The Stochastic Game

Ramblings of General Geekery

Why PieCrust?

Recently I realized I’ve been working on, and talking about, PieCrust for quite a while, but I have never given any reason as to why on Earth I have written my own CMS and static site generator when there are so many already out there.

Like many open-source projects, PieCrust was born out of 2 very self-centered stimuli.

One: it’s fun to write new stuff!

And by “new”, here, I’m of course talking about things that were new to me at the time. Writing PieCrust, I learned a lot about web technologies, from HTTP servers to caching and proxies and whatnot.

With my next projects, I’ll learn a lot more – I’m looking at databases and scalability and security and other bigger, more complex things – but it was good to start with something simple and basic.

Two: everything else sucks!

Well, that’s not true, but you know what I mean. The average developer (and that includes me) is usually never happy with what’s available out there.

Most other static site generators are completely OK – they work well for the most part – but they have 2 flaws: they’re simplistic, and they’re doing it wrong.


Most other engines are too simplistic. They confuse simplicity with a lack of features. I believe you can have a fairly fully fledged static site generator without sacrificing how simple it is to use and work with.

Hopefully I succeeded with PieCrust. You tell me.

What the user does

Most other engines are built from the ground up to be static site generators. This means that when it’s time to preview your work in a browser, what they do is just re-generate the whole site and show the resulting HTML file matching the request. Thankfully, they do it incrementally, like a compiler, which means they only generate what was changed, but it’s not ideal unless you’re just looking at simple pages.

If you’re modifying a page with a lot of dependencies, that re-generation can take several seconds, which means you have to wait until you see your updated work. This happens, for example, when you’re working on a blog post that has various tags and categories: updating it means not only re-generating that post’s page, but also the home and/or archive page on which it appears, and all the relevant tag/category listing pages. Some static site generators take a few shortcuts here by not re-generating the whole site in that case, resulting in glitches in the preview.

This “compiler-like” approach works well when you always want the full result of the generation, but in the case of a user working on some content for his website, he only wants to see one page. You can only press F5 on one window at a time. So whatever dependencies a piece of content has, the engine should be able to just generate what the user wants to see. And this is what CMSes have been doing for a long time.

That’s why PieCrust is built from the ground up as a database-less CMS. Sure, it can generate a static site, but that’s just a side-feature. The focus is on what the user does the most (iterating between writing and previewing), and not what the user wants (a static website). What he wants happens later, once he’s done working.

The nice thing is that PieCrust ended up being both a good CMS (especially if you use it with a reverse proxy) and good static site generator (I’ll post some comparative benchmarks someday).

Piecrust 0.7.0

The new version of PieCrust has been tagged in the stable branch yesterday, and oh boy does it have some cool features. You can read about them in the CHANGELOG, or keep on reading for a more detailed presentation.

Rhubarbed Strawberry Daiquiri Tart Plated

Blog archives

Until now, if you wanted to display a list of posts on your website, you had to go through the pagination.posts variable, which has the nasty side-effect of generating pagination for the current page (i.e. the page would have as many sub-pages as needed to show all your posts, with some expected links like “next entries” and “previous entries” to navigate between them). You could of course use the single_page setting to prevent any sub-pages from being created, but that was a bit awkward, especially since you also probably wanted to tweak other things, like the number of posts to show.

Now there’s a more straightforward way with the blog.posts variable, which returns all your posts without any limit or filtering. It also doesn’t affect pagination in any way. The nice thing is that you can still skip, limit or otherwise filter the posts.

For example, on my own home page I show the latest 7 posts. This can be done like this:

{% for post in blog.posts.limit(7) %}
* [{{ post.title }}]({{ post.url }})
{% endfor %}

You can also use Twig’s built-in slice filter to skip and limit the posts, as in:

{% for post in blog.posts|slice(0, 7) %}
* [{{ post.title }}]({{ post.url }})
{% endfor %}

But you can also do more advanced things, like:

    has_tags: cooking
        is_status: draft
        has_tags: appetizer
{% for post in blog.posts.filter('my_filter').limit(5) %}
* [{{ post.title }}]({{ post.url }})
{% endfor %}

The blog variable also contains other cool things, like tags and categories, and, because this whole feature is called “blog archives” after all, years and months. This makes it possible to do the following:

# Blog Archives

{% for month in blog.months %}
## {{ month.timestamp|date('M Y') }}

{% for post in %}
* [{{ post.title }}]({{ post.url }})
{% endfor %}
{% endfor %}

For more information about the blog archives, go read all about it on the official documentation.

Chained file processors

This is pretty cool: PieCrust can now chain your file processors when baking (and even previewing!) your website.

This means that if you have, say, the LessCSS and YUICompressor processors (the first one ships with PieCrust, the second one is available as a plugin), not only will your Less files be compiled to CSS, but they will also be further processed by the compressor, resulting in a compiled and compressed file!

There’s an example of how it works on the official documentation.

New pagination features

The pagination object now has two new properties: next_post and prev_post.

These objects will be valid if the current page is itself a post, and they will point to (unsurprisingly) the next and previous posts in the blog. Those are the full blown post objects, which means you have access to the title, timestamp, etc.

This is useful if you want a blog layout where you have links to those previous/next posts at the bottom of each article (like this very blog!).

New chef commands

Chef, the command line tool for PieCrust, got a few new commands of its own:

  • chef showconfig prints parts or all of the website’s configuration settings.

  • chef find lets you find pages, posts and templates in the current website.

  • chef plugins now has sub-commands to let you search and install plugins from a plugin source. Right now, the only type of plugin source that works is a BitBucket source (it will look for any repository that starts with PieCrust-Plugin-), and the only default source is my own BitBucket account (you can add more sources with the site/plugins_sources configuration setting).

New importers

You can now import posts and pages from a Jekyll or Joomla website.

Also, note that the chef import command changed:

  • The format and source options are now mandatory arguments – although if you use the old syntax you will be warned about the change.

  • You can now specify importer-specific options, like the WordPress SQL table prefix, as a command-line option, which is a lot better than the previous awkward connection-string suffix hack.

Twig extensions

The built-in Twig extension now comes with the additional following features:

  • A striptag filter, which strips outer HTML tags from a string.

  • A textfrom function, which includes text from an arbitrary text file. This is useful if, like me, you write your blog posts as simple text files stored in Dropbox, but you sometimes want to preview the article in the context of your blog without having to copy/paste the text.

Also, you can set the twig/auto_escape site configuration setting to false if you don’t want Twig to auto-escape your stuff automatically. This means you won’t have to pass all your articles through the raw filter in your templates anymore, but it means you will have to make sure you escape other stuff accordingly.

Miscellaneous changes

  • Pages are now cached differently: they used to be parsed, formatted and rendered in one go, with the final result cached to make it super fast to re-use it templates. However, it broke some advanced use-cases with Twig and other template engines that support inclusion and such things.

    Now, only the parsed pages are cached – formatting and rendering will happen every time the page is requestedduring a session. This actually doesn’t affect performance that much because, within a session (a preview request, or a baking), the final page is cached in memory anyway.

  • The bake information file (bakeinfo.json) used to pollute the output directory. Not anymore, as it’s now saved in the cache directory.

  • The Less and Markdown libraries have been updated to their latest version.

That’s it! Go grab PieCrust 0.7 from Github or BitBucket as ususal, and be sure to send me feedback and bug reports.

Catching up with CodePlex

For some reason, for the last year or so, I received occasional notifications about forum posts on my .NET projects over at CodePlex, but never anything about new issues being reported… well, I recently had a look at the issue tracker and found, horrified, that I had dozens of issues that had been sitting there for several months, untouched. Sorry about that. I guess the lessons are:

  • For me: check the notification settings on any code hosting website.
  • For CodePlex: maybe you guys could add the current number of open issues next to the “Issue Tracker” link in the navigation menu, just like what GitHub and BitBucket do.

Anyway, most of the bugs and feature requests were easy enough, and in a couple days I solved most of them (only 1 got rejected). This included mostly Textile.NET and IronCow. To celebrate this, I also got Textile.NET migrated to a Mercurial source control.

The Journey To Digital Comics: Manga Apps

In the previous step in the journey to digital comics we looked at american comics – my main source of graphical entertainment. This time, we’ll look at mangas and its derivatives (manhwa, etc.), which used to be my close second until I became too old to read about high-school girls, alien high-school girls, demon alien high-school girls, and miniature gender-swapping demon alien hunter high-school girls. But then I figured, fuck it, I’ll just look like a creepy old guy in the bus. No worries.


A bit of history

Depending on how you look at it, digital mangas are either way beyond the american comics offer, or way behind. That’s because mangas and anime always had a vibrant “ethical piracy” scene, with scanlations and fansubbing. Most of the productions coming out from Japan or elsewhere in Asia historically, well…, never came out of there. It was impossible for fans anywhere else in the world to read those books or watch those TV shows. As a result, a community of translators, scanners and recorders was born.

That community was originally dedicated to supporting the original authors, however: whenever a specific series was licensed in the USA, the scanned manga or recorded TV series would be removed from the servers, and visitors would be gently redirected to the website of the company who licensed the product.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the community to branch up in several groups that would not necessarily follow that rule – whether it was because they catered to fans from other countries than the USA (there’s a lot of those) or to people who just want free shit (there’s even more of those).

Because of this pretty exhaustive free offer of digital mangas, the licensed and legal offer took a long time to materialize and, to this date, is still in its infancy.

As far as I know, the only available apps for legal digitial mangas on the iPad are Viz Media, Yen Press and Digital Manga Publishing (DMP). A couple more apps are available in the USA, like the Kodansha app, but not here in Canada – which shows how short-sighted some of those publishers are.

Some other publishers are at the bottom of the well. Square Enix, for instance, only offers to read your purchased book on your PC, as far as I can tell, and their website’s user interface is horrible – and I’m not the only one who thinks so. To give you an idea: it doesn’t even work in Google Chrome.

Worse, most of those previously mentioned apps are only available on iOS: only DMP’s app is available on Android. The other publishers’ books can sometimes be accessed via their website, but not always, which is bad. And when it is, it will mostly be Flash-based readers, which means that even on a good Android tablet your reading experience won’t always be optimal.

If that wasn’t enough, some publishers also handle purchases differently on the web and on the iPad, which means that the e-manga you bought may only be readable on one platform and not the other – this alone deserves a “worst idea ever” prize.


You think it couldn’t get worse? Check this out: the Japanese Digital Comics Association is trying to reach out to its worldwide readers with an initiative called JManga. It’s a very nice idea: offer all their collective books through a unified web store… but if you go check it out, you will likely get a headeache – and also wonder if the website is legit because it looks like a spam/porn website run by Russian pirates. Also, as far as I can tell, there’s no iOS or Android app, which makes it useless (although some people are really dedicated to make it work).


Overall, if you want a precise review of what apps are worth your time and money, you can read Manga Bookshelf’s “Going Digital” articles, like for example their “Manga on the iPad” wrap-up article from a couple months ago… but to be honest, I can’t find anything to be good enough at the moment.

The Viz Media app is the only promising one so far – it does what you expect, the interface is pleasant, the catalog is decent, and the prices are fair. The other apps, however, still suffer from various combinations of bad user experience, limited catalog, and digital mangas priced higher than their print counterpart.

Now given the little history lesson I gave in the introduction, you’re probably expecting a lot of apps offering scanlations on Android, and none on iOS (because Apple would be censoring them, right?) Well, not really. For some obscure reason, Apple approved several dozen apps and never looked back.


Maybe it’s because they want a good offer in terms of digital comics to boost the iPad’s value proposition. Maybe it’s because they don’t know about scanlations. Maybe it’s because the legal status of those apps is more subtle than what you’d expect. Go figure. The only thing I know for sure is that the whole idea of iOS having better quality apps because Apple reviews every one getting on the AppStore didn’t really work in that case: a lot of those apps are shitty-looking, have horrible usability, or both. And I’m not even talking about the crashes.

All of those apps, however, have something in common: they all get their books from the same sources, namely MangaFox, Mangable and Mangareader. This means they all have similar catalogs, with similar quality, so the only differentiator is the user experience.


As far as the iPad is concerned, the best app in that category was, hands down, the “MangaRock” collection of apps from Not A Basement Studio. It’s a bit confusing at first, because there are 3 apps, and it’s not obvious which one does what, so I’ll save you the trouble of finding out:

  • MangaRock and MangaRock MF are mostly designed for the iPhone, and only download books from, respectively, Mangable and MangaFox. They’re free, however, and have an iPad layout, so you can try those first.
  • MangaRock Unity is designed exclusively for the iPad. It’s not free, but it pulls books from all 3 previously mentioned scanlation websites simultaneously, and has a better suited UI. This means it has a better user experience overall.


At the moment, there is absolutely no incentive or advantage for you to read 100% legal digital mangas except for the warm and fuzzy feeling of being honest and spending your cash. If that’s you, then try the Viz Media app and its web counterpart – none of the other ones are worth your time and money for now.

For the other series not owned by Viz, I couldn’t recommend anything else than MangaRock Unity or, you know, the legal dead-tree real-world-space-taking book. The quality of the average scanlation is usually well below that of an official e-manga, and the translations are, at best, full of typos, but it’s good enough, especially if you just want to try something before buying the printed book.

Mercurial’s onsub and mixed sub-repos

If you’re using Mercurial with mixed sub-repositories (i.e. sub-repositories handled by different revision control systems), you may be interested in this: I just got a patch accepted into the onsub extension.

The extension lets you run commands on your sub-repositories. For example, with my own dotfiles repository, running on Windows:

> hg onsub "echo I'm in %HG_SUBPATH%"
I'm in libhghg-git
I'm in libhgonsub
I'm in vimbundlebadwolf
I'm in vim/bundle/colorschemes
I'm in vim/bundle/commentary
I'm in vim/bundle/ctrlp
I'm in vim/bundle/easymotion
I'm in vim/bundle/fugitive
I'm in vimbundlegundo
I'm in vim/bundle/haml
I'm in vimbundlelawrencium
I'm in vim/bundle/markdown
I'm in vim/bundle/nerdtree
I'm in vimbundlepiecrust
I'm in vim/bundle/powerline
I'm in vim/bundle/ragtag
I'm in vim/bundle/repeat
I'm in vim/bundle/solarized
I'm in vim/bundle/supertab
I'm in vim/bundle/surround
I'm in vim/bundle/syntastic
I'm in vim/bundle/vimroom

As you can see, I’ve got quite a few sub-repos. However, some are Mercurial sub-repos, while others are Git sub-repos (that’s one of the nice features of Mercurial: it has decent interop with other RCSes). Which ones are which, though? That’s easy, there’s a new HG_SUBTYPE environment variable now:

> hg onsub "echo I'm in [%HG_SUBTYPE%]%HG_SUBPATH%"
I'm in [hg]libhghg-git
I'm in [hg]libhgonsub
I'm in [hg]vimbundlebadwolf
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/colorschemes
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/commentary
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/ctrlp
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/easymotion
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/fugitive
I'm in [hg]vimbundlegundo
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/haml
I'm in [hg]vimbundlelawrencium
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/markdown
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/nerdtree
I'm in [hg]vimbundlepiecrust
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/powerline
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/ragtag
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/repeat
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/solarized
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/supertab
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/surround
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/syntastic
I'm in [git]vim/bundle/vimroom

That makes it possible to do something slightly different depending on the sub-repo type, but it’s still tedious. For example, the most common operation for me is to pull and update all those sub-repos. The commands are different (hg pull -u vs. git pull) and doing an if statement in Bash or Cmd is cumbersome, especially as a one-liner argument.

That’s where the other new feature comes in: there’s a new -t/--type option that filters sub-repos based on their type:

> hg onsub -t hg "echo Mercurial subrepo: %HG_SUBPATH%"
Mercurial subrepo: libhghg-git
Mercurial subrepo: libhgonsub
Mercurial subrepo: vimbundlebadwolf
Mercurial subrepo: vimbundlegundo
Mercurial subrepo: vimbundlelawrencium
Mercurial subrepo: vimbundlepiecrust

This makes it easy to bring all the sub-repos up to date:

> hg onsub -t hg "hg pull -u"
> hg onsub -t git "git pull"

Hopefully it makes life easier for a few other people out there… it sure does for me!

Graphicly: Continually Evolving For Content Publishers

Graphicly just announced a dramatic change of direction:

In challenging ourselves to think broader and wider, we stumbled on a very simple idea: the best place to sell books is in a bookstore. It’s an idea that’s worked for hundreds of years in the real world, so why not extend that to the digital world. Additionally, with close to a hundred million installs of Kindle, iBooks, Nook and others (and not to mention the close to a billion Facebook users) it makes complete sense to provide a platform for publishers and creators to take advantage of those native marketplaces.

They’re basically dropping out of the digital comics store race to focus on helping publishers digitize their content and delivering it on existing, well-established digital stores.

It means I did well not to buy any books on Graphicly and recommending to always go through a publisher’s official store. However, it sucks for people who did buy books on their app. The Graphicly app won’t be available for download anymore, and unless you still have it on your tablet or phone, you will have to read your comics on the web reader. Since it’s not uncommon for a smartphone or tablet to have a problem that forces a factory reset of some sort, or for a user to upgrade to a new portable device, it means those previously purchased comics are lost — who wants to read comics in a browser, and how long until Graphicly eventually unplugs all those servers that only lose money?

Although I wish the Graphicly guys all the best, it’s a harsh reminder that digital goods, for all the advantages they have on traditional goods, come with a lots of problems when they are locked into an ecosystem (whether it’s with DRM or just web-service obfuscation). I hope that we’ll see the same kind of revolution we’ve seen with digital music — but in the meantime, it reinforces my opinion that you should use whatever means necessary to get yourself a personal backup of anything you buy online.

Announcing PieCrust For Vim

After my Mercurial plugin for Vim, Lawrencium, here’s my second official Vim plugin! You won’t be surprised to know it’s a PieCrust plugin which adds a few commands that make it easier to work on your website. It’s of course named “vim-piecrust” and is available on BitBucket.

Old Time Tropical Pie

Well, actually, at the moment it’s only got on command: Pcedit. You will need the latest PieCrust to make it work. When you do, typing :Pcedit something<tab> in Vim will bring an autocomplete list that contains any page, post or template that contains “something” in its filename. It makes it very quick to edit files in your website.

I’ll add more commands in the future of course.

The Journey To Digital Comics: US Comics Apps

The first step in the journey to digital comics was to figure out what kind of hardware device to use. I concluded at the time that either the Transformer Prime or the iPad were the best choices available (the first one for its ideal aspect ratio and superior resolution, and the second one for its better use as a general tablet device). Since then, the New iPad (or iPad 3 if you read this 2 years in the future… thank you Apple) was released with a new fantastic display that makes it the best reading tablet on the market, so you may want to look into this one as well.


The second step is to find out what channels are available to get your american comics fix.

The Elephant in the Room

Before we get to the real stuff, let me rant a bit on the subject everyone knows about: piracy. Like any other media, comic books are pretty easy to find on torrent websites or newsgroups, and it’s handy to download that stuff for free. You can then use an app like FileBrowser or even Dropbox to get the
files on your tablet, and use any of the pretty decent comicbook viewers, like Bookman, to read them.

But where I really don’t care one way or the other when it comes to movies and TV, the comics medium is much more special to me and I refuse to go through illegal means. First, pretty much none of the comics authors are nearly as wealthy as a movie actor or director – at least not the kind of actor or director whose movies you would steal. Second, it’s not like the comic industry has ever been doing well. Third, I just really want to give my money to those guys. I even purposedly avoid buying comics through iOS’s in-app purchases to make sure as much of my money as possible goes to the authors (skipping Apple’s 30% tax).

The Big Ones



When it comes to american comics, the one app that’s slowly taking over the whole market is Comixology’s Comics app, available on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire at the time of this writing. You can also read comics in any Flash-friendly browser.

It’s got a very decent catalog, and it’s constantly expanding with back issues. A few indie publishers have deals with them, along with the big ones, including DC, Marvel and Image. DC even uses Comixology as their official digital store.

One of the cool things is that those publishers came to their senses relatively quickly and now offer “same day digital” books, where new issues are available in digital format at the same time they are available in your friendly neighbourhood comic store.

Prices for new issues are between $2 and $4 (which ranges from “Ok” to “Kinda expensive”), but those prices fall down to $1 to $3 for older issues. They also have very frequent sales – not all of which would be of interest to you, of course, but it’s still a welcome policy.

Dark Horse


Dark Horse decided to not go the Comixology way like the other big guys. It could have been a disaster – sometimes if you want something done right, it’s best not to do it yourself, especially if that’s not your core business – but it turned out ok.

Their online store is decent, and has a nice feature where you can search directly for “bundles” (the rough equivalent of a TPB). Prices are similar to those on Comixology, and the catalog seems well furnished (at least they have all the series I follow). As far as I can tell, they also got on board with the “same day digital” idea, which is good.

Their apps (iOS and Android at the moment) get the job done, but are not as smooth as Comixology’s. For example, you can’t start reading a comic while it’s downloading, and the navigation is sometimes a bit weird.



I really wanted Graphicly to succeed in the market: it’s obviously run by people who love comics, and they advocate open, standardized formats that put the reader in control. But this kind of philosophy is a sure way to alienate publishers, and it’s a miracle to me that they still got, among others, Marvel or Image on board somehow, even if it’s only for a small percentage of their catalog (Marvel currently has 125 series on Graphicly and Image 111, compared to respectively 525 and 336 on Comixology).

So even though you could buy some mainstream comics on Graphicly, I’d have a hard time recommending it – you would have to split your collection between there and over at Comixology eventually, and, as we’ll see shortly, it’s better to not go through intermediaries.

Still, Graphicly has some value because they have the biggest indie comics catalog.

edit 2012/05/04: Graphicly stopped being a digital store.

The Fine Print

At this point, you would think everything’s wonderful: those apps are way more convenient than piracy, comics are available as soon as possible and everywhere (as far as I can tell – I’m in Canada), the prices are a bit high but not outrageous, you can read your books on a lot of different devices, and most of the stuff you want to buy is available to begin with (something that would seem like “yeah, duh”, but is still not obvious to the movie and TV people)… they even get a few more things right, like giving away for free the first issue of many critically acclaimed series. But it’s not all roses, sadly.

First, you don’t really own your books – they’re more licensed to you than anything else. They’re stored in a somewhat obfuscated manner on your device, or in your web-browser’s cache, and that means you can never get to the files in case you want a personal backup, or just want to read them in a different comic reader whose interface you prefer. Not that this was ever a real problem so far, but it sure is bugging me.

Second, because we’re dealing with cloud storage, usual questions like “what happens to my purchases if Comixology or Graphicly goes bankrupt?” will pop up in your head every now and then. My only solution to that problem is to cut the middle man and, as much as possible, buy your comics from the source. This means buying Marvel comics from their own digital store, DC comics from Comixology (which is their official digital store) and so on. Sadly, it means pushing guys like Graphicly out of the game (except for indie comics), but at least your money and purchase records are stored with the guys you really got your stuff from, and that’s your best chance of not getting screwed in a few years.

Third, whatever app you choose to buy a comic through will be the app you need to read it with – as if you had to use a different music player depending on where you bought a song. It’s another non-problem – as long as all readers have a decent interface and rendering engine – but it’s also slightly annoying.

The Marvel Problem

added 2012/03/30

It should be noted that Marvel is its own little world of problems at the moment. Early on, their digital strategy was quite confusing. Some of those problems disappeared – I can’t seem to find comics priced differently across apps anymore – but some remain:

  1. As far as I know, Marvel is the only publisher that uses Comixology software with their own database. Both DC and IDW apps are Comixology based, and comics bought through their store are also available in the main Comixology app (and vice versa). Not so much with Marvel, where the 2 apps are completely separate.
  2. The Marvel Unlimited Subscription sounds like a good deal: for a flat monthly fee you can read as many comics as you want. You may not get the full Marvel catalog or all the new hot releases, but it’s very interesting if you want to read all the famous golden and silver age story arcs from a few decades ago. The problem is that the Marvel Unlimited Subscription is not available on mobile devices. Yes, you read that right: the only sensible way to read a digital comic is not acceptable when it comes to reading a shitload of comics. And Marvel will not quite tell you in a straight way: instead they just mention, in small print, that it “requires Flash & internet-connected PC or Mac”. You have to guess that this excludes tablets and phones… or you do like me: get the subscription, realize after 30 seconds that it doesn’t work in their own fucking app, and ask for a refund. Marvel, you are fucked up.


A summary of all of the above is that I read my Marvel comics on the Marvel app, my Dark Horse comics on the Dark Horse app, and everything else on Comixology. And when I need to buy something, I avoid the in-app purchases and Apple’s 30% tax, and go instead to the app’s web store in Safari.

In the next step we’ll deal with reading digital mangas, and then move on to the pros and cons and whether digital comics are right for you.

Who Buys Books?

Tim Bray on buying books:

This works because Amazon doesn’t mind multiple devices at once having access to a book; and because our “Amazon identity” is a lightweight shopping-context thing, not like a “This is really me” Facebook or G+ identity.

This highlights a very important thing about Internet identity: identity is not something that can be modeled easily, and it’s certainly not something that’s unique, whatever Mark Zuckerberg may think.

I use the same scheme as Tim when it comes to buying Kindle books – right now I only share with my wife but the kids will get on board when they’re old enough – and that’s OK because our Amazon account reflects the family unit as the customer: when you buy a book or a movie or, for that matter, a TV or a car, you don’t buy it as yourself but as a member of a group. Some companies may have thought otherwise all these years, but it’s always been the case.