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text 2019-02-17 08:51
I added 50 books today!

Also:  I have a new appreciation for the complexity of import scripts.


The program works - yay!  I've set it up to process 15 records at a time, opening a new Add Book window for each but not submitting it.  That allows me to fix the weird errors (example: a colon (:) in a title makes everything to the right of the colon go in the author space. Bad colon!) and manually hit 'enter' for any new authors not in the BL system.


Automating the clean up of Penguin/RH's feed is still a work in progress.  There are a lot of steps.  A LOT!  I still have to figure out how to not re-import the records I've already added to BL.  And the bug with the book descriptions is going to ... bug me.


But anyway - 50 new audio and ebooks in the system that will be released on the 19th.  Woot!


For those that would like to add images for these records (I love you), you can use this link to get them directly from Penguin:




REPLACE the "ISBN" in that link with the actual ISBN number of the cover you want.  This should return an image that BL won't give you grief about in terms of size.  You can leave the size bit off at the end, but you have to keep the '.jpg' or else you'll get an error page.  


Of course that link only works for books published by Penguin Random House.  :P


I have no idea if this is going to make anything better for anyone - for all I know I'm adding the most obscure books in publishing history - but hopefully, hopefully, it will ease some of the frustration.  Assuming RL will let me do this regularly enough to matter.  Small victories.

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text 2019-02-16 10:10
What I've been doing instead of reading ... a question for my friends

The whole current situation with Booklikes's search has been simmering at the back of my mind for some time now.  A few months ago, I played around with trying to hack the ShelfIt widget to get it to work with sites other than Amazon UK, but that was a no-go.  But in the process I discovered a way to query Penguin / Random House's database and get a data dump of their front list and scheduled publications.


This weekend, I sat down and learned to write a program.


I can't recommend this as a weekend hobby unless you're a masochist.  Which, apparently, I am.


Long story short, I've written a program that pulls the (cleaned up) data from the PenguinRandomHouse feed and populates the BL Add New Book page. 


It's not perfect.  Drawbacks include:


1.  I have to do this manually and I can't share unless you're a Mac user - I could theoretically launch multiple Add New Book windows and auto-submit, but I'm pretty sure I'd crash booklikes, or be mistaken for someone trying to crash BookLikes.  So I still have to click "Submit" for each page myself.  It's ok, but it means small batches.


2.  Only Penguin Random House at this point and for the foreseeable future - creating a task that will clean up their import is one-time only, but very time-consuming and the will likely take me several hours to do tomorrow (I've been using a 4 record dump I cleaned up myself).  And I don't even know if I can get anyone else's import.


3.  No covers.  I can grab them from Penguin, but I can't upload them to BL - at least not with my newbie skills.


4.  Descriptions seem to be hit or miss.  They work with some records, but not others.  Trying to figure out why almost cost me my sanity and my laptop, so I'm going to accept some uncertainty here.  Also, genres are a no-go because I honestly can't be bothered trying to figure THAT mess out.


I've gotten far enough in this to share this with you without embarrassing myself later, but I'm still not sure how practical overall it will be.  It's not going to fix things on a grand scale, but it might soften the irritation a little bit.


So, my question to y'all is this:  are the lack of covers going to piss everyone off? Because I doubt I'll be able to go back and catch all the imports I manage to do and add the covers.  I can't stand not having covers, but I have to recognise my limitations - especially with my current RL workload.  



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text 2019-02-13 18:58
A Question of Booklikes

Are the admins still here? Do they still care? At this point I feel like yelling.


You can't find books anymore that are "new". I don't mind adding new books, but I can see that BL's inability to pull books via ASIN, ISBN, title, or author is going to be an issue down the line if we all are expected to just keeping adding new release books because the search function is permanently not working.


I had to add every one of my new release books since January and it's aggravating to have to keep doing that here. I kept thinking if I even waited to the release dates for some, that BL would show it, but nothing doing. If someone else using BL doesn't add it, it just doesn't show in the search function at all. I am not too clear on how BL show up here, but at one point I recall an admin contacting me to let me know that BL pulls from Amazon. Or at least it used to. So I don't know if that went away or not. If it did, maybe bring it back? 

I also loathe the face when I am adding a new book, BL decides it's going to try to merge authors when it's clearly not the same person. I typed in someone today and they linked to someone with a hypenated second name and it's pretty apparent that's not the same person based on my scan of the authors via Goodreads. I added a book by HJ Ramsay, well BL decided it's really Gordon Ramsay and after changing two times I got fed up and just sent a report to the librarians. 


This isn't even getting into the the newer accounts that are rapidly disappearing. I sadly saw three accounts shut down permanently over the past month because each of the people said one of the following 1) no one is returning their emails, 2) they have weird spam/sex accounts following them, 3) there doesn't seem to be a way to meet other BL, 4) and the library database seems very limited compared to Goodreads. 

I know that some of us suggested that BL when setting up an account needs to direct people to a FAQs page and also maybe to the new BL to follow discussion thread so they can have some of us older BLers to follow and we could follow back. 


I miss the Friday Follows because that is how I found out about a lot of people. I remember when they did or talked about maybe (I can't recall) doing spotlight reviews every month for most number of comments or likes on a review. I know that they were doing author blog posts for a while. With the issue we had just recently about us not being able to comment on our own dashboard until we cleared our cache out shows that there may be a website issue too. 

BL's website has been showing not secure for me since December. I have no idea what that means. 


BL did a Facebook post on December 18 so at least someone is around.




Sadly, BL hasn't tweeted since August 2018.



I know that last time our sleuths went on the hunt to figure out if BL had been sold, and after all of us pestering them for about a week they finally popped back up again. That said, I am loathed do have to do that everytime. If the owners and admin don't step up to run the site, then I wish they sell it to someone who wants to maintain it and make it grow.

There were talks of an app that went nowhere. We were discussing the ability to link among multiple accounts which doesn't seem to be working very well. I had to unlink this book from my GR reading list since it kept messing up my shelves. I did link my Kindle to BL, but I don't know what that does exactly. It doesn't save my notes/highlights like GR does. 


Anyway, that said, I want to stay here til the lights go off. I just want to make sure people can find me. I am at Goodreads and you can find me here:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/35942740-obsidian


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text 2019-01-25 21:37
It's pretty blatant.

My newest BL "friend."


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review 2018-11-28 02:55
HAT by Renee Paule, illustrated by GR Hewitt
Hat - Renée Paule,G R Hewitt


written by Renee Paule 

illustrated by G R Hewitt

Paperback, 36 pages

Published May 2018 by RPG Publishing

099350986X (ISBN13: 9780993509865)


The colors that G R Hewitt used in the illustrations is great. A lot of colors, more muted rather than overly stimulating bright.

Paule describes each hat with shorter and longer words, which makes it a wonderful book to help young readers to learn some "big" vocabulary words, without making it feel like work. I really enjoyed the book, and the little comprehension test that she includes at the end.



***This book was won in a Booklikes giveaway held by the auther, in exchange for a fair review. ***

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