Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blackberry and Samsung Reach an Agreement on Mobile Security


Blackberry has announced that they have struck an agreement with smartphone
maker Samsung, for a new breed of security enhancements. This will hopefully give flagship phones such as the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S5 a new level of security not seen before.

Beginning early next year, Samsung devices integrated with the company's Knox security software will also include an extra layer of security provided by BlackBerry's end-to-end encryption system. Blackberry Balance will also be implemented into the Samsung brand, to help separate work from pleasure.

"The work we're doing with BlackBerry goes beyond just bringing our solutions together for customers. This strategic partnership is grounded in our mutual goals [of] being the most secure in mobility. Our respective leadership positions in enterprise mobility and consumers devices are a perfect match to offer customers that need to be equally productive and secure," said Greg Wade, senior vice president of Samsung's KNOX Business Group.

Blackberry has also introduced their long awaited BES12 server software aimed at corporate and government clients. Unlike previous versions of this software, the newest iteration allows companies to manage older devices running on the BB7 and BB10 operating platforms as well as rival devices running software from Apple, Google and Microsoft.

In other Blackberry news, the Blackberry Classic smartphone is now on pre-order. If you’re in the US, you can pre-order the Classic straight from BlackBerry’s official online store. This will require you to purchase it unlocked, however – there’s no contract-signing with a carrier involved. Also, because it’s made for GSM carriers, it won’t work on Verizon, Sprint, or US Cellular.

The price is $449, and actual details about when it will be released will be made public on December 17. That’s the day during which BlackBerry will hold a special launch event.

Blackberry and Samsung Reach an Agreement on Mobile Security is a post from: Good e-Reader

Weekly eHighlights: Kids & Teens Edition

Welcome to this month's eHighlights newsletter for kids and teens. Check back on the second Thursday of every month for a new edition listing some of the best new youth titles added to OverDrive's Marketplace. The featured titles below are some of the best picks, but don't miss the complete list of almost 200 titles! Click on the link below to see these and even more great purchases conveniently placed for you into a Marketplace cart.

Click here to view the Marketplace cart of these titles and more.



Top Authors: No Annotation Needed

Ursula K. Le Guin – The Daughter of Odren: An Earthsea Short Story – YA – Houghton Mifflin
Jane O'Connor – Nancy Clancy: Four Chapter Book Collection – Ages 6-10 – HarperCollins
James Patterson – House of Robots – Ages 8-12 – Blackstone Audio – House of Robots series, Bk 1
Dr. Seuss – Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories – Ages 4-8– Books on Tape
Coco Simon – Mia's Recipe for Disaster – Ages 8-12 – Simon & Schuster – Cupcake Diaries series, Bk 22

Picture Books

Teresa Bateman – April Foolishness – Open Road Integrated Media LLC A wonderful and funny April Fool’s book about two grandparents, their grandchildren, and their farm. Booklist starred review.

Sean Callahan – The Bear Hug – Open Road Integrated Media LLC Another great bear book. Little cub goes to visit his grandpa where he teaches him all about being a bear. But the best thing? Grandpa's bear hugs.

Miggy – And Away We Go! – Macmillan Publishers Everyone is welcome on Mr. Fox's balloon but will everyone fit? “Stylish, jazzy and unique, this is a great addition and would work well for storytime.” – School Library Journal

Fiction for Early Readers

Catherine Hapka – Chasing Gold – Ages 8-12 – Simon & Schuster – Marguerite Henry’s Ponies of Chincoteague series, Bk 3 The third book in this new horse series will have kids who are looking for new horse books feeling satisfied. While written for ages 8-12 this series isn't too difficult for those who are just starting to explore chapter books but aren't quite ready for heartier titles.

Frances L. MacGuire – Phineas L. MacGuire, Let's Get Cooking – Ages 8-12 – Simon & Schuster Phineas is a science genius so whipping up dinner every night should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. But he needs to learn quick so he can win the $10,000 bake-off prize and bake enough brownies to keep the local bully off his back.

Middle Grade Fiction

Martine Leavitt – Blue Mountain – Ages 8-12 – Macmillan ebook Tuk the bighorn sheep is told he will be the one to save his herd, but he is young and would rather play with his bandmates than figure out why the herd needs saving. As humans encroach further and further into their territory, there is less room for the sheep to wander, food becomes scarce, and the herd's very survival is in danger. Kirkus & PW starred reviews.

Sam McBratney – The Ghastly Gerty Swindle with the Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane – Ages 8-10 – Macmillan Publishers In the sequel to Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane will Gertie Swindle and her son Alexander the Grate rob the elderly Amy Steadings of her valuable antiques? Not if the Sweet kids and some friendly ghosts have anything to say about it!

Brandon Mull – The Rogue Knight – Ages 8-12 – Simon & Schuster Cole's hunt for his lost friends has led him to the kingdom of Elloweer. Accompanied by new friends Mira, Twitch, and Jace, Cole teams up with the resistance movement and joins the search for Mira's sister Honor. Book 2 in the Five Kingdom series. Bestselling author. PW starred review.


Ally Condie – Atlantia – Penguin Group US As long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. From the author of the well-known Matched trilogy. 250,000 print run.

Ryan Graudin – The Walled City – Hachette Digital Heralded as The Maze Runner meets Legend this is one book that will sure to keep your pulse running. In the Walled City teens are drug traffickers, work in the brothels, or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when given the chance to find her lost sister her life soon becomes a race against time. A YA Buzz Pick.

Teri Harman – Black Moon – Independent Publishers Group The second book in the Moonlight Trilogy. After Simon Howard accidentally kills three people he has a hard time moving on due to recurring nightmares and something more sinister. “A dark, realistic and intriguing story that evades the second book slump. Unusual and absorbing.” – Kirkus Reviews

C. J. Lyons – Watched – Sourcebooks – For four years a hacker has taken over Jessie's webcam and blackmailed him with lewd photos and videos. Now, he wants Jessie to do something unthinkable or his sister will die. But then a plan manila envelope arrives at his house with a cell phone and a note saying, "I can help." Will it be the miracle he's hoping for?

Maggie Stiefvater – Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Scholastic Audio – Raven Cycle Series, Bk 3 The third book in the Rave Cycle series finds Blue Sargent finally belonging to a group which calls itself the Raven Boys. But will it last? Kirkus, Bulletin, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist starred reviews.


Ali Benyon – Stitched Paper Art for Kids: 22 Cheeky Pickle Sewing Projects – C & T Publishing Sewing machine novices or not, kids will build their skills while creating bright, fun art. Varied projects include headbands and necklaces, bookmarks and buntings, and picture frames and purses.

Laura Hillenbrand – Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey From Airman to Castaway to Captive – Teens – Random House This adaptation of the #1 New York Times bestseller includes more than 100 black and white photos. Booklist starred review.


Click here to view the Marketplace cart of these titles and more.

*Geographical rights may vary by title.

Amazon Advertising Executive Fired for Refusing To Lie


A former advertising executive for Kindle is suing Amazon for wrongful dismissal. The saga begins in 2012 with the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet. Amazon was seeking launch partners in order to build traction with their Special Offers edition. Credit card company Discover signed on, as they normally participated with pilot projects at Amazon. Then things got interesting.

In a signed affidavit to the Washington Attorney office, former executive Kivin Varghese outlined the following “Shortly after the successful launch of the ad platform in September 2012, we ran into an issue with one of our large launch partners, Discover Card. In addition to paying $1.2 million to be part of the launch, we ran a promotion where they paid an extra $500,000 that was intended to encourage Kindle owners with a Discover card, to switch their default 1-click card to Discover (ahead of the holiday shopping season).

The promotion was structured in a way where anyone with a Kindle, who used their Discover card to buy a digital good (e.g. mp3 or movie), would get a $10 Amazon Gift Card. The reason the good had to be digital is because to buy a digital good you need to use your 1-click default card, and Discover's primary objective for this promotion was to get users who had a Discover card, to make it their 1-click default so Discover could be the card of choice for holiday shopping over the course of the fourth quarter. That was the only way Discover could justify spending $10 when someone ordered a $1 .mp3 music file.

The finance team and the ad execution team (who reported to my manager via a Product Manager) put together a forecast for Discover that showed we expected the $500K to last for the full 60 days of the promotion, and it had a wide ranging buffer, so we would monitor it weekly. I was not allowed to see the data that went into the forecast – only the finance team putting together the forecast was allowed to see that data – I and others were just provided a range.

About 10 days into the promotion, the Ad Execution team found that over $300,000 of the $500,000 allocated for the promotion had been spent. I had our development team look into the data to find out how this could happen – Was it fraud? Was it a bug?

What we found was that there were tens of thousands of Kindle e-ink owners, the vast majority who hadn’t even seen the promotion details (as customers had to click on the ad to see the details), were qualifying for the $10 Gift card because every day, there are thousands of customers who own a Kindle and already have Discover set as their 1-click default card, that buy a digital good on Amazon in the ordinary course of their activity. As soon as we found this out, I sent out a 7-step solution that I recommended we implement to fix the issue, which involved being transparent with Discover about the issue and refunding a significant portion of the promotional funds that went to subsidized behavior. Munira disagreed with my approach, directing me to spin this as 'good news, that the promotion is tracking ahead of plan' and urged me to try to get more budget from Discover. Meanwhile the promotion continued to run and within a few more days we had gone over the $500,000 budget.

Our finance and ad execution team had missed the key fact when doing the forecast – the forecast should have shown that there was a 100% certainty that the promotion as structured, would go through the $500,000 budget within a couple of weeks given everyday activity. This was clear, the data was available during the forecast, and it was missed.

So in other words, Discover was essentially paying $10 to tens of thousands of users who had no idea the promotion was going on, and were just subsidizing existing behavior – Discover was paying $10 mostly to consumers that already had Discover set as their 1-click default and were unaware of any Kindle promotion. That was not Discover's intention, nor was it Amazon's when we ran the promotion. But it was our mistake to rectify.”

A number of internal emails were sent between project managers of the advertising platform, trying to get Discover to pay more money, without divulging that e-Ink owners were the ones taking advantage of the promotion. According to the emails, Amazon executives directly downplayed the amount spent directly to Discover. Also, according to the legal filing Amazon lied to Discover about specific metrics and page impressions on the custom landing page for the promotion. When Discover pulled out of the promotion, this is when it all hit the fan.

The Ad executive was brought in for his monthly PIP meeting, where they went over milestone goals. He was scolded for not asking Discover for more money, even though he knew all of the funds were spent and Amazon still had not fixed the bug for e-ink Kindles. He was asked to transfer to another department, and upon refusing went to HR and was promptly fired.

The legal brief ended with “To me, it seems like a culture of treating its employees like robots and numbers. And perhaps that is what spawns and encourages the kind of dark behavior I saw at Amazon. Employees aren’t just Bezeos-Bots and numbers. Customers aren’t just a source of free-cash flow at any price.”

You can read the entire legal briefing HERE. It is very long and a compelling read for Amazon intrigue.

Amazon Advertising Executive Fired for Refusing To Lie is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google SMS and MMS Messenger App Now Available


Google has had a very busy day, among which was the release of their new Messenger communications app. Built to basically send and receive both SMS and MMS messages, Messenger also lets you participate in group chats and send audio messages.

In addition to the basic functionality, Messenger boasts a feature list that includes: faster sharing (taking and sending pictures, videos, and audio from directly within the app), easy search through contacts and conversation threads, purposeful and intuitive design, the ability to block SMS senders, emoji support, coloured text threads, and message archiving.

All things considered, it’s the same kinds of functionality that Apple has had with iMessage and Blackberry with BBM for quite some time, but it was a requisite ‘catch-up’ app that Google needed to add to their arsenal. That said, Google Hangouts has much of this same SMS functionality already –but perhaps they are concerned some users may be wary of using something integrated into social media when that isn’t the way it works on other platforms.

Want to see how Google imagines messaging? Download Messenger for your Android devices.

Google SMS and MMS Messenger App Now Available is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon and Hachette Finally Reach an Agreement on eBooks


Hachette Book Group and Amazon today announced that the companies have reached a new, multi-year agreement for ebook and print sales in the US.

The new ebook terms will take effect early in 2015. Hachette will have responsibility for setting consumer prices of its ebooks, and will also benefit from better terms when it delivers lower prices for readers. Amazon and Hachette will immediately resume normal trading, and Hachette books will be prominently featured in promotions.

This entire contract situation went on for far too long and I am glad its finally over. It seemed that people used this contract dispute to write millions of news items on the predatory nature of Amazon and Hachette.

Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group CEO said, “This is great news for writers. The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners."

“We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike,” said David Naggar, Vice President, Kindle.

Amazon and Hachette Finally Reach an Agreement on eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

Is Anyone Using Kindle Scout Yet?

A couple weeks ago, Amazon launched a new program called Kindle Scout. It’s a campaign-style ebook publishing platform where readers can nominate new unpublished books to be published on the Kindle platform. Authors submit their completed book and then excerpts get posted on the Kindle Scout website for readers to nominate. The sample usually consists […]

Kindle Voyage Review

The Kindle Voyage was released on October 21st. I posted a first impressions review the day after it was released, but I wanted to use it for a few weeks before posting a full review to get a better feel of the new features. It’s been just over three weeks now, and I’ve finally got […]

Adventures in Minecraft

Martin O’Hanlon and David Whale will be familiar to many readers of this blog, whether from the excellent Raspberry Pi and Minecraft resources they’ve authored or from their work with schools, code clubs and Raspberry Jams. Now they’ve teamed up to write a fantastic new book, hot off the press this week.

Adventures in Minecraft

Adventures in Minecraft teaches young people to customise their Minecraft world with amazing structures and new gaming experiences, developing Python programming skills along the way. Nine self-contained projects introduce readers with no programming experience to the basics and then move on to increasingly sophisticated mods, and eventually to controlling and sensing real-world objects from within Minecraft!

Made for Minecraft Pi or for Minecraft on a PC or Apple Mac, the book is written especially for 11-15-year-olds, although we’ve already come across rave reviews from both younger and older readers. It has a companion website full of extras and video tutorials, as well as a mini-site created by Martin, with a forum where readers can discuss their projects and ask for help. Martin has also made a video montage of some of the adventures in the book:

Carrie Anne Philbin, our Education Pioneer, says, “It’s excellent that kids have a dedicated, full-colour book like this to help them get into programming with Minecraft, and it will make a great companion to Adventures in Raspberry Pi!”

You can buy Adventures in Minecraft now from Wiley and other book sellers. Why not treat the Minecraft fan in your life?

Why you Should Buy Indie eBooks and Avoid Traditional Publishers


Reading is making a comeback around the world due to new technology in a variety of ebook readers and apps for cell phones, tablets, and computers. Ebook sales are growing every day. People who would never have considered writing a book are giving it a shot, adding ever more choices to a crowded marketplace. Even authors from traditional publishing are fighting to provide the next ebook “bestseller”. Sadly, there are some readers, reviewers, and columnists who refuse to give Indie Authors a fair trial and continue to support traditional publishing as the only way to find a well-written book. Happily, there are innumerable readers who disagree and are not only buying books written by Indie Authors, but refuse to purchase books from traditional publishers any longer. Let’s explore why.

Traditionally published ebooks are expensive. Even though printing, shipping, storage, and buy-backs are no longer part of the cost, traditional publishers are charging premium prices for their ebooks. In our current economy, it is hard for a single mom, student, average employee, or senior citizen to pay from $9.99 to $19.99 for one ebook download – even one written by a famous author. For $19.99, a reader of Indie Authors can buy several ebooks in a variety of genres, and possibly find the next “NY bestseller” among them.

Another reason to avoid traditional publishers is they tend to follow the leader in choosing what to publish, regardless of what readers are buying or requesting. They have flooded the market with erotic thrillers, vampires, quests, tell-all memoirs, how-to this or that, and most recently non-fiction political ramblings. Based on expensive market analysis, of course, but their market must be in downtown New York or San Francisco, when it should be on Average Street. Indie Authors, on the other hand, live on Average Street in Small Town. They know what their neighbors, friends, and blog followers are reading. They spend hours online, studying what is selling versus what is not, they join groups and blogs and take classes to learn more, they research their topic, and then they spend hour upon hour writing. They are connected to real life, which brings emotion, depth of character, and the need to tell a story from deep inside. Then the serious ones pull money from their own pockets to pay for a book cover, edits, and formatting, or they find an Indie Publisher willing to accept their work.

Has it occurred to most readers who refuse to touch an Indie Author ebook that famous traditionally published authors had to start somewhere? Not all of them were perfect when they began, either. Surprisingly, they still aren’t perfect after all these years, and neither are the teams of editors, proofers, and formatters who work on their books. [Another surprise, the teams don't have nearly the members working on a book as when it went to print.] Chances are, yes, a reader will get a poorly written or unedited book from time to time when trying Indie Authors, but it’s also likely in a traditionally published ebook. And, which would you rather throw away, $3.99 or $19.99? Many Indie Authors now have beautiful ebook covers designed by talented artists, which are much more appealing than a multi-color background with a white text title, or a hatchet in a wall on a traditionally published cover. Indie Author covers also more closely describe the story than traditional publisher covers, particularly in Romance, Thrillers, and Suspense.

The most important reason to buy Indie Author ebooks is the majority of what readers spend actually goes to the author rather than to a publishing conglomerate. [Our Indie publishing company pays cover designers, editors, and formatters, and still pays the lion share of royalties to our authors. Traditional publishers have kept the majority of the money, and yet, some are struggling to remain in business and still others have gone under. Wonder why? Could it be lavish executive offices, huge exec salaries, and all those benefits?]

To select a well-written Indie Authored or Indie Published ebook, look at the cover to see if it is well designed. Read the description and check the front few pages. Read a sample if you have time. If any of this appears sloppy or contains spelling errors, move on to another book. But, maybe it will be neat, concise, and the cover, description, and first few pages will grab you and draw you into a story you would have otherwise missed – just because it is by an Indie Author.

Readers should be the ones to decide what is well-written, what books to avoid, and tell others through reviews and ratings. Free marketing should set ebook prices. Join those of us who are tired of being dictated to by a few large traditional publishers, snobbish reviewers, and uninformed columnists, and buy ebooks published by real people for real people – Indie Authors.

by Rebecca J. Vickery
Author Rebecca J Vickery – website
Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery
Victory Tales Press
Once Upon A Word Blog

Why you Should Buy Indie eBooks and Avoid Traditional Publishers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Economist Launches Espresso Daily News App


The Economist has launched a new mobile app that provides a curated news briefing from the editors. Published each weekday morning in three editions for the Americas, Europe and Asia, Espresso brings you up to speed in just a couple of minutes at the start of your day.

The Economist Espresso offers eight articles each morning and the app is optimized primarily for smartphones. This is actually the first time in the companies 171 year history that they have offered a daily edition, so this is pretty big news.

The Economist is offering non-subscribers a one-month free trial and full access will cost £2.49/$3.99 a month. If you are already a digital subscriber to The Economist, then full access to Espresso is now included with your subscription. Simply log in to the app using your registered e-mail address and password for or, for delivery direct to your inbox, opt in to receive Espresso via e-mail, starting next week. For more information about accessing your digital subscription benefits visit

You can download the Economist Espresso for Android from the Good e-Reader App Store.

Economist Launches Espresso Daily News App is a post from: Good e-Reader