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26 juni 2011

Create your own Ebook

With the growing popularity of ebook readers like the Kindle and iPad, more and more people are reading on a screen rather than from printed books. And more and more authors are getting into the act. Why not you?
Maybe you’re a budding author who wants to self publish. Or maybe you’re a software developer who wants to distribute documentation in a slightly different way. You could be a blogger who wants to collect a bunch of their best posts into an ebook.
There are several ways to do that. You could fire up your favorite word processor, start typing, and then create a PDF file. Or you could go straight to a format that just about every electronic device can handle. The easiest way to do that is to write an publish using Sigil

Sigil is an Open Source WYSIWYG ebook editor that produces ebooks in the popular epub format. You can read books in epub format using just about any dedicated ebook reader, on most smartphones and tablets, and even on desktop or laptop computers.
Let’s take a look at how to use Sigil to write and publish an ebook.

Installing the Software

Sigil can run on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. You can download installers for each operating system from Sigil project’s website. If you’re in the mood to embrace your inner geek, you can also download the source code.
Once you’ve downloaded the installer, just run it. Sigil installs on your computer, and adds an icon to your Start or application menu. For example, you can launch Sigil under Ubuntu by selecting Applications -> Sigil -> Sigil.
Main Sigil window

Time to Get Writing

Sigil is WYSIWYG, which means working in it is a lot like working in a word processor. To get going, just start typing.
The main difference between Sigil and a word processor is that you don’t get all that much formatting. You can add:
  • Headings
  • Bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough
  • Bullets and numbers
  • Images
You can also justify and indent text. All of that is literally a click away on the toolbar. To apply formatting, just highlight the text and click one of the buttons on the toolbar.
Writing the ebook
Chances are that you’ll have more than just a bit of text. And chances are that you’ll want to break that text up into chapters. To do that, click to the left of the heading that you want to make a chapter title and the select Insert -> Chapter Break.
You’ll notice that something interesting happens in the left portion of the Sigil window. The new chapter is added to the Book Browser.
Book Browser
The Book Browser lists the chapters in your ebook. Out of the box, the chapters are named Section000x.xhtml, where x is a number starting at 1. You can change the name of the chapters by right clicking on them, selecting Rename from the menu that appears, and then typing a new name for the chapter.
You can also click and drag chapters in the Book Browser to rearrange them.
Once you’re finished, save the book. You can open the epub file whenever you want to edit it.

What If I Already Have Content?

A book in epub format is essentially a collection of XHTML files. So if you have content that’s already written in HTML or XHTML format, you can copy and paste that content into Sigil. To do that, open the HTML file in a text editor and copy it. Then, in Sigil, select View -> Code View.
Code view
Paste your HTML code into editing window then select View -> Book View to return to WYSIWYG mode. You’ll probably have to add chapter breaks, which was explained a few paragraphs ago.

Viewing Your ebook

Once you’ve got a draft completed, you’ll probably want to see what the product looks like. Obviously, the best way to do that is to view the epub on as many ebook readers (and other devices) as you can. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. The next best thing to do is use the Calibre ebook management software.
After downloading and installing Calibre, use it to open your epub file. Then, click View on the Calibre toolbar. In the viewer window that opens, you can navigate through your ebook, change the size of the fonts, and see any formatting problems.
Viewing an ebook in Calibre


If you need a quick and easy way to write and publish an ebook, then you should give Sigil a look. It can actually do a bit more than what was described in this article, and once you get the hang of the software you’ll be able to create some very nice looking ebooks.
Photo credit: super

22 juni 2011

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyKeeping your Facebook info private is getting harder and harder all the time—mostly because Facebook keeps trying to make it public. To help you out, we've created a comprehensive guide to keeping your Facebook locked down and in your control, and we're going to keep it updated whenever Facebook decides to add a new feature or change its privacy defaults... yet again.
Despite plenty of user complaints, Facebook still hasn't caught on to the "opt-in" philosophy: Most of us feel that when a service adds a new feature that affects our privacy, it should ask whether we want to enable it rather than quietly enabling it for us. Facebook adds new features to their site all the time, and many of those features share information you might not want out there. Instead of regularly scouring your Facebook settings for secret new features, we're going to constantly update this guide with all the information you need about Facebook's newest privacy-related changes, including details for how to tweak your privacy settings to keep your information safe.
First, we'll walk through the basic privacy settings that determine what you share, then look at a few lesser-known settings you'll want to tweak, and finish with a few third-party tools that will help keep your Facebook information private.

The Basic Privacy Settings: What You Share

Facebook's main Privacy Settings page has a pretty good overview of what you'll want to change, and presents it in a way that's mostly easy to understand. Here's how each of the four sections work.

Connecting on Facebook

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyThe first section of Facebook's Privacy page is the "directory". From here, you can control who can find you on Facebook and how. Click on the "View Settings" link under "Connecting on Facebook" to access those settings. You can make each category viewable by one of five different groups: everyone on Facebook, friends of your friends and anyone in your networks, just your friends and anyone in your networks, friends of your friends only, and just your friends.
If you don't want everyone seeing all your information (like where you live or where you work), you should change them here. I let anyone search for me, send me friend requests, and see my friend list, but other than that I've left everything else as "Friends of Friends". Chances are high that if someone's friending me on Facebook, I know them through someone else, so it shouldn't be hard for them to find me—everyone else I'd rather keep in the dark about who I am, where I live, and where I work.

Sharing on Facebook

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyThis is the biggest section, which determines who can see your status updates, photos, contact information, and more. It's pretty easy to adjust from the main Privacy page. You can set it all to "Everyone", "Friends of Friends", "Friends Only", or customize your own settings. The table will provide a pretty easy-to-read overview of what your current settings are. This part's mostly up to you, though I've kept most of this stuff to "Friends Only".
You can click on the "Customize Settings" link below the table to further refine your choices. That lets you set each specific option to viewable by everyone, friends of friends, friends and your networks, Friends only, and so on. You can even set specific phone numbers of email addresses separately, which is pretty nice. In addition, you can also create custom friend lists (say, "work buddies") that you can include or exclude from certain information.. I'd comb through this section no matter what you do, since there are some settings here that aren't on the main table. We'll talk more about those in the next section, "Lesser-Known Settings".

Applications and Websites

This is where you'll control which Facebook applications can access your profile, and what web sites outside of Facebook can access your account. Click on the Edit settings button to tweak them.
The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyFrankly, I think Facebook applications are awful. With the exception of certain apps (like Twitter, the iPhoto Uploader, or other legit programs I use), I try and keep this clean. Facebook applications, on the whole, are insecure, spammy, and just downright annoying. Next to the list of "Apps You Use", hit the "Edit Settings" button to see the full list. From there, you can remove an app by clicking the "X", or you can hit "Edit Settings" next to an app to see what information of yours it can access and what it can do. I usually draw the line at an application posting on my wall, unless it's something I want to post to my wall (like Twitter). Again, this will vary from person to person.
The rest of this page you'll probably want to lock down as much as possible. Under "Info accessible thorugh your friends", you'll want to uncheck all those boxes, so your friends' apps can't access your information (God knows what spammy applications they're using). You'll want to disable the Instant personalization feature as well, which will let sites like Pandora and Yelp use your Facebook account to give you extra "features" (also known as: spam). Lastly, unless you want your Facebook page coming up in Google results, you'll want to turn off Public search as well.

Block Lists

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyYou may think the block lists are only for ex-significant others, but there are actually some good features in there. For example, not only can you block users, but you can block app invites or event invites from specific users. So, if you have a friend that you like, but they're one of those people that invites every ding-dong Facebook user to their event (you know, even if they don't live in the same state), you can block event invites from them. Similarly, if you have friends that play way too many games on Facebook, you can stop them from inviting you.
To tweak these settings, just hit "Edit Your Lists" under Block Lists. To add a friend to any of those lists, just type in their name. You can also block them from the main Facebook interface. You can block a user that wrote on your wall, ignore event invites when someone invites you to an event, or block an app that someone invites you to. So you don't always have to come back to this page to block someone.

Lesser-Known Settings You'll Want to Tweak

Apart from the more obvious settings above, Facebook has implemented a few features that aren't as well-known. Some are a bit privacy-invading, and need to be turned off, while others are good for your privacy but have to be turned on (nice job, Facebook). Here are the ones you'll want to keep an eye out for.

Turn Off Facebook Places

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy Facebook's Places feature allows you to "check in" to businesses and other places on a digital map, so people can see where you are. This is a huge privacy issue, and while the act of checking in is done manually (Facebook won't automatically share your location with people), it's still worth turning off entirely if you aren't going to use it. You never know when a Facebook bug might surface or when you might just hit the wrong button and share your location with everyone you know.
To turn it off, just head back into your Privacy Settings and hit the "Customize Settings" link under the table. Scroll down to "Things I Share" and set "Places I check in" to "Only Me", which will keep Facebook from sharing your location with anyone. You also might as well Disable the "Include me in 'People Here Now'" setting while you're at it, which is right below the "Places I check in" setting.
You'll also definitely want to go to "Things Others Share" and disable the "Friends can check me into Places" setting, which stops your friends from sharing your location from their account. By default, this should be off for most people, but it's probably a good idea to double-check.

Turn Off Facial Recognition

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy Facebook has also added a feature that scans newly uploaded photos for familiar faces. If it matches your face to one of their photos, it will prompt them to tag you in it. If you'd rather not have this feature on, you'll need to head into your Privacy Settings and once again click the "Customize Settings" link at the bottom of the table. This time, scroll down to "Things Others Share" and disable the "Suggest Photos of Me to Friends" feature.

Turn On HTTPS to Lock Down Your Private Information

With privacy-invading apps like previously mentioned Firesheep out there, it's more important than ever to secure yourself on web sites that have personal information on them, like Facebook. HTTPS will protect you from a lot of outside attacks, especially when you're browsing on open Wi-Fi networks.
The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy To enable HTTPS encryption, hit "Account" in the upper-right hand corner of any Facebook page and go to "Account Settings". Under "Account Security", check the box that says "Browser Facebook on a secure connection (https) whenever possible". Be sure to save. From then on, it will automatically connect to Facebook via HTTPS whenever possible. Note that Facebook applications still do not have HTTPS support (just one more reason not to use them).

Turn On Two-Factor Authentication to Keep Others from Logging Into Your Account

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyOf course, none of this matters if someone gets a hold of your Facebook password. If you want to make sure you're the only one logging into your account, you can enable two-factor authentication, which will send a code to your phone every time you access your account from a new computer or device. That way, if someone gets your password and tries to log in from your computer, they won't be able to get in unless they've also stolen your computer (or your phone).
To enable this feature, head to your Account Settings and scroll down to Account Security. Under "Login Approvals", check the box that says "Require me to enter a security code sent to my phone". That way, you'll get a notification every time a new device tries to access your account, and if it's you, you can plug in the code to get access.

Extensions and Tools That Enhance Your Privacy Even More

These are all great, but there are a few Facebook annoyances that you can't fix from your account settings. Thankfully, you can pick up a few browser extensions that'll help you out. Here are some we recommend.

Facebook Disconnect

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyEven if you love Facebook, it can get kind of annoying seeing that "Like" button all over the web. If you'd like to clean up the Facebook clutter on other web sites, previously mentioned Facebook Disconnect for Google Chrome will remove the Like button from most of the web sites you visit. There might still be Facebook links and icons, but it'll remove the actual Facebook integration people build into their sites, which is usually the more obnoxious clutter.

AdBlock Plus

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyA lot of sites around the net, like Pandora, Yelp, or Microsoft, will try to connect to your open Facebook accounts and use them to "enhance" your experience. This can get really annoying, especially since it does it all automatically, without asking. We disabled some of these when we turned off the Instant Personalization Program, but bugs happen, and if you'd like to keep Facebook separate from your other online accounts, you can just download AdBlock Plus for Firefox or Chrome and add the following filters:
From then on, other sites shouldn't be able to use your currently-logged-in Facebook account to add "features" (also known as: spam) to other online services.

F.B. Purity and Better Facebook

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyPreviously mentioned F.B. Purity is a userscript for most browsers that will hide annoying Facebook applications and news feed updates, like Farmville, Horoscopes, and other ridiculous spam. Previously mentioned Better Facebook also has this ability, but it's much more complicated. If you just want to hide the spam, go with F.B. Purity, but if you want some serious, fine-grained control over your Facebook experience (along with quite a few extra features), Better Facebook is definitely worth a look.
While they don't boost your privacy per se, they will get rid of a lot of the annoying spam on Facebook and, in turn, keep you from accidentally clicking on something you shouldn't. Plus, they just provide a cleaner experience.

Internet Shame Insurance

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook PrivacyFacebook's privacy settings can be pretty cryptic, and while you may have gone through your privacy settings like a hawk, you can still miss things. Our own Adam Pash's Internet Shame Insurance extension for Chrome puts Facebook privacy into plain English. Whenever you go to make a post on Facebook, it'll tell you exactly who can see it, saving you from making any embarrassing Weiner-caliber updates.

This should help keep your Facebook a little more locked down, like it was when you first signed up for it. These features are always changing, though, so we'll update the post whenever Facebook adds something new. We'll also put that info on the front page of Lifehacker as it happens, but it's a good idea to run through this guide ever few months just to make sure you've caught everything, since there is a lot of info here. Also, if we've missed anything, be sure to let us know in the comments, and we'll add it to the post.

You can contact Whitson Gordon, the author of this post, at You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

12 juni 2011

How to Prevent Facebook From Auto-suggesting Photos Of You To Friends

Facebook has recently unveiled a facial recognition feature that can associate your face and your accountand automatically enabled “auto-suggest photos of you to friends” feature to all users. What this means is that when your friend uploads a (unglamorous) photo of you (or someone that looks like you), Facebook will auto-suggest your name so your friend can tag you in the photo. I am not sure about you, but there are occasions where I don’t want my name to appear in the photo (no one want to remember those unglamorous times), least allowing Facebook to auto-suggest my name for tagging.
This is how you disable it:

1. Login to your Facebook account and go to the Privacy Settings. (Located under the Account link at the top right hand corner)
2. Select the Custom tab on the left sidebar and click the “Customize Settings” link.
3. Scroll down the list until you see the entry “Suggest photos of me to friends”. Click the “Edit Settings” button.
4. Change the “Enabled” to “Disabled” and click Okay.
That’s it.
It is almost a must to check Facebook privacy settings regularly because you never know when Facebook will enable a feature without your knowledge. One thing is for sure, your privacy can never be taken for granted in Facebook.

7 juni 2011

Snoeien in hypotheekrenteaftrek in plaats van kinderopvangtoeslag.

De financiële planning in een gezin omvat vaak meer dan per maand trachten de eindjes aan elkaar te knopen. Ouders kopen gezamenlijk een huis en gaan daarbij een verplichting aan de hypotheek in 30 jaar af te lossen. Zekerheid op de lange termijn is daarbij cruciaal. Geen bank zal geld willen lenen als onzeker is of de lener over drie, zes of tien jaar nog steeds kan terugbetalen. En daarboven heeft de bank een zakelijk zekerheidsrecht.
De  geld lenende burger heeft de zekerheid dat de hypotheekrenteaftrek hooguit heel geleidelijk wordt aangepast. Daarmee zijn op de lange termijn financiële verplichtingen aan te gaan.

Bij het krijgen van kinderen gaan ouders ook langdurige financiële verplichtingen aan jegens het kind. Opvoeden, voeden en onderdak geven kosten immers geld. Om dat geld te verdienen gaan ouders werken. Momenten waarop niet zelf voor het kind gezorgd kan worden. 
Voor die momenten zijn kinderdagverblijven en naschoolse opvang in het leven geroepen. Deze voorzieningen kosten veel geld. 

het totale financiële plaatje is gebaat bij stabiliteit op de lange termijn. Dus niet schoksgewijs morrelen aan regelingen, maar alleen geleidelijk aanpassen.

Een rekenvoorbeeld:

Een gezin met drie kinderen en een huis van drie ton. In de Randstad is dat een doorzonwoning, dus niks buitenproportioneel. Beiden werken 4 dagen in de week. Kinderen drie dagen naar de opvang.

De ouders hebben in 2011 de volgende bruto maandlasten:

1 kind 3 dagen KDV:    à  € 900,=                                €   900
2 kinderen  3 dagen BSO:    à     € 450,=                     €  900
 totaal                                                                              € 1800,=
 Hypotheek à                                                                  €1500,=
Totaal :                                                                            € 3300,=

Tegemoetkoming in de vorm van kinderopvangtoeslag en hypotheekrenteaftrek:
KDV  en  BSO                                                               €    950,=
hypotheek:                                                                       €  450,=
totaal:                                                                               €1400,=

In 2012 wordt dit:

1 kind 3 dagen KDV:    à  € 940,=                                €   940
2 kinderen  3 dagen BSO:    à     € 490,=                     €  980
 totaal                                                                              € 1920,=
 Hypotheek à                                                                  €1500,=
Totaal :                                                                            € 3420,=

Tegemoetkoming in de vorm van kinderopvangtoeslag en hypotheekrenteaftrek:
KDV  en  BSO                                                               €    720,=
hypotheek:                                                                       €  450,=
totaal:                                                                               €1170,=

Door aantasting van de kinderopvangtoeslag, gecombineerd met de prijsstijging van de kinderopvang gaat het gezin in dit rekenvoorbeeld er €350 netto per maand op achteruit, terwijl het netto salaris gelijk blijft. Dat is bijna net zoveel als de gehele hypotheekrenteaftrek die per maand wordt toegekend.

Met andere woorden. Ernstig beperken van de hypotheekrenteaftrek heeft minder impact op de financiële situatie van het gezin dan gedeeltelijk beperken van de kinderopvangtoeslag. Dit geeft aan hoe ongewenst het onverkort handhaven van de hypotheekrenteaftrek is vergeleken met andere toeslagen en kortingen.

De politiek geeft aan dat de kosten van de kinderopvang ruim 3 miljard op jaarbasis zijn geworden. De kosten van de hypotheekrenteaftrek zijn ruim 14 miljard per jaar.

Ik hoor graag waarom daar niet een beperking op wordt voorgesteld. 
  • Dat verdeelt de lasten meer over de gehele bevolking,
  • Heeft een minder grote impact op de financiële situatie van gezinnen
  • Heeft in potentie een groter bezuinigingseffect
  • Handhaaft de prikkel voor beide ouders om te gaan en blijven werken.

6 juni 2011

We vissen de zee leeg

Hier een filmpje met feiten over de overbevissing in de zee:

4 juni 2011

Bouw je eigen airconditioner

het is mogelijk om zelf een koeling systeem te maken voor ongeveer € 40 euro, dat een vergelijkbaar effect heeft als een echte airconditioner.

kijk naar deze youtube video en doe inspiratie op voor een eigen uitvinding:

Benodigde materialen


  1. Haal de voorkant van het gaas van de ventilator los.
  2. Pak de stropjes en de koperbuis. Ontrol de koperen slang en leg deze in een concentrice cirkel op de ventilator en maak deze met de stropjes vast.Zorg ervoor dat de uiteinden allebij even lang zijn en naar beneden wijzen.
  3. Halveer de plastic slang. Bevestig de plastic slangen met de slangenklem aan de uiteinden van de koperen buis. Als je de kopern slang moet inkorten, haal dan de braampjes weg met een mesje of stevig schuurpapier.
  4. Vul een emmer met koud water.
  5. Plaats deze emmer op een tafel, in ieder geval hoger dan de andere emmer.
  6. Doe een plastic slang in deze emmer en maak deze zo vast dat ie niet los kan schieten. Zuig het water door de buis totdat deze vanzelf blijft stromen naar de andere ememr die leeg op de vloer staat.(Bernoulli's Principe aan het werk!)
  7. Zet de ventilator aan
Na een paar minuten is het koude water doorgelopen. Dit water zal warmer geworden zijn. Doe het weg (bij de planten?) en vul de emmer opnieuw met koud water net zolang totdat de kamer lekker koel is.

Je kunt de plastic slangen ook aan de kraan bevestigen en deze een beetje open zetten. Doe de afvoer dan in de gootsteen. Hiervoor heb je misschien extra lange slangen nodig. Vergeet niet de kraan uit te zetten, want water in de zomer is kostbaar en schaars.