thewayne: (Default)
I just downloaded 78 books and PDFs on SQL Server, Power Shell, Windows Server, Azure, development, and a lot of other topics that caught my eye. There’s no indication as to how long the giveaway will be going on, so get ’em while the getting is good.

Words of warning and advice: many of the offerings are only as PDF, some are just DOC, others are also as MOBI or EPUB. So don’t expect to be able to load everything to your iPad or Kindle and be able to have lovely reflowable and resizable text. Obviously it’s easy to run the DOCs through Calibre or other programs and convert them to your favorite ebook format, not so easy with the PDFs. One major problem for me is that some of the links just give you a file with an ISBN#.epub, or a really bad file name, so personally I’d recommend doing a copy of the book title as it appears in the giveaway blog post, then a right click Save As on the link, and paste in the nicely formatted title.
thewayne: (Default)
Available on The first issue, dated February 1951, contains the Ray Bradbury story The Firemen, which he would later publish as the book Fahrenheit 451. These are available to read online or as free downloads in epub, Mobi and other formats. They're not formatted well, but they're perfectly readable. From the web site: "Galaxy Science Fiction was an American digest-size science fiction magazine, published from 1950 to 1980."
thewayne: (Default)
There's a "freeware" utility called iBookCopy that strips DRM from iBooks, turning them in to standard ePubs. It's currently on sale via MacUpdate for the next five days, then it's back to $30.

It's listed as shareware, but the trial version only converts the first third of the book. I think it'd be more legitimate shareware if it would only convert 5-10 books before locking itself up.

I just had it convert my current library: 410 books consisting of 6.7 gig (after conversion), took about 42 minutes on my late 2015 i7 iMac with 16 gig of RAM. So it's pretty quick. The way that iBooks stores purchases makes it VERY hard to back up your books to a different media when your library gets big, and I had no idea mine was over 6 gig! A lot of those books are not purchases from Apple, they're from Humble Bundle or ebooks that I've made using Stanza. Regardless, a purchase ends up with a file name that is a numeric ID that you don't know what the heck it is. After iBookCopy is done, the file name is the title of the book plus an epub extension. Very clean.
thewayne: (Default)
It is truly one heck of a deal.  Work by Asimov, Bradbury, Ellison, Clarke, Zelazny, and many more.  You can spend as little as a dollar and get eight books, but if you pay the full $20, you get FORTY ebooks, and anyone can pick up a free app with 31 short story by the 2016 Nebula nominees.

The sale is available for another 13 days.  A portion of sales go to the SFWA Givers Fund, but you can also select from a list of charities.

You can't beat that with a stick!  You can't.  It's a web site, it's an HTML text file, it's just ones and zeroes.  Well, you could beat your computer with a stick, but where would that get you?  You'd end up with a broken computer, and that doesn't help anyone.

thewayne: (Cyranose)
Not only is Adobe sending usage information on what you're reading back to their HQ, they also seem to be scanning your entire eBook library and reporting on that.

Not only that, but they're sending it in clear text: no encryption.

This has tremendous implications on libraries that have clear policies, if not laws, that this information is not to be shared. If Adobe is gathering it, they could be in some deep legal doodoo.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Their fourth bundle went live last week, I'm late posting it because it came at the same time as I had my second cataract surgery and using a computer isn't the easiest right now. I'll post more on my cataracts later, but I will say now that I'm doing better than I did after my first operation.

Anyway, many books in many formats, supporting both Kindle and ePub formats. Titles currently include: Wizzywig: Portrait of a Serial Hacker by Ed Piskor, March: Book One by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, The Sword & Sorcery Anthology, From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell, Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind, The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi, The Executioness by Tobias S. Buckell, Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw, and Lovecraft's Monsters: Anthology by Various including Neil Gaiman. Ellen Datlow, Editor. The first three are available with any donation, the second four with donations above the current average (which is about $9.50 right now), the last two you get for a donation of $10 or more. More books are planned to be included, they've just not been announced yet.

The bundle is available for another nine days, and the charities supported by this bundle are Doctors Without Borders and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, both worthy organizations IMO.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
There's only six days left to purchase it, the current bundle includes eleven books: Tithe: A Modern Fairy Tale (Holly Black), Mogworld (Yahtzee Croshaw), Jumper (Steven Gould), Arcanum 101 (Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill), To Be or Not To Be (Ryan North), Bleeding Violet (Dia Reeves), The God Engine (John Scalzi), Uglies (Scott Westerfield), The Happiest Days of Our Lives (Wil Wheaton) and Zombies vs Unicorns, an Anthology (various authors). These books are available in multiple eBook formats, including Mobi and Epub, they have no DRM on the files, and you can pay whatever you want for them. If you pay $15 or more, you also get the audio book of Cory Doctorow's Homeland, read by Wil Wheaton.

The money that you pay is distributed, at the rate that you decide, between the authors, a charity to help authors with medical crisis, or a tip to Humble Bundle.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
No physical books. Period. 10,000 ebooks. LOTS of computers and you can check them out for use with your ebook reader.

I'd like to see this place if I ever get down around San Antonio.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
About bloody time. I hope Barnes & Noble follows suite. I prefer, for a variety of reasons, B&N ebooks and their Nook over Amazon's format and the Kindles. My problem is that I have an old Nook tablet, theoretically I can root it and it will run a version of Android, but I don't know if it'll be a late enough version to access Google's Play store and the Kindle app. B&N is going to be announcing two new Nooks soon, so I may need to buy a new tablet in the not distant future.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Turns out that you probably shouldn't to a global find and replace to change Kindle to Nook when an author likes fires and enjoys talking about kindling them.

You end up with such masterful turns of phrases as:
'When the flame of the sulphur splinters Nookd by the timber burned up, first blue and then red, Shcherbinin lit the tallow candle...'
'Captain Tushin, having given orders to his company, sent a soldier to find a dressing station or a doctor for the cadet, and sat down by a bonfire the soldiers had nookd on the road.
'Believe me,' said Prince Dolgorukov, addressing Bagration, 'it is nothing but a trick! He has retreated and ordered the rearguard to nook fires and make a noise to deceive us.'
'Fly to a brother's aid whoever he may be, exhort him who goeth astray, raise him that falleth, never bear malice or enmity toward thy brother. Be kindly and courteous. Nook in all hearts the flame of virtue. Share thy happiness with thy neighbor, and may envy never dim the purity of that bliss.'
'It was as if a light had been nookd in a carved and painted lantern and the intricate, skillful, artistic work on its sides, that previously seemed dark, coarse, and meaningless, was suddenly shown up in unexpected and striking beauty.'
thewayne: (Cyranose)
They are:
Machine of Death, a short story collection which is nicely illustrate by a video called This is the Way You Die. The Machine of Death takes a quarter, a drop of your blood, and spits out a piece of paper that tells you how you will die. But it's not always as straight forward as the slip saying Old Age. Watch the video.

xkcd volume 0
The Poison Eaters, by Holly Black
Signal To Noise, by Neil Gaiman and David McKean
thewayne: (Cyranose)
The last bundle scored a total of $1.25 million for a group of charities in two weeks, not a bad thing! You can pledge what you want, the average price is now just a bit over $9, and if you pledge more than that, you'll get some additional releases to be announced over the next few days. The package is only available for the next 11 days, so hurry now while supplies last, they might run out of electrons to send you the ebooks! And as always, they're DRM-free and available in PDF, Mobi, and ePub formats.

As of me writing this post, they've raised over $262,000 and have had 27,000 contributors. Your donation is split between authors, charities, and the Humble Bundle organization. You can set sliders to control your split.

Currently announced as part of the bundle:
* The Last Unicorn (deluxe edition), by Peter Beagle
* Just a Geek, by Wil Wheaton
* Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow
* Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest
* Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson
* Shards of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Spin was, IMO, a fantastic book, and you can't go wrong with Bujold's Vorkosigan books. I thought Priest's Boneshaker was pretty good and I thought it was good steampunk, but it didn't appeal much to me.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
We had a sizable tax return this year, and I decided on a Nexus 7 tablet. My original goal was to root it, install a command shell program, and use it to experiment with PHP, MySQL, and some mods for WordPress and my photography web site, My ultimate goal is to have a PHP start page that will show rotating images from the gallery and also the latest post on my blog. I'm certain that I can do this as I've been doing database work for over half my life and have lots of experience.

But a Nexus 7 is really not the right tool for the job, especially considering that I regularly tote around a MacBook Air, which at its heart is a full-blown Unix operating system, not a mostly Unix OS like Android.

I did a lot of research before deciding on the Nexus. My typical research methodology is to look at the worst reviews on web sites to see what kind of problems that I might anticipate. The two contenders rapidly boiled down to the Nexus 7 and the Samsung. The Nexus problems were predominantly screen breakage and lots of complaints of poor tech support from the manufacturer, Asus. And in almost all 1 star reviews a tech from Asus posted his personal work email address and offered to help personally. I was quite impressed by that. In fact, I emailed the guy and told him I was considering a Nexus and he actually replied! Double-plus good on that one!

The main downside on the Samsung was that it was only an 8-gig model, so right off the bat you have to buy an additional memory card, which would make it more expensive than the 16-gig Nexus.

So I bought the $200 Nexus. After adding in a case, the breakage protection, and tax, it's up to $340. Which was more than I was willing to spend, but with a 14 day return period, I thought it worth the experiment.

I bought it last Wednesday during a really major dust storm. I started researching tools for rooting it, and succeeded over the weekend. And I really was not impressed.

We own an iPad, and it's a great device for quite a number of things, but it can't really be used as a development platform and it's too heavy for me to use as an ebook reader in bed. The Nexus is half the weight and worked fine as an ebook reader, but it suffers from one very major problem: unreliable.

Aside from the iPad, I have an iPhone 4S and had an iPod Touch. Application crashes on the iOS devices happen, but with no where near the frequency as I experienced with the Nexus. I hate having to re-start apps. It was a case of good, but not good enough.

So Monday I un-rooted it, returned it to its factory OS configuration, and returned it. And bought a Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light. It cost about a third what the Nexus cost. It's small enough that I can put it in the pocket of my cargo pants, and it reads ePub, which the Kindles won't do directly. I also have a Nook tablet, a slightly older 7” model, and I was surprised to find the Simple Touch doesn't have a web browser, I'm assuming because of the limitations of the E Ink display. So it does have the inconvenience of having to plug in a USB cable to load books if you're not buying them from the B&N web site. I don't mind that as it takes some time to read a book, so it's not a daily inconvenience. And they advertise that the battery is good for ONE MONTH with the light on!

For me, it's a pretty darn good ebook reader. Very, very light for reading in bed and displays text quite well. The light is good for reading in the dark or low-light conditions. I'm currently reading the first volume of Beethoven's letters and am enjoying the experience and have lots of other cool stuff loaded up from Project Gutenberg, which is my main source of ebooks.
thewayne: (Default)
Five graphic novels have been added from XKCD, Penny Arcade, and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. The bundle is only available for another week.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
The Humble Bundle, for those of you who are unaware, is a pretty cool project used to promote things that may not be easily promoted by the creators and also raise money for charity: when you make your payment, you adjust sliders controlling how much money gets paid to the creators, to charity, and to the Humble Bundle organizers themselves.

The charities supported are: the Electronic Freedom Foundation, the Child's Play Charity, and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Over $7 million has been raised through various Humble Bundles.

Normally Humble Bundle is used to promote computer games that are cross-platform, that is they run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. They're also DRM-free, which is a cool bonus. This time they're promoting eBooks! And with some good names: Cory Doctorow, Mercedes Lackey, John Scalzi, and Neil Gaiman. Some of these books have never before been available digitally, and Gaiman's book is making its digital debut here. They're available in Kindle, ePub, PDF, and MOBI: and you can download all of them! And, like the games, they're DRM-free!

Now here's the interesting bit: YOU decide how much you're going to pay for this bundle! You can pay $1, you can pay $100, you can pay $1000: it's your decision. There is one catch to the eBook bundle: two of the books, Neil Gaiman & David McKean's Signal To Noise, and John Scalzi's Old Man's War, are only available if you pay more than the average donation. Yesterday that donation was a bit over $10, right now it's $12.17. It's still a great deal, and they got $15 from me for over $50 worth of eBooks.

Now if I could only find my Nook's cable...
thewayne: (Default)
"The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust arm said it was looking into potentially unfair pricing practices by electronic booksellers, joining European regulators and state attorneys general in a widening probe of large U.S. and international e-book publishers. A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed that the probe involved the possibility of 'anti-competitive practices involving e-book sales.' Attorneys general in Connecticut and, reportedly, Texas, have also begun inquiries into the way electronic booksellers price their wares, and whether companies such as Apple and Amazon have set up pricing practices that are ultimately harmful to consumers."

Yes, the publishing industry is an expensive one to maintain. Those presses, the paper stock commitments, the remaindering and pulping. People costs are high: editors, layout people, I doubt those press operators are cheap, etc. eBooks scare publishers because it totally upsets their economic modeling since most of their physical production is rendered irrelevant. Their production costs drop dramatically even though they add technical people for producing the various eBook formats, their distribution paths change dramatically, and it's an old industry that, like all old industries and most industries period, don't like change. It would be chaotic, and you can't make an economic model of chaos.

The basic problem goes deeper than that, according to some. People aren't reading books as much. We consume more content online, and that's not always books. A recent article that I didn't capture said that television sales declined last year, the second year (not consecutively I think) since TV became available. Just look at the failure of Borders, though there were lots of reasons for that, one factor was people not reading as much. My wife and I have books piled everywhere, and a lot of those come from Amazon because it's not practical to drive 100 miles to get to good new and used bookstores, so eBooks are increasingly attractive.

But eBooks sell. Amazon now sells more eBooks than paperbacks, if I recall the numbers correctly.

Myself, I think eBooks are waaaay too expensive. I will never pay nearly as much as a hardback for an electronic copy. Get the price down below $10 and I'll consider them, if I don't consider the DRM too onerous or find a way to easily strip it out.
thewayne: (Default)
"In response to DC Entertainment's agreement to exclusively offer digital versions of certain titles in Amazon Kindle format, Nook maker Barnes & Noble has begun pulling DC Entertainment's graphic novels off its shelves. Confirming the decision, B&N said in a statement, 'To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms, and not have the eBook available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere, anytime.' Nice to see the pair is still able to keep their feud fresh on the 11th anniversary of the 1-Click patent infringement lawsuit."

I can understand B&N's viewpoint, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out long-term.

In other news, B&N bought what was left of Borders and has been sending out emails to Borders book club members telling them that unless they opt-out, their information will be integrated into the B&N datamart. On one hand I don't have a problem with this as B&N and Borders were my main brick & mortar book sources. On the other hand, it sets a bad precedent for acquisitions and data privacy.
thewayne: (Default)
He effectively invented the ebook. In 1971. WOW. He had access to the computers at University of Urbanna-Champaign (his parents were Profs) and was given a free printed copy of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July typed the whole thing in to the computers to share with people.

Thus it began.

I read a lot from Project Gutenberg, it's pretty much my main source for things like Shakespeare, Clemons, etc. I'm sorry to see him go, but very glad for what he gave us while he was here.
thewayne: (Default)
B&N are releasing an update that gives the Color Nook Android 2.2, Froyo. It's not the latest and greatest Android OS, but it is Android. Give 'em a couple of weeks and someone will root it to give it access to the full Android app store. And there's a Kindle app there.

$250 for an Android tablet, not bad!
thewayne: (Default)
I whole-heartedly agree. I don't buy ebooks, but I download a lot, mainly from Gutenberg. The fact that, if I had a Kindle and bought an iPad, that I couldn't read purchased books interchangeably between the two, that would really irritate me. And with an avalanche of slate computing devices over the horizon, that's going to become an increasing problem.

For Michael Serbinis, chief executive of Kobo, a company that allows users to buy e-books and read them on most devices, that battle is a distraction to the real changes coming.

“Today you can buy a book at Barnes and Noble and you can buy a book at Walmart and you don’t have to keep them in separate rooms in your house,” he said. “You buy a book from Apple and Amazon and you have got to keep it tied up with your Apple universe or your Kindle universe.”

I just downloaded Kobo's app for the iPad Mini (AKA iPod Touch) and quite like it, except it doesn't link to Gutenberg like my Stanza app does.

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