NEW Michael Close e-book

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Tim Trono
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NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Tim Trono » May 18th, 2004, 2:28 pm

I've been keeping this pretty tight until it got closer but I've been fortunate enough to be privy to a new e-book "Closely Guarded Secrets" that will be out in about 2 or 3 weeks by Michael Close. Yes, you read that right - Michael is tipping his mitt. It is simply unbelievable and an absolute must have - one of THE most exciting releases of the year (and then some). It contains all of the material that Michael is currently USING to make a living - material I never expected to see. If you've seen Michael perform in Vegas all of the stuff you've seen him do is in this. He holds nothing back. In addition, there is a section entitled "Pipedreams" of items Michael has created but hasn't actively used in his working repertoire - ideas for Pyro Perception, Whisper, etc. The idea with Pyro Perception is worth many times the price of the book and will definitely be in my working repertoire.

Esthetically the e-book is just fantastic. Lisa Close did a superb job with the layout. It is inviting and user friendly. Typically I have not been a huge proponent of e-books personally - I like to sit on my couch and read a good old book. However, I thoroughly enjoyed "Closely Guarded Secrets". It combines the best of various worlds - Michael is a great writer and in this book, you really feel like you are sitting there having a discussion with him. I feel it is Michael's best writing to date. In addition, it has clips of Michael demonstrating some of the pieces/moves which is wonderful and provides for the more "visual" learning approach. It allows you to SEE how it SHOULD look. Besides all of that there are very clear, very well planned out photos.

This will retail for $35.00 which is just a steal. When this comes out grab it. You will NOT be disappointed.

Tim Trono

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Bill Duncan » May 18th, 2004, 11:07 pm

CD-ROM
what format?

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Steve Bryant
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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Steve Bryant » May 19th, 2004, 7:54 am

RE Pyro Perception, I first encountered the idea of having a card revealed as a blister on your finger or thumb tip at MAGIC LIVE, an invention of J.C. Doty. I discussed Pyro Perception in my recent phone conversation with Mr. Doty, and he pointed out that PP causes the value to appear on one finger tip and the suit on your thumb (or vice versa), whereas his device caused both value and suit to appear as a single blister on one digit. I think (as he does) that Doty's method is better, as well as being, so far as I know, the original. This would have been an excellent effect for David Blaine. Think of a card, let me touch your forehead ... Meanwhile, looking forward to Mike's new book!

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Michael Close » May 19th, 2004, 11:35 am

Heres some more information about Closely Guarded Secrets.

Why an ebook?

With this project, I wanted to try to incorporate all the technological advances available to produce the most thorough and enjoyable learning experience possible. To this end we have integrated text, photographs, and video clips in such a way that each medium does what it does best. Text provides the information. Pictures clarify the text. Video shows you how sleights look when they are perfected. Chris Wasshuber spearheaded this approach with the ebook version of Card College 1. However, I believe that CGS is the first project specifically designed to incorporate all three media in the most effective way.

What is the format?

CGS will be provided on a disc in a DVD case. The ebook is pdf file and the user will need Acrobat Reader 6 to open the file. (We will include this program on the disc.) Quicktime is also required. PC users will need at least a Pentium III computer running Windows ME, 2000, or XP. Mac users will need OS X (Jaguar). The chapters are fully bookmarked and include hyperlinks to Internet resources.

Can I print out CGS?

Absolutely. One of the complaints about ebooks is that it is difficult to read a lengthy book on a computer. Lisa has designed a beautiful layout that prints out into 179 double-sided pages. Print it out on paper that has been punched for a three-ring binder, or take it to Kinkos and have it spiral bound.

In a couple of days we will upload a web page giving more information. Ill post a link at that time. Please dont try to pre-order. When I get the product back from the duplicators, Ill post an ordering link.

Thanks to all of you for your interest.

M. Close

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby CHRIS » May 19th, 2004, 1:39 pm

I am excited that Michael has chosen the ebook format, and I am sure CGS will be a step forward in the development of ebooks. I think that the text/illustration/video ebook will become the preferred format to teach sleight-of-hand magic.

Text allows much more detailed and in depth explanations, links to references, as well as searchability. Next time you watch a DVD try to 'search' for a keyword :-)

Good illustrations or clear photos allow detailed study of critical positions and steps during a move as well as 'see through' or other effects which would be impossible in a video clip. And video clips, be they performance or moves, communicate timing, body positions, transitions and so forth. They also allow one to quickly, without reading, get an idea of the move or routine.

It is fantastic to see masters of their art, like Michael Close or Roberto Giobbi, to explore ebooks and push their limitations in search for better and more efficient teaching. One is for sure, I will be carefully studying Michael's newest ebook.

Chris Wasshuber
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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Pete Biro » May 19th, 2004, 2:59 pm

I hope you, Michael, will be accompanying yourself on the keyboard whilst we study your material. :cool: :cool: :cool:
Stay tooned.

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby mrgoat » May 20th, 2004, 6:08 am

Might be an idea to have it as a download too.

I have a fast connection and would much prefer to download this - even if its the same price.

It's the immediate gratification.

Obviously have a download password protected, etc.

Just an idea...

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Ian Kendall » May 20th, 2004, 9:46 am

I got asked a lot if Basic Coin Magic was available for a download - which it is not.

The bottom line is the size of the image, and the cost of the bandwidth. While technically it is possible to download a 350Meg image, a couple of downloads might be enough to eat up your bandwidth allowance. Admittedly a videoless PDF file would be smaller and more manageable, but wouldn't that be missing the point?

I'll be glad to wait for my copy on a CD. We've all waited long enough as it is, will another week make all that difference?

Take care, Ian

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby mrgoat » May 22nd, 2004, 2:36 am

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:

The bottom line is the size of the image, and the cost of the bandwidth. While technically it is possible to download a 350Meg image, a couple of downloads might be enough to eat up your bandwidth allowance.

I'll be glad to wait for my copy on a CD. We've all waited long enough as it is, will another week make all that difference?
With my hosting company it is cheaper, easier and faster to distribute via the web than via DVD, jewel case and postage and packing.

It's not a matter of impatience, more a case of choice!

Looking forward to it too

Damian

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Michael Close » May 22nd, 2004, 3:24 pm

I had some friends over to the house, and I showed them Closely Guarded Secrets. In the process, I discovered that Adobe Reader 6 will read a pdf file out loud in a strangely disconcerting computer voice. I didnt know it could do that.

I only mention this to let you know that if Stephen Hawking can get laughs with the patter Ive included, you probably can too.

M. Close

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Guest » May 22nd, 2004, 4:14 pm

Mike:

Congrats on the new product...

In addition to the very cool info you just shared,
you've just made an interesting (.pdf/ebook) sales point:

I've heard of people reading instructions into a tape recorder and playing it back as they learned the effect... this should be possible with the technology you just mentioned.... yes?

Anyway
You'll be getting an order from me in the near future (note: this has nothing to do with the Hawking learning experience... It's just that I'd be a fool to pass up any opportunity to read (or listen to) more of your thoughts/effects.

Thanks for the 'scoop'
... now I look forward to the 'experience'

Doug Conn

PS: for those looking for this feature, it's on the toolbar under the 'view' tab (I mention this, because I had a hard time finding it.)

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby CHRIS » May 22nd, 2004, 8:29 pm

I don't mean to diminish Michael's discovery in Acrobat, but text-to-speech is available in Lybrary.com ebooks for several years. You only need to download a free plug-in and off you go. You can change voices, speed of speech, ...

To address Doug's point "I've heard of people reading instructions into a tape recorder and playing it back as they learned the effect... this should be possible with the technology you just mentioned.... yes?"

Yes, text-to-speech, allows you to do this. The neat thing is, if you can adjust the speech speed, then you can set it just right for your pace. Another thing you can do is create your own 'audio book'. Record the output from text-to-speech on a tape or CD and take it with you on your next trip in the car. I have found that particularly long theoretical works do very well with such an approach. Try "Our Magic" for example.

Chris Wasshuber
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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 22nd, 2004, 8:39 pm

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
... The neat thing is, if you can adjust the speech speed, then you can set it just right for your pace....Record the output from text-to-speech on a tape or CD and ...Try "Our Magic" for example.
Then take your favorite backing tracks and overlay using SoundForge and Acid Loops.

And thus a new form of rap is born.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Jeff Haas » May 22nd, 2004, 10:42 pm

Jonathan, that's the weirdest idea you've posted in a long time.

Brilliant, but weird.
:D

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Chris Aguilar » May 23rd, 2004, 3:04 am

The new version of Adobe Acrobat reader (version 6) is a bloated, buggy, and slow loading (even on a fast computer) mess.

If you're one to browse PDF's on a regular basis, it's possible that this new reader could be cause for extended delays.


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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Richard Morrell » May 23rd, 2004, 7:03 am

Originally posted by Chris Aguilar:
The new version of Adobe Acrobat reader (version 6) is a bloated, buggy, and slow loading (even on a fast computer) mess.

If you're one to browse PDF's on a regular basis, it's possible that this new reader could be cause for extended delays.
I agree with Chris, not sure why you need 40mb+ when installed just to read a PDF! But help may be at hand, I have been using a little utility for some time now with pretty impressive results, check out Adobe Reader SpeedUp from Bootblock:

Adobe Reader Speedup

He is upto v1.21 which is compatible with Adobe Reader 6.01, basically unzip into your Reader directory, and what it does is give you the option to tweak the loadup, and turn off unnecessary plugins when the reader loads, believe me it makes a world of difference if all you want to do is read pdf's quickly!

Some caution is required as always when tweaking things on your machine, you might find that functions you once used in the Reader may be turned off as it didn't load the plugin, but you can always restore by running the program again and doing a full restore back to default, and then turning on the plugin you need, it gives you context help on each plugin to tell you what it does.

Pretty good for a free program.

Rich.

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Michael Close » May 23rd, 2004, 10:09 am

On my Pentium III desktop Adobe Reader 6.0 loads in 11 seconds. The CGS file loads from the CD drive in about 3 seconds. I'm glad Rich Morrell provided the info on the speed-up program, but I'm not sure what I'll do with all the time I save. :)

I was very interested to see Jonathan Townsend mention Acid and Sound Forge. My music partner (and best friend) Michael Bryant is the Director of Training for Sonic Foundry (which is now owned by Sony Digital). We used Vegas 4.0 to edit the video for CGS. They make great programs.

M.

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Chris Aguilar » May 23rd, 2004, 1:03 pm

The "adobe reader" speedup thing mentioned by Rich works well for the 6.0 reader.

However, for those wanting a simpler solution, one can always uninstall the 6.0 reader and simply use the 5.0 version which is much zippier/less buggy/bloated.

Speed issues aside, the new reader would hang/lock up my browser loading files (sometimes even quite small ones!) that worked fine with the older reader (and work fine with the modified 6.0 vis a vis the "speed up" utility)

The 5.0 reader can be found here for the PC

And here for the Mac.

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Michael Close » May 23rd, 2004, 1:31 pm

CGS will not work with Adobe Reader 5.0. You must use 6.0. This is because of the embedded movie files.

We tried to use 5.0 and link the movies in the pdf file, but this would not work for Macs. We never could figure out why.

M. Close

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Chris Aguilar » May 23rd, 2004, 2:18 pm

Originally posted by Michael Close:
CGS will not work with Adobe Reader 5.0. You must use 6.0. This is because of the embedded movie files.
Pity that. I recommend the 6.01 reader cleanup utility in that case. It successfully fixed issues with the system slowdowns/lockups etc. I was having with many pdf's. Those using alternative browsers to Microsoft explorer (safari, netscape, mozilla, etc.) might have a great need of a leaner running version of reader 6.0.

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Michael Close » May 23rd, 2004, 3:11 pm

I have not encountered the problems mentioned.

Do the problems appear when Reader 6.0 is used inside a browser? I have only been using it as a stand-alone utility to read pdfs that have already been downloaded or are on disc.

M. Close

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Chris Aguilar » May 23rd, 2004, 3:40 pm

Originally posted by Michael Close:

Do the problems appear when Reader 6.0 is used inside a browser?[/QB]
Yes, it's the browser integration that is seriously borked. If one runs it standalone (as one would likely be doing to read a pdf off a cd), the issues involved would likely be minimal. Often, I have to look at lots of pdf's via the web and the installation of the 6.0 reader forces me to use that for reading of pdf's in general (it installs itself as the default web pdf reader). That's why the "cleaner" program is so useful. It allows standalone use (for e-books, etc) while alleviating the truly poor web browser experience.

Guest

Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Guest » May 26th, 2004, 1:35 am

Originally posted by Michael Close:
CGS will not work with Adobe Reader 5.0. You must use 6.0. This is because of the embedded movie files.

We tried to use 5.0 and link the movies in the pdf file, but this would not work for Macs. We never could figure out why.

M. Close
Cause its a MAC :D

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Tom Stone » May 26th, 2004, 7:12 am

Originally posted by Michael Close:
We tried to use 5.0 and link the movies in the pdf file, but this would not work for Macs. We never could figure out why.
I'm guessing that it is because Mac and PC have different file systems for CD-roms.
If you put a Mac CD in a PC drive, it will not even show up no matter what you do.
The Mac can show PC discs, but only by first remapping all the file names to PC-DOS format (which unfortunately breaks all links made from within Acrobat). To read a PC disc on a Mac, and retain the links in a PDF document, Mac owners can also install the Joliet extension from:
http://www.tempel.org/joliet/index.html

As far as I know, there exists no equivalent way to read a Mac disc on the PC.

However, for the publisher, the trick is to create a hybrid CD, where both a MAC and a PC interprets the CD as being in their own format.
On a MAC, this is done by simply selecting "Hybrid" in the pop-up menu in the CD-burner software.

On a PC, as far as I know, there exist no similar method - at least not in the standard configuration. However, there exist a third-party program called "MacImage for Windows" that enables PC users to crate hybrid CD's:
http://www.macdisk.com/macimgen.php3
A friend of mine tried this software in its demo mode, and it creates perfect hybrid CD's

There might be yet another solution. I think that it would work if a whole folder, with PDF's and linked movies, is ZIP-compressed before burnt on a CD. When this archive is decompressed onto another computer, I think that all links will be preserved, no matter if it is decompressed on a Mac or PC. This is a pure guess though, but it might work.

Hope this helps.
Tom

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Matthew Field
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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Matthew Field » May 26th, 2004, 9:27 am

Regarding Tom Stone's comments, there are programs (including MACDisc and Conversion Suite) to read Mac magnetic discs and CD-ROMS on a PC. I was the advertising director for a big store, I had a PC, my art director had a Mac. (Don't they all?)

Matt Field

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Michael Close » May 26th, 2004, 5:14 pm

The problem is bigger than just reading files from a CD. Our original attempt was to use Adobe Acrobat 5 and link the video clips to the appropriate locations in the pdf file. We uploaded all the data to our web server so several beta testers could try out the ebook. PCs had no problem, but Macs couldn't find the video files on the server. We also found that the same problem occured with the disc.

The only solution we thought of was to upgrade all the Adobe programs and use the embedding feature of InDesign CS. This means that all the video is contained within the pdf file. I'm going to provide a link on my website to the speed-up program suggested by Rich Morrell, in the hopes that upgrading to 6.0 does not cause too many problems.

There is another Mac problem that I should warn everyone about. On the Mac the way to open the pdf file is to open Reader first, and then use the "Open" command and navigate to the pdf file. I just had some correspondence with a fellow who ran into problems with my In Review CD-ROM (which was created with Acrobat 5.0). If you just click on the pdf file, the Mac launches something called "Preview," and that can cause problems.

Best

M. Close

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Bob Farmer » May 26th, 2004, 5:18 pm

PC or MAC? Forget it, pal -- I paid the extra fee and downloaded Mike Close in his entirety. I have him chained in the basement right now.

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Michael Close » May 26th, 2004, 5:20 pm

It rubs the lotion on itself...

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby CHRIS » May 27th, 2004, 1:22 am

I create ISO 9660 CDs with HTML. This can be read on PC as well as Mac (even Linux PCs can mount the CD and read the ebooks). Lybrary.com has many happy Mac customers, although I don't even have a Mac to test any of my ebooks. (This will change in a few weeks. I am going to buy a Mac.)

I guess all these problems with PDF on PC/Mac suggests that my old argument for HTML and against PDF in the case of ebooks might not be that wrong.

Chris Wasshuber
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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Ian Kendall » May 27th, 2004, 2:23 am

I would agree with Chris that HTML is more portable than PDF (ironically, given what PDF stands for) but the downside is that it is much easier to rip information out of a web page than a locked PDF.

On the other hand, with HTML you can take small chunks with you on a handheld device, something that can't be done with a PDF (and for people who tell me that you can get a PDF reader for PocketPC - have you actually tried using it...)

Take care, Ian

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby CHRIS » May 27th, 2004, 5:55 am

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
... but the downside is that it is much easier to rip information out of a web page than a locked PDF.
Are you worried that information is being stolen?

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
On the other hand, with HTML you can take small chunks with you on a handheld device, something that can't be done with a PDF (and for people who tell me that you can get a PDF reader for PocketPC - have you actually tried using it...)
PDF for PDAs is unfortunately not there yet: many problems, often ugly rendering. In principle it works, but there is a lot Adobe has to improve it to make it useful.
HTML on the other hand is for most PDA formats, the supported format to convert from. MobiPocket and iSilo, to name just two good formats for PDAs, can import HTML without problems.

Chris Wasshuber
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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Ian Kendall » May 27th, 2004, 6:41 am

Chris,

Nope, I'm not worried, but others might be. I have no copy protection at all on my CDs, I was just pointing out a potential aurguement for PDF.

I have Al Schneider's book on theory on my PPC which reads as well as any ebook I've seen. The videos don't work, though...

Take care, Ian

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Chris Aguilar » May 27th, 2004, 7:11 am

Doug Conn and Paul Cummins used a dual prong (and much appreciated) strategy on their recent release of Dougs Tricks of My Trade.

Those purchasing were given the whole book in nicely formatted pdf for printing to hardcopy if they wished.

The entire text was then reformatted nicely work as html pages that can easily be viewed in any browser. Now while pdf is quite nice for the printout side, it's often not the best "reading" technology on a computer as the pages are often formatted for a portrait printed page rather than the typical "landscape" oriented CRT. I wish more folks would take the time to do this as pdf's are (IMHO) just damn awkward if one wishes to read off one's screen in an efficient way. They're great for printing out a hardcopy version though.

Guest

Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Guest » May 27th, 2004, 9:47 am

Thanks for mentioning that Chris.

I've often wondered if the hours (and hours_ I spent duplicating the book into html format were worth it.

It's nice to hear some think so.

PS/FYI If anyone would like to check out the html/book stuff, here's a preview:
http://www.dougconn.com/tomtsample/

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Glenn Farrington » May 27th, 2004, 11:20 am

I hear this looks great! I can't wait to see it myself...okay...I'll buy it. I don't have speakers on my computer though...good thing I have Stephen Hawking chained in my basement. Can anyone locate Bob Farmer for me...apparently he knows how to escape from chains.
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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Ian Kendall » May 28th, 2004, 1:45 am

I don't want to steal Mike's thunder but his new site is up and taking advanced orders.

Take care, Ian

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby CHRIS » May 28th, 2004, 5:23 am

Originally posted by Chris Aguilar:
... The entire text was then reformatted nicely work as html pages that can easily be viewed in any browser. Now while pdf is quite nice for the printout side, it's often not the best "reading" technology on a computer as the pages are often formatted for a portrait printed page rather than the typical "landscape" oriented CRT...
Chris, I think you are correct, that the best solution is to offer HTML as well as PDF. At Lybrary.com, that is where we are heading, too. Several of my ebooks are also available as PDFs (see "Tarbell CD", "Triple Classic CD", or the recent releases "Packing Crate Escape" and "Free from Filler"). But as Doug points out, this takes a lot of time to do and so it will take time until I can offer most in PDF.

Nevertheless, I think a well formatted HTML ebook with embedded print directives can produce a reasonable print out. Together with utilities like ClickBook one can even produce presentable booklets.

Chris Wasshuber
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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Michael Close » May 28th, 2004, 10:07 am

The duplication of the CGS discs is exactly on schedule. For that reason we are now taking advance orders for Closely Guarded Secrets. You can get all the details here:

http://www.michaelclose.com/newstuff.html

Thanks again.

M. Close

Please note that we have a special button for international orders through PayPal.

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Matthew Field » May 28th, 2004, 11:10 am

I just ordered mine, Mike. Very much looking forward to it.

Matt Field

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Re: NEW Michael Close e-book

Postby Adrian Kuiper » May 28th, 2004, 2:57 pm

Just ordered my copy for two reasons. One, I expect the material will be great. Two....my first "venture" into the e-book arena. Lord knows I have enough hard cover books ....

Adrian


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