Friday, June 13, 2008

Security blues, and other eBook adventures

Spent a thrilling afternoon on the web, tracking down info that seems to have no interest whatever to Microsoft, but is critical to any artist.

We've been finalizing the eBook kiosk on the new design of the Mel Keegan OnLine website, and we had originally intended to offer Microsoft Reader files, as a courtesy to the gazillions of readers who use Pocket PC. The fact is, Microsoft Reader is a great application. It's easy on the eyes and gives myopic readers the chance to re-re-resize the text; also, you can build up a library within the Reader's own frame of reference. Great.

There's just one thing you can't do with Microsoft Reader files ... there's no way, from within the system itself, to secure, protect, lock -- call it what you will -- the file, to make sure the text can't be copied over onto the clipboard, willy nilly, and pasted into ... well, whatever else.

Bear in mind, we're talking about the NARC books here. We're talking about Jarrat and Stone, the whole cult thing, at its most grassiest-roots. It's in the creator's best interests to at least make it a bit more difficult to copy the whole thing out and republish it in some pirate version.

I must be naive. I imagined it was just Keegan getting slow, not seeing the tools in Word to do the job ... so I went to Google and searched on a dozen permutations of 'protect microsoft LIT document' (LIT being the file extension Reader documents use), and after an hour of reading it slowly began to dawn on me ...

There's no way to do it, from within the system itself. Mind you, if you download a third part addon, which costs US$120, you can add some protection to the document ... but I don't feel like juming through the hoops, paying the money, and climbing another learning curve, just to end up right back where I started --

PDFs work just fine.

So, at least for the moment, guys, you'll be using specially-formatted PDF files for your Pocket PCs. In fact, why don't we call this a shakedown, or an experiment? Drop us an email and let us know how it works out for you.

Incidentally, the new eBook store has been changed utterly. We're using Payloadz now, to handle the file management. You don't downoad the files from us, you download them from Payloads, and the checkout system is handled by PayPal (where you can use whatever credit card, obviously).

Each day brings us closer to having the whole job DONE, and at this point (Friday the, uh, 13th on this side of the dateline), we're well on pace to be launching the new site on July 1st.

Got to get back to work...

Cheers for now,

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