Ebook Week Day 2 : Undrm your Ebooks.

If there is one thing that I hate with a passion, then it is DRM or  Digital Rights Management. To explain it as simple as possible DRM is the technology used to screw over a paying customer. It is a form of copy protection that should prevent piracy of digital content but instead creates a paradoxical situation where it is more annoying for somebody who PAYED for said content vs anyone who chooses to pirate it.

When I forked over 15 of my well spent dollars in the Google Play store for an Ebook a couple of weeks ago, I was under the assumption that, since Google has no E-Readers of its own, I would be able to read said book on whatever Ebook reader I purchased. Lets be honest : I bought the book, Payed for it and I bought the e-reader. No biggie .. right ? Wrong ! Turns out that when trying to read the ePub file on my recently purchased Kobo Aura , the thing would not open. “DRM Protected” was the error I got. ┬áPossible solutions were : Reading the book on my android tablet (in the Play Books app) or buying it all over again in a DIFFERENT online bookstore (with DIFFERENT drm). Not gonna happen Google, Not Gonna Happen.
Alternatively I could download a piece of Adobe software, hook up my Ebook reader, Authorize my ebook reader online, make an account with Adobe and “transplant” the book. Meanwhile the guy at the Pirate Bay who got a pirated copy of the book has been reading it for the last 4 hours and is way past the second chapter. Yet as a paying customer I have to jump through adobe hoops ? No .. no thank you.
Enter “All DRM Removal” : a great app for Windows or the Mac that lets you strip the DRM of your favorite ePub file using a simple drag-and-drop application. The first three books you “strip” are free, but then you have to pay for the app. I dropped my “Drm infested” ePub into the app and sito-presto : I got a new ePub file back.. Drm free ! After dragging it over to the ebook reader it worked like a charm.
I would not use All DRM Removal to completely strip the DRM of an ebook collection you don’t own (thats piracy , remember ? ) but for the occasional book you buy in a DRM’d store .. This is the app to set them free. Happy ebook’in !
Link.
DRM removal by Epubor.com

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From dapper to edgy in a snap.

When a new linux distribution hits the scene its always a little bit like Christmas. As the beta releases taunt you like packages beneath the tree, tempting you to try them out .. The hard part is sitting on your hands untill the website screams FINAL and the fun can begin. Thus here is my little christmas carol about how I updated my good old Ubuntu Linux 6.06 version to the latest in 6.10.

No beta's please.

Every new release of a linux distribution (in this case the new Ubuntu) puts the blender in the rumor pot.  What is new , what is going to change, this and that cool stuff is going to be new, are they gonna drop this and that. The only way to divide fact from fiction is downloading and installing the public beta versions that are released. Now I have never been one for beta's. And that is for two reasons. First of all because a beta never gives you a clear picture of what is going to be the final product. Sure, you might get a glimpse in the general direction, but the difference between the beta and the final release may be as dramatic as the difference between cookie dough and the finished brownie. Secondly : Beta's are mostly far from stable. Unless you are a developer or some genius programmer who can find and fix bugs in this PRE-released version of  a final distro, its not gonna do you much good. Forget using a public beta as a stable system. You are riding an unfinished car to the finish line. If you are masochistic and love to hog unpredictable kernels I would suggest turning to any version of Windows before its service pack one. 

Thus I bide my time till the final comes. And when my curiosity gets the best of my I'll just download the fucker and run it in a virtual machine.  

Why should we care to upgrade ?

Erm.. Good question. In the case of Ubuntu 6.06 it was out of sheer curiosity.

I (finally) got my current version to play nice with my home network, had it all eye-candied out so it looked smooth and more importantly, gotten used to the look-feel and possibilities of this worthy windows-replacing operating system.  Since it was a "decimal" upgrade (from 6.06 to 6.1) there was no rush. (When however they moved from 5. to 6. I was all over the place with joy). The other thing is, Linux distributions evolve differently from windows distributions. In mickey-software they whack in all  the cool toys and worry about security POST RELEASE. In Ubuntu they make sure the system is steam liner-stable and "Fort Knox secure" before they release it. All the "fancy smancies" are developed later by the community. So a Ubuntu distro can be considered "ripe for use" about two weeks after release when the command-line-geeks have had enough of caffeine driven all nighters and coded the crap out of themselves to prep the add-ons. 

But upgrade we shall ! (reinstall / upgrade)

Now, If I had absolutely nothing to do with my life, and installed/reinstalled my system every time there was a kernel fart, a re-installation was something to consider. Wiping ones hard drive clean and installing an OS from scratch is like wearing clean underwear or sleeping in fresh sheets.  But since I had my 6.06 running so smoothly the thought of upgrading crossed my mind. With windows I would never EVER Consider this , and even on my mac i like it better when i can erase/reinstall rather then upgrade. But I decided it was time to test the agility and maturity of Linux by going for the upgrade.. (and just maybe I'm a lazy fuck who did not want to wipe his porn ?) If you have the time go for a clean reinstall , If you don't want to wipe a working system, try the upgrade. You can always reinstall when it goes wrong.

Upgrading a working system.

I could tattoo the following advice into peoples forehead yet they would not listen to me until one day .. they loose everything. " BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP" what ever you do to a working system, make sure you backup everything before you begin. Don''t even try to come over and wine about all the crap you lost. I'll laugh in your face , step on your toe and write "I TOLD YOU SO' on your belly with pink lipstick. Afterwards you can run around naked in shame for all I care. I have no compassion for persistent stupidity. Next up : Be prepared for failure. Don't try elaborate shit like this if you need to get a paper out by next morning. Be prepared for total system fucky-uppie and start working on emergency response scenario's should your "kernel based acrobatics" fail.

The magic command line code

So lets get started. We have  " one cup of Ubuntu 6.06, with the important data and settings skimmed' Next up I found this great website that teaches you how to upgrade using just one line of code. Just pop open your command line window and type :

gksu "update-manager -c"

 

update

 

Next up enter your administrator password. The message will come up a new update is available and you need to click the 'update" button to do so. So what should you do ? … Hit it you twit !. The upgrade process will take quite some time so be prepared to actually spend time with your family and do what "normal' people do. Don't bite your nails awaiting the completion of this process.. Why  ? cause its not nice ! 

After about an hour the whole thing will be done, Reboot your system and say a prayer to "Sint Rita" who is the holy chaperone for lost causes. If Rita can't help you .. you are officially screwed.  

The magic word : Automatix !

If all went well you'll have a completely upgraded system. Otherwise enjoy your horrible " KERNEL PANIC" message heralding the end of your operating system as you have know it thus far. But you backed up all important data anyway .. didn't you ..  So now the trick is to make this fancy new version of Ubuntu into a working operating system. This means, being able to play *wmv files, play dvd's, be able to run Google earth and what have you . In short : All the good stuff. To do this there is the magical script of AUTOMATIX that will help you accomplish what takes geeks months, in mere minutes.  

If you had automatix installed on your old 6.06 system , lets remove it first shall we ? : Open a command line an type :

sudo apt-get remove automatix

enter your admin password and be gone with the old automatix.

Then we prepare to install AUTOMATIX2. So in our command line window we type : sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

this will let you add the following line to the end your sources list ( where your linux gets his good stuff)

deb http://www.getautomatix.com/apt edgy main If you see any simular lines with a # in front of them, remove the # and save the file.

Now we enter some geeky lines in order to make automatix work. (hit ENTER after every line)

wget http://www.getautomatix.com/apt/key.gpg.asc
gpg –import key.gpg.asc
gpg –export –armor 521A9C7C | sudo apt-key add –

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install automatix2 

If all went well you will now have a little AUTOMATIX icon in your
gnome menu ( APPLICATIONS / SYSTEM TOOLS / AUTOMATIX

And then some.

Now the good stuff can start. As you see , in automatix you can choose what good stuff to install , if I where you I would check every little tickbox and then get some more quality time with the family. The installation of programs like , skype , google earth , picasa and more might take some time. But when you are done all the stuff works fine and you are the proud owner of a fully working Ubuntu 6.10. Have fun.

Sources :

Automatix2 

Cup of Tech 

 

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An afternoon with Vic.

concrete

I'll be looking at the stars ….

What others see as a chore , I see as rest and relaxation. It can come in many forms, mostly things like , paint the garden wall.. or remove concrete from the deck behind the house. If its a task that requires physical labor but no "intellectual concentration" it might as well be jacuzzi-dipping for me. I love it ! It makes me realize just how much I have to concentrate when i'm behind computers, at my job or at home. The simple fact of being able to do something without having to focus my brain is quite liberating.

So yesterday afternoon (the first dry afternoon in a MONTH) I took out my working gloves, my hammer and my flat iron bar ( whats the English .. Chissle ?) and removed some concrete behind our house. Now this dude that lived here before us had smeared some of his own concrete on the concrete deck to "level it out" But due to hot weather and poor workmanship the concrete 'slab" (about an inch thick) started to come loose and water was seeping under it. That moisture wasn't good for our walls so it was 'beybey layer-of-crap'. 

 

 

Someday …

And what better way to stay motivated and focussed then with some good music. Now my range of musical taste is quite wide but .. yesterday I was in the mood for some big-band music. And who better to entertain me then … Frank Sinatra ? hmmm.. no .. I went for good old James Darren , Also known as the Deep Space Nine character 'Vic Fontaine'. I love big band music , I mean , Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra .. it makes me happy when i'm stuck in traffic. So when I first heard James Darren in the episodes of Deep Space Nine I was thrilled.  There he plays the holographic entertainer called "Vic Fontaine " who plays in a 1950 bar somewhere in the Nevada Desert. And the way he sings, how he interacts with the Deep space Nine characters and how his persona is written into the last seasons of this great show stole my heart. So yesterday .. Me and Vic (or James) whatever you prefer, bashed some concrete together while I happily hummed ' I'll be seeing you' , "Fly me to the moon"  and of course .. the way you look tonight .

 

 

 

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