Thursday, April 11, 2013

Newest McGraw-Hill Innovation Aimed at Advanced Placement Students


Digital textbook companies like CourseSmart and Kno recently launched innovative, interactive dashboards that help increase student learning outcomes by providing valuable feedback on how students engage with course material, but McGraw-Hill High Education announced today that its launch of such a dashboard is aimed at a very specific demographic of students.SCOREboard, the latest McGraw-Hill platform, is the first of its kind learning tool that helps students prepare for Advanced Placement courses and exams.

"AP exam enrollments have risen steadily over the past decade, but unfortunately student performance on those exams has not," said Christine Willig, senior vice president of products at McGraw-Hill School Education, in a press release today. "Of the high school students taking AP exams, nearly half fail to earn what is considered a passing score. With SCOREboard, students can get a clear picture of precisely where they stand well in advance of their exam, giving them the academic edge they need to perform well on the exam and ultimately in college."

While digital learning dashboards are not new–McGraw-Hill’s own LearnSmart dashboard already has over one million users–this is the first tool of its kind to be sold to schools via subscription model that will engage students with the core focus of AP classes. Those classes, eight in all, include AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Economics, AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology, AP United States Government and Politics, AP United States History, and AP World History.

One of the key features of digital interactive learning tools such as SCOREboard is the ability to tailor study time to identified areas of deficiency and facets of lower confidence level. This personalized instructional assistance means students no longer waste valuable time with study concepts that have already been mastered, but instead are focused on topics that are not as ingrained.

SCOREboard is available now for use on PC and Mac and will be available for iOS devices by next school year. For more information or to purchase SCOREboard, please visit their website HERE.

Newest McGraw-Hill Innovation Aimed at Advanced Placement Students is a post from: E-Reader News


Watch the video first. We’ll talk about it under the jump.

So, then. Philips have this lovely (and expensive) technology called Ambilight, which extends the lighting environment of what you’re watching on TV into your living room. It’s better watched than described, so if you haven’t hit play on the video above yet, please do!

I saw one of the original demos of this at CES a few years ago. It’s now consumer technology that you can buy in your local department store, and it’s a really impressive, and surprisingly immersive and effective piece of technology. But if, like me, you’re not in a hurry to replace the TV you spent a packet on, you’ll have made a sad decision to live without the flashing neon of CSI inveigling its way into the corners of your living room; and the fires of R’hllor, the Red God, will make no impression on your ceilings. Because this stuff costs money, and we’re all much too busy spending that on new binocular microscopes.

Oscar Andersson has made a Raspberry Pi-powered ambient lighting fix which I can’t distinguish from the Philips product – as you’ll see from the video above, it’s a lovely piece of work, and most importantly, it’s very affordable. You’ll find more pictures, more video and build instructions, using Adafruit’s Occidentalis distro (which is all about the hardware hacking) at Oscar’s Facebook page.

So many projects, so little time. This is the third thing I’ve blogged or stuck on Facebook this week that I want to make. Let us know if you make your own version – we’d love to hear how you get on! (Incidentally, the day someone makes a video demo that doesn’t reference Avatar is the day we at the Foundation cheer up dramatically.)


Developers Have until April 25th to Implement Amazon Coins into Their Apps

amazon coins

Amazon Coins was announced in February of this year and it is poised to go live in early May. The essence of this program is a new set of virtual currency that can be used to purchase apps and make in-app micro payments. Developers will earn 70% commission on in-app purchases from customers using Amazon Coins. Today, Amazon announced that developers have until April 25th to implement the virtual currency in their apps, so they will be ready for the May launch.

Amazon will be giving away millions of free coins when the service first launches. Developers are encouraged to have their apps ready, because even though patrons will be spending free coins, developers will be able to rake in a ton of cash. There is no word yet on the cost of the coins, or whether or not they will be on a 1:1 ratio with the US dollar. Currently, this new program will only be available for US customers at launch, with no word on a broader international release.

Amazon Coins is really poised to differentiate the company’s Android App Store from all of the others on the market. Customers will be able to gift coins to their kids or to their friends. This will make purchasing content without a credit card a ton easier for people who don’t live in the US, or don’t have access to a credit card.

For more information on Amazon Coins, click here. Stay tuned to the Distribution Blog for more updates and announcements regarding the launch of Amazon Coins.

Developers Have until April 25th to Implement Amazon Coins into Their Apps is a post from: E-Reader News

3M Cloud Library Gains More eBooks from New Publishing Partners


The 3M Cloud Library is quickly becoming the second largest player in companies that do business with libraries. The company facilitates the entire digital distribution system, so libraries can easily purchase and loan out ebooks to their patrons. Recently, 3M has expanded on its relationship with Penguin to include all of its titles in their repository. Today, the 3M Cloud Library has signed new deals with Random House Mondadori, which will add to the service's collection of Spanish titles, as well as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, including its strong list of children's content.

"Our new catalog acquisition tool will provide librarians a great new buying experience," said Matt Tempelis, global business manager, 3M Cloud Library. "With features for refined search, easy shopping, and quick purchase, our customers will be very pleased to see that this tool reflects their direct feedback."

"Expanding our partnerships with publishers is part of our continuing effort to improve our ebook lending system," said Tempelis. "The London Book Fair is a great opportunity to build those relationships and increase the availability of international content in the 3M Cloud Library."

3M Cloud Library Gains More eBooks from New Publishing Partners is a post from: E-Reader News

eBooks Account for 22% of US Publishers Sales in 2012


The Association of American Publishers has issued a new report that has given us an indication on the growth of ebooks during the last year. In 2012, digital books have accounted for nearly 1/4 of the total books sold. This is a fairly large jump from 2011, when ebooks only had 17% of the entire market and a paltry 3% in 2009.

The entire US book industry is thought to have sold over 7.1 billion dollars worth of books in 2012. This means that electronic books have garnered a respectable 1.25 billion dollars. This report covers not only fiction but also children’s and religious books.

The yearly report that AAP develops is done via survey of 1,200 publishers in the US. It obviously is not totally indicative of the finalized sales patterns for ebooks, but it is about as close as we can get. American publishers often do not divulge their exact sales figures, because unlike the UK, they are not mandated to do so. Still, you can see the growing trend in ebooks. Currently, major publishers like Penguin are seeing 35% of their entire US bookselling revenue stemming from ebooks.

eBooks Account for 22% of US Publishers Sales in 2012 is a post from: E-Reader News

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500,000 Pis in Wales

As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this website, production of the Raspberry Pi started in China back at the start of 2012, but has been gradually moving to Wales since last September. One of our distributors, Premier Farnell/Element14, already makes 100% of its Pis in the Welsh Sony factory in Pencoed, where Pis are built under licence. The other, RS Components, is in the process of moving the vast bulk of its manufacture to Wales as well (although they will continue to make a much reduced number of Pis in China for the Far East market).

Sony’s only been making Pis for us since September, but today they announced that the 500,000th Pi has just rolled off their lines. At the moment nearly 40,000 Pis are being made in Pencoed every week, and that number is set to climb further (I have some projections I’m not allowed to share, but they did make me swallow sharply when I read them) – even at these numbers we’re still having trouble meeting demand around the world. We sold our millionth Pi in January. Soon there will be more Made in the UK Pis in the world than their Made in China cousins.

This is wonderful news for us; and it’s great news for Welsh manufacturing. I wrote a short article about our decision to move to Wales for IT Wales last week; if you’re interested in why we made the move, it’s worth a read. I apologise for the awful portrait picture.

This group photograph is of all the people at the factory who have a hand in making your Pi – I had a go at counting them with my cursor, and I came out with a fairly astonishing 68 people. Thank you so much for all your hard work, everybody (and hi, Ricky!).

Gerald Kelly, the GM of Sony’s Pencoed plant, said:

In June we scheduled 204 units per week. By July that had climbed to 10,000 units per week – this month we will achieve 38,000 output per week, and this is just the beginning! The future is about higher volumes, a second generation Pi [Liz interjects: don't get your hopes up, folks; Gerald's talking about rev3 of the original Pi, which we're preparing at the moment] and accessories such as a camera board. Current total forecast for Pi products indicate that 1,000,000 output will be achieved sometime in July this year.

We love working with the team in Pencoed; they’re always a real pleasure to visit, and the quality of the Pis they produce is superb. Congratulations all round – here’s to the next 500,000!

RWA, Shindig to Host RITA Award Finalists for Romance Fans


Just as the concept and definition of a book has changed dramatically due to recent technology, so have the concepts of being an author and a reader. It’s not uncommon to be Facebook friends with a famous author or to enjoy back and forth exchanges on Twitter with someone in a favorite genre. But the personalized connection via technology is about to get a whole lot closer.

Romance Writers of America (RWA) is hosting a series of live video events with the finalists for this year’s RITA awards, allowing fans the opportunity to interact with their favorite award-nominated romance authors. Much like Spreecast or Google Hangout, Shindig allows a virtually unlimited number of participants to spend some time interacting through its platform.

While video events are not very new, this attention to the fans is a growing movement. And in the case of many authors, they are the driving force behind getting to meet the readers.

When GoodEReader hosted a live online ebook signing with bestselling romance author HP Mallory, the event lasted well over an hour, giving the signing attendees ample time to talk with Mallory. At one point, an astounded fan typed in the chat box, “This is incredible. I feel like I’m right there in your living room.” Mallory smiled, looked around, and said, “You are in my living room!”

This personal interaction is especially important for indie authors who rely on their readers’ to spread the word about great new books, and many self-published authors have benefited from making a personal-level of accessibility a part of their promotion strategies.

According to a press release from RWA: “The series kicks off April 11 at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT with RITA finalists in the Contemporary Single Title Romance category: Barbara Freethy, Barbara Hannay, Ruthie Knox, Kim Law, Roni Loren, Jill Shalvis, and Roxanne St. Claire.

To view a full schedule and to RSVP, please visit Follow RWA on Twitter @romancewriters (#RITAchat hashtag) and Shindig on Twitter at @ShindigEvents during the chats.”

RWA, Shindig to Host RITA Award Finalists for Romance Fans is a post from: E-Reader News

Rogers, Telus Now Accepting Pre-Orders For The BlackBerry Q10

blackberry z10, q10

Rogers and Telus, two of the biggest telecom service providers in Canada have said they are now accepting pre-orders for the Blackberry Q10 smartphone. Q10 is only the second device after Z10 to run the company’s latest BB10 operating system. Both the carriers have priced the Q10 at 200 Canadian dollars for a three year plan. However, while Roger has said they expect the shipping to start within weeks, its better with Telus since they have a specific launch date, April 29 to go with the pre-order process. The going has been fairly good for Z10 so far and its makers expect the same level of enthusiasm with its Q10 smartphone as well. The biggest distinguishing factor with the Q10 is the QWERTY keyboard below the touchscreen display. This has been the classic design theme with Blackberry phones of yore and the company believes this will appeal to their longtime followers, mainly from the business fraternity.

Other retailers in Canada such as Future Shop and Best Buy Co have also stated they are taking pre-orders for the Q10. The smartphone was launched first in the UK followed by Canada though it could be a few months before it makes its debut in the US. This if Blackberry follows a launch plan similar to the Z10 with its Q10 as well. There is no word as yet as to when the rest of the world will get to sample the new Q10.

Meanwhile, turn to goodereader app store for BB10 specific apps, which happens to be the largest alternative to Blackberry World.

Rogers, Telus Now Accepting Pre-Orders For The BlackBerry Q10 is a post from: E-Reader News

The Top 10 Android BB10 Apps from Good e-Reader – April 2013


The Good e-Reader Playbook and BB10 App Store is the world’s largest alternative to Blackberry World. The largest advantage we have is only hosting converted Android apps that are not available anywhere else. Currently we have over 1600 converted BAR files available for download. During the last month we have seen a ton of hot new releases and here is our top 10 list of the best apps out there, or the ones that are the most downloaded. These are considered the most essential apps you need for April!

Keep in mind if you want to download and install any of these apps to your Playbook or BB10 device, you have to install THIS software. You can also check out our numerous app loading tutorials and instructional videos on the Good e-Reader Youtube Channel.

– WeChat is the complete mobile communication and private social networking app. Free, cross-platform, and full-featured, WeChat is the best way to keep in touch with everyone you care about.

MLB At Bat 2013 – Your #1 source for live baseball, At Bat, is the official app of Major League Baseball.

4 Pics 1 Word – Each puzzle contains four pictures that have something in common – what is it? One of the hottest games out there, now on your BB10 device.

Instagram – We have the only known working version of Instagram. It only works with the Blackberry Z10 and Q10. You have to have your Facebook account linked to your Instagram account. You then need to click on forget password, and you can then use the app.

Netflix – Netflix was one of the most sought after launch partners that Blackberry tried to sway into making an official app for them. Obviously Netflix refused, but we have the only known working version of Netflix. It only works on the Z10 and Q10, it is a bit slow at times, but watching videos is amazing.

Call of Duty Elite – Access your Call of Duty HQ anywhere, anytime with the Call of Duty Elite mobile app. Track and analyze your multiplayer progress with rich game statistics in Career Summary. View Call of Duty Elite TV for the latest tips and strategy programming, for Noobs and Vets alike. Use Clan HQ to search for and apply to clans, change Clan Message of the Day if you are the Leader, view recent winnings and leaderboards. Edit your loadouts in the Custom Class editor and push your changes directly into your Call of Duty games.

Conquer 3 Kingdoms
– Conquer 3 Kingdoms uses the advanced game engine of the Best ACTION Game Golden Feather Awards King Pirate. Its a great RPG and fun, lots of people dig it.

Death Racing 2: Desert
– Fast paced 3D racing game and easy to get started.

Bike Striker
– It is a funny and easy racing game. The player can drive a super bike against competitors around the beautiful cities of Taiwan. You can launch the special items to destroy other drivers, just as banana, brick, ink & bomb…and so on. Also, you can change your bike in the store when you won prize money in the game. You know, all's fair in game!

ES File Explorer – Obviously if you are loading in lots of converted android apps and native apps, you need to  manage your data. ES File Explorer gives you the ability to navigate the root directories, and not the standard ones RIM lets you with Blackberry Link. You can check out your installed apps and have lots of flexibility in managing your Playbook, or BB10 device.

The Top 10 Android BB10 Apps from Good e-Reader – April 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News