Thursday, September 19, 2013

Split Screen e-Ink Phone Cases Might just Catch on


e-Readers are one of those types of technology that is relatively fringe in nature and has saw its growth stymied by the rise of tablets. E-Ink Holdings, is the company primarily responsible for 90% of all e-Paper technology currently being employed. Last quarter they lost $33 million dollars and has been in constant decline for the past year. What can turn the e-paper industry around and have a greater market appeal? The answer is relatively easy, split screen cases for phones.

Plastic Logic and Pocketbook have been working together on a new high concept that will see production begin in October. It basically is a case of your phone, but instead of it being made of leather, its a e-Ink display panel. Built within the new Pocketbook app in development, you can switch your e-reading experience over to the e-ink display, instead of the LCD Screen. The two companies have announced that they are making a new model for the Apple iPhone.

A recent Pew Research report stated that 91% of the United States population has a cell phone and 61% have verified it to me a smartphones. Major companies such as Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon all make solid revenue by selling eBooks to phone owners. The main problem with reading on small LCD screens, is that you end up straining your eyes and often get distracted by the multimedia. Having a split screen e-ink panel, built into a highly functional case may just catch on.

I think in the next year, these types of display screens will catch on, and we may see companies like Kobo offering mobile phone companies a subsidized case for new activations. I also see eBook credit being offered as a further incentive to lure readers into their particular ecosystem.

Likely all the major players in the e-Reader and smartphone space are looking at this new technology as having high potential. Not a single unit has been sold yet, but something is compelling about a simple low-cost accessory that gives a full e-reading experience.

Split Screen e-Ink Phone Cases Might just Catch on is a post from: E-Reader News

Good e-Reader Radio – eBook Prices Falling, e-Ink cases for phones and iOS 7


Welcome to another exciting edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show. Today Editor in Chief Michael Kozlowski is joined by Digital Book Worlds own Jeremy Greenfield. Today the two lads talk about a new report that tracks eBook sales for the first six months of 2013 and how the overall landscape has remained flat. Although, Kids eBooks have dramatically fallen since last year by almost 50% and they explain why.

eBook prices overall have come down in price during the last few months and how will this effect sales or customers buying into the whole digital revolution? We firmly explain why this is happening and what you can expect for the next six months. Finally, Pocketbook and Plastic Logic have been making waves with a new e-Ink accessory for your iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S4. With 90% of Americans now owning a phone, is the time right for companies to invest in cases for them that will give you a quality e-reading experience?

Good e-Reader Radio – eBook Prices Falling, e-Ink cases for phones and iOS 7 is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Sales Experience Miniscule Gains in 2013


Many publishing experts all thought that 2013 would be the year that eBook sales would start to level off and cease the near double digit gains from years prior. The Association of American Publishers have just released their annual report that looks at the first six months of 2013. Overall, eBook sales have increased by a paltry 4.8% from $618 million in 2012 to $647 million in 2013.

Children’s eBooks were hit the hardest and experienced the most noticeable drop in sales. Revenue was down to $83.7 million from $153.7 million in 2012, a decrease of 45.6%. Overall, digital kids books are down because there has not been a runaway hit like the Hunger Games for quite sometime. Also, the general public still has not embraced EPUB 3, which has a growing portfolio of interactive books and has a higher development cost.

Publishers are starting to see more money trickle in from digital books with 27.8% of their overall revenue stemming from it. 1196 US publishers took part in the survey, which provides the most accurate reflection of eBook sales.

eBook Sales Experience Miniscule Gains in 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Be a NOOBS v1.3 beta tester!

Liz: Here’s a post from Rob Bishop. Read it thoroughly if you’d like to be a NOOBS v1.3 beta tester – and get downloading!

Earlier in the year we released our New Out of Box Software (known as NOOBS), which was designed to make it easier to install operating systems for the Raspberry Pi without having to worry about manually imaging your SD card unless you explicitly wanted to. After a really positive response to this from the community, we've been working hard to make NOOBS even more powerful without compromising on its ease of use and intuitive interface.

The ultimate aim for NOOBS is to make it simple for anyone to get going on a Pi – regardless of their level of prior knowledge. We hope to do this through providing intuitive options for setting up everything from language and keyboard layout through to getting your display working and installing an OS. NOOBS isn't about "dumbing down" the Pi: it's about unlocking its potential and making computing even more accessible by breaking down the effort barrier that stops people from ever getting started.

I'm really pleased that today we are ready to show the work that we've been doing to move us closer to that aim, and can announce the beta release of the next version of NOOBS.

Given that NOOBS is aimed at those who are complete beginners to both computing and the Pi, we know that it's imperative that the software is as reliable and robust as possible. This means that we need your help! In order to ensure that we only recommend stable, tested software to beginners, we're initially launching this release of NOOBS in beta to the community, and will continue to recommend using the v1.2.1 release for those new to the Pi. That's why the v1.3 beta release can only be downloaded using the links below, and why the v1.2.1 release is still shown at Pending any major issues arising during this initial feedback period, we can then transition to using the v1.3 release as the default version that we recommend to all users.

So, without further ado, here's a short description of the awesome new features to be found in NOOBS v1.3:

- Multiple OSes can now be installed simultaneously and easily switched between at boot. Unlike BerryBoot, NOOBS allows each OS to use its own kernel meaning that non-Linux based OSes such as RISC OS are also supported.

- OSes can now be installed via the internet from our central OS repository (located at Note that this requires a wired Ethernet connection at present.

- OSes are now available in multiple "flavours" – including a "Boot to Scratch" option for Raspbian at launch. Additional flavours adding support for features such as Google's Coder are also planned for the future. The ability to create different OS flavours means that OS maintainers can now provide tailored versions of their OSes that are designed to support a specific use case or user group. A great example of this is the "Boot to Scratch" option that provides a quick, easy and distraction-free route to running MIT's Scratch program on the Pi with minimal set-up or prior knowledge.

- Creating a custom version of a NOOBS OS distribution that can be installed via NOOBS is now significantly easier (as is producing a NOOBS restorable backup of an existing OS install). This is due to NOOBS now populating partitions using compressed tarballs of filesystems rather than having to handle images directly. For instructions on how to do this please see:

- The keyboard layout can now be set via the NOOBS interface in the same way that language selection is currently handled.

- Language, keyboard and display mode settings now persist between subsequent NOOBS sessions and into installed OSes. This means that if, for example, you are wanting to set up a Pi to use to teach Primary school children in Germany while using a CRT monitor and German keyboard, you would simply boot into NOOBS, press "3" on your keyboard, select "Germany" from the language selector and then install "Boot to Scratch". This would result in your Pi booting directly into the German-language Scratch interface with the display being output via composite PAL – no complex configuration file editing required.

About NOOBS v1.3

On first boot, NOOBS will format your SD card and allow you to select which OSes you want to install from a list. This OS list is automatically generated from both locally available OSes (i.e. those contained in the /os directory on disk) or those available from our remote repository (wired network connection required).

Only the latest version of each OS will ever be displayed meaning that you can be sure that you have installed the most up-to-date release of your selected OS.

On any subsequent boot you can then press the SHIFT key to enter the NOOBS interface and easily reinstall your choice of OSes.

The NOOBS interface provides the following functionality:

  • Install: Installs the selected OSes onto your SD card. Note that changing this selection erases any OSes currently installed.

  • Edit Config: Opens a text editor allowing the cmdline and config for the installed OS that is  currently highlighted in the OS list to be edited.

  • Online Help: [Networking Required] Opens a browser that displays the Raspberry Pi Forum ( ), allowing you to quickly access help and troubleshooting.

  • Exit: Quits NOOBS and reboots the Pi into the OS boot menu.

  • Language Selection: Allows you to select the language to be displayed.

  • Keyboard Layout Selection: Allows you to select the keyboard layout to be used.

  • Display Mode Selection: By default, NOOBS will output over HDMI at your display’s preferred resolution, even if no HDMI display is connected. If you do not see any output on your HDMI display or are using the composite output, press 1, 2, 3 or 4 on your keyboard to select HDMI preferred mode, HDMI safe mode, composite PAL mode or composite NTSC mode respectively.

Note that all user settings (language, keyboard layout, display mode) will persist between reboots and will also be automatically passed to the installed OSes. This means that if you can see the NOOBS interface on your display device then you should be able to see the OS CLI/GUI when it boots too! We're very excited about this as it should make configuring the Pi to support your display device as easy as pressing 1,2,3 or 4 in the NOOBS interface rather than having to worry about changing config options.

OS Installation

Simply select the checkbox next to each OS you want to install using either a mouse or keyboard (arrow keys to traverse the list, enter to toggle the selected OS’s checkbox), then click the “Install” icon (or press “i” on your keyboard) to install the selection. The icons shown on the right of the list indicate whether the OS is being installed from the SD card (SD card icon) or from the online OS repository (Ethernet icon).

Online Help via Web Browser

The built-in Arora web browser allows you to easily get help via the Raspberry Pi Forums (wired network connection required).

Easy Config File Editor

The built-in config file editor allows you to edit the config file of the OS currently highlighted in the OS list. This allows you to easily add licence keys to different OS installs through the same interface.

Note that the output mode selected by the user through pressing one of number keys 1 to 4 (for HDMI preferred, HDMI VGA, Composite PAL and Composite NTSC respectively) will be automatically set in the config.txt files of your installed OSes. This means that you shouldn’t have to worry about manually changing your display settings to get your installed OS to display correctly on your display device.

Installer Slideshow

An installer slideshow guides you through your first steps with each OS while it installs.

OS Boot Selector

After multiple OSes have been installed, you can select which OS to boot through this selection window that is automatically displayed. NOOBS will remember your choice and boot this OS by default unless a different option has been selected within 10 seconds.

Note that if only one OS is installed then the boot selector will not be displayed and the OS will be automatically booted.

How to Download the NOOBS v1.3 Beta

NOOBS v1.3 Beta (pre-packaged with OSes ready to install) – Larger download (1GB), works offline

Download Link:
SHA-1 Checksum: 662e97d5e7b2e2ab82b5f92ccdb393d255d38be8
Bug Tracker:

NOOBS v1.3 Beta 'lite' (network OS installation only) – Smaller download (20MB), requires Ethernet connection to internet

Download Link:
SHA-1 Checksum: 9556c64b70e139f90ceddfc905f3660223137c9e
Bug Tracker:

Note: There is a known issue with the network install failing in rare cases with an error message reporting that the disk is inaccessible. If this occurs please restart installation after a reboot and let us know that it occurred.

We would ask for any testing feedback to be given via this forum thread. Please also feel free to ask questions concerning the new features in the comments below. As ever, please read the documentation before posting your question! :-)

If you're an OS maintainer and would like to see your OS included in our online repository please email me at so that I can provide the necessary documentation.

[Liz notes: huge thanks are due to Rob, who has been wearing his fingers to bloody nubbins to get NOOBS v1.3 ready. He's been busy writing the rest of this post and is far too elegant and self-effacing to point out all the work he's done, so I'll do it for him. Thanks Rob!]

Special thanks go to all of the OS maintainers for working hard to support the new system, Floris Bos and those who helped with the alpha release testing. We also want to thank Liam and Pete at Mythic Beasts for helping us to make the network install functionality possible.

New MOOC FutureLearn Launches in the UK


Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, have been hailed as the future of education. Having initially gained widespread recognition with the launch of Khan Academy, MOOCs offer users a way to learn that can be as simple as brushing up on their skills or as involved as learning an entirely new subject.

FutureLearn,  new program controlled entirely by Open University, is making a wide variety of MOOCs available for free to anyone interested in learning the topics. While some, like those on different aspects of dentistry, might appeal only to a niche market of learners, others are farther reaching and have a greater impact on a larger audience, such as the brief courses on sustainability and climate change.

According to their website, “Our aim is to connect learners from all over the globe with high quality educators, and with each other. We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, with plenty of opportunities to discuss what you've studied, in order to make fresh discoveries and form new ideas…FutureLearn is in beta and the courses we’ll be running this year are all pilot courses. This allows us to shape and refine how it all works, using feedback and ideas from our learners. It is important to us to craft a high quality product which is tailored specifically to our learners' needs, so we want to spend the time listening.”

While still in its early stages and only offering a short list of courses, FutureLearn has plans to incorporate new titles from professionals across a wide variety of fields soon.

New MOOC FutureLearn Launches in the UK is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive Media Console iOS 7 crash resolutions

Apple released iOS 7 yesterday and many Apple users may have upgraded their device(s) or will be upgrading in the near future.


When an existing OverDrive Media Console (OMC) user upgrades to iOS 7, the app will fail when trying to open a DRM-protected eBook. New or first time users of OMC are unaffected by this issue meaning that if you download the app for the first time post-iOS7 update you will not experience this issue.


We are resolving the issue but in the meantime, here are immediate remedies for users:


1) Re-authenticate the app with your existing or a new Adobe ID. Refer to the iOS section of this Help article for assistance. (Recommended)


2) Uninstall and re-install OMC which will also require the user to re-authorize with Adobe. IMPORTANT NOTE: A re-install will clear a user’s bookshelf, history, and app settings.


Audiobook users won’t notice that anything is different unless they attempt to download parts of audiobooks they already downloaded to OMC before upgrading to iOS 7. A user will receive an error message informing them to download the title again.


We encourage you to share this information with your users via email, Facebook or Twitter. Please be sure to follow our Digital Library Blog for the latest updates.


We apologize for the inconvenience.


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive



Hidden In Plain Sight: 3 Steps To Identifying Transferrable Skills And Expanding Your Job Search

Think you don't have all the necessary skills for a new job or career change? Think again. Check out this guide to find out what your resume might be missing.