2011 DEC 22 Markability Now a Web Service

I’ve made small modifications to the Markability code and pushed a version up to Heroku to make it publicly accessible to the masses. Simple API: POST http://markability.herokuapp.com/u with a form-encoded body with one field, “u”, with the URL to convert to Markdown. A form is available at http://markability.herokuapp.com for convenient human use. Haven’t pushed the new code up to Github yet, but will soon.

Enjoy!

2011 DEC 12 Markability: Capture Web Articles in Markdown

I’ve thrown a little utility up on Github called Markability, which allows you to capture articles from the web in Markdown format, using a combination of Readability (actually, a port of Readability to Python) and html2text.

Haven’t written documentation yet, but it’s as simple as installing a few Python modules from PyPI, cloning my repo and running from the command line.

easy_install lxml
easy_install readability-lxml
easy_install chardet
git clone https://github.com/aaronsw/html2text.git 
cd html2text
python setup.py install
cd ..
git clone https://github.com/evandeaubl/markability.git
cd markability
python markability.py url...

Multiple URLs on the command line are combined into one document with --- (horizontal rules) separating each page (unfortunately, the Python port of Readability does not handle multi-page articles, so that is a by-hand process). Images are not saved locally yet, but that is a planned feature.

This should get one started. This is a tool I plan to use to archive things for myself, so it will grow as I develop new features for my own needs. Or receive pull requests from others. hint, hint :-)

2011 NOV 25 Withings Scale and Body Fat Measurement Accuracy

I recently picked up a Withings Weight and Body Fat Scale, because I like gadgets. :-) The reviews on it were pretty good, except for many complaints about body fat measurement accuracy. The good news is there is a very simple way to resolve this issue.

First, a little background: the Withings scale, like pretty much any of the others like it, uses bioelectrical impedance analysis to do its body fat measurement. This method is highly sensitive to things such as recent eating, exercise, and hydration. The key to stabilizing the numbers and making them useful is to make these factors as constant as possible. Here’s what I do to do that (credits to Four-Hour Body for introducing me to this idea):

  1. Take my measurements the same time of day, about a half an hour after I wake up.
  2. Immediately on waking up, I drink a large quantity of water (about 32oz). Right before weighing a half hour later, I urinate to get rid of any excess water.
  3. No eating, drinking, or exercise during the half hour period between drinking and weighing.

With this technique, my measurements have come out very consistent. The only caveat I have is that the numbers the Withings scale produces are much higher than other scales I’ve used (12-13% vs. 16-17% for the Withings). This doesn’t appear to invalidate analyzing trends, though. Besides, the absolute numbers for any body fat measurement method are pretty much bogus anyway; it’s the trend that matters.

2011 NOV 19 My iCloud Alternatives

2011 NOV 13 Evernote Finally Makes Sense

2011 NOV 04 Linux in a Mac World: Accessing AFP Shares

2011 NOV 01 Yet Another First Post

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