Fixing Smashwords Epub validation errors


Wow! I’ve just landed my clean HTML code with a load of epub validation errors!

Here’s what they mean:

tags! tags! tags!

First thing to do is to double (triple) check all your code is good. I found 1 closing div tag out and I got err’s. So check them all!.

1. img tag problems? Make sure there is no space between the last ” and the end of the closing tag. Eg:

 img src="#" alt="" height="100%" /> <-- bad
 img src="#" alt="" height="100%"/><-- good

Oddly, this only appeared to error on my first image of the page. So I recommend adjusting one and then running a validation check

2. em tags. Nope. Get rid of them. I had blockquotes too. In the end I got rid of them and added some font styles to replace the em tags, eg:

 div id="blockquote" style="text-align: center; font-size: 150%; font-style: italic;"

3. sup tags! Kill sups – add the following css:


Wait up a minute…

I’ve already managed to get my file to validate – Hooray?! I’m confused because many of the errors completely disappeared by making small changes. For example: errors appear to be created by blockquote and em tags (once corrected) vanished from the rest of file. I expected an inconsistency to be, erm, consistent. But no. em and sup tags are throughout my file, but the validator doesn’t care. Certain tags appear to cause issues: I’m looking at you em tag!

This place didn’t appear to be much help in figuring out what the errors meant. Ahh well, at least my file has passed validation. If the validator link above passes, then it is extremely likely that the Smashwords meatgrinder will too – as it is based on the same thing.

Done – Mark 🙂

Advertisements Kindle posts

This morning, I moaned about one of my favourite websites –, in reference to their series of short blog posts, pointing out the failings of the Kindle.


I’m sorry, but this continuing ‘series’ of poorly written blog posts about the kindle, is pathetic.

Please stop writing them, you are embarrassing yourself and patronising your user base. These posts do nothing more than give the impression you are struggling for decent content – and if this isn’t true, then you won’t have a problem dropping them and putting good content up in its place.

I am not a Kindle owner, nor a employee of Amazon or Kindle, but a Sony ebook user, however even I have a massive problem with you bitching on about this technology being a book killer.

This (and all other) technologies of its kind, won’t ever kill off the printed book, it is simply a piece of technology that aids the portability of a new reading format. Just like the Mp3 player has not killed off music, just like the electronic keyboard hasn’t stemmed the growth and pleasure derived from performance pianists. Anyone that thinks it’ll kill off paper books, probably has a history of bad judgements going back decades.

The main problem I have with the very theme of these posts is the negativity. Being in the digital industry, it bemuses me that you knock the very media that you exist in, without it, you wouldn’t have a service. Why not post positive messages? (I’ve only seen one: #4) Can you not think of any more? Maybe these largely negative posts are an attempt to balance out your overtly glowing praise of digital readers in order to be seen as impartial and balanced? If so, you’re doing a bad job of it, as I haven’t noticed.

Before you get all ‘jovial’ and tell me to lighten up, it is you, that is stretching a joke so thin that your readers have stopped laughing and are now tired of tone of the collective posts, rather than the humour of any one in particular.

I am a fan of the Titlepage series of shows and love watching them as soon as they are released, but I’m hoping someone will take a second look at this ‘great idea’ of yours and reassess its value… please don’t ignore this message as one of a disgruntled person, take these this constructive comments into a meeting and talk about them.

Very few people ‘think’ about why they like or dislike something, even less rationalise their thought, even less feel compelled to give feedback to help that distributor of information get a second chance to reconsider their actions. Most people will simply leave and never return. I am the audience Titlepage ‘needs’ to exist.

The greatest mistake you can assume, is that I am the voice of one person – your site statistics will reveal the true flavour of opinion.


Sorry – maybe its a bad day carrying all this straw on my back.

WordPress 2.7 something to shout about

WordPress 2.7 has almost arrived – and its a biiiig change! Take a look at the latest Blog post to discover all the changes. This is for WP hosted blogs first, but you know it’ll be arriving for everyone else soon after. 

Personally I can’t wait. I get annoyed when I sing the praises of WP to new people, but when they use it I get comments of, ‘its a bit confusing’ etc – which I largely agree with. Sites like Blogger are much better for ease of use. Hopefully this release of WP will make using it more intuitive, whilst remaining the muts nuts for fast implimented site CMS’s.


A Proper experience

A Proper experience

When was the last time you went to the theatre? Ok. Now when was the last time you got paid to go to the theatre? Not often i bet. The Theatre isn’t somewhere I go, I like the idea of it, but I don’t have excess money, and when I do I use it to treat myself on DVDs CDs or going to see a live band or watch a film. Theatres, plays and musicals are an extra luxury – or possibly an extra-extra luxury.

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to work on behalf of MediaSnackers with the Everyman theatre group up in Liverpool, that were putting on a production of Proper Clever. And it is here that I got my first chance to experience a play since I was 12yrs old, playing ‘winky’ in rather majestic performance of ‘wee willy winky’ at school. I held the lamp btw, and I’m certain I was selected for the part due to my cute factor (no really) … I was small for my age, blond, cute, confident and had to sing a song – I dreaded doing it, and it possibly scarred me for life, but hey doesn’t everything?

Soo, the play in question felt rather odd to start with, the only similarities I had in my mind was going to ‘The Brand New Heavies’ (youtube link) in Colston Hall, Bristol 15yrs ago, when I went upstairs to the seats for a good view and gradually edged open my jacket to reveal my homemade BNH t-shirt (yes I was that much of a fanboy – and still am, minus the t-shirts). The playhouse theatre took me right back to those days, expecting a band to come on and be mesmerised by people standing still, moving only their fingers. Proper Clever basically performed a full frontal lobotomy on me within the first 10secs with impressive visuals and captivated my attention throughout with almost flawless young actors and a constant stream of remarkable dialogue from writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce (imdb link) that must have researched his target audience with the same precision of David Attenborough poking his fingers for several months into a pack of lions.  

The play was dripping in digital references and had visuals that left me wondering how it was all created – things have clearly moved on in the theatre going world, since my stage debut. By the end of the experience, I was definitely wow’d, my eyes had been opened up to something missing from my experience for over 20yrs. Luckily the subject matter was bang on my mentality and I could identify with most of the references made and in jokes played. 


Regarding my involvement, I had been lucky enough to spend some time training and assisting young people ages 14 – 19 to develop their media skills to become Digital Journalists. Throwing young people in at the deep end to try things they have never done before, is always a risk, as the whole project could backfire if the ole teenage rebellion kicks in, but I honestly have to say that kids came up trumps… everyone achieved beyond our expectations and stepped up to the challenge with great results. Don’t take my word for it, stop by their blog and watch the action unfold each night as the performance runs. 

In a nutshell the Everyman crew hired MediaSnackers to spice up their project and introduce some new ideas technologies and platforms for connecting with their audience. That we did, in bucket loads. But that’s not what this post is about – working with people that want to learn and develop their skills into positive future for themselves, is what makes me get up in the morning… and the more work I can do like that, the better. 

out – Mark

its become human!!

New technology comes along all the time and rarely does it do anything to change our traditional ways. But one for me has. I mentioned Buzzword before and I’m just re-stating it again now. Word is now a dirty app for me now, I hate it and I rarely use it, and when I have to (no net connection) I feel like I’m littering my machine with little viruses. I’m that serious about it. Maybe its my mentality / obsession of keeping crap off my hard drive, maybe its more that I’m taking writing more seriously? I’m not 100% sure. But BW has changed the way I work. And I’m stoked about it… its replaced how I used private wiki’s for storing pages of info. Now lets get this straight, Google Docs is simply Word (with sharing) online. But BW isn’t Google Docs, but ‘better’. BW is completely new. Sure it does the same basic things, but its in another league. Sure its got a few annoyances, but its made starting a new Doc something special again. Never before have I wanted to get loads of Docs into it to fill up my ‘organiser’ (list of files) … it actually feels wrong to have it empty. BW has had so much human thought put into it, that it feels like I’m cheating on it if it remains empty or unused! The bloody thing has become human, like a car can become to people (with those head lamp eyes and grill mouth) . Its an odd feeling. Its great knowing that I never have to email a document home or stick it on a flash drive to keep working on it. All I need for it to be perfect is there to be an offline version available too!

Dad: get a life (online)

ok I think I’ve done it. I think I’ve cracked a way to totally flip my dads life around, introduce him to the wonderful world of internetwebland… and spark passion into getting up in the morning and doing stuff. This is what happened recently:

Firstly, whilst I was waiting for some software to download on his computer, I decided to set up a blog on I posted a message, saying who he is and what he’s into and that people should email him if they’re into the same sort of things. The next thing I did was, do a quick search for things that he’s into and dropped a few url shortcut on to his desktop and hope he see’s and clicks them.

Soooo imagine my surprise when he rolls up next to next at my bro’s fireworks do, and says ‘hey, I know what I’ve been meaning to ask you’ … and then launches into a whole flow of conversation about what links I found and all the connecting stuff he discovered whilst clicking about on various links and pages. W00t! I thought. Result. That’s exactly what i was hoping for, and more… in fact I never thought he’d be so gushing about it all … and I guess I never thought the links I found were that stunning either.

Next up… he’s picking me up from the train station and I launch ‘phase 2’…  I try to explain what he’s discovered; ‘imagine all those people in a room, if you were in that room too, you’d be talking to them all’ (he agrees) ‘well, they are technically in a room or ‘space’, but instead of talking to each other they’re just sharing typed knowledge’ (he’s glazing over, but I’m not stopping) …. ‘well, if you typed out all your knowledge, and I put it online on a website, then you too would become part of that conversation and they would be able to access all your knowledge like you did to theirs’.

His reaction was a slow penny dropping type… he can type stuff, he’s done a mountain of lyric sheets before, and he enjoyed it. I proposed going through all his photo albums and newspaper cuttings and either he, or with my help, scanning them and adding some words of his memories to go with it. Once done I can put it online, and eventually I can get him doing it all. He’s liking the idea and getting excited… I keep going…. ‘you know all that music gear you have in the attic?, well how about photographing all that stuff too and getting it online?’ He’s in deep, ‘bloody hell, yeah that’ll be great’ thought now.

Hoo-bloody-ray… I left the thought with him and won’t mention it anymore… I know how his brain works and he’ll either ‘want’ to do it, and start the preparation straight away and let me know of his progress, or ‘forget’ (conveniently) about it and never mention it again and hope I won’t mention it either, because its too scarey a task for him to complete.

This is great news over all. I think once I get him going on this, it’ll be a total snowball effect and it’ll roll on and on. More news as I have it, but things are looking up for the old man. Today was a good day 🙂

Blogger wrong email problem.

Here’s a solution to a problem I found on new Blogger accounts. If you sign up for a blog and accidently use the wrong / incorrect email address, you won’t be able to confirm your address or log in to the help section to try and solve the problem. Here’s how to fix it:

log in using the wrong email address
go to Settings > Permissions > Add Authors

Invite yourself with the correct email address.

Close the browser, Click the invite email link and either log in or create a new account if you dont’ have one. There will now be two accounts registered under that blog name. Now you’ll need to change the premissions of the users.

Log back out, then log back in with the old (wrong) email address…

Then go to Settings > Permissions and assign ‘admin’ permissions to the new account.

Log out again, and log back in with the new account, go to settings > permissions once more and remove the first (wrong) account.

Hope this helps someone…. took me ages to figure it out… and their help files suck.

mark 🙂