How to Read Any Online Magazine on a Kobo eReader

I’ve been trying to read various magazines — for example, The Economist — on some form of eReader for a few years now.

At first I couldn’t do it because they didn’t have electronic editions. Then they did, but only online. Then they offered electronic versions you could subscribe to, but only for Apple products.

Now I can find a lot of them in online bookstores — for Barnes and Noble, or Kobo — but the subscriptions only let you read them on each bookstore’s tablets.

But there’s a workaround for the Kobo eReaders that I wanted to share.

It takes advantage of Pocket, which lets you save web articles for later reading. Turns out that Pocket is integrated into all of Kobo’s eReaders, so any articles you save to your Pocket account will show up on your Kobo.

Here’s how you can read any magazine or newspaper that has an online version on your eReader:

  1. Sign up for a Pocket account.
  2. Download and install the Pocket plugin for your web browser.
  3. Go to the homepage of the magazine you want to read (e.g., economist.com)
  4. Subscribe to the magazine (if you haven’t already).
  5. With your subscription, navigate to the “print edition” version of the website.
  6. Now you can start saving articles for reading. Either right-click on the link to the article and select “Save to Pocket” or open the article and click the “Save to Pocket” icon in your browser’s toolbar.
  7. Wait for the popup that tells you the article has been saved to Pocket.
  8. Go to your ereader. Navigate to the “Articles from Pocket” section.
  9. Sign in to Pocket if you haven’t already.
  10. Your saved article(s) should sync to the ereader. Tap any one of them to read it!

How To: Fix Blank Screen on the new Nook Glowlight

I bought a new Nook Glowlight soon after it came out. I’m happy with it for the most part, but it has an annoying habit of going to a blank screen when I put it into sleep mode.

When I wake the Nook from this blank screen, it looks like it displays the book I was reading correctly, but each tap of the screen advances the text, even if I tap on the bottom to try to get to the Settings menu. Eventually the Nook freezes completely.

To fix this problem, I reboot the Nook when the blank screen first comes up. To do that, I hold the power button down for 20-30 seconds, until the blank screen is replaced by the booting up screen. I know it’s rebooting when I see the word “nook” printed in the middle, then “E-ink”, and finally the spiral of dots that means “loading”.

Hope this helps other Nook Glowlight owners!

How To: Sync Last Read Page Between Nook for Android and iPad

Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble claim their ereaders will sync where you are in your books between the different devices (iPad, Android phone, PC or Mac) you might be reading on. Amazon’s works in the background, without a hitch, but Barnes and Noble’s (Nook) takes some finesse to get working.

I nearly pulled my hair out in frustration trying to figure out why the last read page in my books wasn’t syncing between the Nook software on my iPad and the Nook software on my Android phone. I looked in the Settings for both devices, trying to find something that said “sync” and might have been turned off, but no luck.

Here’s how to get them to sync:

  1. Whenever you finish reading on one device, instead of just closing out the software (or putting your device to sleep), go back to your “Home” or “Library”.
  2. Look in the upper-right-hand corner of your Library screen. You should see a pair of curved arrows. Touch those arrows to force your device to upload its information (last read page, new bookmarks, etc) to B&N’s servers.
  3. When you open your second device, make sure you start out on your Home/Library screen, and hit the same arrows. This will force the device to pull the latest information from B&N’s servers (including the last read page you just uploaded).
  4. Open the book on your second device. It should jump to the last read page from the first device.

That’s it! Hope this helps, and let me know if you encounter any other weirdness while using the Nook ereader software.

How To: Run Clojure with Clojure-Contrib Library

I recently picked up Programming Clojure and started working through it, trying to wrap my head around this new variant of Lisp.

Installing clojure itself was pretty simple (sudo apt-get install clojure, since I’m using Ubuntu), but I had a hard time figuring out how to make the clojure contrib libraries available from the clojure REPL (I kept getting errors about the clojure-contrib classes not being on the classpath).

Here’s how you do it: start the clojure REPL with an extra argument pointing to where you’ve installed the source files for clojure-contrib. For example:

clojure -cp /home/rontoland/Code/clojure-contrib-1.1.0/src

Since the clojure-contrib libraries are used throughout the book, I put the above code in a small script and saved it in my /usr/local/bin folder as clojure-repl, so I don’t have to remember the longer command.