iPad OverDrive Tutorial

Libraries have changed in the digital age. Many new libraries are being designed with less shelf space for hard bound books and adding more space for computers & desks. Fewer books on the shelves may mean you won't be able to find a copy of your favorite thriller when you want to read it but the change to the digital world also has its advantages. One of the biggest for the voracious reader out there is digital books.

Holding a real cloth and paper book may be comforting for the old school among us but more and more publishers are discovering that they sell more digital copies than paper copies. Companies like Adobe, Amazon and Barnes & Noble recognized and spurred the change with  their own digital book formats. iPad, Kindle and Nook compatible books are now the mainstay of many libraries. To distribute those digital books, libraries rely on a company called OverDrive. OverDrive set up an infrastructure that lets library patrons check out electronic books, audio books and videos. Because using OverDrive isn't intuitively obvious I've written instructions to help guide you through the use of OverDrive to check out and read library books on your iPad. 

Set Up OverDrive

Make Sure Overdrive is loaded on your iPad. If it’s not you can download it at the in the App Store in iTunes. If you don’t have OverDrive installed you can download it here:


Another account you will need to have is an Adobe ID. This is required to read the EPUB version of e-books. To get an account go the adobe website and create your Adobe ID. 

You can use a unique, but not necessarily functional email address for this step. They will not email you to confirm your account. 

To install your Adobe ID open OverDrive and select the “Get Books+” icon in the upper right of the screen.

At the bottom of the next screen click the settings button.

Now you just need to click the Adobe Authorization button and input your newly created Adobe ID.

Once these steps are done you can now start downloading books.

Downloading your Books

Open the App by touching it and you will see a screen showing all your current books and a “Welcome to OverDrive” book included with the program. 

Now click on the “Get Books+” icon in the upper right corner of the screen and you will be asked to “Add a Library”. Click the plus sign to add your local library.

Type in your local Zip code ... 

And find your library...

After you select your library it will be added to the OverDrive list and you wont need to add it again. Selecting your library from the OverDrive list will now open the Safari browser with the OverDrive web page for that library. 

Select “Login” and enter your library card number and PIN number.  You may need to visit your local library to get this set up if you don’t already have a card and PIN number. 

Now comes the fun part, finding books to read!  Just click on the search tool (the magnifying glass in the tool bar) and enter your favorite author, title or subject. Once you find what you are look for you need to add it to your cart. For the iPad you need to make sure to select Adobe EPUB ebook.

After you add the book to your cart you can continue to browse the library or you can check out. Once you select the check out option a screen will be displayed showing you the books you are checking out, the format of the book (Adobe EPUB) and a choice for check out period. 

Unlike old school paper books libraries tend to limit the checkout time for e-books. They also limit the number of books you can have checked out at one time. If you are a fast reader make sure to choose the shorter checkout period because unlike paper books there isn’t a way to return e-books before they are  due. If you are at your book limit you may have to wait until the digital check-in period is over to check out a new book.

Once you have confirmed your check out you can download the book. Just click the download button for each book in your cart. 

Once the download finishes you can close Safari, go back to the Overdrive app and your books should be available to read!

Reading your Books

When using iPad Overdrive to download your library books you must use the Overdrive application to read your books.  This is a result of the digital rights management the publishing industry has instituted for all digital material. Each book has a digital signature with the library it came from and your library ID. When you check it out and download it the book is encrypted so only you can read it and only for the check out time period. It’s not convent but it works. Just tap on the book jacket to read it.


OverDrive does have some built in features to make reading easier. Like iBooks you can change the font size, screen background color & brightness  as well as set reading to night mode. Just tap once in the middle of the screen and the menu selections will appear. At the upper left corner of this screen is an arrow to get back to the main OverDrive screen showing your book library. 

Now sit down with a good cup of tea and enjoy your books!!


Rumors & Whispers of New Products

The Mac world and all things Apple, have always had rumor sites. You know the ones; Some China based manufacturer leaks the specs to the latest Apple gadget and the blog world goes nuts speculating about how much they believe it (or not). When the first iPhone came out the Internet was awash with speculation on the new iPod turned phone. Before the first iPad came out rumors swirled for months about how big it was going to be, the screen resolution, if it would have a built in camera, what was the processor, no detail was too small for speculation.  Many sites got it right but just as many were way off base. Well today I'm about to join the ranks of the rumor sites.

First let me make something very clear, I have no inside source. I live a stones throw from many of the Microsoft campuses. If you want MS rumors I may be able to dig something up, but Apple rumors, not so much. I'm not connected with any clandestine Apple mole that feeds me information. I'm just going to speculate on current rumors and what they could mean based on creative thinking and a gadget freaks day dreams.

The iPad 3 is coming out very soon and the current buzz seems to have identified some features based on solid fact. I do believe that it will be about the same size and shape as the iPad 2. I think it will have a better camera and a 4 core CPU. I think it will be 4G LTE and will be priced about the same as the current iPad 2. The iPad 3 rumors are cool and interesting but everyone is talking about the iPad 3. What I want to talk about are the rumors that are starting up about the iPad-mini or 7 inch iPad.

When the first iPad came out people from the media asked Steve Jobs if Apple was ever going to make a smaller version of the iPad. Something that could compete with the Kindle, Galaxy or other small tablets that were in the market. He famously responded with, and I paraphrase here, "Hell No!" Yet the rumors persisted.

There is a current rumor that Samsung of all people, has leaked that they are going to supply Apple with 7+ inch displays for new smaller iPad device to be released in the 4th quarter of 2012. Everyone is convinced that the world needs  a new smaller iPad to compete in the world market and it's going to be the next big (little?) thing from Apple. As for me I don't think so. Or rather, I think everyone has it wrong. I don't think it will be an iPad at all.

Heres my big prediction. I think Steve Jobs lied by omission. He was totally truthful that there would never be a 7 inch iPad but he was never asked if Apple was planning on making a remote for the rumored Apple TV.

You see, there are also a lot of rumors going around about a new Apple TV product that is a real TV with the Apple infrastructure for media distribution built in. Some say it will be a 50-inch set costing about twice as much as most TVs of the same size. Others think it will come in various sizes. But whatever its form, many people, myself included, are convinced that this is a real device. Sometime this year I think we will see an Apple product that will truly revolutionize the living room and home media in general. If you want to read about it you can do so here, here or here.

If you take as fact that Apple really is going to build this device then you have to ask yourself how are you going to control it? Then a light bulb appeared over my head ( no CFL for me, it was a good old fashioned incandescent). What if that rumor of a 7 inch iPad was in fact a controller for this new Apple TV set?

I was excited. I thought about it a while and figured that Apple would want to wow the market and make something spectacular that worked well if they were going to get people to invest some serious money on a TV set. A well designed TV with an integrated AppleTV interface would be great. But you would also need some way to control it. Something quintessentially Apple. Something easy to use and inspirational. Sure you could use an iPod, iPhone, or iPad but contrary to Apple's goals, not everyone has one. Maybe, just maybe, they plan on including a smaller iPad like device that can take user input, give feedback and act as a mobile interface to your TV.

If you built such a remote it would have to have features a standard iPad/iPhone/iPad doesn't have. Maybe it would have a  high quality microphone built into it. You can use it for inputs to Siri without getting Siri distracted by the sound coming from the TV itself. That same mic could also act as a way to balance your speakers for you so you have the perfect audio environment for listening to that movie Apple just sold you.

Maybe it could have a built in IR blaster with the ability to control all your current devices attached to your TV. Wouldn't it be nice to have a universal remote for your Amp, Stereo, Blu-Ray player, & CD player? It could be a better version the Harmony remote.

With a large 7+" screen you could have IMDB like information at your fingertips. Maybe Apples social medial failure Ping would finally be useful.  Wow!

With all of those features I would buy one! And that's the point. A TV is great, but with something like a large remote, that can control ALL your devices, give you internet access, provide you with voice commands and come with the TV,  I think Apple would have a real winner on their hands. Maybe they could update the current AppleTV product to use it as well but I'm thinking it will probably be exclusive to the new Apple TV set.

So there you go, write it in your notebook and date it. I don't know if I'm the first to predict this, but I sure haven't seen anyone else speculate that Apple is making a 7 inch Apple TV remote for their new TV. In 6 months to a year I'll probably end up with egg on my face. But who knows, maybe I'm right. What do you think?

PS - Since I used some logos from other sites I figure I should at least link to them.

Cult of Mac