Car2Go Minneapolis Promo Code – Expires 3/16/14

Didn’t get a free lifetime membership to Car2Go Minneapolis last Fall? This is the last “cheap” promo for Car2Go and lifetime memberships. My wife and I used Car2Go in both Portland and Seattle during our recent vacation. We never had to rent a car!

The PFAR1030 promo code gives you a discounted $10 car2go registration fee (instead of the normal $35) AND 30 free minutes of car2go drive time. My promo code expires on 3/16.

How to fix a R1Soft NO_PUBKEY error during apt-get update

During a recent apt-get update of one of our systems, we encountered an error with the R1Soft repository for CDP:

W: GPG error: http://repo.r1soft.com stable Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 1BF3530AA40384ED

It appears that R1Soft started using a new key which they publish.  In order to get this repository working again, you must update to use the new key.  Use the following commands to import the new key:

wget http://repo.r1soft.com/r1soft.asc
apt-key add r1soft.asc
apt-get update

The key (pun intendned) of this post is to remind myself of the URL of the public key block.

Reaction to Two Scoops of Django 1.6 FAQ – No Digital Edition?!?!

Considering that we publicly offered a free electronic copy to those who requested it, seeing piracy of the electronic editions from the first day of sales has been disheartening. As indie authors, it hurts to see this happening.

It is awful to think of the piracy that occurred, however this just punishes the people that want an electronic format and are honest in the first place. If somebody wants to pirate a copy, they will do it whether an electronic edition is available or not.

I can totally understand the argument on multiple ebook formats being an issue due to formatting.  The solution is simple — only offer a PDF that is a rendering of the physical book.

It is legal (* from what I can tell) to scan a book that was legally acquired for personal use. This falls under the fair usage laws (similar ripping MP3s of CDs you own).  I’ve scanned books at home into PDF and then shredded them (I have fairly limited space for tech books at home).  The results are only fair and are better if I slice off the binding.

It is more than likely that with this edition of Two Scoops of Django, I will buy via Amazon and ship directly to 1dollarscan.com which will scan ($1 per 100 pages) a book into a PDF and then after two weeks they shred the book (they do not return books).  Talk about a waste of natural resources — paper manufacturing, printing, ship to a warehouse and ship to a scanning company, etc.

Maybe an alternative is to sell PDFs but password protect them which makes it easier to figure the origin if a pirated copy is discovered and watermark the header on the top each page with the name, email and phone number of the original purchaser.

Physical books won’t stop the pirates.  Yes, it does make it harder for them (marginally), however this just punishes the majority of honest people that used the electronic format in a responsible and legal manner for the few (relatively) that decided to pirate a copy.  So the only thing that has changed is increased the cost of my book by about $4 (the cost to scan at 1dollarscan.com) and I can no longer search it (unless I pay extra for the OCR option).

Edit on Feb. 7th, 2014 due to feedback — I want to clarify some points:

This post is a reaction to not publishing a digital edition and points to how I’m probably solving the “no digital edition” issue for myself.  I will still purchase a legal physical copy of the book. I still want Danny and Audrey to take my money because I want the content.  I just expressed my wishes to get an official digital edition. Using a scanning service is a lazy hack, however Fair Use hack (as long as I don’t distribute it).  Also, I do not support pirating media and therefore this post isn’t a “how to pirate” manual — merely a legitimate fair use solution to having a digital version for personal use.

Other than this post… I have not participated in any public discussions (other than the single automated tweet when this post was publishing).  I’ve now been counted and blamed as one of the trolls that “caused” future editions of Two Scoops of Django to not happen. This is a rather unfair assessment.

The point is pirates will still pirate a copy of this book because they want to.  If anything, this is a testament to quality of the content that Danny and Audrey produce.  I must admit it is sad that the availability of pirated copies of Two Scoops is a compliment to the authors.  It does reinforce that quality content is in demand and there are people that un-willing or just plain too cheap to buy a legitimate copy.

The real losers here are the legitimate users that want to buy a legal copy of a book. The only thing done by not making a digital edition available is that making the first pirated copy is just slighly harder to make. I would guess about 45 minutes at a flatbed scanner is about it. Not having a digital edition won’t stop piracy at all and therefore I don’t except that as a legitimate reason to not do a digital edition.  On to a real reason… time!

Two Scoops 1.5 edition was released with three digital edition types (mobi, epub and pdf).  The PDF looks like the print copy and I never used the epub or mobi editions.  Considering the target devices for epub and mobi, I suspect it took Danny and Audrey a LOT of time to probably do it right (which they indicated in their FAQ).  This was an ambitious and lofty goal to release so many formats. Kudos to them for doing it however I’m sure it contributed to the reason to not release a digital edition for this version.  So it understandable that time is a factor for the authors (rightfully so). The solution is export a PDF version of the book and skip the tedious hand grooming of epub and mobi formats.

Unimpressed with CreditSesame.com – A Review

After listening to Marketplace Money on NPR this morning, I decided to try CreditSesame.com after they discussed tools to managing your finances. I decided on CreditSesame because I’ve tried Credit Karma and I don’t like to use anything Intuit (i.e. Mint.com) if possible. After 15 minutes, I’m thoroughly unimpressed.

Thoughts

  • During the registration process, there is a place to set your financial goals.  CreditSesame seems to forget that I just want to sign-up.  I don’t want to have to set goals to just get in for the first time.  The only way I could proceed was to make some dummy goals (which defeats the point).  This needs to be rethought!
  • The UI of the website is less than impressive.  For example, entering or confirming expenses like PMI on our mortgage is very unclear — do you want the monthly or annual amount?
  • On my Dashboard, it recommends that I enroll in their free credit monitoring despite the fact that I enrolled during registration.  Why must you nag more about something I already did?
  • On the My Credit page, I get a badge for using my credit wisely and then a warning that “Your credit card balances may be getting close to your credit limits”.  Strange warning when the same page reports my credit usage at only 2%.  I guess that is too much!
  • It seems the main point of anything I do is to sell me a $9.95 credit report.  Yes, I know their service is free however
  • I get random errors using the site like this.  One thing that bothered me was that the Java stacktrace is publicly visible.  This is a security no-no in the web world and this place has my SSN!Image

My Rating: I deleted my account!

Micro Python: Python for Microcontrollers

Micro Python: Python for Microcontrollers

I backed this Kickstarter for £28 (includes £4 for shipping to the USA).  Sounds like a bunch of fun over Arduino.

Micro Python is a lean and fast implementation of the Python programming language that is optimized to run on a microcontroller.  The Micro Python board is a small electronic circuit board that runs the Micro Python language.  The aim of this Kickstarter campaign is to make Micro Python open source software so you can use it in your own projects, and also to fund a small manufacturing run of Micro Python boards so that you can own one for yourself!