Earlier this month I made the Mac to Windows switch. So, how is it going? Have I overcome the gremlins? Did my e-book library survive the transfer? Can I, once again, download Kindle and library books? What tips do I have for other users looking to manage their digital lIves simply?
1) The Calibre issue
I reported earlier that Calibre was having a tricky time with some of my files. A few of them (about seven) got error messages when I tried to move my library over, because the file names were ‘too long’ for Windows. I am not sure why this happened, since Calibre auto-names the files. But I took those books out, loaded the rest of my library, then tried to put these ones back in.
All seemed well, and when I ran a library check, I got no error messages. I added the books back in, assumed that Calibre would name its own files appropriately, and all seemed to be well. They downloaded into Dropbox, where I store my e-book library. They opened and previewed just fine.
Then I tried to back up my Dropbox folder onto a flash drive and I got the same messages again, for the same books. I guess I need to accept that for whatever reason, my new computer just doesn’t like these titles! I am going to take them out again, give them very short file names, then try to re-add them one more time. Sigh. Such busywork! I thought that keeping everything in Dropbox would eliminate such file management minutia?
2) Who is the boss?
Speaking of file management, I learned the hard way that I am not as much the boss of my own stuff as I thought I was. In addition to my Calibre library, I kept my iTunes library in Dropbox too. I did this because I assumed—incorrectly, as it turns out—that if I did so, I could simply link my fresh iTunes download with my existing iTunes library there, and all would be well. It turns out that even if you specify an alternate location for the iTunes library, iTunes will store store its preferences files wherever it pleases. And of course, it preferred to keep them locally, on the busted computer, and not in the place I specified I wanted my library to be.
So, no playlists, so tags, nothing. It all had to be recreated from scratch. I imported my workout videos, because I use them often. But I opted not to remake my whole music library. It’s ironic; I have seen much hand-wringing about the loss of media sales to Cloud services like Spotify, Netflix and Kindle Unlimited. But this is exactly why. If I can ‘stream’ a book on Kindle Unlimited and read it whenever I want to, it saves me having to manage the files—and having to sink my time into busywork like recreating an iTunes library when the app refuses to save the files in the directory I tell it to use.
3) Kindle and library bookshelf
No issues whatsoever with those, thank goodness. I was delighted to find that Adobe has done away with the need to log on with an account, which limits how many authorizations you can perform. I could ‘authorize’ the app without an account. It warned me that I would lose some data-tracking features, but I didn’t care about that. I just wanted to download library books, and I could do that fine without logging in.
Amazon was seamless. I downloaded the Kindle app and all was well. The book files were where I expected them for backing up to Dropbox and my external drive. This was actually the smoothest part of my upgrade!
4) Overall impressions
The upgrade process was way glitchier than I thought it would be, but now that everything is (for the most part) set up, the Mac and PC laptops are, as I expected, functionally equivalent. The computer I got is not sleek and glamorous, but it will do the job.
Going forward, I expect my tech life to simplify even further. I am done with computer tasks such as fiddling with playlists. I am keeping things as light, lean and cloud-based as I can. My new iTunes library has only one type of content, and a handful of auto-playlists that took five minutes to generate. My Calibre library is all in the cloud, and that app seems to be respecting my file location preferences and keeping everything there. Other than that, it’s just Sigil, Evernote and the internet.