Converting epub books to mobi with Kindlegen

I have an old Kindle Reader from 2012 that I use pretty often.  The problem I have with Kindles is that they don’t support epub books, only mobi. Sometimes I’ll download someone’s ebook and want to have it on my Kindle, and most processes for converting the files are pretty crappy and time consuming.

Enter Kindlegen.

It’s a super easy application you run from the Terminal to convert epub formatted ebooks into mobi formatted ebooks, and it’s free!

To run kindlegen, just download it from the link above, and open up a Terminal, and do this:

/path/to/kindlegen /path/to/book.epub

And that’s it!  You now have a newly formatted mobi book ready to go for your Kindle.

How I use Skype to get almost free long distance

I have a lot of family and friends scattered throughout the world.  Most of them live in North America, so I always need to find ways to call people, and do it cheaply.

When I moved to Canada, I started using cheap calling cards where you would have to enter in 400 digits to make a call, and that seemed to work fine (unless you made a mistake and had to enter in your PIN # again), but it was still expensive.

Then I moved to using Vonage, a VoIP service, which had pretty decent rates ($20 / month) and worked OK most of the time, but their customer service got worse ALL of the time.

Then I got a cellphone and started using Skype over WiFi – which worked pretty good but still wasn’t perfect.

Until eventually I found the best solution.

Skype Unlimited Calling + Skype To Go

This might sound complicated, but it’s really not.  Here’s what I do.

  1. I have a Skype Unlimited account, which gives me free calling anywhere in North America for $30 / year.  This means with a good Internet connection, I can call from my phone or laptop easily for an Unlimited number of minutes, anywhere in North America.  However, I don’t like relying on a good Internet connection, so I don’t use it that often.

  2. Skype-to-go, the secret sauce.
    Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 11.16.38

This is where the true magic happens!  If you have a Skype Unlimited account, you can also use Skype to Go!  Skype To Go basically let’s you assign local numbers to international numbers.  As you can see above, I’ve assigned all of my family members local Canadian numbers.  So now, I can just call them on my regular phone to a local number, and Skype does the rest.  The way it works is that I can only call them to that number from one of my 20 registered phones.  So technically you could share this hack with like 20 family members.

I’ve been using this system for about 2 years now and could not be happier, for about $30 a year I get unlimited calling to my family that lives all over the US.

Desk: A nice (but expensive) distraction-free writing experience

Desk is a new publishing app for OS X.

With Desk, you can publish from your desktop to your WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, Movable Type (is that still around?), Typepad, and even Facebook Notes.

You are a storyteller, passionate about crafting narratives that capture, express, and delight in what it means to be human.

Desk is built with that intent and mission in mind: To reduce the clutter, the noise, the distractions and the obstructions that keep us from writing and sharing those stories.

Fall in love with writing, again.

As a blogger who loves using WordPress to share stories, pictures, and life with my friends and family – I was excited to hear about a new app that could potentially make this experience better and easier.  So, I bought the app for $30, and started typing this review.

Continue reading Desk: A nice (but expensive) distraction-free writing experience

Mikey’s Plugin List: Broken Link Checker

Welcome to Mikey’s Plugin List – my own curated list of plugins that I love and use.

Broken Link Checker


Description: This plugin will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found.

Pretty basic but super useful. It goes through your entire site and checks for broken links. If it finds any, it will email you letting you know the link no longer works.

Very useful if you’ve just migrated your site over or if you have thousands of links and would like to make sure they are still working and not giving your readers a nice 404 surprise.