Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Can Kindle e-Readers get a Virus?


The world is getting filled up with malware and viruses that target the Android ecosystem. It is becoming increasingly harder to download an app and it not be filled with tracking code, cookies and malicious code on your smartphone or tablet. What about e-readers? Can they also get viruses or are they somehow immune?

Amazon has been selling e-ink based readers since 2007 and most have run on the Linux operating system with special Kindle code. The operating system is in a partition that can’t be seen from the PC and is very hard to attack. Although ,there is some malware that can attack it, you are unlikely to run into any in the normal course of using the Kindle because the web browser doesn’t support most of the common flash or java code that commonly gets attacked.

The entire line of Kindle e-Readers could feasibility carry a virus on the USB drive, resulting in a computer becoming infected when you plug it into it. As it stands, the Kindle itself could not be infected.

Norton, the makes of Norton Security and Anti-Virus recently stated “Some E-readers use the 3G wireless network that cell phones use, and stripped down Web browsers to connect over the Internet to e-book stores. Some devices also let you connect to a laptop or desktop computer to upload or download files. As a result, it's conceivable an e-reader could inadvertently catch a virus or worm from an email message, file or Web page. There haven't been reports yet of this happening, but that doesn't mean the threat won't increase as eBooks become more popular. The reason is that hackers normally write viruses to target Windows-based computers because so many people use them, and since the number of people using Kindles and other e-readers is tiny by comparison, attacking these devices may not be as attractive right now to hackers.”

The common reader that uses a Kindle, has little to fear from an often cruel and unjust world. You will not get infected by a rogue eBook purchased from the Amazon store or blast out emails to your contact list. Now the Kindle Fire line of tablets, that is another story.

Can Kindle e-Readers get a Virus? is a post from: E-Reader News

Why is the 3G Kindle Paperwhite so Scarce?

I don’t know what’s going on with the 3G Kindle Paperwhite, but it’s pretty much been on backorder since its release. Every time I check it’s a few weeks out at least. Right now Amazon is showing a wait of 6-8 weeks to receive a new Kindle Paperwhite with 3G wireless access. That’s a really […]

Sainsbury Offering Free eBook ‘A Captain’s Duty’

Captain Phillips

Sainsbury is offering a film and ebook bundle offer which it claims is the first of its kind in the world – download the film Captain Phillips for £9.99 and get the ebook that the film is based on completely free. The offer though is valid only until Feb 16th.

“Whenever a major feature film based on a book is released naturally lots of people want to read the book that inspired it. Historically there have been special tie-in editions of individual books, but the speed and convenience of digital downloads now make it possible to bundle the film and the book together for one great price. We're delighted to be the first UK retailer to offer multi-format entertainment in this way,” said Tim Lennox, managing director at eBooks by Sainsbury.

The film has already received some rave reviews and is based on a true, gripping story of a US cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama that was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. The film has already raked in $214million in box offices worldwide and the ebook is considered just as enthralling to read as the film.

Sainsbury Offering Free eBook ‘A Captain’s Duty’ is a post from: E-Reader News

Children to Get Books For £1 To Celebrate World Book Day

World Book Day

School children have a treat awaiting them this World Book Day – books for as low as just £1 to celebrate and promote the cause of reading books during the UNESCO promoted event. Students will be provided with the vouchers from their school which can then be redeemed for books priced £1 though only from pre-designated bookshops. The coupons can also be used to purchase an audiobook though again, it has to be from the selected bookshop.

Among the titles that can be picked up for £1 include the young adult novel 'The Boy in the Smoke' by Maureen Johnson, Fun with the Worst Witch suitable for kids aged around 5, The Worst Witch to name just a few.

The World Book Day falls on March 7.

Click on the link before for more information on this:


Children to Get Books For £1 To Celebrate World Book Day is a post from: E-Reader News

NoiseTrade Offers Free eBooks to Help Readers Find New Authors

If you are a reader looking for a new way to get ebooks, NoiseTrade has started offering free downloads for both ebooks and audiobooks. And if you are an author, NoiseTrade offers another way to distribute your ebooks and audiobooks to gain a wider audience. NoiseTrade has been working with music since 2008, giving musicians […]

Github goes to school

Yesterday, GitHub announced a new initiative to help students, teachers and schools use GitHub for collaboration and sharing to provide a better learning experience for all: GitHub Education.

If you don’t already know, GitHub is a software projects hosting service – it’s a kind of social networking site for code projects. You use version control software Git on your own computer, and push your code to a repository in your account on GitHub, where it is viewed on the web and can be shared with others. If you’ve worked on a code project beyond single scripts before, you’ve probably thought about taking precautions against losing work, breaking features and maybe even encountered problems with working on a project with a friend. Git allows you to track changes in your codebase and revert back to previous states. GitHub gives you a nice clean interface in the web to help manage these changes.

The real power of GitHub lies in the ability to collaborate on projects with people around the world – and in how people can take existing code written for one purpose and take it in another direction to suit their own project.

GitHub lies at the centre of many operations at Raspberry Pi – our version of the Linux kernel, our userland and firmware source code, as well as NOOBS and raspi-config – and soon, our documentation, learning resources and more. Our version of the Linux kernel is a fork of the main Linux kernel. While diverging from the upstream for our special case additions (we make changes to suit the Raspberry Pi’s hardware), we keep in track with additions that land in the main version, and the enhancements are sent back upstream – to the original Linux kernel where they’re merged in. Imagine trying to manage this without software!

Open Source also helps our community grow stronger. It’s far from uncommon to see the makers behind Raspberry Pi projects putting their code on GitHub and sharing how they built that touchscreen timelapse controller, cat laser toy or universal translator – with accompanying documentation and instructions. Also the various general purpose libraries that get written – they’re shared, then they’re improved and expanded by others and help way more people than originally intended, such as Jason’s Piglow module, Will’s gamepad library and Dave’s picamera module. Isn’t it amazing that you can look at the code behind how these things work? You can even fix bugs or add features yourself!

As Gordon mentioned in the video interview we posted at the weekend, some USB bugs in Raspberry Pi were fixed by a keen and talented member of the community, which were sent over via Pull Requests and merged in to the main repository – he (Jonathan) was then hired to work on the engineering team at Pi Towers. This sort of important contribution, and the ability for it to take place, is invaluable in the tech community.

There’s more to open source than simply making your code public – there’s plenty to learn about communication and collaboration. Big projects like Linux and Python require people to talk to each other, work out where things are going and someone has to manage people and make decisions. There’s usually someone in charge – often referred to as the B.D.F.L. (Benevolent Dictator For Life – Linus for Linux and Guido for Python). Using GitHub in a small team on a school project will shed light on the kinds of problems that come up: you want to prevent two people doing the same work twice; your code needs to be able to interact with other people’s code; you might have different opinions on code styles or ways of solving problems; and there are various workflows people might be used to. It’s a skill to be able to communicate with overs, in technology like in any other area – and technology has the advantage of awesome tools that make this more manageable.

One of my favourite tools at the moment is Waffle.io – it gives you Trello-style columns for your GitHub issues. I use it to visualise the workflow of features I intend to write, bugs I need to fix and other things I need to consider. You even have a comment thread attached to each issue, so you can discuss options (your conversations and decisions are open too). Even if I’m the only one working on a project I still use Git, GitHub and Waffle because it helps me manage myself. GitHub can be used for much more than just code; people use it for managing changes in written work such as documentation, blogs and even legal documents. One guy even used GitHub issues to manage the “bugs” (work needed doing) on his house.

Git was created by Linus Torvalds to manage changes in the Linux kernel because at the time no existing version control software worked the way he wanted. GitHub was set up in 2008 by developers in San Francisco and currently hosts more than 10 million repositories. See some organisations on GitHub: NASA, BBC TV, BBC News, The Guardian, Microsoft, GOV.UKThe White House (see Issue #3) … and GitHub.

We <3 Octocat! Check out variations in the octodex (my favourite is Adventure Cat).

If you want to learn how to use Git – GitHub provides a great online tool for getting started: Try Git. Git is very powerful, and has advanced features, but can be used at a basic level with very little experience. Be sure to check out GitHub Pages which is great for making a webpage for your project. Note that at present, GitHub users must be aged 13 or older.

If you’re a teacher or student, head over to education.github.com to find out more about classroom organisations, free accounts and other discounts.

We’d love to see examples of young coders and makers putting their projects on GitHub – especially its use in education. Please post links in the comments.

Traditional Publishers Learn What Indie Authors Have Known All Along

BWF 2007 Book Signing
Ask any traditionally published author what frustrates him most about the industry, and the list of complaints might be rather varied. A survey of 9,000 authors conducted by Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest cited lack of creative control, royalties, and editorial decision making on the list, but one other factor that still plagues authors is the seemingly random and lengthy delays in the publishing industry. This factor has actually played a role in furthering hybrid publishing, as some authors have publicly stated they didn’t have the time to wait on a project that the traditional industry seems to require.

Now, a new trend is emerging in traditional publishing, thanks to both the lower initial investment in digital-first and the example for readers set by successful self-published authors. More and more publishers are stripping away the artificially long wait periods for publication, allowing titles–especially sequels in a series–to reach the consumers at an unprecedented rate.

Some of the speeding up of the process can be attributed to successful hybrid authors like Hugh Howey and CJ Lyons. Lyons, who spoke at an Amazon roundtable event at last year’s BookExpo in New York brought up the comparison between well-known authors like Dan Brown, who often have as much as a two-year gap between the release of titles.

“My fans would throw a brick through my window if they had to wait two years to find out what happens,” Lyons stated to the group.

At Digitial Book World only a few months before, Howey was interviewed about the newly coined term “hybrid author,” and made the important announcement that fans want instant access to new content from their favorite authors. He pointed out that readers would email him only a matter of hours after downloading the first installment in his Silo Saga, demanding to know when the next portion would be available. For his part, Howey has long been quoted with his mantra, “The best promotion you can do for book one is to write book two,” allowing fans to invest themselves in a series while knowing they won’t have to wait an interminable amount of time to read the next installment.

Following the successes of self-turned-traditional series like the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and the Bella Andre multi-title Sullivans series, fans have come to expect the option to read a follow up title without delay, a time period that in the traditional industry can be well over a year. Now, publishers are taking note and working to ensure that the time to market will not include artificial calendar obstacles.

One of the first series to pick up the pace that Good e-Reader highlighted was a Wattpad-originated series by Brittany Geragotelis, picked up for publication by Simon&Schuster. Beginning with the first book in the series, Life’s A Witch, published last July, the two remaining titles in the series were both available by late last month.

As publishers begin to adopt more of the mindsets that have made self-publishing so enticing–the better royalties, the greater creative control, and now the faster time to market–a resurgence in the popularity of this type of working relationship may begin. For now, more authors than ever are turning their backs on the industry before ever publishing their work, and it will be interesting to see how far publishers are willing to go to lure back their authors.

Traditional Publishers Learn What Indie Authors Have Known All Along is a post from: E-Reader News

Daily Deals & Freebies – February 11

Kindle Daily Deals Relic by Heather Terrell For fans of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games: high fantasy and dystopia meet in this high-stakes tale of a civilization built on lies and the girl who single-handedly brings it down. When Eva's twin brother, Eamon, falls to his death just a few months before he […]

Can Digitization Go Too Far?

A massive digitization project involving the cooperation of two governments and the crusading efforts by several individual stakeholders led to the donation of the Hemingway Collection to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in 2008. This donation included digitized editions of papers that had been stored in the basement of Hemingway’s farm house in Cuba, papers that even included an alternate ending to one of the author’s greatest novels, For Whom the Bell Tolls. More on the Hemingway Collection can be found HERE.

Now, though, a second donation of digitized content has been made, this time decidedly less noteworthy. Scraps of paper, brochures from hardware the author was possibly considering purchasing, years of Christmas cards, and even some of his fourth wife’s recipes have all been scanned and salvaged for posterity. While this new collection does contain items of interest, like congratulatory telegrams from well-known people for Hemingway’s Nobel Prize, other pieces of data are nothing more than minutia taking up file space.

While it’s good to be able to preserve items that belonged to an important historical and literary figure, it does beg that question, “Is there such a thing as too much digitization?”

Given the virtual status of this data, the answer may at first appear to be “no.” What’s the harm in storing digital replicas of seemingly unimportant documents? After all, if they were important enough to the author to save–despite common sentiment that he was a hoarder–they may be worth storing now that the paper is unnecessary to the process.

On the other hand, the rampant need to digitize everything, especially where massive projects are underway to protect and share rare books and documents, may mean that more important items fall through the cracks while seventy year old bank statements undergo a rigorous restoration process. Elsewhere, rare books may be languishing in a different basement while Hemingway’s son’s homework is lovingly be preserved. Even if every worldwide book, document, and scrap of nostalgia could be digitized, the burden of storage and protection still falls to the recipient.

For now, it would seem like the best course of action may be to save as much as possible, then sort out the storage of the content later. Documents are at this very moment languishing in less than ideal conditions, and may be lost without digital protection. The multiple pages of blank Hemingway stationery that were meticulously scanned in the project can always be deleted later.

Can Digitization Go Too Far? is a post from: E-Reader News

Another Scratch alpha from Tim Rowledge

Last month we posted an alpha release of Tim Rowledge’s port of Scratch to a modern Squeak Smalltalk VM. Since then, he’s been beavering away fixing bugs, and we now have a new version for you to play with.

Please check out this forum post and share your feedback.


Libraries Fight Back Against Planned Closings

With libraries around the world coming under almost as much threat of demise as brick-and-mortar bookstores, one UK library system is taking legal action to fight back against proposed budget cuts in their county that will mean the planned closing of a number of local public libraries.

According to an article in The Bookseller, the library system in Lincolnshire has mounted a legal campaign with the help of public interest attorneys to overturn their council’s decision to make sweeping cuts to library spending, a decision that the campaign founders state was made without attempting to look for alternatives and is in violation of UK law regarding library access.

The Public Interest Lawyers association has filed a review with a London court at the request of resident Simon Draper, and together the attorneys will work to have a court overturn the budget decisions from the local council. This decision has allowed for the closing or loss of all but fifteen libraries in the county, and the attorneys have stated that the decision violates two public interest laws, the Equity Act 2010 and the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.

While this action is limited to Lincolnshire for the time being, the implications of the legal proceedings could have farther reaching, global repercussions. Libraries are currently fighting to stay relevant in the digital reading age, and even libraries that are already taking digital action with innovations such as ebook lending, technology renovations, and MOOCs are struggling to demonstrate to stakeholders that they serve a vital function in the community. The outcome of this campaign could mean more councils around the world feel confident in making financial decisions that attack the existence of libraries, or could mean that councils don’t want to take the risk on libraries fighting back in court and winning. However the proceedings end, it is all money that could have been better spent on keeping libraries open to the public.

Libraries Fight Back Against Planned Closings is a post from: E-Reader News

Police Promote Kindle Fire Giveaway in Schools to Keeps Kids Away From Crime

Kindle Fire education

Several schools in the Harris Country have come up with a unique solution to keep students interested in everyday class proceedings. They are now offering a Kindle Fire tablet to those who attend school every day. The above scheme is backed by the Harris County Sheriff's Office, CITGO which they feel is a step towards making kids less inclined towards criminal ways. The more time that kids spend in school ensures they have less of it to spend in other possible illegal activities. Plus more time in school also means kids get to pick up good skills many of which will remain with them for the rest of the life.

Overall, a clever ploy on part of the school authorities and the law keepers to keep the young minds attached to the good aspects of life. The association couldn't have been more appropriate as those who grow up with good educational virtues transform into law abiding citizens. It is the latter aspect that can be considered the ultimate aim of the Kindle Fire giveaway and the perfect way to achieve that is to keep students drawn to schools; and what better way to do that than luring them using the Kindle Fire as the bait.

Another reason of the giveaway is to promote the use of iWatchHarrisCounty smartphone app among high school students. Studies have revealed that students are more likely to use smartphones to communicate with their peers. As for the app, it can be used to alert investigators about non-emergency crime tips pertaining to the locality. Users also have the option to do that either anonymously or otherwise for those who are concerned about privacy.

Police Promote Kindle Fire Giveaway in Schools to Keeps Kids Away From Crime is a post from: E-Reader News

e-Reader Retail Display Stands From Around the World


Merchandising is an art form and promoting your brand effectively in a retail environment leads to sales. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Sony all sell their devices in bookstores, big box stores and in different tech shops all over the world. Today, we take a walk around the world and see how different brands invest in retail visibility and laugh at some of the feeble attempts.


WH Smith in the UK got this in the post, it is a Kobo Display Stand. Its colorful and fits well in any aisle. Although, it is small and some people have said it looks cheap.


Barnes and Noble promotes their e-readers in stores in the USA, such as Best Buy. I have been in a few of these stores in the USA and their e-reader and tablet section looks sleek and has dedicated real estate.

A9s_DJ6CEAMykwB.jpg large

During the holiday season in 2013, Amazon did a month long trial with a series of popup stores in the US. Their entire display stand is made with the same recycled cardboard as the products they ship via their website.  This is a stunning design, with a store template that few can match.


Shop e-Readers has a series of display stands in major universities and college bookstores all over Canada. They have a few models in this shot with full specs written beside them. Takes up little real estate in a bookselling environment.


Some Indigo and Chapters bookstores have a really high end Indigo Tech areas, where everything is futuristic. The rest of Canada, you often have a single table with a few devices tethered down to it. Not very compelling.


At FNAC Bookstores in France, Kobo has an interesting template for their merchandizing. If you look closely at the backdrop, it is a Kobo e-Reader.

Kindle keyboard 99 dollars

For awhile, the Kindle was on sale at Target Stores, until management decided “they did not want to be a showroom for Amazon.” With a display area under lock and key, I wonder if this location even sold any.


Here is an interesting agnostic display area at a small tech store in Japan. You can see that they have Kobo, Kindle and Sony e-readers for sale and various accessories.


Most Barnes and Noble locations have a plain table, with a sheet draping over it with a few units lying down. You can see this store is taking it to the next level, showing off everything B&N does. Video, Apps, Books, Magazines, and their entire product line to be played with. You can see the Television in the background, surrounded by a giant Nook tablet.


I think we are starting to see a trend in the way Target promotes e-readers. A big pile of them, behind a counter with sales people lingering around. Target, this is not the way you promote anything!

sony ereader stand
In Canada, the Sony e-Reader is still sold at Futureshop. Here is a dandy little display area that looks drab and lifeless. If a single picture killed the Sony Reader Store in North America, this picture personifies it.


Phuong Nam Cultural Joint Stock Corporation's ebook store has opened in Saigon and is the first of its kind in that country. The company has opened a 500-square-meter store in floor B2 in the Vincom Shopping Mall in District 1, where it sells e-readers, tablets, ebooks, accessories, and apps.


Barnes and Noble still displays their Nook products in this fashion at many retail stores in the USA. You can see this abysmal area, barren, devoid of any creatively. Hello Black sheet and things just laying down on it. Also, it looks like all the tablets have died, due to the black screens.

e-Reader Retail Display Stands From Around the World is a post from: E-Reader News