So Pottermore finally started selling the Harry Potter books in ebook format this week. (And they’re selling the audiobooks too.) I signed up for an account there a couple of days ago, and I just went in and bought the bundle of all seven books.
Some things I like about this:
- They offer the books in multiple formats, including DRM-free (but watermarked) ePub.
- You can link your Pottermore account to your Amazon account, and push the books right out to your Kindle.
- You can download the books multiple times.
- The audiobooks are in DRM-free MP3 format.
And some things I don’t:
- Their web site forms are screwy. On most fields, you can’t use copy & paste, for some insane reason.
- Every time you log in, you need to enter a CAPTCHA. I can understand needing to enter one to create an account, but on every login? Overkill.
- It’s easy enough to transfer a book over to your Amazon account, but there’s no (obvious) way to transfer all your books at once. You have to do them one at a time.
- Similarly, when downloading the books in ePub format, you need to download them one at a time, and it takes a few seconds to “prepare” the download. I’m guessing that it’s creating a watermarked ePub file on the fly there, but why can’t they just have a background process that does that right after purchase, so the files are ready right away?
- For the audiobooks, they show both the US (Jim Dale) and UK (Stephen Fry) versions, and even show a price if you select the UK version, but you can only buy the US version. (I was hopeful that I’d be able to buy the Stephen Fry versions.)
So, a few quibbles, but nothing that bothers me that much. I actually haven’t read any prose fiction at all yet this year, so I think I’m going to sit down with my Kindle and start into the first book. I haven’t re-read any of the Potter books since I first read them, with maybe one exception. I feel a little guilty that I’m going to re-read these relatively easy-to-read “YA” books, when I have plenty of unread “adult” novels lying around, but hey, they’re great books!
Yesterday was my 45th birthday. It was a pretty low-key birthday. I strayed from my diet and had a couple of slices of pizza for dinner, and I allowed myself a buttered roll in the morning, but I didn’t go overboard with anything. I had the idea today to look back on what I might have been doing on and around my birthday, since I started this blog. So here’s a pretty random list of stuff, assembled by looking back at my Blogger archives.
- I went to Comic-Con that year. (I was making reservations in March. I’m going again this year, after skipping it for a few years.)
- I was reading Sinfest, which I haven’t been following lately, but is apparently still around (and still funny).
- I was reading “His Dark Materials“, and listening to Rum Diary.
- I had just gotten the 90,000 mile service done on my 97 Civic. (I got my 2008 Accord inspected yesterday. It’s got about 45k miles on it.)
- Windows XP was giving me grief.
- I was listening to Warren Ellis’ “Superburst Mixtape” podcast. (That’s long gone. He has a new one named SPEKTRMODULE now, which I’ve been listening to recently, and is quite good.)
- I was watching Samurai Champloo on Cartoon Network. (I have it on Blu-Ray now, but I haven’t gotten around to re-watching it.)
- I got my first Kindle. I’ve since traded that in for a new one, but I still haven’t read some of the books I loaded onto that first one (and later transferred to the second).
And that’s about where I feel like I should end this. I’m feeling weirder than usual about my birthday this year, for various reasons. But I can’t complain. I’ve been able to spend time with several really good friends over the last couple of weeks, and I think I’ll likely enjoy this coming weekend too, so that’s all I can really ask for.
I just finished reading Drupal 7 Business Solutions, by Trevor James, a Drupal e-book that I got from Packt. I finished another Drupal e-book, titled simply Drupal 7, by David Mercer, about a month ago. The one I just finished goes over a lot of the same ground as the Mercer book, but I think it was still worth reading. The author uses a web site for a bread bakery as an example throughout the book, adding functionality to the site to demonstrate various features of Drupal. It’s full of functional, quasi-real-world examples. I think it would be very helpful to anyone looking to get a good grounding in Drupal basics.
I mentioned some time ago that I was working on a new documentation site, in Drupal, for the REST API to my company’s product Bullseye. That site is now in production, and you can see it at http://api.bullseyelocations.com/. It’s a simple enough site, but I think it turned out well. I’m using the “book” module to organize the content, the CKEditor module to allow me to easily enter nicely-formatted text, and the GeSHi Filter module to format source code examples.
I’m still not great at the theming stuff, so I just created a fairly simple sub-theme of Bartik for this site. The only really major thing I did with it was to change it to use a Google font (Droid Sans, which is what we’re using on our new marketing site for the product). I think it looks pretty good.
(And yes, I wrote nearly all of this documentation myself. To a large extent, it’s based on the documentation for our old SOAP API, but it’s evolved enough that I think it’s mostly mine now.)
I haven’t been to San Diego Comic-Con since 2008. I was thinking about it, and I may not have even left the NY/NJ area since then. I’m going this year though! I had to buy four single-day tickets, since they were sold out of the full four-day passes by the time I got to the head of the “line”, so no preview night.
And I booked a hotel in Mission Valley, so no walking back and forth to the convention center. We’ll see how the convention shuttle situation works out. I remember it being a bit of an issue in 2008. It’s always inconvenient to stay far enough away that you can’t go back to your hotel mid-day to drop stuff off.
But hey, it’s Comic-Con! How could it *not* be fun?
I blogged about Hulu Plus a few days ago, and the issues I had getting it run smoothly on my PS3. I e-mailed support about it, and they gave me a few things to double-check, so I did all that and the audio/video sync is still off by a bit, but it’s mostly tolerable.
Meanwhile, after not using my Wii for about six months, I decided to turn it on last weekend, and it wouldn’t work. I tried a few things, couldn’t get it working, and gave up on it. I even offered to give away all my games and peripherals on Facebook. I was going to pack them all up today, and get the main Wii box ready for recycling, but I decided to give it one more try. Long story short, it’s working again.
So I decided to try out Hulu Plus on the Wii. It only became available for the Wii recently. It works pretty well though. The video quality is a bit lower than on the PS3, of course, but it’s watchable, the audio/video sync is good, and it’s pretty consistent (no jaggies). So I may decide to keep the Wii largely for the sake of Hulu Plus.