Saturday, May 18, 2013

New in the Swag Shop: recycled CD case pencils!

These feel lovely when you sharpen them, have a beauteous Raspberry Pi logo at the end, and are made in solid colours from recycled CD cases. Buy some, look funky when you doodle, help fund computing education, and save the planet too – what could be better?

Amazingly, we have not yet sold out of our first batch of Babbage the Bear. (He has stayed on the shelves longer than the camera boards, which we find shocking and remarkable.) Get him while he’s snuggly!

Book Expo America Hackathon focuses on Digital Discovery


eBook and digital discovery is one of the most hot button issues facing the digital publishing industry. Many existing publishers and small start-up companies such as BookLikes, NetGallery, Slice and many others are throwing themselves into the fray. To stimulate growth and awareness in a burgeoning sector a group of major media industry participants led by The Perseus Books Group, Librify, BookExpo, The AlleyNYC and William Morris Endeavor will organize the industry's first-ever hackathon, an ambitious collaborative digital programming event.

The Publishing Hackathon at Book Expo America is inviting digital designers, engineers, programmers, and entrepreneurs to spend 36 hours together in teams to develop new approaches to digital book discovery. The Publishing Hackathon will take place on May 18th and 19th at The Alley NYC, the leading digital co-working space in New York. The participants will be briefed by a cross-section of book publishing leaders, and then will form teams to create apps, websites, programming or businesses that can address the issue of book discovery in this rapidly evolving landscape. At the end of the weekend, a team of judges from publishing, technology, media and venture capital will identify the 3 to 5 most promising finalists from dozens of teams participating.

These finalists will have the opportunity to present at BookExpo on Friday May 31st at 3PM. BookExpo is the largest and most prestigious book publishing event in the U.S. with over 1000 exhibitors from around the world and over 20,000 attendees from all facets of the industry. The finalists will take the stage and pitch their solutions to a distinguished panel of judges that includes Jennifer Rudolph Walsh (head of the Literary Department at William Morris Endeavor), David Steinberger (CEO of The Perseus Books Group and Chairman of the National Book Foundation), Stephen Evans (Director SilverLake Capital) and others.The winning project will receive a $10,000 prize, and the opportunity to pitch their idea at a breakfast meeting with Ari Emanuel, Co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor.

Seems like a solid event if you want to check out what the bright young minds can conjure. Of course, Good e-Reader will be live at this event and bring you some exclusives with the new Hackathon.

Book Expo America Hackathon focuses on Digital Discovery is a post from: E-Reader News

Google I/O Wrap Up

Google IO

The 2013 edition of the Google I/O event was without any fancy hardware launches, something that many analysts had predicted. There wasn’t even a new Android update announced, which analysts were definitely expecting. Many are now suggesting that Google I/O might just have returned to the way it used to be, with the focus back on developers instead of the products or the consumer oriented approach it had developed in the last few years.

However, that does not mean it has been all about boring lectures or discussions that exclude the consumers. Rather, Google did have some nice features to announce, some that are sure to have industry wide ramifications. Mentioned below are some cool features that the Google I/O 2013 has yielded.

Google Play Music All Access: It's the answer to the likes of Spotify, Rdio, or even the upcoming Apple's iRadio. It combines your personal music tracks to the millions present in Google Play Music so you can have what is best described in the words of Chris Yegra “radio without rules.” The system is also programmed to find stuff that you might like based on your listening preferences. Users will also have the option to create personalized radio stations based on songs or artists they like, or just through a specific genre. The song list can be pulled up with a single tap, and if All Access’ recommendations are not to your liking, you can remove them from the list with a single swipe of your finger. The service is priced quite conveniently at $9.99 per month, after month long free trial period. Or for those who just can't wait to hop on to the All Access bandwagon, Google will reward them with a subscription fee of $7.99 per month before June 30. In the end, Google’s ability to strike a deal with the big time music labels before Apple is quite impressive.

Maps: This is another area where Google has put in a lot of effort. This has led to the map being more informative and detailed than ever before. When you search for a place, Google not only pulls up the map, but also provides you with useful recommendations for the area. A pop-up also provides you with a 360 degree view of the place you have searched. Videos can be accessed right from the map, which is now transformed into an interface. Also, the maps are now more personalized so that users will be able to highlight areas or create landmarks as per user's choice. And once you have clicked on a suggestion or landmark, a new map pops up to show related attractions as well. The map's navigation features have been enhanced, as it now provides not only driving directions to a place you have selected, but also walking and biking directions, including public transit. Users are also warned of traffic jams and will be provided with alternate routes to avoid them.

Google Now: This has been a cool addition to the Jelly Bean package and now it has become even smarter thanks to the Knowledge Graph based search that has been fine-tuned even further. As such, the Google virtual assistant will be able to answer not only questions you have directly asked, but will also anticipate details that you may want to know about. This was demoed at the conference by asking Google Now the population of India. In such a scenario, Google Now will not only answer the query but will also furnish details of how the population compares with other related countries and so on. The virtual assistant will also accept voice commands for tasks like setting reminders and so on.

Photo Tools in Google+: Google has introduced some cool photo editing tools to its two year old social networking platform Google+ in a bid to rake up some excitement around it. Among the features introduced is Highlight, which can identify if the pictures are hazy or overexposed, identify landmarks, or even find faces sporting a smile. The Auto Enhance feature eliminates noise from low light images while also softening wrinkles. Auto Awesome is another cool feature that can identify a photo scene and provide corrections accordingly. In short, it is designed to automatically make a photo awesome.

Lastly, while Google was expected to launch a slew of hardware, which includes next gen versions of Nexus 7, Nexus 4, or even a new Chromebook,  the lone hardware announcement during the conference was the Samsung Galaxy S4 running the stock Android version. The S4 will reach markets towards end June, but is priced a hefty $650.

Meanwhile, Google Play for Education and Google Play Games were the other important announcements made at the I/O Conference. Click on the respective link for more on these.

Google I/O Wrap Up is a post from: E-Reader News