Capes and Superheroes.

A lot of superheroes have capes. Long, drooping capes usually matching the color of their costume. But do they have a purpose? After a discussion with my ‘web’ peers, here’s the verdict.

Apparently, the creators of both Batman (Bob Kane) and Superman (Siegel & Shuster) were inspired by the swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks from the 1920 film “Mask of Zorro”. So, they gave birth to the cape-culture that was previously confined to Spaniards. Also, capes added a new dimension and a dynamism to the superheroes they were about to create.

Batman’s cape is designed to perfection and is primarily utilitarian. Made of bullet-resistant and fire-retardant material, Batman’s cape can mitigate or even negate the potential threats posed by gunfire and flames. It can also help minimize the potential of lacerations and impact injuries. The voluminous material of cape can help him in better navigation when he is air borne and also reduces the speed of descent. It also helps him camouflage his presence in the dark and scary nights of the legendary Gotham. Finally, it gives an insanely dramatic effect. Think of all the pictures where you find Batman partly covering himself in his huge cape. By the way, Robin has a cape just because Batman does!

Unfortunately, there isn’t any purpose or a story behind Superman wearing a cape. Apparently, the Kryponites had capes etched into their dress code.

And finally, capes have downsides too…I’ll let “The Incredibles” do the talking.


Kindle tweaks and utilities.

If you own a Kindle, it is obvious that you look for ways to get the most out of it. As Kindle uses e-ink, it is easy on the eye unlike an LCD, staring at which for longer duration or during the early hours may strain your eye (On a completely unrelated note, f.lux is a software that adjusts the color temperature based on the time in your time zone to battle the eerie blue glows during the crepuscular or early times) . E-ink is ideal for reading in direct sunlight or during travel. And most importantly, Kindle is distraction free. If you have an iPad, chances are that you start reading, feel like playing Angry Birds in the middle and bookmark your book to complete it later. Kindle, being only an e-book reader(and with a relatively slower processor) is distraction free. Even if you have wi-fi, the surfing experience on e-ink doesn’t compare to your traditional web-browser or iPad.

So, here are a few tweaks and some sources to get the most out of your kindle.

Project Gutenberg and Feedbooks are two sources which offer you a wide range of books to choose from. Here’s how you download books onto your Kindle from Project Gutenberg:

If you want to download any book, say, you have a sudden urge to read Ulysses by James Joyce , all you have to do is go to Gutenberg, select a suitable format for your eReader (ePub for iPad, mobi for Kindle with or without images or HTML for Nook) and voila! you’re done! Now you can transfer the .mobi file to your Kindle either by using a USB cable (either via Calibre or direct copy-paste) or by using Send to Kindle (which is an insanely handy utility that sends you the files to your Kindle id wirelessly). Send to Kindle lets you specify the author name and send PDFs, DOCs and other formats and is shown as an option when you right click on the file you want to send.

Other freewares that come in handy areĀ Kindle Collections Manager and Kindlean. They have an intuitive interface and let you organize and edit your Kindle files in an iTunes-esque way. Or for a simpler interface, you can use Collection Manager.

If you’re searching for content, there is Kindle Feeder. It lets you follow all your favorite blogs and delivers them wirelessly in a kindle friendly format. Free users can select up to 12 feeds. So Techcrunch,Huff Post, Engadget etc.., you’re all in! Not forget Instapaper which lets you save interesting web content for reading later.

And finally, there is Readlists which is a group of articles bundled into an ebook for reading whenever you are free. The best part? You can download articles, recipes, course materials, and a lot of other things and have them sent to your kindle wirelessly. So, if you feel like books are not for you, Readlists are of great help. There are several articles from “design professionalism” to articles on macroeconomics by Paul Krugman. So, search and send em’ all!!