It didn’t take long to start hearing about the hardware options headed our way that will take advantage of Android TV –with one of the first big announcements coming from Razer (a company best known for high-end gaming PCs, laptops and tablets). Together with Google, Razer intends to introduce a micro-console later this year, running the new platform but with a core-focus on gaming instead of media streaming (though it will also accommodate casual gaming, music, movies, and other social media applications).
It is expected that the graphics will be good and the UI should be easy to navigate, but it is unlikely it will truly compete with the high-end consoles already in the marketplace (like the PlayStation 4)… but truth mbe told, most gamers are probably just as happy to play big-screen adaptations of their favourite mobile gaming titles as they are anything else.
Because the device is still in the early stages of development, a release date and price are not yet known –though Razer is advising that it is coming our way later sooner than later and that the price-tag will be “affordable.”
What will be interesting to see is whether more users tend toward these set-top box-style Android TV devices or if they opt for using it on televisions where it can be built-in.
Razer Teams With Google To Create A Gaming Console is a post from: Good e-Reader
Thursday, June 26, 2014
The corporate world is a little bit lost right now when it comes to mobile devices. Once upon a time, BlackBerry was the logical (and only) choice –Research in Motion (RIM) was highly security conscious and their smartphones were seemingly very single-purpose. Flash forward and the marketplace isn’t quite so cut and dried: Apple is a crowd favourite in many ways because their locked-down approach to hardware means it is less prone to attack, Microsoft has dropped the mobile technology ball so many times they aren’t much of a contender anymore… and then there is Android, beloved but not necessarily trusted. This reality may soon be changing thanks to a program called Android for Work announced at this year’s Google I/O conference.
With the upcoming Android “L” release (to start, Ice Cream sandwich builds and later will eventually be supported), Google is introducing APIs that promise to provide data separation and increased security (taking advantage of Samsung’s Knox). This approach is especially meaningful now that personal devices are used for work (and work devices are used for personal content).
In addition to enhanced security, Android for Work will provide a method for enterprise-level app distribution using Google Play, allowing for centralized deployment and configuration.
Also included in these enhancements is an update to Google Drive that should compete with services like Dropbox. Labeled as Drive for Work, this update will offer unlimited cloud storage with encrypted file transfers for $10 per month. To provide even more peace of mind to the corporate world, Drive for Work will give greater administrative controls to IT administrators (including APIs that will allow for close monitoring of the files being stored and accessed).
Are these offerings from Google enough to gain the interest and trust from business users? Time will tell –but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
How many times a day do you unlock your smartphone? I’d be willing to wager that for a great number of you, the answer is in the hundreds. Having your phone locked is responsible and pretty much required, while unlocking it is annoying and frustrating. Fortunately, Google gave the answer during their I/O 2014 keynote: Personal Unlocking.
Under the new Android “L” release, Personal Unlocking will allow users to designate a Bluetooth device or geographical location that indicate the trusted owner is near –and then doesn’t require the login sequence to gain access. Demonstrations of the feature were done with a watch (which comes as no surprise), but just about anything should work.
Until users have a chance to test-drive this feature, it won’t be known how accurate and securely it behaves. One should assume that for devices carrying highly sensitive material, Personal Unlocking shouldn’t be used… but for the average person who just wants to make it more difficult for somebody to level you in Angry Birds or read your email and text messages, it should work a treat.
Caution should be exercised for other reasons of course, consider just how many Facebook posts will be spoofed by your spouse from your smartphone or tablet if you specify your home as a ‘safe zone’?
Android Adds Personal Unlocking In Trusted Environments is a post from: Good e-Reader
Blackberry has all but abandoned the Playbook and very few apps are being released through official channels. The Waterloo based company recently signed a deal with Amazon to have the Amazon App Store be the sole distribution system with the new Blackberry 10.3 firmware update. Today, we present our weekly top 10 Blackberry Playbook and Blackberry 10 apps of the week. It is important to note that all of these apps are only available on the Good e-Reader App Store.
LinkedIn Pulse - Pulse News is a beautiful app that takes your favourite websites and transforms them into a colorful and interactive mosaic. Tap on an article to see a clean and elegant view of the news story. Save stories for reading later across all platforms or sync them with Instapaper, Read it Later and Evernote. Sharing a story via Facebook, Twitter and email is as easy as two taps.
The Verge - The definitive source for technology news, reviews, and up-to-the-minute scoops. Get all the breaking news coverage and in-depth reporting in the world of consumer technology from the industry's leading voices and foremost experts. The Verge brings you unrivaled breadth and depth of coverage, delivering everything you need to know about what's happening in the world of technology culture — including the latest reviews, breaking news, and in-depth feature stories. Tech news begins and ends on The Verge; and now you can get that experience on the go, right on your Android device.
Brainpop: Featured Movie - Watch a different animated movie every day, then test your new knowledge with an interactive quiz.
Facebook Covers - Free Timeline covers for your Facebook Profile. We have the finest selection of Facebook Covers with thousands to choose from. Give your Facebook Profile a unique look and feel with a brand new, awesome photo (unbranded) cover now! As the number one source for high quality Facebook Covers in internet, TimelineCovers.pro gives you thousands FB covers to choose from. New Cover photos are added everyday.
Ubersocial - UberSocial (formerly Twidroyd) is the leading full-featured Twitter client for Android, with a customizable UberBar for easy navigation.
Youversion Bible - Get the #1 rated and ranked Bible App for FREE. We want to make it easy for you to read and share God's Word. 150+ free translations and almost 200 Bible reading plans to help you read the Bible and track your progress.
AVG Anti Virus - AVG Antivirus for Smartphones & Tablets automatically detects harmful Apps & SMS
Pinterest - This insanely simple app will have you up and sharing pins across networks within seconds. There is NO login required and you don't even have to be a member of Pinterest to get going.
Yahoo Weather - The highly-acclaimed Yahoo! Weather app is now available on Android, featuring stunning photos that match current weather conditions and an ALL new design with a ton of new features. See the weather like never before. Easily swipe for the most accurate weather forecasts or add a home screen widget for the latest weather information. Wherever you go, the forecast is beautiful.
Mint Personal Finance - Mint pulls in all your personal finance accounts into one place, so you can manage your money from anywhere. Track your spending, create a budget, and save more.
Feature Films and TV
Alone for Christmas
Okay, who could resist a Home Alone rip-off starring a cute dog? It's checking out like mad across libraries.
A Christmas Love Story/Love at the Christmas Table
For 30 years Sam and Katherine have spent every Christmas Eve relegated to the children's table. But this year Sam learns that Kat is moving away and he has one night to tell her he loves her.
When Henry's dad dies suddenly, he has to drop out of school and take a job as a Manhattan doorman…and then he breaks Rule Number One: never fall for the beautiful daughter of a tenant.
Produced by Jackie Chan, this action-packed war epic is based on the real life story of the Yang family women, who during the Song dynasty, took up swords and led their army to victory after all the men of the clan were massacred.
Little Big Soldier
Jackie Chan stars in this comic martial arts extravaganza set in ancient China.
Little Red Devil
A horror action thriller about a loser in a dead-end life who is made an offer he can't refuse. But maybe he should have.
Muay Thai Warrior
Based on actual events from the 17th century’s Ayutthaya period, young samurai Yamada Nagamasa works tirelessly to master the art of Muay Boran, Thai boxing.
Colonel Allen, former head of a covert military unit, is faced with his worst nightmare—a young sniper returns to America, seeking revenge on the men in power who trained him.
The Saddle Club: Saving Pine Hollow
When a freak hurricane swamps LA, thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace on sea, land, and air!
Stuck in the Middle
In this comedy, a mail room slacker accidentally kills himself in a bizarre experiment and finds himself sentenced to Purgatory…working in the mail room.
Documentary and Instructional
A two part set. Viewed through the lens of four intrinsic elements of the African American experience – Black Hollywood, The Black Elite, The Ghetto, and The New South – gates examines the legacy of the Civil Rights movement since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Link to Part 2.
American History in 101 Objects
The Smithsonian Undersecretary for Art, History, and Culture, decodes the gold cap on Benjamin Franklin’s walking stick and its symbolic representation of the founding of the United States. Part of a series on long term thinking sponsored by the Long Now Foundation.
Baby Sign Language: Beginner Signs
Talk to your babies before they are able to speak by using sign language. This video covers over 400 signs including Potty Training, Animals, Body, Clothes, Colors, Descriptors, Feelings, Food, People, Letters, Numbers, Actions, Vehicles and more.
A Beautiful Dream: Yoga/Movement Adventure for Remembering and Relationship
Just one of a series of instructional videos on yoga for kids. Award-winning follow-along yoga/movement story in which a boy remembers his adventures and notices how much stronger, smarter, and confident he’s grown.
Chatsworth: The Grandest Country House in All of England
Set on more than 1,000 acres in Derbyshire, Chatsworth House is one of the most famous stately homes in England. Journey through its 300 rooms full of fine antiques, art, and furniture.
Classic Cars: The Definitive Collection
A tribute to cars made between the 30s and 70s, and a look at which modern cars will become classics.
His Name Was Jason: Thirty Years of Friday the Thirteenth
This documentary offers classic clips from the original film and its 12 sequels, over 80 interviews, and a complete history of the phenomenon.
The Makers Revolution
Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired Magazine, and coiner of the term "the long tail," discusses how 3D printers and design software work.
Marlin Darrah: The Silk Road
Journey with the world’s most traveled filmmaker, Marlin Darrah, as he explores the famous 4000 mile trade route that winds through deserts, mountains and plains linking Europe to China.
Playground Earth: Climbing Encounters
This action adventure travel video focuses on mountain and rock climbing, including the world's most difficult sports climb.
Almost 10 years before Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end desegregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a Whites only school. This video about a little known event in history is aimed at children.
The Winning of World War II: The Road to Victory Episode 1 The Battle of the Bulge
Part of a several episode series on the winning of World War II—and only $2.00 each!
*Geographical rights may vary by title.
Everybody would like a personal assistant, and for many of us, Google Now is the closest thing we are going to get. Recently, with the app up, you could summon this digital Jeeves with the phrase: “OK Google.” Now that hotword works throughout the entire phone instead of just when the app is running (even if you are on the lock screen)!
Once you have the update, in order to turn on hotword detection you need to head into Google now, scroll to the bottom and tap Menu>Settings>Voice>"Ok Google" Detection. From there you can also toggle any other options according to your preferences.
Don’t be alarmed if you haven’t yet seen this change as it may take a little while to roll out to you –Google is releasing it in waves, so just keep checking for updates. Once you grab it, be sure to check out Audio History so you can help the app learn the sound of your voice.
Among the announcements at this year’s Google I/O conference was the news that App Indexing would be expanded to all developers and their apps. This update brings the concept of contextual and meaningful search to a whole new level by blurring the lines between web-based content and native apps.
Consider the possibilities: search for a restaurant in Google and open up the corresponding reservation page within OpenTable, search Google for the movie you are watching and open the correct details page within the IMDB app on your device. Of course, the logical next question may be why you don’t just do your searching via the native apps to begin with, but the answers are very clear.
Google wants you to search using their engine. Partially because they make a lot of their money through ad revenue, but also because they have spent a lot of time and effort to make sure their search is superior to any other out there. Besides, often times you are wandering around the web and you don’t even realize what you are looking for until you find it… then low and behold, there’s an app for that, and with one click (or tap, technically) you’ve made the move to using it!
Making use of this feature will require a little work done by the developers of each app, but I expect it will become commonplace very soon.
We are expecting to see more Google Maps announcements very soon with enhancements that include an entirely redesigned interface and clearer images, but the flagship navigation app wasn’t left out of the Google I/O conference excitement. Updates to the app were pushed out yesterday that included updates to search, transit results and terrain view.
When searching in the app, the first change you will notice is that the results appear directly on the map (including descriptions that will help you to make route and destination decisions more quickly). Transit results have been enhanced to include the total walking time for your trip in addition to showing the next scheduled bus or train. Accessing Terrain View from the side menu shows the 3D view of the landscape and elevation –details that may seem insignificant until you are geocaching and end up walking up and down significant inclines!
Constant feature enhancements like these serve to further solidify Google Maps as the premier navigation app for all mobile platforms.
If you haven’t yet downloaded Google Maps, grab it now for free!
Fellow Netflix addicts will have already noticed that the icon has changed colour (from red to white), but a few other things have changed as well. The UI has been updated on Android to be a little darker (showing more shadowy tones), but it also appears that performance has been improved with even smoother video playback.
These updates may seem less significant for anime fans who are eagerly awaiting the July 4 release of Knights of Sidonia. Based on the popular Manga series, this title will join the ranks of other Netflix original series alongside shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
Despite competitors popping up all the time, Neflix remains the leading subscription service for watching television and movies on nearly any device you can imagine (from those powered by Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS and even console gaming systems). If you haven’t yet given it a try, download Netflix for free now!
Mobile gamers rejoice: Google Play Games was not left out of the spotlight yesterday at Google’s annual I/O conference. With several enhancements and additions, Google plans to take gaming to a whole new level (as well as rivaling all of the good things that Apple had to announce with their upcoming iOS update).
First on the list was the new Games Profile: behaving as a unique and adapting identity for all Android gamers, this update will see changes based on in-game achievements (while also emulating xBox Live Achievements and PlayStation trophies). The result will allow users to earn points and titles but also compare their progress against that of their friends.
In addition, Quests (a new set of APIs available for use by developers) will allow for online time-based events to run inside games without updates needing to be pushed out. Complimenting this is Google’s introduction of a game save feature which will let developers easily record a users’s progress.
Finally, it appears that $5 billion has been paid out on top of Google play to developers –a sizable 2.5x increase over this period last year.
Evolving Google Play Games into a true hub for Android gaming makes perfect sense, especially when you consider the launch of Android TV and the inevitable migration of games to that platform as well.
One of the best things about the annual Google I/O conference is that many of the biggest and most active development houses save their coolest updates to share with that group. To that end, Hotel Tonight announced yesterday that they feel they are the first online travel agency to offer mobile check-in as well as keyless entry to guests of hotels using their service.
The express check-in functionality makes the process of getting your room entirely painless: just two taps on your touchscreen and then wait to be notified that your room is ready.
Even more exciting than checking in quickly is the ability to unlock your hotel room with your Android device (anybody who has locked themselves out of their room because they forgot that silly credit card style key will be cheering along with me… besides, who ever leaves a room these days without taking their phone?). Using NFC capabilities and a Brivo Labs API, users hold their device up to the lock and moments later they are passing through the door.
Both features are expected to be implemented soon, though it may take some time for hotel chains to get on board.
Hotel Tonight is a fantastic way to save money on hotel rooms anytime you are willing to wait until the last minute. Before you start to plan your next trip, be sure to download Hotel Tonight.
As the nation's library professionals convene at the 2014 American Library Association Annual (ALA) Conference in Las Vegas, June 27-30, leading digital platform provider OverDrive will introduce and demonstrate its 2014/2015 eBook lending roadmap. OverDrive team members will brief librarians on plans to launch a series of content, end-user and platform enhancements over the coming weeks and months. These include new access models, expanded discovery for library holdings, and additional tools for libraries to achieve measurable success with their eBook and digital lending collections. Notable enhancements include:
More content, more flexible access models
Easiest and most proven platform with new apps and services
"We are constantly innovating in response to requests from libraries and users. This includes libraries that are disappointed with competitor eBook collections due to low checkouts and fewer features," said Shannon Lichty, OverDrive's director of partner services. "As a result, we are supporting library requests to migrate their eBook and audiobook titles currently on other platforms to OverDrive in order to instantly benefit from higher circulation and compatibility with more devices."
OverDrive to reach millions of readers and bring new users to the library
As reported by Pew Research, only about half of Americans ages 16 and older used a public library in some form in the past year (see report by Pew Research). At ALA, OverDrive will demonstrate programs to connect new users with their public library:
To see these upcoming enhancements and more, visit OverDrive's booth #1317 at ALA.
|E Ink has been trying to crack the smartphone market for the past few years with their low-power outdoor readable epaper displays. Yesterday the Onyx Midia InkPhone went up for pre-order—it’s a new phone that uses an E Ink screen instead of LCD. Other products are using E Ink screens as secondary displays for smartphones. […]|
Wearables are among the hottest topics at this year’s Google I/O conference, with apps designed to work with them being some of the most exciting developments. One of the first to emerge is the availability of PayPal on your wrist, letting us check in to pay at participating stores, redeem offers, and receive payment notifications.
PayPal has long been a friend to Android with apps already available for the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Fit devices (not to mention taking advantage of the fingerprint sensor built in to the company’s Galaxy S5to build secure payments into the regular Android app).
Being able to have your wallet handy on your wrist is one of the many benefits of wearable technology. With the phrase: “Ok Google,” you can expect to respond to texts, instant messages, emails (all by voice), and ask questions (like locating the nearest Starbucks). Beyond that, you can reach your fitness goals with step counters and heart-rate monitors, and communicate with your smartphone and all that it can offer.
By being one of the first, PayPal is pioneering the idea of a wearable portal to all of the things you use to manage your daily life.
Simon & Schuster has been slowly dipping their toes into distributing their electronic book titles to libraries in the US. The publishing company has been participating in a pilot program in 20 different libraries in order to find a viable business model that worked for all parties involved. Today, ahead of the American Library Association Annual conference in Las Vegas, S&S has announced that are expanding nationwide.
Effective immediately, public libraries across the United States can acquire for their collections ebook editions of such beloved classic favorites and current bestsellers as The Great Gatsby, Steve Jobs, Doctor Sleep, Hard Choices, The Flamethrowers, The Light Between Oceans, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and the Mortal Instruments and Dork Diaries series.
S&S is offering both their frontlist and backlist titles, which means as soon as the novel is released in bookstores, libraries have a chance to purchase a copy. The library can offer an unlimited number of checkouts during the one-year term for which it has purchased a copy, although each copy may only be checked out by one user at a time.
Penguin pioneered the library concept of the Buy it Now Button. This allowed libraries to act as retail outlets, by offering the ability to sell the title to patrons. The library, publisher and distributer all got a piece of the transaction if the wait list was too long. 3M, Baker & Taylor, and Overdrive will all be expanding their distribution of Penguin titles all over the USA and offering the Buy it Now Button.
“In the year since we first started our pilot, we have been delighted with the response from the participating libraries, and we believe the time is right to make our ebooks available to all libraries,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster. “Although the library market for ebooks is still evolving, we are pleased to now offer ebooks to libraries on a universal basis, providing their patrons the content they desire in increasingly popular digital formats, and helping libraries to continue serving their communities as they have so well for so many years.
ALA President Barbara Stripling released the following statement – "Today represents an important milestone for improving the ability of libraries to serve the public in the digital age. America's libraries are the quintessential institution in connecting authors and readers. We have always known that library lending encourages patrons to experiment by sampling new authors, topics and genres. This experimentation stimulates the market for books—with the library serving as a critical de facto discovery, promotion and awareness service for authors and publishers.
Now, Patterson is taking this same donor support to independent booksellers in the UK in an effort to ensure that people have access to books. According to the New York Times, Patterson has committed 250,000 GBP to providing grants between 250 and 5,000 GBP to struggling shops to encourage literacy and book access, aiming this particular initiative at ensuring children have access to reading material.
Things have truly reached crisis proportions for UK booksellers, and numbers of independent shops have fallen below 1,000 retailers for the first time. Patterson, who has in the past written an open letter to the US government to fund a bailout of the independent book retailer industry, continues to commit his own personal funds to keep stores open, to foster competition in the retailing sector, and to ensure that access to books doesn’t go away with the shuttering of more and more shops and libraries.
Patterson has recently taken to railing against Amazon for its current battles with his publisher, Hachette Book Group, for its refusal to stock titles until the terms of its contracts are agreed upon; the author has pointed out that this disagreement and stall in sales is taking revenue from authors, who will hurt most of all.
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Last Christmas I decided I had spent enough time bending over the various chairs to reach the switch to turn on and off the Christmas tree lights. So I bought a set of Energenie remote-controlled mains switches.
I decided that this would be a great device to wire up to the Raspberry Pi, because I could then program the Pi to control my Christmas lights during the day. Unfortunately, the small remote control supplied with the distribution board does not have any mechanism of external control. So I got in contact with Energenie, the manufacturers of these great devices, to invite them over to Pi Towers and show them what a great thing Raspberry Pi is and why they should create a Raspberry Pi add-on to be able to control the devices…
A couple of months later I get a visit from their team, who showed me the results of quite a bit of engineering (and a little fun I think):
A little bit of information from the guys at Energenie:
While Amy Mather was in the office earlier in the year to do some work experience, I asked her to think of something she could do with the system and to write some code to prettify the existing Python code. She started by writing a basic function to control power sockets using some binary logic, and proceeded to hack one of the built-in Python games in Raspbian to make it play a song and turn on some disco lights when the player wins the game. Cue the music:
…finally Rick-Rolled the Raspberry Pi blog!
See Amy’s example code and the modified memory puzzle game on her GitHub.
The basic usage for Amy’s energenie module looks like this:
Want to control something simple from your Pi? Washing machine, Vacuum cleaner, liquidiser (create your own cat scarer):
Buy yours at energenie4u.co.uk!
"Our clients can now rely on us for everything from digital product conception, content creation and multichannel distribution, to post-delivery customer and IT support," said Bill Penders, Aptara's President, in a press release. "As our customers streamline their operations, having a single partner that can meet all of these needs provides them with maximum cost-efficiencies while connecting them with new, digitally savvy audiences."
To go with the new focus on providing for all of a customer’s publishing needs, Aptara also unveiled its new logo and a new website that highlights all of the ways the company can build a final product for its business partners. The new site can be found at aptaracorp.com.
"Aptara expertly navigated our path from print to digital to mobile," said Dan Green, Senior Operations Manager for Cisco Learning Services. "By transforming and simplifying how we create and deliver product documentation and training, we've established new revenue streams and substantially cut expenses."
Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse is the Sega Genesis classic reimagined for Android. The premise of the game has you playing Mickey on a quest to save his darling Minnie from the evil witch Mizrabel clutches.
This game reminds me of Mario 64, in the respect that you enter different worlds and complete them. You earn stars and gems which unlock different doors. From a gameplay point of view, it functions as a platformer that is very 2D in nature, but the backgrounds are all 3D. You can shoot projectiles at dancing clowns or windup knights.
Mickey himself is also exquisitely animated, as is absolutely everything else in Castle of Illusion. There are many different locations, such as Toy fortresses and enormous libraries that manage to make mundane objects both awe-inspiring and menacing, and a fully revamped Candy Land, featuring milkshake rivers and a licorice dragon, could win the award for the most colorful set piece of the year. Castle of Illusion may be short, but its abundance of ideas never runs dry, and that’s never been more evident than in this HD remake.