Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sega Announces Sonic Jump Fever for Android and iOS

sonicOnce upon a time, in about 1991 (which may as well be the stone-age as far as modern video games are concerned), a young girl fell in love with a Sonic the Hedgehog game played on a (rather impressive for the time) Sega Genesis gaming console. Fast-forward to E3 2014 and you can imagine how exciting the news is that Sega is releasing an addition to the Sonic franchise with Sonic Jump Fever.

Designed as another simple one-direction platform title, Sonic Jump Fever is based on the 2012 Sonic Jump (all the while collecting rings, getting power-ups, and bopping enemies; only now you can compete directly against your friends). The twist? Twice a week the ladder resets and you will have to beat them once again –making you prove your worth and hone your skill (a fluke run won’t be good enough to hold your title at the top of the leader-board for long)!

The exact launch date is not yet known, but it should be available (for free) sometime this summer.

Sega Announces Sonic Jump Fever for Android and iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Final Fantasy 7 G-Bike Revealed for Android and iOS

Final-Fantasy-VIIFans of the franchise will be excited to play G-Bike (on Android or iOS), a pleasing mini game straight from the Gold Saucer Amusement Park currently found within the full version of Final Fantasy VII.

Not many details are known regarding the game-play, but the official announcement trailer makes it appear to belong to the endless runner platform-style genre: complete with “chase sequences, obstacle courses and boss encounters.” So far, the only character recruited is Cloud (equipped with his famed Buster Sword), but he can handily take care of enemies like Behemoth from the Midgar location.

No release date has been communicated, but G-Bike is likely to be available soon. It is also expected that great care will be given to the quality of this app, given a good response would mean good things for a much-desired port of the full Final Fantasy VII game which was previously delayed due to technical limitations (particularly issues with the storage space required, estimated at over 1GB for the game itself).

Final Fantasy 7 G-Bike Revealed for Android and iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google Gets Competition From Honeywell with New Lyric Thermostat

honeywell-lyric-640x426Home automation is one of the hottest topics around right now, and Nest was one of the first projects to kick it off when it was released in 2011. Branded as a truly smart therostat, Nest was purchased by Google for the bargain price of $3.2 billion at the start of 2014. Until now, there was little competition –until now. One of the leading names in thermostats, Honeywell, is set to sell their new connected home product: the Lyric Wi-Fi thermostat.

All of the expected features are found in the Lyric, including the ability to control your temperature presets from the app (available for both Android and iOS)… but that’s not all. Lyric is as beautiful on the wall as Nest, but the most exciting bit of technology is the use of geofencing to update the climate for your house depending on exactly who is home (or not home, as the case may be). Think of the potential: keep the house nice and cool until your spouse gets home and demands the temperature be increased a few degrees.

Lyric is expected to retail for $279 at Lowes locations beginning in August of this year.

Google Gets Competition From Honeywell with New Lyric Thermostat is a post from: Good e-Reader

Macmillan Buys into the eBook Subscription Model via Skoobe


In North America there are a number of eBook subscription sites that have suddenly caught the attention of major publishers. Scribd, Entitle and Oyster all make themselves accessible on iOS and to a lesser degree Android. It is suddenly quite viable for readers and publishers to buy into the whole ‘Netflix for eBooks’ concept. Macmillan is not sitting idly in the sidelines and instead is focusing on the German market, by way of Skoobe.

Skoobe launched in 2012 in Germany and has been a critical success, as a homegrown company, appealing to local readers. The company initially launched charging $9.99 for the ability to read two titles every month and has since expanded for unlimited reads a month. Christian Damke, the founder of Skoobe mentioned “Skoobe aims to enlarge the market for major publishers by offering easy ebook access to price-sensitive readers who don’t necessarily want to own the books. Our members are looking for engagement, quality, and ease of use. After joining Skoobe our members spend significantly more time reading while still buying print as well as ebooks. To split the catalogue into verticals is not planned, since we have found that having the option to read according to one's mood is actually one of the attractions of the offer. To carry more than 13,000 ebooks in your pocket and read a biography on the way to work and a crime story at home is very much our customer's wish. The reader is not limited to the one book she can carry in her bag but can continue to read the story she feels most drawn to at the moment.”

Macmillan is buying into Skoobe via their parent company Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck. They are contributing 1500 titles from Tor Books, which will assist Skoobe in expanding into the English market.

Skoobe continues to solicit publishers to join their system and currently has a catalog of over 40,000 titles from over 900 publishers. Their business gets a lot of attention in Germany, with all of the major newspapers and magazines doing features on them. Statistically most Germans don’t own property, but instead pay rent. Buying into an eBook subscription site makes sense. One of the great aspects is that this service is really accessible. They have apps for iOS, Android, and an optimized version of the Kindle Fire.

Download Skoobe today (spelled eBooks backwards) from the Good e-Reader App Store.

Macmillan Buys into the eBook Subscription Model via Skoobe is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Glo Android Hack Video Demo

A few months ago, I decided to install Android on my Kobo Glo to see how it functions as an E Ink Android tablet. I was able to do this thanks to a hack over at MobileRead. It works on the Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura HD, and Kobo Touch. Here’s the page with all the […]

Oaxis InkCase E Ink Covers for Smartphones (Video)

In the recent video tour of E Ink’s booth at Computex 2014, we saw a number of E Ink’s protoypes and products, but one that was missing was the Oaxis InkCase. The Oaxis InkCase is a specially-designed smartphone cover that has an E Ink screen. You can pair it with a phone and display content […]

Onarbor Addresses Academic Publishing Challenges with Crowdsourcing, Peer Review

Scholarly publishing is a constant source of contention within the academic community, as the pressure to publish has led to a division of sorts between what is considered worthy publication and what amounts to little more than a scam. The requirement to publish academic papers, journal articles, and even full-length titles in various fields is often a deciding factor in continued employment with a college or university, and even has implications in securing research opportunities and grant funding. In other words, it’s publish or perish.

Unfortunately, the world of academic publishing is even more notoriously difficult to break into than the world of trade publishing. With often small-numbered committees of just two or three individuals deciding what is worthy or not, many frustrated academics have grown disillusioned with the industry. One such person is Tim Peterson, a biology doctoral candidate from Harvard who actually secured a paper for publication in a prestigious journal, but he recalled that the entire nine-month ordeal left him feeling as though there had to be a better way.

Peterson founded the site Onarbor, a platform that not only provides a publishing pad for quality works, but also encourages peer review that goes well beyond three stuffy academics looking over the tops of their glasses at the mountain of submissions. Instead, Onarbor builds a community of reviewers, people whose own “scores” are generated based on their reviews of prior submissions. Essentially, if a reviewer simply passes through a fluff piece, his score as a reviewer can drop, making him less of a prestigious name associated with a submission.

More important than just the publishing and review opportunities, though, is the ability for users to crowdfund particular projects through donations. Interestingly, cybercurrency source Bitcoin is accepted on the site for crowdfunding.

In this article on Onarbor by Avi Wolfman-Arent for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Peterson is quoted as saying this model stands to rise above the current method of peer review due to the sheer numbers of people who will review a submission. It’s one thing to have a triumvirate of academics with a political agenda to declare your work as suitable, but it’s something else entirely to have thousands of highly qualified professionals make that assessment.

While the trade publication industry is slowly but surely release its stronghold as the only viable publishing route and erasing some of the stigma associated with self-publishing, we can’t look for the scholarly industry to do that anytime soon, especially when there’s serious money to be made by blocking publication of some pieces and allowing others. In time. though, sites like Onarbor could potentially make enough of a name for themselves that the scholarly publication community sees the rigid stronghold for exactly what it is and agrees to accept the validity of a community-vetted platform.

Onarbor Addresses Academic Publishing Challenges with Crowdsourcing, Peer Review is a post from: Good e-Reader

Entitle Launches Christian eBook Subscription

With the variety of ebook subscription services that have launched recently, there are models that speak to many different reading preferences. From Netflix-style all-you-can-eat to serialized and long-form eshorts, different consumers can find paid models that support the way they choose to read. One interesting aspect to subscription models is that there are also platforms that support limited types of content, such as romance or non-fiction essay.

Entitle Books announced its recent launch of an ebook subscription that is aimed at the Christian book market, allowing its members to find new titles without wading through content that they may wish to avoid. Entitle Christian, as the service is called, allows its members to download up to four books per month depending on the pricing option they choose; unlike typical subscription models, this one serves as more of a book club of sorts, as the ebooks do not disappear after a predetermined amount of time. The books are the users’ to keep, even if they cancel their subscriptions later.

Entitle’s CEO Bryan Batten noted that readers of Christian fiction tend to stick with the genre, much in the way that romance readers are thought to be passionate fans of their favorite story lines and authors. While the industry is experiencing unheard of rates of crossover, not only among readers but among authors as well, some genres more than others experience this level of dedication to their books.

Of course, one of the more appealing aspects of the service–something that members are willing to spend significant money on considering that the two-book-a-month plan starts at $9.99 and increases from there–is the vetting of the titles for appropriateness and content. In recent years, most major retailers have had to take unpopular action against books and authors that were mislabeled. Hard-core erotica works ended up on display and promoted even in the ranks of children’s ebooks, a fact that caused a number of retailers to take swift action in deleting any content that they deemed inappropriate.

Entitle Christian’s platform is compatible with all major devices and operating systems, and has been able to secure contracts with several major publishers. Of the platform’s 200,000+ ebooks available for sale, more than 10,000 titles have been included in the Entitle Christian service to date.

Entitle Launches Christian eBook Subscription is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Integrates WhisperSync for Voice into Kindle for Android


WhisperSync for Voice is a program that was designed to build synergy between eBooks sold by Amazon and the audio edition from Audible. It was designed to give readers a discount for purchasing both the eBook and audiobook edition and flip between the two wherever you left off. For example, if you are reading a novel at night and stop reading at page 92, you can pick up on the audiobook where you left off when commuting to work the next day. This used to just a program exclusively for the Kindle Fire line of tablets and now is available on the official Kindle app for iOS and Android.

Professional narration is available for more than 45,000 Kindle books and growing—including popular best-sellers from an array of genres. You can easily add professional narration to your favorite Kindle books with one click using Matchmaker (www.amazon.com/matchmaker), a service that scans your Kindle library to find which of your Kindle books have a companion Audible version available. Audio upgrades are available for as little as $0.99, with upgrades to bestsellers like the Outlander series and The Hunger Games series available for as little as $3.99.

Whispersync actually gives you discounts on the audiobook edition if you already have the Kindle book. This allows for a few dollars in savings if you want to take advantage of Whispersync for Voice, but sadly there is no bundling program yet to buy both at a lower price.

The new Kindle app is available via iOS and the Good e-Reader App Store.

Amazon Integrates WhisperSync for Voice into Kindle for Android is a post from: Good e-Reader

Avoid the summer slide with Teachers Notebook and OverDrive

SummerSlide2Most parents and educators are familiar with the term "summer slide" or "summer slump." It is what happens to many school-aged children each summer when their brains are not kept active and they have to relearn things or they fall behind at the start of the school year.

To combat the summer slide, it is important for parents and guardians to carve out some time every day for children to do educational activities or read. Teachers Notebook (TeachersNotebook.com) and OverDrive can help keep children's minds active over the summer months with free educational activities and eBooks.

AvoidTheSummerSlide.com is packed with free educational games and activities for children. You can start your search by grade and subject and then browse for more at Teachers Notebook. These educational activities are available in a wide range of subjects from science to social studies, so you are sure to find an activity that is so fun it doesn't feel like learning!

Reading is also important for children over the summer. Children can lose more than two months' worth of reading skills during summer break, and they struggle when they head back to school in the fall if they haven't picked up a book all summer. To make reading fun, why not check out an eBook from your local library through OverDrive? Several libraries are now equipped with a kids' or teens' eReading room, which is a custom version of the website filled with titles just for kids and teens.

Kindle Apps Get Audiobook Integration and Lots of Other New Features

Amazon has released major updates to their Kindle reading apps today. Amazon issued a press release announcing the biggest change: Audible integration. Kindle reading apps now support audiobooks, aka Whispersync for Voice. This feature was previously only available on the latest line of Kindle Fire tablets. Now all the Kindle reading apps have the ability […]

MagPi issue 24, out now!

The MagPi’s a little late this month, but it’s full of good things. The MagPi is the free magazine for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, written, typeset and edited by the community for the community.

This month’s issue has plenty for Pi fans of all levels to get their teeth into.

MagPi Jun 14

Click the image to visit The MagPi

We’re biased, but our favourite article this month is the interview with our very own Carrie Anne Philbin about Picademy, our free teacher training courses, where she talks a lot about the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s approach to education. And our hearts went pitter-patter when we saw the Wolfram Language-powered spectrophotometer from Robert J LeSuer, which can be used to calibrate colours: in this instance Robert is using it to make sure his watermelon punch is precisely the correct shade of red. There’s the final instalment in Michael Petersen's Weather Balloon series, a project from Daniel Pelikan which turns your Raspberry Pi into an oscilloscope, and much more.

The MagPi is a free download: the volunteers on the project donate their time and skill every month for free, and we are very grateful to them. If you’d like a printed magazine, we’re selling the MagPi’s Kickstarted binders of the first nineteen issues in the Swag Store: get them while they’re hot!