E-Reader Simulator Across All Platforms

Apparently, there’s no such thing as a simulator for testing .epub files (e-books) across all e-reader platforms and devices, because that would make life too easy. Kindle has their Kindle Previewer tool, but where’s an equivalent simulator for testing .epub files on Kobo, Nook, and iBooks?

Well, you can use your phone + Dropbox. It’s a bit of a hassle, but you can check the quality of your e-book like a pro, and use these steps to send a product to your readers that you can be proud to stand behind.

  1. Install Dropbox on your phone or device, if it’s not there already. Install the Kobo reader app on your phone or device. Sign in and get it all set up. Do the same for the Nook reader app. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, you should already have iBooks installed. Sign in and get yourself set up, if you haven’t already.
  2. Make a Dropbox folder for testing your ebook. Toss your .epub into that folder.
  3. On your phone/device: Open Dropbox and try to open your .epub. It says the file can’t be viewed.
  4. Select the three dots for settings > Export
  5. Select “Open In” (the Applications icon)
  6. Scroll through the app icons until you see “Copy to Kobo” or “Copy to Nook” or “Copy to iBooks”. Select one and your .epub will open in that application.

 

Thanks to NookPress for their useful article on Tools for Testing Your E-Books.

Maximus Post-Mortem

I had some great times and lived a lot of life in my 2000 Nissan Maxima.

There was that road trip through New Mexico in 2010 with my friends Amy and Brian, when we visited George R.R. Martin at his home office, and explored Taos and White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns.

And that 2009 road trip around Texas, from Austin to Corpus Christie to Houston and back, with my friend Kendra. We got pulled over late at night, and the cop seemed to think we must be Thelma and Lois.

And that 2008 road trip down Route 66, from Los Angeles to St. Louis, with my friend Valerie, when we hiked through the Painted Desert and stopped at ghost towns.

That Maxima took me to the Grand Canyon with Tom, and to San Francisco with Kate, and to the Sequoia Forest with Sarah, and to San Diego Comic Con several times, and through Joshua Tree forest, and along the Pacific Coast Highway, and many dozens of times through Topanga Canyon and Angeles Forest and Newport Beach.

I used that Maxima to commute to my first job in the video-game industry, at Paradox Development in Moorpark. If the 118 freeway was clogged, I used an alternate route that wound through orange groves and then up a steep switchback mountain pass, where I’d sometimes get stuck behind a slow-moving truck from the nearby mine.

That Maxima took me to clubs and movies in Burbank and Hollywood. I have so many memories of cruising in it down Sunset Blvd. or Mulholland Dr. or Fairfax, or visiting the Getty Museum, or Pasadena, or Santa Monica. So many memories of traffic on the Hollywood Freeway and the 5. There was that one nightmarish 7 hour long jam when the 5 freeway shut down when the Hollywood Bowl was letting out, and cars had to back off the freeway on ramps, one by one, to get out of the gridlock.

At some point in its life, the Maxima acquired the name Maximus. I drove Maximus from Springfield, Missouri to Austin, Texas. Maximus took me from Austin to San Antonio dozens of times, and also to Houston and Dallas and San Marcos and Corpus Christie.

After that crazy road trip through Chaco Canyon, where I drove 17 miles down a washboard dirt road with cattle and dust in the way, Maximus needed his first major repair. It was a catalytic converter, I think, and the suspension and muffler needed to be replaced.

Then Maximus needed CV axles replaced. The battery died, and then the alternator, late at night. Huge thanks to my friend Mike for fixing that. The tires began to go flat on a regular basis. I got a flat tire driving home from a New Year’s Eve party in 2015, which was fun with the fireworks going off everywhere.

I kept putting off buying a new car, because other things in life were so much more important and immediate. My career and my relationships needed attention. Maximus seemed fine after each repair, and I figured that I would know when Maximus stopped being reliable. He only had 135,000 miles on him. Surely he could go until 200,000. Heck, I have two different friends who drive Fords (an Expedition and an old pickup truck) with more than 250,000 miles on them.

Well, towards the end of 2016, I realized that I could no longer trust Maximus to keep going without a lot of major repair work. He might only be at 145,000 miles, but he was old, manufactured before the turn of the millennium. I’d rented cheap economic Versas that felt more spry than him, and they had modern bells and whistles, such as USB connections and Bluetooth. Maximus used to be a powerful, fast car. Now he’s slow to roll and slow to stop. When I took him to the local dealership for yet another repair, they gave me a list of recommended fixes that looked expensive enough to buy a younger car, and I knew it was time to send Maximus on to his final stages of life. I don’t know where’ll end up. But he’s gone now, sitting in a dealership lot, probably ready to be auctioned off or sold to someone in need.

Maximus the Maxima was a good car. I think he should have lasted longer, but I’m very glad to be driving something from this decade.

Maximus the Maxima

Maximus the Maxima

Book Review: Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen

Groom of the Tyrannosaur QueenGroom of the Tyrannosaur Queen by Daniel Bensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book explores domination/subordination in a light-hearted way, there is some truly brilliant dialogue, and it also teaches you about dinosaurs. It’s not your typical rah-rah-brah testosterone fueled sci-fi, despite the pulpy cover. There is enough action to oversaturate a Michael Bay film, and there are cavemen and sexy princesses and high tech powersuits and, yes, a tyrannosaurus rex on a rampage during a stormy battle scene. And time travel. But come on, those things are all necessary to the story. They really are!

You know an author’s got amazing talent when they can tie all of those elements together into a coherent story that’s satisfying and fun to read.

My Blog is Special

I’m not the sort of person who overshares about my mundane life. I have a day job that I enjoy, I have wonderful friends, I have a love life, I come from a family, I used to own dogs, and I’m fully aware that all that stuff is irrelevant to a complete stranger. Sure, I could spice it up and make it all fascinating (I am a writer), but then truly personal details would slip into my posts, and I’m not comfortable with that.

At least not on social media.

This blog is my corner of the internet, so here I’ll take risks and touch on touchy topics. I solemnly vow that my blog posts (and my newsletter) will always contains substance and depth. If you just want my version of sarcastic quips and fun media, then follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Also, I’m not here to shout into the aether. I want discourse. I want interaction. The more comments I get, the more I’ll blog about worthwhile subjects.

Thank you for reading.

The Time Has Come

Thanks to developer Adam Thompson of First Earth Game, my website was converted from a hacked-together HTML framework to a professional-grade WordPress site, hosted on Digital Ocean. Artwork is by the ridiculously talented Byzwa Dher. I did the visual design. I’m so excited about this change!

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© 2017 Abby Goldsmith