Friday, August 29, 2014

Kobo Aura H2O Underwater Glowlight Test

Kobo Aura H2O water

The Kobo Aura H2O e-reader is coming out in October and the main selling point is the waterproof screen. Earlier in the week we conducted an underwater test to see how the unit performed. Today, due to extensive requests on our YouTube Channel, we are conducting an underwater Glowlight test.

A waterproof e-reader will likely be used while taking a bath. Often the lights are dimmed, or shut off completely and the only illumination comes from candles or the e-reader itself. If an e-reader is submerged or wet, does it affect the brightness of the front-lit display? Does the light become muted while underwater? The video below answers all of these questions.

Kobo Aura H2O Underwater Glowlight Test is a post from: Good e-Reader

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook Review


Barnes and Noble has collaborated with Samsung for the latest generation Nook tablet. Samsung provided the hardware and B&N designed custom reading apps for Android, which gives users a very unique experience. How does this new device compare to the Nook HD or Nook Tablet and is it a viable upgrade?



The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a seven inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1280 x 800. The resolution overall is a big of a downgrade from the Nook HD, but not enough to be noticeable for your average user.

Underneath the hood is a 1.2 GHZ quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, plus support for MicroSD (up to 32GB) The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a 3Mp rear camera and 1.3Mp front-facing webcam, with the former capable of 720p video recording at 30fps. This is the first time a Nook device will have front and rear cameras.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook measures 186.9x9x107.9mm and weighs 276g. Part of this weight comes from the 4000mAh battery, claimed to allow for up to 10 hours of video, 190 hours of audio, or 10 hours of internet usage.

When it comes to the audio experience there is a single speaker on the back, but it is in stereo. This allows you to listen to audiobooks, music, video or the read aloud feature in kids books.

Barnes and Noble tried to stem the tide of constant financial losses in their Nook division by outsourcing the hardware to Samsung. This is a double edged sword because there is no Nook branding on the tablet at all. If the device is totally powered down, you would have no idea that it is anything else but a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4.



Every single tablet that Barnes and Noble has even released ran a heavily skinned version of Google Android. This was the same tactic that both Amazon and Kobo employed to make their devices stand out in the crowd. The Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook is the first time users get a vanilla Android experience, allowing them to install live wallpapers and even change their keyboards.

Instead of heavily augmenting Android, Barnes and Noble has firmly embraced it. They company has developed a series of custom apps that get users participating in the booksellers ecosystem. There is a dedicated store, Nook Video, Library, eBook Reading Apps, Nook Search, custom settings menu and the ability to view all of the notes and annotations you have ever made.

One of the strongest benefits of the new Samsung tablet is the ability to finally download apps from outside the US and UK. The Nook App Store used to lock customers out of purchasing or downloading apps, due to geolocation. This seems to be disabled in the new Nook, which allows users to download apps not only from B&N but also Google Play. The only limitation placed on customers is Nook Video, you still have to be in the US to buy or rent videos or television shows.

The Home screen mainly comprises of all of your Nook Reading App, Nook Store and a bunch of official Google ones. Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, Play and all of the standard Google apps are all included in a mini folder. If you swipe the screen from the right to the left on the edge of the bezel there is a side screen full of apps. By default, its all the official Google ones, but you can add or remove any of them there, adding to the customization capabilities.

The one thing I really want to focus on during this review is the Nook content and not really dwelling on the standard Android functionality.

Nook Library


The Nook Library houses all of the purchases you have made from Barnes and Noble. This includes eBooks, comics, magazines, newspapers, television shows. There is a shop button on the top right hand corner, which opens up their online store that sells all of the content.

eBooks are opened by the quintessential Nook app for Android, which has been available on Google Play for years. One of the things I always liked about reading on the Nook is the different backgrounds. Kobo and Kindle have always just had three different background colors, but Nook has six. You can easily change the bright white background to Sepia or different shades of off-white. This makes it easier to read in the dark, without having to strain your eyes. I also dig the way Nook handles animated page turns, wikipedia lookups and built in dictionary.

Magazines and Newspapers are opened via a special Nook for Magazine app that has been completely revised for this new Samsung model. The one thing I really like, aside from the animated page turns is “article view.” This strips away all of the images and CSS and turns a magazine into an eBook.

Nook Shop


The Nook Shop was designed as a standalone app that lets you browse books, magazines, movies & TV, Kids, Apps, Newspapers and Comics. The only thing international users cannot access is media content, but all others are completely viable. The Home screen is curated content by the Nook team, currently they are hyping “Passion for Passion” and “Your Favorite Heroes.”

Nook Search


Nook Search is a standalone app that allows you to type in key terms that you want to look for in the shop. You can look at specific keywords, such as “post apocalyptic” or “Potter.” It will then give you a huge list of titles matching your search results in everything B&N offers in their store.

Nook Today


Nook Today scans all of the content you purchase or samples you access from the online store. It then gives you a recommended reading list, which helps with discovery. In addition, it remembers your results from Nook Search and also recommends similar titles.

Nook Settings


The last unique aspect of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is the customized Nook Settings. Now it is important to note that you do have access to traditional Android settings too.

Nook settings allows you to control the way all of the dedicated Nooks apps behave. You can download alternative dictionaries and make them your default. Right now there is only six, but I was told more are on the way.

You can also control the way the magazine and eBook reading apps function. Cool options include turning off animated page turns, or two page layout in landscape. This is also where you can associate your Ultraviolet account with Nook Video to get the digital copies of the movies you buy from retail stores.

Wrap up

Good e-Reader has reviewed every single tablet Barnes and Noble has ever released, from the Nook Color to the Nook HD. This tablet is a step in the right direction. It gives you a unique e-reading experience and allows a deep level of customization.

I like the fact you can opt into dealing with Barnes and Noble, but aren’t exclusively roped into it. Google Play allows you to basically downloading any 3rd party reading app, Overdrive Media Console, Amazon Kindle, Kobo or thousands of others.


Reading digital books is impressive
Tons of unique Nook Apps
Allows you to download any app you want from Google
Live Wallpapers and Widgets


Setup involved a Google, Samsung and Nook account.
Speaker quality is not the greatest
No Barnes and Noble branding on the hardware

Rating: 8.5/10

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook Review is a post from: Good e-Reader

Learn to solder with Carrie Anne

Carrie Anne Philbin, our Education Pioneer and author of the most excellent Adventures in Raspberry Pi, had a dark secret up until last week. She was a Raspberry Pi enthusiast who didn’t know how to solder.

Here’s a new video from her award-winning Geek Gurl Diaries YouTube channel, in which she addresses the issue.

Carrie says:

Everyone tells me that soldering is easy. For a long time I’ve seen it as a barrier to be able to do a lot of electronics or maker style crafts. I usually try and buy components that are pre-soldered or ask someone else to solder them for me. Since joining Raspberry Pi, this has been a bit of a joke for the engineers. They think I’m a bit silly. I’m certain I’m not alone in this.

Recently Wednesdays at Pi Towers have become ‘Gert Wednesdays’ when Gert comes into the office to visit us and teach some of us new skills. Gert Van Loo is an engineer, and one of the first volunteers working on Raspberry Pi. He has also created lots of add on boards for Raspberry Pi like the well titled ‘Gertboard’. He has also created the ‘Gertduino’. You can see where Gert Wednesdays come from cant you. Gert promised me he’d teach me how to solder and he didn’t disappoint. In one morning of simple tuition I was taught how to solder. THANKS GERT!

I decided that after I solder ALL THE THINGS in my office drawer that I’ve been dying to use with my Raspberry Pi, I would put my new found knowledge to good use by creating a tutorial video for GGD. It’s a short video but I hope it will help give other people the confidence to start or at least to attend a Maker Faire event where they can learn.

You can read much more from Carrie Anne on the Geek Gurl Diaries blog.

Back to school checklist

It's back to school time again for our Northern Hemisphere school and library partners! We're preparing for the new school year with a huge back to school sale to add some fresh content to your digital collection. We have also created some brand new marketing resources to welcome kids back to class in style. These materials are available for everyone to use – both school and public library partners. Included in the new Back to School marketing kit are a flyer, a bookmark and a web graphic, perfectly sized to use on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.


You will find the full Back to School marketing kit in the "Best of" Marketing folders in the Partner Portal. These "Best of" folders will give you a sampling of what the Partner Portal has to offer all year round. You can download them in the Marketing & Outreach section for public libraries, K-12 schools and academic libraries.

Updates are made regularly to the Partner Portal so make sure to check back often for new and refreshed materials. Popular sections include the Seasonal Marketing collection which helps celebrate monthly holidays; Social Media Images to find easy ways to promote your digital titles while social networking; and the Programming & Events page, where among other event ideas, you can find a marketing kit to support the upcoming Read an eBook Day on September 18!

If you need help or have any questions about marketing efforts, reach out to your Account Specialist.

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.