epub DRM be gone!

I’ve been trying to figure out how to read epubs from Kobo on my Kindle3G – and Linux for that matter, seeing as how the desktop client has stagnated.

I fired up a VM of MacOSX 10.6.7 and installed Adobe Digital Editions which takes the URLLink.acsm files and downloads DRM-infected .epub files which you can read through the Adobe program.

Well that’s not good enough, so I downloaded ineptepub.pyw and removed the DRM, then imported the .epub’s into Calibre 0.8.1 and converted them to .mobi format suitable for the Kindle and just about any other platform you like.

Power to the people and all that – information is power and Kobo/Adobe are trying to keep it from us!

Its not like its piracy – these are free books or books I’ve purchased and publishers are trying to tell me I can only read it on approved platforms – I can imagine librarians telling people they can only read their books if seated on a green leather sofa wearing +2.5 prescription glasses supping a cup of Earl Grey!

VoIP alternatives

Since the announcement that Microsoft are buying Skype I thought I’d look into alternative VoIP providers.

Firstly I fired up good old Ekiga (formerly Gnomemeeting) with the Diamondcard SIP gateway provider, to see if it had improved any since I last tried it. It hasn’t is the short answer. I mean it works as a SIP client but its difficult to use and a bit low on features/services.

I then tried my ISP as my SIP gateway provider via their Freephonie service. I works fine with Ekiga, but its limited to calling French numbers, although interestingly you can use it outside of France and calling rates (essentially free!) are the same as their phone service.

I also looked at the Freespeech SIP service, which has great features including an inbound 0844 number like SkypeIn or Yac but its unlimited and PAYG packages exclude London and 0800 numbers from the free/bonus minutes schemes.

Then I tried to figure out what’s going on with Google Voice and Talk – it has always been said that Voice isn’t available outside the USA and Talk doesn’t allow phonecalls. Well today I changed my GMail language to “English (US)” and now I can make phonecalls to landlines by installing the Talk web browser plugin, for 2c/minute.

So I don’t really understand that – its like Voice and Talk have been merged and the USA restriction is only really down to the language not the location! That said, I can’t seem to get the new Talk2 Android client to show me a “call” button or anything. The “one number to rule them all” feature isn’t enabled (only works with Sprint cellular IIRC) and free calls only work in the USA.

So I think for now I’ll stick to Skype+Yac until M$ kill Linux support or change their “unlimited country” fees, or Google activate all the Voice features and maybe drop their prices a bit.

Waiting for gadgets

I hate waiting for things to come from ebay, I sit here every day cursing the Hong Kong postal service, or the French customs and postman; never once considering that I’d either have to pay a fortune or simply wouldn’t be able to get hold of the goods I’m buying without fleabay. They do have some weird shiz on there that you’d never see in the highstreet.

So here’s my list, in order I’m expecting them:

  • Linkcom HD Pro+ headset – £50, Amazon: £80
  • Hard cover for Dad’s Kindle3G – £4, Amazon: £7
  • 16x 3000mA AA rechargeable batteries – £6, Amazon: £25
  • Bottle opener keyring (to replace my much-loved but broken Guinness one) – £1, Amazon: £4
  • VOIP headphones (to replace the ones I bought from Skype for £30) – £1, Amazon: £3
  • Mains/cigarette socket to USB adaptor (charger) – £4, Amazon: £8
  • 7-port powered USB hub (like the D-Link one I paid £25 for) – £4, Amazon: £11
  • 7-LED 3w torch+laser pointer – £2, Amazon: £4 (without laser)

Update: just flashed the smartphone with CM7 nightly 67 which fixes a volume control display bug and some minor issues. I also adb-push’ed the 2nd libaudio.so patch which fixes the loudspeaker hiss issue without muting the phone entirely or breaking SIP. I’ve got a funny feeling that the Facebook app is what causes the battery drain, as it probably uses data sync.

Cyanogenmod 7.1.0 nightly 59

Cyanogenmod 7.1.0 nightly 59 with Android 2.3.4 (GRJ22) is available for download. I installed it on my ZTE Blade and it doesn’t seem any better or worse than CM7.0.2 N57, of course this isn’t even 7.1 RC1 yet, its RC0.

I think the main focus of 2.3.4 was on video performance which probably won’t have much of an effect on the lowly Blade which can’t even run Flash.

I’ve also been playing with K4MobiDeDRM_v02.8_plugin.zip which is a Calibre plugin to strip the DRM crap from Amazon ebooks so that your ebooks are not tied solely to your Kindle3G, and can be opened on Linux or a non-Kindle ereader application on your Android/Mac for instance.

Plain old mobidedrm.py 0.29 no longer seems to work since the 2.5 firmware, but the K4 tools add some functionality to it and now you don’t even need a PID, just your Kindle serial number.

Update 1: Nightly 60 is out, I installed it and it seems ok now (after several reboots for some reason). Apparently 7.0.3 stable is coming soon, then development can concentrate on 7.1.0 RC1.

Update 2: Nightly 62 is out as is stable 7.0.3, here’s hoping for kernel 2.6.35 in N63…..

Update 3: Just installed Nightly 63 and its still 2.6.32 albeit with some fixes in it for battery life, I/O performance and touchscreen. There does seem to be a slight hissing after using the loudspeaker, confirmed on the issue tracker.

I also installed new gapps-gb-20110503-signed.zip which provides slightly updated Google Apps like Talk with video chat for 2.3.4

Update 4: Nightly 64 is out with some new music player features. Apparently the hissing from the loudspeaker was introduced when a new /system/lib/libaudio.so was merged in to fix some VOIP issues, sometime after moving to Gen2-only. I tried the patch on N64 but it seems to mute the speaker altogether rather than just stop the hissing!