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!

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!

Weekend Saga

It’s been a funny weekend.

I woke up Saturday to find that my server had been terminated, and after some support tickets with my web host (sent to my backup email address!) it seems they had a “problem” and had accidentally deleted everyone’s virtual servers! So they issues me with two new empty servers, which I then had to restore from backups, thankfully I rsync’ed the previous evening. They’d also allocated new IP addresses so I had to update some zone files and get reverse-DNS sorted, luckily I had set my DNS TTL to 15sec, so they instantly propagated. 8 hours later I had both servers back up and working as if nothing had happened, and that day’s emails started coming in.

Next I realised I’d left my mobile SIM card in England, so phoned my carrier and found they would courier me a replacement, so then the search began for someone who would be available to take a signed-for delivery at Sunday lunchtime and mail it to me. Well that never happened for one reason or another (mainly the inability to get anyone to answer their phones on the weekend!) but luckily PP mentioned that I had a free SIM with my recently-purchased Orange San Francisco, so I managed to convince Orange to activate it for me and send me a new PIN, with the promise of topping it up with £50 worth of credit, they also gave me my free £10 topup from the Argos deal. So once again I have a UK mobile phone number with enough credit for a good few calls at 38p/minute including roaming charges!

Mum’s got addicted to Wii Sports tennis, so we were up until 2am playing mixed doubles. I’m now a pro with a score of over 1200 and have played computer players with 1900 scores.

After having a play with Mum’s Kindle3, I’ve decided to get one for myself, not least to take advantage of free 3G internet usage. I tried to read Stephen Fry’s autobiography, The Fry Chronicles using FBReader and Kobo Desktop on my netbook the other night, and it was just too bright, and like on my Android phone it had too much glare in the sun during the day, so not really successful. Of course if I go on holiday anywhere now I’m going to need a rucksack to carry my netbook, Kindle and smartphone alone!

I’ve upgraded the blog to WordPress 3.1.1

Android Apps

Amazon now have their own Android Appstore to compete with Google’s Android Market. They give away a free (normally paid-for) app every day. I missed SwiftKey the other day, now its just fecking Angry Birds or some crap.

For some reason its amazon.com (USA) only, but it seems to work via email/wifi for amazon.co.uk (UK) accounts, just not via SMS/3g I guess. A lot of the free content seems to be duplicates of what’s already on Android Market though.

There was some worries about the DRM scheme that Amazon uses, it seemed that their copy-protection relied on the user being online when using the app, but its since been clarified that it only needs to be online for download/first use and occasionally it may sync (call home) like Android Market does.

I also made my first Android Market purchase of LauncherPro Plus, well its not quite on the Market yet, so I still had to use PayPal, but you get the point. It was only £1.92 or something thanks to the worthless $$$ 😉

Its an alternative launcher app – basically changes the functionality of the icons at the bottom of the screen. Instead of being just web browser and phone, you now also have contacts and messaging; but more importantly each icon now has a swipe gesture – so when you swipe the app icon, it pops up a list of your most used apps; the browser icon brings up your favourites list; the messaging icon brings up your unread SMS and so on.

Also the icons themselves are used as notifications, e.g. the phone icon will show the number of missed calls, the messaging icon shows the number of unread SMS etc.

Useful for me with fat fingers is that pressing the home button when already on the home screen will open your notifications list so you don’t have to struggle to drag the tiny notification bar down from the top left of the screen.

There’s also some LP+ specific widgets like “People” which is like a shortcut to your favourite contacts with photo’s and buttons for map location, email, contact info, SMS, phone and even Google Talk if you’re in the USA.

I found a few useful plugins for Calibre:

I must try Kindle Collections plugin with Mum’s Kindle3 as its a right royal PITA to create/allocate collections on the Kindle itself. The goodreads.com plugins seem to be able to fetch metadata/covers for some books that Amazon can’t.

I’ve also added a couple of new categories to the blog – Ebooks and Android, I’m considering removing the Xbox category and just making it a tag as most of the posts are actually about XBMC (now Plex).

Update: it seems even with an amazon.com account, it still doesn’t allow you to download apps outside the USA.

Kobo Desktop

I quite like the Kobo application on Android, so was disappointed to see that there isn’t a Linux client. Until I found there soon will be!

You can download the pre-release Ubuntu binary from here.

I’ve got it working on Fedora14 by roughly using these instructions.

Essentially you extract the .deb file into /opt/kobodesktop and create a shell script to set the environment variables to point to the statically-linked Qt/OpenSSL libs, and a desktop launcher file to run that from your Applications->Office menu.

/opt/kobodesktop/kobo.sh

#!/bin/sh

QT_PLUGIN_PATH=/opt/kobodesktop/usr/local/Trolltech/Qt-4.6.2/plugins 

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/kobodesktop/usr/lib:/opt/kobodesktop/usr/local/Kobo:/opt/kobodesktop/usr/local/Trolltech/Qt-4.6.2/lib 

/opt/kobodesktop/usr/local/Kobo/Kobo

/opt/kobodesktop/kobo.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Kobo Desktop eReader
Exec=/opt/kobodesktop/kobo.sh
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Icon=/opt/kobodesktop/usr/local/Kobo/Kobo.png
Categories=Office;

Apparently you can run the Amazon Kindle for PC app under WINE (instructions) but that’s no solution to me, and the ebook reader that comes with Calibre I don’t really like and FBReader is pretty basic too, so this is quite useful – you can even browse the Kobo store and sync with your Android.

Update: Calibre is now at version 0.7.52