September 6, 2002 : Information Unlimited : Using Sites

Anonymous Reader writes "by Marcel Gagné

Okay, I'm ready. Here it is. I am a news junkie. I'm cursed with a maniacal and insatiable need to be up on the latest in current events, science, entertainment, politics, rumor, and whatever else you can think of. For reasons that defy explanation, I need a steady diet of information about anything and everything that is going on in the world; nay, in the entire universe. Though I must confess (again?) a particular fondness for information of a scientific or technical nature, I can just as easily be swayed by a review of the Canadian Opera Company's latest performance or by speculation on the newest blockbuster. Information...I must have information.

Oh, and fiction, too. Lots and lots and lots of fiction. Text, that's the key. Ah, I feel much better. This is probably part of the reason that one of my favorite toys is my Visor Prism, a Palm OS device with the signature springboard slot. In that slot, I have an expansion card, a MemPlug that gives my Visor an extra 64MB of storage space. What do I do with that extra space? I store the latest stories and headlines from my favorite news sources. I also keep a dozen or so novels there, but today I'm going to concentrate on the news.

Justin Mason must have been one of the afflicted. That's probably why he wrote Sitescooper, a nice little program that's actually just a clever piece of perl code. What Sitescooper does is provide an easy way to download, clean up, and format your favorite news website so that you can read it on your Palm (or similar) handheld device. Since there are a number of reader programs available for handhelds, Sitescooper knows about many of the more popular onesâsuch as iSilo, Plucker, RichReader, and any of the numerous programs that make use of the DOC format (Aportisdoc, Tealdoc, and so on). It collects the news by using site description files that you can write yourself, although you may never need to. Sitescooper comes with some 400 different site files preconfigured."


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