Monday, April 8, 2013

Sony Displays Massive Resistance to Illuminated e-Readers

sony prs-700

If you are hoping for the upcoming Sony PRS-T3 e-Reader to have the same type of Glowlight that to the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo has, you might be let down. Recently, Sony has announced that the company is very resistive to the idea of incorporating a front-lit display in any of its next generation e-readers.

Stephanie Lang, head of group IT division of Sony France, said in a recent interview, “We believe that the integration of lighting from the sides is not necessarily helpful and may even degrade the reading experience. It moves away from the traditional reading experience on paper. By cons, we believe it can be useful to have a cover that integrates a light that can guide the reader as he wishes. But we do not seek to incorporate lighting directly into the hardware of the reader.”

The restiveness to incorporating a front-lit display stems from one of their old e-readers, the PRS-700. Sony actually released a very terrible reader with a side-lit display in 2008. This has put a sour taste on the whole concept, Stephanie said. “We had concluded that the reading lights are aimed really heavy readers who seek an experience close to the paper, and light alter the experience. So we focused on other features that the book is not, as the ability to enlarge the font to enhance reading comfort.” She went on to say “Studies we conducted have shown that the presence of an integrated lighting system was not a criterion: it is a popular feature from time to time, but that’s all. We prefer to focus on the rest of the reading light to provide a highly efficient device, without this feature, it offers optional via accessories. This is the bias that we take.”

It seems at least one major Sony spokesman, who does know a thing or two about the company’s European strategy, is saying that the company will not release a front-lit e-reader. Obviously, this is probably not indicative to the company’s overall game plan for the future of e-readers, but it does not bode well for people who want to read in the dark without an additional light.

Sony Displays Massive Resistance to Illuminated e-Readers is a post from: E-Reader News

Asus MeMO Pad ME172V Now Available in the US for $149


Asus has finally launched its budget Android tablet, the MeMO Pad ME172V, in the US. Prices start at a very comfortable $149, though that also means there are a few compromises to be made. These include a less capable 7 inch 1024 x 600 pixel display. The rest of the specifications list 1 GHz VIA WM8950 CPU and 1 GB of RAM, along with 16 GB of internal memory that is further expandable via microSD cards. The tablet runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Recent reviews of the MeMO Pad ME172V have been pretty impressive with acceptablet levels of performance, good battery, and excellent quality. Of course, it has not been designed to be a speed demon, but does fit in as a nice budget tablet.

Asus MeMO Pad ME172V Now Available in the US for $149 is a post from: E-Reader News

IRS collecting tax payer information from Facebook and Twitter

You have until April 15th to file a return - and the IRS will be collecting a lot more than just taxes this year.
According to several reports, the agency will also be collecting personal information from sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It says the effort is to catch people trying to beat the system, but some say it goes too far.
Attorney Kristen Mathews warns to be careful with what you say on social media platforms.
She has concerns the government is pushing the limits of what has historically been considered private.
"There are laws that regulate the government's ability to get a hold of things like credit card transaction history. But those laws have become more permissive in the last several years, particularly after 9-11, and so some might say those laws are no longer in line with the average expectation of privacy," says Mathews.
The government has said it would only check a Facebook page or twitter account if there is already red flag in a tax form.


Marvel and Comixology Amend the Quirks and Announce 700 Free Comics


Marvel and Comixology announced a few weeks ago that they were giving away 700 first issue comic books. The demand to download them completely overwhelmed the Comixology servers and the vast majority of customers were unable to download even a single digital edition. The two companies have ironed out all of the quirks and have re-introduced the free promotional campaign.

Starting April 8th to April 9th, the signups will open to access 700 first issue digital comic books. You have to sign-up in advance and they will grant your account access for a staggered release. When you receive your invitation code you will be able to redeem it on April 11th, when the free comic program will officially open.

Marvel is hoping to hook people on the first issues of every major franchise during the next week. You can access your comics via Comixology’s Windows 8, Android, iOS, and web based service. Anything you download will be synced in the cloud and accessed on many different devices.

Marvel and Comixology Amend the Quirks and Announce 700 Free Comics is a post from: E-Reader News

Rumor: Sony Working on New Tablet to Succeed Tablet Z


The latest tablet rumor to hit the street is that Sony will be launching a new tablet successor to the Xperia Tablet Z, currently the best at the Sony camp. The revelation came from a forum post at esato. The tablet will feature the latest Snapdragon 800 processor that includes a quad core architecture capable of supporting a clock rate of up to 2.3 GHz. The tablet will also feature Adreno 330 GPU to allow for ultra smooth operations. The tablet is likely to be launched in the third or fourth quarter, which means we could be treated with something more substantial on this during the IFA event scheduled in September.

Rumor: Sony Working on New Tablet to Succeed Tablet Z is a post from: E-Reader News

Ideas for Promoting Your OverDrive School Library


It's never easy captivating the attention of a child. Believe me, I was one of those kids. However, I know from experience, that a great book will do it every time. Being a teacher or school librarian requires a level of patience and grace I do not possess. I admire their ability to keep calm, to be nurturing but firm and their passion to encourage all of us to pay more attention, to learn a little more. But therein lies our common ground—the learning.


The OverDrive School platform was designed to encourage learning and to make kids excited to read again. But, as I mentioned above, it's hard to get their attention. While we cannot command a room of children like you can, we can at least provide a few tools to help. Here are a few a best practices to get the word out that your students have access to an online library that never closes that maybe, might be just a little bit…cool.

  • Utilize our Online Marketing Kit to distribute bookmarks and hang posters about your digital library.
  • Create ID cards to distribute for students with their library card number and OverDrive URL (we can assist with this as well).
  • Speak with parents: Host a demonstration table at an open house event or during parent/teacher conferences.
  • Have English teachers spend 10 minutes at the beginning of a class showing their students the website.
  • Use OverDrive titles on Interactive White Boards to show parts of speech, themes, etc.
  • Have teachers offer extra credit for "eBook reports" using your OverDrive titles.
  • Start a digital book club and have the students pick classic titles to read together from Project Gutenberg, which is available for simultaneous use.
  • Utilize a school Facebook page to share announcements about new titles in the digital library.
  • Mention OverDrive during morning announcements.


We can also design a custom suite of materials for you that include your school logo and color scheme to make the site seem even more personalized to your students' needs. As they say in showbiz, it's all in the delivery!


Whether your school website is currently live or in development, the practices above will definitely help you spread the word. If that doesn't do it, let the great book selection do the 'talking' for you. I know some of you are quickly approaching the summer months and that usually means a halt in library traffic, but not this year! Tailor your summer reading program to match what's in your digital collection. It's easily accessible, free of charge and you don't have to worry about the cost of keeping the place cool (ha-ha get it…because it's online!). Here are some titles that might be showing up on your summer lists this year:


Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Auggie is an ordinary kid, at least on the inside. This story is a heartbreaking, encouraging, wonderful tale of a boy just trying to fit in. Palacio delivers a lesson in humility and kindness that all of us should learn.


Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. A love story for the world we live in now. Our hero, Travis, returns home after the horrors of war in Afghanistan to find he has to rebuild his entire life. His brother has stolen his girlfriend and car. His best friend, the voice of reason, was lost in the war Travis is desperately trying to forget. To top it off, he may be falling in love with the girl he used to torture as a child. It's first love told the way it should be—messy, exhilarating and worth all the risk.


Hush by Eishes Chayil. Gittel has seen something no thirteen-year-old should. The true horror, however, comes after the fact when Gittel is forced to be silent by the adults she has always trusted. While the super natural elements make this title a very exciting and suspenseful read, it's actually the message at its core that makes it stand above the rest. It echoes what we all went through growing up, choosing to define yourself by what you were taught to be true or by what you've experienced on your own. It's the moment when your past blends with your present and the future is all up to you.


To add these titles and more to your school’s collection, visit Content Reserve. Reach out to your school’s Account Specialist for more information and assistance.


Christina Bernecker is an Account Specialist at OverDrive.


Asus MeMO Pad 7″ Android 4.1 Tablet Now Available for $149

If you are in the market for a good quality budget tablet, Asus has just released a new 7-inch model called the ASUS MeMO Pad ME172V. The Asus MeMO Pad 7 is basically a watered-down version of the Google Nexus 7, which Asus also makes. The MeMo Pad sells for $149, which is $50 less [...]

B&N Now Paying YOU to Sell Their Nook HD Tablets

Things are starting to look bad for the Nook. Real bad. Today, Barnes & Noble announced the beginning of their “Spread the Word about Nook Program” which will run until June 14, 2013. If you can somehow convince a close friend to spend $199 on a new Nook HD, B&N will give you and the [...]

Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror

Here’s a somewhat creepy mirror with a disembodied (French) voice, which recognises the person looking into it and responds accordingly. This lovely hack from Pierre Raufast is the sort of OpenCV application that we hope to see much more of when the camera board goes up for sale (and the Pi camera would be a great solution here, with a much higher framerate).

Snow White’s Mum has nothing on Pierre.

I mailed Pierre, the man in front of the mirror, as soon as I spotted this on YouTube last week, asking if he had any documentation. He didn’t, but he sat down immediately and spent the weekend putting some together – in English. Thank you very much, Pierre! Head over to at Think RPi, where you’ll find easy-to-follow steps which make up a tutorial, including a hardware list; software; instructions; tips on successfully using OpenCV (the face-recognition software); a picture of Han Solo, my all-time favourite space pirate; and a picture of a couple of Brits holding boxes full of tiny computers last April. Pierre says he still has a couple of steps of the tutorial to write – actually, what he said in his email was:

Now, I must cook to friends tonight (life is not only with computers, sometimes human-interactions are required) :(

I’ll update this post when those final steps are in place.

Thanks so much for all your work on this, Pierre; it’s technologically interesting, and we thought it was hilariously funny too. And thank you for going out of your way to make English-language documentation available; we really appreciate it! You can find more of Pierre’s work at his bilingual homepage. We particularly like the Tie-Fighter music box…


eBook Review: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson


Verdict: 3 Stars

Kate Atkinson’s highly-anticipated recent novel, Life After Life (Hachette Book Group), not to be confused with a novel released only the week before with the same title by Jill McCorkle, came out to instant success. Named an Amazon Best Book of the Month pick and with some praise-filled reviews by some very well-known authors, fans of Atkinson’s many previous titles were no doubt not disappointed.

The novel opens in 1910 in a very Downton Abbey scene. A young upper middle class family is expecting the arrival of their third child, who is sadly born dead due to complications. The scene reopens, and this time the doctor arrives in time to save the baby, Ursula. What follows is the life story of a person who cannot seem to stay dead. While Ursula is every bit a mortal human being, with every death–and there seem to be more opportunities for death for this character than one would expect in a normal person’s lifetime–she is reborn in the current time period.

It was actually very fun that the serene British countryside setting at the beginning lulled the reader into a shocking sense of false security about where the story was heading, with the greatest problems being a young and shamefully unwed mother in the family and whether to break with convention by calling the cook by her actual name rather than her household position. However, it took a while to break into the real tension of the story, namely when Ursula becomes an adult. While the storytelling was flawless, it was very difficult to care about Ursula; who needs to turn the page to keep reading when the worst that can happen to this woman is that she has to go back to the beginning and start fresh?

Life After Life: A Novel is available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and more.

eBook Review: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is a post from: E-Reader News