Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Icarus Illumina E653 vs Kobo Aura

icarus illumina and kobo aura

Welcome to another Good e-Reader Comparison Video! Today we take a look at the brand new Icarus Illumina second generation and the Kobo Aura.

The premise of this comparison is to take a look at ePub eBooks and PDF documents. Both of these devices handle these formats in completely different ways. The Kobo Aura does a splendid job in handling PDF files, with their preview window pane and ability to pinch and zoom. The Icarus really stutters with large PDF files, but does have a neat ability to increase the darkness of an image, but manually adjusting the gray scale.

Icarus Illumina E653 vs Kobo Aura is a post from: Good e-Reader

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – Onenote Review


The Microsoft Surface Pro Windows 8 is currently in the third generation and has some revisements with the way the digital pen works. Cased in aluminum, Surface Pen looks and feels more like a fountain pen than a traditional stylus for a natural writing experience. Today, we look at how the Pen is able to handle drawing via Onenote.

Microsoft Onenote for Windows 8 allows users to write documents from scratch and save them to their Skydrive accounts. Whenever you click the top of the Stylus, it automatically opens Onenote. In the video below, we give you a quick overview of the day to day tasks that can be accomplished in OneNote and give you an in-depth look at the stylus.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – Onenote Review is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google Photo Sphere 360-Panorama App Released for iOS


Google has found themselves in Apple’s App Store once more by porting their popular Photo Sphere app to iOS. Having debuted on Android last year, Photo Sphere invites you to “look up, down, and all around to revisit the amazing places you've encountered.”

Even if you aren’t interested in creating your own Spheres (described as being a series of photographs that, when combined, give you a 360-degree view of your surroundings), consider taking a look at a few that others have shared. While you may have seen many landmarks and locations in movies already, this feels different because they are recorded by real people not unlike you or me. It’s the ultimate form of ‘wish you were here’ to share with your friends and family when you find yourself someplace special.

Of course, it isn’t a coincidence that a huge function of Photo Sphere is the ability to share your creations with Google Maps –basically making you into a content contributor, adding value to their system. When you consider the price of the app (free), it is definitely a win-win scenario.

If you would like to try your hand at taking beautiful, 360-degree images, download Photo Sphere Camera for your iOS devices.

Google Photo Sphere 360-Panorama App Released for iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Microsoft Improves OneNote App For Tablets


Microsoft OneNote has been available for Android and iOS tablets for quite some time, but a new update has tailored the app to best suit their larger screens. OneNote now offers handwriting support, allowing you to capture and format the notes you take during school lectures or board meetings.

OneNote has evolved to become a very full-featured digital notebook that allows you to record audio, snap photographs, create checklists, apply font and style formatting, organize your notes into sections, and add tags to your content. Have multiple devices? Need to collaborate with fellow students or colleagues? OneNote gives you access to all of your notes from all of your computers and devices (no matter whether they are Anrdoid, Windows, iOS or MacOS).

Microsoft has been criticized lately for all but missing the boat when it comes to mobile devices and integration, but seeing sophisticated apps like OneNote emerging is enough to make me wonder if their next niche won’t be related to apps instead of operating systems…

If you would like to take Microsoft OneNote for a test drive on your Android device, download it for free now.

Microsoft Improves OneNote App For Tablets is a post from: Good e-Reader

Icarus Illumina HD Kindle App Review (+Video)

The Icarus Illumina HD is a 6-inch E Ink ebook reader that runs Android 4.2 and comes with the Kindle reading app preloaded. It’s a newer version of the Kindle Android app, version, with adjustable font types and audiobook integration, although audiobooks don’t work on the Illumina HD because it does not support audio. […]

Action movies streaming through OverDrive

They've been called movie eye candy by many. Besides a good comedy, they're likely the most fun you'll have watching a movie, and there's no better time for them than now. Hollywood blockbusters and superhero movies fill the theater seats, and we can't help but keep coming back for more. They're action movies, and they're available right now in OverDrive Marketplace through our streaming video format, with more added every day. Here are just some of my favorites:

Django Unchained (2012) Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed By Quentin Tarantino. Academy Award® Winner: Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor.

What it's about: Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django, promising to free him upon the capture of the Brittles—dead or alive.

Why your patrons will love it: This movie has everything that makes action movies fun: gun battles, explosions, an awesome hero, a crazy villain, etc. Tarantino movies have always been the epitome of "cool," but they've never really been considered "fun." While there are parts of Django that will make some people uncomfortable, this is easily his most accessible movie. It's also his most successful movie, making over $162 million at the box office.


Kill the Irishman (2011) Starring Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken, and Val Kilmer. Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh.

What it's about: During the summer of 1976, 36 bombs detonated in the heart of Cleveland while a turf war raged between Irish mobster Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) and the Italian mafia. Based on a true story, Kill the Irishman chronicles Greene’s heroic rise from a scrappy union official in a tough Cleveland neighborhood to a local mob enforcer who took on some of the biggest crime syndicates.

Why your patrons will love it: It's one of the few movies that stays pretty true to the source material, which is a terrific novel by Rick Porrello, which in turn is based on the real events depicted in the movie. Ray Stevenson is almost uncanny as Danny Greene, and while the action may be more crime drama, it keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Even though the move wasn't that successful at the box office, it's found a lot of popularity in the home video market. The movie also has special ties to Cleveland, OverDrive's home city.


Traitor (2008) Starring Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, and Jeff Daniels. Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff.

What it's about: When straight arrow FBI agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) heads up the investigation into a dangerous international conspiracy, all clues seem to lead back to former U.S. Special Operations officer, Samir Horn (Don Cheadle). A mysterious figure with a web of connections to terrorist organizations, Horn has a knack for emerging on the scene just as a major operation goes down. Obsessed with discovering the truth, Clayton tracks Horn across the globe as the elusive ex-soldier burrows deeper and deeper into a world of shadows and intrigue.

Why your patrons will love it: The movie is reminiscent of old-school spy thrillers, albeit with more action scenes. The movie keeps you guessing throughout with wonderfully timed twists that help achieve that, "did he/didn't he" game in the viewer's head. It also boasts a twist ending that many won't see coming.


These great titles (and many more!) are available with the streaming video format. If you don't have streaming video yet, contact your Collection Development or Account Specialists to get started today.

Jim Monastra is an Account Specialist at OverDrive.

Have you signed up for the OverDrive streaming video webinar?


There’s still time to register for OverDrive’s Streaming Video webinar, taking place this Thursday, August 21, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT).

Join us for a free, informative webinar to learn how the streaming video lending service from OverDrive benefits your library or school. We’ll go over the details of the service, what the different lending models mean, budgeting tips, how to promote to your users, and more. We’ll dedicate the last 15 minutes to answering your questions in real time.
Sign up today to learn more about OverDrive’s streaming video for libraries and schools. Can’t make it this Thursday? Be sure to watch the full recorded webinar following the live session at the OverDrive Learning Center.


Amazon Whispersync for Voice Debuts in the UK


Amazon WhisperSync for Voice is a system that includes immersion reading and was designed to pick up where you left off in an eBook in the audio edition. It also allows you to both listen to the audiobook, while reading the eBook and text is highlighted as the words are spoken aloud. The service has just rolled out in the United Kingdom and 25,000 Kindle books and 25,000 audiobooks are supported.

Audible founder and CEO Donald Katz said: "We hear from many Kindle and Audible customers in the US that Whispersync for Voice has profoundly changed the way they read. In fact, switching back and forth between reading and listening has become their preferred way of experiencing stories. We are thrilled to be able to open this up to UK listeners and readers for the first time."

Jorrit Van der Meulen, VP of Amazon Kindle Europe, said: "We're working hard to help customers find more moments each day to enjoy a great book

I think WhisperSync for Voice is one of the those programs that never caught on in a big way, but people who enjoy the audiobook experience can get more synergy with the digital book edition. I know many people who read the book at night and then listen to the audiobook on the way to work or walking the dog. Its fairly cool to have both mediums synced whether you are using the iOS or Android apps, or using hardware like the Kindle Fire.

Amazon Whispersync for Voice Debuts in the UK is a post from: Good e-Reader

The first Raspberry Pi computer room in Togo

Dominique Laloux first got in touch with us in May 2013 when he was on the point of leaving to spend a year in the rural Kuma region of Togo in Western Africa, an area where, until 2012, 75% of teachers had never used a computer. He had previously joined a team of Togolese friends to set up the Kuma Computer Center in the mountain village of Kuma Tokpli for the students and teachers of five local secondary schools, and planned to introduce Raspberry Pis there.

computer room in Kuma Tokpli

The building that currently houses Kuma Computer Center’s first computer room in Kuma Tokpli

We next heard from Dominique earlier this month. We were delighted to learn that besides the Center’s first computer room, which has now been up and running for almost two years, the team has established a fully functional Raspberry Pi computer room, with 21 Pis and a couple of other PCs, in Kuma Adamé, a village about 20 minutes’ motorbike ride from Kuma Tokpli. This will be used daily by the 200 students of the local middle school, and was financed largely by former Adamé residents who have settled in Lomé, Togo’s capital. A team of students and teachers from The International School of Brussels, where Dominique works, helped fund the purchase of the Raspberry Pis and their accessories.

Raspberry Pi computer room in Kuma Adamé

The new Raspberry Pi computer room in Kuma Adamé

The initial focus is on teaching the students basic computer literacy, and the team chose the Raspberry Pi based on its low initial cost, its anticipated low maintenance costs, its low power consumption and its use of Open Source software. Dominique believes – and we think he’s probably right – that this is the first Raspberry Pi computer room in Togo! He says,

The most important thing is that we now have a nearly complete “recipe” for the setup of a computer room anywhere in Togo, that would fit a middle school/high school for a total cost of about 6000€. The recipe includes the renovation of a school disaffected room (see what our room looked like 6 months ago in the picture), the installation of electricity and local area network at European standards, the design of furniture built by local workers, the training of teachers, the development of a curriculum to teach, the selection of a local support team, etc. Quite an experience, I must say.

Soon to be the new Raspberry Pi computer room!

Before work began on the new computer room

Key to the sustainability of the project is that it has been developed within the local community for the benefit of community members, having begun as an idea of teachers in Kuma. Various groups in the community are represented in the management of the project, contributing different kinds of support and expertise. Dominique again:

We are particularly proud of the setup in K. Adamé (we being Seth, Désiré, all other members of the Kuma Computer Center team, and myself). [...] Our project has been operational for nearly 2 years now and it relies mainly on villagers themselves. Seth, who is in charge of the infrastsructure in K. Tokpli, is a local farmer growing mainly coffee and cocoa. A team of villagers is responsible for opening the room every day for 2 hours at least, and “cleaning teams” make sure the rooms stay in perfect condition. Local teachers will now take over the regular “computer classes” I taught during the entire past school year — sometimes going up to 40 hours per week. The newly installed Raspberry Pi reinforces our infrastructure and will serve 200+ students in K. Adamé from the next school year…

Currently the team is constructing a small building in Kuma Tokpli, which will become the permanent base of the Kuma Computer Center (and the second largest building in the small village), superseding the facility currently made available by a local farmers’ association. They also continue to work on the curriculum, and hope to introduce the students to programming in addition to teaching ICT and using the Raspberry Pis and other computers to support learning across the curriculum.

If you’d like to support the Kuma Computer Center, with funds or otherwise, have a look at their website. And if you’ve got an idea as good as this one to teach young people about computing, you’ll want know about the Raspberry Pi Education Fund, recently opened for applications and aimed at supporting initiatives like this with match funding; learn more here!

Blurb signs New Deals with Amazon and Ingram for eBook Distribution


Online magazine and eBook publishing company Blurb has been busy of late. They have just a signed a new global retail distribution partnership with Ingram Content Group, and free output to reflowable ebooks for all Amazon Kindle devices and Kindle readers.

Blurb now has the broadest self-publishing platform available, enabling indie authors to publish books, magazines, and ebooks in multiple formats, and then sell direct on Blurb.com or via distribution programs with Amazon and Ingram. There is not too many self-publishing companies that are heavily invested in the magazine space, other than Glossi, who is entirely online.

"Authors, like artists, want two things: Control over their product and process, and fair compensation for their quality work," said Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO, Blurb. "The elements are now all here for indie authors to design, market and sell their books – at a healthy margin – via global distribution to booksellers both online and at retail. We're thrilled to deliver a truly complete offering for creatives of all kinds who want to bring their passions to life. Authors can now make the beautiful books Blurb is known for at more competitive prices."

Ingram is likely the biggest deal for Blurb others, because it gets their books physically printed in over 39,000 locations.  Here is some info the company provided to us on options for indie authors.

“Blurb's new Trade Books come in three industry-standard trim sizes:  5×8, 6×9, and 8×10, in uncoated text-weight paper.

Trade Books are available in both hardcover and softcover, and all formats are eligible for global distribution through Ingram, giving Blurb authors a much broader target audience.

Authors have two print options: Economy and Standard. Economy printing offers a lower print-on-demand starting price ($3.99 for color, $2.99 for black and white), while Standard printing features a wider color range and rich blacks, comparable to Blurb's existing trade and pocket book printing.”


Blurb signs New Deals with Amazon and Ingram for eBook Distribution is a post from: Good e-Reader