Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Still not sure about Dynamite

Okay, well Dynamite is showing some activity in their efforts to make their comics DRM-free on Comixology.  I just looked at The Boys and it's all DRM-free, which is cool.  Expensive, but totally worth it and cool.  It didn't used to be, at least not right after the big DRM-free announcement.  To remind my readers, Dynamite responded to my earlier email inquiry to say they did intend to make their entire catalog DRM-free on Comixology, it's just taking longer than they'd like.  Seeing as how new Dynamite titles are showing up on the market not DRM-free, I'm not entirely sure what their game plan is.  But here The Boys is, proof that they are still freeing up more and more of their catalog.

Here's some math for you. On Comixology, buying every issue of The Boys breaks down like this:

Buying every issue as singles: $143.28
Buying all 12 volumes of the trades: $130.91
Buying all 3 volumes of the digital omnibus: $122.97

This is how it "should" be, meaning larger collections are cheaper per issue.  This is something you should watch out for because on Comixology buying single issues is regularly cheaper than buying digital collections, an artifact I think of digital singles being cheaper than paper singles, yet digital trades are usually closer to the (already reduced) paper trades price.

(BTW I'm sure The Boys wasn't one of the few titles available DRM-free at the time because it's one of the series I asked about in my email to Dynamite, along with Gail Simone's Red Sonja run.  That Red Sonja run is the title I really keep checking Comixology for.  When it goes DRM-free rest assured I'm scooping it all up.)

Side note:  The funny thing is Comixology has more Image titles available than Image's own digital store.  Yet when Comixology went DRM-free all of Image's titles were available DRM-free that day. Some people, looking at their Comixology accounts, said other publishers' books were trickling over to DRM-free on that day (and over subsequent days).  To be honest I don't know how any of this works, it seems largely counter-intuitive to me.  Is Comixology swamped and throttling the process?  I doubt it, all of Oni's (much smaller) catalog got switched over recently, as well as Valiant's catalog.  Maybe Dynamite is trying to provide better quality scans, or are trying to secure the legal rights on their end?  They are dealing with a lot of licensed titles, after all.

I suspect a year from now we'll be seeing an entirely different picture regarding Comixology and DRM-free publishers.  Hopefully each new DRM-free publisher causes pressure put on the others.  DC and Marvel will probably be the last ones to go, if they ever do.  If they did though, they'd gain themselves a boatload of my money in the process.  Just thinking of Icon and Vertigo alone, in addition to their more popular ongoing titles.  I don't know if my bank account could support it, to be honest.

BTW, I just noticed this article which says a handful of other publishers are going DRM-free too, Fantagraphics being among them.  Yay!


Monday, September 22, 2014

A little more on the Note Pro 12.2.

Trying something new.  I like to sit on things and read and re-read them.  Takes a lot of time, honestly, time I don't have right now.  I'm just going to publish it as is.  Apologies for muddledness or typos.

I mentioned a bit ago that I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2 Pro.  My main reason is, honestly, Comixology allowing comics to be downloaded DRM-free.  That severely increased my comics reading, and I started to grow tired of the slow Windows 8 tablet I was using to read comics on.

So what do I think of the Note Pro 12.2?  I love the size, I love the screen.  It's a little odd that the menu button beings up the recent apps list and has to be long-pressed to bring any app's settings menu.  I've gotten used to it, but I'd like to be given the option to return it to it's more traditional behavior.

The screen is great, and big, and amazing for comics.  I have a matte screen protector to reduce fingerprints, a cheap one I got off of Amazon and it works okay, less smeary than the one on my phone, I suspect a higher pixel density should actually should mean better a better image when using matte protectors (less pixels getting caught in the color-shifting grain of the material, that water drop effect, so it at least doesn't look so distracting).  I dropped a 128 GB SD card in it and it's almost half full, mostly of comics.  My Android comic reading app of choice, Perfect Viewer, is a little slow to load the library, and slow to load pages sometimes.  I'm trying Komik now, which is nice.  It's a little snappier though it seems to try and create thumbnails every time I open the app instead of storing them somewhere.  It does have the option to get thumbnails in the background, so I don't have to wait while it's thinking about it, I can go straight to the comic I'm reading and get on with it.

Things I don't like on the tablet are mostly due to Android.  Well the first issue isn't.  The Note Pro 12.2 wifi model  doesn't have a quick charge feature, only the 4G model does.  I don't understand how different processors do or don't enable a quick charge but the wifi model charges fast enough that if it's almost dead I can plug it in and use it and it still charges a little during. 

I don't like that Android is by default an "always on" OS.  Always syncing, always crawling for data.  The thing I loved about the Windows 8 tablet was it's sleep mode.  Its normal standby is pretty good in itself, barely losing any battery power, but if it's on standby long enough it goes into a sort of hibernation mode, so it doesn't lose any more battery power but still starts back up reasonably fast.  I want my phone to always let me know if there's a new email or text message, I want it to be always connected and updating and being at my fingertips.  My tablet is a different type of device entirely.  It is an e-reader.  It's an occasional sketchpad.  I don't care if its apps are up to date, I don't want it looking for emails and text messages.  I'd like it to always be in deep sleep if the screen is off.  I want it to have battery power when I take it out of my bag.  I've disabled all the syncing I can, and wifi turns off when the screen turns off, which helps a lot.

Let's see, what else?  Oh, Play Market's tablet mode is total bullshit.  When it has two panes it's implemented in the worst way possible.  Tap on an app in the list to the left and it tells you the app's name (which you already know from the left pane) and gives options to open, update or uninstall the app.