Hazel and Kindle Comic Converter Automation for Kindle Reading

ExcitingI like to read comics on the go, and there is no easier way to tote them than on a Kindle. The preferred tool of people who like to convert comics for kindle reading is Kindle Comic Converter. It has a nice GUI interface and after conversion from .cbr or .cbz to .mobi format, you can e-mail it to your kindle. This works great for most readers, but I prefer a more automated method for getting comics comverted and onto my kindle. As soon as a comic (.cbr or .cbz) file is downloaded or placed in a specified directory, with no more action on my part, it is automatically converted to .mobi format and e-mailed to my kindle.

This guide is for Mac users that have Hazel installed. If you own a Mac and aren’t using Hazel, you are denying yourself the true power of Mac automation. I highly recommend it. Assuming you have a Mac and you have Hazel installed, let’s begin.

THE STUFF WE HAVE TO DO BEFORE THE FUN HAPPENS:

Install homebrew, python 3, and KCC dependencies:

Depending on what version of macOS you are using and what you may or may not have installed previously, your mileage may vary on this first part. It may require some tweaking, googling, etc. I have tried to include as much info as possible to at least give you a frame of reference for what needs to be done before we can use the command line Kindle Comic Converter.

Open Terminal
mkdir KCC-Process
cd KCC-Process

/usr/bin/ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)”

brew update
brew install python3
brew linkapps python3
pip3 install –upgrade pip setuptools
brew install psutils *OR* pip install psutil
brew install slugify *OR* sudo pip install python-slugify
brew install homebrew/python/pillow *OR* pip install Pillow
brew install unrar
cd other/osx
sudo cp unrar /usr/local/bin (so KCC can find it)
brew install homebrew/binary/kindlegen

NOW THE FUN STUFF:
The conversion will take place in the using the Kindle Comic Coverter command line tool, so download the KCC package from GitHub (https://github.com/ciromattia/kcc/). Unzip the package into KCC-Process directory.

Set your hazel rule for the KCC-Process directory.

Hazelrule

Your shell script will look like this. I am using the KV (Kindle Voyage) profile.

FULL_PATH=”$1″
ORIG_FILE=$(basename “$FULL_PATH”)
python3 kcc-c2e.py –profile KV “$ORIG_FILE”

Now any cbz or cbr file dropped into the KCC-Process directory will be converted to .mobi format ready for your Kindle. If you want to automate the next step of e-mailing the .mobi file to your Kindle, you need to create an Automator script like this.

Automatoremail

Then add the script execution to a Hazel rule. You can have the rule activate in the KCC-Process directory or you can do as I do, and move the newly created .mobi from KCC-Process to a directory called Kindle-eMail where this Hazel rule will e-mail the .mobi to your Kindle of choice.

Hazelmail

If you want more ideas or guidance on using Hazel, I recommend David Sparks’ Hazel Field Guide.

30th Anniversary Celebration of the Amiga

I made the journey to Mountain View’s Computer History Museum to join in the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Amiga. The turnout was tremendous and I got to meet and talk to a lot of the original Amiga developers. RJ Mical and Dave Needle gave an intriguing and fun talk on the history and antics of the early days of the Amiga.

Turn Your Amazon FireTV into a Commodore Amiga

This tutorial will enable you to play your favorite Commodore Amiga games or run your favorite Amiga apps on your Amazon FireTV. It will take a little bit of off-roading to get it to work, but it won’t be difficult. Since you are going to be creating an Amiga, you will need a mouse & keyboard for UI (I recommend the Logitech k400 Keyboard that SamsClub sells anywhere from $10-$30). The FireTV game controllers work great with Amiga games. Pics of my playing Hybris with the FireTV and game controllers are below.

On your computer, download the uae4all Amiga Emulator from here.

The process we will be using is called “sideloading”. Sideloading is how developers test their apps on the FireTV.

Turn on Development Mode on your FireTV under settings (Settings>System>Developer Options>ADB debugging on & Apps from Unknown on)

Install the Android Development SDK Tools on your computer (not the FireTV). You can find them here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the SDK Tools package for your particular type of computer. The important part is the program ADB which moves your apps from your computer to your FireTV. You can find the adb tool in dir /platform-tools/ . The best thing to do is create and android directory on your computer and move the ADB program there. Put your amiga emulator .apk file and .adf disk files in the same directory. This will make your command line entries easier.

Make sure your FireTV is connected to your network. Get the IP of the FireTV. To do this go to settings>system>about>network and write down the ip address.

On your computer, open up a Terminal window and enter the directory containing adb (and the uae4all .apk and .adf files) and enter these commands

./adb kill-server
./adb start-server
./adb connect Your.FireTV.ip.address

You will see a message “connected to firetv.ip:5555”

You are now ready to install your amiga emulator.

./adb install -r uae4all2-sdl-2.3.6.4-neon.apk

Now install the free app ES File Explorer on your FireTV with the same method so you can move your .rom and .adf files to their directories. You can get ES File Explorer here.

Your uae4all Amiga and ES File Explorer apps will appear in your Settings>Applications listing. They will not appear on the main screen shortcuts.

Next you send your Amiga rom file and .adf files with the command:

./adb push kick13.rom /sdcard/Android/data/pandora.uae4all.sdl/files/kickstarts
./adb push Workbench.adf /sdcard/Android/data/pandora.uae4all.sdl/files/roms

* you can find the kickstart .rom files from various places on the net. Google is your friend.
* roms directory is for .adf files.
* keep in mind that depending on the version, the pandora.uae4all.sdl directory name could change. Just drill down with ES File Explorer to confirm directory names if you have a problem.

You are all set, start the uae4all Amiga Emulator from your Settings>Applications and pick your .adf and .rom files. Happy Amiga 30th.

CommVEx 2015

We were celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Bil Herd’s masterpiece, the Commodore 128 at CommVEx 2015 in Las Vegas this year. Bil Herd showed some slides of awesome hardware that was never released by Commodore. Then Bil Herd and Leonard Tramiel answered all of our retro questions. We learned that Commodore founder Jack Tramiel actually walked away from Commodore during CES in 1984, not a few months later as was always believed. The disagreement with main Commodore investor Irving Gould that caused his exit was also revealed. Leonard Tramiel explained that his father was angry that Gould was using Commodore funds as his personal piggy bank.

Install Python 3 & Pygame on Mac OS X Yosemite

This tutorial has been updated from Mavericks to Yosemite. I have tested it and it works perfectly.

Install the Xcode Command Line Tools from Apple. Apple now provides an official Command Line Tools for Xcode package that you can install without needing to install Xcode itself. You can install it with xcode-select –install on Mavericks and Yosemite or download it from Apple’s developer site (free registration required) and search for “Command Line Tools”

Install Quartz from here

Install Homebrew and necessary tools:

ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)”

brew update

brew install python3 (this currently installs version 3.4.3_2)

brew install mercurial

brew install sdl sdl_image sdl_mixer sdl_ttf portmidi
brew tap homebrew/headonly
brew install smpeg

Clone the pygame repository:

cd /Users/YourName/Downloads
hg clone https://bitbucket.org/pygame/pygame
cd pygame
cd src

Copy this file into src, replacing the one there.

Install Pygame:

/usr/local/Cellar/python3/3.4.3_2/bin/pip3.4 install /Users/YourName/Downloads/pygame

That’s it. You can test your install by opening idle3 app located in:
/usr/local/Cellar/python3/3.4.3_2
then type: import pygame [hit return]
if there is no error, you were successful.

If this tutorial helped you, please follow me on twitter @dudeslife .

Contemporary Programming & Software Design

Another programming course frequently advertized in Compute’s Gazette or Compute Magazine was McGraw-Hill’s Contemporary Programming and Software Design Series. Their catch phrase was Make Any Computer Do Exactly What You Want. I have archived all 10 modules for the Commodore 64 or 128 here. In the photo gallery below I have included the full page ad that you would have seen in Compute or Compute’s Gazette.

IMG_2168

Step by Step: An Interactive Course in BASIC Programming for Beginners

I always saw Step by Step: An Interactive Course in BASIC Programming for Beginners from PDI advertized in the pages of Compute’s Gazette. There was a Step by Step Two for the Apple II advertized in Compute magazine but I have never seen one in the wild and I am not sure if Step by Step Two was ever produced for the Commodore 64. I have archived the entire package here. In the photo gallery below I have included the full page ad for Step by Step that you would have seen in Compute’s Gazette.

IMG_2163

Beach Head II: The Dictator Strikes Back (rare cover variant drawn by Doug Vandegrift)

I am so happy to have finally found the rare Beach Head II box cover drawn by Doug Vandegrift. Besides his fantastic work in the computer gaming industry with Access Software and currently Big Finish Games, Vandegrift is known for his work on popular cartoons of the 80s and 90s. He was the storyboard director and artist for the legendary cartoon, GI Joe. If you would like to know more about Access Software’s history, Jimmy Maher wrote an excellent article on his personal blog, The Digital Antiquarian.

BeachheadII

Bh2ad

Raid Over Moscow. This Year’s C64 Month Present to Myself. (1984)

Released by Access Software (Bruce & Roger Carver) in 1984, Raid Over Moscow became one of my favorite games of all time. Most game companies would have been happy with one hit like Raid Over Moscow, but Access also brought us Beach-Head, Beach-Head II, and Leader Board Golf and World Class Leader Board Golf. The Leader Board games eventually became Links Golf which Microsoft (after buying Access Software) continued to produce until 2003. The design still defines Golf video gaming today.

Raidovermoscow