I've been blogging for almost a year now and have found it quite enjoyable. Writing is quite therapeutic, and it makes you think about stuff a little more than you normally would. One of my most valuable possessions is a 300 page tome, my grandfather printed a few years before his death (he actually learned to use a computer at age 75 explicitly for this purpose!). Since my memory is about half as good as his (he could remember how much the boat tickets from San Fran to Tahiti cost some 70 years ago), I figure I better get a head start. So my goal for 2006 is to create a personal (non-online) journal. I want to try and give it equal time as my online technical journal. (Since most of my family members don't grok my blog. Though interestingly enough, I've convinced one of my four siblings to start a blog.) I figure my children will probably benefit a lot more from my personal journal, than my forays into programming, technology and Dick Proenneke. So my question to you my technical friends is what format to use? I've actually already started using ODF (you know the format the Massachusetts adopted), but am thinking about maybe switching to html. The end goal of course is a dead tree hard cover tome. I'm using a computer rather than typing it by hand because I want to be able to include digital photos in the journal. Perhaps very simple xml. My main concern is that by embedding pictures into the document, the size of the journal could get quite big, quite fast (hence the desire to link to the pictures via html/xml). Here are my requirements:

  • Spell checking
  • Easily editable/readable by myself (or my wife)
  • Somewhat futureproof

I figure if I use simple html/xml instead of ODF, writing a script to convert it to latex, odt, whatever the latest and greatest format is of the time, I can do it. Viewing diffs from SVN would be easy. Let me explain what I mean by futureproof. If I don't do it in an open format, it might cause other people to have to re-digitize it and hence duplicate effort). I've recieved many family histories that are 3 generations xeroxed copies that started out digital. I'd much prefer to recieve a cd containing the document with the copy, at the very least to preserve the photo quality. (I can re-type the text if necessary, but I'm not sure I can get another copy of some of these old photos). My grandpa's journal is written in word perfect. For me to have it in digital form, I need to find the zip disk containing a copy of it, get that file on my computer and pray that OpenOffice WP import works ok.... (If done in an open format, that last step should be less trouble/worrysome) Eventually, I'll want to print a hard copy format. At that time, I'll do index generation, page numbering, title page, etc. I'm interested in hearing any experiences or suggestions.