08 Apr
   Filed Under: How-To, iPad   

Few people know that the iPad is actually very open when it comes to books. While the only means to purchase books for it is the iBookstore on the iPad itself (so far), it’s possible to import ePub files into iTunes and sync them to your device. Here’s some tips to (legally) fill up your iPad with books without spending hundreds of dollars.

You have several options for grabbing free books:

1. Download them off the iBookstore

The iBookstore has most of the Project Gutenberg library on it. Not all of them are listed, but if you search for them you’ll find them, including translations. These books lack cover art, however: you can add this in iTunes just like you’d add cover art to music. Use Google Images coupled with Tineye to find high-resolution cover art (trust me, you want it to be nice and high-res).

2. Get them off ePubBooks

ePubBooks is a website with a huge amount of free ePub-formatted books. A lot of them even have original illustrations and cover art included and are ready to drag into iTunes and synced onto your iPad. If you prefer different cover art, or want to change metadata, iTunes still lets you.

3. Convert PDF’s, LIT’s and more to ePub

While it wins no UI design prize, Calibre is a cross-platform app that outputs well-formatted ePub files from various input formats. If you have digital copies or PDF’s lying around, chances are you can convert them to a nice iBook. It handles chapter auto-generation, but sometimes you’ll have to tweak some settings to achieve the best results.

Lastly, since we did great cover art for Classics, I suggest you use some of those to decorate your free public domain books. You can find them on the Classics Facebook page here. Louie Mantia also made a fantastic Alice in Wonderland cover illustration.

If you have more sources for free (i)books and tips, feel free to add them in the comments.

10 Mar
   Filed Under: How-To, Personal   

I was asked to answer a few questions from you all on the Design Tea podcast, right on the heels of Tim van Damme.

(pardon the random image from the movie)

You can watch the whole thing here. If you do have more questions feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks to Linebreak for having me.

04 Sep
   Filed Under: How-To   

I’m one of those people who hates Flash with a passion. Not only did it make your Mac browser crash a lot in Leopard, it also used disproportionate amounts of CPU time and made your laptop heat up like a stovetop. It’s virtually impossible to not use Flash online, though – it’s mostly Youtube that forces me to use it on a daily basis.


What if I told you that Youtube’s Flash requirement could be history? Somehow I missed the news that ClickToFlash, a brilliant open-source plugin I’ve been using for a while, now has a setting that will load all Youtube videos (including HD content!) in Quicktime instead of Flash.

It even allows reliably skipping portions of the video without having it completely loaded. This is a feature that didn’t work for me in Flash most of the time. I’m donating to the project, as it’ll probably keep my computer running cool and stable for the years to come. I suggest you do too!

09 Jul
   Filed Under: Apple, How-To   

Since I recently stopped using an old and dented Macbook Pro that was otherwise perfectly working as a computer, I tweeted about having turned it into a media, file, and Bittorrent server. I got a lot of responses asking for my setup, so here’s a guide for turning a Mac that would otherwise gather dust in disuse into a useful server.


My primary demands were gathering content from the internet through FTP and Bittorrent, serving them up to the Macs and Playstation 3 on the network through streaming, and function as a secure public-facing server so I can log in and grab some files when I’m on the go.

I’ve divided this post into three sections, dealing with getting stuff, serving up stuff, and all the nice other things you can do with an always-on Mac. Note: I will not be liable if you melt, damage, or hurt your old Mac in the process of following this guide.
Continue reading…

06 Jan
   Filed Under: Design, How-To   

Whether you have purchased movies online, made digital backups, or simply have movies stored on your Mac or on an external drive, it tends to turn into a rather dull folder tree with a list of movie titles. Quick look or Cover Flow won’t help me out – I put my movies in directories.


Ouch, this isn’t exactly visual browsing.

Since I had this problem with my digitalized movie collection and I wanted to browse them casually, while at parties and with friends on my Macbook Pro, or simply at home on a dull afternoon, I figured something out to make everything a lot more appealing. Dive on in.

Continue reading…

06 Nov
   Filed Under: How-To, Personal Work   

In an earlier post, I asked for your interest in a how-to on graphing several network statistics using MRTG, an open-source application that generates graphs using data pulled from SNMP. I used an Airport Extreme (802.11n, gigabit) for this, but it should work with Snow / Graphite Airport base stations and up (Express and Extreme). For other routers, your mileage may vary, and it may even not be possible, so I decided not to make a guide for anything else than Apple’s routers. If you want to have graphs in your desktop, updated in real time, as seen here, read on!

Continue reading…