January 2008

Harry Potter audiobooks set

I’m still waiting for a deluxe boxed set of all the audiobooks, like the deluxe print books set, but if you’re just looking for a great deal on a complete set, packaging be damned, here’s all seven Harry Potter audiobooks at Amazon.com, at a 40% discount from full retail.

It’s still $275, but considering what they cost individually, if you want to own all seven, this is the way to go. The total running time is almost five days — at under $2.50/hour, it’s hard to imagine a better value for your entertainment dollar. Enjoy!

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There’s a new web site launched this week, EveryBlock, that aggregates together all of the “news” and makes it available on a very geographically-specific basis — that is, specifically for your block. They launched covering only three cities, but San Francisco is one of them.

My block on EveryBlock.com

Want crime reports for your neighborhood? Got ‘em. Want restaurant inspection reports? Got ‘em. Want reviews of local establishments on Yelp? Got ‘em. They compile standard news outlets, public records, other local sites, and even geo-tagged Flickr photos.

Go to the site, type in your street address, and then spend the next hour (or more) browsing the different pieces of information available. This is seriously interesting. I think in the long run it’ll be as influential as craigslist.

(I have no affiliation with EveryBlock, I just figure that everyone has an interest in what’s happening in their neighborhood, and this looks like a compelling way to find out.)

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If you follow the instructions I offer for importing audiobooks on audio or MP3 CDs into iTunes, you end up with a single album with the title of the book, that is composed of sequentially numbered tracks, which make up the chapters or discs of the book. These separate tracks are kind of painful to manage on an iPod (the iPhone and iPod Touch make it a little easier), and are definitely not aesthetically pleasing when viewed in lists in iTunes. One of the most common questions I get from readers is how to merge all of the tracks into a single file, ideally with chapter marks at the right places.

This post isn’t a thorough tutorial on how to accomplish this, merely an expansion of the existing FAQ on the subject. There are all kinds of extra details you might want to consider if you’re as anal retentive as I am about getting all those details “right.” Still, this should give you most of what you would want to know.

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MacHeist II: 11 great Mac apps for $49

by Michael Alderete on 1/14/2008

This year’s MacHeist includes 11 applications in the bundle, which individually would sell for $368.75. When bought as part of the MacHeist promotion, the whole collection is under $50.

MacHeist II: 11 great Mac apps for $49

Now, it’s a rare person who would want and use every single one of these applications; there’s just too much variety to have everything fit perfectly. But if even half of them would be useful, then you’re way, way ahead.

For me, the big winners are 1password, TaskPaper, CSSEdit, Snapz Pro, and Pixelmator. Pixelmator alone costs $10 more than the bundle, and I’d been meaning to buy it for over a month, since this terrific review of Pixelmator appeared in Macworld magazine. So buying the bundle was an easy decision.

Maybe it will be for you as well.

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