Publishing to the iBookstore: Avoiding Trademark Issues

Learn from my experience.

iBooks Author CoverSome readers may know that back in early March I submitted a “Special iBooks 2 Interactive Edition” of iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook to the Apple iBookstore. The 242-page book included many interactive elements, most notably a full three hours of original screencast video.

And then I waited for Apple to approve it.

And I waited.

And I waited.

Today, after nearly four weeks of waiting, I finally heard from Apple. But it wasn’t the approval I’d been hoping for. Instead, it was a pair of “tickets” for problem in the book file and cover art.

Apple’s complaints were all pretty much in the same vein. Here’s one of them:

Copyright Page, the following text appears: “iBooks 2 Special Interactive Edition”. Your book has been ticketed because of its use of the phrase “iBook” to describe it. iBooks is the trademark for Apple’s book reading software, and iBooks Author is the trademark for its electronic book creation software. Books created with Apple’s iBooks Author software and/or sold on the iBookstore should be described as a book, ebook, electronic book or interactive book, but not an “ibook.” Please use any Apple trademarks in compliance with the Apple Trademark Usage Guidelines available at Note: Changing the phrase to “iBookstore Special Interactive Edition” would be acceptable.

So basically, I had described my book as a “special iBooks 2 interactive edition” and the folks at Apple didn’t like that. But they kindly suggested “iBookstore Special Interactive Edition” instead.

(I could argue here that iBookstore is just as much a trademark as iBooks, but where would that get me?)

This problem appeared twice in the book’s content, once on the cover, once on the cover art, and twice in the metadata. It took me 20 minutes to locate and fix all problems and then export new versions of the book and sample chapter. And then fix the meta data in iTunes Producer. The book is uploading as I type this.

So my point is this: be very careful about your use of the word iBooks when describing a book you create with iBooks Author. My main concern was being able to differentiate between the standard epub edition and the multimedia edition that blows it away.

Now I just hope they hurry it through the review process and don’t make me wait another four weeks.

March 31, 2012 Update: Although I addressed all issues of the tickets on my book and uploaded new files three days ago, there is still no indication that Apple has received my modified files. I don’t know if I screwed up on the resubmission or if Apple is so backlogged they haven’t marked them as received. Clearly Apple needs to rework both its iTunes Connect interface and its system for dealing with book approvals and revisions.

April 7, 2012 Update: One of the two tickets on my book has disappeared, but the other remains. Despite several attempts to contact Apple, it’s still unclear whether they realize that I have resolved this ticket. I keep getting canned responses that do not indicate whether they are following up on my problem. It seems to me as if they’re just sending out a response without even looking up the situation. I’m frustrated beyond belief at this point and angry about potential lost sales. And there’s no one at Apple who I can contact to get a definitive answer. Clearly, the iBooks Author publishing experience is broken and Apple is uninterested in fixing it.

May 28, 2012 Update: This continued to go on for quite some time, even after tickets disappeared. After a lot of nagging and nasty emails to Apple, my books finally appeared. One took 55 days for approval. The other took 75 days.

Broken Link Contest

Help me clean up this mess — and maybe win a prize.

I’ve been building content on this site since 2003. In eight years, I’ve collected a lot of junk.

Broken Link ImageAs I revise this site, I’m going through every single post, deleting the ones I don’t think are relevant anymore, and fixing up the ones that remain. Along the way, I hope to hunt down and destroy all broken links.

But I’m only one person and can only check so many links in a day. So I’m asking for your help. And I’m willing to reward the folks who help me most with a free copy of any one of my books still in print.

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  1. Browse the site as you normally would.
  2. When you find a broken link*, open the comment for this post. (I put a link to it in the sidebar so it’s easy to find.)
  3. Check all the preceding comments to make sure your broken link isn’t already listed. I can’t give points for duplicate entries!

  4. If the broken link isn’t already listed, use the Comments form at the bottom of the page to enter the following information:
    • Your name and email address. (This might not be necessary if you’ve already commented here.) Please use your real email address; I will use it to contact you if you’re a winner. I will not share your address with anyone else or spam you. I promise.
    • The URL of the page where you found the broken link. It must begin with — I’m not interested in rewarding folks for finding broken links on other sites.
    • The URL of the broken link. The easiest way to get this information is to either Control-Click (Mac OS) or Right-Click (Mac OS or Windows) on the broken link and use the Copy Link Location command in the contextual menu that appears. You can then paste it into the comment form.
  5. Submit the comment.
  6. Repeat as necessary. The more broken links you report, the better your chances of winning.

When I approve the comments — all comments are moderated here — I’ll check your findings. If you’ve correctly identified a broken link, you’ll score a point and I’ll note that in a reply to your comment.

At November month-end, I’ll award prizes to the top broken link finders.

Does this sound like a plan? I hope so. l could really use the help.

* A “broken link” is a link on a Web page that, when clicked, displays a “Page Not Found” error or something similar. In other words, it doesn’t display what it should for whatever reason.

Photoshop CS3 and Mac OS 10.6.3 Potential Problems

Having a problem? This might help.

After updating my Mac to Mac OS 10.6.3, I found that I could not successfully open Photoshop CS3. Although the program would go through what seemed like the entire startup process, it would unexpectedly quit right before it opened a document. There was nothing I could do to prevent this.

Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

I started troubleshooting with a Google Search. Two pages were particularly helpful:

  • This thread on the Apple discussions forum contains 167 answers (so far) to the problem experienced by a user. As with most forums, the posts go off-topic to suggest Photoshop alternatives and attempt to place blame on either Apple or Adobe. If you have the time and patience to wade through the posts, however, you’ll discover several potential fixes.
  • This TechNote on gets to the meat of the matter without having to wade through a bunch of off-topic nonsense.

Apparently, the problem concerns all Adobe CS3 products and possibly some other software. It did not affect my copy of InDesign CS4.

Adobe provides three possible solutions. I’ll present them here in the order I think you should tackle them.

Disable Opening with Rosetta

Adobe suggests that you turn off the “Open Using Rosetta” check box in the Info window for Photoshop CS3 (or any other program that might be experiencing the problem. In the Finder, select the application’s icon. Then choose File > Get Info or press Command-I. In the General area of the Info window, turn off the check box labeled Open using Rosetta. Close the Info window. This was not the source of my problem, so I can’t verify whether this will help.

Obtain a New Serial Number

Adobe claims that the problem might have something to do with an invalid serial number registered for the computer. This is most likely to happen if your computer was serviced by Apple, perhaps to replace the logic board or some other major component. Per Adobe:

When launching Adobe CS3 applications on Apple’s Mac OS 10.6.3, the applications crash, or quit unexpectedly. This only occurs on systems where the system serial number is a value with more than 12 characters. This appears to only be the case when the system serial number doesn’t have a valid number, but instead has a value such as “System Serial#”, or “SystemSerialNumb”.

About this MacHow do you find the serial number registered by your computer? The easiest way is to choose Apple > About This Mac to display the About this Mac window for your computer. Click the Version number info right under where it says Mac OS X twice. The Version number will change to the Build number and then to your serial number as it is registered inside the computer.

When I originally read this and checked it against my serial number, I did not think this was my problem. After all, Adobe says it happens with serial numbers “more than 12 characters” in length. Mine was 11 10. And that was my problem. When I had my logic board replaced about a year and a half ago, the Apple genius entered an invalid serial number for the new logic board. He basically left out one character. Something in the Mac OS X 10.6.3 update triggered a serial number validation routine in CS3 products. When it came up with an invalid serial number, it refused to run Photoshop CS3.

The solution is not one you’ll like if you don’t have an Apple store nearby. This morning, I’ll be driving 50 miles to get the correct serial number entered into my Mac by a “genius.”

Revert to Mac OS X 10.6.2 or Earlier

Adobe suggests this as the first alternative. Downgrading operating system software is never something I recommend as a first option. After all, eventually you’ll have to upgrade again. Why not try to fix the problem if you can?

But if you can’t fix the problem any other way, downgrading to Mac OS X 10.6.2 might be the way to go. You can find instructions for downgrading at

Are You Having This Problem?

If you’re having this problem, I’d like to hear from you. What software was affected? How did you resolve the problem? Add your comment to this post.

Please limit your comments to this topic. Rants against Apple or Adobe or suggestions on what software is better than Photoshop will not be approved.

Beware of Smith Micro Mac Software

A quick warning to Snow Leopard users.

I just spent the past day and a half working on a 4,000-word article for one of my publishers about ways you can reduce hard disk clutter. (I’ll share the link when the article goes online in about a month.) As part of the article, I checked out two Smith Micro software products: Spring Cleaning 10 and Internet Cleanup 5. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted installing any software as much as I regret installing these two products.

First, I should mention that the process of obtaining a 30-day demo copy of Spring Cleaning 10 requires you to provide a credit card number up front. Although the Web site offers a PayPal option, it simply does not work — and customer service is clueless about the problem. It took me three tries to get the software. In the end, after two hours of frustration, download instructions finally arrived. Even those weren’t clear; I still had to hunt around for the download link.

While I’m not sure which of the two products caused the problems I encountered, I suspect it may have been Internet Cleanup. This software purports to help protect you from malware and spyware. It installs files all over your computer, including files that interact directly with your system files. After installing either it or Spring Cleaning, my Mac began suffering kernel panic crashes every time I shut down.

If you’re not familiar with a kernel panic, it appears as a sweep of darkness over the face of your computer screen, from the top to the bottom. The computer becomes completely unresponsive. A message in four or five languages appears, instructing you to shut down your computer by holding down the power button until the computer stops running. You can then restart. When I restarted, a dialog asked if I wanted to report the problem to Apple. Clicking the Show Details button in that screen displays some gibberish that helps Apple’s tech people understand what went wrong. In every case, the name SmithMicro appeared among the gibberish — proof that the software was causing the problem.

I uninstalled both programs. For Internet Cleanup, I used AppZapper, which appeared to delete all the files. For Spring Cleaning, I used the uninstaller that came with the program. Unfortunately, the kernel panic errors continued to plague my system.

Even a “genius” at the Apple Store was baffled. In the end, he reinstalled Snow Leopard from scratch for me. The problem went away. Two files appeared in an Incompatible Software folder after the reinstallation. Both referred to Smith Micro software.

I’m writing this post to warn users of potential problems. No one wants their computer screwed up so badly that a system software reinstallation is necessary.

I’ve written to the folks at Smith Micro to advise them of my experience. I have not received a response. Customer service did tell me that my credit card would not be charged for the software, which I have since fully deleted. There is no mention of Snow Leopard compatibility — or incompatibility — for either of these products on the Smith Micro Web site.

Upgrading to WordPress 2.9: Getting Your MySQL Database Up-to-Date

A tiny glitch for those of us with old databases.

Upgrade Admin PanelOne of the things I love about the most recent releases of WordPress is the automatic upgrade feature. Not only does the software tell you when a new version is available, but it offers a one-click upgrade through the use of the Upgrade Automatically button in the Upgrade WordPress administration panel. I’ve been using this feature regularly since it first appeared — after backing up my WordPress database and content files, of course — and have never had a problem.

Until yesterday.

Last night, when I attempted to upgrade my main blog, An Eclectic Mind, I got the following error message:

Old PHP Warning

I knew immediately why this error had appeared. My blog is so old that MySQL 5 wasn’t available when it was created. The available version was 4.0.27, which is what I installed. But the new version of WordPress needs a newer version of MySQL. Upgrading wouldn’t be possible until I upgraded my MySQL database.

I called GoDaddy, my hosting company, and spoke to someone in technical support. She said that the only way to upgrade the database was to back up my database, create a new database with version MySQL 5.0, and restore the old database to the new database file. I could then point my config.php file to the new database and, with a lot of luck, everything would work out fine.

So I initiated a backup last night using GoDaddy’s backup utility. (I usually use the WordPress Backup Plugin.) I got tired of waiting for it to finish, and went to bed. This morning, I’m restoring that database into a new file created with MySQL 5.0. And now, as I type this, I’m modifying the config.php file to point to the new database, user name, and host name.

Drum roll please….

As I open the home page for my blog…it works!

Upgrade CompletedThe upgrade should now go off without a hitch — which it does, as shown here.

Unfortunately, if you’re in the same boat I was in, you’ll need to find out how to update your MySQL database file. Talk to your system administrator or ISP’s technical support department. Every system is different — I use so that’s the only system I know how to update. Providing detailed step-by-step instructions for that system would only help other GoDaddy users — and might not work after GoDaddy’s next interface revision.

So I’ll let you track down instructions for your server or ISP on your own. Once you get those instructions, it shouldn’t be difficult to complete the task.

Good luck and enjoy the newest version of WordPress!