Yahoo has rolled out their first dedicated news app on iOS, entitled Yahoo News Digest. The app is one of the first new ventures under the watch of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. It presents a sleek, highly visual interface that presents you with 10 or so algorithmically generated news stories from Yahoo's network, twice a day: once in the morning, and once in the evening. The new service is designed to mimic the way newspapers approach the morning and evening editions.
Yahoo News Digest is a product of tech acquired by startup Summly. It was shut down last March when it was sold to Yahoo for thirty million dollars. The 17 year old developer Nick D'Aloisio went to the London office of Yahoo and started work on the Yahoo iteration. In a conversation with the Verge, he mentioned “People have this information overload,” he says. “They're checking too many sources. They’re a bit tired of having to go through streams and streams of information, never having a sense of completion.”
Yahoo will be doing battle against apps such as Flipboard, Pulse and services such as Google News. Instead of giving a million different stories they are giving curated content from their extended network.
Many industry experts are saying that the News Digest App is on the same level as Yahoo Weather, as being well designed and intuitive to use. Yahoo is hoping to level some of the 400 million mobile monthly users they reported to have last year and 800 million global users overall.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
It’s time again to take a look at what comics are topping the digital best-seller lists.
1. The Walking Dead #119
The Top Ten chart leads off with two perennial best-sellers, The Walking Dead and the second year of Tom Taylor’s game-inspired Injustice. Taylor is killing it these days, as his other series, Earth 2, shows up in the number 4 spot. Detective Comics #27, which marks the 75th anniversary of Batman’s first appearance, is on the charts, as are the third issue of the Marvel Ultimates crossover Cataclysm and the first issue of Peter David’s new X-Factor story. Overall, Marvel won the week with five issues on the chart, DC had four, and Image had one.
1. Hyperbole and a Half
The Walking Dead charts at Amazon as well, but in the number ten slot; Hyperbole and a Half tops the list for the second week in a row. It looks like Amazon is having a graphic novel sale, as Stephen King’s N, X-Men, and Infinity Gauntlet are all marked way down; lurking in the number 11 slot is the first volume of Saga for $3.99, which is a great deal as well.
1. Naruto, vol. 64
With the exception of the new volume of Naruto at the head of the list, this is the same books in the same order as last week.
1. The Walking Dead #119
Surprisingly, the top two comics on the iBooks list are the same as the ones that top the comiXology list. After that it gets predictably weird, though, with My Little Pony, The Walking Dead, Star Trek, and Charlaine Harris’s new book. That’s an odd mix but not an unusual one, as iBooks often includes some titles not seen anywhere else.
Verdict: 5 Stars
It seems that recent and current global events have made readers absolute suckers for end of the world doomsday predictions, and with good reason. The what-ifs involved in medical science, experimentation, and technology come together to form an entire world of possibilities, and many authors are crafting interesting takes on the concepts.
In book two of the Origin Mystery series, author AG Riddle spins the possibility of not only a worldwide epidemic that kills billions, but a battle between big name pharmaceutical and an organization that is convinced that this pandemic is the natural course of evolution for the human race. Not only will the disease reduce the global numbers, but the ones whose DNA is changed by the disease will become a stronger breed of human. Therefore, their only logical course of action is to let nature have its way with the planet.
At times taking stabs at the ineffectiveness and greed of the pharmaceutical industry and making light of very real think tanks who believe in the superiority of some individuals over others, the book is a fast-paced thrill ride of pandemic proportions.
The Atlantis Plague is available now, as is book one in the series, The Atlantis Gene.
An article in Salon by Mary Elizabeth Williams explained an even more interesting phenomenon that has seen Hitler’s mastermind plan to spread the Nazi regime rise above books by other well-known political non-fiction writers.
First, and a source of contention among digital publishing industry experts, is the price. At only 99-cents for the Kindle ebook, intrigued readers can take a peek inside the mind of concentrated evil without having to shell out a lot of money for what they may already assume to be garbage. Second, and perhaps more telling of how books are perceived in our culture, Williams points out that the assumed privacy of an ebook purchase, followed by the privacy afforded by reading it on an e-reader, may lead consumers to purchase a title that they don’t have to be seen walking up to the bookstore register with. Can you imagine bumping into your second grade nun in the bookstore with Hitler’s face tucked neatly under your arm?
Ideally, the interest in the title stems from readers’ awareness that Hitler’s ability to entice people helped him rise to power, and that the renewed wave of purchases are from a cautious public bent on ensuring this type of monster doesn’t wind up in a position of authority ever again. But as Chris Farone points out to Williams, be very careful making an ebook purchase of this kind…your Amazon recommendations are going to be forever changed, and not in a good way.
Overdrive and Penguin have announced residents of the US or Canada can now checkout eBooks from the library and have them sent directly to a Kindle, without the need of a USB. This move simplifies the entire process and makes Amazon owners not have to jump through a bunch of hoops to borrow and read books.
Last September Overdrive came to terms with Penguin to offer over 17,000 eBooks to be made available to libraries in the United States. The service was then rolled out into Canada in December and now there are close to 15,000 titles from Penguin can be ordered by public and college libraries.
Amazon currently controls over 75% of the e-reader market in the USA and Canada. The lifting of restrictions by Overdrive and Penguin makes sense from a device per capita point of view.
E Ink has been traditionally known for the screen technology found on popular e-readers such as the Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo Aura and Sony PRS-T3. The company has been developing digital signage technology for the past year and a half, and now accounts for 6% of their revenue stream. This year at CES the company debuted a new luggage tag system that will allow travelers more flexibility to track checked baggage.
The tags are made of low-power E Ink screen technology that feature RFID for tracking and Bluetooth for information updates. Users can use an upcoming app to program in flight information and connector flights. This is a boon for the frequent traveller that needs to know if their luggage made it and track its exact position.
The tag system is currently being tested at by Vanguard ID and British Airways. It has also been approved by IATA, the trade association worldwide airlines.
Good e-Reader was live at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 5th year in a row. There were only a few near e-ink based devices to be shown, a few new tablets and plenty of alternative tech. Curved 4k televisions, Smartwatches and Drones were the stars of the show.
The Samsung Galaxy Note PRO line of tablets were a big hit and will be one of the big releases to watch in the next few months. Game and software developers confirmed with Good e-Reader that Blackberry is starting a section in their app store for straight Android ports. This new section in the store will open in the next few months. Curved television sets by LG, Samsung, Hisense and many other companies were the talk of the show. It seems as though 4k televisions are poised to take off in a big way with the new Youtube video codecs. Amazon and Netflix are jumping onboard the new ultra hi-definition bandwagon and going to start streaming within the next five months. WWE announced their new network, with apps on Smart televisions by Samsung and will have PPV’s as part of their $9.99 a month deal.
Smartwatches were the major trend of the CES show this year. For the first time ever they had a entire section where over nine different companies were showing their entire lineup. One of the more notable absences were Pebble and Samsung. It had a startup kind of vibe in here.
e Ink had some interesting tech on display this year, solidifying their departure away from e-readers and more into digital signage and alternative markets. They had a new luggage tag system they allowed you setup your flights within an app and then the tags change in real time. If you are prone to checking in your baggage you can track where it is, if it made it on the flight and if its lost, you can take it via GPS. They also had a bike with e-ink gauges and a big clock made of e Ink. Of course, we also saw the new Pocketbook CAD and Yotaphone.