Monday, August 5, 2013

Top 5 e-Reading Apps for Windows Phone 8


Welcome to another Good e-Reader Video Review! Today we take a look at the top 5 e-Reading apps for Windows Phone 8! Obviously, the mobile Windows OS is a bit different from iOS and Android. You won’t find the same mainstream apps available, so we offer advice on the most essential.

Over the course of the review, we extensively document; Bookvisor, eBook Reader, Kindle, Legimi and a few others! We give you hands on, to show you everything from the loading time to the core features. You can get a strong sense of what app might be better for you, whether you want to buy books or load your own in.

Top 5 e-Reading Apps for Windows Phone 8 is a post from: E-Reader News

Students Return to School with Credo’s Homework Help


Credo, the solutions provider for research, reference, and learning help with strategic platforms aimed at different types of student learners, announced recently that its Credo Homework Help platform would now be available to users as a stand-alone tool, rather than requiring a full subscription to Credo Literati.

"On-demand homework assistance can mean the difference between simply passing and thriving for many students," said Mike Sweet, Credo's CEO. in a press release on the announcement of this newly enhanced availability. "With our acquisition of, we're in the prime position to help students thrive and expanding Homework Help to make our in-house team of state-certified teachers more accessible to students is our first step towards this goal."

While some of the greatest value comes for schools and libraries that bundle Homework Help with Literati, individual users can still access Homework Help, which matches students up with state-certified teachers at their time of need. The virtual classroom environment that learners can access includes interactive features like virtual whiteboards to help maximize instruction.

Credo’s offerings within Literati have already provided students with learning and reference tools that many digital services neglect to consider. These offerings include things like a scholarship search feature to help students locate accessible tuition assistance, and Literati Student Athlete, an interactive platform that works to help student athletes who may be underprepared for the demands of college academics.

Students Return to School with Credo’s Homework Help is a post from: E-Reader News

Scholastic Book Clubs Get Redesign in Time for Back-to-School


Anyone who has been a public school student in the past 60+ years is probably familiar with the monthly Scholastic book clubs. Some of the best moments in book discovery happened when the teacher passed out those crinckly colorful pages to browse. Now, though, Scholastic is making some major upgrades to the beloved school book clubs, just in time for back-to-school.

Some of the changes address two concerns that have been raised by both parents and educators. The first change is aimed at helping teachers gear their book offerings to the much-touted Common Core standards by pointing out which standards are met through various titles. The other change to the book club flyers, though, addresses a much longer-running issue, namely trying to meet the reading needs of a wide variety of classroom learners, all in one monthly book club flyer. Now, each flyer will be labelled as to the grade level the books are appropriate for, as well as having a separate and more comprehensive catalog each month for middle grade readers.

"We've heard the growing concerns of teachers and parents about the higher standards that kids need to meet with the Common Core State Standards and, with input from our teacher advisors, we've created a practical solution. The grade-leveled flyers allow families to choose appropriate books that will encourage daily independent reading practice which is critical for children to build fluency and confidence and ultimately to improve reading proficiency," said Judy Newman, EVP, Scholastic and President, Scholastic Reading Club, in a press release. "Equally important is the excitement of ordering from the Scholastic book flyer where kids get to choose and own the books they want to read and the thrill when the book box arrives in the classroom."

Along with new features like parent and teacher labelled leveled readers, books that are intentionally designed for short daily bursts of reading consumption, and ebooks through the Scholastic Storia book club,  Scholastic is not making a change to one key aspect of the book clubs that readers from as far back as 1948 will remember and appreciate: price. Scholastic’s goal continues to be providing reading material at an affordable price in order to encourage long-term literacy and love of reading.

Scholastic Book Clubs Get Redesign in Time for Back-to-School is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Germany Faces Opposition from Some Locals


Amazon has expanded globally into markets that have now seen the benefits of e-reading. One such global branch, Germany, is now Amazon’s second largest retail market, which is interesting considering that only a few years ago Germany was considered a slow adopter of ebooks due to strange legal ramifications that taxes ebooks at a much higher percentage than print.

But now that Amazon has expanded into Germany and has even opened retail distribution centers in the country, the retailer faces some local opposition from a few people disgruntled with Amazon’s practices. Unlike here in the US where Amazon seems to be everyone’s favorite whipping boy–while many of those same naysayers have turned Amazon into the empire that it is today–for it’s massive growth and the blame for the death of brick-and-mortar bookstores, German critics are taking issue with Amazon’s labor practices, many of which fly in the face of the way working citizens are used to doing business.

According to a statement that appeared in a New York Times article on the struggles Amazon has faced with locals, "In Germany, the idea that warehouse workers are going to be getting opposition from an employer when it comes to the right to organize, that's virtually unheard-of," said Marcus Courtney, a technology and communications department head at Uni Global Union, a federation of trade unions based in Nyon, Switzerland. "It puts Amazon out in left field."

This would hardly be the first time that Amazon has been accused of mistreating its warehouse workers, even in the US. For its part, Amazon is working around things like the definition of a “retail” worker and a slow adoption of changes to how the German warehouses send out customer orders, both of which are fairly universal concepts for Amazon markets.

Some of this criticism might seem frivolous, and it might have more to do with EU citizens who are angered over the tax situation that major companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple have all had their names dragged through the mud in various European news outlets for what many feel is skirting local tax laws and driving competitors who have to pay the full tax rates out of business.

Amazon Germany Faces Opposition from Some Locals is a post from: E-Reader News

2nd Raspberry Pi US Roadshow is go!

Here’s Rob’s final route and itinerary for his heroic 2nd Raspberry Pi US Roadshow.

We spent weeks trying arrange the route so that it looked like a caffeine molecule– even making Rob take arbitrary day trips to add on the CH3 groups–to no avail.

Rob will present a talk entitled “Raspberry Pi – One Year On” that will cover both the origin story of the Raspberry Pi as well as outlining recent developments. The talk will present technical information about the Raspberry Pi alongside a discussion of the Foundation’s educational aims. Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for an in-depth Q&A on both educational and technical matters.

Rob would also like to invite anyone who is working on a Raspberry Pi project to come along and share their work with the rest of the group as part of a “Show & Tell” section. No project is too small and if you need a bit of encouragement Rob will be showering gifts down from the skies like Raspberry flavoured ambrosia–well, stickers and stuff. The best project at each event will be rewarded with an official Raspberry Pi t-shirt and the best project of the whole tour will win a huge and super Grand Prize.

So come along to a venue near you, bring your Pi and say ‘Hi’. Rob — we salute you!

P.S. Giz your Airmiles.

Jeff Bezos Purchases the Washington Post


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has entered into an agreement to purchase the Washington Post. He is putting down close to $250 million dollars for the acquisition, and its a personal investment. Amazon has nothing to do with the sale right now, and Jeff seems to be enamored with news. Recently he made a $5 million investment in Business Insider earlier this year, and Amazon last week published a long-form Q&A with President Barack Obama on its Kindle Singles platform.

According to a recent article on the Washington Post they mentioned “The deal represents a sudden and stunning turn of events for The Post, Washington's leading newspaper for decades and a powerful force in shaping the nation's politics and policy. Few people were aware that a sale was in the works for the paper, whose reporters have broken such stories as the Watergate scandals and, in May, disclosures about the National Security Administration's surveillance program. ”

This is a good time for new ownership as the family run business has suffered a 44% decline in operating revenue over the past six years. Although the paper is one of the most popular news sources online, print circulation has dwindled, too, falling an additional 7%. Jeff mentioned in an email to staff that things are going to dramatically change, but what those changes might be, is anyone’s guess.

Jeff Bezos Purchases the Washington Post is a post from: E-Reader News

Barnes and Noble Raises eBook Prices in the UK

Nook ebook

Barnes and Noble ran a promotion for three days in the UK that saw a number of bestsellers severely discounted. The Hot Summer Books campaign saw almost 100 eBooks come down in price to a very respectable .99p. The promotion is now over and the books are back to normal.

The big draws of the promotion were Khaled Hosseini’s And The Mountains Echoed, and Dead Man’s Time by Peter James. These books have normalized, although Amazon is still offering the deals for a limited time. Booksellers had called the discounting “madness”, with Peter Donaldson of Red Lion Books in Colchester describing the promotion as “very short-sighted . . . It’s valuing a short-term gain over long-term stability”.

Barnes and Noble Raises eBook Prices in the UK is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple Tablet Demand Decreases in Q2 2013


When Apple announces new products and release dates, the entire tablet industry benefits. We have not seen any new devices being issued yet this year from the company that tends to dominate tablet sales. This has decreased demand for the iPad, while Samsung enjoys accelerated demand. Research firm IDC today announced its preliminary estimates of worldwide tablet shipments for the second quarter of 2013, finding that Apple’s share of the market has fallen 1/3. According to IDC’s numbers, Apple held a 32.4% share of the market for quarter, compared to 39.6% in the previous quarter and a 60.3% share in the year-ago quarter.

IDC mentioned “In years past, Apple has launched a new tablet heading into the second quarter, which resulted in strong quarter-over-quarter growth. Now, Apple is expected to launch new tablet products in the second half of the year, a move that better positions it to compete during the holiday season. Meanwhile, the other two vendors in the top 3 also saw a decline in their unit shipments during the quarter. Second-place Samsung shipped 8.1 million units, down from 8.6 million in the first quarter of 2013, although up significantly from the 2.1 million units shipped in 2Q12. And third-place ASUS shipped a total of 2.0 million units in 2Q13, down from 2.6 million in 1Q13.”

This new report mainly focuses on tablets that have shipped, and not necessary have been sold. It is very hard to track this sort of data, as major corporations tend not to divulge exact figures. It ends up falling to the retail sector on how many they have purchased.

Apple Tablet Demand Decreases in Q2 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive rolls out the next generation school digital library websites

At the end of July, OverDrive started updating the user experience for all schools. When teachers, students and parents visit their school's OverDrive-powered digital library website they will find a fully updated user interface, created after extensive market research and customer feedback to provide a more informative, user-friendly experience. This post will highlight many of these new features and we will explore more detail in future posts.


New features include enhanced metadata, search tools and filters to make finding a title easier. Robust search features have been added as well as improved title detail pages and menus, streamlining the process of discovering what to read next.  Users will be able to search for titles based on standardized reading level information such as Lexile, ATOS and Accelerated Reader scores. This new metadata will assist teachers and parents in identifying the most appropriate content for their students. Students themselves can also use the reading levels to find titles they want to borrow within, or above, their assigned reading level targets with specific searches, filtered by the Lexile, ATOS or Accelerated Reader scores.


Once a title is selected, students can use the one-click checkout feature to begin enjoying their titles immediately. Users will be able to adjust their lending periods and account settings quickly to align with their preferences. The updated digital library websites also use a responsive design, providing the same user experience regardless of what computer, tablet or device is being used.


Students will have the ability to select from three different visual themes. The improved look will provide a cleaner navigational view customized to the user's taste, as well as more detailed title and bibliography information. Students can share what they're reading via social networking tools and easily add titles to their wish lists to read at a later date. Newly designed help pages, created specifically for students, have been added as well. You can view a live version of the updated digital library here.


OverDrive's new digital library for schools is full of next generation features and tools to enhance the user experience. Be sure to look out for our next posts coming soon on the following topics:

  • Search Metadata: ATOS/Lexile/Accelerated Reader scores
  • User experience and OverDrive Read
  • Help resources for students, teachers and parents


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive


Guests blog #3: This kind of sums it up for me….

I’ve spent much of today reading through the delightfully turgid folder of guest blog submissions and I was having a really tough time picking the next entry. Should it be technical? Educational? Just plain daft? Did it have enough documentation? Were the pictures good enough? Was it time for a glass of refreshing barley water?

And then I found this short piece from Jonathan Morris. In two hundred words and a couple of pictures, Jonathan sums up what we do at the Raspberry Pi Foundation far better than I ever could. Thanks Jonathan, we love what you are doing!

Hello, My name is Jonathan Morris. I am 10 years old and you guessed it…American!

For my birthday this year I received a Raspberry Pi. I was overjoyed! I wanted to put my Pi to use so I waited and waited for a good opportunity. My Fourth Grade class had been studying the Industrial Era and our final Project was the Invention Convention. The Invention Convention is where you become the inventor (Instead of studying one). (By the way the project’s name is Deliver-E.) So I bought a small wooden box and a doorbell.

Using a Python script and a PiFace Digital, I programmed the mailbox and doorbell to send you emails when either rung or opened. For instance if rang the doorbell, you would receive an email saying “Someone rang your doorbell at (Date/Time).” Same with the mailbox. When I checked the inbox of the project’s Gmail, I had over 115 emails! As of now I am integrating a USB Webcam into the project so when you ring the doorbell it takes a picture and attaches it to the email so you can see who exactly was at your door.