Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals for eReaders and Tablets 2013

There are a lot of really good deals to be had on tablets and ebook readers this Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Well, maybe not so much for dedicated ebook readers, although some older Nooks can be had for really cheap, but there are tons of tablets on sale. In fact there are so […]

Movember: two days to go!

You might remember that Eben has been taking part in Movember this month, giving over his top lip to charity for thirty days. He’s raising money for men’s mental health, in memory of our friend Oggie, who died in 2007. He elected for the Magnum PI look (geddit?), but sadly, as the month has progressed, we have come to realise that Tom Selleck’s ability to grow hair on the top of his head as well helped him to avoid looking like an angry square-basher and gave him a certain Hawaiian je ne sais quoi. Eben lacks that tonsurial ability, and has found that his moustache makes him look very…military.

We call this look the “Brigadier who has smelled something nasty”.

The moustache has been very well travelled this month. Here it is in Cornwall:

…and we call this look the “Oswald Mosely”.

And here it is in Manchester, being concealed behind a handy insta-hipster window.

The moustache, in its early π symbol incarnation, accompanied us to Wales on visit to Sony, where it was mocked roundly (mostly by me, if I’m to be completely honest), resulting in the loss of its…wings.

Back in Cambridge, Eben discovered that there is at least one benefit to owning a moustache: namely, if your hands are full and your nose is itchy, you can use your top lip to scratch it.

And most recently, the moustache has been to New York, where it caused untold problems at immigration (the passport inspector had one look at Eben’s passport photo and one look at him, and said: “What the hell happened to you?”).

At the Intrepid Museum in New York. Only one of the nose cones on display has enough room underneath it for a LUXURIANT MOUSTACHE.

The moustache has not been to space.

Eben has had a tough month. People who have not heard of Movember believe he’s growing it in earnest, people who have heard of it are pointing and laughing, and I am finding it hard to bestow wifely kisses on him without sniggering. Most recently he has found himself having to trim it every morning because the hairs get in his mouth and tickle his lips. And Mooncake the cat is confused by the moustache, and nibbles it in the night.

So he (and I) would be very grateful if you could send some last-minute moustache sponsorship by clicking here or on any of the pictures.

Roll on December 1.

Google Releases Edu Device Setup App For Syncing Nexus Tablets With Google Play for Education Program


Google has come up with a new app aimed at optimizing the use of tablets in classrooms in sync with its Google Play for Education program, introduced earlier in the month. The Google Edu Device Setup app is meant to be used exclusively by the administrators to help them make the most of the Nexus tablets in the classroom. Also, the app is compatible with the Google Education purchase program and it is imperative for the user to have an administrative account at Google Play for Education.

The new app will guide the user in connecting to the school wi-fi network, as well as offer child-appropriate values for key settings, among others. Administrators will also have the option to enable or disable particular groups from receiving content from Google Play For Education.

Google Releases Edu Device Setup App For Syncing Nexus Tablets With Google Play for Education Program is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Launches Instant Online Video Service in Japan

Amazon video

Amazon has unveiled another of its popular services, Instant Video, in Japan as it attempts to match up to the local player Rakuten. On offer will be more than 26,000 films and TV shows that are either of foreign origin or sourced locally. Of these, about 15000 are in HD and are available for streaming or download on compatible devices. Movies or TV shows can be rented for 100 yen for 24 hours, though this applies largely to the older titles. Newer films such as Monsters University, can be picked up on rent for $5 or outright purchase will cost $25. Apart from its Instant Video service, Amazon also offers ebooks and music services in Japan.

The timing of the launch of the Instant Online Video service is interesting in that it comes just a day ahead of the official launch of the Kindle Fire HDX in that country, slated to happen tomorrow. So it's hardly surprising the tablet that has been priced will also accompany a 2000 yen (about $25) coupon to entice buyers into trying the service instantly. Amazon also stated there is a single 100,000 yen coupon as well to be picked up.

However, with the debut of its Instant Video platform, Amazon will be up against some established like Hulu, Apple, and Google. There are also several domestic companies offering video services that Amazon will have to contend with. These include GyaO Corp, Tsutaya TV and NotTV.

Shochiku Co. and Toho Co will serve as Amazon's content partners while NHK and Fuji TV will be the local broadcasters.

Amazon Launches Instant Online Video Service in Japan is a post from: E-Reader News

Unpublished Salinger Stories Leaked via PDF


In what is quite possibly going to prove to be one of the most famous examples of ebook piracy, an apparent leak of three of JD Salinger’s unpublished short stories seems to have happened thanks to a buyer on eBay. The manuscripts for the stories, “Birthday Boy,” “Paula,” and what appears to be somewhat of a continuation of the lives of the characters found in Salinger’s best known work Catcher in the Rye with the story “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” have been stored under lock and key in two separate library collections until now. An illegally printed and crudely bound version was listed for sale in this eBay auction, and subsequently bought by someone who scanned and uploaded the files.

Now, news of the leaked stories has Salinger scholars flustered as to how these stories got out. A number of people who had been granted access to the unpublished works over the years have looked at the leaked digital version and stated that it does not look like the authorized unpublished copies that they originally read years ago. According to one expert, the version he read, which was stored at Princeton, looked more like a type-written version to submit to a publisher, as opposed to the more polished version that was leaked.

The title page of the leaked version states that it is an unpublished version of the works, as well as that it is number six of twenty-five.

Despite being first mentioned by the uploader on reddit only yesterday, the issue already has many up in arms about copyright infringement versus the right of the public to have access to written works.

Unpublished Salinger Stories Leaked via PDF is a post from: E-Reader News

Kisai Rorschach Smartwatch Uses Cryptic Inkblot Marking to Depict Time


Tokyoflash Japan is the newest entrant to the rapidly emerging smartwatch segment. However, the Kisai Rorschach smartwatch is unlike any other smartwatch currently available in the market. While the others in the game are busy wooing buyers with tech bits or the unique features that their smartwatch devices are capable of, the Kisai Rorschach stands out miles away from the rest in the way it accomplishes its most basic function, that of displaying time. Those in the knowing may have already picked up the scent though the majority out there is least likely to be aware of what or who Rorschach refers to.

To begin with, Hermann Rorschach has been a Swiss psychologist and had developed the Rorschach inkblot test in 1921. Sometimes often referred to as just the inkblot test, it has been described in Wikipedia as a "psychological test in which subjects’ perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex algorithms, or both."

However, no matter how weird the display might look like which seems to be the farthest it can be from depicting the current time, it actually is quite easy to read the time once explained. The top left portion of the marking depicts the hour while the bottom left portion shows the minute. The rest are just reflections of the hour and minute readings which in turn gives rise to the inkblot effect.

The Rorschach bit apart, the smartwatch comes with an e-ink display which means the display can be on at all times. It is powered by the standard CR2016 watch battery which again is user replaceable. Further adding to the power saving credential of the smartwatch is the 'Sleep Mode' feature that it offers. As is self explanatory, this mode when invoked will draw just the minimum from the battery. Also, the Sleep Mode is designed to come in effect from 12 AM to 7 AM, a time period when everyone is supposed to be fast asleep. Company sources announced the smartwatch can remain in operation for three years at a stretch on a single battery with the Sleep Mode enabled.

Unfortunately, the Kisai Rorschach is exclusive to Japan, at least for the time being. No word on when it can be seen on foreign shores.

Kisai Rorschach Smartwatch Uses Cryptic Inkblot Marking to Depict Time is a post from: E-Reader News

Walking Dead Single Issue Comics Now Available on Google Play Books


Image Comics have descended into the Google Play Books store and readers will be able to purchase over 500 single issues and graphic novels. Seminal comics like the Walking Dead and Saga are all available and should be a boon for people who don’t like dealing with Comixology or the Amazon store.

There are a number of incentives kick things off, Image is giving away free issues of The Walking Dead, Saga, Chew, Invincible and Super Dinosaur series to get people downloading and checking the library of content out.

Image has been around since 1992 and has had a number of legendary writers and artists who have published with them. Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, and Marc Silvestri are but a few of the usual suspects. The comic company has developed a fairly loyal following over the years, due to some of the breakout successes like the Walking Dead.

Eric Stephenson from Image said “It's exciting to bring digital versions of Image Comics titles to the Google Play Store. Our philosophy toward digital content is expanding as the market evolves and grows, and this is just one of many steps we’re taking as we continue to move into the future.”

Walking Dead Single Issue Comics Now Available on Google Play Books is a post from: E-Reader News

Black Friday Special: Roundup of The Best Deals on iPad, iPad Air and iPad Mini


Black Friday is within sniffing distance and rattles of discounts and freebies are hanging heavy in the air.  Retailers resort to every trick they know of to woo consumers which make this time of the year the best to pick up things they have long cherished. Tablet devices have already topped consumer preference this year, it is but only natural for the latest Apple iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display to garner a lion's share of consumer attention. Retailers too have been busy chalking out lucrative deals to appeal to the buyers. Mentioned here is a roundup of all the best deals currently on offer for the Apple tablets.

Those who'd like to pick up the new iPad Air, its Target that they should be headed to to avail of the best bargain. Price being quote for the 9.7 inch tablet is $479 which is also inclusive of a Target Gift Card worth another $100. This makes the new iPad Air to be up for grabs for a cool $379, several notches below the original price of $499.

Best Buy and Staples too have lined up discount schemes on the iPad Air but isn't offering any gift cards. Instead, what buyers will get is a flat $50 discount thereby making the iPad cheaper at $449 – $450 at both the retailers.

With the iPad Mini with Retina Display , you can consider yourself lucky if you are able to lay your hands on one this time round what with supply still to settle down. As such, most stores are forced to do with the first gen iPad Mini and Walmart is above the rest when it comes to the best price for the mini iPad variant. Price quoted at Walmart for the iPad Mini is a sweet $299, which is made even more sweet with the inclusion of a $100 gift card in the deal. Target too is offering the first gen iPad Mini for the same $299 but includes a gift card worth $75. Staples too has a discount scheme running for the iPad Mini which includes a $80 price cut for all of its iPad Mini stocks. This makes the entry level version of the tablet to cost just $249. As for the iPad Mini with Retina Display, it is only Target that is reported to have received a small shipment of the tablet and is offering a $75 gift card with purchase of the same.

For those who are looking to pick up the second gen iPad 2 on the cheap, this is the best time to do so. The 9.7 inch tablet is now on sale for just $299 after weighing in a $100 discount offered by both Staples and Best Buy. The price mentioned is applicable to the entry level 16 GB version of the iPad 2 while Staples is extending the $100 discount across all versions of the iPad 2.

With the iPad 4 that comes with a retina display, the discount being offered is an even higher $150 which makes the 16 GB Wi-Fi only version of the 9.7 inch tablet to cost $349. This is applicable to Staples though others too have enticing deals covering the iPad 4. For instance Target is offering the iPad 4 for $449 which includes a $100 worth of gift card.

However, the prices can change during last minute adjustments or depending on stock levels. Also, consumers will have to hurry if they do not wish to be left out of all the fun, particularly with items that are in demand. These include the iPad Air along with both the first and second gen iPad Mini devices.

Black Friday Special: Roundup of The Best Deals on iPad, iPad Air and iPad Mini is a post from: E-Reader News