Ebooks by TCDavis


Double Exposure ebook cover
What might a Vietnam combat veteran discover about himself as he revisits the country he fought in forty two years ago? TCDavis, a pastor turned photographer, and former naval adviser to a South Vietnamese junk base, reveals his answer in Double Exposure: A Veteran Returns to Vietnam, an exciting and thought-provoking memoir of 22 photo-illustrated reflections.  See my video, Returning to Vietnam.
A reader wrote in her Amazon.com review:
“The book will be of interest to anyone who wishes to have a better understanding of the effects of war on the individual and the healing journey that comes after. I also found it interesting to read about the Vietnam that has emerged from all those years of war, a vibrant and prosperus place. I highly recommend this book.”

Kindle version here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008Y2FOS4.

Get other digital reader versions: for Nook, Sony, etc. at Smashwords.com.

Formatting Tips to Increase Your Website’s Traffic

There are many ways to increase your website’s traffic. This CyberkenBlog post covers a few of those with regard to formatting.

Use blog posts rather than static pages to display your educational material

As much as possible you want to present educational material in blog posts. Blog posts are easy to tag, which makes them more discoverable by Googlers, and blog posts are easy to organize on your site using categories and tags, on-site search tools for keeping your visitors on site.

Use .pdf files sparingly, for printing, not online consumption

If you want to provide printable material to viewers, then it’s good to provide that in .pdf files. Many people do not realize that web pages look different according to the devices they are displayed on, but .pdf pages always look the same and print the same for all users.

smartphone2Adapt your modes of presentation for a diversity of devices

If you want to reach younger people on the internet, a mobile responsive website is a must (that is, one which can be viewed on both large and small screens). Increasingly, younger people are using smart phones exclusively for their internet viewing, partly for convenience but especially for economy, because computers are relatively expensive, and so is broadband service. Many newer WordPress themes are “mobile responsive,” which means that they adapt to various screen sizes, moving content around as necessary. On small screens convenience of viewing trumps aesthetics. Smart phone viewers want their information briefly presented in an easily navigable way. On websites designed for cell phones aesthetic enjoyment of photographs suffers. Photos still have an important purpose, however: to communicate impressions, emotions, and symbolic content quickly. Text on mobile devices is small and hard to read, so you’ll want to edit your Web text for brevity. IMHO, the dominance of phones for internet viewing harms both the fluidity and depth of writing and the aesthetic enjoyment of graphics, but for the moment there’s little we can do about that. When roll-up screens that one can pin on a wall get really good, all this could change quickly. But for now we have to adapt to the dominant technology and get our stories across the best way we can.

— TCDavis


Speechnotes: An Excellent, Free Dictation App

speechnotesIf you do a lot of writing, you might prefer to dictate your first drafts.  If so,  read here about Speechnotes:  an excellent, free dictation app.

A while ago a friend introducted me to Dragon, Naturally Speaking, an amazingly accurate offline dictation app that one installs on one’s own computer.  “The Dragon” really is great, but since then I bought a chromebook, a small, light, and inexpensive computer that runs nothing more than a browser for an operating system. Most applications on a chromebook are accessed from a Google server (in “the cloud”), so a rather code-heavy app that one installs on one’s own computer, like Dragon Naturally Speaking, wouldn’t run on my chromebook.

Chromebook in hand, I went looking for an online dictation app, and I found a five-star one, called Speechnotes. I discovered that Speechnotes is free, and can be used by anyone, no matter what device you use.

Speechnotes is accessed by opening a Chromium web browser –(If you don’t have the Chromium browser installed, go here to download it: https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/)– and then visit the following address: https://speechnotes.co/

Speechnotes is really easy to use, and I found that I didn’t need to train it to my voice, which is the case with Dragon Naturally Speaking. Just visit the page above, make sure your own computer microphone is on, then click the red icon of the microphone at the top right of the page and begin speaking. You will be amazed to see your spoken words appear in print very quickly. If you want to pause, just click the microphone icon again, then click it again to resume. You can edit the dictated words with your keyboard (in case there are mistakes) anytime you wish. When you are finished dictating look to the left of the page where you will find several links for saving the dictation as a .txt file, or emailing it, or uploading it to your Google drive. If you use Gmail and the mail-to link in Speechnotes doesn’t work, here is the fix: See “making Gmail your default client in  Chrome”: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/set-gmail-as-browser-default-email-client-ht

On the Speechnotes home page, at the right bottom is a link to “About & More”. You might want to read that, where the authors concede that Dragon Naturally Speaking can do much more. However, Speechnotes is very accurate, and FREE. I find that hard to beat!


Make a WordPress Website Banner from a Digital Photograph

beach sceneFollow this CyberKen post to make a WordPress website banner from a digital photograph.

Many websites have a decorative banner across the top. If you’re running a WordPress website your theme will likely give specific instructions about how to size a graphic file (drawing or photo) in pixels. You’ll find these instructions by logging into your Dashboard and clicking on “Appearance” and then “Header”.

Knowing the dimensions for your banner is only half the challenge, however. The harder part is finding a photo whose significant graphic content is narrow enough to meet the vertical dimension requirement. For example, let’s say your header instructions say that your banner file must be sized to exactly 1440 by 300 pixels. The width dimension is not a problem, really. In this particular case you just have to make sure, when saving a jpeg, that it is at least 1440 pixels wide. So, pay attention to the default size of your camera’s jpegs. A standard “large” size is 1024 x 678 pixels. This would not be large enough to make a banner image for a theme that requires 1440 pixels in width. You’re better off saving your photos in very large sizes, say, around 2500 pixels in width. This will give you plenty of pixels to size your photo for various purposes, including making banners.

As I mentioned above, the chief challenge in banner making is finding a photo whose significant graphic content lies within a narrow band–in my example, 300 pixels. What do I mean by significant graphic content? I mean the elements of an image that carry a symbolic message. A website banner should be symbolically appropriate for the whole website. So, for instance, this content might be people with their arms raised in celebration. In this case you wouldn’t want to crop off their arms, so you would need to compose the photo to get all of the necessary body parts within the 300 pixel vertical limit. The challenge of photographing for website banners is to compose your shots so that the symbolic content displays in a narrow horizontal band. Avoid verticals as much as possible.

Now, how to crop to the required dimensions? First, downsize your photo to the required width, in my case, 1440 pixels. Then, set your cropping tool’s vertical dimension to 300 pixels. Crop. Presto, now you have a jpeg of the required dimension: 1440 x 300 pixels.

You can use these instructions to make your own banner, but first you’ll have to consult Dashboard > Appearances > Header to find the header dimensions required by your own WordPress theme.

— TCDavis