Sunday, March 2, 2014


     After I posted A Sailor of Austria, it occurred to me that you might not care to read my rants against DRM. That and the fact that I loved A Sailor of Austria. I want to read the rest of the Otto Prohaska novels, but I hate DRM. I believe that since John Biggins's publisher DRM'd the first book in the series, likely the bloody bastard did the same with the other three books.
     Should I buy and read and blog about The Emperor's Coloured Coat without throwing a tantrum when I blog about it, I should need to remove the DRM nonsense. Understand, ye of little faith, my interest is NOT in piracy. I pay for what I read. I believe you should pay for what you read. That nonsense about 'Information wants to be free' is demonstrably false.
     No, my purpose in removing the Damned Restrictive Mongrel is to backup and manage my digital library. But how to remove the Deliberately Recalcitrant Miscreant?
     You can google anything these days. So I googled 'how do i strip drm from my ebooks'. "About 565,000 results." Hehehe. You're goin' down, Doomed Reactionary Moron.
     I chose one result and clicked through. I got this page:

How to Strip the DRM from Your Kindle Ebooks for Cross-Device Enjoyment and Archiving

     I read a bit until I got to here:
[Y]ou’ll need three things:

     I had Calibre and Kindle for PC. (I rarely use the Kindle for PC. It is on the XP side of my machine. 98% of the time I run Linux.) I clicked Apprentice Alf's DRM Removal Tools for eBooks which took me to Apprentice Alf's Blog:

 There I found this:
     I clicked (that is the first download choice) which took me to this page:

Two buttons appeared on the right marked 'Start' and 'Download' that do not show in the copy above. The Apprentice Alf's page told me to ignore them and click the Download button on the left, the one you see above. I did that.
     When the download finished, I extracted the package. How you do that depends on which OS you run. I run Ubuntu Linux, so this was easy. I clicked the download file notice at the bottom of my screen. An extraction window popped open. I selected De-DRM and clicked 'Extract'. The little daemon ran to completion and everything was set.
     I opened Calibre and followed the directions given in the howtogeeksite. I followed the instructions step-by-step beginning with this picture:

     Soon I had the DeDRM plug-in installed. I exited Calibre and started it anew. When it came up, I searched for and selected A Sailor of Austria. Tried to view it. No joy. DRM still in place. Deleted A Sailor of Austria from my library, connected my Kindle, and uploaded A Sailor of Austria from my Kindle to my Calibre library. Tried to view that copy. No joy. 
     WAEFRTFI. Oh, I gotta tell DeDRM which Kindle is mine, sez howtogeeksite.
Copying the Books from Your Kindle: If you’re going to rip the book directly from your Kindle device (or use the download and transfer technique), you need to manually enter the serial number of your Kindle into the DeDRM removal plugin. Do so by navigating back to Preferences -> Advanced -> Plugins -> File type plugins and double clicking on the entry for DeDRM. You’ll see a box like so:
     Go to howtogeeksite for the rest.
     Had to eject my Kindle, turn my Kindle on, go to the home Menu page (that is, not the Menu page available in the middle of a book), and choose Settings. There at the bottom is my Kindle's serial number. I entered that serial number in the appropriate place.
     Deleted A Sailor of Austria from my Calibre library. Again. Connected my Kindle. Again. Uploaded A Sailor of Austria from my Kindle to my Calibre library. Again. Tried to view the new copy of A Sailor of Austria in my Calibre library.
Voila! Lafayette, we have arrived!
     Happy, happy. *:D big grin, *:D big grin.
     This may mean I shall no longer be aware of DRM in my ebooks. That may mean that I will cease posting one-star reviews for DRM and just post reviews of content.
     I can live with that.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

eBook Review: O Descobrimento do Brazil

No Cover

Manuel Ferreira Garcia RedondoO Descobrimento do Brazil

From the Gutenberg Project

1. Short review:  *:) happy (Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars -- I like it.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: The chance to exercise my Portuguese. New -- to me -- information on Christopher Columbus.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Walk in the park.
The book is free to download.

2.2. What I did not like: The tedious Gutenberg license.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Brazilians, Portuguese, and me.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yeah, if they read Portuguese.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? Odd to say so, but I might. I am not opposed to the notion.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell:
     O descobrimento do Brasil: Prioridade dos portugueses no descobrimento da America (full title) was a 68-page paper Sr Redondo delivered at a conference held in 1911 in São Paulo, Brazil. Sr Redondo marshaled indirect evidence that the Portuguese discovered America before Columbus. That evidence included maps, ship logs, and the Treaty of Tordesillas.
 2.7. Other:
     I anticipated Sr Redondo's arguments before I read his paper. The view Sr Redondo took was typical of Brazilians. So what if the Portuguese discovered America before Columbus? The Portuguese did not exploit their discovery. Columbus did.
     What I found new and interesting was Redondo's argument that Columbus sailed with the Portuguese.
     Before 1492, Spaniards did not look west across the Atlantic for new lands to conquer. They looked south. Their goal was to drive the Moors from Spain. The only Europeans with any substantial knowledge of what lay west were the Portuguese.
     To get experience sailing the Atlantic, Columbus must have sailed with the Portuguese. Evidently his credentials as an Atlantic sailor were good enough to get him an audience with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Where did Columbus earn these credentials? Redondo said it was with the Portuguese. Who can say it was not?
     Why did Columbus not make his offer to the Portuguese? Redondo did not say, but I have a guess to venture. I bet Columbus did make his offer to the Portuguese, and they refused.
     Why did the Portuguese refuse Columbus? Because they thought he was wrong. You see, everybody knew the world was round. Everybody who counted, anyway. But Columbus miscalculated the circumference of Earth. He thought Asia lay just a short journey beyond the Antilles, that the voyage to Asia was short. (FWIW the Portuguese knew of the Antilles before Columbus made his voyage in the Santa Maria.) The Portuguese ran their own calculations and came up with the correct distance. By their reckoning, no ship could carry enough stores for the crew to survive the voyage. They remained wedded to their plan to circumnavigate Africa.
     I found Redondo's surmise that Columbus sailed with the Portuguese persuasive. His argument that the Portuguese found America first? Yeah, okay, and so what? The Portuguese made nothing of the discovery until the Spaniards got in the game. The Portuguese played the whole first quarter without anyone else on the field, and they did not score. The Spaniards suited up and began playing in the second quarter and scored three touchdowns: discovery of the Americas, conquest of the Aztecs, and conquest of the Incas. The Portuguese played catch-up from that point on. But unlike the Jets, the Portuguese did not pull off a comeback.

     The Gutenberg Project lists the work as 'O Descobrimento do Brazil'. I think this is an error. In Portuguese, Brazil is spelled with an 's'; thus, Brasil. And in Portuguese, 'descobrimento' is not capitalized in the title. Where the reference is to the work on Gutenberg, I used the errant Gutenberg version.


2.8. Links: Manuel Ferreira Garcia Redondo

2.9. Buy the book: O Descobrimento do Brazil (Free to download)