Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Apple iPad Dominates North America

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The complete line of Apple iPads are totally dominating North America. It is said that they control %78 of the total market and everyone elses market share is fairly negligible.

Chitika Insights published its latest figures on the tablet market in Canada and the United States. The firm basically tracks internet traffic from tablets to gauge what devices are the most popular for mobile web browsing. The report also notes that the Amazon Kindle Fire, has an abysmal one tenth the share of iPad, has moved into second place ahead of Samsung and Google, both of whom are selling ‘pure Android’ tablets.

Apple’s iPad share is only down slightly from peak figures from last year, despite relentless discounting by competitors and frequent promotions that give tablets away. Amazon frequently mentions their monthly payment program, where customers can pay off their device a few dollars at a time, in monthly installments.

IBM and Apple recently reached an agreement to co-develop a series of next generation business apps. This should appeal more to the corporate crowd and should further cement Apples market position.

Apple iPad Dominates North America is a post from: Good e-Reader

REVIEW: Liberio eBook Publication Platform

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Whenever a new tool comes along that makes it even easier for indie authors to share their content with a broader audience, it’s exciting. So after seeing a post by TechCrunch on a new ebook creation platform that doesn’t cost the user any money, uploads seamlessly from his Google Drive account, and can be tailored right there on the screen in front of him, I had to try it out.

Unfortunately, the reality was a little less exciting.

Heading over to liber.io only a little while ago, the very first issue was that Mozilla freaked out about letting me use the site. Two different warning screens came up telling me that Mozilla couldn’t verify the security of the site, and even after telling Mozilla, “It’s okay, I got this,” it was slow and iffy-looking. I logged in with my Google+ account and established a new password, and I appreciated the fact that Liberio pointed out this new password would in no way affect my Google+ password.

After giving Liberio permission to access my contacts list, my email, my DNA sample, and my second grade report card, I was in. Unfortunately, clicking on the only thing that looked like an “Add new file” option didn’t do anything for the first five minutes or so. I finally refreshed the screen twice and it came to life.

The interface is very intuitive, I must say, but it’s not very functional. By clicking on the very large icon that resembles a piece of paper with a plus sign in it, I was finally given a box that let me choose a file from my Google Drive account or directly uploads from my computer. I chose the upload option, selected a manuscript I’ve been playing around with, and waited.

Then complete code filled the box on the screen. Instead of seeing my ebook, absolute gibberish took over. Unfortunately, despite the presence of a trash folder, I can’t see any way to remove the file I uploaded. I right-clicked, I dragged, I sacrificed a small woodland creature…nothing. As an author who now has an unpublished manuscript floating around the internet with no discernible way to remove it, I’m more than a little put out right now.

Now some of you may be chuckling to yourselves and shaking your head at my own ebook incompetence, and I welcome your laughter. It’s quite obvious that either Liberio or I didn’t do something right. Given that Liberio just moved out of private beta per TechCrunch’s announcement, there are kinks that are possibly still being worked out, but if my own misunderstanding of the system was at fault, then I have to say it’s not as intuitive as I thought.

My final assessment is that it will be a powerful tool when it works correctly, and anything that gives authors even better tools is fantastic. I also see tremendous potential for the educational arena, both higher ed and the K12 sectors, as teachers could easily create ebooks of content for their students. And with more and more schools instituting Bring Your Own Device initiatives, ereading is gaining a lot of traction in public schools, meaning teachers can incorporate a lot of original content in the process. Overall, when it works perfectly, this could be something of a game changer.

REVIEW: Liberio eBook Publication Platform is a post from: Good e-Reader

YRS Festival of Code 2014 – around the UK and at Pi Towers

Young Rewired State is a network of coders around the world. Every year an event is held in the UK to give young people the opportunity to collaborative while working on a project to make something interesting with open data, and to learn skills while exposed to new technologies.

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The Festival of Code is a week where volunteer-led centres around the country play host to local kids (18 and under) who work in teams, guided by mentors from industry, to create a software application, a web app, a game, a phone app or even a hardware hack that utilises an open data set to provide a solution to a real world problem. It takes place next week: 28 July – 3 August 2014.

Participants spend most of the week at their local centre where they’re introduced to each other and to the mentors, they’re shown some data sets they have available, they get in to teams and start working on their project. Throughout the week they are introduced to new technologies and given short talks from mentors and other volunteers to help them find the right tech to solve their problems. On Friday all centres travel to Plymouth for the weekend where they present their projects.

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Last year the overall winners of the Festival of Code were Tom Hartley and Louis Brent-Carpenter, whose hack was a service to provide navigational and other information to cyclists using a series of handlebar-mounted LEDs – powered by a Raspberry Pi – known as PiCycle.

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Alongside Best in show there are other categories: Best example of codeBest example of design, Code a better country, and the Should exist award. I’d just like to point out that the winners of last year’s Best example of code were mentored by me in Manchester: contag.io.

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Here’s a video showing my centre’s experience:

Come join us for the best week of your summer! Meet up at local centres, be mentored, introduced to open data, build awesome games, apps, hardware and websites, and show off your hack at the weekend in Plymouth!

from the Festival of Code poster – download from festivalofco.de

If you’re 18 or under and want to participate, sign up at festivalofco.de now. We’re running a centre at Pi Towers in Cambridge – so if you’re local to us you’ll be assigned to our centre and you’ll be lucky enough to spend a week at our offices!

If you’re over 18 (even quite a lot over 18) you can sign up as a mentor - centres can always use an extra pair of hands, and you’ll have a great time!

Oh, and Stephen Fry is a fan:

There are also YRS events in Berlin, New York CitySingapore and elsewhere!

Win a Sony PRS-350 with Good e-Reader

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Welcome back to another Good e-Reader exclusive contest. Today we are giving away an e-reader we just found in our review labs, the Sony PRS-350.

The Sony PRS-350 and 650 were the most popular Sony e-readers the company ever produced. When they were first released on August 2010, they couldn’t keep them in stock on the retail level, due to ravenous demand.

I really liked the five inch display because it made it really pocket friendly. The resolution is 800×600 and features a touchscreen to flip the pages of your favorite book. There is no WIFI built into it, so you will have to load in your own PDF or EPUB books.

The 350 is in fairly great condition, as it was just used for the purposes of unboxing, reviewing and comparing against other readers on the market. In order to enter, you merely have to subscribe and like our YouTube channel and comment on the video, letting us know you have done all of the above.


Win a Sony PRS-350 with Good e-Reader is a post from: Good e-Reader

Companies and Users Flocking Back to Blackberry

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Blackberry is betting big on their new line of smartphones, headlined by the Passport. It bears a resemblance to the Bold, but with a larger screen and a more intuitive keyboard.  The Waterloo company is also winning back corporate clients who are disenchanted with the entire concept of bring  your own device.

One of the big concerns over Blackberry and the primary reason many corporations have switched away was due to the app ecosystem. Many of the top apps like SalesForce and Teamviewer do not have native apps and these are essential to doing business. In order to win back customers Blackberry signed a new agreement with Amazon to bundle their phones with the Amazon Appstore, as the primary destination to download content. This will open up the availability of a wider selection of apps and make it easier for your average user to install what they want, without having to sideload anything.

At a well-known investment firm in New York City, something strange is happening: Mobile app performance issues and privacy concerns have sparked a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolt, and now many employees are asking for their corporate BlackBerry back. “It’s a nightmare,” says an IT executive speaking on condition of anonymity.

Battery draining, stress on the corporate servers from many different devices are hindering app updates and providing security. “Things like this drove a wedge between IT and the users,” says the IT executive. “We became Big Brother. Everyone was convinced that we were doing this because we wanted to see what the hell they’re doing. In reality, it’s all about protecting the data.”

There is a movement now to step away from Android, iOS and Windows and embrace Blackberry once more. BlackBerry’s new BES10 and soon to be BES12 really takes care of many issues I.T departments are having now. Blackberry Balance helps segregate the work and personal life and new firmware updates will make them more viable.

Companies and Users Flocking Back to Blackberry is a post from: Good e-Reader

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Amazon Unveils PDF Preview Pane on New Paperwhite Update

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Amazon has just released a new firmware update for the second generation Kindle Paperwhite.  One of the big enhancements is for the PDF experience and now users will see a small preview pane on the top lefthand corner. This helps orient you when you are pinching and zooming, to insure you know were you are in the document.

When you buy physical books from Amazon, you normally have to wait a few days for it to be shipped out. Now, whenever you purchase a book, the sample eBook version will be automatically added to your library, so you can read the first few chapters.

Finally, Amazon has unveiled cross platform syncing on the last page read. This has been on their Android and iOS apps for sometime, but is now available additionally on the Paperwhite 2.

Amazon Unveils PDF Preview Pane on New Paperwhite Update is a post from: Good e-Reader

Art Showcase: Escape III

Hey all! It’s Rachel again. I have another amazing Art Showcase for you. This time Neil Mendoza explains how he and Anthony Goh brought these animated bird sculptures to life with the help of a Raspberry Pi, some Arduinos and lots of old mobile phone parts.

I really love this one XD – read right to the bottom if you want to see the birds in action. Over to Neil…

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Mobile phones are ubiquitous in today’s society, but often their use has unintended consequences, intruding into and changing social situations, distancing people in in real life by dragging them into the digital world.  They are also a massive source of electronic waste.  A few years ago this inspired Anthony Goh and me (Neil Mendoza) to create an installation that takes cast-off devices and suggests an alternate reality in which these unwanted phones and noises become something beautiful, giving them a new life by creating an experience that people can share together in person.  The Barbican recently asked commissioned us to create a new flock of birds for their awesome Digital Revolution exhibition.  Here's a little tech breakdown of how they work.

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In previous versions, the birds were independent, but this time we decided to have a Raspberry Pi at the heart of the installation controlling them all.  This gave us the most flexibility to animate them independently or choreographed them together.

The exhibition is travelling so we wanted the installation to be as easy to set up as possible to so we decided to make each bird talk to the Raspberry Pi over ethernet.  This means that communications are reliable over long distances and each bird is self-contained and only needs a power and data cable connected to it.

The next challenge to overcome was to figure out how to call a bird.  In previous incarnations, each bird included a functioning mobile phone that you could call.  However, as there is no reception in the gallery, we decided to include a different era of phone junk and make people call the birds with a rotary phone from the 1940s.  The system looks something like this…

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To make the phone feel phoney, the receiver is connected to a serial mp3 player, controlled by an Arduino that plays the appropriate audio depending on the state of the installation, e.g. dialling tone, bird song etc.  The Arduino also reads numbers that from the rotary dial and if one of the birds' numbers is dialled it sends it over ethernet to the Raspberry Pi.

The iBirdBrain app running on the Raspberry Pi is written in openFrameworks.  When iBirdBrain receives a number from the phone, it wakes the appropriate bird up and tells it to move randomly.  It then picks an animation created using James George's ofxTimeline and plays it with some added randomness.  The current state of each part of the bird is sent every frame over ethernet as a three byte message:

Byte 1: Type, e.g. 's' for servo

Byte 2: Data 1, e.g. servo index

Byte 3: Data 2, e.g. servo angle

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So the status of the app could be seen quickly without needing to SSH into the Pi we decided to use a PiTFT screen.  To begin with we rendered the OpenGL output of the app to the PiTFT screen, however as the screen runs at 20 FPS this created an unnecessary bottleneck.  In the end, we decided to set the screen up so that it would render the console output from the openFrameworks app.  After that, the app ran at a solid 60 FPS.  Outputting a '\r' character to the console goes back to the beginning of the line, so I used this to create a constantly updating console output that didn't scroll, e.g.:

cout << '\r' << statusMessage;

The birds themselves each contain an Arduino.  They speak ethernet using an ENC28J60 ethernet module and this library.  To start with I used TCP but running a TCP stack along with all the other stuff we were asking the bird to do, proved a little too much for its little brain so we moved to using UDP as it requires less memory and processor cycles.  An ID for each bird was programmed into the EEPROM of the Arduino.  That way, there only needed to be one firmware for all the birds, the birds themselves would then set all of their data, IP address, peripherals etc based on their ID.

Each bird has multiple parts that are controlled by the Arduino, servos for the wings and heads, piezo sounders, Neopixels and a screen for the face.

Escape III is on display at Digital Revolution until 14th September at the Barbican in London – I’m so excited, I’m going next week!

If you can’t make it, you can see the birds here:

Authors United to Issue New Directive to Amazon

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As Hachette, Amazon, and the laundry list of household name authors who make up the faux-power group Authors United continue to battle and make headlines over the contract dispute, there’s another major player who’s caught in the crossfire of the whole mess: the readers.

While critics and supporters on both sides argue over the costs of doing business, the power of capitalism, even the poor contract terms that many traditionally published authors face, the sad fact is that the readers are being left out of much of the discussion. How the contract agreement–whenever it may come about–affects book pricing will directly impact consumers and their ability to continue to purchase books.

Unfortunately, Authors United, the group of authors who penned an open letter to Amazon asking the retailer to resolve the issue and agree to terms, has now threatened to call on its readers to help stand their ground, despite Amazon’s offer to give Hachette’s authors 100% of the sale price of their books until the matter is concluded. AU has now written a second letter stating that it will write another letter…then post that letter in a full-page ad in the New York Times.

Through author Douglas Preston, AU has made the following bold statement: “We have many loyal and committed readers. They listen when we speak. That represents power; perhaps even enough power to face down one of the world’s largest corporations.”

The level of arrogance required to state that AU can use its own reader fans in its fight to increase the price of books for those very fans is astounding, as this is one of the biggest shows of us-versus-them in publishing to be made public in quite some time. Hopefully these authors will quickly come to understand that if it weren’t for Amazon, many of those readers couldn’t even afford to be their fans.

Authors United to Issue New Directive to Amazon is a post from: Good e-Reader

The OverDrive Challenge results are in!

The results are in, and we're happy to announce and congratulate the libraries that participated in the OverDrive Challenge and increased circulation in the month of June by 25% or more from their previous best month on record.

25%-49% increase:

  • Moore Memorial Public Library
  • Monash Public Library Service
  • Speer Memorial Library
  • St. Albert Public Library
  • Massanutten Regional Library
  • Yukon Public Libraries
  • Westmoreland eBook Network
  • Medway Council
  • Monterey County Free Libraries
  • Geelong Regional Library
  • Nassau County Public Library
  • Shasta Public Libraries
  • Lake County Library System
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
  • Mid North Coast Library Service
  • Apache County Library District
  • Municipal Library Consortium of St. Louis County
  • Union County Public Library
  • County of Brant Public Library
  • Markham Public Library
  • Anderson County Library
  • Central Rappahannock Regional Library
  • Jeffersonville Township Public Library
  • Lake County Public Library
  • Download and Go

50%+ increase:

  • Hempstead County Library
  • Hancock County Library System
  • Town of Los Gatos Public Library
  • Corona Public Library
  • Beaver County Library System
  • Downey City Library
  • Elkhart Public Library
  • Holroyd City Council Libraries
  • York County Library
  • Ajax Public Library
  • Watsonville Public Library
  • Grace A. Dow Memorial Library
  • Bartholomew County Public Library
  • York Libraries
  • City of Santa Clarita Public Library
  • Anaheim Public Library
  • North Texas Independent Digital Consortium
  • Lafourche Parish Public Library
  • Rotherham Libraries

A big congratulations goes out to our grand prize winner, Rotherham Libraries in the United Kingdom, for increasing circulation well over 100% – more than any other library that participated.

Finally, we're happy to announce that Debbie S. from Kansas City Public Library is the winner drawn at random of a Google Nexus tablet.

While not everyone who signed up for the OverDrive Challenge hit the 25% goal or higher, many libraries had their highest circulating month ever during June. We'd like to congratulate everyone who participated in the OverDrive Challenge and wish you continued success with the growth of your digital library checkouts.

Next week in the blog we'll feature some of the unique strategies used to boost circulation from our winning libraries. Looking for ways to raise awareness of your digital collection? Make sure to visit the Partner Portal for free marketing and training resources, available 24/7.

 

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.

Amazon Rolls Out Beta of KDP Pricing Support

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New information and knowledge have come to light thanks to the efforts of a core group of individuals; author Hugh Howey and his mathematical number cruncher Data Guy have released exhaustive information through the Author Earnings reports designed to help authors make informed decisions concerning their publishing.

Rather than fight the Author Earnings efforts and information with their collective heads in the sand, Amazon seems to be reading and incorporating the information into tools for their authors. In the public beta of a new feature, KDP Pricing Support, Amazon has opened a new toolbox for authors to better understand their book pricing and the impact is has on their overall sales.

Amazon’s new tool gives authors who wish to use the free service a snapshot of where similar books are performing and at which price points, thereby recommending a price for their titles. Authors are then given the option to one-click to institute that price for their books. It’s interesting to note that when a Good e-Reader staffer tested the new service, it was discovered that some of the author’s titles were priced as much as seven dollars US lower than the typical book performing at peak sales for that category; other titles were already priced at the recommended $2.99. None of the authors’ books were priced higher than the service’s recommendation, a characteristic that is common among self-published authors who tend to underprice their content.

The tool is available for all KDP authors to try out by clicking on the button in the “Rights and Pricing” section of their dashboards, and Amazon has stated that the beta period is open to all users in an attempt to help them uncover which features authors rely on. Books that are not enrolled in Amazon’s exclusive KDP Select program are still eligible for the service, and more information can be found HERE.

Amazon Rolls Out Beta of KDP Pricing Support is a post from: Good e-Reader

Wattpad Announces Creative Commons Agreement

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Copyright is a hotly contested issue facing both authors and the publishing industry, as rights holders work to strike a balance between safeguarding content and sharing it across a variety of platforms to reach as many readers as possible. In the era of digital publishing, ebook piracy, and open sharing authoring platforms, some industry response has been to tighten the reins even further to combat the over-inflated perceived threat of content loss.

Wattpad, a site which makes discovery possible through more than 30 million reader memberships, is designed specifically for authors to write and post content, then for readers to share that content with their own followers. But one of the chief questions plaguing the concept often comes from new authors to the site: is it safe?

In response, Wattpad announced this week that it has developed Open Stories, a Creative Commons option that authors can choose to let their work reach as many readers as possible while allowing those readers to be a part of the process.

According to Wattpad’s announcement on this new option, “The biggest question facing new writers today isn’t how to protect their work; it’s how to find a readership for it,” said Cory Doctorow, science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger. "It makes complete sense that so many Wattpad writers are gravitating toward Creative Commons licenses: by giving others permission to share your writing, you can open doors to new audiences and new creative opportunities.

“Cory Doctorow has shared five stories on Wattpad under CC licenses, including New York Times best-selling novels Homeland and Little Brother. Today, to coincide with the roll out of CC 4.0, he will share his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, on Wattpad.

Creative Commons is gaining more and more ground as content owners begin to more fully understand the changes that have taken place, largely due to technology and advances in the internet and social media. The original system of licensing permissions to read and share content don’t lend themselves well to the digital publishing age, and CC is working to address the necessary protections while still allowing the freedom of discovery.

"From day one Wattpad has been about self-expression and creativity. With the integration of CC 4.0 creators from around the world will be able to search millions of stories on Wattpad and use them for their own artistic pursuits," said Co-founder and CEO of Wattpad Allen Lau. "Licensing creative works under CC 4.0 makes total sense in today's remixing culture."

Wattpad Announces Creative Commons Agreement is a post from: Good e-Reader

First Quarter Digital Sales on the Rise

An ebook being used by an elderly person
The PA Digital Sales Monitor, new report from the UK-based Publishers’ Association, showed that ebook sales are on the rise for the first quarter of 2014. This report, which showed a 10.5% increase in digital sales, comes at a time when the debate around ebooks and their viability from different angles is starting to make waves again.

According to a press release issued on the first quarter sales, “The growth in sales was also spread across all recorded categories. In the consumer sector digital sales of fiction increased 8%, with a 10% rise in sales of adult non-fiction. Digital sales of children's titles meanwhile enjoyed a particularly strong performance, with a 33% rise.

“In the educational/professional sector the largest growth was seen in Scientific Technical and Medical (STM) books, where sales increased by 16%, however, there were also strong performances by schools/English Language Teaching (ELT) sales which grew 14%, and social sciences/humanities which saw an 11% rise.”

eBooks as a viable source of industry revenue for both traditional publishing and indie has been called into question in the past, especially given the fact that critics love to indicate the plateau that ebooks seem to have hit with readers. While their growth had seemed to slow in recent years, they remained steady with e-reading fans. This growth indicates a forward movement in the format, giving even more credence to the disputes currently taking place between retailers and publishers regarding sales agreements, and between publishers and their authors over royalties.

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said, “The Publishers Association Digital Sales Monitor shows the continuing development and growth of digital publishing in the UK. Increases in digital sales in both consumer and non-consumer sectors shows how publishing as an industry has embraced digital technology and continued its strong track record of innovation and service delivery."

First Quarter Digital Sales on the Rise is a post from: Good e-Reader

What If book tour!

My book, What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, comes out September 2nd (pre-order on Amazon!), and I’m excited to announce that I’ll be going on a book tour!

Here’s the event list:


Thursday, September 4

CAMBRIDGE, MA
Harvard Book Store at Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle St.
6:00pm (Seating is limited)
Tickets: $26 tickets on sale August 12 at 9am ET, includes one book, one seat.
More details: http://www.harvard.com/event/ randall_munroe/
Pre-order a limited number of signed copies of What If? from Harvard Book Store.

Friday, September 5
NEW YORK, NY
Barnes & Noble – Union Square
33 E 17th St.
7:00pm
Open event, seating is first come first serve.
More details: http://store-locator. barnesandnoble.com/event/84245

Tuesday, September 9
SEATTLE, WA
Town Hall Seattle
1119 8th Ave.
7:30pm
Seating is limited
Tickets: $5, one seat
More details: http://www.townhallseattle. org/randall-munroe-answering- what-if/

Wednesday, September 10
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
The Booksmith at Public Works
161 Erie St.
7:30pm
Seating is limited
Tickets: $34 includes one book, one seat; $20 general admission
The bar at Public Works will be serving drinks before, during, and after the program. This event is necessarily limited to people 21 and older.
More details: http://www.brownpapertickets. com/event/772183

Thursday, September 11
BERKELEY, CA
Berkeley Arts & Lectures at the Hillside Club
2286 Cedar St.
7:30pm
Seating is limited
Tickets: $10 with student ID; $15 general admission
More details: http://www.brownpapertickets. com/event/772197

Friday, September 12
Google+ Hangout On Air moderated by Hank Green
Location: Online/Various
3:30pm PT/ 6:30pm ET
Note: Anyone can view the Hangout live on YouTube (Friday, 9/12, 3:30pm PT), but only 4-6 xkcd readers will be selected using this form  to participate and ask questions within the Hangout itself. Apply for a chance to participate in the Hangout by Monday, August 25.
Link to Hangout and more info to come!

Sunday, September 14
LOS ANGELES, CA
Live Talks LA
An afternoon with Randall Munroe
William Turner Gallery
Bergamot Arts Station
2525 Michigan Avenue,
Santa Monica
4:30pm
Seating is limited
Tickets: $43 includes one book, one reserved seat; $20 general admission
More details: http://livetalksla.org/blog/ 2014/07/13/september-14- randall-munroe/

Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 21, 2014

FaceBook Adds Save For Later Reference

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How many people check Facebook more often in a day than they do any local news. Problem is, our friends are sharing details faster than we can consume them –especially because we are often checking in on them while we are on the go! Thankfully, Facebook understands (and finally implemented a feature that we can get behind instead of just redesigning our home pages and making us constantly frustrated). A new save feature lets you put a virtual bookmark in a link, place, movie, TV show, or music clip… so when you have time, you can get properly caught up.

To access the feature, find the drop-down menu called from the top right-hand corner of any post –tap there and choose ‘Save’. Later, view the saved section to recall these items that you thought warranted a closer look. Apparently Facebook will also remind us of these saved items on occasion, popping them back into your news feed (which could be handy or annoying, time will tell).

If you haven’t installed Facebook for Android on your device yet, download it now and get back in touch with those people on your friends list.

FaceBook Adds Save For Later Reference is a post from: Good e-Reader

Dutch Publishers Unable to Shut Down Used eBook Website

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Dutch Publishers have failed to convince a court to shut down a popular used eBook website. A potential battle between lawyers would cost millions over the concept of being able to sell your eBooks legally.

The Amsterdam District Court ruled that website Tom Kabinet can stay open for business during a legal battle against the Dutch Publishers Association. The publishers believe Tom Kabinet infringes on copyrights, said Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, a copyright lawyer who represents the Dutch Publishers Association (DPA), which has sued to take the site offline.

The Dutch courts have ruled in favor of Tom Kabinet because of the 2012 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which ruled in a dispute between Oracle and UsedSoft that the trading of “used” software licenses is legal and that the author of such software cannot oppose any resale. This verdict also applies to ebooks, according to Tom Kabinet.

The essence of Kabinet is that people who own eBooks can upload them to the website and sell them. When a book is sold, a digital watermark is added to the file to insure they will not filter to pirate websites and to add accountability for the buyer and seller.

The judge overseeing the trial has informed the publishers that they can try and mount a case against Kabinet, contending that the Oracle and Usedsoft judgement does not apply to eBooks.

Dutch Publishers Unable to Shut Down Used eBook Website is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Maritime Industry Finally Embraces Digital Content

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Every single day there 60,000 cruise, cargo and oil rigs in operation globally. The vast majority of staff that keep these operations running properly are workers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Russia and India. Many of the corporations that bankroll everything are putting a new emphasis on crew welfare and retention. This has opened up a new market for digital publishing companies to keep the staff entertained and use it as perks to keep trained personnel from going to the competition.

Maritime operations, whether its a cruise ship, oil rig or cargo vessel often do not have reliable internet access. The companies often deal with satellite internet providers such as VSAT and IMTECH. Internet access is purchased in blocks, where ships have very specific limits on how much data is available. In order to download eBooks, magazines or newspapers they have to be accessed in off-peak hours when the internet is more reliable and not congested by other vessels.

Cargo vessels and oil rigs often have staff that are on the vessel for up to six months at a time. Keeping them entertained is a top priority to keep them loyal and happy. This has opened up a tremendous niche in the marketplace where some companies are taking advantage of the sparse options currently available.

Vancouver based PressReader currently has a catalog of over 2,000 newspapers and magazines. They have developed a new offline system that will allow vessels to download content in non-peak hours and distribute it to smartphones and tablets via a shipwide WIFI network. Maritime companies are starting to select publications that are relevant to the nationalities of their workers and getting the top three or four titles from their own countries. This would allow a boatswain from the Philippines to get free access to the Manila Times, UNO Magazine, and Daily Inquirer to read at their leisure. Providing perks like free newspapers and magazines gives workers and officers a taste of home, without having to spend any of their own money, its the corporate cash after all that pays for it.

Getting your staff to read safety guides, regulations, weather reports and orientation information is a trial and tribulation. The print editions are often destroyed in the heat and humidity or lost amidst the huge vessels. This has warranted digital distribution, and PressReader offline supports the ability for companies to upload their documents in PDF form, to be downloaded to tablets and phones on-demand.

PressReader offline has been in a year long pilot project and the system was co-developed by Silver Seas Cruises. It was trialed on a number of vessels to get feedback on how it could be integrated, using existing systems and the limitations of satellite internet. The offline capabilities have been a big hit and is now being used on vessels globally.

Established satellite internet providers are also leaping at the oportonity to fill this burgeoning entertainment niche. InfoSat is currently developing an a new system that will allow vessels to have unlimited satellite internet access and offer a wide array of media. Maps, music, Videos, Newspapers, magazines and eBooks will be a top priority for the global launch.

If you are a crewman on a military submarine, your options to access leisure content is severely hampered. Internet access is non-existent, due to security reasons, which traditionally made reading eBooks unfeasible. This has prompted the US Navy to partner with Findaway World for the NERD e-Reader. It comes with 300 eBooks and audiobooks and has no USB port or WIFi internet access. In essence, it is a tremendously low security risk and provides an alternative to movies or the XBox.

I think this is the perfect time for the maritime industry to embrace audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and digital newspapers as an avenue to retain staff and keep everyone entertained. After all, most just rely on mindless activities such as video games, movies or sports. Reading gives them a taste of home and a widened mind.

The Maritime Industry Finally Embraces Digital Content is a post from: Good e-Reader

The New Yorker to Implement a Digital Paywall

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The New Yorker exemplifies a high society paper that chronicles commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. The paper has been going strong since 1925 and recently they have been working like fiends to make sure their website is brought up to modern standards. Not only do they have a new responsive design that makes it shine on computers, but now looks stellar on phones and tablets. In order to celebrate, they are giving away any new content they publish away for free and also are opening up their digital  archives from 2007 to 2014.

In a statement on their blog the editorial staff said “Beginning this week, absolutely everything new that we publish—the work in the print magazine and the work published online only—will be unlocked. All of it, for everyone. Call it a summer-long free-for-all. Non-subscribers will get a chance to explore The New Yorker fully and freely, just as subscribers always have. Then, in the fall, we move to a second phase, implementing an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall. Subscribers will continue to have access to everything; non-subscribers will be able to read a limited number of pieces—and then it's up to them to subscribe. You’ve likely seen this system elsewhere—at the Times, for instance—and we will do all we can to make it work seamlessly.”

So the New Yorker intends on borrowing a page out of the New York Times playbook to implement a paywall for all of their online content. This will make the majority of it be indexed on Google and used as reference by other online publications. Users will be able to read X articles per month for free and if they want to read more, they have to subscribe. This is likely why they are giving away everything for free right now, to drum up a new readership base and then try and get them to pay.

Jeff Howe, a professor of multimedia journalism at Northeastern University, called the new paywall strategy a good one. “Paywalls aren’t the silver bullet news outlets thought they would be back in the Jurassic period of the internet’s development, but a limited and intentionally leaky one becomes one of a bunch of revenue streams to staunch further declines, and maybe even help ward off that terrible vortex of losses leading to layoffs leading to readership declines leading to losses.”

The New Yorker to Implement a Digital Paywall is a post from: Good e-Reader

BBM Beta Live for Windows Phone

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When smartphones began, BlackBerry ruled the land and everybody fell in love with their messaging app (fondly called BBM). It behaved like iMessage, long before such a thing existed, offering up multi-person chats, read notifications and other more dynamic features. These days, fewer (and fewer) people have BlackBerry devices, but the beloved BBM has been extended to work on other platforms –the most recent being the Windows Phone.

Features of the BBM app for Windows Phone include: BBID setup and log-in, BBM profiles, invite a contact and suggested contacts (based on people you know), 1-to-1 and multi-person chat, contact categories (handy for separating out work colleagues, family, and friends), and BBM groups. Each of these things combined with their cross-platform expansions have turned BBM into a serious contender as a universally adopted instant messaging app.

To give this app a test-drive on your Windows Phone, you must be a part of the BlackBerry Beta program. If you haven’t gotten on board, or you don’t have a Windows Phone, BBM Messender for Android is also available as a free download.

BBM Beta Live for Windows Phone is a post from: Good e-Reader

Udacity Offers Android Development Course

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Do you have a fantastic idea for a new Android app, but lack the development skills to bring it to market? Udacity would like to help you turn inspiration into reality with their new course called “Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals.” Delivered entirely online, this class is aimed at developers who understand the fundamentals of programming (using other languages such as C++, Objective C, or Python for 3 years or more) but may not have any experience with the Android operating system.

The course commitment is approximately 6 hours of study during each of 8 weeks, throughout which Android development fundamentals will be covered. By the conclusion of the course, graduates should enjoy an understanding of the tools, principles, and patterns leading to the creation of Android apps.

Becoming comfortable with Android development may be a lucrative move for many software development professionals, especially when you consider that the mobile operating system is branching out to other platforms as well, including: wearables, desktop computing, and cloud-connected solutions.

Interested? You can get started immediately with a 2-week free trial, after which the tuition will cost you $150 per month –a bargain when you consider the earning potential of successful Android apps.

Udacity Offers Android Development Course is a post from: Good e-Reader

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy: TUW for Android

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News of an upcoming superhero movie is always exciting for fans of the genre, so when Marvel announced one was in the works –everybody was wondering who the star of the show would be. Turns out the next big feature is all about the Guardians of the Galaxy. If you’re among those who aren’t familiar with these heroes, you aren’t alone, but playing a little of the co-branded Android game will help you learn and get excited. In Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon (TUW), the brilliance of Marvel crossed with Disney comes to life.

The team fighting evil is a rag-tag crew, comprised of Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Drax –a group of assassins, grouchy aliens, and one that resembles a tree. Together with their allies, your job is to help them through real-time battles while trying to recover the five pieces of The Universal Weapon so that it isn’t built by the villainous Ronan the Accuser! Once you make it through the story, keep playing and enjoying the game while testing your survival skills in Arena Mode. For added fun, the more you play, the more combo moves and crushing attacks you can unlock (plus gain access to over 25 characters).

Download Guardians of the Galaxy: TUW for $4.99 USD now (and enjoy the fact that there are no in-app purchases to get in the way of your villian-hunting)!

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy: TUW for Android is a post from: Good e-Reader