This section of the ActivityWorkshop details some writing projects in various stages of completion — completed and available, ongoing and in-progress, and proposals for discussion.
Feedback is very welcome on all these projects, especially the proposals - it would be great to be able to estimate the potential demand for these, to determine whether they have an audience or not.
GpsPrune is a java application for viewing, editing and converting coordinate data from GPS systems. The software is free and anyone can use it without obligation. However, those who wish to can purchase an electronic copy of the user guide so that they can get the best out of the software. This user guide has gone through several revisions as the software has been upgraded and extended, the user guide is available for purchase and is being actively maintained. pdf epub
Following the "proof of concept" demonstrated by the GpsPrune user guide, this now opens the door to possible future writing projects. But whether these happen or not depends strongly on whether there could be an audience for the finished products. That is, whether there are enough people willing to pay money to buy the ebook once it is completed.
Therefore, feedback or suggestions are especially welcome on the following ideas:
The Alpine Pass Route is a popular long-distance hiking route across Switzerland covering around 19 days of very mixed terrain. Now signposted as the "Via Alpina 1", it already has some semi-official published books in both English and German so it would probably be difficult to compete with those books and their updates. And since raising the possibility of an ActivityWorkshop ebook on this route several years ago, a grand total of 2 emailers expressed interest in the idea. The potential audience is also limited to people who are going to do some hiking in Switzerland and haven't already done the APR already.
Possible contents - route descriptions (like on the website already but updated), photos, maps and GPS data, statistics, details on accommodation and transport.
This would be a collaboration project, combining some technical / geeky / programming / puzzle topics together with practical applications to the hobby of geocaching. The advantage of this idea is that it could be identifying an interesting selection of topics and how they relate to each other which isn't covered already by other geocaching books; the risk is that the potential audience is too limited and that even the perfect customer wouldn't easily ever hear about the book's availability.
I can imagine there are a few groups who might be interested - programmers and puzzle-solvers who don't know anything about geocaching, and beginner geocachers who haven't progressed to the difficult puzzles yet. So it sounds like an interesting learning experience for the authors too!
Possible contents - an introduction to geocaching (how to find simple caches with GPS, GpsPrune etc), some theory (GPS coordinates, coordinate systems, terminology), Multi-caches and calculations, Puzzle caches and Checkers, Wherigos, using Python or Java to solve puzzles, data encoding systems (like ascii, base64, binary, hex, braille, semaphore, morse, ...), encryption systems (ROT13, Caesar, Playfair, Pigpen, Vigenère, ...), other data-hiding tricks, online tools, mobile phone apps, ...
A draft version of the cover is shown here, but of course this is just a proposal.
The Alpenpanorama-Weg or Alpine Panorama Trail, like the APR, is a national hiking route across Switzerland from Northeast to West. There is already an official book guide from AT-verlag, but it's only available in French and German, not English. So it depends whether there's any demand or interest for an English version. The publisher thinks not, so according to them they're not currently planning on making a translation.
One possibility is that with your help we can persuade the publisher that there is sufficient interest, and then we can see how the existing book (with all the existing research, photos, diagrams and information) could be translated. A second possibility is that we could attempt to (slowly) create our own guide, completely independent of the existing one — but obviously that would entail a lot more duplicated effort.
I'm not sure whether the target audience for this is pre-teens who only know tablets and telephones but are not yet familiar with PCs, or whether it's grandparents who maybe already have a PC but aren't really comfortable with it. Yes, there are lots of "Grandparents' guide to the PC" books already but for me they're all too specific. I don't like the idea of a "how to use a Windows PC" guide or a "how to use an Apple PC" guide. I'd prefer to see the concepts of a PC taught with examples from both. I don't think "how to use Microsoft Word" is a good way to start, I'd prefer a "how to use a word processor" with examples from Word, Libreoffice and so on. Transferable skills.
Possible topics could cover what is a file, how can I find the one I'm looking for, are they on my PC or somewhere in the internet? What is a spreadsheet, what program do I need if I want to make a party invitation? What does a browser do (not just what words and buttons do Edge and Safari use)? How can I make backups? How do I use email safely? How do I choose which search engine to use? In short, how to get to grips with the basics of a PC, no matter which kind of PC it is. Stressing the commonalities between Microsoft, Apple and Linux systems (maybe even also ChromeOS?) so you can use any one. Stressing the common concepts of office suites, browsers, file managers etc so you can use any one.
I've gathered these ideas into a github repository where it is hopefully easy for anyone to register interest, make suggestions and comment on the ideas. Please feel free to raise a new issue with your feedback, or see what others have suggested. Don't be shy!