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Topics - Mike D. aka jmiked

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So how many of us are upgrading to IOS 5 tomorrow?

I bought a new iPod Touch so I could run it. Well, that and the multitasking that my 2nd gen iPod Touch couldn't do (although I suspect that may have been a marketing decision, not a hardware capability problem).


The Book Corner / Scuba Diving Mysteries
« on: September 27, 2011, 04:31:19 pm »
A while ago, someone here was asking about mysteries involving scuba diving... I saw this evening that two of Kathy Brandt's Underwater Series are on the Kindle now, for good prices:

Astonishingly, these are the first two of the four books published, instead of being published in random order. I liked these a lot and will probably buy the ebooks even though I have the paperbacks.


Not Quite Kindle / What kind of bicycle do you ride?
« on: September 26, 2011, 03:28:05 pm »
As a companion thread to the motorcycle one, I'm interested in what kind of bicycles that members ride (maybe I'm the only one who rides bicycles  :) ).

Here's mine:

My latest, a 27-speed 2011 Specialized Camber Elite 29er

and my older one, a 24-speed 2010 Mongoose Blackcomb 26er

I ride almost exclusively on dirt trails. I also use the bikes to get to geocache locations that are off-road. Both are full-suspension bikes (I'm an old guy, I like my comfort).


The Book Corner / Classic Science Fiction being released
« on: September 14, 2011, 08:44:43 am »
Looks like the Gollancz project to release classic SF books is a go. They have over 300 ebooks listed as being released on 29 Sep 2011 on Amazon. There are a lot of British author represented in the lot.

I saw Fredric Brown, L. Sprague de Camp, Hal Clement, Ian Watson, E. C. Tubb (looks like most of the Dumarest series), Bob Shaw (hooray!), John Brunner, Mack Reynolds, Philip High, and others.

I've already preordered several, at quite reasonable prices. You can probably search on "Gollancz" to find them, I discovered them when I went to the Coming Soon page (hard to find).

No info on formatting quality at the moment. I'll post when I get the pre-orders.

not connected with Gollancz, but is a classic SF fan

The Book Corner / Book with long lead time, or Fun with Amazon
« on: September 08, 2011, 07:23:15 pm »
I pre-ordered a book several months ago, and when I recently looked at the delivery date I was amazed to see the delivery date had been changed from October, 2011, to June 29, 2036.

Some publishers have a really long schedule! I notice that even so, it's number #86 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Biographies & Memoirs > Travel.

I canít give a Link-maker entry, because LM thinks the book doesnít exist.

Very strange. Maybe the time frame is so long because they are running this one through the copy-editing process.  ;D ;D


The Book Corner / Science Fiction Golden Oldie now for Kindle
« on: August 04, 2011, 10:16:43 am »
I just got notified by Mysteria that Jerry Sohl's classic Costigan's Needle (1953) has been published for the Kindle. I jumped on that right away. I have a great fondness for this book, it was one of the three free books I got for joining the Science Fiction Book Club back in 1954.

If you're interested in classic, Golden Age SF, this may be for you. The author is quoted as saying he thinks this is his best work. Jerry Sohl wrote a number of books and short stories, and wrote a few episodes of the original Twilight Zone.

Yeah, it's $10, but the paperback is $15.00, and the book was out of print for many years.


Not Quite Kindle / My usual bicycle ride
« on: July 17, 2011, 12:48:43 pm »
This is pretty much the trail I go on 2-3 times a week. I didnít shoot this video, but it's a pretty well-done one. These guys go faster than I do, because I'm an old guy.  ;D

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The Book Corner / Golden Age Detectives on Kindle
« on: June 22, 2011, 09:00:08 am »
A small publishing house has reprinted a number of Golden Age detective/crime novels (published between about 1920 through the early 1940s). They have about 50 of them also available in well-formatted Kindle editions. Authors include John Dickson Carr, Anthony Berkeley, Freeman Wills Crofts, Ellery Queen, Fredric Brown, and others. Prices are generally reasonable.

I've bought 8 or 9 of these so far and enjoyed them. I'd not read any Anthony Berkeley previously, I'll probably end up with all of these that they have. And of course I got all the Ellery Queen and JDC ebooks.

Give the listings a look: do an Amazon search for "Langtail Press Kindle".

Not associated with Langtail Press except as a customer who discovered them by accident recently

The Book Corner / Lilian Jackson Braun, RIP
« on: June 06, 2011, 09:39:56 pm »
The New York Times is reporting that LJB (author of The Cat Who books) passed away today at the age of 97.

I enjoyed her books.


Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting (Kindle) / Calibre plug-ins
« on: June 05, 2011, 10:57:28 am »
I was browsing through the Calibre forums earlier and found my way to the sub-section on plug-ins written for the program. I downloaded several that I'm going to use a lot. Here are some of the ones I found that might be of interest to the Calibre users here:

[GUI Plugin] Manage Series

This plugin offers a GUI allowing you to quickly create and edit your series column values for your selected books using either drag/drop or keyboard shortcuts. With the current deprecation of various Calibre series metadata sources (except when using the Goodreads metadata plugin) users may find the need for more manual editing of their series information.

[GUI Plugin] Book Sync

This simple plugin allows you to add books to a special list in Calibre which is automatically sent to your ereader device the next time it is connected. This is a very convenient way to flag books for your device as you add/process/search for them in your workflow, without requiring your device connected at the time.

[GUI Plugin] Kindle Collections 1.6.3 - 30 May 2011

This Calibre plugin allows you to manage your Kindle collections and settings.

[GUI Plugin] Reading List

This plugin is for a number of users who have requested a "Reading List" ability for their library, allowing them to keep track of which books they would like to read next and in which order.

You can have multiple lists (e.g. if keeping track for different users or genres). The list is viewable in the main library view sorted in correct order, for convenience with sending to your device.

[GUI Plugin] Plugin Updater

This plugin offers a GUI to make it easier for Calibre users to download and install new plugins or updates for any of the user-developed plugins that are found within this subforum. One to rule them all, so to speak...

[GUI Plugin] Find Duplicates

This plugin will help you to identify duplicate authors, titles and formats in your Calibre library.

Anyone that is interested may download these and other plug-ins at this page:

Who is not the author of any product mentioned here, or has any other connection to them.

I'm sure some of you already know this, but Calibre has a relatively new feature called Get Books that will search various sites for books you enter in the search field. I've got mine set up to search Amazon, Mobileread, Feedbooks, Baen, and Gutenberg.

It returns the Title, Author, Price, DRM status, and formats available. You can click on the entry and be taken to the site and download the book directly into Calibre (if it is not a DRMed book). I donít know what it does with books that you purchase or have DRM, haven't tried that yet.

A super nice feature.


The Book Corner / Yet another essay on ebook pricing
« on: March 26, 2011, 03:50:10 pm »
Nice (long) essay on pricing ebooks, if you aren't tired of the whole subject.  ;D ;D


It seems that David Goyal, the developer of Calibre, has started a site to catalog purchasable DRM-free books that are not public domain.

You can't purchase from his site, but there are links to get you to the place where you can purchase them.

Various sorting features are enabled.

I havenít looked at it extensively, but it looks interesting. Early days, though.


The Book Corner / eBook pioneer - Martin Woodhouse
« on: March 04, 2011, 10:21:00 am »
Martin Woodhouse was one of the pioneers of ebooks. He was publishing ebooks back in 1992 and distributing them on 3.5" floppy disks. His somewhat rambling website has information on the ebooks, as well as the ebook reader he proposed to build.

Mr. Woodhouse is an author of a half-dozen excellent thrillers, a half-dozen or so Avengers episodes, and co-wrote the first 26 episodes of Supercar.

His web site is at:


The Book Corner / David Morrell on ebooks
« on: March 04, 2011, 09:39:52 am »
David Morrell has an interesting write-up on ebooks at his web site (half-way down the page):

Nothing spectacularly new, but interesting.


Let's Talk Kindle! / Update info in Amazon email
« on: February 22, 2011, 07:41:54 am »
OMG, the world must be coming to an end... I just got an email from Amazon that lists the features of the new 3.1 update being rolled out.

Such things used to be secret, what will they think of next?  ;D ;D


The Book Corner / Golden Age detective novels on Amazon
« on: February 21, 2011, 09:06:26 pm »
I was looking around on Amazon today and saw that Langtail Press is epublishing some more Golden Age mystery novels by various people such as Ellery Queen, John Dickson Carr, Fredric Brown, etc. They are a very small specialty press, and it's nice to see one of them offering the ebook as well as trade paperback version of long out-of-print classics. I did a search on Amazon on "Langtail Press" and came up with 49 titles.

I bought one of the John Dickson Carr books a few days ago, and the formatting is excellent, including footnotes and chapter markers. Pricing is about half the trade pb price.

It's about time, these are the books I love to read.

Obligatory statement: I have no connection with those guys.


The Book Corner / LotR from the Mordor perspective
« on: February 21, 2011, 05:02:13 pm »
Ever wonder what the people in Mordor thought about the goings-on of Frodo and his bunch of busy-bodies?

Here's the link to an English translation (PDF, ODT, MOBI) of a parody/novel written by a Russian (posted with permission of the author):

URL copied from Slashdot. I havenít read any of the material, but I have downloaded the book.

Blog post on the subject at:

Note: If you are emotionally attached to the Lord of the Rings series, you may want to give it a pass.

This may be the ultimate in fan-fiction.  ;D


I'm downloading the latest version of Calibre (0.7.44). The changelog has this listed:

"MOBI Output: Use the book uuid as the ASIN field and set cdetype to EBOK to allow Amazon furthest read tracking to work with calibre generated MOBI files."


The Book Corner / Mysteries by John Dickson Carr
« on: January 21, 2011, 12:36:59 pm »
This afternoon I found that five GA (Golden Age) mysteries by John Dickson Carr have been ported to the Kindle. I'm so excited!

JDC wrote over a hundred classic (mostly locked-room mysteries) in the 1930s/40s/50s, as well as many radio scripts. He used the pen-name Carter Dickson for many of the books he wrote. Along with Rex Stout, Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie, and Ellery Queen, he's one of my favorites that I re-read.

They are a bit pricey at $8.00 each, but my paperbacks/hardcovers are falling apart and replacements are expensive and difficult to find for many of the titles. I've paid more than the $8.00 for a raggedy paperback.

So far the first I've purchased looks to have excellent formatting, if a bland, generic cover:


It appears that Apple does listen to its customers once in a while: The next version of IOS will apparently allow you to configure the Mute switch back to being a screen rotation lock switch.

Now if Amazon would just listen to us once in a while....


New version of Kindle app for the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch  today. I'm downloading it now.


I saw this over in the Calibre forum at MobileRead. I've tried it and it works great.


Not much to it!

    * make sure you have the latest iBooks installed (v1.2 or later)
    * Launch the Safari browser on either an iPhone or iPad
    * Type in the URL for the Calibre just as you would for any other browser. You can optionally add the /mobile on the end but this is not necessary as the Calibre server delivers the mobile version of the web page even without it. On my system I was using as I have the calibre server running on port 8787 and the PC running Calibre had an IP address of
    * Find the book you want and click on the "epub" button.
    * A dialog now pops up with two buttons. One is "Open in iBooks" and the other is "Open in...". The "Open in..." button brings up a sub-dialog of any apps that have registered themselves as epub enabled (such as Stanza) and iBooks is also listed there as the first option.
    * Select iBooks via either route and the book is loaded into the iBooks library, and iBooks is started with the book you have just added opened.

Third party browsers work in a similar way although the exact dialogs can differ slightly. If using a third party browser (e.g.iCab) you can set the user agent to report itself as IE and get the none-mobile version of the web page, but I would expect most users would only have the default Safari browser installed which does not provide this sort of capability.

Thanks to itimpi at for this.


Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting (Kindle) / Reading speed test
« on: December 22, 2010, 06:35:00 pm »
Here's an interesting reading speed test on the internet. I gave it a try, and it was about what I expected.

It's just a fun thing. I would encourage not posting scores, so as to not get into a race to get the highest score. It's hard enough to try to keep to one's real reading rate while doing the test and not artificially inflate it.  ;D ;D


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