Going Digital: Books

Maybe a fifth of the books I removed from my library...

D and I are moving in the fall to the San Diego area; she got a job doing science stuff at the University of California there. The move is still a few months away but the two of us have started looking around at all of our stuff and asking ourselves, “Do I want to cart this across the state?” For a surprisingly large amount of things the answer is, “no, I don’t.” This is especially true for books now that I have a kindle. As I looked over my bookshelves I noticed that a great deal of the books on the shelves were over 100 years old and they were now in the public domain. With the kindle (or my computer) I can have access to those books without having them take up all this physical space. I did this over a decade ago with my music collection and had been putting it off with books because I love them so and the technology just wasn’t there yet, that isn’t the case anymore. So, I started sorting…

I know what you’re saying! Getting rid of books is a crime. I used to think so to, but what I really love about a book is not the binding, or the paper, or the ink though with some books those are very nice things. What I love about a book is that it allows me to experience another person’s thoughts and ideas. That is what makes books amazing and for their time they were the most efficient and effective way to spread ideas. That isn’t the case anymore though.

Another pile of books that I no longer need to have around physically

For every book that I knew I wanted to keep I checked Amazon’s Kindle store and Project Gutenberg; if a free copy existed I downloaded it and set the book aside. For every book that I wanted to keep but there wasn’t a free version available on-line I looked for a $0.99 version. If there was one I purchased it. I splurged a few times and spent $1.99 or $2.99 for a digital collection that would replace multiple physical books. After I had downloaded all the books I was going to I went back to the stack of books and started entering them into Amazon’s Trade-in store to see if Amazon was interested in buying a copy from me. Every book Amazon wanted went into a box to ship to them, every book they didn’t went into another stack. At the end of that process I had one 40 pd box of books to send to Amazon and another stack to put up on Freecycle.

All these classics now take up less than 5 megabytes on my hard drive

Amazon offered me $78.81 for all those books. I spent $12.93 picking up digital editions. That’s a net gain of $65.88!


EDIT: I made a second pass through my library and found more books that are available digitally, so I repeated the process and sent off another box to Amazon! This time they’re giving me $27.42

Having so few physical books means I can cover my walls with art instead of bookshelves

In the last week I’ve eliminated two entire bookshelves worth of books! The now empty bookshelves have gone up on Craigslist.

How I Saved Over $100 on Car Repairs

My truck has been busted up forever. About four years ago one of the tires blew out and took a mudflap with it. Three years ago someone inserted a screwdriver into the driver’s side keyhole and busted it as well as co-workers at a crappy retail job breaking the handle to my tailgate. The truck was still drivable, after replacing the tire with the spare, but I’d just been ignoring all the others problems… Entering the car through the passenger side, lifting objects into the bed, etc.

I wasn’t dealing with the car because it was still operable and fixing everything was going to cost money. I was quoted $125-to 150 to replace the lock on the driver’s side, $100 for a new tailgate from a junkyard more if I wanted someone to replace it for me and/or paint the junkyard find. $80 or so for a new tire (yes, the blown out tire has been in the wheel well for four years; I am a terrible person.) D and I have talked about selling the truck recently, in order to pay down some of my debt, and I couldn’t sell it in its current condition so something had to be done.

While I was despairing over the cost of repairs D took action. She called up a number of junkyards and located a tumbler for the car door ($25). With the help of the internet I was able to breakdown the side paneling on the door and install the new tumbler myself. Money saved? $100-125. I also broke down the tailgate as well, and was able to remove the handle. $5 got me some epoxy and that was used to reseal the plastic handle. Sadly, it didn’t work… I was able to use the item codes on the handle though to locate a replacement on the internet that cost (with shipping) only $17. Savings? $75.

Next weekend I’ll be vacuuming the interior and washing the exterior and next month I’ll be using my discretionary funds to pick up some new tires. So, by the end of May the truck is going to be looking great and ready to be sold. Except I’ll have put all this time and effort into the thing and not want to =P

DiMortuiSunt April Book Giveaway #3

Technology Books!

Welcome to week three of the book giveaway here at DiMortuiSunt! Congratulations to Nicolas Rycar and Richard Smith for winning! This week I’m giving away three books (are you seeing a pattern?) all of which have something to do with technology. From my reviews at Sacramento and Portland Book Review:

Hacking: The Next Generation

Computer security has never been an easy job. The advent of the internet only complicated things, and now with social media it has become even more so. Hacking: The Next Generation is an in-depth, extensive look at how hackers are using new tools to get their hands on and in other people’s business. This book is not for the casual reader, and it isn’t even for the savvy computer user; IT workers, systems administrators, and computer security professionals are the target audience here. Dhanjani and Company go through the entire inventory of security breaching in this book, with real-world examples and sample code to show just how easy it is for hackers to get a hold of information in today’s world. Phishing, Social Engineering, Using Social websites for Data Mining, Cross-Site Scripting, Abusing SMTP and ARP, Blended Threats, Cloud Computing Vulnerabilities–it is all here with case studies and code. As computing becomes ever more complex and heterogeneous hackers and attackers will have an increasing array of options to use, security professionals need to be aware of these new threats and how the traditional methods (fortress like defenses) are ill equipped or, worse, completely unable to rebuff them. Hackers: The Next Generation is a guide showing where the hacking scene is now, where it is trending and how best to combat it.

The Net Delusion:

The Internet has been sold as a panacea for the world’s ills. Economic equality, totalitarianism, social justices are all problems that the Internet has been proposed to be an answer to. Much like its forebears: telegraph, radio, television, the Internet has failed to deliver on those promises. Despite this the Internet has eagerly been embraced by Washington D.C. as the weapon of choice against totalitarian regimes. Evgeny Morozov addresses these issues in The Net Delusion, a comprehensive look out how the Internet is not as simple a tool as politicians in the West believe it to be, how Authoritarian regimes can, and have, used the Internet to increase their hold on power, and how centering policy on technology blinds policymakers and citizens as to the nature of the issues they must deal with. Morozov’s culprits are cyber-utopianism and its child Internet centrism. The first is the belief that technology is always the answer to any problem and its offspring is the philosophy that the best answers to these problems should be addressed through the World Wide Web. Morozov thoroughly highlights the deficits of these views and reminds readers that “the promotion of democracy is too important an activity to run out of Silicon Valley.”

Cult of the Amateur  – I don’t have a review of this book (anymore.) I must have lost it somewhere along the way. I recall thinking Mr. Keen had an interesting take but was a little too worried about civilization falling apart. We do need professionals and they do need to be compensated for their work. I don’t think blogs or amateur created content  are going to replace them, unless of course the amatuers are doing a better job at a better value. A good read, just one I don’t agree with.

You can win one of these books by leaving a comment below. Next Friday, I’ll pick three winners at random from the comments and mail them a book. If you’ve already entered you can enter again. If you’ve already won you can still enter!