How to Get Your Nook Books

We don’t do Kindle. Never have. Never will. Instead we get epub formats since they are quite universal. Nearly any ereader can view them with little to no converting. Which is why I dislike Kindle. And why I disliked Lorna’s Nook. When Barnes and Noble (B&N) dropped the Nook, we kept it alive for as long as possible. I even spent big bucks on chargers and cords since both were proprietary. Then it started dying and I couldn’t fix it. I got her a tablet, used Calibre to upload all her books, and she was happy. Then B&N got rid of the “download” button on their website. The only way to get your books was through a Nook or a Nook app.

I by-passed that by using Nook Study. It was designed for students to download textbooks and for years, it has worked. She bought her books, I used it to download them, then used Calibre to upload them to her tablet. Done.

Except today when she bought a book, Nook Study wouldn’t work. It tried to download and said they were “experiencing errors, try later” or something like that. Right. I knew the Nook Study was on the way out anyway because I tried to install it on her computer last year and it wouldn’t. They’d discovered the loop hole. And now they have tightened the noose.

Fine.

Lorna got the Nook app on her Android tablet and it automatically downloaded the book. It also downloaded a book I had bought several months ago that was not on her tablet. I went to the “Library” and long pressed her new book (when in doubt on an Android device, long press). Ta freakin’ da. It let me move it to the SD card. I located it on the SD card and “shared” it via email to my desktop. I then put it through Calibre (which removes the DRM) and uploaded it to her tablet. Now she can read it in the app of HER choice, not theirs.

Take that, B&N idiots.

In the Nook app, go to the Library.
Long press the book’s cover. Select “Move to SD card”

A: use the My Files and go to the SD Card, then Android, then Data.

1: Scroll down to find com.nook.app.
2: Open Files then Download.
3: Long press the book you want to send.
4: Tap Share.

Once you know where the book is, you can also send it to your desktop via whatever file sharing method you usually use. AirDroid, usb, or taking the card out and putting it into your computer.

To make Nook epubs viewable in a reading app other than their own (bastids), you’ll need Calibre and the plugin to decrypt it. The user manual is quite extensive but all information on how to remove the encryption is left up to the plugins. Apprentice Alf has the one you need and this post has the instructions for Calibre.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Temporary Site Problem

Seems as though some one managed to get past stuff and “infect” this website and one other (not really a virus type of thing, just injection of some crap). I *think* I have found the cause. Until then, the themes may be jumping around and looking weird until I find one I like again. Dagnabbit.

Sorry for the weirdness. Everything should be working and all links are valid (at least those site based).

Please let me know if you see ANY advertisement on this site. I do not have any. I do not want any. I will remove any that make their way in.

Shutting Down Cortana

I don’t like Cortana. Don’t want it. Didn’t ask for it. I find the entire thing not just a waste of resources on my already choked computer, but an invasion of my privacy.

If you want to turn the dang thing off though, ha. Microsoft took care of the “off” switch a long time ago. And now even the registry change isn’t quite enough. (see how to do that here but know what you are doing!) There is one way to turn her off but it has to be done after nearly every major update it seems. It’s a simple matter of renaming a folder.

You will see “Cortana” running as a process in the Task Manager. Right click on the little darling and select “open file location”. This will take you to the folder you need to rename.

Right click the name of the folder and select “Rename”. You want to simply add “.old” to the end of it. Change nothing else. Hit the Enter key. It will tell you the file is in use and do you want to try again. Leave this window alone.

Go back to the Task Manager. Maneuver it so that it is near the “try again” window.

Select the Cortana process and click the “end task”. Then quickly move the cursor over and click the “try again” button. If you were successful, you won’t see that window again. Cortana wants to live and she returns very quickly. If you see that window again, then just simply repeat the end task but be faster, grasshopper.

Next time you see that dang Cortana process running, you’ll have to do it again. This will make the 3rd time I’ve had to do it. I’ve turned it off in the registry so I don’t know what the program is doing. And that is what i don’t like.

Back It Up

I’ve talked about this before. Lectured on it. Gonna do it again ’cause it’s been a while.

Back up your work, back up your work, back up your work. In as many places as possible in as many ways as you can think of. Some you do every day to catch ever new word, phrase, file change, whatever. Others less often and purely as backups. Others purely as syncs. Redundant? Sure. But when it crashes and you have a copy off site? One not touched by the virus? That’s not a happy dance, that’s a heart that is still beating.

First, let’s discuss terminology. A backup is just that. It takes the files and copies them. Any that are changed or are new on Source are changed or copied on Destination. Any file that is missing from Source is not deleted from Destination. So if I have file A, delete B, change C, and create D, the Destination (if I had done a backup yesterday) would now have Files A, B, an updated C, and the new D.

A sync is different. A sync is essentially making a mirror image of the Source onto the Destination each time. If yesterday my Destination had A, B, and C, today it would have A, C, and D.

A backup is good because you never lose anything, unless two files have the same filename and are in the same location. But backups can be memory hogs at the Destination. A sync is good because it is the exact copy you have on your computer. The Destination will only take up the same amount of memory as the Source. The drawback is if you sync the wrong copy.

Sync can also go both ways. Let’s say you work at your desktop and sync it to the cloud. You then go to your laptop, and now you can sync the cloud to the laptop. Any new work you had on the desktop is now on the laptop. No carrying a memory key around. Cloud files are accessible wherever you have a wifi location. But again, sync will erase one file and replace it with another if the size and/or date is different.

I have a desktop computer. On it are two hard drives. One is the main one, the other is a holder of sorts. Also on the computer is a memory key with a lot of memory on it. Holder drive and USB drive sync themselves to the Main Drive daily. If necessary, I just grab that key and go. On it are all my Works In Progress (WIP) files, emails, and some other stuff. The problem with all this is: it is all at one location, making copies of the main drive. If the main drive is corrupt or have a virus? So do they because they are directly connected. I keep a sync copy on Lorna’s PC, connected via the home network. But again, same location. Should the house burn down or lightning strike us because God has had enough of my sarcasm (ha, like that’d happen), all that dataz is gonez. Same location. You need at least one copy of stuff off site. Away from your house. Sure I can grab that key but, really, if a fire happens or lightning strikes, I got other things on my mind. Like saving my arse and my pets’ arses.

There’s a few ways to do that. One is a cloud service. Another is to remote location. For example, using a program such as Ammyy, you can connect to a friend’s computer and keep your files there. (I use Ammyy to access my home computers while away.) A third way is to have two external drives. Do your backup onto one, take it to work, bring home the one that was already there. Use it the next week for the next backup, exchange, rinse, repeat. Just keep it in a desk drawer at work. Done. External drives are getting smaller. I don’t trust memory keys for this. I consider them for simple file transfer use only. Maybe one of the newer, expensive ones vs the cheap models made in the shape of a ninja. Maybe.

Okay, onto the cloud! My webhost, Dreamhost, has a really cool cloud service called DreamObjects. To that I do a backup and a sync once a week. I like both because with the backup, I never lose a file. And with the sync, it is the latest where I had it last and uncluttered by all the stuff I deleted everywhere else.

Now, to access all that.

To do the backing and syncing, I use Syncback Pro. Love. It. Set it up with what I want it to do, set up a schedule, fuhgitaboutit. I can also tell it what to do with files that are different in one way but same in another. I can tell it to ignore certain file extensions. It does it all in the background. Or it can do the scan, gather the info on changes, and get permission before implementing any or all of them. I have this running on my desktop, my laptop, and Lorna’s PC.

To access the cloud, I use CyberDuck. I can access the files, download, delete, rename, whatever. I can upload too but don’t often use it for that. It is an easy program, small space, and good support.

Sometimes I use FTP to upload a file so I can quickly access it or send it to someone for them to download (which is easier to do than with a cloud, which I have set to Private). For that I use Filezilla. DreamHost use to allow us to keep non-webfiles on a server but they stopped that. It is where I kept a sync so I could access it quickly. Now I use Filezilla to maintain my websites and files for the sites. It is extremely easy to use.

On my tablet and phone (both Android), I use AndFTP for FTP stuff and S3Anywhere Pro for cloud access. S3Anywhere was a godsend when I found it and finally got it to work. Extremely simple to use and very easy to set up IF you understand what needs to be put into each blank. I think it may be the only one available for accessing DreamObjects on Android. If you use a Big Name Cloud like Drive, then your options are much better.

As for Drive and the others, I once used one. Which one is Google’s? Anyway, used it for a few months for a few files because I was writing between my laptop and my desktop and then we were editing that document. The cloud service corrupted the file. We found a spam phone number in the document. And twice it only had half the document. So I don’t use them. Somethings I try twice to give them a second chance. But this? Nope. Don’t go messing with my writing files!

New Gadetry

So Lorna got a Samsung Galaxy S7 yesterday. She wants to be the one to do all the work on it. Like, remove the bloatware, figure out how everything works, all that. I’ve walked her through a lot of stuff and let her do it all herself. She was really hands-off with her S3. And I do mean really really hands-off. I’ve had to do a few things, though, because I had to look them up and fiddle with it for a while. Like get rid of that blanketyblank visual voicemail thing (fancy name for voicemail to text on the screen because we are too damn lazy to dial 1 and listen). I wouldn’t want it if it were free so why the heck would I want to pay for it? The app is annoying because the notification won’t go away and keeps insisting you pay attention to it. So I did. And I told it…well, you can imagine the colorful terminology I used as I used my Google Foo (to no avail) then figured it out myself how to turn the notifications from the app off. You can’t turn it all the way off or you aren’t notified AT ALL that you have voice mail. Pain. In. The Ass.

Anyway…

When I started looking for her a new phone, I was hesitant to get the S6, even with as few apps as she has. The S6 was teh stoopid because it did not have the expandable memory. I wince at the non-changeable battery concept (if I wanted an iPhone, I would have gotten one!) but I draw the line at the lack of memory (again, didn’t want an iPhone). I also knew I didn’t want the S5 (poorly designed), and knew I didn’t want to go all the way back to the S4. When I read the S7 brought back the expandable memory (but not the interchangeable battery, dammit), I was hoping I could talk her into it. Lorna’s not a technophobe but she’s not all that friendly with them either. So a brand new, made this year phone? Good luck, I thought. It actually wasn’t that hard. She was so tired of her S3 and it’s crankiness.

The S7 is brand spankin’ new (just came out in early March) but that newness comes with both good and bad. Good ’cause freebies! We got a free wireless charging dock thingybob whatsit. And a big discount from Sprint. And because we had to upgrade her half of the plan (Sprint was so weird a few years ago: we have two lines on the same plan but we each had different “plans” within that plan), we actually are now going to be paying LESS each month! That doesn’t happen often.

The bad is there’s some weird quirks with the S7. Heat issues have been reported. It did get hot as it was charging and updating but that’s expected. It is something she will have to watch for this summer when she is on the mail route. Her S3 overheated a few times and turned itself off just sitting there in the car, out of the sun. The other weird thing about it makes me glad this is not my phone. For example, let’s say you have 5 pages/screens. With our other Samsung phones, you swipe from 1 through 5, you then swipe again, and you are back at 1. It was like a loop. As someone who has the max pages/screens allowed, I loooove that. You could do it in the Apps and in the Widgets, too. Lorna’s new S7 wouldn’t do it and I thought it was a setting. I couldn’t find it so I went to the wonderful peeps at Android Central and asked about it. It’s a Samsung thing and they done took it away. I’ll be keeping my Note 4 for a while!

The other gadget I talked her into (and have been for probably two years now) is another tablet. She’s been using her Nook that I got her for her birthday 4 years ago. Then Barnes and Noble stuck their heads up their ass, said it was dark, and began messing up a good thing. I have downloaded all her books from their website (they took away the download buttons and links so I cheated) and removed the DRM via Calibre (which I heart muchly). Now we can put her “Nook books” on any device and read them there. So when her Nook finally died (and no, I didn’t help it along although I was tempted) she finally agreed to getting a tablet.

We got a Galaxy Tab 2 (8″) and I think she likes it more than her phone! Setting it up was a little trickier so she let me do a lot of it. I got it updated, installed a bunch of apps I use on my tablet, and then gave it back so she can arrange it the way she wants. And what is she doing? Not reading ebooks, nope. Watching Netflix. Sigh.

I like her little Tab but it is too small for me I think. And I like the pen function of my Note 10.1 (2013 edition). But she’s loving the small size and the light weight. She is also loving her new phone. They didn’t have the screen protectors in stock so I got a “folio” case for now. She didn’t like the idea but, HA, she actually likes it! She likes that it is also “grippier” than her Otterbox case she had on the S3. And as we all know, as long as she’s happy, that’s all that matters!

Samsung Note 4

I recently got the Note 4 to replace my possessed Galaxy S3. I loved my S3 from the beginning. But, yes, it was possessed. For one, it would not connect to the computer with the cable that came with it. Not on my computer. It would on my computer with Lorna’s cable, but not my cable. Then it would connect to Lorna’s computer with it’s cable but not Lorna’s cable. And yes, I knew which cable went to which. So finally we just switched cables and that was that. Then the headset port decided to not work. Most of the time it would, sometimes it wouldn’t. Totally random. It would be playing fine, plug in the headset or speaker, it would go to full volume for two seconds then nothing. The program would pause. Sometimes Google Voice Search would open. Sometimes not. Sometimes Dragon Voice Search would open, sometimes not.

See what I mean by possessed?

Meanwhile I had my tablet with the pen which I used more than I thought I would. I got the pen because I figured I would like to freehand notes and the like. Actually I fell in love with the handwriting-to-text software. I was thinking of getting the Note 3 but Lorna had a co-worker with one and she said it was just too big. Then my sis-in-law got one and I got to play with it. It’s big, yes, but not overly so. When I heard the Note 4 was due out, I decided that was what I wanted.

And I am glad I did.

And yes, it is big. But I wear men’s pants with real pockets so no problems with carrying it. Lorna is going through a phase of wearing women’s pants which has pretend pockets and she can’t even carry her S3 in her front pocket. If I were thinner, I’d get a holster for it and carry it that way, just to be cool. Right now I am carrying it naked. I’m not naked, the phone is.

Let’s start off with what I don’t like. Some of what I don’t like is the different version of the OS, KitKat 4.4.4. My S3 is running 4.4.2.
– I can no longer turn off/on the mobile data with just a tap of an icon in the “drawer”. I actually have no clue where to access it. I’ve not been in a situation yet where I have had to force it to do it so maybe they fixed that problem.
– If the screen is off and you have the phone locked with something other than a simple swipe, a missed call only shows up as a missed call. No other information (other than time) shows. They consider it a “privacy setting” and assume that if you don’t lock your phone, you don’t care who sees it but if you lock it, you do. There’s no way to change that. Really?
– Accessing widgets is a PITA. On my S3, they are with the Apps. On the Note 4, you have to long press an empty spot on the screen and access them via an icon that way. Why??
– The screen is slightly curved on the edges and Samsung neglected to let anyone know this ahead of time. All of the case and screen protector designers who had made things ahead of time were left scrambling to not only recall and offer refunds on things they had sold, but to now redesign their stuff.
– There are two mic holes and depending on who your carrier is depends on which mic hole you use. Verizon folks are SOL when it comes to cases right now. For some stupid dumbass reason, they use a totally different mic hole than everyone else so unless the case has an open bottom, yep, SOL. We have Sprint!

What I do like:
– Very, very sensitive screen. I am tempted to not put a screen protector on it because I love the crisp, clear screen (Zagg’s plastic tends to cloud up).
– What a beautiful screen! Wow! So clear! We went to BestBuy so I could see one and as soon as I turned it on, I knew that was what I would get.
– The pen? It is awesome. It is like a mouse, actually. I can draw, select, move, cut, paste, write, erase. I use the phone for quick notes for the manuscripts as well as just various “don’t for get to do this” kind of notes. And I write them by hand! Amazing! I don’t write much by hand anymore because I tend to grip a pen too hard. And it hurts anyway. But the stylus, I grip lightly and don’t press as hard.
– Probably more to do with the OS than the device itself but the widgets are grouped together. On the S3, if an app had 12 widgets, they were all listed, 6 to a page. But now they are grouped together into kinda like folders that are kinda open. This makes finding things MUCH easier.
– To move icons from one screen to another, you don’t have to hold and skim from page to page. You hold it and little images of the other screens appear below. You can then drag it to the image of the page you want to put it on, it pops up and you drop it there. Done. Great for when you are doing massive re-arranging!

There’s lots more of course. Some good, some bad. There’s some battery issues. This battery gets hot while I never noticed the S3 ever getting warm. But it has a “fast charge” where it goes from dead (1-2%) to 100% in 1hr 37mins (I timed it). It took forever to get it to die, though. A guy who does YouTube reviews and stuff was able to get the iPhone 6+ to bend which then cracked when he tried to straighten it out. The Note 3 did not bend at all, although there was a slight warping to it. The Note 4 bent some but he was able to straighten it out without it breaking. What else? The more I use it, the smaller it gets. Really, it’s not as big as it seems. I mean, yeah, it’s big but for my old eyes? It is just right.

A great resource for most things Android is Android Central. Their forums are quite active and huge. I have learned a lot from the forum for the Galaxy S3 and now the Note 4. Since the wifi only tablets are rather static (I have the Note 10.1), not much happens to them but I go to that forum sometimes just to see if any update is expected. It is still on 4.1.2 and I doubt it will ever get an update.

S3 (left) and Note 4 (right) – the app is Sol Calendar

Widget screen for the Note 4

Widget Screen for the S3 (yes, those are all for one app and yes, there’s more)

How to access the widgets for the Note 4. PITA, IMO.

Writing Apps

So what mobile apps do y’all use to do your writing? Even research? And by mobile I mean not laptop or netbook, but tablet or phone.

I use all Android on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone (soon to be upgraded) and my Samsung Note 10.1 tablet. When I do write away from home and it is not on the laptop, it is on the tablet. With the Note’s pen, I can either do it by hand or use a keyboard (bluetooth or onscreen). I went with the Android because, as a writer, I wanted the ability to easily get to my files and keep backups on a card vs being forced to use a cable or cloud the iWhatever is limited to. My Note has a 32gb card that holds all my WiP files as well as my music, ebooks, and bunches of other stuff. My phone has a 64gb card because it has ALL of the music and a ton of other useless stuff. I keep the tablet more “professional” (less games, for one).

If I like a program, I don’t hesitate to buy the pro or premium version. And if it is free, I like it, but the ads are annoying or I don’t like the permissions, I won’t use it.

The two I use the absolute most are OfficeSuite Pro and AndFTP Pro.

OfficeSuite Pro – word processing. Tracks changes that actually transfers to the desktop. Reads the .odt format (open document, which is what OpenOffice uses) but cannot save in it. It can, however, edit that document then save in .doc which OpenOffice can then handle. Which is why I love OpenOffice.

LectureNotes – I heart this muchly. You can import an image or pdf file then take notes on it or beside it. It is mostly for college students to use this way. You can also create your own drawings, notes, or whatever. There is a fully functioning trial version (has some limits, of course).

Write: Tablet Journal – well organized note taking or journaling kind of app. I use this for world building and idea growing when away from home. I can export them in .txt format when I get home. Easier to manipulate the text than a simple note program yet not overly complicated. The notes can be organized into folders. There is also a version for phones.

WordWeb – I use this on my desktop, too. Dictionary and thesaurus program that can also tap into Wikipedia and Wiktionary. Freakin’ way cool program. On the desktop, I use this a lot.

Aldiko Premium – eBook reader. Reads epub, pdf, and acsm formats. I upload the books (including L’s Nook books) to my tablet via Calibre, a free ebook organization program. I just now found a Calibre Companion app which, somehow through wifi, works with your phone/tablet and Calibre on your desktop to keep your books organized. It won’t read them, but it can help you tag them, mark them as read, etc. I haven’t tried it yet but I will soon!

SimpleMind – a mind mapping / brain storming program. I have it on the desktop, too. I prefer Novamind, however, but that program doesn’t have an app just yet so when I need it while away from home, I can explore the thought process with SimpleMind then transfer it when I get home.

Rory’s Story Cubes – excellent and fun way to get a little spark back into your creativity! Hard to explain so you’ll have to check them out. They existed in “hard format” first and I think I would prefer them that way.

BeyondPod – I was into podcasts for a while but then if I missed a day or week, I got behind and then it is hard to catch up and and and…so I don’t anymore. But I still have the app for if I ever want to get into it again. This was THE best app I tried (and I tried a lot of ’em) for finding the source, downloading, sorting, and then finding the download to listen to it.

And finally, AndFTP Pro and S3Anywhere Pro. AndFTP is an ftp app that lets me upload/download to/from my backup ftp site. I do regular backups and syncs (yes, I do both) from my desktop and when actively writing, I do daily syncs of the active project. That way, when away from home, I can access the most recent version from my tablet, even if I haven’t put it on there. S3Anywhere allows me to access the cloud service I use (I use DreamHost’s DreamObjects). I don’t often use it but in case something happens to the FTP version, I still have the cloud version. And ya never know! The two apps are made by the same company.

There’s a few more that I tap for reference but these are the faves. OfficeSuite and the ftp one are used the most. I’ve tried a LOT of different apps over the past, what, two years? I really liked Kingsoft, which became WPS Office but it couldn’t handle the odt format. Remembering to save in doc and to upload it was a pain in the arse. It had some other issues as well (clearing the “most recent” list had a tendency to delete the files themselves!) and I was pleased to find another app.