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Hodgman + Free = Yay!
December 19, 2006 1:38 PM   Subscribe

MeFite John Hodgman's latest book, The Areas of My Expertise, is free through iTunes today.
posted by keswick (76 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
SWEET!!!

Even if it is abridged.
posted by daq at 1:42 PM on December 19, 2006


i didn't know he belonged--he didn't seem to like it much. Is the book good?
posted by amberglow at 1:42 PM on December 19, 2006


Is the book good?

No.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:45 PM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I disagree with eyeballkid.

-or-

Your favorite audiobook sucks.
posted by drezdn at 1:46 PM on December 19, 2006


I actually read the book already, and got to see him live on his last tour for it, he was hilarious live, and the book was very enjoyable (to me at least).

I'm listening to the audiobook right now, and don't like it as much as him live/reading it myself, but hey, free audiobook. Plus, I hope it includes the section with 3 horrible jokes.
posted by drezdn at 1:48 PM on December 19, 2006


I'd like to revise my previous statement.

For free, as an audio book: Yes. The Great Mall of America essay is fantastic. And I think the book itself suffers not only because of the overly precious charts, graphs and endless lists, but because Hodgeman wasn't in my crapper reading it to me in his awesome, deadpan delivery.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:50 PM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Make that "free through the U.S. iTunes store".

*sniff*
posted by maudlin at 1:53 PM on December 19, 2006


I do not understand why this is but I wholeheartedly welcome it.

I own the hardcover and read it in its entirety on my toilet and still enjoyed it despite it not being in my ears.
posted by unsupervised at 1:57 PM on December 19, 2006


I love Hodgman and bought the book, and really disliked a great deal of it. Maybe it's better read aloud, but pages and pages of hobo names just don't do it for me.
posted by smackfu at 2:10 PM on December 19, 2006


credit card required.
posted by roue at 2:18 PM on December 19, 2006


well, or paypal.
posted by roue at 2:18 PM on December 19, 2006


eh, free.

*downloads*

I'll have to listen to this sometime. I'm still not convinced that technology has found a good replacement for a real book, though. Hmmm...

*places library's copy on hold*
posted by niles at 2:21 PM on December 19, 2006


Yeah, the musical opening makes it all worthwhile.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:24 PM on December 19, 2006


Any particular reason why this is happening? (Rushing to get home so I can download this before it ends... whenever that is)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:28 PM on December 19, 2006


awesome! And equally awesome that he's a mefite, albeit a long departed one. But not awesome that while he was here he apparently signed nearly every post with his initials.

jr
posted by jonson at 2:30 PM on December 19, 2006


I had hoped he would have made this an annual Almanac complete a new list of 700 hobo names every year.
posted by stevis at 2:36 PM on December 19, 2006


Somebody google this Hodgman fellow for me...
posted by Mister_A at 2:38 PM on December 19, 2006


It's asking me for a credit card too, even though it's free. Fuck you, Apple.
posted by dhammond at 2:46 PM on December 19, 2006


So I have like a 1 in 47,000 chance of writing a book that garners enough notoriety to be given away for free. Awesome! Thanks LeftieMart !
posted by Mister_A at 2:46 PM on December 19, 2006


I've been listening to the book for the past month on my commute. Hodgman does a great job taking advantages of the medium, audio rather than the printed page, and makes the audio version a unique abridged version of the printed book.

My entire carpool agrees that the book would be a disappointment after listening to the audio version.

(and this is the second thing I've ordered from Audible that was made free later, the first being This American Life. I'm not an Audible hater.)
posted by DragonBoy at 2:51 PM on December 19, 2006


Is this DRM crippled, or is it something that could be shared with us outside the USA? iTunes forbid me from downloading it in Australia.
posted by bystander at 2:56 PM on December 19, 2006


I doubt I need to point out to the all-knowing Hive Mind, but Hodgman plays the "PC guy" on the recent round of Apple ads. I personally think he steals the show on those, and enjoyed him immensely on Fresh Air a few weeks back. Haven't read/heard the book yet, but am looking forward to it. Thanks for posting this.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:03 PM on December 19, 2006


Is there a way to see ALL the free audiobooks in the ITMS?
posted by luriete at 3:04 PM on December 19, 2006


I was hoping the free download would be a C++ GUI Programming Guide. >:(
posted by mazola at 3:10 PM on December 19, 2006 [2 favorites]


Can I get this for free from someplace besides iTunes?
posted by pantsrobot at 3:14 PM on December 19, 2006


I was just looking for the book version last weekend. Couldn't remember his name and didn't want to do the "and I'm a PC" schtick for the bookstore clerk. She has tatts and some hardware on a severely unmirthy mug. Scares me. And I'm fearless.
posted by hal9k at 3:24 PM on December 19, 2006


Is there a way to see ALL the free audiobooks in the ITMS?

There's this blog, which lists one a week.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:52 PM on December 19, 2006 [2 favorites]


Kinda free. You have to register with iTunes, and if I have to give a credit card, I'm not gonna bother.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:04 PM on December 19, 2006


Hodgman for president! Hail the Reptiloids!
posted by homunculus at 4:08 PM on December 19, 2006


Oh, well isn't this just the bees knees.
posted by oxford blue at 4:17 PM on December 19, 2006


Is this DRM crippled, or is it something that could be shared with us outside the USA?

I'm in Canada and it told me it was USA only and then had the option to "Change to the USA Store". I clicked it and it showed me the download button. Unfortunately, I don't have an account so I stopped there.
posted by dobbs at 4:27 PM on December 19, 2006


You have to give a credit card. I'm even registered and somehow they have an old credit card for me and that is not enough for them, it has to be a new active credit card.

No thanks! This is "free" like those "free" porn sites that demand a credit card...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:30 PM on December 19, 2006


oh god the nerd rage
posted by keswick at 4:42 PM on December 19, 2006 [3 favorites]


All those raging about the credit card requirement: They won't charge you if you don't buy anything.

The iTunes store is not a sketchy porn site.

You can remove the card from you account or cancel it completely after you get your freebie.
posted by flaterik at 4:49 PM on December 19, 2006


Haha. He says that I have "either purchased or stolen" the audiobook.

What about getting it for free, eh?

The price is *wrong*, Johnny!


And yeah, iTunes is nice about credit cards. And I've heard you can use your PayPal account to log in, if you don't want to sign up.
posted by niles at 5:05 PM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I doubt I need to point out to the all-knowing Hive Mind, but Hodgman plays the "PC guy" on the recent round of Apple ads.

He was also responsible for a few of the better pieces on "This American Life" (way back when) -- like Flight vs. Invisibility, Cuervo Man, and (I think) that one about Bruce Campbell.
posted by Symeon at 5:11 PM on December 19, 2006


Thanks so much keswick!
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:32 PM on December 19, 2006


ThisAmericanLifeFilter: He was also the one arrested in London for breaking into the zoo and molesting a penguin. He also had an onion in his pocket.
posted by ColdChef at 5:32 PM on December 19, 2006


Is anyone else having trouble downloading it?
posted by EarBucket at 5:35 PM on December 19, 2006


Why does iTunes send you a receipt for free downloads? (And it will take them a couple of days too.)
posted by smackfu at 5:46 PM on December 19, 2006


The book was good, but not great, though I imagine Hodgman reading his own material would make it fantastic.

Of course, I wouldn't know, since the free download is available to U.S. customers only. Any friendly American with the know-how, interested in hooking a Hodgless Canadian up? I assume the file, though free, is still brimming with DRM.
posted by Robot Johnny at 5:47 PM on December 19, 2006


Why does iTunes send you a receipt for free downloads? (And it will take them a couple of days too.)

Likely because the receipt function is automated, and why bother to add the complexity of an if...then when a receipt for $0.00 is arguably as useful to the consumer as one showing a charge?

As to the second issue, they wait a few days to see if you'll order anything else, so they can combine them before sending them to the credit card companies and save themselves a few pennies. Which, I am sure, adds up to some serious cash.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 5:59 PM on December 19, 2006


oh yes, brimming

I'm sure it is doing something awful to my ears right now, with all that nasty copy protection. give me a break.
posted by n9 at 6:01 PM on December 19, 2006


I'm sure it is doing something awful to my ears right now, with all that nasty copy protection. give me a break.

All's I'm saying is that I can't download the file myself, but simply copying the file from someone who can would be useless, because iTunes purchases can only be played on machines linked to the purchaser's account.

I'm not bitching about DRM in paid downloads, but this is supposedly free. And in the case of a free download, copy protection makes zero sense.
posted by Robot Johnny at 6:14 PM on December 19, 2006


Hobo name-- Brimming with DRM
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:24 PM on December 19, 2006


Is this DRM crippled, or is it something that could be shared with us outside the USA?

More crippled than our 32nd president and instigator of the Hobo War.
posted by dw at 6:37 PM on December 19, 2006


I bought a pc because of Hodgman. Who needs that iLife crap.
posted by Slagman at 6:46 PM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I feel very, very bad that as a Canadian, I can't download this book and help Jonathan Coulton get some action.
posted by maudlin at 7:08 PM on December 19, 2006


One who does not live within the borders of the United States or who does not wish or is not able to provide a credit card number to Apple or who objects to digital rights management but believes they should still be entitled to a free copy of this audiobook might wish to acquire a BitTorrent client and visit a site such as demonoid.com and search for this title there.
posted by xiojason at 7:55 PM on December 19, 2006


Sucks that I need to be American to download this.
posted by lemur at 8:18 PM on December 19, 2006


Hodgman at Transom, appparently including links to his 18-year-old-self as a radio host.
posted by mwhybark at 9:03 PM on December 19, 2006


And in the case of a free download, copy protection makes zero sense.

The main incentive for iTMS to provide free downloads is that it gives you a reason to get an account, which is halfway to buying something. That wouldn't work without DRM. Just sayin'.
posted by obvious at 9:37 PM on December 19, 2006


50 comments in and I still have no idea what this book is about.
posted by muckster at 9:38 PM on December 19, 2006


John Hodgman hates me because I'm Canadian. : (
posted by loiseau at 9:39 PM on December 19, 2006


The main incentive for iTMS to provide free downloads is that it gives you a reason to get an account, which is halfway to buying something. That wouldn't work without DRM. Just sayin'.

It's more nefarious than that. The iPod is the stealth tool to get you on to iTunes, and iTunes is the stealth tool to sow meh-whatever acceptance of digital rights management crippling of media files amongst the majority of people. It's a brilliant and totally evil manipulation of consumer culture.

Stuff like this is just glitter-dust on the whore's tits. A few more folks will download the software, buy the media player, and get hooked up to the DRM IV.

That it all makes Apple a big stinky heap of money and has saved the rest of their business from obscurity and irrelevance so rapidly is a hoped-for corollary benefit. It has reached self-perpetuating critical memetic mass by now, and there must be wading pools of pearly marketer jism just drenching the halls at Apple over how the folks out in Creditville have been sucked into propagating the mindset of their own accord, while dropping more cash every year on minor design changes and incremental upgrades to the substandard iPod hardware. (Hardware as a subscription service! Give this man a raise!)

But it's all about the long game, the mindset game, which Apple has become remarkably successful at playing, even as Microsoft embarrasses themselves at every turn.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:22 PM on December 19, 2006


i hate to assist in the derail of my own thread, but you're an idiot, as usual.
it's possible to use iTunes without ever once buying a DRM'd track. I know this because I've done it. As for the iPod, yeah, you got Apple's number there. The 1G iPod is frigging identical to the 5.5G and Apple is the only company that introduces new models of their product yearly... Oh wait.

By your standards, Microsoft must be the best company ever because it takes them five years to come out with a glorified service pack and they call it a new OS.

Seriously, why are you such an ignorant douche?
posted by keswick at 11:35 PM on December 19, 2006


By your standards, Microsoft must be the best company ever

Christ, no. They're orders of magnitude worse, along almost any axis you might select. You seem to assume I have some sort of loyalty to corporations. I don't.

you're an idiot, as usual.

I may not be smart, but by god, I'm pretty.

Seriously, why are you such an ignorant douche?

I think it must be something in the water. It's a hard question to answer, though. Maybe if you gave me your mom's email address, she could give me some pointers on answering it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:45 PM on December 19, 2006


John Hodgman hates me because I'm Canadian. : (

As evidenced by his multiple misspellings of Ottowa throughout the book.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:59 PM on December 19, 2006


Dear stavros and everyone else who hasn't figured this out,

Buy an album on iTunes. Burn a CD. Do whatever you want with your CD, including ripping it onto as many computers as you like.

This solution should solve your issues. Other tactics, such as staging ornate Apple Store protests and complaining on Metafilter, don't seem to yield as good of results.

Also, you just earned mathowie half of a CD.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:02 AM on December 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Buy an album on iTunes.

Now, see, that's where you went wrong!

complaining on Metafilter

Me? Nope. Just riffin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:11 AM on December 20, 2006


Heh.

I'd fantasized forever about blowing my first-comment load by yelling at someone. You were the best thing I could find at the time.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:14 AM on December 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Flight v. Invisibility is Great.
posted by honest knave at 1:38 AM on December 20, 2006


I'd fantasized forever about blowing my first-comment load by yelling at someone. You were the best thing I could find at the time.

Happy to be of service.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:23 AM on December 20, 2006


Buy an album on iTunes. Burn a CD. Do whatever you want with your CD, including ripping it onto as many computers as you like.

Who is going to do that when they could just buy the actual CD, for about the same price, with less hassle, and with better sound quality?
posted by chrismear at 3:39 AM on December 20, 2006


Of course, burning and ripping 7 hours of Hodgman is probably not worth the effort just to pirate, considering that other people have already done the work for you.
posted by smackfu at 6:45 AM on December 20, 2006


What are you going to do with your Wii Keswick?
posted by Mister_A at 7:03 AM on December 20, 2006


Nice try iTunes, but not this time!

Anyway, I thought my PC was too boring for "fun stuff" like DRM-crippled audiobooks... at least that's what your TV campaign has been telling me.
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on December 20, 2006


Videogames are for children.
posted by keswick at 9:58 AM on December 20, 2006


It's possible to get an account without paypal or credit card, or any real information at all if you use a free song code. When you try to enter one of those, it'll ask you to create an account. You can grab one here:

http://www.phisoderm.com/

Go to the special deals bit and fill out the survey and it'll send you a code for iTunes credit. I did this a few weeks ago, but it looks like it might still be working.

The nice bit is if, you go to any of the international stores and try to enter a code only valid for another country's store, it'll go through all the motions of setting up an account, and tell you at the end that you can't use the code. This is a nice way to pick up the free downloads on some of the other iTunes stores.
posted by mariokrat at 10:28 AM on December 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


with less hassle

It is in absolutely no way less hassle for me to go to the store and buy a CD than it is to click "buy" on iTunes. Or even to order it on amazon with free shipping and wait a couple of day.

The lack of hassle and ability to give instant gratification is the only thing it has going for it, but damn if it isn't significant.
posted by flaterik at 12:44 PM on December 20, 2006


I've only listened to the first 45 minutes so far, but damn if this isn't the best $0.00 I've spent all week.
posted by danb at 1:02 PM on December 20, 2006


Last time I checked I didn't have to install any special software last time I went into a records store, and didn't have to go through any kind of rights-management charade each time I wanted to play my CD on a different device.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on December 20, 2006


Hodgman on 09/14/01: I too have been troubled by reports of hate crimes and racist, inflammatory calls for massive military response by conservative shills like Coulter. But where I sit, the righteous indignation and pathetic ignorance you describe seems to me nothing but a hysterical cliche. As for our government, I will reserve judgment on its response until plans for a response are proposed.

Interesting to see the response just a few days after 9/11 and how fiercely, and ultimately incorrectly, protective people were over the why it happened question. It's certainly understandable, but it stands in marked comparison to the political landscape today, especially the one lampooned so lovingly by Hodgman et al at The Daily Show.

For the record, I quite like Hodgman. I just thought his few contributions surrounding September 11th were interesting.
posted by The God Complex at 2:39 PM on December 20, 2006


50 comments in and I still have no idea what this book is about.

It's the only book I own which contains COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE.

This edition has ABRIDGED WORLD KNOWLEDGE, obviously.
posted by sparkletone at 4:59 PM on December 20, 2006


It is in absolutely no way less hassle for me to go to the store and buy a CD than it is to click "buy" on iTunes. Or even to order it on amazon with free shipping and wait a couple of day.

Oh absolutely. I was talking about the download/burn/rip cycle that was suggested for un-DRMing your music.

The instant gratification for individual tracks on iTunes is awesome. I'm quite a big fan of delayed gratification too, though. I have a horrible memory, so in the time it takes for an Amazon order to arrive, I've normally forgotten all about it, so it's like a little surprise present out of the blue when that happy brown parcel drops through the letter box.
posted by chrismear at 11:30 PM on December 20, 2006


The really awesome thing about this is that it is basically a performance of the book, instead of just the text spoken aloud. Instead of dryly reading out the tables, he presents some of the funnier bits in them, sometimes worked into what is essentially a new bit, bouncing them off of Jonathan Colton (a special bonus!) in the process.
posted by JHarris at 3:25 PM on December 21, 2006


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