Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Amazon Unveils New Credit Card Reader

Amazon-Local-Register today announced Amazon Local Register, a secure card reader and mobile app that provides local businesses with the tools they need to quickly and easily accept credit and debit cards from a smartphone or tablet and keep track of their growing business.  Amazon Local Register customers will have access to the award-winning, fully dedicated customer support team, as well as in-app tracking tools.  Customers who sign up for Amazon Local Register before October 31 will also receive a low promotional rate of 1.75 percent per card swipe on all major credit and debit cards until January 1, 2016. Additional details are available at

"From clothing stores to contractors, food trucks to accountants, businesses and organizations using Amazon Local Register will enjoy industry-leading low rates, trusted and secure payment processing, and access to award-winning customer support," said Matt Swann, Vice President of Amazon Local Commerce. "We understand that every penny and every minute counts, so we want to make accepting payments so easy and inexpensive that it no longer gets in the way of a business owner doing what they love – serving their customers and growing their business."

Customers can get started with Amazon Local Register in three simple steps: create an account on, purchase a $10 card reader, and download the free mobile app from Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store or Google Play.  Starting today, the card reader is available with Free Two-Day Shipping on  Beginning August 19, customers can also purchase a card reader at Staples retail locations nationwide. The Amazon Local Register card reader and free mobile app are compatible with a variety of smartphones and tablets, including Apple devices running iOS7, Kindle Fire tablets, select Android smartphones, and coming soon to the new Fire phone. Each customer's first $10 in transaction fees will be credited back to the customer's account once Amazon Local Register is in use – allowing customers to fully recoup the cost of the card reader.  Money from transactions can be deposited directly into a bank account within one business day, or spent on within minutes – see the website for more details.  Amazon Local Register also provides:

Exceptional value: Amazon Local Register accepts all major credit and debit cards for a low, flat rate with no hidden fees. Plus, there are no long-term contracts. Customers who register before October 31 will receive a low promotional rate of 1.75 percent per card swipe until January 1, 2016. Customers who sign up after this promotional period will pay a flat rate of 2.5 percent on all swiped transactions.

Amazon customer support: Access the award-winning, fully dedicated customer support team, available by phone and email. Plus, Kindle Fire HDX owners can take advantage of the Mayday button to connect to an Amazon tech advisor 24 hours a day, 365 days per year – for free.

Secure and stabilized card reader: A stabilized card reader limits swivel, making it easier to swipe once and go. Plus, each transaction is backed by the same services that securely power purchases.

Business tracking tools: In-app reporting enables a business to quickly check bottom line performance, sales trends, peak sales times and more.  All reporting is easily accessible from a smartphone or tablet and is password-protected.

Compatible accessories:  Shop for compatible accessories including cash drawers, receipt printers, smartphone cases and stands.  Find everything needed to build a point-of-sale system including massive selection, available at the best price, all on

Early users of Amazon Local Register share their experiences:

"Amazon Local Register has simplified, organized and improved efficiency for my business.  The feature I am most impressed with is the outstanding customer support I receive any time I have a question or for whatever help I need.  The reports are easy to understand and help me figure out how my business is performing." Erin H, hair & makeup artist

"I'm always looking for ways to reduce my business expenses. Amazon Local Register's low price means that I can invest more in my business, while still ensuring that I'm accepting customer payments safely and securely." – Kevin L, gallery and event venue owner

"My customers used to always ask if they could pay with a credit card and I always said no, as it always seemed too complicated to set up.  It was easy to get started with Amazon Local Register, and taking payments is a breeze. My customers are VERY happy and prefer to pay with their card.   Another benefit is that I don't have to deal with going to the bank to deposit cash and checks." Jannine H, massage therapist

Amazon Unveils New Credit Card Reader is a post from: Good e-Reader

Send Your Google+ Stream to Your TV Using Chromecast


An update to Google+ this week came in under the radar, but is a little exciting for Android users who have longed for the full functionality that Apple’s Airplay offers iOS users with an Apple TV: thanks to a small Chromecast button found in the interface, you can view your stream up on your television. Oddly, the change isn’t visible in the Google Play changelog –but it’s definitely there.

Initial functionality is limited: you can automatically loop through recent Google+ posts from people in your circles with the option to pause the loop or view posts one at a time.

Any Chromecast updates are updates are welcomed by the Android community with open arms, even though most people will find it more convenient to view this kind of content directly on the device.

In my experience, the best reasons to use AirPlay (and now Chromecast) are related to the occasional sharing of content with friends and not so much to take advantage of a large screen for personal use.

If you haven’t yet installed Google+ for Android, download it now for free.

Send Your Google+ Stream to Your TV Using Chromecast is a post from: Good e-Reader

Goat Simulator Headed to Android, iOS


I am either thrilled or disgusted by the news that the insanely successful Goat Simulator game is being ported to Android and iOS. Developed by Coffee Stain Studios as a joke, Goat Simulator has accumulated over $1 million in sales since the launch on April 1 of this year (note the date).

The objective of the game is to guide your fast-moving goat around a town while it causes great mayhem and destruction. The more you destroy, the better your score. It is simple, which can be refreshing… everybody likes to spend time now and then with a game that doesn’t challenge you to learn a bunch of rules and become familiar with a sophisticated user interface.

For skilled developers trying hard to succeed while creating apps with actual functionality, the Goat Simulator story may cause them to feel a little resentful (or maybe that feeling is hopeful, when they see that there is no particular formula for monetizing their creations).

No official release date has been set, but stay on the edge of your seat because it is coming soon!

Goat Simulator Headed to Android, iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Now Selling Certified Factory Refurbished eReaders

Kobo is now selling a couple different refurbished Kobo ereader models, and they’ve even started advertising them on their website with a banner at the top of every page. Right now they have the Kobo Glo and Kobo Touch available certified factory refurbished, but not the newer Kobo Aura or Kobo Aura HD. The Kobo […]

Remember Where You Parked Using Google Now


Friends of mine have voted me ‘most likely to get lost at the mall’. I have a terrible sense of direction, combined with an even worse memory… which adds up to plenty of time wandering aimlessly through parking lots trying to remember exactly where I last saw my car. Of course, there are oodles of apps that will help you out in these situations, but you are already using Google Now for so many other things, adding features like this just make it more indispensable.

Most of those other parking helper apps require you to specify your location before walking away from the vehicle (allow me to refer back to my comment regarding my terrible memory, as this would involve my needing to remember that I need to remember). Brilliantly, Google Now uses sensors in your device to determine when you were last inside a previously moving vehicle. From there, the app supposes when you have left that vehicle and notes the location (along with the time, which can be helpful).


Enabling this feature inside of Google Now is as easy as specifying your main mode of transportation to be “Driving” as seen in the image above.

It may not always deliver perfect results, but it sure does beat wandering around parking lots with my key fob in the air trying to sound my horn.

Remember Where You Parked Using Google Now is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google Launches Free Online Teaching Tool: Classroom


With the pilot phase completed, Google Classroom is now live for all Google Apps for Education users. Designed to be a free learning management system, Classroom laces together the functionality found within Google Drive, Docs, and Gmail in an effort to help teachers “save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.”

Behaving as a support system, tools like Classroom aim to minimize the administrative effort required by teachers so they can focus more on educating their students instead of pushing paper. Designed to offer a paperless assignment workflow, teachers are able to create, review, and grade assignments quickly and easily. If students are struggling to complete activities, or need additional help, educators are able to collaborate and communicate with individuals directly –offering assistance as it is required.

Students are also supported by Classroom, with an Assignments page that lets them keep track of assignments and their due dates. Parents will also appreciate this centralized hub approach as it provides a realistic overview of what their child should be working on, as well as the specifications for each item.

Other features of the system include: student and teacher participation in class discussions, sharing resources among classmates, and access to class materials (which can be automatically filed into folders in Google Drive). Security is also a critical part of Classroom; there are no ads, and the content (including student data) is never used for advertising purposes.

Classroom brings Google’s educational offering full circle: Google laptops run Google apps that allow students to complete assignments through Google Classroom. This strategy is not a foreign concept, you may recall just how many Apple personal computers were in schools during the early 1980′s –this was no coincidence. Increasing adoption of Google products and services is almost certainly going to increase brand loyalty: when these students mature into smartphones and tablets, they will be familiar with Google and there will be a feeling of compatibility… and the rest of the family is likely to follow suit.

During the pilot phase, more than 100,000 educators located in more than 45 countries signed up and provided feedback and suggestions.

Google Launches Free Online Teaching Tool: Classroom is a post from: Good e-Reader

KitKat Installed on Over 20% of Android Devices


With the wide range of devices and active versions of the Android operating system out there, complaints that the platform is severely fragmented are justified. Fortunately, KitKat is starting to gain some ground and now enjoys an install rate of over 20% –this is a good thing. July of this year was sitting at a 17.9% adoption rate, which was a jump over June at 14.9%.

Slow and steady wins the race, so they say, and this kind of continual improvement is a more significant sign than the number itself. Understandably, older Android releases are declining, with releases like Ice Cream Sandwich falling nearly to the single digits for percentage of installs.

Which version of Android a device is running becomes significant when discussing operating fundamentals like security, it is difficult to speak about the platform as a whole when there are so many varieties running with so many patch levels. It is also important to developers trying to create apps: each version of Android supports a particular set of tools and capabilities.

By comparison, Apple boasts that nearly 90% of all devices are running their latest operating system (iOS 7).

KitKat Installed on Over 20% of Android Devices is a post from: Good e-Reader

Guaranteed great summer reads for kids

If you’re one of our northern hemisphere readers, you’re smack-dab in the middle of the summer months. A recent article in School Library Journal notes that only 17 percent of parents think reading should be a priority during the summer for their children. As librarians, we are all aware of how crucial summer reading is in preventing kids from losing their skills and falling behind early in the school year. The SLJ article goes on to describe the importance of library summer reading programs as well as regular library visits.

To help your library with your summer reading initiatives, we have created a list of new and popular titles that kids are sure to love. When you click the link below, it will show up as a Marketplace search result and you'll be able to easily add them to a cart.

Guaranteed great summer reads for kids


As always, we are also available to assist you with the addition of titles to your catalog. Email collectionteam@overdrive.comfor more information!

Please note that title availability may vary by geographic location and platform.

Smartphone rocket launcher

Teenage electronics enthusiast Lewis Callaway thought that an ad in which actors launch rockets from their iPhones was really cool, but he couldn’t find out how it was done, so he decided to start from scratch himself, using (of course) a Raspberry Pi.

Model rockets are launched by passing an electric current through an igniter, a device that includes a thin piece of wire in contact with the rocket’s propellant; the current causes the wire to heat up, igniting the propellant. Lewis used a relay board and jumper leads to complete the circuit between a 9V battery and the model rocket’s igniter, and connected power and signal wires between the relay board and his Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins so he could flip the switch on the 9V circuit with a signal from the GPIO.

To allow him to send the launch command from a smartphone, he installed the WebIOPi framework on the Pi. A custom web page hosted on the Pi contains a nice, big, orange LAUNCH button; pressing it runs a Python script which, in turn, controls the GPIO. A portable router provided the wifi hotspot necessary to view the web page on the phone.

Testing the system

Lewis also talks about his fantastic project in this Adafruit Show and Tell (starting at 7m55s), and shows how the system can be tested without actually launching anything—important if, like Lewis, you are working indoors.

We know that every day, Raspberry Pis lie idle when they could be launching rockets, and this makes us feel sad. Read the article Lewis wrote for Make: including links to his code and the parts that he used, and try it for yourself!

Good e-Reader App Store Now Supports Large Game Files


Good e-Reader is proud to announce that we have implemented a new system to allow developers to upload large Android apps. This new feature will allow big developers such as Disney, Rovio, EA, Warner Bros  to upload their big budget game titles and allow users to install the games and have them work.

Many of the top Android games out there have very large OBB files, which is a fancy way of saying Data Files. Take Angry Birds Epic, if you just install the APK (Android File) the game will not work, you also need to install the data file and have it installed into a very specific directory. The new Good e-Reader 1.72 App now allows users to be able to download small and large games at the click of a button, all the real work is done behind the scenes.

Many of the top Android app stores such as 1Mobile and Getjar do not allow developers to upload data files. Amazon does allow people to upload OBB files but makes them self-host them, which can amount to hefty data costs. This puts us in a very unique position among all of the other Android App Stores out there.

Good e-Reader hosts all of the data files on their own server clusters, which allows for super fast download speeds. If a game requires a large data file, the user is notified of it during the app download and everything just seamlessly installs in the background. Many of the top games only have super small data files, like Sega of America’s Crazy Taxi, others such as Injustice – Gods Among Us have a 1.2 GB data file. So basically, some games will download very fast, others will take a bit of time.

I am very excited about this new feature on the App Store, it really opens a wide array of AAA titles that can finally be added to the site. Developers can benefit by being able to tap into the largest Canadian App store. But really, when it comes down right to it, It’s the users that really benefit the most! A whole new world of content is available to them that used to be exclusively available only on Google Play.

Download the latest version of the Good e-Reader Android App Store Today! Developers can make a new account and start uploading their games today by clicking HERE.

Good e-Reader App Store Now Supports Large Game Files is a post from: Good e-Reader

Apple May Add Anti-Reflective Coating to Next iPad


Following the Apple rumour mill is a favourite pass-time for many of us in the tech industry, but the suggestion that the next iPad (both the smaller format 7.9″ mini and larger 9.7″ version) will have an anti-reflective coating on the screen is worth getting excited about. I love my iPad, but I will still be the first to admit that in bright-light environments it is little more than an expensive paper weight. It was for this reason that I invested in a single-purpose eReader that allows me to spend my book reading time in the summer sun.

Analysts are starting to report that tablet sales are leveling off for Apple –not so much because people are losing interest, but more so because earlier versions of the iPad are functioning well and there are few reasons for existing owners to upgrade. Unlike smartphones, tablets are still very much seen as nice-to-have instead of need-to-have. This means Apple needs to come up with enhancements and upgrades that will be seen as enough of a difference to warrant buying a new unit (and for those new to iPad, features need to be persuasive enough to make them take the leap).

There is less hype for iPads right now with so much focus being placed on the highly anticipated iPhone 6 release (expected in September). If the rumours prove true and the iPhone 6 is launched with larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions, the iPad Mini market may suffer. That little bit of additional screen real estate on the smartphone may negate the portability benefit many see with the smaller tablets.

With all of that said, I would hope that this anti-reflective coating would also be added to an upcoming version of the iPhone.

Apple May Add Anti-Reflective Coating to Next iPad is a post from: Good e-Reader

Microsoft Releases Celebrity Stalker App, SNIPP3T, for iOS


Generally Microsoft is best known for business-type apps like those found in their Office suite. This makes the news that they have released a celebrity news app a little surprising, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it. SNIPP3T (pronounced “snippet”) offers to bring you closer to celebrity news based entirely around those you identify as your favourites.

Once you have subscribed to all of your favourite celebrities, you no longer risk missing a news story that includes them! All relevant stories, photos, videos and social mentions will be brought to you in a single location –plus you can view a detailed profile and share your thoughts with others who are of a like mind.

Over 100,000 celebrities are available to be followed, and the search interface (powered, of course, by Bing) makes it easy enough to find them, but the whole thing seems a little… unnecessary. It would be logical to wonder why Microsoft would release an app so gratuitous when their target audience is normally much more corporate. It seems likely that this is an experiment being conducted by a large tech company trying desperately to stay relevant in the mobile market.

If you are a pop culture junkie (or even just oddly curious), download SNIPP3T – Celebrity news snippets from the web and social media for your favourite iOS device. SNIPP3T isn’t yet available for Android, but that may come if Microsoft sees any success with this initial release.

So be honest: which celebrity do you want to follow? If I happened to be a celebrity, I think I would download the app just to follow myself!

Microsoft Releases Celebrity Stalker App, SNIPP3T, for iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader