Mac20Q Podcast 90 Creating eBooks for the iPad

Seeing as the iPad is out I thought it would be a good time to check out some methods of creating Epub ebooks. Firstly because it could be another way to get the Mac20Q Web & podcast out to the fans. Lots of different folks out there so lots of different preferred ways of getting the digital content on the digital door step.

I am still pondering on the usefulness of the e book, Could see a case for it on a device like the iPad or other ebook reader. The schools market is going to get a big shake up thats for sure. Would not see a use on a desktop or a laptop – We open up web pages if we want to get information that way

Or theres the PDF – except that the PDF format from Adobe is not always that safe to use – so some people would decline to open such a file. That is those people that don’t want to leave themselves open to what Bart Buschotts would call Arbitrary code execution on the computer

The ebook readers & creators I have looked at on the OSX platform so far leave me totally cold as far as the reading experience is concerned. I tried out Stanza, Calibre & Sigil & had a look at Indesign also. Some apps are more readers & organisers of e books than creation tools.

Looking in Calibre it seems that it should be able to send an e book to the iPhone but I have not managed to make it do so yet. I thought it Could be that I would have to have the iPhone USB tethered where I am expecting it to work like Stanza, In which you click on share & then you get to opportunity to download the ebook in the iPhone app via wifi.

I was able to download the UK Guardian News paper into Calibre & then I open it in Stanza to push to the mobile device. Not a good reading experience for the Guardian ebook on the iPhone though, There is a poor quality image of the front page & then pages which have a header with a link & a short part of the story below that.

When you get it in the iPhone in Stanza – you can’t click on any link because the whole screen is taken over by controls of the book, Left side to go back, Right to go forward & the centre is for getting to the interface of the app. So none of the links will take you anywhere – When reading it in the Calibre reader the links do work, & take you to the Guardian web site. This example helps to make the case I think for Newspapers & Magazines to have an app rather than ebook distribution for E readers

There is quite a variety in terms of quality interface & feature sets in the ebook apps I looked at. Stanza is a reader & convertor which also has an app to sync with on the mobile device it isn’t at all a creator of epub books & it recommends using Calibre for creation of the e books.


Calibre is more full featured but confusing at first look because of having such an ugly interface
Obviously started life as an open source or Windows program, It fell out of top of the ugly tree & hit every branch on the way down.

Sigil is more of the creation tool & is pretty enough. Still needs work in terms of ease of use but does the job of creating the epub format e books. All you need to do is to drop in some text & images & the job is nearly done


My iPad came early & with a camera

I was amazed when it arrived a day early but totally delighted. This is going to be a really short post because I have some serious iPad playing to do.
APRIL FOOL !
In the spirit of under promise & over deliver Apple sends out the new iPad device with a camera. They can’t be accused of not listening to their customers any more. So all the people that thought we would have to wait until the second version of the iPad got it wrong. The camera is is a 3.3 mega pixel beast & is working really well with the Skype video chat.

APRIL FOOL !
Let you know more when I have had a chance to play with it a little more.

APRIL FOOL !

If you want to know what this was all about select the text above &  read between the lines, literally……..

Got to have some fun sometimes.


Mac20Q Podcast 88 @SwitcherMark

SwitcherMark tells why he is called that even though he is now more SwitchedMark, having been a Mac user for a few years now. We talk about his love of photography and how he uses his DSLR which he bagged at a closing down sale at Circuit City. He also has a Flip Mino, well he has the use of the Flip and has to hope the daughter doesn’t notice.

Mark was at the MacWorld 2010 and had a great time there. He met with a pile of his mates and enjoyed meeting many face to face to face for the first time. Mark bought a few toys there, not least a photography application which he got for $130 instead of the usual $180. Mark attended the Nosillacast castaways party, which must have been fun, especially meeting the venerable Allison Sheridan.

He is taking it step by step with the photos increasing his knowledge and skill while also using the camera to take sport shots of his girls playing football (soccer) and the camera being in a mode Canon have set for sports.

Back ups are all well taken care of with a system that includes, DVD’s, BackBlaze, Carbon Copy Cloner and Time machine. Something that a photographer really has to do to protect the portfolio or archive of photos. Using a To Do list is not a good idea for Mark as like me the items on the list are less likely to get done than noting things on a piece of paper.

Mark was a super bloke to talk to on the Mac20Q Podcast and I know that you will enjoy hearing what he had to say about how he uses his Mac, a 20 in iMac. he would like an iPhone but can’t switch away from Verizon which doesn’t have the iPhone available. Mark is sorely tempted by an iPad though and can see many uses for it in his daily business.


Flamin’ Typical

iPad Available in US on April 3 Pre-Order on March 12 CUPERTINO, California—March 5, 2010—Apple® today announced that its magical and revolutionary iPad will be available in the US on Saturday, April 3, for Wi-Fi models and in late April for Wi-Fi + 3G models. In addition, all models of iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April. Beginning a week from today, on March 12, US customers can pre-order both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models from Apple’s online store (www.apple.com) or reserve a Wi-Fi model to pick up on Saturday, April 3, at an Apple retail store. “iPad is something completely new,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re excited for customers to get their hands on this magical and revolutionary product and connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”

link:

That is the word directly from Apple that US customers get the iPad before the rest of the world. April 3rd and it looks like non US customers will have to wait until late April. Probably due to the manufacturing problems that have been rumoured. By the way only the US will be getting iBooks on the iPad too. What we need is a company that takes care of us in Europe.

iBooks
The books will be in the ePub format and I am looking into making ePub books. I have downloaded one application that may be good for making eBooks of this type. What would be handy though is to have that capability in Pages from the iWorks suite of applications. I will make an ePub book an let you know more about how it goes. Could be interesting for podcasters as a way for us to get our content out there. The e book could have the links in to the podcasts


Screen Sharing on the Mac

I never really considered it until today when I was listening to MacVoices, a podcast by Chuck Joiner (who incidentally is soon to be featured on the Mac 20 Questions Podcast) A guest of his was talking about screen sharing and telling of the many benefits. I thought I must give that a try.

I can see that if my Mom gets a Mac, and she has said that she is looking into it. I would be able to help her out with using screen sharing even when she is in England and I am here in Spain. Also I have some applications on my iMac that I might want to control from the Macbook either because I am too lazy to get off the sofa or if I am away somewhere else.
I will have to set the iMac to wake up when I contact it for the screenshare. Those applications would be the ones that I have bought for the iMac but are only licensed to work on one machine. I don’t like those licenses. If I have bought software I should be able to use on which ever of my computers, it can even be set so that they can’t be used on two computers at the same time. I have not yet worked out how to be in two places at the same time, so no worries there.

I suppose though that using screen sharing will be like being in two places at the same time allowing me to use an iMac paid application from my MacBook. Then when the iPad comes I could use an application on there to do the same. Now that makes the iPad even more useful.


Mac20Q Podcast iPad edition 1

There are a lot of people stating there preferences for the iPad. Loads of negative comments as well as positive ones. The most telling are the comments from those that managed to get their hands on the iPad at the event and they all say only good things. Andy Inahtko, Stephen Fry , to mention a couple of them. Here are a few things I came across initially mixed in with a couple of thoughts of my own.

Leave a comment below and tell us whether you will be buying one or not. Tell us what you plan to do with it. What application do you think will be your most used app from the ones you have already on your iPhone

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The iPad

The Apple iPad

I like the look of it, I want one but don’t really need one. My wife will be getting one of these beauties though. She is a teacher and has been on the look out for something exactly like this for using with her work. She wanted a MacBook Air for the lightness of it and this is lighter. The iPad has a super looking version of Keynote on there for $10 and she can do all her information management that teachers have to do easily on this device.

Best of all – She may let me touch it from time to time, perhaps even use it?

Fail to understand why there are some bitching about it not having Flash which is a resource hungry pile of rubbish we really don’t need.

I would have thought there would be a camera on the iPad though.

Some complain about it not being 16:9 in shape and I wonder about that too seeing as it is touted as a perfect device for watching movies, but then it does have to do other jobs too, the book reader thing and general usage is best with the shape that it is I think.

One nice thing is that all the iPhone apps that are there already work on the iPad. Those I have bought already will go straight on there without re buying. There are file management apps in the App Store already so the people griping about it not having file management on it are talking out of places where the sun doesn’t shine.

What are your views on the iPad now ??

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Apple iTablet Day

Apple iTablet concept image

Time for all the rumours to be quashed and all the picking apart the bones of whatever Apple comes out with today. 10 inch form factor with an iPhone like interface. Will it be fast? Will it have Kindle like abilities? Will it be a game changing platform that will take the world by storm. Are you going to buy one as soon as it is in the store?

It is still all questions right now as I write this but in eight hours time there will be an explosion on the internet when every Mac fan has one topic to talk about. The iSlate, iTablet or the iPad. For sure some will be deleriously happy with the new toy and many will snipe at it, saying well it doesn’t do this or doesn’t do that. It will depend on whether the hype has been over done or not.

There are number which indicate that a lot of people will buy one what ever it looks like and whatever they think it can do. I am sure that if I had the cash I would be one the first in the queue even though I already have a MacBook and my iMac, an iPhone  and a Mac Mini.

In the picture above the concept artist put in a pen type of thing to use alongside the taken for granted touch interface. Could be a good idea for the artists among us to have a pen / brush interface and not have to resort to finger painting.

What would you like to see in the upcoming device? Will it have a dock to use on a desk and connect with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse?

Have Apple done deals with content providers so that you can download books movies as well as your music. More deals perhaps with mobile phone companies to give it constant internet like with the iphone?

Leave a comment below or fill in the form to send Mac20Q an email.

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