The Tyranny of Distance

Apple ships good developer documentation with OS X, and Xcode provides a good UI for searching it, but as I’m a beginner I like to read the conceptual documentation all the way through.

I don’t like reading long documents on a screen, so I print out the documents I want to read 2-up on single sided A4.

This means that I end up with an unordered pile of dog-eared pages.

I have always been interested in the publish on demand idea, so I decided to get hard copies of some of the Apple documentation from — this is permitted by Apple’s terms and conditions, as I read them.

So I concatenated a few documents, converted to Postscript and back to PDF to embed the fonts, and uploaded the result to Lulu. I photoshopped a cover with a Leopard desktop wallpaper image, and it was all ready to go. I had a 712 page book with a spiffy looking colour cover!

The best part was that the indicated cost was $18.77.

Of course once I got to the checkout I was unpleasantly unsurprised to see that shipping was more than double the cost of the book itself.


I don’t want to spend that much money, so I put this experiment on hold for now.

There’s certainly a cost to not living in the US. Perhaps I’ll just wait for the AUD to appreciate a little more against the USD…


  1. nick muldoon
    Posted January 24, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    ship to the SF office and get someone to bring it down with them.

  2. Tom Davies
    Posted January 24, 2008 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the offer — but I don’t think anyone needs an extra 350 pages of US Letter in their luggage!

    But there are these golf clubs I got cheap on craigslist — next time you come out could you just swing through Oakland on the way to the airport and pick them up?

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