Sunday, September 28, 2014

Flipboard Available Free to Windows Phone Users


Advertising itself as the magazine of your life, Flipboard is an app that brings together all of the news you care about (from social networks, publications, and blogs) into a single, beautiful, package. Fortunately for Windows phone users, Flipboard is also available right now as a free download.

Designed as a sort of news aggregator, Flipboard does a beautiful job of displaying content in a way that makes even the driest articles a joy to read. For those who are hardcore about the feeds they follow, Flipboard is really more form over function –lacking the ability to mark stories as already read or syncing across devices.

The real news of this story is that popular apps are finally making their way to the Windows phone platform. If Windows-based mobile devices are destined to compete and survive in this market, a well-stocked app marketplace is one of the secrets to success.

Are you any more likely to consider a Windows phone when you next upgrade than you were in the past?

Flipboard Available Free to Windows Phone Users is a post from: Good e-Reader

BBM Climbs to 91M Active Users


The news was better for BlackBerry during their Q2 fiscal 2015 earnings call than it has been in a while, with CEO John Chen announcing that their popular BBM can now boast over 91 million active users. Of course, BBM still trails a long way behind the current instant messaging leader, WhatsApp –a service, owned by Facebook, with over 600 million active users (while hoping for enough growth to bring that number closer to the 2-3 billion mark).

With the most recent estimates falling around he 85 million mark, the 6 million user increase came as a surprise –likely due in large part to the recent launch of the messaging app on the Windows Phone platform (not to mention an update this month to fully support iOS 8 on Apple smartphones and tablets).

Some may wonder why BBM is lagging so far being WhatsApp, considering it was available first. Chances are good that a huge contributing factor was the delay in bringing the app cross-platform. It is also likely that there were a lot of holdouts as BlackBerry has suffered from a terribly uncertain future.

For those looking to install a go-to messaging app, BBM is a solid choice, with a feature list that includes: secure PIN-based messaging (users connect using a unique PIN code, and not by sharing an email address or telephone number), free voice calling between contacts, sharing of documents (including photos, files, and voice notes), allow contacts to view your geographic location, group chat, and more!

Fortunately for BlackBerry, things are looking more promising –the first production run of their new Passport smartphone, released this past week, has already sold out.

BBM Climbs to 91M Active Users is a post from: Good e-Reader

Must Read eBooks – The Peripheral by William Gibson


William Gibson will be releasing a new eBook on October 28th 2014 and will be his first full length novel since 2010’s Zero History. Gibson has stated that it will be set in multiple futures and it is currently unknown whether this book will be apart of a trilogy.

Much of Gibson’s reputation has remained associated with Neuromancer, but his work has continued to evolve. After expanding on Neuromancer with two more novels to complete the dystopic Sprawl trilogy, Gibson became an important author of another science fiction sub-genre—steampunk—with the 1990 alternate history novel The Difference Engine, written with Bruce Sterling. In the 1990s, he composed the Bridge trilogy of novels, which focused on sociological observations of near-future urban environments and late capitalism. His most recent novels— Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007) and Zero History (2010) —are set in a contemporary world and have put his work onto mainstream bestseller lists for the first time.

What exactly is the Peripheral all about? The synapses states “Where Flynne and her brother, Burton, live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran's benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC's elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night Burton has to go out, but there's a job he's supposed to do—a job Flynne didn't know he had. Beta-testing part of a new game, he tells her. The job seems to be simple: work a perimeter around the image of a tower building. Little buglike things turn up. He's supposed to get in their way, edge them back. That's all there is to it. He's offering Flynne a good price to take over for him. What she sees, though, isn't what Burton told her to expect. It might be a game, but it might also be murder.

Some time around the year 2020, in a trailer park in the Deep South, a young woman witnesses a murder. She is in a video game, and watches with horror as a drone strike kills a child. At precisely the same moment, one hundred years in the future, a boy is remotely killed on the streets of London’s great skyscrapers. The perpetrator remains anonymous.

Interweaving two strange futures, from a ramshackle community of US army veterans, to the teeming masses of a mega city, The Peripheral tells the story of a brave new world of drones, outsourcing and kleptocracy, and of a crime that can only be solved across time.”

I for one have already pre-ordered this book from Amazon and hopefully will be one of the great reads of 2014. Gibson, Neil Stevenson and Bruce Sterling all started their careers around the same time and really pioneered the modern science fiction genre.  Gibson’s work has influenced bands like Sonic Youth, U2 and Billy Idol.  The film The Matrix  drew inspiration for its title, characters and story elements from the Sprawl trilogy.  The characters of Neo and Trinity in The Matrix are similar to Bobby Newmark (Count Zero) and Molly (“Johnny Mnemonic.”

Must Read eBooks – The Peripheral by William Gibson is a post from: Good e-Reader

Madefire to give Free Comics Away Every Friday


Madefire is well known for their unique brand of motion comics and the company is hoping to be a solid number two behind Comixology. In order to accumulate more regular buyers into their ecosystem Madefire has announced that every Friday they will give away a free digital comic.

“Free Friday is all about discovery – being bold, checking out the possibilities, and being inspired with a creator-first approach to try something new,” said Madefire CCO and co-founder Liam Sharp.

In order to read the free comic book every Friday you need to download the official Madefire app for iOS or Android. Today’s first Free Friday offers copies of IDW’s The City on the Edge of Forever #1, adapting Harlan Ellison’s classic Star Trek episode.

Madefire to give Free Comics Away Every Friday is a post from: Good e-Reader

OK! Magazine Fires Digital Staff and Changes Editorial Direction


OK! Magazine is abandoning their celebrity coverage and has axed the majority of their digital staff. They intend on gravitating towards a more click bait gossip direction, similar to the type of success Buzzfeed as seen.

The website informed its digital team that their services will no longer be needed. OK! is now searching for an executive editor, who can steer the website towards more gossip-oriented coverage and less celebrity-friendly stories.

Dylan Howard, who currently serves a VP of news at AMI, editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer and editorial director at RadarOnline, will re-launch OK! Magazine’s website with a new team, insiders said. The future staff will be based in New York. The site previously laid off its team in Los Angeles and it was unclear if they will eventually be replaced.

The writing was on the wall back in 2012 that another celebrity website was not generating strong revenue. This promoted the merger between Star and OK! to share a common editorial direction.

OK! plans on revamping their online website and they intend on releasing a series of apps for Android and iOS.

OK! Magazine Fires Digital Staff and Changes Editorial Direction is a post from: Good e-Reader

Cinematic – Kobo Aura Giveaway

kobo aura movie

A few weeks ago we announced a brand new contest for a Kobo Aura. The premise was to see how it would hold up under extreme conditions. What exactly did we do? Well, we ran a poll on our YouTube channel to see if the Kobo Aura would simply survive and users would simply vote yes or no.

Today, we are pleased to reveal the second part of the contest where we narrow the field down. In true cinematic fashion we determine how the Kobo Aura holds up being run over with a car! The Sony PRS-T2 survived this test, but what about Kobo?

Witness the most talked about contest in Good e-Reader history! Most people just give things away, we go the extra mile and make it worth watching, check it out.

Cinematic – Kobo Aura Giveaway is a post from: Good e-Reader

ToyTalk Launches SpeakaLegend Interactive iOS App for Kids, Bigger Things Coming


You may already be familiar with ToyTalk entertainment applications for iOS devices, but you may not be aware that the startup is led by former Pixar CTO, Oren Jacob (whose claim to fame includes titles like Toy Story 1&2, A Bug’s Life, and Finding Nemo) and Martin Reddy (who came to the company from SRI, which you know better as Siri). The company’s aim has moved toward creating mobile media experiences for children that allow for full interaction with the characters; kids speak and the games actually hear and respond! The first paid app from ToyTalk is a little more simplistic, in the form of a character-driven touch and play app, called SpeakaLegend –but it’s just the start of things to come.

Where Siri responds to basic instructions, ToyTalk’s digital apps intend to actually engage children in conversational stories; an amazing feat when you consider how much more difficult it is to analyze and understand what kids are saying (compared to adults). "At the fundamental level, the pitch is in a higher register typically," describes CEO Oren Jacob. "Because of that, the software that exists to recognize adults' speech doesn't always work with kids."

As part of their toolkit, ToyTalk has created a method for writing character dialogue that contains a considerable library of possible responses to the types of things kids might say or answers to the questions they may ask –and they plan to share this technology with children’s story writers (instead of just app developers) Jacobs is excited by the work they are doing, explaining that "speech recognition for kids has really not been built by anybody, so part of what we're doing – what are partners are developing – is developing the language and acoustic models for children to open up that space."

In SpeakaLegend, ToyTalk added touch but was concerned that children would interrupt the natural flow of dialogue within the app. Their answer was to evaluate the events that would naturally cause this behaviour, using the example: "When the dinner party lights go out, you have to comment on that. When someone drops a fork, no one cares."

With over $15 million in seed money getting them started (with more likely on the way), ToyTalk may revolutionize the way children’s games function. Just imagine the educational potential with customized learning apps built in any and all subject areas (and to supplement any curriculum).

If you would like to see what ToyTalk has been up to so far as a hint of things to come, download SpeakaZoo, Winston Show, or SpeakaLegend for your iOS devices now.

ToyTalk Launches SpeakaLegend Interactive iOS App for Kids, Bigger Things Coming is a post from: Good e-Reader