NEW Michael Close e-book

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Postby Guest » 05/22/04 04:14 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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Postby CHRIS » 05/22/04 08:29 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.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/22/04 08:39 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
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Postby Jeff Haas » 05/22/04 10:42 PM

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

Brilliant, but weird.
:D
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 05/23/04 03:04 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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Postby Richard Morrell » 05/23/04 07:03 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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Postby Michael Close » 05/23/04 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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Postby Chris Aguilar » 05/23/04 01:03 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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Postby Michael Close » 05/23/04 01:31 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.

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Postby Chris Aguilar » 05/23/04 02:18 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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Postby Michael Close » 05/23/04 03:11 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.

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Postby Chris Aguilar » 05/23/04 03:40 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.
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Postby Guest » 05/26/04 01:35 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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Postby Tom Stone » 05/26/04 07:12 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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Postby Matthew Field » 05/26/04 09:27 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?)

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Postby Michael Close » 05/26/04 05:14 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

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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/26/04 05:18 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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Postby Michael Close » 05/26/04 05:20 PM

It rubs the lotion on itself...
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Postby CHRIS » 05/27/04 01:22 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.

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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/27/04 02:23 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...)

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Postby CHRIS » 05/27/04 05:55 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.

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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/27/04 06:41 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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Postby Chris Aguilar » 05/27/04 07:11 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.
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Postby Guest » 05/27/04 09:47 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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Postby Glenn Farrington » 05/27/04 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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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/28/04 01:45 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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Postby CHRIS » 05/28/04 05:23 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.

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Postby Michael Close » 05/28/04 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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Postby Matthew Field » 05/28/04 11:10 AM

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

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Postby Adrian Kuiper » 05/28/04 02:57 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 ....

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Postby Steve Snediker » 05/29/04 03:58 AM

I'm an "early adopter". That's why I ordered your e-book very early in the morning last night...Like 12:30 AM CDST. I am a power Mac user as well, so I'll look forward to testing the compatibility and reporting in from the field.

Thanks for being on THE EDGE*, Michael.

Steve Snediker
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*...Of what, we're not so sure. :)
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Postby Michael Close » 05/30/04 06:06 PM

We've updated the website with details of the contents of CGS. The link is here:

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

Thanks.

M. Close
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Postby Michael Close » 06/03/04 07:40 AM

Brad Henderson has posted a review of Closely Guarded Secrets on MyLovelyAssistant.com. Here is the link:

http://mylovelyassistant.com/index.php? ... 7740&cid=0

Thanks.

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Postby Guest » 06/04/04 04:01 PM

Looks great! I can't wait for it. Is this still scheduled for shipping on June 7th?
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Postby Danny Archer » 06/04/04 04:11 PM

I just ordered Michael's new e-book and I thought about waiting until he lectures in September, but I couldn't wait!

I am thrilled that Michael will be coming out of retirement in terms of lecturing for magicians and will make his debut at our little close-up bash in Las Vegas (9/12-14).

Michael will also be offering a hands on workshop at the Magic University held the day after LVMI

Las Vegas Magic Invitational (LVMI)
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Postby Scott Fridinger » 06/04/04 07:46 PM

I just ordered mine, I am really looking forward to Mr Close's notes on Dean's Box and Gary Plant's routine. I actually bought both a few years back after seeing Mike do them both at Houdini's Lounge

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
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.
Have you looked into OpenOffice.Org software, you can create, read, edit HTML documents and there is a nice little button "Export to PDF". Open your document, push the button, bada bing, bada bang, you got PDF. And it is Free......

Can't wait to get mine!
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 06/04/04 08:11 PM

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
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.
If you just want a "quick and dirty" transfer to pdf, acrobat has a function that will slurp up a whole website (which is what a collection of html pages is) and nicely concantenate them into a single pdf file. I've tried this and can say that it works well. The pdf will exhibit a "landscape" orientation and that might be an issue though.
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Postby CHRIS » 06/05/04 02:12 AM

I am aware of the Acrobat web-slurpy, but it is not so straight forward for my HTML ebooks. Keep in mind that I have a collection of HTML files which are not necessarily all connected by links plus JavaScript. I have written a Perl script which helps in the conversion from HTML to PDF and it works reasonably well. But my point was, in order to create a top notch PDF you need to do more than a web-slurpy. You will need hand editing and that takes time.

It will be interesting to see how PDF vs. HTML or vs. other ebook formats will shake out.

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Postby Michael Close » 06/07/04 07:08 PM

Status Report

I talked the duplication house today (June 7). I forgot to factor in the Memorial Day holiday when I made my initial shipping date estimate. The discs are done and will be shipped to me tomorrow. They should arrive Thursday, June 10. At that time Lisa and I will ship out the orders chronologically. We have been busy getting all the labels and paperwork together to expedite the process. My thanks for your support and patience.

By the way, the number of advance orders we have received has put a serious dent in our supply of the cards that we are providing as a thank-you bonus. If you dont want to be left out, I would not wait too long to order.

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

Thanks again.

Michael Close
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Postby Michael Close » 06/10/04 07:20 PM

Status Report 6/10/04

The Closely Guarded Secrets discs and cases arrived from the duplicators this morning. We got a large batch of domestic and international orders off to the post office.

Unfortunately, the post office is shut down on Friday. However, everything is back to normal on Saturday, and well be shipping out more orders then.

Everything looks and works great.

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