I'm always so pleased when I find a way round some exasperating computer problem that I thought I'd share my moments of triumph ...

Saturday 30 March 2013

Use your Google calendars on your iPhone

If you use Google's calendar you can synch it with your iPhone's built in calendar (which I must say, is a really nice app). You don't have to use Apple's Cloud, or be restricted to iCal on your Mac.

Google has now provided instructions (spoken, even!) for synching your mobile device calendar with Google's, including iPhone. Better late than never.

Here's how:

1: Set up a Google Calendar account on the iPhone

On your iPhone go to:
Settings> Mail, contacts, calendars > Add account > Other > Add CalDAV account
  • Server is google.com
  • User name is your Google user name (the email address or whatever that you sign in with), 
  • Password is your Google account password,
  • Description is optional. 
Then cllick Advanced settings and make sure SSL is On.

2: In Google, select the calendars you want on your iPhone

I noticed that not all my different calendars were showing. So:
  • Open a mobile browser and go to this url: https://www.google.com/calendar/syncselect
  • Sign into Google with your user email and password. 
  • On the list of your calendars, check those that you want on your iPhone.
Done! it works!

3: Set your preferred Google calendar to be the default

Entries added on my iPhone weren't getting through initially - because it had decided to use the inbuilt Birthdays as the default calendar.
  • Go back to Settings > Mail, contacts, calendars > and scroll down to Calendars > Default calendar.
  • You'll see a list of those available. Delete any that aren't on your Google calendar and select the one you want to be your default.
You can also delete all the extraneous additional 'calendars' (that the iPhone is born with, I suppose).

4: Select on your iPhone the calendars you want to see

  • Return to the home screen and go to Calendar.
  • In any view, go to Calendars (top left of the screen) and from the list select those you want it to show on your iPhone. Then you can click the Refresh button bottom left.
After about half a day searching Google for answers, my iPhone does now perfectly synch iPhone < > Google calendar < > desktop Mac, both ways throughout. Solved!
(On my MacBook / iMac I like to use Mozilla's Sunbird with the Provider add-on, but that's a different story.)

PS: Searches on Google didn't throw up the iPhone manual as a possible source of answers, but it is fairly helpful although not as detailed. I'm not sure it gives the complete answer.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Read Kindle books on Kobo or other reader - how to

Yes you can! Now, concentrate.

1. To remove the DRM code (digital rights management)

Apprentice Alf is the leader in this dark art. In his blog, http://apprenticealf.wordpress.com/ you will find useful discussion and links to the up to date conversion tools.

Download the current tools (pay attention to Apprentic Alf's instructions) and unzip the folder. Don't be daunted by the technical chat, just follow the instructions in the ReadMe files.

To free up Kindle e-books (this is on a Mac, there are similar facilites for a Windows pc) - move the zip file DeDRM_5.0.app.zip onto your desktop (or other convenient folder), click it to unpack to a curly icon DeDRM.app.

Your Kindle book files are in My Kindle Content. They don't have helpful titles, but sort them by date, and it's the .azw file, the largest size, that is the book. Drag this onto the curly icon and it will save a freed up copy of the book for you. You should be able to upload that to your reader, via the free Calibre software or even via your normal reader software.
  • A Kindle book I recently bought didn't turn up in My Kindle Content until I'd opened the Kindle desktop reader and added it to my library there. Voila, there was the .azw file.
  • If you are using Calibre with the DeDRM plugins installed, as below, you don't need to do the above separately.

2. To manage your ebooks library and reader content using Calibre

Calibre is a generic ebooks management application, very handy, search to download it for free (be fair, do donate). Using Calibre you can:
  • manage the books on your ereader
  • assemble all your ebooks from whatever source in one folder
  • read them on your desktop 
  • automatically convert books from different formats for your own ereader, whatever that is
and much much more besides which I haven't tried out.

3. To set up Calibre to automatically convert books for upload

  1. Downloaded and instal Calibre
  2. Install the DeDRM plugins:
    - Go to Calibre's Preferences (under Calibre in the top menu)
    - Under Advanced, click Plugins
    - Select Load plugin from file
    - Navigate to the downloaded folder of Tools
    - In the sub folder inside that, Calibre plugins, click and load each of the zip files in turn
    - Click the green Apply tick, top left
  3. Repeat until all are installed. Restart Calibre.
Then, Calibre's menus are self explanatory. You can just add the book file to the Calibre library and upload it to your device - select Autoconvert and it will do the conversion as part of the process, as long as the DeDRM plugins are installed.