I just joined Scribophile

Scribophile is a recommended online writing group that’s been listed as one of the best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest. I just joined yesterday and it deserves its reputation. I know it will be a timesink but it’ll be worth it. I’ve already got some valuable feedback on my writing from them and can’t wait to build connections and improve my writing.

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Use Google Docs to OCR Documents

I was looking for an open source OCR program online and came across the tip that it is possible to use Google Docs to OCR documents. Followup research proved this was right, but it takes some serious tweaking to set it up so I decided to write up a mini-tutorial for anyone who wants to act on this tip.

1. Log on to Google Docs. If you’ve already got a gmail address you can use the username and password to log onto GoogleDocs.

2. There is a Docs link on the left of the screen. Click it and choose the Drive option on the bottom of the menu or else the top menu has a “Drive” option.

3. When you’re in Drive there is a circle/gear shaped icon on the left the screen. Choose the upload settings on the resultant menu and choose “convert uploaded files to Google Docs format.”

4. Upload a pdf of the document you want to OCR. Right click its link and choose the “open in Google Docs option”. Once it’s open in Google Docs go to the File option on the menu bar. Choose the Download as option. You will be given formats you can download it as: docx, odt, rich text, plain text, web page, pdf. If you choose a text format and you will have the pages ocr’d The original pdf page will show up as an image with the OCR’d text on the next page. I tend to think pdf pages with lots of graphics have the image showup on the output while pages of simple text just have the ocr’d text.

Some things to keep in mind are:
-the output may need some cleaning up but that’s no worse than what you get with most OCR programs.
-I already have an all-in-one printer that I can create pdfs with and this was good enough for Google Docs to work with.
-If you work completely with Google Docs. The OCR text will show up within Google Docs you can simply save it on the drive.

This is trick good for simple jobs, and saves you time from having to type or having to buy an OCR program.

Editing Software I Want to Try: Prowriting Aid

I did more research into editing software and believe I’ve come up with the most cost effective option for me. Prowriting Aid has good reviews and has a $35 a year price. You can use it online or else as an add-on for MSWord or Google Docs. Some older reviews are angry because it stopped being offered for free online and though it can still be sampled the size is smaller for the online version and the add-on have more a more limited trial window. However, I have a manuscript I plan to try the MSWord add-on on and I will be willing to pay for a year’s license if it does a credible job.

AutoCrit Software for Editing Indie Published Works

AutoCrit is an online editing tool I plan to use for my writing and indie publishing, and David Bricker’s Writer’s Software Review: AutoCrit Rocks blog post explains my reasons far more eloquently than I can. I like what I’ve read so far, but haven’t had a chance to try it yet and Dave Bricker gives a far more detailed review than I can at this moment. You can also try out the software for free on the AutoCrit website which I plan to do when I get my manuscript prepared.

Recommended Writers’ Resource: 1100 free online courses from top universities at Open Culture

I’ve come across a cool resource for science fiction writers of free online courses by top universities. This is a list of 1100 free online courses from top universities at Open Culture. I’ve got my eye on some scientific courses that should help my efforts to write credible science fiction stories. Most come in the way of downloadable video and audio lectures. I plan to work my way down the list as an investment in my writing that won’t cost me a fortune, and reviewing them should be a worthwhile New Year’s Resolution for me in 2015.