Saturday, June 30, 2018

How To: Printing My Mom's Blog as a Book Using Blog2Print and Amazon Createspace

My mom, Millie Garfield is one of the internet's oldest bloggers. Her blog is My Mom's Blog.

She's been blogging since 2003. I printed an earlier collection of her blog posts from Oct 2003 to June 2008 using Blurb.

My Mom's Blog on blurb.
Size Small Square, 7×7 in, 18×18 cm
404 Pages
Publish Date Jul 10, 2008

This time I used blog2print to print the rest of her posts from July 2008 to Sept 2017.

It was was easy enough to get started by choosing the blogging platform, and entering in the URL of her blog.

Next you choose the range of blog posts you want to include in the book, and choose your formatting.

Then all you do to create the book is click on the button, CREATE MY BOOK.

Once the book is generated you can choose to purchase a printed version, or a PDF. In this case, I went with PDF because I wanted to submit my book to Amazon Createspace, where I can sell it online.

Here is the pricing:

Here’s the basic pricing structure:
A soft cover book with full color pages is $19.95 for 20 pages (additional pages are $0.32 each)
A standard laminate hard cover book with full color pages is $34.95 for 20 pages (additional pages are $0.32 each)
A deluxe hard cover book including dust jacket with full color pages is $37.95 for 20 pages (additional pages are $0.32 each)
A digital PDF download is $8.95
Here's a snapshot of a page as printed to PDF by blog2print.

This is really great. Perfect for printing. Except for the fact that, in this case, my mom's book was going to be 466 pages, and at that size, the page numbers were going to be cut off by the binding. After submitting this PDF to Amazon createspace I got an error notifying me of this.

So at this point I had to call in my book publishing friend, J. Bruce Jones, Bruce the Book Guy, who's business it is to help people self-publish.

He suggested that I reduce the size of my book from 8 1/2 X 11 to 8 X 10, thereby cutting off the footing where the offending page numbers existed. That worked.

Note: I contacted blog2print to see if they could regenerate my book without the footer nad page numbers, but they told me that it was hard coded and that there was no way to do it.

After submitting this revised PDF to Amazon createspace, along with a cover that I designed using their cover creator, I had my book approved for printing a proof.

You can get a virtual proof before ordering a hard copy.

Here's what the virtual proof looks like.

It all worked out with no footer. I also got an image that some of my images were not 300 dpi, but they are good enough at their resolution. In my last book I worried about createspace flagging image resolution, but learned to ignore those warnings. If after getting the printed proof, some images didn't look right, at that point I could swap them out.

I ordered a hard copy proof, and here's how it came out.



Thursday, June 28, 2018

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Installation

I replaced our original Ring Video Doorbell with the newer model, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. I upgraded because the Ring Video Doorbell Pro gives you the ability to custom design the motion zones. We are on a street that gets a lot of trucks driving by, and they kept setting off the motion detector. It was so annoying, the we just shut off motion detection all together.

I also had some electrical upgrades done to the house, and the power to my doorbell was disconnected when our old intercom system was removed. At least I think that was the cause. I noticed it when the original Ring Video Doorbell started running on battery power. This was ok for a while, until the battery started only lasting one week, and then it was a pain to remove it from the wall and charge it each week.

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro doesn't have a battery, so I had Kuhlman Electrical Services run a new doorbell wire from my breaker box to the front door, install a more powerful transformer (Requires a 16-24 VAC transformer), and put the doorbell on it's own breaker where it should be.

I also have an Orbi wireless system, providing a strong enough WiFi signal to my front door. Requires a minimum upload speed of 1Mbps, but 2Mbps is recommended for optimal performance.

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation
Connecting the ring doorbell

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation
Testing the power.

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation

The newer version is slimmer. Some specs:
1080p HD Video With Two-Way Talk with noise cancellation
Custom Motion Zones
Infrared Night Vision
Video on Demand With Live View
Compatible With iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10 Devices
Includes 4 Interchangeable Faceplates
Dimensions: 4.50 in. x 1.85 in. x .80 in.
Field of View: 160 Degrees

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation

To set up a motion zone you adjust the polygon to cover the area you want the ring doorbell to sense motion. This is working great for us. No more false alerts.

You can also adjust motion sensitivity and set up a schedule.

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation

Ring Video Doorbell can detect motion up to 30 feet away from the device. When motion is detected, you will instantly receive a push notification on your smartphone, tablet and PC, letting you know that there’s activity on your property. If you answer the alert, the Ring app will open, and you can access live footage of the activity. If you have an optional Ring Video Recording Plan, all motion-triggered events and Doorbell presses are automatically recorded and saved to your Ring account for up to 60 days. This footage can then be viewed instantly at any time on the Ring app or by logging into your account at

Note: There's also a buffer that records just before the motion is detected, and that gets saved to your recording.

Click this link to see an example recording.

After installation I noticed that motion events would be recorded for 10 minutes. I had this clarified by support. They said:
Every time you answer an event, the app takes you to Live View mode, and every Live View session would last for exactly 10 minutes.

But if you don't answer an event and ignore pop-ups, the length of such recording will be 60 seconds by default.
For example, if you answer a motion event, you might have missed seeing the activity, and there is no way to scrub back on the live video. So you have to wait until the event stops recording, 10 Minutes, to see what triggered it, buy watching the recorded video.

If you hear a motion event, and do not answer it, you can then play it back after 60 seconds, or less, to see what triggered the event.

Alternatively, when you get a motion alert, you can watch using Live Mode, and see if you can catch what's happening. Then you can quit live mode, and go watch the short video that was recorded when triggered by the motion alert, to see what triggered the event.

The syncing of video and audio isn't quite perfect. I am told that they are working on improving this. We are not shooting for an Emmy award here, so it's not that big of a deal.

Protected by ring
Ring Doorbell Pro Installation
Image: ring sticker on front door

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