Tuesday, October 22, 2013

E Ink Opens New US Corporate Headquarters


e Ink has just unveiled their new corporate headquarters in the US, which puts their business and R&D divisions all under one roof. The new facility is a modern, open and collaborative space, labs, pilot facilities, test chambers and administrative offices, all under one roof. The company was previously headquartered in Cambridge.

The new E Ink Innovation Center represents a $36 million investment, is over 140,000 square feet, can hold up to 400 employees and reinforces E Ink's position as a leading technological business innovator in Massachusetts. E Ink was just awarded the Silver Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Award by the MassEcon council for its outstanding contribution to the Massachusetts economy. The new HQ basically is double the size has the old buildings and should help the company facilitate growth into digital signage.

"The additional space will support E Ink's growth and expansion into new markets, and will foster a more creative and collaborative environment for our employees," said Felix Ho, CEO of E Ink Holdings. "Our new facility in Billerica was specifically designed with our technology needs in mind and offers us significantly more space. It gives our employees a dynamic and energizing working environment while allowing us to invest in the Massachusetts economy, growing our business where it all started."

E Ink Opens New US Corporate Headquarters is a post from: E-Reader News

David Beckham Offering Digital Autographed Copies of his New Book via Facebook

David Beckham unveiled as Paris Saint-Germain's latest signing at packed news conference - video

Retired soccer star David Beckham is eager to get into doing what most authors do to engage with their readers; roll out signed copies of his photo book that is set to be launched next week. However, this will be a lot unlike the way the above feat is pulled off in the traditional manner where readers get to meet the authors in person while the latter pens his signature on a real paper book. Instead, it will be advanced technology at work here, or rather 'groundbreaking technology', as Beckham has described it. The role of technology will be crucial here with the entire event having being planned in collaboration with Facebook.

“In partnership with Facebook, I want to do a truly global signing to coincide with the launch of my new book,” said Beckham. “If you are in London, New York, Sao Paulo, or Hyderabad, you can enter to win a ticket to take part in these events and receive a personalized digital signature from me via ground-breaking technology.”

Fans eager to have the new Photo Book will need to register or be physically present in any of the above mentioned cities on October 30, London time. Not only do they stand to win a free digital autograph of the soccer star but can also engage in a live Q&A session with Beckham.

However, with technology perhaps being as much in the limelight as the footballer himself, what remains to be seen is whether the same aura and feel is created as getting the chance to meet your favorite author who puts some real ink on real paper. Plus, getting the chance to spend some time with the author whose writings you adore the most can be something of a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the book bearing his or her personal signature that will serve as a reminder of those cherished moments. Maybe Beckham's book signing event will not be able to evoke the same kind of romanticism though there sure will be no lack of takers for the star player's digital autograph.

David Beckham Offering Digital Autographed Copies of his New Book via Facebook is a post from: E-Reader News

Multi-language support for your website


Attracting new patrons to your OverDrive-powered website is essential for maintaining a successful digital collection.By adding multi-language support to your website, your library can reach a whole new group of users. Previously, patrons who did not speak or read English may have been unable to use your digital collection, but your library can now serve them with a translated interface.


Hundreds of libraries worldwide have enhanced their websites with Spanish, French (Canadian), Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, or Japanese translations.  More languages will be available later this year and in early 2014, including Russian and Malay.


If your library is not taking advantage of the bilingual (or multilingual) interface, you are missing out on a remarkable opportunity to extend your services to a segment of your community who may have never borrowed an eBook or audiobook.


Katie Norton, Manager of Collections & Information Services at Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation in Australia, says that her library is unique in that it has a Chinese-speaking population significantly higher than the Australian average. With the Simplified Chinese interface, she's reaching users for the first time, and engaging them in their native language. Does your library have an under-served population that would benefit from this free and easy-to-add feature?


Don't forget that we can help with your marketing endeavors, including resources for reaching this new user base. In our Marketing Kit, we have a variety of promotional materials for your non-English titles. We can also place a graphic on your site to highlight a collection of foreign language materials. Check out Yarra Libraries' "Chinese eBooks" collection for an example.


Yarra Libraries experienced an almost 30% increase in checkouts in the months following the addition of the Simplified Chinese translations.


Maybe you're thinking that your community isn't the type that would benefit from a multilingual site. As Dan from Oil Creek District Library Center in Pennsylvania put it: "I do feel compelled to at least offer it to our patrons, even if it is just to explore!" Why not do the same at your library? It may have a bigger impact than you think—and it's free!


To opt-in for a bilingual or multilingual website, please contact your Account Specialist.


Karen Jakubczak is an Account Specialist at OverDrive.



Apple Unveils the iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display


When the original Apple iPad Mini came out one of the most asked for hardware features was a retina display. I can’t tell you how many emails and comments on our videos got the “I have an iPad and will skip this until they come out with a Retina Display.” It looks like Apple has heard their pleas and announced a new 7.9 inch iPad Mini with a resolution of 2048×1536 that matches the larger iPad.

The Retina display actually made the iPad Mini a bit thicker measuring in at 7.5 mm thick and 0.73 pounds compared to 7.2 millimeters and 0.68 pounds for the first generation.

Underneath the hood the Retina iPad mini includes a 64-bit A7 processor, M7 motion co-processor, and an upgraded 5-megapixel rear iSight camera with a backside illumination sensor. It will be able to totally render videos in full and glorious 1080p.

The front of the device now features a new FaceTime HD camera and has dual microphones. This should give users who use video and audio programs such as BBM a reason to upgrade. The new iPad mini also now features multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology that offers up to 2x faster Wi-Fi, with both 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and LTE cellular models that available with up to 10 hours of battery life.

The new model is poised to launch next month and will start at $399, the LTE version should launch a few weeks later.

Apple Unveils the iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple Announces New iPad Air


Today at an Apple event in San Francisco the new 5th generation iPad was revealed with the iPad Air. The new tablet resembles the iPad Mini with a narrower bezel and slim form factor. It is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the 4th generation device issued last year.

The Apple iPad Air features a 9.7 inch display with a staggering resolution of 2048×1536. It has an upgraded 64 bit A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor, which takes advantage of the new architecture we saw on the iPhone 5S. There is also a new lighting system that has been implemented to allow you to read in darker environments without it hurting your eyes.

The iPad Air weighs 1 pound, compared with 1.4 pounds for the previous version. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller called the tablet a “screaming fast iPad.” He said it is eight times faster than the original iPad that came out in 2010.

The iPad Air will be available in silver and white and space grey and black color options starting at $499 in dozens of countries on November 1st. An LTE version will be available starting at $629. Apple is also keeping the geriatric iPad 2 in the lineup for $399. All of the new iPads will be shipping with iOS 7.

I think as an e-Reader the new Apple iPad Air will be very solid. It weighs less, so you can hold it with one hand for longer. Better resolution will insure that companies like Comixology will be able to deliver digital comics in HD and enhanced kids eBooks will see a significant upgrade.

Apple Announces New iPad Air is a post from: E-Reader News

B&N Develops Innovative App for Non-Profit One Laptop Per Child


One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the global children's educational non-profit born at the MIT Media Lab, and Nook Media, the device division of Barnes and Noble, announced a partnership that will pre-install a special variant of the Nook apps on OLPC’s US-based XO tablet devices. These devices are part of OLPC’s global initiative to put technology in the hands of young students.

"By partnering with One Laptop per Child, we are strengthening our commitment to make NOOK content available to new and existing customers across a broad range of platforms and devices," said Mike Saturnia, Vice President and General Manager of NOOK Sales & Business Development. "Through the pre-installed NOOK App for Kids on the XO Tablet, we are opening NOOK's expansive catalog of more than 3 million titles to even more families and children."

The Nook App for Kids will let the users browse through a catalog of curated content, while the installed Nook app will also offer their parents access to the 30 million title catalog of the Nook store. These are installed on OLPC’s child-centric learning system tablet, available at Walmart, Walmart.com, Target.com, Toys"R"Us, ToysRUs.com, BrandsMart, BrandsMartUSA.com and OfficeDepot.com for $149.99.

OLPC still supports its laptop initiative in developing countries by donating uniquely designed portable laptops that meet the sometimes nearly-impossible needs of children attending school around the world. Known for its original “Give One Get One” program that let consumers receive a laptop and donate one all for one price, OLPC’s tablet move with the XO tablet is aimed at helping students in the US become better learners and have access to course-changing technology.

B&N Develops Innovative App for Non-Profit One Laptop Per Child is a post from: E-Reader News

Inkling Adds Content from Open Air Publishing to its Catalog


Digital textbook and non-fiction learning developer Inkling announced an acquisition of two brands of content from Open Air Publishing, adding its Betterbook and Ready, Set, Baby! and titles to Inkling’s offerings.

"Open Air Publishing has become a leader in interactive publishing, and we've watched these brands blossom on our platform over the last few years," said Matt MacInnis, Founder and CEO of Inkling, in a press release. "These award-winning titles show the power of Inkling for consumer content, and we're excited to have them be a part of our portfolio directly for consumers."

"I'm proud of what our innovative team has built these past two years, along with our outstanding authors and on-video experts," continued Jon Feldman, Founder and CEO of Open Air Publishing. "Now, with direct access to the underlying technologies that made our innovations possible, our media-rich and engaging learning content will benefit from Inkling's deeper resources to reach even more people."

Both companies have several year histories of providing award-winning content to digital learners through interactive, enhanced, app-based products. This tie-in will enable both partners to offer fully integrated content to an even wider audience of users.

Inkling Adds Content from Open Air Publishing to its Catalog is a post from: E-Reader News

BlackBerry Messenger Makes Phased Launch, Newcomers Being Added to Virtual Line


BlackBerry has resumed its BBM services starting today, a few weeks after the company was forced to abort its initial roll out plan when an older version of the same got released in September, causing several issues. However, stung by the initial debacle, BlackBerry is holding on to the reins this time and has barred the service from being free to all right away. As such, it will be only those who signed up at the BBM site who will be getting to use the app right now on their Android smartphones or iPhone. Others who wish to use the service will be added to a virtual queue, though the Canadian company didn't reveal how long they will be kept waiting, except that they won't be kept waiting for too long.

"To help manage this unprecedented pent-up demand for BBM, we are implementing a simple line-up system to ensure a smooth rollout,” said Andrew Bocking, head of the BlackBerry BBM business, in a blog post on the official company website. About 6 million users signed up at the company's BBM site and are rewarded by getting to use the service before others.

“If you are among the millions that took the time to sign up at BBM.com, you can start using BBM immediately without waiting in line. If you didn’t sign up in advance, don’t worry – we are focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible,” said Bocking.

BBM has been one of the star attractions of the Canadian company, one that had driven millions into buying their handsets in the past. Times have changed, though with BlackBerry handsets now facing a steep decline in sales worldwide. This has left the company deeply wounded, and experts believe the launch of the BlackBerry Messenger on a rival platform could be a last ditch attempt by the company to help stem the tide. There have also been reports of the company being put up for sale, but earlier rumors had said the company’s executives preferred to split it into several parts before offering it for sale.  With BBM looking to acquire a separate identity, this could well be the case.

Meanwhile, BBM will have to face stiff competition from others who have already dug deep. These include WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype, as well as Kik, who has developed a dedicated user base that runs into tens of millions. It will be interesting to see what the equation will be now that BBM has entered the scene.

BlackBerry Messenger Makes Phased Launch, Newcomers Being Added to Virtual Line is a post from: E-Reader News

Blue Pi Thinking from the University of York

The University of York asked if we could send someone up to judge a Raspberry Pi contest they’d been running for people joining the Computer Science department over the summer break. Our very own Dr Gordon Hollingworth is a York alumnus, so we sent him to revisit his old stomping grounds (in one of his collection of stylish Raspberry Pi t-shirts – you can buy your own at the Swag Store).

Freshers were given a Raspberry Pi when they won a place at the university back in August, and had been spending the time before arriving in York working on two challenges. Blue Pi Thinking challenged them to come up with the most creative use of the Pi they could think of; and BattlePi had them programming their Pis to beat all other entrants in a class-wide Battleships competition.

Gordon mailed me from his phone while he was there:

“I’m amazed by the quantity and quality of entries and the way they’re working together to improve their code as they go through the Battle Pi part of the contest…  I sat down with one guy who was trying to find out why his code had crashed in the middle of a game, and then while describing it to his opponent he suddenly saw the problem! (I obviously explained at this point why people do code reviews!)”

Here’s some video from the day. We’re incredibly impressed at what people were producing; we hope that some of the participants will find time to write their projects up and share them with us.

The eagle-eyed will spot Liam Fraser, one of our earliest and most helpful supporters, in one of the shots. Liam moved to Cambridge after his A levels and spent last year as a gap year working for our hosts, Mythic Beasts, on the back of his work on the Pi; he’s been maintaining our downloads server too. He’s now headed off to study at York. We’ll miss him while he’s away – we hope you enjoy your time at university, Liam!

New Updated Nook Touch Shows up at FCC; Nook HD on Sale for $69

Yesterday what appears to be an updated Nook Touch turned up on the FCC’s website. Details are very sparse at this point, but at least it’s good to finally see some conformation that there is indeed a new Nook ereader in the works after all. Barnes and Noble has hinted as much in recent months, […]