as far as updates are concerned, it would be to be able to add our own entries for moods and sections, rather than be limited to what the site offers.

alternative to twitter

Your profile page features your profile information, specifically name and city, as well as your updates. Updates can be displayed one of two ways. Either as a Grid:

alternative to twitter

Or as a List:

alternative to twitter

Your latest updates can also be filtered by year or month.

Opening up a slide will display your update, and other users can leave you comments. Unfortunately, one of the main drawbacks of being able to leave comments is having to log into your Facebook account to do so.

service like twitter

Public slides are visible on the homepage, where you can also see the most used moods and tags.

service like twitter

You can also browse the latest slides posted into each category or section.

service like twitter

If you see someone’s slides that you find interesting, and want to keep up with them, you can do so by clicking the ‘Watch Slides’ link that accompanies each of their updates.

microblogging service

You can only create one slide per day, but if you miss a day, you can always go back and post your update, and assign it to the specific date. This feature is what really sets Epihu apart from all other social networks like Twitter and the less successful Plurk, Identica and so forth.

Have you given Epihu a try? What do you think of the microblogging service? Would you use it alongside Twitter or Facebook? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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