24 January 2015

HOWTO -- downloading an EPUB from Google Play Books

So a bunch of people have had trouble getting to the "Download EPUB" functionality with Google Play Books when trying to get their archive copy of The March North.

  1. If you are logged in to Google with a Google Account other than the account that bought the book, log out.  (Google gets confused about whose books to show you.)
  2. Log in to Google with the Google Account that bought the book.
  3. Navigate to  https://play.google.com/books
  4. In the left-hand vertical stack of options, click on My Books
  5. Hover the cover icon of the book you wish to download; a column of three white dots will appear in the upper right hand corner of the cover icon
  6. Click on the three dots; a menu will appear
  7. Select Download EPUB from the menu.
And there you go.  If the publisher put the book up using Adobe DRM, you're going to have a little stub with a permalink that goes to a DRM management setup.  In the case of The March North (and expected subsequent Tallwoods Books ebooks) you're going to have an DRM-free EPUB file.

23 January 2015

Next Commonweal book -- A Succession of Bad Days

So it's about that time again.

I've got all of three written[1], people have read it, they have not informed me it is dire, dreadful, or despicable, so I can contemplate to publish Commonweal book two, aka A Succession of Bad Days. [2] Which means:

  1. send it out for critique by unfamiliar eyes
  2. get an ISBN
  3. get a cover
  4. copyedit
  5. generate EPUB
  6. make available 

Currently at "it is out for critique".

[1] I'm about forty thousand words into four.  Which bodes well for three happening on the hoped-for annual schedule.

[2] this is not a Line book; it's a go-to-sorcerer-school book.  The viewpoint finds out they're qualified to go to sorcerer school abruptly in a fashion not free from trauma, and things do not obviously improve for some time thereafter.

21 January 2015

An infrequent cat

Black cat exploring fire sprinkler pipes
Aoife does not completely approve of the ceiling pipes; they're more of an obstacle course than a real pathway, and they're way high up and lack obvious endpoints.

She is, however, entirely a cat, so some exploring still occurs.

23 December 2014

It's winter

Variety of large Larus gulls on the beach seawall
There's at least one Great Black-backed Gull on the beach seawall along Sir Casimir Gzowski Park.

The adults are pretty easy; the immatures produce a certain amount of "check the feet!" as a response; when the obviously smaller gulls have the pink legs and feet of herring gulls, well.  That reduces the options for what the larger and generally pretty dark immature gull could be.

Apologies for the terrible focus; manual focus with no tripod is not my best skill.  (I thought the lens was having cold issues; it looks more like the camera body is having ring-focusing-motor drive issues.)

Intractable Swans

So when I first reported L07 and J06, the nice people who work on the trumpeter swan re-introduction emailed me back and asked if the third swan, the one with no wing tag, had a leg band.  I didn't think so, but I hadn't taken a picture, so I couldn't be sure.
L07 Trumpeter Swan Cob, asleep on the beach
Unknown trumpeter swan asleep on the beach
And I am no more sure today, after remembering to take a picture.  ("Let's go wake the swans up", aside from being less than ethical, also isn't safe.  So we don't do that.)

J06 was further down the beach, honking malignantly at a bunch of seven mute swans.  The mutes were looking baffled and uneasy; it can't be the sort of thing they're used to.  And even trumpeter swans aren't that territorial in the winter.  It might get a bit more exciting come springtime, when the trumpeter cobs spend so much time striving to remember how their distant, distant ancestors grew rending teeth.

21 December 2014

Inherently elegant creatures, swans

Preening cob trumpeter swan J06
There's a group of trumpeter swans on the Toronto Waterfront this winter; mute swans are regular, but it's nice to see Trumpeters getting re-established enough to be present.  (Trumpeters are, after all, the native swan species.)  And I do suppose winter makes taking one's preening very seriously an important thing to do.

22 November 2014

Photographic failure

So far this month, there's been a Merlin in a tree, Red-bellied Woodpecker, two, side-by-each, Red-tailed Hawks -- it's a very popular tree -- and, in a different tree, the winter's first Northern Shrike.  There's been some impressive leaves, too, back at the start of the month.  Swans have gone over, way high up; so have Sandhill cranes, not quite so far up.

Flying by there have been Red-Tails, including a kettle of five so pale the belly-band "Charlie Brown sweater" markings were almost invisible and the dark patagium didn't show, so only the black primary tips and the red rectrices showed as colour on the bird.  I sometimes joke that some of our passing red-tails are so pale you suspect there's some snowy owl ancestry somewhere, but this bunch looked absolutely spectral.

There have been Red-Shouldered Hawks, the occasional harrier, ghosting through with a flight style a bit like a gangly peregrine got drunk, the occasional eagle, these last few late-season days of bad wind rowing through like some disreputable god granted the essence of sulk feathers and hunger for a shape.  Most of the accipiters and falcons are gone; they eat birds, and most of the birds are gone.  Yesterday there were a surprising number -- seven! -- of Rough-Legged Hawks, which is a really good day for Toronto.

There was even a probable Swainson's Hawk, presumptively working its way back from where this relentless wind put it after having failed to blow it clean to Iceland.  (If one could somehow withstand the temperatures and avoid the polar bears, I suspect there are a lot of confused migrants to be seen along the coast of Labrador this week.)

I have, alas, failed to get decent pictures of anything; you can, for example, tell it's a shrike or a merlin or that, yeah, the red-tail on the left is the juvenile, but between holding up a wee pocket camera in cold hands, branches swaying in the wind, and the poor auto-focus' less than complete understanding of the bird, drat it, not the slightly nearer branch, has not been kind to the eventual results.

So no pictures, and few postings in consequence.