Zero Dark Thirty Reveals Flavor of the Truth We Will Never Fully Know

Jan 15, 2013 by

Zero Dark Thirty Reveals Flavor of the Truth We Will Never Fully Know

If you’ve not seen the movie Zero Dark Thirty about the decade-long search for Osama Bid Laden I recommend you see it at least once.  Unlike The Hobbit or Argo, I’m not sure I’ll be going back again.  Though the movies rising star and now Golden Globe winner, Jessica Chastain, could tempt me, it’s just not a movie I will find myself wanting to see time and time again.

Jessica Chastain playing "Maya" in Zero Dark Thirty

Jessica Chastain playing “Maya” in Zero Dark Thirty

And here’s why; it reminds me too much of the stress I’ve felt ever since seeing the second plane fly into the second tower in New York on 9/11. That was a horrific day and one I shall not forget and watching a movie about going after the guy who allegedly caused it all, while satisfactory in the outcome, just stirs cracks in the wounds I hope that some day will be more healed than they are now, even after 11 years.

Revenge and justice are good things.  Well, as Christians we’d argue the first emotion isn’t such a good thing. Yes, I’m glad we just shot OBL dead instead of letting him live and go through a trial somewhere to give him additional time to stir his troops and generate tremendous additional costs of man power, lives and wasted oxygen on him.

But as fictional character Maya gets on the plane at the end and starts crying, I have to wonder why she’s crying. Because the saga is over and she’s worked so hard to make it happen, or for those who have lost their lives, or because even after traversing the world and chasing after this scumb bag all these years, killing his ass really didn’t bring about the satisfaction she’d hoped for.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m glad we got OBL and the world clearly is a safer place with him dead. But the point of all this is, after seeing a long movie about the process, largely fictional and factual, how much we never will really know, I’m just not in a hurry to go to a theater and sit through it again. If you had to go through the past decade again every day with the knowledge that OBL was still on the loose, would you want to do that?

There also is the wide discussion among the libs that there’s an inference in the movie that waterboarding/torture works and that that led to finding OBL.  How politically incorrect that’s seemed to the left.

And I couldn’t help but having the feeling of what seeing a movie like this is going to do in the minds of OBL followers. Will it enrage them and encourage them to produce new attacks on American soil, American theaters and moviegoers?

And then I have to wonder how much of what was portrayed in the movie was real and what was invented by Hollywood. In that, Zero Dark Thirty reveals a flavor of the truth that ultimately we will never fully know.

Yes, I do encourage you to go see the movie. It is good cinema. Yes, I’m glad OBL is dead. Do we have closure now?

 

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Preston Place Counseling Offering Child-Parent Relationship Training

Jan 10, 2013 by

Preston Place Counseling Offering Child-Parent Relationship Training CC Red Circl

We are proud to announce that Dr. Terri Gonzales of Preston Place Counseling here in Dallas is now taking enrollment applications for parents of children under the age of 10 who are struggling with behavioral issues in their child and seeking assistance. Her child-parent relationship classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Dr. Gonzales is the play therapist at Preston Place Counseling in North Dallas, which is located on Preston Road just south of Interstate 635/LBJ Freeway.

Details about her course are included in the video below and we encourage members of the news  media interested in doing a report on the classes to please contact us. For information about signing up for the course, please call 214-702-6572.  Space is limited so call today.

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QR Codes At A Funeral Home? Even In Death, You Cannot Escape Social Media

Dec 7, 2012 by

QR Codes At A Funeral Home? Even In Death, You Cannot Escape Social Media CC Red Circl

QR Codes At A Funeral Home?

QR Codes At A Funeral Home? Even In Death, You Cannot Escape Social Media

I shot a funeral today for a client at the Grove Hill Funeral Home on Samuel in Dallas, Texas today.  While talking to the building organizer about particulars of the event, I could not help but notice how Grove Hill is using QR Codes to help their guests keep track of information, sign an online registration, etc.

For a techno-geeek such as myself, it was actually a novel, and brilliant application of the technology.

I must admit, I didn’t do it justice shooting a photo of it with an iPhone and the flash on, but you can still make it out enough to see they’ve got it going on at this place.  And really, from soup to nuts, they really did.

My client’s family was treated with care and concern. And anyone else coming in got the same treatment.

But the photo clearly goes to show you. We’re stuck with Social Media from here on out.  Even after we’re gone….

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What Apple Didn’t Say About Changes From iBooks Author Version 1 Series

Dec 5, 2012 by

What Apple Didn’t Tell Us About Changes From iBooks Author Version 1 Series

We published our book for iPad 21012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya by Dr. Mark Van Stone on Aug. 23, 2012 using the 1.0 version series of iBooks Author. The book cleared through Apple’s approval process in a day or two and was up on the iBookstore without us even realizing it.

The book has been selling well; not as well as we hoped, but it’s been selling. As we get closer to Dec. 21, 2012, interest has been picking up and we’ did a TV interview here in Dallas Tuesday that’s slated to run soon.

But there’s been a problem we didn’t know about until after the October 23, 2012 update to iOS 6, iBooks 3, iBooks Author 2.0 and iTunes Producer 2.8. At least three customers have bought our book and reported not being able to actually open it once it’s on their iPad. While that number is small, in our opinion, that’s three too many.

What is more troubling is that we received no notification from Apple, iTunes Support, iBookstore Support, meaning the problem could have been with the individual users. We just don’t know. When we asked iTunes Store Support why they gave refunds instead of letting us know about the problem, their answer was that they simply don’t discuss why they issue refunds.  Not helpful.

Trying To Get To The Problems Caused By iBooks Author 2.0

So as we publish this piece, all we know is that three customers said once they downloaded version 1.0 of our book for iPad, they couldn’t open it. The bar across the icon of the book was black, which tends to indicate there’s a problem.

When we opened our .iba file made from the version 1.0 series (It was last opened on Aug. 23, 2012)  in version 2.0 on Nov. 24, 2012, we immediately got a flag warning from the software saying that the image on page 156 was too large. Thumbing through the book also showed that iBooks Author 2.0 had messed up multiple widgets we’d laid out perfectly in version 1.0.  They were compressed into a tiny size and were sitting at the left sides of pages. Several of them we’d laid out to encompass an entire page. Version 2.0 messed all that up and required us to repaginate several places in the book.

The first flagged warning is pictured below:

Warning Screen in iBooks Author 2.0

Warning Screen in iBooks Author 2.0

It never occurred to us that we might need to open up an old version of the book made with an earlier version of the software to ensure that the new version didn’t mess it up. That’s not how software updates are supposed to work! And certainly, one wouldn’t expect that something that had passed muster in an earlier version suddenly was being flagged as a problem. But that’s what happened.

So up popped that first screen warning asking if we wanted to see the problems it’d found.

So, I clicked yes and got this next screen:

Issues with Photo on Page 156

Issues with Photo on Page 156. This dialogue box appeared and said an image that worked fine up until Oct. 23, 2012, was no longer any good in our book for iPad.

To fix the photo problem meant taking the original, running it through Photoshop, shrinking it, and then reloading the page. Nothing difficult there, but if there is anything causing a problem with people downloading the book and it opening now in iOS 6, it’d seem this was it.

But wait. Version 2.0 caused even more disruptions inside the original product.

Widgets All Messed Up

Things got even wonkier after that. There were multiple widgets in the book that got totally screwed up by iBooks Author version 2.0. As you can see, some of them got zapped in size and then moved to the top left portion of a page, completely affecting the pagination within a chapter.

Widgets From iBooks Author 1.0 Are All Messed Up In Version 2.0

Widgets From iBooks Author 1.0 Are All Messed Up In Version 2.0

 

To fix everything back required going through all 179 pages of the book and ensuring that the pagination wasn’t messed up.

There were numerous cases where it was.

Pagination From iBooks Author Version 1.0 All Messed Up in Version 2.0

Pagination From iBooks Author Version 1.0 All Messed Up in Version 2.0

Last Saturday night a week ago, we tried to save these changes so that we could quickly upload the book back to the Apple servers and have the issue resolved.

Then came about the whole issue of the destination drive was full that was written about last week.

Software Updates On Our Mac

It is important to note here that we keep our MacBook Pro’s software up-t0-date. We updated to Mountain Lion the day it came out. We updated iBooks Author as soon as Apple released it on Oct. 23, 2012.  We updated to iBooks 3 on an iPad 3 on Oct. 23. We updated to iTunes Producer, which is used to send books for iPad to Apple’s servers as soon as we saw it was available. So you can imagine how we felt when we started getting responses from the truly good people we’ve been working with for three months off and on now at iBookstore Support suggesting that our uploading problems might be coming because we HAD NOT updated the software. No, our problems were happening because we HAD.

iBookstore Support

So after the problem with the destination drive, we reported the problem to the iBookstore Support team.

We kept also trying to get our book to upload once we got past the destination drive issue.  And we soon had more problems, which will be discussed in the next post.

For now, the book has been uploaded to Apple and it has been approved. But to say this hasn’t been quite upsetting and frustrating would be a great untruth.

Suggestion To Publishers

We strongly recommend that if you have a book on the iBookstore right now that was made in version 1.0 of iBooks Author that you open it up in version 2.0 and see what kinds of bugs might pop up.  Then we also suggest you do an upload of a new version to the iBookstore. You can imagine the pain in our hearts the past week and a half trying to get our book reloaded to the iBookstore when it’s about the 2012 Maya prophecy and we’re down to 17 days away. This could not have come at a worse time for us. But thankfully, we did get some great one-on-one support from our many friends at Apple to help get this resolved. It was just a real nail bitter there for a spell…..

 

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iBooks Author Issues–Verify your destination disk isn’t full

Nov 25, 2012 by

iBooks Author Issues For Uploading A Book for iPad–Verify Your Destination Disk Isn’t Full

It has been a struggle the past few hours to address several iBooks Author issues while trying to upload a new version of a book made in the pre-Oct. 23, 2012 versions of the software.

The problems began with two reports from customers who bought Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya on the iBookstore. They say they downloaded the book and it won’t open.  Having a copy from the 1.0-series of iBooks Author, knowing it is working fine on my iPad, and knowing how Apple works out the bugs in software before releasing an update, I was puzzled by this and begun to investigate.  As a result, a fresh copy has been uploaded to Apple, but it has been a multi-hour process and since it’s a weekend, iBooks Support is closed.

What I Had To Do

When I opened our book, which I’d not had the .iba file open since Oct. 8, 15 days before the release of version 2.0, it first alerted me that there was a photo on page 156 that was too big. It had worked from in version series 1.0-etc.  Nonetheless, it was now being flagged as a problem, and so I loaded the photo into Photoshop, resized it, saved it and then loaded it into the.iba file, while also extracting the older, bigger conflicting photo.

I also fixed two typos we’ve found and then began to save the book for exporting and reloading to the iBookstore via iTunes Producer. I then saved the file and exported it a couple of times as a .iBooks file.  No problem. I then began the process of “Publishing” the file to send it to Apple.  Here’s where the troubles began.

This Became A Major Drama

First of all, apparently via the iBooks Author autosave function on my Mac, (loaded on a hard drive that has some 300-plus Gig of memory left on it), began to display the following message:

Verify your destination disk isn't full and that you have permission to write to it

“Verify your destination disk isn’t full and that you have permission to write to it” while loading a book for iPad to Apple.

“Verify your destination disk isn’t full and that you have permission to write to it”  kept displaying. I took those exact terms and did a search and there is pretty much NOTHING in Google about this.  NOTHING.  Great. It was 11 p.m. at night on a Saturday and I was stressing to get this done and off to bed.

After a little more digging I learned that if you go to the “Title Bar” of an open file on a Mac, a little triangular box will appear and you can do a drop down.  That produced this box:

Title Bar Dropdown Menu in iBooks Author for Versions and Autosave

This is the Title Bar Dropdown Menu in iBooks Author for Versions and Autosave. After getting the dialogue box above, I then proceeded to “Browse All Versions…”

From there, I chose the “Browse All Versions …” link that then took me to this amazing looking screen. The problem was, none of the earlier versions on my machine were ones that I could open. I don’t know if they’d been purged or if there is still some other issue remaining.

 

Browse All Versions ... Screen on MacBook Pro Using iBooks Author

Browse All Versions … Screen on MacBook Pro Using iBooks Author

 

The next thing I tried, since I couldn’t pull up an earlier version, was the “Move To…” option, which allowed me to move the autosaving and to actually SAVE the .iba file again.

Move To ... Screen in iBooks Author

Move To … Screen in iBooks Author

Now that that hurdle had been overcome, I thought I was ready to load the book once again to the iBookstore. It’s been on sale on the iBookstore since Aug. 23. We’ve had a good run of sales.  It’s an established product.  But when I chose to “Publish” this newer version, Lord have mercy…. Over I went to iTunes Producer 2.8 and that’s another story to tell….

More about that in the next post.

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Books For iPad–The Ongoing Training & Maintenance Manual Revolution

Nov 21, 2012 by

Books For iPad–The Ongoing Training & Maintenance Manual Revolution

Books for iPad now are being used for training purposes as well as in the field for things like aircraft and automobile maintenance, and even things like cookbooks.

English: An image of an iPad 2.

English: An image of an iPad 2. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because images, scrubbers/interactive images, 3D animations and even videos can be embedded in a book for iPad, they can be used in the field by technicians and practitioners.

Which would you rather haul around, a 3-inch binder full of technical manuals or an iPad that has the same and regularly updated information with photos and videos?

There exists great potential for books for iPad in corporate training and even maintenance manuals. Picture yourself as an aircraft mechanic working on a jet engine and instead of hauling around a 3-inch binder written by the manufacturer a couple of years ago, you now can have an updated version on your iPad with you all the time and use it whenever it is needed with far less hassle and inconvenience.

Training and maintenance materials in a book for iPad can save time, costs and maybe even lives.

 Do You Have Materials Ready To Process?

We are a publisher of books for iPad located in Dallas, Texas, USA and we are ready to work with your company to develop the right materials to help make your training and maintenance manuals and materials the most up-to-date and innovatively successful tools you can provide your employees. Just complete the manuscript submission process above or give us a call today at 972-863-8784 and let’s talk about how to move your company forward.

 

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Maya Myth Moment–The Aztec Calendar Stone Is Not The Maya Calendar

Nov 21, 2012 by

Over on our special project site, The Wonders Expedition, we’ve begun the series–Maya Myth Moment–that we’ve developed in conjunction with our author, Dr. Mark Van Stone, one of the most renowned Maya Scholars in the world, to do a daily debunking of Maya Myth from Nov. 21 thru Dec. 21, 2012.

The Maya Myth Moment

The Maya Myth Moment from TheWondersExpedition.com is a daily update from Nov. 21 – Dec. 21, 2012 designed to debunk much of the nonsense circulating about the ancient Maya.

Dr. Van Stone has worked with us throughout the year 2012 to produce his first book for iPad2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya.

We invite you to wormhole on over to The Wonders Expedition and check out our first video on the Aztec Calendar Stone. While you’re there, also sign up to receive the daily updates we’re going to send out for the Maya Myth Moment.

It’s going to be a good and educational series, and was designed to help knock down some of the major nonsense that’s going to get stirred up in the 30 days remaining before Dec. 21, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

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