Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mobile Analytics Firm Profiles the Android Gamer


According to Flurry, mobile gaming has become the new global pastime. Self-described as a market leader in mobile analytics, Flurry uses data gathered from over 150 billion app sessions per month to provide countless developers with “the business data they need to understand their audience, usage and performance.” With the release of their latest report, a lot has been learned about Android gamers.

Time Well Wasted

Globally, Android users spend 37 minutes per day playing games. Broken down by country, the United States leads with an average of almost 52 minutes per day –the lowest being nearly 29 minutes per day for gamers in China.


Leading Game Categories

What games are most popular with Android gamers? The results vary by country, but overwhelmingly Arcade & Action and Casual games demand the largest amount of our attention. Brain & Puzzle games make the list to a lesser extent, much the same as Cards & Casino games. Surprisingly, the least popular genre of game was Sports –a category usually well represented by console gamers.



How many times do gamers in various countries open their favourite games each month? Germany leads the pack for Brain & Puzzle games with an average of 66 game accesses per user each month (while worldwide, this number drops to 26). Reviewing other genres: Russia tops Casual, South Korea dominates Arcade & Action, India rules Cards & Casino, and Brazilians love their Sports games.



Studying these statistics can help developers in their quest to create successful new Android games. To this end, new projects should consider their likely target market –and be aware that for certain titles to succeed in particular areas of the world, they must be extraordinary.

Mobile Analytics Firm Profiles the Android Gamer is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Starts Hiring More Engineers for Connected Home and Smart Watches


Over the course of 2014, Amazon has been relentless in the number of new hardware offerings they have released to the public. They have a new television box, smartphone, Amazon Dash, and 8 new e-readers and tablets. According to a new report, this is just the beginning, as Amazon is hiring more hardware engineers and intends on entering the connected home segment and a new smartwatch.

Amazons research and product development occur at the Silicon Valley based Lab126. They currently have 3,000 full-time employees and is looking to expand to at least 3,757 full-time staff at the office by 2019. Amazon will invest $55 million in Lab126’s operations in Sunnyvale and Cupertino, the agreement posted on the California governor’s website shows.

According to Reuters, Amazon is testing a simple wi-fi device that could be placed in the kitchen or a closet, allowing customers to order products like detergent by pressing a button. Lab126 is also interested in wearable devices, but we will have to adopt a wait and see approach, as some prototypes never hit the market.

The connected home segment is starting to catch on like wildfire. In January, Google bought Nest Labs, a smart thermostat maker for $3.2 billion. In June, Apple announced plans for HomeKit, its own framework for connecting household gadgets. It is currently unknown what Amazons plans are, but we can see an inkling of whats to come with Dash, which allows you to scan bar codes and UPC labels and automatically order them online.

Amazon Starts Hiring More Engineers for Connected Home and Smart Watches is a post from: Good e-Reader

Wattpad and International Festival of Authors Team Up for Online Book Festival


Wattpad, the world's largest community of readers and writers, has partnered with the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) to launch the event's first Online Festival. The Online Festival will run from October 1 through October 22, before the official kickoff of the IFOA in Toronto, which runs October 23 to November 2, 2014.

As part of the Online Festival, Wattpad will feature a different IFOA author everyday and promote their works to its global community of 35 million readers and writers. Past and present IFOA authors to be featured include: Andrew Pyper, Anna Todd, Carrie Snyder, Crissy Calhoun, Cory Doctorow, Eimear McBride, Emily Lindin, Ian Hamilton, Liam Card, Margaret Atwood, Nick Cutter, Paulo Coehlo, Richard Crouse, Richard Rosenbaum, Russell Wangersky, Steve Paikin, Ted Barris, and Vincent Lam.

The official IFOA profile on Wattpad ( will be used to promote featured Online Festival authors as well as IFOA readings, round table discussions, interviews, and performances.

"Every year the IFOA brings talented authors to Toronto. With the launch of this year's Online Festival on Wattpad, these authors can reach and enjoy a direct connection with readers around the globe," said Wattpad's Head of Content, Publishing Ashleigh Gardner.

"We’re delighted to have Wattpad join us for the 35th edition of the IFOA. It’s exciting to work with partners who are exploring new ways of reaching readers and audiences," said the IFOA's Director Geoffrey E. Taylor.

As part of the IFOA, on October 30 at 7:30 pm, Wattpad will host a panel called: Crowds, Comments and Community: Understanding Writing in the Digital Age at the Lakeside Terrace at the Harbourfront Centre. The panel about the relationship between writers and their online communities will be moderated by Globe and Mail Books Editor Mark Medley and will include panelists: Anna Todd, Emily Gould, Emily Lindin, and Sina Queyras.

Wattpad's mobile and social storytelling experience is resonating around the world and more than 35 million people have joined the community. People are spending a whopping 9 billion minutes a month on Wattpad reading and sharing stories. To date more than 70 million uploads have been shared on Wattpad, that's 24 hours of reading posted every single minute.

Wattpad and International Festival of Authors Team Up for Online Book Festival is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Available in the UK


Amazon made international headlines when it unveiled its Netflix for eBooks concept entitled Kindle Unlimited. This program allows users to pay a low monthly fee and read as many titles as they want per month, from a pool of 650,000 digital books. All of the major publishers have so far refused to contribute their titles, so the lack of bestsellers is not very appealing. At any rate, Amazon has announced today that Unlimited is now available in the UK. today introduced Kindle Unlimited—a new subscription service which allows customers to freely read as much as they want from over 650,000 Kindle books and listen as much as they want to thousands of Audible audiobooks, all for only £7.99 a month. Finding a great book is easy—just look for the Kindle Unlimited logo on eligible titles and click "Read for £0.00." Customers can choose from best sellers like the Harry Potter series, The White Tiger, Hunger Games and with thousands of professionally narrated audiobooks from Audible, like Life of Pi, A Day at the Office and classics like Great Expectations, the story can continue in the car or on the go. Kindle Unlimited is available starting today and is accessible from Kindle devices or with Amazon's free Kindle reading apps.

"With Kindle Unlimited, you never have to think twice about what book you want to read or listen to," said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President, Kindle EU. "With unlimited access to hundreds of thousands of titles, Kindle Unlimited offers by far the simplest and most cost-effective way to explore and discover eBooks and audiobooks together, and you can even switch from reading to listening without losing your place. Our US customers have shown us how much they love the opportunity to discover new authors and genres, and now we're delighted to offer the same freedom to our customers in the UK."

In addition to over 650,000 titles, Kindle Unlimited includes thousands of Whispersync for Voice enabled titles so customers can switch easily between reading and listening, allowing the story to continue even when their eyes are busy—all for just £7.99 a month.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Available in the UK is a post from: Good e-Reader

Analyzing Kindle Voyage’s New Features In-Depth

Yesterday I posted about the new software features that are coming with the new Kindle ebook readers and Fire tablets. For the Kindle Voyage that includes the option to link accounts for family sharing, there’s a new Word Wise feature to help make reading books with complicated words easier to understand, there’s enhanced search, extra […]

PiKon and other Pi projects from Sheffield University

Sheffield has been a maker city for many years – the thriving steel industry dates back to the 14th century. Today it has the likes of Pimoroni, who recently moved in to a huge new factory, making cases, HATs, media centres and more.


The good ship Pimoroni

The University of Sheffield has been undertaking a number of Raspberry Pi projects in the last couple of years. The computer science department has a research group called Sheffield Pi-Tronics led by Hamish Cunningham. One project of note is their new Pi-powered telescope – PiKon. Not to be confused with PyCon

The £100 3D printed Pi-powered telescope

The University has released incredible images of the moon taken with the Raspberry Pi’s camera module connected to a 3D printed telescope which costs just £100 to make from readily available parts.

The moon

Moon, the

The Pikon astro-cam is a collaborative project by the Department of Physics at the University of Sheffield and Mark Wrigley of Alternative Photonics, a small company based in north Sheffield. The project was set up to deliver a working telescope for the Festival of the Mind event.

They have a working model and they’re aiming to make all the 3D printing resources and instructions available soon. They’re also looking for help producing a simple interface to make it more accessible to all:

So far, we have a working telescope which is operated by entering command lines into the Raspberry Pi. We are looking for enthusiasts and educators to help us take things further. We want to encourage people to create, innovate, educate and share their efforts on an open source basis.

How it works (from


The PiKon Telescope is based on the Newtonian Reflecting Telescope. This design uses a concave mirror (objective) to form an image which is examined using an eyepiece. The mirror is mounted in a tube and a 45 degree mirror is placed in the optical path to allow the image to be viewed from the side of the tube.

visualtelescope3The PiKon Telescope is based on a very similar design, but the image formed by the Objective is focused onto the photo sensor of a Raspberry Pi Camera. The camera sensor is exposed by simply removing (unscrewing) the lens on the Pi Camera. Because of the small size of the Raspberry Pi Camera board, it is possible to mount the assembly in the optical path. The amount of light lost by doing this is similar to the losses caused by mounting the 45 degree mirror in a conventional Newtonian design.

Former physicist and member of the Institute of Physics, Mark Wrigley, said:

We've called this project Disruptive Technology Astronomy because we hope it will be a game changer, just like all Disruptive Technologies.

We hope that one day this will be seen on a par with the famous Dobsonian ‘pavement’ telescopes, which allowed hobbyists to see into the night skies for the first time.

This is all about democratising technology, making it cheap and readily available to the general public.

And the PiKon is just the start. It is our aim to not only use the public's feedback and participation to improve it, but also to launch new products which will be of value to people.

Also this week the group launched Pi Bank – a set of 20 kits containing Pi rigs that are available for short-term loan. This means local schools and other groups can make use of the kits for projects without having to invest in the technology themselves, with all the essentials, plenty of extra bits to play with – and experts on hand to help out.



See more of the Sheffield Pi-Tronics projects at and read more about PiKon at

Any positive comments about Sheffield are completely biased as that’s where I’m from. If you’re interested in the history of Sheffield there’s a great documentary you should watch called The Full Monty.

Promoting streaming video through library programs

ODStreamVidSo you've added streaming video to your OverDrive collection: now what? It’s time to spread the word and get patrons interested by incorporating streaming video into your library programs. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Story Hour

We offer many short film versions of popular read-aloud books. Switch up your normal story hour session by streaming a favorite like Where the Wild Things Are (Weston Woods), Mr. Wuffles (Dreamscape), Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Live Oak), and more!

Click here to view the Storybook Favorites list in Marketplace.

Family Movie Night

Family movie nights are fun for all ages and simple to put together for library staff. Pop some corn and stream a family-friendly film. We have a vast selection to choose from, so you're sure to find a movie to please everyone. Popular films include: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (Starz Digital Media); Hoodwinked, Too! (Starz Digital Media); and The Velveteen Rabbit (Starz Digital Media).

Click here to view the Family-Friendly Video list in Marketplace.


Book Clubs

As highlighted in our previous Read It and Stream It blog post, many film adaptations of books are available through Marketplace. Have your book club select a title to read and stream, then let the lively discussion ensue! Newly available titles include The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (Music Box Films), The Paperboy (Millennium Entertainment), and As I Lay Dying (Millennium Entertainment).

Click here for a complete Marketplace list of titles.


Film Festival

Host a day-long film festival to attract cinephiles to your streaming video collection. Documentaries, foreign films, indie selections, B-movies – we've got it all. Halloween is just around the corner, the perfect time for a horror movie marathon at your library. The Marketplace lists below will help you find the best selections for your own library film festival:


Tutoring and Test Prep

From algebra to the SAT, we have a great collection of videos to supplement your library's tutoring or test preparation programs.

Click here to view a Marketplace list of titles.


* Public screenings of streaming video requires public performance rights or a public performance license. Contact your Collection Development Specialist for information about title-specific public performance rights.


Michelle Ross is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.