ePubs, iBooks, Kindle - Footnote, Drop Caps, inline icons?

I've been trying to find way to add an icon for reference footnotes inside paragraphs and sentences. Liz Castro covered some corner cases for iBooks. But it involves wrapping img with a div. The problem is that this causes problems when your image should be inside a p tag.

What I want is to be able to add an icon inside a paragraph and sometimes in between a paragraph (i.e. display:inline-block). The icon ideally should be able to resize based on the reader's current font-size setting (i.e. the use of "em" instead of absolute pixels number). The solution needs to be cross-platform  - so the same ePub/mobi source file would work on iBooks, Kindle e-Ink, Kindle Fire, etc.

Here is my current snippet.

<div style="display:inline-block;" data-linked="true"><a data-links="1" name="mn-26086aa1b6aa38d2f6fe4af53eb786e1" style="text-decoration:none;display:inline-block;height:0.98em;width:0.69em;" href="mn-26086aa1b6aa38d2f6fe4af53eb786e1.xhtml"><img height="20px" width="14px" src="Penguin-mid-res.JPG" style="height:100%;width:100%;vertical-align:middle;"/></a></div>

The blue portion is for iBooks as mentioned in Liz's post. However, there's seem to be a problem when the above snippet is placed inside a paragraph tag.

As you can see, it works fine when the icon is outside the paragraph in the second case.

The reason we have the red part of the code is that Kindle e-Ink doesn't support style tag and it also doesn't (the ones I tested) accept "em" for image sizing. But it does support height/width attributes directly so by defining those we can set the height and width for Kindle and then it safely ignores the css inside the style attribute.

This part does seem to work right now.

Sales and Top Books

Sales is probably one of the most American jobs one can get. In fact, every sales person is also an entrepreneur. I've read "SPIN Selling" years ago and currently listening to "Secrets of Closing the Sale" audio book. But I'm left wanting to find more books about sales. After searching around a bit, these seem to be the top books on the subject. These books focus purely on selling and the sales process (i.e. don't include books on persuasion or negotiation - though these topics are also touched on tangentially).

"I am proud to be a salesman because more than any other man I, and millions of others like me, built America.

The man who builds a better mouse trap -or a better anything-would starve to death if he waited for people to beat a pathway to his door. Regardless of how good, or how needed, the product or service might be, it has to be sold.

Eli Whitney was laughed at when he showed his cotton gin. Edison had to install his electric light free of charge in an office building before anyone would even look at it. The first sewing machine was smashed to pieces. People scoffed at the idea of railroads. They thought that even traveling thirty miles an hour would stop the circulation of the blood! McCormick strived for fourteen years to get people to use his reaper. Westinghouse was considered a fool for stating that he could stop a train with wind. Morse had to plead before ten Congresses before they would even look at his telegraph.

The public didn't go around demanding these things they had to be sold!"

- Zig Ziglar - Salesman

From the Guru's:
Big Customers:
Other mentions:
Other lists:

Adam Smith and Karl Marx: If there is a live interview today

Earlier I used my startup www.mobntotate.com to link Adam Smith's Wealth of Nation to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. Mobnotate is able to find ~10 places where the two authors talk about the same topic. You can see the complete list and download the Wealth of the Nation with Marx's comments here.

Here are some of the more interesting parts. Adam Smith's is a supporter of division of labor and the increase investment in machinery as a way of increasing productivity.

"The increase in the wages of labour necessarily increases the price of many commodities, by increasing that part of it which resolves itself into wages, and so far tends to diminish their consumption both at home and abroad. The same cause, however, which raises the wages of labour, the increase of stock, tends to increase its productive powers, and to make a smaller quantity of labour produce a greater quantity of work. The owner of the stock which employs a great number of labourers, necessarily endeavours, for his own advantage, to make such a proper division and distribution of employment that they may be enabled to produce the greatest quantity of work possible. For the same reason, he endeavours to supply them with the best machinery which either he or they can think of. What takes place among the labourers in a particular workhouse takes place, for the same reason, among those of a great society. The greater their number, the more they naturally divide themselves into different classes and subdivisions of employment. More heads are occupied in inventing the most proper machinery for executing the work of each, and it is, therefore, more likely to be invented. There are many commodities, therefore, which, in consequence of these improvements, come to be produced by so much less labour than before that the increase of its price is more than compensated by the diminution of its quantity." (Chapter 8 - Of The Wages Of Labour)

Marx on the other hand feel that the increase use of machine means that the relative value of labor decreases. Therefore it hurts the power of workers to the point of making them almost irrelevant.

"Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labor, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labor, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. What is more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labor increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time, or by increased speed of machinery, etc." (Manifesto Of The Communist Party: Chapter 1 - Bourgeois And Proletarians)

Smith though thinks that the cost of labour should go up and not down, despite the fact that less labour is needed.

"It is the natural effect of improvement, however, to diminish gradually the real price of almost all manufactures. That of the manufacturing workmanship diminishes, perhaps, in all of them without exception. In consequence of better machinery, of greater dexterity, and of a more proper division and distribution of work, all of which are the natural effects of improvement, a much smaller quantity of labour becomes requisite for executing any particular piece of work, and though, in consequence of the flourishing circumstances of the society, the real price of labour should rise very considerably, yet the great diminution of the quantity will generally much more than compensate the greatest rise which can happen in the price." (6. Third Sort)

American Airline: Chapter 11 Restructuring?

Two days ago, I tried to change my American Airline ticket to an earlier day. The agent won't change it for anything less than $650.

I tried to explain to her that the new flight is flying in a few hours, the seat is a perishable good that she is unlikely to find any taker in the meantime, any new money I give her is pure profit for them (free money with almost no incremental cost to AA), and they get to relinquish my original seat with a lot more time to re-sell it to someone else.

She asked me if I see other flights from another airline. I told her that Delta is offering me another flight for $450 and they will have to at least match this price to make any sense for me to switch. I can even overpay a bit because I have a partial refund from the original ticket.

She said - "But we already have your money". I thought I mis-heard her because I feel a bit being held as hostage. But she said it twice!! Basically, she told me to pound sand. Anyhow, I bought from Delta in the end.

Today, I got an email from AA about their Chapter 11 with a nice video from their Chairman.

It's true that AA already has my money, but they could've had my money twice AND re-sell my original seat once more to someone else. I talked to another agent later and turns out that the agents don't get any commissions from making a sale. No wonder why they weren't more aggressive to earn my business and the attitude seems a bit "arrogant".

Extraordinary Individuals from Business Schools: INSEAD, Harvard, and Stanford

I had dinner with the President of INSEAD North America few nights ago and I learned that the North America alumni forum is coming up. The forum list reads like a group of really accomplished and well known people.

This got me wondering. How many alumni from business schools will actually make it big? Who will be truly world famous?

Unlike many business school ranking on career satisfaction survey or international metrics, this has a bit of raw, cut to the core, kind of feeling to it. Fashionable MBA ranking metric changes every year (to sell more papers???). This metric tends to be more stable overtime. Having said that, this doesn't measure the ROI of a particular MBA program or the responsiveness of the alumni network. If you're interested in which school you should apply to, you can read more from my classmate here.

Rather, my goal here is very simple - which business school is graduating extraordinary individuals - ignoring whether the school is really nurturing them or just simply good at picking them among the applicants.

To find graduates who have made it I ran a search on how many executives with profiles on Forbes and Businessweek with mentions of each institution. I only ran this for INSEAD, Harvard, and Stanford. I was going to do Wharton, Kellogg, and IMD too, but these schools have names that are a bit harder to filter out (e.g. Wharton has a huge undergraduate program). Feel free to add these in the comment section.

This is the raw data:

You can use this method to do it for your favorite school with these keyword combinations - e.g INSEADHarvard, or Stanford with their many strange name combinations (is this an intentional branding strategy...?)

Note that this method includes everyone with references to the school (e.g. who worked for the school or graduates with EMBA, PhDs, etc...). I also included the # of alumni and the size of the class in case you want to figure out the "efficiency" of a school at churning out extraordinary people. MBA/year is taken as of 2010. For INSEAD, this has increased gradually over time from ~50 MBAs/year five decades ago to 980 MBAs/year today. What I really want is number of living alumni who are between 40-65 years old, but I don't know how to get that.

If anyone knows a cleaner data source, a more global data source, or a more comprehensive data source (e.g. includes politics) feel free to leave me a comment :-)

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson - Using Machine Learning to extract topics from a 650 page book.

[This post is continuously updated since I just bought it last night from feedbooks...]

The goal is to allow me to get a quick overview of this 650 page book and figure out where to read (since I know the Steve Jobs story pretty well and I'm more interested in some of the key short stories that I didn't know already).

This is the first try. Haven't used any external data. Didn't model the correlation among topics and changes over time. Software ran for about 1M iterations.

Me: @kinwong
Design Advisor: @inasee
Technical Advisor: @seannyg

0  pixar disney katzenberg
1  baez young egan
2  gass share unix
3  raskin project jef
4  lasseter smith software
5  blue box dylan
6  brother levy hawaii
7  ipod fadell music
8  intensity drop vegetarian
9  perspective objects emotionally
10  einstein heroes ceo
11  music itunes ipod
12  board ceo financial
13  apple company product
14  phone touch glass
15  devices cloud hub
16  sculley macintosh division
17  paul education electronic
18  gates microsoft windows
19  disk frogdesign susan
20  atari alcorn bushnell
21  dylan bono ipod
22  truth campbell levitt
23  markkula ii mike
24  flew release rights
25  costs struck casual
26  macintosh ibm ad
27  coleman players stand
28  macintosh hertzfeld mac
29  reed father erin
30  options stock price
31  kottke friedland zen
32  hewlett book packard
33  sculley pepsi marketing
34  express interfaces intensity
35  suit perfection leaving
36  powell cancer health
37  iger eisner deal
38  intel sec grant
39  wozniak woz personal
40  father school electronics
41  college lsd campus
42  romantic attention condition
43  laser mr ideas
44  ipad digital apps
45  ad commercial ads
46  imac drive tray
47  computer computers show
48  google iphone android
49  murdoch books dinner
50  parents joanne paul
51  amelio woolard ellison
52  lawsuit smartphones steel
53  filter trait maintain
54  eason information hormone
55  powell laurene smith
56  mountain boy pot
57  lisa father simpson
58  jobs steve time
59  raise childhood assistant
60  wayne hp keyboard
61  perot rand lewin
62  stores store johnson
63  rounded fonts bauhaus
64  hurt carrot fasts
65  cancer cook rubinstein
66  people make made
67  debi paris france
68  house found family
69  software products system
70  crowd feet thrown
71  reality distortion field
72  design products simplicity
73  lisa sony drive
74  palo alto wife
75  metal semiconductor feet
76  cook airplane players
77  xerox atkinson parc
78  ive product jony
79  brennan relationship calhoun
80  clow crazy licensing
81  public ipo shares
82  audience onstage appeared

Digital Media 101 for Writers - What you can do in the next 60 minutes

(I wrote this post for my author friends)

Why you should care?
  • Your online presence is a long-term asset that stays with you even when you move across jobs, projects, companies, and books. It accumulates over time.
  • Building a passionate community allows you guarantee sales of your book, build up future pre-orders, and have the opportunity to mobilize your community for meaningful purpose. (I'm also writing a post with examples of authors who are leveraging their community for the greater good)
What you can do in the next 60 minutes:
  • Sign up for a blogging service - Tumblr (recommended) or WordPress (advanced)
    • This becomes your permanent space online. Make sure that people can subscribe to your blog via RSS and comment on it.
    • (Optional) Get a domain name with your name (e.g. blog.rickykinwong.com).
    • (Optional) Integrate it with disqus commenting system. See the posts on my blog as an example.
  • Signup for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
    • (Optional) Use Tweetdeck or Seesmic to follow your friends.
    • Post interesting short content on twitter/facebook/linkedin “updates”. Occasionally post updates to link back to your blog to buildup your “space”.
  • Subscribe to popular blogs/sites in your topic with a rss news reader.
  • Write posts that are designed to be shared and link generously to other bloggers so hopefully that they would link you back.
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