Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kuroko No Basuke 3DS Game and Spinoff Manga Announced


Kuroko no Basuke, everyone's favourite anime about basketball, returned to screens earlier this January, and has brought with it more good tidings. Fans of the anime will be delighted to see their favourite basketballers on a 3DS screen, as Bandai Namco Games began streaming gameplay of their upcoming Kuroko no Basket: Ties of the Future.

The second 3DS game released for Kuroko no Basuke, Ties of the Future promises a better gameplay, better graphics, and most importantly, more power behind the player's special moves. For a show based on high schoolers with almost superhero-like basketball abilities, this is a good change. What good is naming your jump shot "Meteor Jam" if there isn't enough force behind it? The game also allows the player to switch characters by passing the ball, a perfect choice for the anime that promotes passing and teamwork.

But that isn't all Kuroko no Basuke has to offer. The highly popular light novel series, Kuroko no Basuke -Replace-, is getting its very own manga adaptation. Replace acts as a prequel novel to the manga, following the title character Kuroko and his old teammates in their middle school years. The novels themselves are wildly popular, with 1.9 million copies in circulation and ranking in Japan's best-sellers list since 2013. The manga adaptation will be serialised in the online magazine, Shonen Jump. The artist is yet to be confirmed.

Ties of the Future has a set release date of March 26th. As for the prequel manga, nothing has been carved in stone yet. But fans won't fret, not with the third season just beginning and another several games of high-tension basketball on the horizon. There is a lot more Kuroko and his basketball to come.

Kuroko No Basuke 3DS Game and Spinoff Manga Announced is a post from: Good e-Reader

Barnes and Noble Retail Boss Leaves the Company


Barnes and Noble has been experiencing a dramatic executive shuffle in the last few years.  Not only has the Nations largest bookseller replaced the CEO of the entire company, but the entire Nook division has seen every single key person leave. Today, B&N has announced that Mitchell Klipper, Chief Executive Officer of the Retail Group, will retire by May.  The Company said it has begun a search to fill Mr. Klipper's position and that he will help with the selection of the new Retail CEO and in the transition process.

Klipper has been working for Barnes and Noble for over 28 years and previously acted as the company's operating chief and chief financial officer. Before taking over as retail CEO, he oversaw the company's development segment, which is responsible for its real estate operations.

Over the cost of his vast history with the company he picked new locations for bookstores, oversaw construction and design for more than 600 Barnes Noble's superstores in the US.

Barnes and Noble reported during a recent earnings report that booksales will will be flat this year, which is better than the projected decline they made late last year.

Barnes and Noble Retail Boss Leaves the Company is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Library in Vancouver to Serve the Downtown Eastside


A new library has broke ground in Vancouver and will serve the poorest postal code in Canada. The Downtown Eastside is rife with poverty, drug use, sex, crime, and violence.

The building that will be constructed will have six different floors, two for the library and four for social housing called Cause We Care House, designated for single mothers. It is being financed by a joint initiative between the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Library and YWCA Metro Vancouver.

"We'll have medical and employment services, a mother and tot program, and we'll offer support to families with infants who have been diagnosed with developmental delays," YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO Janet Austin said at a news conference at the site.

The naming convention being employed for the upcoming library is entirely unique and is the first major civic building in Vancouver to have an official aboriginal name. The word nə́c̓aʔmat ct encompasses the idea of "we are one" in the Musqueam language.

The Downtown Eastside, Chinatown and Strathcona community are the last neighborhoods in Vancouver without a public library. Sandra Singh, the city's chief librarian, said the library, which will measure about 11,000 square feet, will be among the largest branches in the VPL system. Incidentally this will also be the first official library to be constructed in Vancouver in the last 20 years.

This library is going to have thousands of book and e-book titles available to patrons. Beth Davies Neighbourhood Services Manager at VPL said that “Our selections team is just starting to acquire books and other materials for the new branch, having developed a collection profile based on neighborhood demographics and feedback, and circulation patterns in other similar locations. The collection will be newly acquired for this branch; the children’s material at our current Strathcona branch will remain with the school when the library becomes a school-only library. We are not relying on community donations.”

She went on to say “E-book and digital collections will be available to patrons at this location, just as at other locations, and are intended to complement the print collections.”

Currently, the VPL deals with Overdrive which accounts for the largest segment of audiobooks and e-Books. Digital Newspapers will also play a key role via PressReader.  I have a feeling that the digital adoption rate will be low at this new location, as the low-income patrons likely don’t have cutting edge smartphones or tablets.

New Library in Vancouver to Serve the Downtown Eastside is a post from: Good e-Reader

Harry Potter Plot Outlined on a Hand Drawn Spreadsheet


The Harry Potter saga comprises of seven novels by British author J.K. Rowling.  Many kids grew up reading  these books in their youth and a soft spot remains for all things Potter.

Do you ever wonder if J.K had any idea about Dumbledore's Army or horcruxes when she wrote the Sorcerer’s Stone?  She planned ahead more then you think. A recent manual spreadsheet has just surfaced, giving us all an introspective on how a novel is constructed.

This spreadsheet was the main story arc for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She keeps track of all the book's subplots in every chapter and how they are developing in the real world of the book, even if they aren’t mentioned on the page. So, there's a full column on "The Prophecy" which is the main subplot Harry is worried about throughout the book. Then there's a column for the romantic subplot, titled "Cho/Ginny" followed by "D.A." which follows what's going on with Harry, Ron and Hermione's resistance group "Dumbledore's Army," one called "O of P," a column about what's the latest with the "Order of the Phoenix," a.k.a, the people who believe Voldemort is still alive, then separate columns for Snape and the Hagrid and Grawp story.

I think this hand drawn plot outline really shows us that a riveting and complex story doesn’t have to be totally over thought. A one page document that outlines all of the key events is basically all you need to construct a story.

Harry Potter Plot Outlined on a Hand Drawn Spreadsheet is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Stands Behind eBook Subscriptions

It didn’t take long after the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription service for the outcry to begin, but unlike other criticisms the retail book giant has weathered, this one came from its most staunch supporters: self-published authors. With the announcement that all KDP Select titles would be included in the all-you-can-eat service, authors were initially excited about the prospect of a new revenue channel from the exclusive program; it didn’t take long, though, before some of the top names in self-publishing noticed a significant drop in their KDP-based income.

Critics were quick to point fingers at Amazon with claims that the empire was turning on its own support base, but that’s turning out not to be the case.

At last week’s Digital Book World event, Amazon’s senior vice president of Kindle Russ Grandinetti spoke candidly about Amazon’s support for unlimited ebook consumption, and explained the clear path that the company will take for the model.

"We can all observe the fact, that in every single digital media category, subscriptions are playing an important role. In music, in movies, in newspapers—you cannot find a digital medium where subscription isn't a model that succeeds at some level, and I don't think books will be immune to this. [We] need to think about how subscription could be a great value for the customers.”

While Netflix and Amazon have offered both unlimited movie and television streaming as well as original programming without much backlash from content producers, newspapers through companies like Issuu, Zinio, and Magzter have provided digital newspaper and magazine reading with unlimited consumption pricing plan options.

One of the chief drawbacks to the adoption of subscription reading, Grandinetti believes, is that ebook sales are currently doing really well. On the other hand, ebook subscription platforms like Rooster see unlimited content for one continuous low price as more media than most readers can handle; Rooster offered a cheaper alternative to subscription reading that provided less content for a lower cost, appealing to those readers who were honest enough with themselves to say that they wouldn’t reap enough benefit in terms of amount of content to justify the higher price.

Amazon Stands Behind eBook Subscriptions is a post from: Good e-Reader

Social animals: electric eel tweets with a Pi

Meet Miguel Wattson (geddit?), the most piscine member of the Raspberry Pi community. Miguel is an electric eel who lives in a tank at Chattanooga Zoo; and his keepers, with some help from some computer science interns, have decided to use Miguel’s tendency to generate electricity to do some showboating.




Electric eels (actually a kind of knifefish, so strictly speaking they’re electric fish, which sounds much less cool) have the ability to discharge up to 860 volts from three large organs made from electrocytes – organic cells which work like the voltaic pile in an early battery –  which they use to stun prey, to communicate, and to navigate. An electric eel at full power only discharges for a couple of milliseconds, but even so, has the ability to electrocute a full-sized human.

This is all very glamorous and exciting, but the problem for eel watchers is that all of this drama is silent and invisible. There’s no way to tell just from watching whether or not an electric eel is discharging. Happily, there’s a way around that.

Sensors (I’m guessing electrodes in the water, connected to ground, whose resistance can be measured – but I do not have an electric eel to test this setup on – your ideas in the comments please!) in Miguel’s tank detect when he discharges. These signals are sent to a LED light and speaker system in the aquarium, where they make static rapping sounds, and flash lights to demonstrate how frequently Miguel discharges. Here he is, doing his thing at feeding time.

But the aquarium team didn’t stop there. Miguel’s electrical activity also sends a message to the attached Raspberry Pi, telling it to send a tweet. Miguel’s Twitter feed is full of fishy puns, eel facts, and messages about conservation – along with the occasional “POW” and “BUZZ!” A database of tweets is constantly added to by staff at the aquarium (Miguel does not have fingers and consequently finds it hard to type)

"Ironically, the eel code was written in Python," said Evgeny Vasilyev, one of the computer science interns  from Tennessee Technological University's Business Media Center. "The project's main set piece was Raspberry Pi, a low cost computer which provides all of the necessary functionality in a compact package."

The Pi not only sends the tweets – it acts as a throttle to make sure that Miguel doesn’t start spamming the feed when he gets overexcited. Feeding time, for example, gets Miguel so overstimulated that he discharges more than once a second. The Pi keeps the frequency of tweets down to a reasonable level.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press has some video of the setup:

You can follow Miguel on Twitter at @EelectricMiguel. You’ll notice that he follows Tennessee Aquarium’s pioneering tweeting groundhog (no, we have no idea what a groundhog is doing in an aquarium), @ChattNoogaChuck, whose profile boasts that he is the aquarium’s chief seasonal forecaster.

If you’re following Miguel, keep an eye out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, when he’s fed, for bursts of activity!

Chapters Flagship Vancouver Bookstore to Close June 2015


Chapters and Indigo have announced that the Vancouver flagship bookstore at Robson and Howe will be closing its doors on June 30th 2015.

The Chapters flagship retail location has fallen victim to a high rental increase for the  50,000 square feet of space over three levels of retail, including a dramatic entrance with soaring ceilings. The ground floor features a Starbucks shop-in-store, and a huge technology area. This is where Apple, Beats Audio, Kobo and a myriad of other gadgets are found. The second level features an 1,800 square foot licensed American Girl doll shop and a huge selection of non-fiction content. The store's third level features a wide open spaces with thousands of square feet, this is primarily where the magazines, romance and YA fiction are housed.

In a statement, Indigo's Chief Executive Officer, Heather Reisman said "As we gain great momentum with Indigo's transformation strategy we are continuing to review all elements of our operations. With a very significant rent increase recently at our Chapters Robson store, the new terms are simply untenable for us to stay in that location. An increase of this magnitude would quite simply make this vibrant, profitable store unprofitable. As a result, we are actively pursuing another location to serve the Robson trade area which we fully intend to open in 2015. In other key markets we are also looking at new real estate opportunities for Indigo that will best serve our unique needs."

It is highly unlikely that the closing of the Chapters flagship bookstore in downtown Vancouver will result in any big deals. Instead, the existing stock will be sent to existing bookstores in the Lower Mainland, such as Metrotown, Lougheed Mall, Surrey's Strawberry Hill, Coquitlam's Pinetree Village and Langley. All of the rest will be sent to the main Candian distribution center for processing.

The Granville and Broadway Chapters bookstore will benefit the most from the downtown location closing. It isn’t too far away and will see a dramatic increase in book buyers.

So what will happen to the prime piece of real estate when Chapters moves out? Business In Vancouver says it has received confirmation that FGL Sports is taking over the lease. This company operates Sport Chek and Atmosphere.

Chapters Flagship Vancouver Bookstore to Close June 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader