Monday, January 19, 2015

Apple May Be Considering a Stylus for Their Next iPad


Few things entertain the tech industry more than speculating on what Apple may have up their sleeves. It appears to be that time again, with rumours of an updated iPad gaining traction –the latest of which being a series of patent filings that suggest the company will introduce a proprietary stylus/iPen/Apple Pen of some sort.

This rumour is a weird one. All speculation suggests that this stylus would be an optional accessory, which makes it not at all unlike the thousands of existing third-party options on the market already. So with that in mind, why would Apple create their own product? The only thing that makes sense is that this accessory would feature additional sensors that improve and customize its functionality with the new iPad (possibly making it work elegantly for things like 3D handwriting)… offering more incentive than just feeling more like pen and paper than finger and tablet.

It also probably means we have yet another thing in our lives that requires charging (hopefully with the same Lightning connector that Apple is already using for their mobile product line).

If this latest rumour turns out to be true, Steve Jobs would be most unimpressed (having famously said that ‘if you see a stylus, they blew it’).

Would you opt into an Apple-branded stylus? Do you currently use a stylus with your tablet (Apple or otherwise)? While there are certainly potential applications in the corporate and educational worlds, the idea that a pen of any sort is necessary seems antiquated to me (though it does feel a little odd to write my own signature with my fingertip, I have to admit).

Apple May Be Considering a Stylus for Their Next iPad is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Enters the Feature Films Business


Once upon a time, movies cost crazy amounts of money to make… which reserved their creation for huge studios with equally large budgets. Now we live in an age where high definition cameras are in the palms of our hands and the bottoms of our pockets. Using computers for special effects is faster and easier than ever before. Post-production takes a fraction of the time it used to. So what does all of this mean? Companies like Amazon have the opportunity and the option of producing their own feature films.

After winning a Golden Globe for their dark comedy television series Transparent, Amazon has announced their intentions to produce indie style movies with budgets between $5 million and $25 million (in addition to more work on television series, including a second season of Transparent and something brand new from filmmaker Woody Allen).

Amazon’s original movies are intended for theatrical release, though they will also see early distribution on their Prime Instant Video service (proving membership really does have its privileges).

Original content is one thing that sets streaming services apart. Netflix has long since offered their own content unavailable anywhere else, which means Amazon has to make the same move in an effort to be competitive. To this end, it’s important that Amazon doesn’t cause people to equate smaller budgets with a lower quality entertainment.

Does original content help you decide on what streaming services you subscribe to? Who do you think is doing it best?

Amazon Enters the Feature Films Business is a post from: Good e-Reader

Tech Meets Innovation: The Hospitality Industry in the Digital Age


When consumers and experts alike think of the travel industry, transportation giants usually come to mind. But what savvy industry watchers are learning is that transportation is only one small part of the equation. Accommodations providers are driving the real shift in the travel industry, and of those, it's the smaller companies and startups that are generating actual change.

Accommodations used to refer to the hotel sector, and in some regards, the vacation rental side of business. But the booming privately owned homeshare concept is getting a lot of consumer attention and edging in on the market share for accommodations, largely due to digital and tech amenities that hotels and rental condos—and now homeshares—have to offer.

There's been a shift in how the hospitality industry handles consumer engagement. With the move to things like mobile apps, online booking and check-in, and even a catalog of hundreds of titles to choose from for the typical guest newspaper that now appears seamlessly each morning on a guest's mobile device, today's traveler expects not only convenience and price, but a greater level of affordability and value thanks to the self-service, digital concepts.

A newly launched magazine that tracks the hospitality industry, Megatrends Shaping Travel In 2015 takes a closer look at how consumers are responding to what the travel and hospitality sectors have to offer in the digital age. One of the chief findings of the publication from Skift if that whole new levels of connectivity and convenience have become the norm. The days of cable-based ethernet connections in hotel rooms or paying a premium for in-room wifi are gone, even if not all hotel and rental chains have adapted. Travelers are no longer content with a complimentary print copy of USA Today thrown on the lobby desk in the morning, and instead of booking their stays with hotels that can offer local news, but also the news from back home while guests are away.

"As consumers become self-serve and mobile-dependent, new models and approaches to both customer relations and local discovery are emerging, and hospitality is the big crucible where all of this is playing out," says Rafat Ali of Skift. "We see this at every touchpoint in the hospitality industry: From how hotels are building direct links to customers in digital, to how customer service is being rethought through social and mobile tools. Within the confines of a property we see this in how hotels are redoing lobbies and how customers check in, as well as everything about the customer experience inside a hotel room, entertainment inside the hotel, and food & beverage offerings, too. Brands are also questioning customer interaction pre-, during and post-trip, as they examine and rebuild it in new ways."

Tech Meets Innovation: The Hospitality Industry in the Digital Age is a post from: Good e-Reader

Energy Sistem Releases 3 New e-Readers


Energy Sistem, a Spanish tech brand that has recently launched its new range of e-Readers. The Energy Reader Slim, Energy Reader Screenlight and Energy Reader PRO all have wildly different specs and the pricing structure makes them all tremendously affordable.

Likely the best model this company has just released is the Energy Reader PRO. It features a six inch e-Ink Pearl HD display with a resolution of 1024×758 pixels. It has a touchscreen, which makes it easy to click and navigate around the UI or just simply flip the pages in your favorite e-Book. It also incorporates a front-lit screens, you may elect to read in the dark and customize the different levels of illumination. Underneath the hood is a ARM Cortex A9 1.0Ghz dual core processor and 8 GB of internal memory. It also has the option to expand the memory up to 64GB with a SD/SDHC card. This model costs 119 Euro

The mid level model is called the Energy Slim, which has a 6 inch screen with a resolution of 800×600.  It also has a front-lit display, to allow you to read in the dark, but does not have a touchscreen. Instead, it has a D-Pad and manual navigation buttons to flip pages.  This e-reader will run you 84 Euros. The entry e-reader is named the Energy Slim, it doesn’t have a front light or a touchscreen display, and is aimed primarily at people new to e-readers or are on a budget, the cost on this unit is 69 Euros.

I like the fact that all three models have support for EPUB, PDF and MOBI, this means it will play nice with the vast majority of books you will download or buy from the internet. In order to get you reading right away, there is 1,500 titles that come bundled on all three models, in different languages.

In the near future will be reviewing all of these readers, so if any of them look especially compelling to you, we will be doing a comprehensive hands on review, unboxings and comparisons.

Energy Sistem Releases 3 New e-Readers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Magzter Unveils Unlimited Digital Magazine Subscription Platform


Magzter has been an anomaly in the digital magazine space, its primarily competitors have all been offering  unlimited magazines for a low monthly fee for quite sometime.  Instead of jumping into this space right away, Magzter has focused on securing more publishers to their platform and currently and developing their in-house tools to allow other companies to self-publish on Android and iOS. Today, Magzter is ready to jump into the whole Netflix for Magazines concept with the advent of of Magzter Gold.

Magzter currently has 5,000 digital magazine titles in their extensive library, but only 2,000 are available via their Gold subscription package.  The entry level cost is $9.99 a month to read them all, or you can opt into paying $4.99 per month for full access to 5 preferred titles.

Magzter Gold  will get you a number of notable publications, such as Maxim, ESPN The Magazine, and Fast Company, as well as many top magazines from different countries –  including the UK, Singapore, and India.

"It's still early days for digital magazine reading," said Girish Ramdas, CEO & Co-Founder of Magzter. "Barriers to entry, like paying for and managing multiple magazine subscriptions, have stalled true adoption. With Magzter Gold, we're delivering a better experience, giving readers instant access to the largest collection of digital magazines anywhere, on any device, and for one low monthly price."

This is a tough industry for Magzster to get into, as their primary competition Next Issue, PressReader and Zinio have been offering unlimited magazine subscriptions for a number of years.

Magzter Unveils Unlimited Digital Magazine Subscription Platform is a post from: Good e-Reader

Viz Media Releases YU-GI-OH! Omnibus


On January 13th, Viz Media, the largest licensor and distributor of manga and anime in North America, has announced the launch of a new omnibus of the popular game and TV series Yu-Gi-Oh! By Kazuki Takahashi. Viz Media will publish Takahashi’s entire 38 volume fantasy epic manga into 13 quarterly 3-in-1 volumes.

Before the card games and anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh was a manga that ran in the weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1996 following the young Yugi Mutou, a timid, 10th grader game fanatic. One day Yugi solves an ancient artifact known as the Millenium puzzle, causing his body to play host to a mysterious spirit, a master gambler from the age of the Pharaoh’s known as Yu-Gi-Oh. Now Yugi and the King of games must battle through opponents that threaten Yugi’s and his friends’ lives by playing the deadly Shadow games. The series will begin with the fated meet of Seto Kaiba, a young world master of the trading card game and Yugi’s rival. Kaiba discovers that Yugi’s grandfather has the rare and powerful card The Blue Eyes White Dragon, and will stop at no means to attain it. Let the Shadow games begin!

The new manga series will hit the shelves beginning February 3rd under the Shonen Jump imprint. Volume 1 will be rated "T" for teens with an MSRP of 14.99 U.S./16.99 CAD.

"This new omnibus is a great way to dive into all the action of the original YU-GI-OH! manga series for the very first time, or revisit it in a whole new way – undivided and in its entirety," says Erica Yee, Editor. "YU-GI-OH! remains the Number 1 trading card game property in the world, and the popularity of the property has also spawned several top-rated anime series, bestselling video games, and a vast array of action figures and other collectables. We look forward to even more fans discovering this tremendous manga series with the new 3-in-1 editions."

Viz Media Releases YU-GI-OH! Omnibus is a post from: Good e-Reader

Ghost in the Shell Live Action Movie – Premieres April 14th 2017


Last week Dreamworks announced a live-action movie of Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson set to premiere on April 14th 2017. This was a great addition to the many other happenings revolving the series, during it’s 25th anniversary. Such additions include an online FPS in the works by Nexon, and an animated movie being released this Summer. Fans however were upset of the decision to cast Johansson. It was to a point where a petition has been created for the star to be replaced by an Asian actress.

The petition listed on Care2 reads “The original film is set in Japan, and the major cast members are Japanese. So why would the American remake star a white actress? The industry is already unfriendly to Asian actors without roles in major films being changed to exclude them.” It has garnered 21,000 signatures of it’s goal of 22,000.

This is not the first time where the film industry has turned an Asian franchise into a movie, set of course with Western cast members. Dragonball Evolution and Avatar: The Last Airbender had many fans outraged and both movies ended up becoming an internet joke.

Ghost in the Shell is a Manga series in which has been produced into several different anime adaptions. The film released in 1995, the Television series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex in 2002, and most recently Ghost in the Shell: Arise film series. 3 Video games have also made its onto Sony platforms.

Ghost in the Shell Live Action Movie – Premieres April 14th 2017 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Free E-Book on the Best of Anime


Otaku USA Magazine, best known among anime fans as being a reliable source for all things anime and manga related, have just released The Very Best Anime Guide!: a free e-book containing, as the title suggests, a guide to the best of anime.

As the world could pass through nuclear fallout and fans still wouldn’t be able to agree on the best anime of all, the e-book instead gathers various thoughts and opinions on contributors' personal favorite. With over 27 members of Otaku USA's staff giving their input, readers can rest assured the list is well-rounded. The guide goes further, including stills, art, reviews, and several Top 5 lists. These include both the old and the new, both series and films. Contributors include Editor-in-Chief Patrick Macias and website editor Joseph Luster, so the opinions are well-researched and come from a very high source.

The e-book is a must-read for all anime fans. Whether you've been watching for years or just started a month ago, this is a guide to help navigate through list upon list of anime. It is an excellent way to find that next great series, or reaffirm old favorites. Better yet, use this as an opportunity to try and figure out what you consider to be the greatest anime of all time. It's harder than it looks.

The Very Best Anime Guide! is available for free download on Otaku USA's website. Put it on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, and read away. Dive into waters you’ve not yet swum. This book is a good primer if you  haven’t watched much anime before or are looking for the next great series.

Free E-Book on the Best of Anime is a post from: Good e-Reader

MGM and Warner Bros. gems



If your library hasn't started using a Cost Per Circ (CPC) plan, what are you waiting for? CPC plans give patrons simultaneous access to hundreds of fantastic streaming videos from Warner Bros. and MGM. Here is just a small sample of the great titles available via CPC:

MGM titles

Casino Royale (NR) – A hilarious spy spoof starring comedy great Peter Sellers as James Bond. This title was nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA Award, and a Grammy.

Death at a Funeral (R) – Two words: Peter Dinklage.

Last Tango in Paris (NC-17) – Marlon Brando delivers an outstanding performance as a widower who channels his grief into clandestine relationship with a young Parisienne. This film was nominated for two Oscars and a Golden Globe.

Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her (PG-13) – The stories of five women are loosely intertwined in this drama featuring a powerhouse cast of female stars: Glen Close, Cameron Diaz, Calista Flockhart, and Holly Hunter. Hunter received an Emmy nomination for her role.

Warner Bros. titles

Death to Smoochy (R) – Ed Norton and Robin Williams are a dynamic duo in this comedy that explores the darker side of children's television.

Everything is Illuminated (PG-13) – Elijah Wood stars as a young man on a journey to find the woman who saved his grandfather's life during a Nazi invasion. Based on the acclaimed novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Ghosts of Mississippi (PG-13) – Whoopi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin, and James Woods are stellar in this drama about the 1994 trial of Medgar Evers murderer. Ghosts of Mississippi was nominated for two Oscars and a Golden Globe.

Reversal of Fortune (R) – Jeremy Irons won an Oscar for his performance in this film based on a true story. Irons portrays Claus von Bulow, a man accused of attempting to murder his wife. eBook also available.

For more information about Cost Per Circ, contact your Collection Development Specialist or email today.


*MGM and Warner Bros. titles are currently limited to U.S. and Canadian library partners.

Michelle Ross is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

Amazon Faces Tax Woes in EU

Book and retail giant Amazon has come under fire over the years for its taxes, or more accurately, its failure to pay taxes that critics felt were long overdue. Whether in the US or abroad, the company has been able to take advantage of current tax law to its own interests, a fact that lawmakers literally around the world have been trying to fight.

In the US, a wave of “Amazon Tax” legislation was proposed in most states in an attempt to overturn a 1992 US Supreme Court decision that determined that (then) mail order companies didn’t face the insurmountable headache of trying to collect and report sales tax in every state, as each state sets its own sales tax percentage. Instead, the ruling stated that companies who conducted business via shipping goods to customers would only be required to collect sales tax in the state where the company was located. That became a sticking point for Amazon when states with distribution centers decided that physical location applied as a “location” for taxation. A number of states sued Amazon for back taxes and proposed legislative changes to combat the issue.

In the EU, Amazon has been criticized for its apparent tax-dodging by setting up operation in Luxembourg, a country known to be a haven for foreign corporations which include Google, Starbucks, and many more. The reason for the Grand Duchy address is to take advantage of the lowest tax rate in the EU, something which has local sellers through the Union upset, with claims that they cannot compete as they don’t have the opportunity to move their headquarters to Luxembourg.

While Amazon has always operated in legal compliance with these tax laws, an EU investigation launched in October 2014 will determine if there was anything amiss in the way that the retailer has setup operations. There have been recent allegations that claim Amazon has worked out a deal to receive what amounts to “state aid” from the government, which the investigation sought to uncover.

According to an article for, “Crawford Spence, of Warwick Business School, who researches tax avoidance, said he felt Amazon's tax deal in Luxembourg amounts to state aid.

“Professor Spence said: ‘The issue of whether Amazon's deal with Luxembourg was a 'sweetheart' one constituting state aid seems to deflect attention from the main issue here: namely, that Luxembourg has long operated as a de facto tax haven within the internal market, effectively depriving other EU governments, and the EU in general, of significant tax revenues.

"’There is a simple way to put an end to these sorts of scandals: harmonise tax rules across EU member states.’"

Interestingly, this suggestion is one that Amazon has held up publicly for some time. The company has stated repeatedly that it will comply with any unified changes to tax structures and laws both in the US and abroad, but that it will not engage in single-player politics or measures that require the company to create a different tax structure in every location where it conducts business. So long as the law allows corporations to operate under these strictures, Amazon remains in compliance and will continue its operations as such.

Amazon Faces Tax Woes in EU is a post from: Good e-Reader

Fran Scott’s #Error404 show at BETT

It’s not long to BETT now where the Foundation education team will spend four whole earth days doing great works.

Fran Scott

As well as a non-stop stand schedule of talks, demos and activities we’ve also got a number of off-stand monkeyshines including two live stage shows by Fran Scott, who you may have seen recently on the Royal Institution Christmas lectures. Fran will be performing her show #Error404: The Explosions-based computing show and revealing “Computer Science for the problem-solving, creative and imaginative subject it innately is and through live interactive coding, humour and explosions(!)”. (That had me at “explosions” and I was reading the sentence backwards.)

fran scott

If the Foundation’s had a mantra it would be “computing is not coding”. It’s so much more than that, in fact in the early years of education it should just be called ‘Thought-provoking Fun’. Fran’s show is a brilliant practical demonstration of that and she has a talent for explaining science and engineering principles in an entertaining way that everyone can understand. As well as computing the show hooks into the science curriculum (gases and combustion) and also contains dancing and bananas. There’s loads crammed in and it’s a fantastic show—it’s going to be packed so get there early!

baloon popping cartoon

To tie in with the show we’ll be giving away goody bags containing everything you need to make your own (non-explosive!) version of Pi-controlled balloon popping which would make a fab classroom demo or even a great way to wake your parents up in the morning.

Where and when

The shows are on Thursday 22 Jan at 13:10 and Saturday 24 Jan at 12:55, both in the BETT Arena. Fran will also be on our stand (The Hub! near N8 visitors’ entrance) on Thursday afternoon between 16:00 and 17:00.

Find out more

You can read more about the show on Fran’s site and also download an information pack which includes links to the English Computing curriculum. You can also get in touch with Fran if you want to find out more about the show.

Warning: Blowing stuff up and messing around with pyrotechnics is dangerous so do not do it. Fran is a trained pyrotechnician and a member of the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians. Do not blow stuff up or set light to stuff or play with matches or stick red Crayola crayons up your nose (as my brother once did). Bad things will happen.