Read Adobe Digital Editions ebooks on your Kindle

I don’t have a real Kindle, but I do like the Kindle app on my wife’s iPad, my iPod Touch, my computer, my phone, etc. Recently there was an awesome deal to get The Hunger Games trilogy for only $3.06 total:

  1. The Hunger Games for $0.83 with promo code HUNGERGAMESDEAL
  2. Catching Fire for $1.16 with promo code HUNGERGAMESDEAL2
  3. Mockingjay for $1.07 with promo code HUNGERGAMESDEAL3

The deal may still be valid, not sure. Feel free to give it a shot.

The problem was the ebooks were only available in Adobe Digital Editions format. Adobe has some fine software, but I’d rather read it on a Kindle. So I searched Google and found how to remove the DRM, convert to Kindle format, and load the book into my Kindle software.

First, you need to make sure you have Adobe Digital Editions installed on your computer. It is free and takes about 2 minutes to install.

Next, load your purchased books into Adobe Digital Editions. For me, this was as easy as clicking the “download” button at the site that I purchased the books from. The books were downloaded and opened in Adobe Digital Editions automatically for me.

Adobe ebooks use DRM to keep you from doing what you want with the book that you paid for. Lame. Use this awesome free DRM removal tool to strip the DRM out. That page has clear instructions on how to use the application.

The last step is to install Calibre. When you set it up, be sure to tell it you have a Kindle. It lets you set up a Kindle email address (view your Amazon account or your Kindle software if you aren’t sure what your Kindle email address is).  Once Calibre is installed, it is pretty easy to add your books, right click on a book, then go to Connect/share ->Email to Calibre will convert your ebook then email it to Amazon.

Once Amazon gets the book, it will make it available to your devices. This can take 5-15 minutes, so be patient.

It may sound complicated at first, but really the whole process takes maybe 5 minutes. Anyways, the process worked great for me. I finished reading The Hunger Games yesterday, and my wife isn’t far behind. I’m waiting for her to finish the first book before I move on to the second. Hopefully she hurries because I’m dying to know what happens next!

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Embroidery for fun and profit

Embroidery for fun and profit

My wife has an embroidery machine. She has had it since way before we knew each other, but I’ve never seen it used. We hauled it from Virginia to Connecticut, and promptly placed it on a shelf. The poor thing hasn’t seen any use.

Luckily for the embroidery machine, our scout troop is making t-shirts and I offered to embroider them, if they want me to. For example, I could put their names or troop number or BSA logo on their shirts for them. We’ll be coming up with the design for the shirts pretty soon at a troop meeting and I wanted to bring a sample with me so they would know what was possible. This meant we had to get the machine working.

The first problem is that the software portion of the machine only runs on 32-bit Windows, so I had to dust off my wife’s obsolete and ancient ThinkPad, load Windows 2000 Professional, and try to get the dang USB attachment to work. Took hours but I finally got it working. The set up lets me move designs from the computer to a proprietary storage card which is then inserted into the embroidery machine.

Next, we had to figure out how to set up the mechanical part of the machine. It took some practice and some manual reading but we finally got it working. We created a sample that said “TROOP 515”. It looks really good!

Today I spent some time trying to figure out how to make my own designs. It took some trial and much error, but finally it worked. I converted my company logo to an embroidery design file, loaded it unto the card, and hit the go button. It took about 40 minutes but finally I was left with a rather large (about 4 inches) embroidered logo on a scrap of old t-shirt. Not very handy, but fun to know that the machine can do something so large and have it come out so nice looking.

Embroidery machine at work on my logo

Anyways, we have some Winnie the Pooh designs that we want to put on some onesies for Anna. I tried a few minutes ago but failed miserably, so I’ll have to wait until Becca gets home. She is really much better at this stuff than I am.

I’m still trying to think what else we can do with this machine. Maybe custom “Team Allred” shirts for game night? Even fancier stay-at-home-dad merit badges? I’m open to suggestions!

UPDATE: Forgot to put anything about the profit part. I am, of course, thinking of numerous websites I can make that are embroidery related, and a bunch of things I can easily make that I could sell on Etsy.

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My first stay-at-home-dad merit badge

My first stay-at-home-dad merit badge

A few months ago my wife made me stay-at-home-dad merit badges to encourage me to do the things she wants me to do. Well, they are for things I’d like me to do, too. The badge is a little rough but keep in mind that it only took her 2 minutes to make. Personally, I think it is awesome.

I’ve finally put forth the effort to earn one. I’ve earned the “take your baby for a walk 5 days in a row” badge. We’ve walked 8.52 miles together this week, not counting the numerous miles hauling the baby around stores and church.

I’ve been using the Endomondo Pro app to track my walks. It was on sale for $0.10 back in December. I’d never paid for an app before but for 10 cents I couldn’t resist. Realistically the free version does everything a normal person would want though, so I’d highly recommend checking it out.

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Fake Money Generator

Fake Money Generator

I bought on Saturday and was so excited about the project that I’ve practically finished it. There are a few things I’d like to improve, but the basic functionality is fully functional.

So what does it do? Well, first you pick a currency. For example, you could pick a $50 bill, or a 10 franc bill. There are 30 options, so you are bound to find one you like.

Next, you log in using Facebook. This gives the site access to photos that you are tagged in, and lets you pick one. If your face is tagged properly, then it automatically puts your face in the hole on the money.

Last, you can move your picture around, make it bigger or smaller, rotate it, whatever. You can get it exactly where you want it. Once you like it, you can download the picture to your computer.

The site was a ton of fun to make. I had to do some research into counterfeiting to make sure I was following the law, and ended up having to delete a few of the images I had planned on using.

The site uses canvas to handle the image compositing, moving, rotating, etc. This is the first time I’ve done anything using canvas, and had to fight some browser quirks to get it to work. It should work perfectly in Chrome, Firefox, and IE9, but I had to disable a few features in IE7/IE8. I really don’t care about IE6, but it probably doesn’t work at all in it.

To make sure the visitor gets a high quality image, the download functionality is entirely in PHP. The position of your Facebook photo is passed to PHP, and the script places it on the money then spits out a high quality PNG. This eliminates any browser compatibility issues with saving from a canvas, and ensures the image quality wasn’t reduced due to poor browser scaling.

My lovely wife, Becca, made the arrows and rotate icons for me.

It still needs some work. There are a few UX issues I want to fix, such as remembering where in the Facebook photo scroller the user is when they go to a new page, and making it easier/faster to scroll through photos. But, as you can see by the photo on this post, it works! Yay!


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A new homepage for my baby girl

I’m one of those weird techie dads that thinks everyone in the family should have their own domain name, so I bought a domain for my daughter shortly before she was born.

I’ve struggled to know what to put on it. I don’t really want yet another blog to maintain (I barely maintain the ones I already have) and she isn’t old enough to have created any content of her own. A picture gallery doesn’t seem useful when it is so much easier to just use Facebook for sharing photos. So what to do?

Last night I had a great idea: a personal landing page. A simple page that says who she is, has a photo of her, and links to a few sites that are likely to provide some interesting reading to family and friends. So this morning I whipped up something that I think turned out pretty dang cute. Check it out at (the .com was already taken).

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