As a developer of enhanced eBooks, I notice it is easy to use too much media (an overabundance of non-germane videos, audio or pictures), or to not put it in the right places. The enhanced eBook medium should live up to its name: enhance the book and the reading/learning experience, not take it over.
The material in this book (Simple Qigong Exercises for Health: The Eight Pieces of Brocade) has been around for quite some time. Dr. Yang’s first edition was in 1988, his second in 1997. The enhanced version (available for iBooks, meaning it runs on iPads, iPhones and Macs) extends that material with the right amount of video and audio examples.
The contents of this version are the same as the recent 3rd edition printing, and follow Dr. Yang’s norms for structuring his books: Chapter 1 provides a general introduction to history, Qi and Qigong, the history of the Eight Pieces of Brocade, and information on Qigong Theory and Training. Chapter 2 goes deeper into training theory. Chapter 3 and 4 are the walkthroughs and descriptions of the Sitting and Standing versions of the Eight Pieces of Brocade. In all chapters, as he does in his other books, Dr. Yang presents the original Chinese descriptions, and offers translations for better understanding. Some of the Qigong information in the first chapters of this book are similar to his other qigong books, but repetition helps with memory.
“Remember that the most important thing in the training is not the forms themselves, but rather the theory and principle of each form, which constitute the root. Once you understand these, you will be able to use your wisdom mind (yi, 意) to lead the qi to circulate and bring you to health. Therefore, when you practice you should try to understand the poetry or the “secret words.” They have been passed down for hundreds of years and are the root of the practice. Because of cultural and language differences, it is very difficult to translate into English all of the meaning of the Chinese. We will try to keep as close as possible to the Chinese and hope that you are able to get not just the meaning, but also the taste of the original.” (pg 145)
This enhanced editions includes 23 video demonstrations, and additional still photos where appropriate. The videos were of high enough digital quality to watch them on a variety of devices (tried them on iPad air, on Mac, and on Apple TV through AirPlay with no noticeable drop in video quality).
This enhanced eBook version provides Dr. Yang’s straightforward explanations and translations of the material with demonstrations of each of the sitting and standing pieces. There are some intricacies that a student might miss just reading from a book; with the videos (and audio) demonstrations the pieces are made clearer and easier to follow. The multimedia examples on the second and third sitting pieces were particularly helpful, as they helped me to pick up a couple of things I was missing (Dr. Yang really clomps his teeth together; I was just closing my mouth!)
A screenshot from the enhanced eBook is below.
This enhanced edition also provides (as all enhanced editions should) hot linked table of contents and index.
Though a student should almost always try to find an appropriate teacher (in my humble opinion), this enhanced edition is an excellent learning tool.
Full disclosure: I have attended two Qigong seminars with Dr. Yang and have read several of his books before going through this enhanced eBook. I have reviewed several of his books on my website and I am a fan of his fact-over-mystery teaching style. I was provided this enhanced eBook as a review copy.
For those of you that do not get the challenges of living in the Apple Developer world, a bit of background: To deploy an iOS app outside of the Apple App Store, either as a “beta” with an Ad-Hoc Distribution profile, or as an Enterprise with an Apple Enterprise Developer account, a Apple Provisioning Profile is required. This profile is built on Apple’s Developer Web site and requires a developer certificate (“trust” the developer!), a list of devices (up to 100) or the domain of the Enterprise (depending on whether this is for Ad-Hoc or Enterprise Distribution), and an app ID. This information is used to generate the provisioning profile, which is distributed along with the app to identify which devices are allowed to utilize the app.
For reasons only known to Apple, provisioning profiles, even Enterprise Provisioning profiles, expire once a year. Perhaps this is Apple’s way of ensuring that Enterprise’s keep up with their $299 annual fee to keep their Enterprise Developer License.
Recently, Apple extended the time validity of the certificates generated under the Enterprise Developer License to three years. But the profiles all still expire after one year.
This has spawned a huge marketplace for MDM (Mobile Device Management) solutions, used to help deploy (or redeploy, in the case of an expired profile) apps in an Enterprise.
It is easy to see what day a profile expires (it is visible on the device under Settings/General/Profiles, generates pop-up warning on the device, and it visible in your Apple Developer account page). But, because of a last minute customer call, we needed to know when would it really expire. This customer did not have an MDM solution, and, though we had built into our app and forced upgrade functionality, if the profile expires, the app stops working.
This is obviously a major issue with Enterprises deploying Apple apps internally. When given enough warning, it can be handled, even without an MDM.
But, given less than 24 hours notice, what we really needed to know was not only the data, but the time the profile would expire.
When you build a profile, you need to get it into XCode (the Apple IDE) to use it. This can be done from XCode, or you can download the profile as a file, then double click on it and open it in XCode.
In other words, the profile (shown to the right) is just a file. It is in the format of a “plist file”, a properties list file.
Since we were trying to determine what time the profile expired, and we could not find that information anywhere, we decided to look into the file. We opened it with a simple text editor (right click, select “Open With” and select your favorite editor.
Most of it was quite easy to read, as plist files are XML. You can tell it is a plist file as it starts with this information:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC “-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN” “http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd”>
The file contains the developer certificate, which is a long character string that looks like garbage. But after that data string, there is more information, including the follow nugget we had been looking for:
Not only the date, but the time (in GMT, or Zulu time).
Hope this helps anyone else who has the need to look for the same information. Obviously, the best practice is to avoid waiting until the last minute. But if you do, it is good to know how much time you have.
A tour of several Fort Collins breweries (13 as of this writing)? On bicycles you say?
It wasn’t a bike like the one in the photo (that is for next time), but this is a great trip for anyone interested in a leisurely bike ride on some excellent trails. And beer. Lots of beer.
Thanks to Sue and Lee for putting it together.
Did I mention that we had some beer?
A few statistics:
7 out of 13 breweries visited: FCB (The Fort Collins Brewery), New Belgium, ODell, FunkWerks, CooperSmith’s, Pateros Creek, and Equinox (on Sunday). The ones we missed (or saved for next time) were Black Bottle Brewery, Freedom’s Edge, Horse & Dragon, 1933 Brewing, C.B. and Potts. We also missed Anheiser-Busch…on purpose.
We did hit one distillery, which we all agreed was a mistake. The whiskey was good, but the mixing with beer…not so much.
23 beers logged on UnTappd (see below).
We logged many miles ridden, a couple of spills (Mimi’s was the worst! Ouch!) and one trick dismount/remount to impress my wife.
The map above is an excerpt from the huge map of the trail system in and around Fort Collins, which has many trails for us to try on the next trip. Click on the map above and it will take you to the web site with the larger map.
Audrey and I had not been on bicycles for many many years. We did a short ride in Denver the day before we headed to Fort Collins just to get back in the saddle, and it was a good thing we did. Lee had mapped out a great ride for us to get from our hotel (the Hilton off of Prospect, on the map near where is says “Lilac Park”) down to Spring Creek Trail over to Poudre Trail and up to our first brewery, Fort Collins Brewery.
It was a great day, a great scenic trail ride along side a small stream for a good part of the way on Spring Creek trail, and past a few parks. There were lots of riders out.
As we got to the intersection of Poudre Trail, which goes along the Pourdre River, we noticed several people coming back. Some told us the trail was underwater, but being intrepid and in need of beer, we carried on. What’s a little water?
It was a lot of water. The snow melt had made the trail impassable. There were signs closing the trail as it went south, and that part was obviously under several feet of rushing water. We were able to go north a bit from the intersection of Spring Creek Trail and Poudre trail, and though we could see the other side of the trail, it would have been a nice wade (not ride) through at least waist high water to get there.