Downloading The Bullet (3/27/00)

Mac-using Stephen King fans, rejoice: a solution has materialized. When King's latest book, Riding The Bullet, was recently released only in e-book format, Mac users were left out in the cold. E-books are only viewable on actual, honest-to-goodness e-book devices, or through special reader software, which so far exists only for the Windows platform. Seeing as there are no plans to converting Riding The Bullet into dead-tree format, Mac users had only two options to read the story-- shell out a couple hundred bucks for a Rocket E-Book, or get a PC.

Needless to say, King (himself a devout Mac user) wasn't thrilled to find out that he couldn't read his own book on the computer with which he actually wrote the thing. Promises of a Mac-compatible version were kicked around, but subsequent email messages claiming to lead to a PDF version of the book instead led right back to the original e-book file. Development of Mac reader software that would work with the e-book format is reportedly underway, but waiting for Mac ports is about as much fun as licking the terminals on a car battery. That was the point at which we figured we'd just worry about other things and be pleasantly surprised when a Mac-friendly version of Riding The Bullet finally surfaced.

Well, that time is now-- and indeed, it's Adobe to the rescue, because King's e-story is now available as a free PDF from All you need is the free Acrobat Reader 4.05a and you're in business. Be warned, though: the process of getting and reading the book itself is rather byzantine. In fact, we doubt King himself could dream up a more horrible series of steps to get this thing working.

First we downloaded and installed the latest version of Acrobat Reader. Then we clicked the "Get E-book Now" link on the Amazon page, which downloaded a "request.fdf" file. Double-clicking that launched Acrobat Reader, connected to Adobe's web site in our browser, and sent us a "license.fdf" file. Double-clicking that told us there was no document to unlock, and gave us a button to click that sent us back to the Amazon page. We again clicked "Get E-book Now," which this time sent us a file called "bullet.fdf." Double-clicking that (talk about giving your clicking fingers a workout!) prompted us to save the file "bullet.pdf." At some point in there we also found we'd gotten a "bullet.rmf" file. Finally, "bullet.pdf" could be opened in Acrobat Reader, and we found ourselves staring at the "cover" of Riding The Bullet. It's a lot of unlocking/licensing hoops to jump through, considering the book itself is free, but hey, it works. Unfortunately, we can't print the book to take it to lunch, nor do we want to risk spilling Chana Masala on our iBook's keyboard-- so this is strictly a bedtime read for us, unless we get nuts and decide to print out a screenshot of each page. Anyway, if you've been waiting for Riding The Bullet and your mousing hand is up to the task, download away...

SceneLink (2184)
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 3/27/00 episode:

March 27, 2000: You know it's spring, because the "Mac OS X on Intel" rumors are sprouting all over. Meanwhile, Apple's lawyers shut down the MacCards site, a mere two months after its own iCards site premiered, and Stephen King's Riding The Bullet finally surfaces for Mac users...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2182: The Grass Has Riz (3/27/00)   Spring has sprung-- heck, it sprang a week ago. But even though the Boston weather's been rather sunny and pleasant so far, we couldn't help but feel that something was missing. See, when winter's over, we just don't feel like we've shifted gears until one of the Classic Mac Rumors™ pokes its leafy green shoots out of the ground...

  • 2183: Cease And Desist (3/27/00)   Another one bites the dust; as faithful viewer Ed Nelson reports, MacCards is no more. Do we detect the faint odor of Ninja Death Squad in the air? Nope, Apple's wetworks team is a lot more subtle than that-- they crash servers, sever network cables, intercept bandwidth payments, and make uncooperative webmasters "disappear" to get certain sites off the 'net...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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