After a tumultuous week, I am happy and relieved to announce Windows everywhere is finally available for purchase on Leanpub. It’s still not quite where I want it, but at least it’s the whole book as it stands now, and not a subset.
Sorry for the drama earlier this week. It’s fair to say I was in a spiral of despair on Wednesday after two straight days of technical problems trying to get the book in shape for publication. And testing things with Rafael the next day really helped, mostly to reassure me that the fault was with Leanpub and not me.
Friday morning I woke up to a set of emails from Leanpub. They had identified two issues with the release system for the latest system (the one we use now) and fixed them both. And not to oversimplify things, but part of the fix involved giving books four times as many server resources as before during previews and publishing. Long story short, it worked: I was able to perform successful (and correct) full and partial runs of the book on Friday, setting the stage for a public rollout.
Before that could happen, however, I had to complete some detailed work for the book. Most of it was backend stuff that isn’t particularly interesting. But some of it may be of interest. For example, since the book had to come into the world in a “complete” state – more on that below, I wanted to do it with a cover. As you may be aware, is Windows 11 Field Guide don’t have a cover design yet, but that book isn’t done yet, so there’s no rush.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to cover Windows everywhere to look like, and to be fair, I’ll probably never be happy about it regardless. But my branding work for the Eternal Spring YouTube channel my wife and I created led me down a path where the bold title style we used in the video turned into (what I think is) a cool logo design that you can see a picture inside the text of the eternal spring letters. And I thought maybe something like that would make sense Windows everywhereperhaps using a current or classic Microsoft/Windows font.
This effect – where you can see an image inside letters – is called masking and I do it so rarely in Photoshop Elements that I research how to do it every time it comes up. So I endured a several minute battle before I finally decided to see if this process was easier in Affinity Photo. And sure enough, it’s stupid easy, and something I’ll never forget now. So I went to work.
What I came up with is kind of funny. I ended up using a Windows XP “Bliss” inspired wallpaper that is free for commercial use (and although I haven’t yet, I will credit the creator in the book soon). And I used a modern Microsoft font, Segoe UI, for the text, crushing and stretching each instance of it to get the look I wanted (similar to what I did with Eternal Spring), and then each instance had same width.
After some back and forth, I decided to add a rectangular square that also resembles the Microsoft and Windows logos. I’m still not sure if it’s too big, but that can be changed easily enough. Like the whole design, really.
And … then I sat on it for a bit. After all that work, and knowing there were still things left to do, I wasn’t sure if I could live with it. So I left it unpublished last night.
This morning I went through all the Leanpub backend forms related to the book again to make sure the description, pricing, and so on were correct. And then I wrote a short note to the first buyers explaining that the book was “complete” but that there would be changes and additions to the content. The book was 993 pages long at the time, which I had kept in most of the pictures.
Then I press publish. Time for a stomach check.
The book went live a minute or so later and is now available on Leanpub for $9.99 and up with an MSRP of $29.99.
But I wasn’t done tinkering. After a 40-minute walk and breakfast, I used Visual Studio Code—which can open and respond to a folder of files with almost alarming ease—to make corrections throughout the book. (I backed up the folder first, of course.) For example, there was a mix of smart and dumb quotes, of both the ‘ and ‘ variety, throughout the book, so I did a Find and Replace (CTRL + SHIFT + H ) and transformed them all to silly quotes in two quick and efficient passes. Bam.
During my first two editing passes (during the second where I also added all the images), I had discovered that the characters I need to use in Word to generate an em-dash in WordPress “—” created instances of an em-dash and a normal dash right next to each other. And because I use this a lot, they were all over the book. So I fixed that too. In two seconds. Bam. (This is/was a problem in Windows 11 Field Guide also. Corrected! Bam.)
With that out of the way, I previewed and republished the book.
However, when I looked through the PDF version of the book, I discovered that chapter “7”, which of course deals with Windows 7, has no pictures. And that’s because it was one of several chapters where I had removed images after adding them; alphabetically, 7.md is the first file in the book chapter, and I started removing images because I thought this would solve the problems I experienced earlier this week. I had turned back the other chapters since, but had obviously missed this one. So I added back the image references, revised and republished. And with these additions, the book was…exactly 1000 pages long. Huh.
I didn’t need that reminder to move on to my next task, which was to reduce the size of the images in the book in an attempt to lower the page count and file size. I had to deal with this too Windows 10 Field Guide at one point moving most images from 100 percent in size to 75 percent in size and it had worked fine with that title. So when I moved to Windows 11 Field GuideI just used 75 percent for most images.
With Windows everywhere, however, most images were 100 percent, and I also have a smattering of images at 40, 50, 60, and 70 percent. I left most of them alone, but I again used Visual Studio Code—seriously, what a wonder—to change the 100 percent images to 80 percent, figuring that would do the trick. Then I looked at the book again, waited a bit and checked to see what the effect was.
943 pages. I had only reduced it by 57 pages. It is not enough. I was hoping for 150 to 200 pages in savings. Oh good.
And that means I’ll have to do what I’ve always known I should do and reduce the number of images in the book. There are just too many. I will begin that process soon, but it will take a while. We fly home from Mexico City next Thursday and I’m sure this work will continue long after.
As I have written before, I will also update the content of the book over time. (Thus the quotes around “completely” above.) This will be via content additions to the existing narrative, as I overlooked some topics that might deserve more discussion. And I’ll write about the Windows 10 and 11 eras and possibly end it with an “AI for the future” note of some sort. We will see.
For now, I’m just happy that all the hard work is out there for the world to see. And while I’m not super comfortable with promoting myself, there’s no better way to support me than to buy this and my other books, as it affects me directly. And then I hope you will consider buying the book. If not, remember that it is also available in its original form as the Programming Windows series here at Thurrott.com. (And of course I’ll also update the series as I add content to the book.)
Thanks for reading along. Getting to this point has been an incredible year-long journey.