Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Overdrive for Chomebooks Now Available


Overdrive has just released their first app for Chrome OS, which also works as a standalone app for the Chrome internet browser. It was designed as a tool to primarily read eBooks that you borrow from the library.

Over 35,000 libraries all over the world use Overdrive as their content distribution system of choice. When you borrow eBooks, audiobooks, music or videos from your local branch, chances are it stems from the Overdrive service.

The functionality of the Chrome app is totally different, depending on if you are using the browser extension for Windows,  Chrome OS, Chrome for Android and a myriad of other platforms. Thanks to a diligent young scholar over at MobileRead, here is the full list of supported features for each platform.

Windows OS — Chrome Browser

  • Kindle eBook
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
  • Open EPUB eBook
  • PDF eBook
  • Open PDF eBook
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
  • OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Android OS — Android App

  • Kindle eBook
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
  • Open EPUB eBook
  • PDF eBook
  • Open PDF eBook
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
  • OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Chrome OS — Chrome Browser

  • Kindle eBook
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
  • Open EPUB eBook
  • PDF eBook
  • Open PDF eBook
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
  • OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Chrome OS — Chrome App

  • Kindle eBook
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
  • Open EPUB eBook
  • PDF eBook
  • Open PDF eBook
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
  • OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Some content is better than no content at all I guess. At least owners of the Chrome Pixel or any number of sub $200 Chromebooks can finally be able to read eBooks borrowed from the library.

Overdrive for Chomebooks Now Available is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Giving Free Access to Kindle Unlimited


Amazon has announced that it is giving away six months worth of free access to their eBook subscription platform, Kindle Unlimited. In order to qualify for this promotion you need to live in the US and purchase a new e-reader or tablet.

Kindle Unlimited is billed as a Netflix for eBooks subscription system. It normally costs $10 a month and gives readers access to over 750,000 titles. Major publishers have not committed themselves to the platform yet, so its mainly populated by second rate companies and indie authors.

Amazon is bundling access to Kindle Unlimited on the new Fire HD6, Fire HD7, Kindle Basic Touch and the Kindle Paperwhite. Likely, Amazon is including this range of products because they aren’t selling that well. Which is why they aren’t bundling it on the new Kindle Voyage, which continues to experience a long wait list for new orders.

Amazon Giving Free Access to Kindle Unlimited is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon and Barnes and Noble Reveal Black Friday Deals


Amazon and Barnes and Noble are gearing up for one of the biggest shopping days in the US with some mighty deals. If you are looking for a new e-reader or tablet, you might want to check these out.

Barnes & Noble Announces Special, "In-Store Only" Black Friday Doorbuster on the 7-Inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK. Only $129.99 while supplies last. Customers Can Also Get 50% off Select New York Times Bestselling NOOK Books.

The NOOK GlowLight is available at a permanent low price of only $99, down from $119, at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide and online at and Customers will also receive a $5 starter credit towards any NOOK purchase. Barnes & Noble Members can get an even greater value with an additional 10% off NOOK GlowLight.

Amazon and Barnes and Noble Reveal Black Friday Deals is a post from: Good e-Reader

GraphicAudio Unveils New Guardians of the Galaxy Audiobook


GraphicAudio is celebrating their ten year anniversary producing their own audiobooks in-house. The company has been pumping out a ton of content over the years and recently has gotten involved in licensing major comic book properties from major publishers such as DC.   This has caught the attention of Disney owned Marvel, and a new audiobook is now available based on the Guardians of the Galaxy property, which indecently was the highest grossing Marvel movie of 2014.

ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT STEAL THE GALAXY features over 40 talented voice actors, original music, sound effects and a very special vocal performance by Groot.  Filled with action and humor this audio production will captivate the whole family while driving cross country during this Holiday Season.

This is not the first audiobook that Graphic has done with Marvel, but is likely the highest profile one to date. In the past they have done a few titles, including IRON MAN: EXTREMIS which was recently featured by AudioFile Magazine as a Best Audio Drama of 2014.

Regular followers of the audiobook space might not have heard of Graphicaudio before, they certainly are not a household name, such as Audible.  Michele Cobb mentioned “The Cutting Corporation is a small American business and was founded in 1971.  Since 2004, GraphicAudio, an imprint of The Cutting Corporation has published approximately 1000 titles and 65 different series in their GraphicAudio A Movie in Your Mind audiobook entertainment format.  We have in-house studios and directors, voice talent and sound designers that efficiently process the high number of hours we produce in this production value heavy format that includes sound effects and original music.

In order to buy content you have to do it directly from their website and then download one of their apps for iOS or Android in order to listen to the titles on your mobile device. Graphic is actually one of the few audio producers that still sells all of their content on CD as well, and one of their big selling points is being able to listen to the books on your PC via MP3 or FLAC.

GraphicAudio Unveils New Guardians of the Galaxy Audiobook is a post from: Good e-Reader

Best E Ink eReaders 2014 Edition

This is a quick note to mention that I’ve recently updated the Best eBook Readers page for 2014. It lists my top picks for E Ink ebook readers this year. The top choice may be a bit of a surprise to some seeing as how it wasn’t even released this calendar year. But price has […]

Sony Developing an e Ink Smartwatch


Sony has secretly been building their own skunk works department in Japan. 200 researchers are trying to flesh out ideas that have nothing to do with the core markets or products that Sony currently is marketing. One of them, to be released next year is a smartwatch, made entirely of e Ink Mobius.

Mobius uses a TFT technology that will enable the watch to be much lighter and rugged .  One of the main selling points behind this watch is that it will weigh less than 50% of an equivalent glass based TFT.  One of the only consumer products on the market to  use this technology was the Sony 13 inch writing Slate, that despite its 13.3 inch display weighs less than a six inch Kindle.

The premise behind the new e Ink watch from Sony is that the screen and band are made entirely of e-paper. This will allow people to not  only customize their watch face, which is standard fare int he world of watches, but also the wristband too. Unlike the Pebble, which actually does not use e Ink, the battery life should garner about a month of constant use.

Sony Developing an e Ink Smartwatch is a post from: Good e-Reader

PiPiano: a musical, educational add-on board

Last week we received a surprise parcel from Mike Horne, containing a new add-on board for us to look at. Mike introduced it to us:

It’s called the PiPiano and was designed and developed by 14-year-old Zachary Igielman, who is a regular at CamJam and our line-following-robot guru! He’s currently running an Indiegogo campaign for the board which he’s fitting in around his school work.

I think it’s amazing that a 14-year-old has developed something so complex and it just goes to show what kind of brilliant things the Pi has inspired!

We wholeheartedly agree! The PiPiano uses an I2C port expander to give you thirteen buttons laid out like an octave of a piano keyboard, along with three LEDs and a piezo speaker; and as you’ll see if you watch the video, if the piezo speaker isn’t enough for you, there’s more than one way to use the PiPiano to create other sounds through speakers or headphones. Of course, all the buttons, LEDs and buzzer can be used as input or output for your other projects, and thanks to the I2C expander, the board uses only three of the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins – there’s an option to receive one with a stacking header so that you still have access to the rest of the pins if you have other plans for those.

Back to Mike:

If you’d like to give it a go, the first thing you should do is drink a can of soft drink! The buzzer is a little bit weedy and works so much better if you tape it to an empty can! Zach’s written lots of example code to go along with the board in both Python and C and he managed to persuade me to write the documentation and Phil (@Gadgetoid) Howard to do the video for the crowdfunding campaign.

To get started, go to or to download the code and find out how it all works.

You’ll have noticed by now that Zach doesn’t do things by half, and we see from his campaign updates that, since launching, he’s been expanding the PiPiano website and teaching a nine-year-old how to use the board, with great success! We’ve spotted that he’ll be playing and demo-ing PiPiano at the Covent Garden Raspberry Jam this Saturday, too.

Teaching a nine-year-old to use PiPiano

This version of the board is only available via the PiPiano Indiegogo campaign. If you’d like your own, act now!

Pinterest App Receives Makeover for Android Devices


Those of you with a Pinterest addiction that rivals mine will be delighted to hear that the Android version of the app has received an overhaul that includes a move vibrant and intuitive user interface (iPhone users have been enjoying this major update for a few weeks now, so it’s about time).

In addition to the new look and feel, loading the app is also opening faster than ever (down to about 2 seconds from the old clock time of 5.3 seconds). This is great news for anybody who opens web links inside the app as they will load nearly as quickly as in a browser tab.

What this boils down to: you can learn every craft and helpful hint faster and easier than ever before.

Because Google Play’s rollout feature is being used, it may be a few days before everybody is able to see the updates.

If you have free time you no longer want control of, download Pinterest for Android now.

Pinterest App Receives Makeover for Android Devices is a post from: Good e-Reader

Skype Update Lets You Multitask During Calls


In a major update to Skype, you can continue your video call without interruption if you leave the app with picture-in-picture support. This means the person you are calling won’t know if you’ve left the app to check your email (or browse Facebook), with Skype now maintaining a clear video picture all the while (in a re-positionable window that runs on top of whatever you are doing so it remains visible on your end).

Other additions in this latest package allow you to receive photos from Skype for iPhone users (and other clients), adds support for formatted text (like bold, italic, and strikethrough), and promises that chats will load faster (especially when opened using notifications).

Microsoft has been paying a lot of attention to Skype lately –adding the messaging software to their Office Online apps, giving users the chance to chat and collaborate on Word and PowerPoint documents within each native app.

If you haven’t made your first call with Skype for Android, download it now for free and give it a try.

Skype Update Lets You Multitask During Calls is a post from: Good e-Reader

Sony Cuts Back Smartphone Lineup


It wasn’t very long ago that Samsung announced their plans to cut back their smartphone line-up –this time, it’s Sony doing the same thing. Where once it seemed like Sony was on top of the tech world and could do no wrong, now they are struggling to carve out a competitive piece of the mobile market.

Reducing their smartphone lineup by as much as 30% should help return Sony to profitability, while also giving a smaller portfolio of devices to support. Unfortunately, reducing the number of devices being offered does little to compete with smartphone leaders like Apple and Samsung.

On the plus side, Sony’s latest Android-powered handsets are receiving great reviews even though sales figures don’t support them. The reality is that there are plenty of devices to choose from, and a large number of users already have smartphones (and are upgrading with less frequency than in the past).

Sony isn’t just scaling back smartphones –their TV business is also taking a similar hit. The only divisions left untouched are related to console gaming and their image sensor equipment (currently found in devices made by companies like Apple).

Sony Cuts Back Smartphone Lineup is a post from: Good e-Reader

Moscow Metro Riders Get Free eBooks


The Moscow Metro has unveiled an ambitious new plan to give free eBooks away to riders. This pilot project is only starting at a handful of subway stations and once all of the kinks have been worked out will expand to over 195.

Riders will be able to get free access to Nikolai Gogol's Nose, Alexander Pushkin's Egyptian Nights, Anton Chekhov's About Love, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Mr. Prokharchin by scanning QR codes. The codes will be read on a smartphone or tablet and instantly download the book to your device.

The first few stations to get this service will be Dinamo, Belorussky, and Krasnye Vorota. It will eventually spread to all of the system's 195 metro stations, and is already available on about 700 of the city's trams, trolleys, and buses.

The metro system is always going to be unveiling a new WIFI system by the end of the year. This will allow users to not only download the books but also the reading apps necessary to view them.

Moscow Metro Riders Get Free eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader