Harry Potter ebooks

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:

  1. They offer the books in multiple formats, including DRM-free (but watermarked) ePub.
  2. You can link your Pottermore account to your Amazon account, and push the books right out to your Kindle.
  3. You can download the books multiple times.
  4. The audiobooks are in DRM-free MP3 format.

And some things I don’t:

  1. Their web site forms are screwy. On most fields, you can’t use copy & paste, for some insane reason.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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!

45th birthday

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.

another Drupal 7 book

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.)

San Diego 2012

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?

Hulu Plus

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.