* Calibre Quick Start Guide Fourth Edition

Posted on February 22nd, 2014 by John. Filed under calibre.

The quick start guide is something I’ve been neglecting for quite some time. When calibre 1.0 was released I really should have updated the guide at that time but I didn’t. This past week I decided that it had been long enough and the guide had to be updated.

I’m happy to say that before I updated it, the majority of the information in the guide still applied. This is a testament to the stability of calibre. While lots of new feature are still being added the overall usage of calibre has remained consistent over this time. This is a good thing because it mean users don’t have to re-learn calibre regularly.

This update to the quick start guide is a major update. Most if not every paragraph was touched. Information about features not present in calibre during the last update have been added. For example, the cover grid view and the e-book editor. Outdated information, such as the a section about the PDB e-book format, has been removed.

I’ve updated the license on the guide as well. It’s still the same Creative Commons license but I’ve moved from version 3 to version 4. That said, the rights granted by the license haven’t changed.

I’m calling this release of the quick start guide the Fourth Edition. Previous releases didn’t have a version. They really should have. Thinking back about major updates this is probably (I can’t really remember) the fourth major update. Going forward I’m going to use an edition like most other books that get updates over time.

Not long ago I made a post stating that calibre’s new e-book editor is the successor to Sigil. I’m happy to say that I used the calibre e-book editor to update the Calibre Quick Start Guide. I didn’t just update the text but the entire structure of the book was updated. File names, locations, CSS, and HTML layout were all changed. The calibre e-book editor really is Sigil’s successor.

As usual the Calibre Quick Start Guide is included as part of calibre. It is still the first book in your library when creating a new, empty library. The fourth edition (update) is part of calibre release 1.25 (21 Feb, 2014). You can always directly download the latest version from the source repository.

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* Sigil’s Spiritual Successor

Posted on February 9th, 2014 by John. Filed under Sigil.

At this point Sigil is no longer being actively developed. Moving development to Github has netted a few contributions but they were one offs and fairly minor. With Sigil development being stalled, Kovid (of calibre) starting making the tweak epub functionality in calibre into a full editor.

calibre’s editor at this point is stable and has many of the features, though not all (yet), that are present in Sigil. Like Sigil, calibre’s editor is open source and unlike Sigil is being actively developed. I’ve known Kovid for quite some time (though calibre) and I’m confident that the calibre editor is the way forward.

For people using Sigil, keep using it as long as it works for you. If you find it’s not meeting your needs or if you want to see what else is out there I recommend checking out cailbre’s editor. While it doesn’t use any of Sigil’s code I consider it Sigil’s spiritual successor.

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* Focus ST – Titanium Seat Swap (Front seats)

Posted on December 17th, 2013 by John. Filed under articles.

Note: This is a post I made on the FocusST.org forum.

This guide is for swapping a Ford Focus ST 2′s partial leather trimmed Recaro seats with the seats from a Titanium Focus. Only the driver seat can be swapped directly. The passenger seat electronics from the Titanium do not work in the ST. The easiest way to deal with this issue is to swap the upholstery between the ST and Titanium passenger seats. The steps for an ST 1 and ST 3 should be very similar. I would imagine the process would also be similar for a Fiesta ST as well. Over all the process is straight froward. Remove the bottom cushion, the seat back cover, and the foam. The frame and electronics are identical: size, shape, placement.


  • Ratcheting wrench
  • T50 torx
  • T30 torx
  • Flat head screw driver
  • Phillips head screw driver
  • 7mm socket
  • Bolt cutters
  • Knife, box cutter or similar
  • Dykes or pliers (optional)

Driver Seat

The drivers side is compatible with the car and can be swapped directly. The Titanium drivers seat is electric (not heated) and the electric adjustments work.

There are four bolts that hold the seat to the car. Take those out with the T50 torx. There is also a plug box under the seat that needs to be disconnected. Use the 7mm socket. The bolt is part of the top of the plug and won’t itself come off. Disconnect the plug box and pull out the seat. Put the Titanium seat in, bolt it to the car and connect the plug box.

Passenger Seat

The passenger seat, unfortunately, cannot be dropped into the car directly like the driver seat can. The car will see the seat and all of its components but refuse to work with it. The SRS system will say something like unsupported part (I can’t remember the error exactly) and disable itself. Meaning if you just swap the passenger seat you won’t have air bags (any air bags not only the one in the seat). The air bag light will always be on letting you know the air bags will not deploy in a crash.

I was not able to determine which part within the seat the car doesn’t like. My guess is it’s the air bag module. The passenger seat I got was from a wreck so when I had the dealership pull the SRS faults it was showing a lot of them. Due to the unsupported part they couldn’t clear any of the codes. I wasn’t going to try swapping individual pieces and taking the car to the dealership to see if I found the right one. Instead I decided to swap the upholstery.

The good news is the upholstery can be swapped without much modification to the seats themselves. The frame itself is the same for both models. Also, the air bag module is the same size, shape and in the same location. The only modification you need to do is to remove a plastic shaping piece for the bottom cushion’s bolsters in the ST seat.


For anyone who wants to try only swapping the air bag here is what the Titanium seat looks like with the upholstery removed. The air bag is the box on the left. Here is another shot of how the air bag connects to the frame. There are two tabs and two screws that hold it on. There is a connector at the bottom of the module that unplugs and leads to the plug box under the seat. Again, this info is for anyone who wants to try swapping the air bag only (I don’t know if that will work or not). If you are going to do an upholstery swap you won’t need to worry about or mess with the air bag at all.


Of course you need to take the seat out of the car. See the driver side section on how to get the seat out.

A word of warning. Take your time and don’t force anything. Most of the attachments are to the foam cushion and if you force anything you’ll end up ripping the foam. Or worse you’ll rip attachment point out of the foam. Again, take your time.

Remove the lever for leaning the seat back. Pop out the circular cover in the picture using a flat head screw driver. Under the cover is a bolt. Remove it using the T30 torx. The lever will slide off. Remove the screw on the back of the plastic side piece with a philips screw driver. With the lever and screw removed slide the plastic piece that goes across the side of the seat forward and pull it off. There are two tabs (middle and front) that hold it to the seat. Remember this for when you put the seat back together.




On the side with the seat belt plug there is also a plastic piece that needs to be removed. As with the other side remove the screw on the back. Slide the piece forward and pull on it to get it off.


With the plastic side pieces off you can access all of the tabs to remove the bottom cushion. There are two tabs on each side, and one across the front. The tabs are probably the hardest part of this entire process. They hook around and hold on to the metal tab at the top. Titanium cushion doesn’t have much give which makes getting tabs off difficult. I had a much easier time unhooking them on the ST seat. I sat on the edge of the side of the seat I was working on then inserted a flat head screw driver between the tab and the metal frame. Twist out to get the hook off then push down to pull it off the metal frame. Go around the seat and unhook all of these tabs.


At this point the ST seat has an extra step. There is a plastic insert that shapes the bottom cushion’s side bolsters that isn’t in the Titanium seat. The plastic piece has a hook on each side that also holds the cushion in place. Don’t just pull on the cushion because you will rip the cross member that the hooks hold. I pulled the cushion up as far as I could and used a flat head screw driver to pop the cushion off the hook. This is probably the second hardest part of the process.



Now we’re back to ST and Titanium steps being the same. With the tabs unhooked flip the seat over so we can unhook the back. There are three tabs that are on elastic bands that are attached to the seat back. Pull those off and flip the flap of material out of the way. You’ll see two tabs that are part of the bottom cushion; unhook them.


The two tabs, leather, and foam of the bottom cushion wrap around a bar that goes across the back of the seat. It’s a bit tight but push it off so you can get the cushion free. Don’t pull from the front of the cushion, push from the back. If you pull the tabs might hook onto something. Also, you might want to slide the reclining lever back on and play with the position of the back of the seat to make it easier to get it out.


The ST seat has another step that doesn’t apply to the Titanium seat. That plastic piece for the bottom cushion’s side bolsters, which has to be removed. Sadly, the piece is held on with three rivets. Two in the front and one in the back. The rivets are not heat rivets like you’d see on a 1920′s sky scraper. The rivet is a hollow tube that has a pin inserted at one end which compresses and expands the sides. You can pull the pin out using a set of dykes or pliers which would make the next step easier but it’s not required. Cut the rivets off with the bolt cutters. I couldn’t get my bolt cutters in flat to cut it off easily. I positioned the cutters perpendicular to the rivet and cut a few times to get it apart. I also had to use the flat head screw driver to bend and reposition the rivet (it will spin) a few times.



You’ll need to detach (then reattach) the weight sensor mat to get the plastic bolsters off. Look at the first picture of the seat without the upholstery (or at your seat at this point). You’ll see a plastic mat that was under the bottom cushion. This it the weight sensor. It’s held on by two plastic push pin. Gently pull the pin out (you can leave them through the mat) of the frame. The plastic bolster shaping piece should now be free. Reattach the weight sensor mat.

With the bottom cushion off you can move on to the removing the leather cover. Slowly peal the cover upward. Think of it like an upside down banana but you won’t be splitting it. For pulling the cover up you’ll need to work both the back and front alternating between the two. Do a little of one then switch to the other. Both the front and back have various attachments that hold the cover in place that will need to be dealt with.

The ST seat has a foam insert that goes across the bottom of the back that is not present in the Titanium seat. It is glued in place. Pull it out gently so it doesn’t rip.


Both the ST and Titanium seats have clips along the inside the cover on the sides. The clips hold the cover to the frame. The Titanium seat has two clips (one on either side) and the ST has four. The Titanium has an additional clip that the ST doesn’t have that goes from the front of the cover, through the foam and attaches to the back of the seat. It is near the air bag. Disconnect this clip and push it though the hole in the foam. Both seats have a clip that holds the pocket in place that will need to be pulled off.



The front is a bit trickier than the back. The Titanium seat is mostly velcro but there isn’t much of it. The ST seat has clips along the side that are attached to the foam. Gently unclip the cover from the foam (it’s easy to tear the clips out of the foam). Also, be very gentle with the velcro. Again you can pull the velcro attachment off the foam. I took the flat head screw driver and inserted it between the two parts of the velcro to separate it then used the screw driver to hold the foam side in place and pulled the other side off. Sometimes it didn’t want to come apart so I had to push the screw driver across to get it apart.


The ST logo on the front of the seat (shoulder area) is held in place with a lot of velcro. There are multiple lines of velcro that hold it in place. The Titanium seat unfortunately doesn’t use velcro in that area. Instead there is a plastic bar on a flap that is held to the foam by a set of metal rings that goes through another plastic bar embedded in the foam. Cut these rings with bolt cutters. When reassembling the seat I used a set of zip ties as a substitute for the rings.


At this point the cover should be almost off and only held on by the head rest posts. There are two options for for getting the cover off the rest of the way. You can carefully pull the cover over the top of the post. Be careful you don’t rip the cover if you do this but the hole is big enough to do this. Otherwise you can push the cover out of the way and wait until later when the posts are removed in order to get the foam off without tearing it.

The top of the foam on the back has slits. The ST seat had the slits taped over but the Titanium seat didn’t. Cut the tape along the slit (you can tape it back later if you want). Pull the foam flap on the back up so you can get to the head rest posts in the seat. On the top right (when facing the back of the seat) of the post is a plastic piece that don’t allow the post to be removed. This piece can be pressed in (it’s on a spring) so you can pull the post out.




With the posts removed the foam can be slid off the frame. The foam does go around all sides of the air bag box and can get caught when removed. Gently pull it off the air bag box and you’ll be able to slide the rest of the foam off the frame.



Reassembly is the disassembly process in reverse. Swap the foam pieces. Then put the leather cover (it should be inside out) on the top of the foam and put the head rest posts back in to hold it all together. Start pushing the cover down and press the velcro in place. Put the clips back making sure to get the one that goes through the foam front front to back. Put the bottom cushion in place, and be sure to wrap it around the bar on the back of the seat and clip it in place. With the bottom cushion in place finish by attaching the back across the bottom of the seat.

Put the seat in the car (remember to reconnect the plug box under the seat) and turn it on to verify the air bag light doesn’t come on.



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* Sigil 0.7.4 Released

Posted on October 27th, 2013 by John. Filed under Sigil.

This is a small maintenance release of Sigil. Books with an invalid doctype should open as they did in version prior to 0.7.3. Also, this release has a build for OS X using Qt 5.2.0 Beta 1. This release should support Mavericks though it has not been tested on Mavericks.

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* Sigil Issue Tracking Disabled Completely

Posted on October 27th, 2013 by John. Filed under Sigil.

I’ve disabled the issue tracker on both Google Code and GitHub. The issue tracker has become people posting the same few items which are not issues over and over again. I spend more time closing invalid issues than doing anything else with Sigil. If you’re having a problem with Sigil of some sort try searching Google. FYI, if you’re using OS X chances are either the version you’re using isn’t supported or isn’t supported at this time due to components Sigil depends on being broken on that version.

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* Focus ST Mountune Quick-Shift vs Cobb Short Shift Plate and Installation Adventures

Posted on September 29th, 2013 by John. Filed under Opinion.


Note this is a post I made on the FocusST.org forum.

Like many Focus ST owners out there I don’t like the shift throw length on the
ST. Unlike most people I find it too long not for performance reasons rather
due to my size. I’m a bit short and I have to reach for fifth gear and sixth is
so far behind me that it’s even more uncomfortable than fifth.

When Cobb released their short shift plate I purchased it. Since then Mountune
has a released a replacement shift arm. The big question I’ve had is which is
better. The few people who I’ve seen that have the Mountune arm haven’t used
the Cobb plate so they can’t compare the two. Since I wasn’t truly happy
with the Cobb plate (for reasons I’ll get to later) I decided to get the
Mountune arm and see if it was any better.

Cobb Feel

I set the Cobb plate to 30% reduction because I was worried about the additional
force shifting would require. Fortunately 30% was the perfect amount of reduction.
Shifting also felt like there was less slop. It felt crisp and precise.

Unfortunately, the Cobb plate had a few issues. First, I don’t like the additional
amount of force required to shift. It is minimal and for most people they won’t
notice or mind. But I really didn’t like how it felt. That said it wasn’t enough
that I wanted to remove the plate and go back to stock.

The second issue was a clunking noise when I shift. Third gear in particular.
This has been said by others. I don’t like this.

The third issue I had is the bottom of the plate is too thick. This I didn’t
notice until I took it off. The bottom of the plate when I removed it had the
paint scraped off from shifting. The plate wraps around the shift arm but the
bottom part of the plate will scrape the assembly under the arm that the arm
attaches to. The plate bolts were tight and there wasn’t any wiggle of the
plate itself. So this isn’t an installation issue.

Mountune Feel

It feels similar stock with a shorter throw. Gear selection is more mechanical
in feel and less slop. More slop then the Cobb bracket though. I didn’t notice
any additional force necessary than stock.

Which Do I Prefer

Mountune but I’m looking at overall comfort. For most people I wouldn’t
recommend it though.

The Mountune kit is considerably more expensive than the Cobb plate. Most
people wanting a shorter shift throw want a short throw. They don’t want a
short throw to make driving the car more comfortable. So the feel and force
won’t matter to most people. The Cobb plat gives you a choice of 30% or 40%
while the Mountune arm only gives you 25% reduction.

Also, the Cobb plate does feel better (aside from the extra force). The
Mountune arm just doesn’t have the clunking and the extra force that I couldn’t


Cobb Instalation

Installation of the Cobb plate wasn’t as easy as Cobb makes it out but not bad.

The Cobb instructions say to remove the shift arm, install the plate and put
the arm back in. When I tried tapping out the roll pin that holds the shift
arm in place I couldn’t get it to budge. I tried using the screw Cobb sent
with the plate and hammering out the pin and I gave up. The Cobb instructions
say to be careful you don’t hit the pin to hard and send it flying off into
the engine bay. I didn’t have that issue because I couldn’t get the thing
to budge.

Fortunately, you don’t need to take the shift arm out to install the plate. You
can put the plate in place, hold the bottom in place and screw it together from
the bottom. This is what I ended up doing and that was it for installation.

Mountune Installation

Ten hours and a beat up shift arm and it’s done. In a word installation went

For the Mountune arm you really do have to remove the stock shift arm because
the Mountune part is replacing it. So I really did have to get that roll pin
out that I had trouble with and ended up ignoring during the Cobb installation.

The Mountune kit comes with a pin removal tool (punch) and it’s smaller than
the pin. This fact will become important later. I used the punch to hammer out
the pin and it took a lot of force and a lot of time. Probably an hour of
straight hammering but I got the pin out.

At this point I hammered the pin to the front side of the Mountune arm, put
the arm in the car, aligned it and started hammering the pin though. Again
it took a lot of force.

I got the pin about half way in and when I stopped to take a short break I
realized the roll pin had deformed on the end I was hammering It was so
flattened that that was no way it was going all the way though.

So I have the arm installed and the pin only holding on one of the two points
it’s supposed to hold. This means that there is a good possibility of it
shearing at some point. I can’t push the pin though because it won’t fit now
and that means I can’t push it out like I did originally.

The battery box came out so the pin could be backed out. I figured I’d just
get a new pin and try again.

More hammering to push the pin out using the punch and remember how I said
it’s smaller than the pin… While the punch went inside the pin. This did
two things. It expanded the pin making it hold tighter. It also, pushed
one of the inside layers out of the pin but didn’t move the top layer.
Again, it made it even tighter.

For those who haven’t seen the roll pin it looks like a Hostes Ho Hos.
It’s one piece of metal that’s rolled over itself so there are three
layers with a hole in the middle.

The punch just pushed out the inner layer and expanded the upper layer so it
held tighter. I know it’s was held tighter because I switched to the bolt the
Cobb kit came with for pushing out the pin which is a bit larger than the
punch. It didn’t budge.

Hammering wasn’t working so the next idea was to try a C clamp to push the pin
out. On one side goes the bolt on the side with the pin a socket was put over
the pin so it would go into the socket as the socket is pressing around the
pin. The bolt ended up bending instead of pushing out the pin…

Next idea try pulling it out from the front. Vice grips and screw drivers
didn’t get anywhere. Well, not anywhere it did eat though the top layer of the
pin. So it looked better.

Final idea, drill out the pin. Don’t do this it sounds like a good idea but it
isn’t. I really isn’t. An air drill was used so it had enough power. It did go
into the center of the pin and began drilling it out. It did heat up and start
trowing little flaming bit out. Also, as it turns out the pin is really hard.
Harder than material around it. So drilling out the pin in hopes that it would
weaken and shear isn’t going to happen.

Back to the C clamps. At this point I had gotten a stronger bolt. Slowly, oh so
slowly it came out. It did end up ruining the clamp and it did eat though the
front of the shift arm around the roll pin.

The pin at this point is throughly destroyed. I used a class 10.9 M6 bolt to
attach the arm instead of the roll pin. The M6 is very close in size to the
roll pin. An M7 is too large by the way. There is some play with the bolt
which is not present with the roll pin. As far as shifting is concerned
I don’t see a difference.

FYI, I did drive the car with the roll pin half in and with the bolt. I
couldn’t tell a difference between the two.

My advice to anyone is if the roll pin doesn’t come out easily, don’t put it
back in. Either get a new one or try something else.

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* Sigil Status

Posted on September 15th, 2013 by John. Filed under Sigil.

Sigil is not dead but it’s development has slowed considerably to the point it’s not being developed very much at this point. The best way I can describe it is Sigil is on life support.

When I took over Sigil from Strahinja I was not planning on taking an active development role. As part of my taking over Sigil my involvement was planned as project management. I was going to manage the web presence, review patches, provide guidance, made releases and at most minor bug fixes. However, that’s not what ended up happening. Instead I ended up taking a very active development role. This was never my intention and not something I can continue. I do not plan on ending my affiliation with Sigil; I’m going to go back to what my involvement was supposed to be. Project management.

Since I’ve been management Sigil there have been about four major contributors (code). These people have been a huge help and a huge benefit and I’ve very thankful for their help. Ultimately even with all their help I’d estimate half of all code since I took over has been written by me. Due to this and myself not writing code like I was development will slow considerably.

Also, the contributors were never permanent members of the project. This is by their choice. They saw ways Sigil could be improved (mostly something they wanted it to do for their benefit) and helped to make it happen. As they’ve completed what they were interested in they’ve left and moved onto other things. Thus Sigil has zero outside contributors as of now. This combined with my decision to focus on project management means there is no one actively developing Sigil at this time.

To help with gaining contributors I’ve decided to move the project to GitHub. The new source repo is available at https://github.com/user-none/Sigil. This is something I’d been thinking about for some time now. A few reasons behind the change:

  • Google Code has poor support for working with and merging forks. So much so that most contributors ended up emailing patches instead of wanting to deal with Google Code.

  • Google Code’s issue tracker is terrible. The search feature is useless. The way it displays issues is terrible and hard to understand. The majority of issues posted at least 99% are not real issues but duplicates of issues that are deemed not issues. The most common issue opened is Sigil does not run on OS X 10.6 which for technical reasons is not possible. Sigil not running on an OS version that is not supported, not intended to run on and an OS version that is EOL by the OS vendor is not a bug.

    Personally, I believe the issue tracker should be used for code discussion and contribution. That’s not happening. So moving to GitHub means it’s more likely that that will happen because people will need a GitHub account to open an issue and typically only developers will have a GitHub account. I’m not saying I don’t want people reporting issues but when reporting issues means me closing 99% of them as either dup of not supported or not supported makes the issue tracker less than worthless.

  • Google Code has decided to disable downloads. Existing projects were given an extension but as of next year Google Code can’t be used to host binary builds of Sigil. This makes Google Code less useful.

  • Calibre moved to GitHub and while Kovid has told me it hasn’t increased the number of major contributors it has increased the number of one off contributions. I’m hoping that if calibre moving to GitHub has increased code contributions the same will happen with Sigil.

That’s pretty much where Sigil is a this point. I can’t say where it will go in the future but my hope is more people will contribute with the move to GitHub and Sigil will continue to grow.

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* Sigil 0.7.3 Released

Posted on August 3rd, 2013 by John. Filed under Sigil.

I’m somewhat pleased to announce the immediate availability of Sigil 0.7.3. This release is primary a bug fix release. Please see the changelog for a full listing.

Currently there is no OS X package for 0.7.3 available. Even though this release fixes numerous bugs on OS X a package cannot be built at this time. The macdeployqt tool I use for OS X packaging is broken in Qt 5.1.0. I was not able to get the workaround to resolve the issue fully. Hopefully, this will be fixed in the next Qt release.

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* Sigil 0.7.2 Released

Posted on April 14th, 2013 by John. Filed under Sigil.

I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of Sigil 0.7.2. This release is primary a bug fix release but does come with a few new features. Please see the changelog for a full listing.

Find & Replace now has a Marked Text option. Basically, you can select a section of text, mark the text and find and replace will only operate in the marked section. If you start typing the marked area will be cleared.

Preview now zooms separately from other views. Previously Preview’s zoom level was linked to Book View’s zoom level.

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* Sigil 0.7.1 Released

Posted on March 3rd, 2013 by John. Filed under Sigil.

I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of Sigil 0.7.1. This release streamlines some of the new features introduced in 0.7.0. It also, as always, includes a handful of bug fixes. Please see the changelog for a full listing.

One really useful new feature is the ability to right click on an image url in Code View and view the image in a separarte window. The image in this window is resizable so it will always fit within the window.

The clean source settings were streamlined. This is part of a set of changes to deal with saving and opening non-well formed content. With 0.7.0 Sigil would allow you to save non-well formed HTML files even though they are invalid. However, this introduced an issue where if auto cleaning was enabled on open Sigil would “fix” the non-well formed content. This would often lead to issues. So now Sigil warns when saving non-well formed content so it’s not done accidentally. Finally, when opening if non-well formed content is encountered Sigil will prompt to ignore cleaning those files.

Spell check and find and replace were both enhanced. User feedback in their behavior and fixes were made for issues reported by users.

Finally, a change was introduced to deal with EPUBs where the filename within the container is not UTF-8 encoded. The EPUB spec says that the filename must be UTF-8 encoded but some tools (and zipping by hand) do not always use UTF-8. Instead they use the standard ZIP encoding (IBM code page 437). This isn’t a problem with ASCII characters but becomes an issue when non-ASCII characters are used in the filename. Specially the filename is decoded incorrectly so it doesn’t match what’s listed in the OPF. Now Sigil will check if the general purpose bit 11 is set which specifies that the filename is UTF-8 encoded. Sigil will only decode the filename using UTF-8 if this bit is set and otherwise decode using cp437.

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