Friday, September 20, 2013

Introduction to the Raspberry Pi: free online course in Spanish starts October 14th

Universidad Galileo (Galileo University) in Guatemala have launched a free, Spanish language MOOC (Massive Open Online Course**) titled “Introducción a Raspberry Pi“.

The University says (via my rubbish tourist Spanish, sorry):

In this course, students will get to know the Raspberry Pi and learn what it can do; which [Linux] distributions are available; how to develop simple applications using Python; and how to control external devices using the GPIO interface.

The emphasis is on theory first, then demonstrations and ultimately the student is encouraged to reinforce their learning by first replicating and then improving what they’ve been shown.

The course structure looks like this :

  • Installation, configuration, accessories and other aspects
  • Installing Wheezy and other distributions
  • Introduction to Python
  • Introduction to programming in Python on the Raspberry Pi
  • A complete example in Python
  • Raspberry Pi GPIO module for external connections
  • Hardware basics and using the GPIO
  • Next steps: projects and community

The content looks excellent and they’ve got a talented and experienced bunch of teachers on board. Interestingly, there are two routes through the course: a ‘light mode’ where you can learn the basics and an ‘advanced mode’ where studetns contribute weekly projects plus a final project. For the light mode you do not even need a Raspberry Pi! This is a stroke of genius: the fewer barriers to learning the better.

We believe that this is the first ever Raspberry Pi specific MOOC and it certainly sets the bar for future courses. If Spanish is your first language and you would like to learn about the Raspberry Pi, what it can do and how to use it then is the ideal route. The course starts October 14th 2013 and registration is now open. Sign up here.

**If you’ve not come across MOOCs before, they are online courses that typically teach discrete topics using a mixture of video, short assessments, quizzes, assignments and exams. Basically, they allow you to access the smarts of world leaders in their fields from the comfort of your home.)

Random House Launches Curated Magazines on Flipboard


Random House has partnered with Flipboard, the popular news and social media aggregation application, to become the first ever book publisher to curate content for the platform of 85 million users. The collaboration kicks off with two custom digital magazines. The first, curated by Margaret Atwood, is inspired by her new novel, MaddAddam and the second, by, explores the fictional worlds of George R. R. Martin. All of this new content is totally unique and Random House claims it has not been published before.

Margaret Atwood's Flipboard magazine, MaddAddam's World based on her new novel, MaddAddam is filled with unique information, out-of-the-box ideas, and stunning images. "The magazine will enhance the experience of being immersed in the brilliantly imagined world that Margaret Atwood has created in the trilogy," says Judy Jacoby, vice president, director of advertising and promotion at Doubleday. "For readers who are new to the trilogy, it can be an intriguing introduction; for readers who have completed the trilogy and don’t want it to end…it doesn’t have to!"

The World of Ice and Fire magazine on Flipboard provides a centralized hub that explores all things related to George R.R. Martin. "George R.R. Martin has such a passionate fan base, an official Flipboard magazine is the perfect venue for fans to stay current on news as well as sample excerpts of GRRM’s work that they might not yet be familiar with," said Scott Shannon, publisher of digital content at Random House. The magazine is curated by, known and respected experts on George R.R. Martin's works, blessed by the author and Random House. Magazine readers can expect to learn more about the Song of Ice and Fire series, which began with A Game of Thrones, as well as the author's other projects in fiction, comics, gaming, and collectibles.

Random House is doing something very unique with Flipboard and drawing attention to their eBook properties.  Lee Child and Dean Koontz have been doing something similar with releasing free content that is basically short-form  to get people excited about their full length novels.  People often go with free and this will give them a chance to learn about the two worlds the authors have crafted and perhaps actually buy them, if they like what they see on Flipboard.

"We are always looking for innovative ways to connect with readers around the topics that matter to them," says Amanda Close, senior vice president, digital marketplace development at Random House. "Flipboard provides a powerful platform for authors to create absorbing experiences for readers with their magazines. We are excited to reach a new audience on Flipboard and facilitate deeper discussion about books across social media."

Random House Launches Curated Magazines on Flipboard is a post from: E-Reader News

Icarus Announces Illumina HD e-Reader


Icarus has been quietly making a name for themselves in offering very high quality products with tremendous PDF support. The company has just announced a brand new Illumina HD e-Reader that we will be reviewing next week.

The Illumina HD features a six inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024×758 pixels. It has a front-light built into the bottom of the bezel and will basically allow you to read in the dark. Although it has a fully interactive screen, Icarus has added physical page turn buttons and control buttons. This means if you like to manually hit your settings and home menu, you are good to go.

Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ processor and 512 MB of RAM. You will have 4 GB of internal storage and you can boost it up to 32 GB via the Micro SD.

Modern day e-readers have done away with audio functionality and the average person can’t even listen to audiobooks anymore. Icarus has added a 3.5mm headphone jack and support for Flac, AAC, mp3, Wav, WMA, and OGG.

This e-Reader is going to hit the market next week for around $100 euros.

Icarus Announces Illumina HD e-Reader is a post from: E-Reader News

Adobe, MPA Come Together on Standardization of Digital Advertising Metrics


As digital magazines optimized for tablet and smartphone reading continue to enjoy a surge in growth, publishers still have to concern themselves with being able to accurately demonstrate to their advertisers that readers can–and do–interact with their ads. Adobe, the creators of the flagship Digital Publishing Suite that a wide variety of publishers use to create their digital editions, announced this week that it has collaborated with a team of industry professionals to build a standard for advertising metrics.

According to a press release, “The standardization of initial audience and engagement metrics was accomplished in collaboration with leading magazine publishers, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, Adobe and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As). Adobe's implementation was audited by the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM, formerly known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations). The methodology will empower accurate and consistent industry-wide benchmarking for publishers, a significant first step toward developing a measurement model that will help drive increased digital advertising spend and continued confidence in ad buys.”

Lynly Schambers, Group Product Marketing Manager of Digital Publishing at Adobe, spoke to Good e-Reader about why a move towards this type of consistent measurement standard is so important to the publishing industry.

“People want to consume content like their favorite magazines [on these devices]. The reason publishers are interested in digital editions is it offers them advertising opportunities, and they want brands and marketers to follow them onto these global devices. There’s even more opportunity to facilitate more of these ad-buying transactions. On the flip side, marketers want to take advantage of these targeted ad-buying opportunities.”

As digital editions continue grow in popularity, a “measurement environment” becomes all the more important. It’s not enough to make content available on tablets, it needs to be the right kind of content for each reader. Marketers need to understand who is reading the digital versions of publishers’ works so that they can ensure their advertising budgets are being wisely spent on targeted consumers and that they match the content’s readers.

Until now, there has been no standard for measuring the analytics within digital advertising, so marketers basically had to make educated guesses on the potential effectiveness of their latest campaigns. By working together with these publishing entities, “the methodology will empower accurate and consistent industry-wide benchmarking for publishers, a significant first step toward developing a measurement model that will help drive increased digital advertising spending and continued confidence in ad buys…The metrics enable publishers to measure the total number of tablet readers per issue, total number of sessions per issue, average amount of time spent per reader per issue, and average number of sessions per reader per issue.”

“The task force came up with the recommended measurement approach,” continued Schambers, “and basically the task force said the metrics have to be understandable from a business perspective.”

Adobe, MPA Come Together on Standardization of Digital Advertising Metrics is a post from: E-Reader News

Pottermore Announces Former Sony VP as New CEO


JK Rowling’s innovative Pottermore company, which oversees the interactive website, the sale of the entire Harry Potter ebook collection, and maintains a partnership with the Sony Wonderbook game based on the world of Harry Potter, announced yesterday its replacement for former CEO Charlie Redmayne.

Susan Jurevics, formerly a Senior Vice President at Sony, said in a press release, “I am delighted to be joining Pottermore, a business I know well already, to take it into the next exciting stage of its development. A world of new opportunities is opening up and Pottermore will be there at the forefront of digital innovation. I'd like to thank Julian Thomas for taking the helm in the interim and I look forward to working with him, the fantastic team now in place at Pottermore, J.K. Rowling, and the team at The Blair Partnership.”

Rowling is undeniably one of the most well-appointed authors when it comes to taking ownership of both her career and her content. Retaining the digital rights to her multi-book boy wizard series at a time when no one predicted the current popularity of e-reading afforded her the opportunity to maintain complete control over the digital rights, even as her publisher remains the rights’ holder for the print editions. This foresight allowed her company to be the exclusive seller of the ebooks, distributing them for unheard of royalties through major online retail platforms.

Whoever heads up the entire Pottermore company, fans and users can rest assured that only more innovation will come from the team effort of Rowling and her staff.

Pottermore Announces Former Sony VP as New CEO is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive’s Digital BookMobile on Hand at the National Book Festival


This weekend’s National Book Festival, taking place once again in Washington, DC and hosted by the Library of Congress, will once again feature OverDrive‘s Digital Bookmobile in the company’s ongoing effort to put ebooks front and center in readers’ lives. While the book event will showcase so much that US publishing has to offer to a global community of readers, OverDrive, one of the world’s leading digital content providers to schools and libraries, will demonstrate the power of ebook lending to the thousands of festival attendees.

According to a press release on the event, “The Digital Bookmobile launched in August 2008 and since then has traveled 110,000 miles across North America, hosting 655 events at libraries and schools and welcoming 135,000 visitors.  It will be open to the public throughout the National Book Festival, rain or shine, from 10 am to 5:30 pm on Saturday, September 21, and 12 noon to 5:30 pm on Sunday, September 22.”

Some of the celebrated authors who will be in attendance at this year’s event, its thirteenth annual staging since it was first coordinated by then-First Lady Laura Bush in 2000, include Khaled Hosseini, Margaret Atwood, Katherine Applegate, Rick Atkinson, Veronica Roth, Holly Black, Jamaica Kincaid, Joyce Carol Oates, and more.

For more information on the National Book Festival, go to; to see more images and learn more about future stops for the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile, checkout

OverDrive’s Digital BookMobile on Hand at the National Book Festival is a post from: E-Reader News

Bookeen Announces New eBook Readers: Cybook Odyssey Frontlight and Cybook Ocean

For those of you that live in Europe, there will be two new choices for ebook readers this fall from Bookeen, makers of the France-based Cybook brand of ereaders. The most intriguing of the two is the Cybook Ocean. What’s unique about it is that it’s the first Cybook ereader to have an 8″ screen. […]

Qualcomm Pulls the Plug on the Toq


The smartwatch segment is just beginning to take shape, though it seems we are already about to witness the first casualty: Qualcomm Toq devices. Qulcomm's entry in the smartwatch arena has been much talked about, but the company has stated they are pulling the plug on the device which they claim was never meant to be offered on a commercial basis. Rather, Qualcomm's President of Southeast Asia and Pacific John Stefanac revealed the Toq was meant to be a technology demonstrator. Qualcomm has always stated that the Toq will be a limited edition device and it remains to be seen how many of these will actually be produced.

There have been quite a few smartwatches launched in the last few weeks, but the Toq stood out with its superior battery life that is said to last even up to 96 hours. That's not all, for the color display remains always on and visible even in bright light condition, which are some of the qualities that are extremely desirable of a device that claims to be superior to conventional watches. The Toq is also compatible with Android devices running version 4.0.3 and above. Qualcomm had also announced during IFA that an iOS compatible version will be launched soon, but now it’s not certain if not sure if Qualcomm will follow through with that.

Qualcomm didn’t have a good experience with its Mirasol e-paper tech, as the tablet and e-reader devices failed to make it big in the market. The company has since changed its focus to smartphone and wearable devices and is keen to re-invent along this line, something borne out of its showcase at the SID Display Week 2013. The smart wearable segment comprising of smartwatches or Google Glass  holds a lot of promise and Qualcomm, with its expertise in e-paper, does stand a good chance of excelling there.

Qualcomm Pulls the Plug on the Toq is a post from: E-Reader News