5 creative ways to use the new iBooks author.

Nov 23

One of the things that is pretty tricky about blogging, is that its actually “writing in disguise”. Sure we write up a post every day and all in all it doesn’t seem to add up to much text in the end (because you ADD junkies don’t have the attention span to finish an entire paragraph without rushing outside to ride shiny bikes) but still : If i where to bundle the 900+ articles on this site in a book.. that would be pretty nifty .. Right ?

But the task of preforming this epic contribution to mankind requires the right software and .. Word sure ain’t it. I shiver when I think back of the days where I had to write my paper in word. Hoping desperately that that single hard return wouldn’t mess up my layout 76 pages down the hill.. You know the scene. However !  With iBooks Author you no longer have that excuse anymore. Apple’s new update of its toe-dabbing into the world of creative writer software has just gotten an fancy update.  In short : iBooks author was made for making schoolbooks and textbooks filled with interactive content. Think of adding interactive slideshows, pictures, movies and more to a text document and really making ti pop. This of course would make all these different functionalities available only to iPad users (Apple do plans to take over the world you know) and the other major downside is that the initial edition of iBooks author was geared towards educational books.

This would be fine and great if your lifelong ambition is to become a Math book author .. just great .. but luckily you are a little cooler then that. So Apple put a bunch of new themes in this version of iBooks author that let you make more then just a boring textbook. 

But here are some suggestions, with the holidays coming up and all that :

  • If you have friends and family that have an iPad ? Use iBooks author to make an interactive foto and video album. Just put the finished ibook up on dropbox and shoot them the link ! They will be able to download the book and open it in iBooks without having to connect to iTunes.
  • Surf around the net and bundle your kids favorite bedtime stories, look on Flickr for the coolest illustrations and make your own interactive bed-time story for the toddler (complete with music , slideshows and moving pictures)
  • Use iBooks author to write technical documentation and add weblinks , video’s and slideshows for those friends, family members and co-workers who “just don’t get it” when you try to explain it to them.
  • Bundle up your favorite blog items, stories and more .. and bundle them in a book. Export as ePub or PDF format and be your own publisher. Why not make it a digital scrapbook by adding some multimedia content.
  • Who ever said this years holiday card needed to be on paper. Dive into  iBooks, add family fotos, sing a carol together and plop the file on the net !

iBooks Author is available in the app store for free and exports to both iBook and ePub format. Most of the interactive features are only available in the iBook export format and adding a lot of videocontent does make it a hefty file. But thanks to iBooks you will be able to go where no Word, Pages or Publisher .. has gone before.

Download iBooks author from the app store.

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Free audiobooks and other strange stuff at the Internet Archive.

Nov 22

If there is one place you should check out for some interesting and crazy content , it has to be the internet archive. Now I know that ‘The archive’ is mostly known by many of you in the form of the “way back machine ” , a sort of time machine that stores old versions of websites. You can have a laugh looking at what yahoo.com looked like in 1994 , or even take a peek at Knightwise.com as it looked like 5 or 7 years ago. There is a lot of interesting stuff. Most of the content on the internet archive is stuff that no longer has any ‘intellectual rights’ tied to it. Meaning that the producers of the content are either dead, that the content is so old even their pet hamster is dead (and so there is no one left to state a claim) or that the creator of the content has donated the content to the public domain. (Like for example .. me !) So I know what you think : The internet archive is just filled with a load of old and useless crap ! .. But there you are wrong. Unlike the movie ‘A night at the museum’ , that still has me waking up screaming at night .. this ‘museum’ of content is filled with the strangest of things. We will tick off 5 interesting finds for you to take a peak at.

1984, by George Orwell‘. If you are in IT, Social Media, Management or … are a Biped alive in the 21st Century : This book is a must read. Social visionary Orwell describes a world of total control, zero privacy in a run down reality in 1984 ( Sounds like Myspace ! ) Why read if you can listen .. and why pay Audible some big bucks if you can download the audiobook for FREE 

NYFD Radio communication on 9/11′ A truly chilling listen : The radio communication logs of the New York Fire department on 9/11. Hearing them go into action , hearing the sirens, the noise and the confusion gives you a chilling feeling that you are part of that day in history … A tribute to the heroic firefighters if there ever was one. A must listen.

Cosmos , War of the planets’ A terrible B-movie filled with overacting, poor costumes , horrible screenplay and hilariously stupid aliens. Forget “The Avengers” .. Watch THIS 

Open Security Training”  How about a screen recording of an online tutorial on security ? If you are on the Internet archive .. Why not take the time to learn.

Nbc Short Stories‘ Nothing more nostalgic then picking up old radioshows that are by now only consumable halfway on the other side of the galaxy. Their radiowaves have long departed , but you can still listen to them HERE.

So enjoy your little trip through the internet archive. Everything is free and there is no farting allowed in the reading room.

(Thanx to listener Lorddrachenblut for the 1984 tip)


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Our five favorite free magazines for the iPad.

Nov 21

With an iPad and the iPad mini fighting for some free space on our coffee table, it has become obvious that there is no more room in our life for archaic forms of literary entertainment referred to as “magazines”. Its not that we are such high level nerds that the sheer smell of paper sends us scurrying to the lavatory .. but we don’t have the coffee table real estate .. comprende ?

Unless we do act now, the terrible alternative will be us turning into social neaderthals who, without their weekly dose of readable pulp, will no longer be aware when Jessica Biel went to bed with Justin Bieber and will completely miss out on any blurry pictures of Emma Watsons Nipslips on the beach in Saint Tropez … What to do ?

We need our magazines digitally. So enter “Bookshellf” Yes. that annoying IOS application that has an icon you can no longer delete or hide in another folder. Forced to sit passively as the very last icon on our furthest homescreen , Bookshellf is useless .. or is it.

Sure , you can use it to BUY subscriptions to tons of magazines. But we refouse adamently to pay any amount of cash for a magazine that does not come in a form usable for wiping ones buttocks should the need arise. (The iPad Mini just isn’t pliable enough for the job). Thus we present you with a welcome alternative to papparazi-deprivation and outright privacy : Here is our top five FREE magazines you can subscribe to in the Bookshelf app.

Endgadget Distro : Well done, well built and very informative glossy magazine for the geek. A must read.

iGIZMO magazine : The glossy side of Gizmodo.

GameQ : For gamers who can read (or at least stare at glossy pictures below 99 fps)

CPU : For hardware geeks who like to set their clocks to overclock.

Gadchick : For those geeks among us who cannot pee standing up (without accesories)

Do you have some more ? Tell us in the comment section and eternal fame and glory .. is yours ! 

There are also plenty more where these came from . To get you started here is the complete list.

Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine
WebMD the Magazine
#5 Magazine
Sporting News
Co-op Food Mag
Snap Magazine
Lowdown Magazine
Alligator Magazine
Enjoying Everyday Life Magazine
Project Sounds
The Watch Magazine
Psychic Today
SLH Beinspired.

Thanx Macrumors for the source.


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A tribute to 80’s cartoon heroes.

Nov 20

As the madam of the house pointed out yesterday : “Cartoons these days are by far what they used to be”. After watching 20 seconds of  ‘Dora the explorer’ I am forced to agree with her. Either this might be a sign that I lack the medication/harddrugs to actually understand the storyline in a Dora or Winx-Club episode,  or that I am just getting old.  And to surpress any rumors of the latter I offer you the proof that Cartoon Heroes of the 80’s are far superiour to the colored drool slobbering on the inside of our TV’s these days. Agreeing with me is not a sign of age. Recognising the characters in this clip .. IS.

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Access your ebook collection on your smartphone with Calibre and OPDS.

Nov 19

Calibre. Without a shadow of a doubt out favorite cross platform ebook management application, is once again the topic of conversation for today.  For whoever came up with the idea that ebooks should and could be managed through iTunes .. should be shot, brought back to life, shot again, cremated and have his/her ashes scattered on piles of horse shit. Managing your eBook collection in Calibre on the other hand is a bundle of joy. Ordering and cataloging your books, adding keywords, sorting them around AND converting them to your favorite format .. is exactly what Calibre is good at. So what gives ? Well , imagine you and your favorite ebook reader are out and about on the road ? What if you would like to grab that copy of the Twilight Saga you have stored on your computer at home ? Is there no hope ?  Sure there is  ! Calibre comes with a built in webserver that lets you acces your ebook directory via a browser .. exactly what you want .. is it not ? “Hotdiggedy YeS” I hear you scream .. but what if you don’t have access to a browser ?  (or are in the inability to transfer the downloaded files to your favorite reading app ?) Are you lost ? Should you revert to reading the cerealbox for all eternity ? No ! Enter ODPS : A standard for interacting with ebooks libraries. 

How does it work ? 

  • Make sure you have installed calibre on your machine (Duh)
  • Enable the Calibre web service and make sure to enter a username / password. (you don’t want the entire world to know you read my-little-pony cartoons )
  • Open up the correct ports on your router (if you want to access this from the outside)
  • Pick up an ebook reader app on your IOS or Android device that is able to open OPDS libraries.
  • Setup your home calibre library in the apps OPDS preferences.
  • Access your ebooks from anywhere.

What do you need ? 

And now ? 
Now you will be able to access your library directly from the application and get your ebooks from anywhere.
Help ? 
No worriez , we got you some manuals.

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