Monday, December 26, 2011

Annotum sucks.

A few days ago, I was updating one of my knol articles over at the Google knol system when I noticed a statement at the top of the screen saying that knol is being discontinued in May. This bothered me a lot, because my blog article index is written up as a knol, as are my lists of Gakken Otona no Kagaku kits. In fact, I was in the process of typing up the English translations of the Japanese circuit names for Gakken kit #32, and my plan was to upload it as a new knol in a few days. And now, I'm being told that knol is being taken down. Sigh.

However, there was also a note saying that knol is being replaced by something called "annotum", tied in with wordpress. This is a little strange since wordpress competes with google's blogspot, which I'm already using. Anyway, since I'm not being given any choice, I set up a wordpress account and clicked on the link to export the knols over to annotum, This step worked pretty flawlessly. Then I tried to create a new article for the Gakken kit #32 entry. That was a nightmare. Annotum is badly implemented, and the steps for putting paragraph breaks into the document just ended up adding new blank sections at the bottom of the editor to what seems to be an academic paper. There are 50 different experiments for the Gakken kit, and I had just added section 9 when I accidentally clicked on "publish" when I really wanted to preview the document. When I went to edit it (annotum strips out carriage returns and puts everything into one big block of text), suddenly ctrl+enter worked for adding paragraph breaks and I'm now faced with having to move 9 sections of text (one per circuit) back into the main body again. I just gave up, deleted the new article, pasted my document from Word into a new knol, and exported the knol into annotum (which went without a hitch).

A couple days go by, and I decide I want to check the Otona no Kagaku kit list to add the release date for kit #33 (the desktop robotic vacuum cleaner) because Gakken just announced the official date (Jan. 30). This is when I discovered that for some reason, one of the pictures of the kit covers was resized wrong in annotum. There's no easy way to resize it, and no way to access the html code for the page. Then I find out that annotum demands to have image files hosted on its own server, meaning that I'd have to grab all of the cover images from Gakken and upload them to google, probably violating copyright laws. Then suddenly ALL of the hot links to the Gakken covers got stripped out and the entire page turned naked on me.

This is stupid. There's no point to my using annotum. But now, all of my knol articles are tied up in this crappy software because they've been exported over. Fortunately, knol has an option to bundle up all of the old articles into one big zip file that I could download to my laptop. Unfortunately, it's all in ONE BIG FILE. I spent a full day clipping out each of the 27 articles one by one, and fixing the mess created by google in this latest step ("a name=" code was stripped out, anything in kanji was corrupted, and the HTML code was "pretty-printed" in such a way as to mess up the final display format). On top of having to fix all of the links between the files. Double sigh.

The point is that my knols have been moved over to Additionally, I have the circuit descriptions for Gakken kit #32 uploaded now, if you're interested in them. But, I'm not willing to just give up the Wordpress blog account, so I'm going to use that for only writing about the Otona no Kagaku kits.

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