Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Avast Finds Adware In Android Apps with Millions of Downloads


Everybody knows that you have to be careful for malware and adware when installing apps, especially from lesser known sources. Unfortunately, the security firm Avast is now telling us that we are just as vulnerable to these security threats when downloading apps from the Google Play store –even those with millions of downloads. The latest discovery involved a series of advertisements posing as warning messages that were displayed to end users when they unlock their Android devices; the culprit in that case being a card game app called Durak that boasts 5 to 10 million installs to date.

Originally brought to Avast’s attention by way of comments in their user forums, the firm was able to find this same malicious software in over a dozen apps, each with different developers (with more apps being researched and confirmed to be infected as I write this).

The worst part of malware is how clever it can be –many won’t even display ads for days or weeks following installation (in some cases not until you have rebooted your device)… when you consider how many apps and settings you change over that kind of time period, tracking down the source can be very difficult.

Once the ads do display, the warnings are hard to ignore (often scaring you with suggestions that your smartphone is filled with pornography, infected by a virus, or out of date with required security patches). After the warnings is a call to action which tends to result in more malware-infected apps being installed once a user clicks through (and in worse-case scenarios, even sends SMS messages to your contacts trolling for sensitive information and personal data).

In some cases, the adware and malware were providing links back to legitimate apps by trustworthy developers –which likely points to other motivation, such as credit for new user referrals.

It goes without saying that these security threats are a violation of Google’s Terms of Service (and they have suspended apps that are known offenders)… but the fact that they got through to the Play Store in the first place means that you can never really let your guard down.

A video detailing the behaviour, look, and feel of the adware in question is linked below.

Avast Finds Adware In Android Apps with Millions of Downloads is a post from: Good e-Reader

2014 Q4 Results Suggest Phablet May Be Killing the Tablet


Video killed the radio star, and phablets may be killing tablet sales (if the results of a study by research firm Canalys can be believed). According to their statistics, worldwide tablet shipments have dropped 12 percent year-over-year to just 67 million units overall during Q4 2014 –Apple saw an 18% loss, while Samsung recorded a 24% decline.

During this same period, larger format smartphones like the iPhone 6 Plus were tremendously successful.

Some of the change is being attributed to bargain pricing from competitors (with Amazon moving 4 million units and Lenovo shipping 3.7 million units, totalling over 11 percent of the tablet market share together)… but other theories seem more likely. It may be that Apple shrinking the size of their laptops is adding portability competition for the iPad lineup –but it’s probably their border-crossing smartphones that are to blame. Users see smartphones as more feature-rich and mission-critical –so if they have to choose a single device to upgrade, they will win every time. It’s also true that phablets represent a compromise between getting tablet functionality without actually having to carry one with you everywhere (particularly as they relate to users who would have chosen smaller sized tablets like the iPad Mini).

There is one more theory of course: technology is getting too good. Cameras in the last few generations of tablets and smartphones are good. Speed for mobile devices is good. Plus or minus a few ounces of weight isn’t a compelling reason to upgrade. These reasons and more add up to users looking toward new accessories and apps than to expensive upgrades –many of us already have tablets, and they are plenty good enough.

2014 Q4 Results Suggest Phablet May Be Killing the Tablet is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx M96C 9.7 inch e-Reader Released


Large screen e-readers are quite rare these days, as the industry seems to be firmly behind devices that are six inches in size.  People who rely on reading complex PDF documents or need some extra screen real estate will certainly want to take a look at the new Onyx M96C 9.7 inch e-reader.

The M96C features a capacitive touchscreen display which allows you to interact with the device with your fingers, whereas the older M96 relied on an accompanied stylus.  The resolution is 1200×825, which makes it solid for reading documents that are image heavy, such as manga.

Underneath the hood is a 1 GHz Freescale CPU with 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, and a microSD card. You will be able to connect up to the internet via WIFI and connect up external devices via Bluetooth.

Onyx has done a fine job these days at releasing e-readers that have an open version of Android. This allows users to install their own apps, which makes it versatile to be able to deal with the ecosystem of your choice. Its running Android 4.0 out of the box but there is an upcoming update to enhance it 4.4.

This e-reader does not have Google Play as an avenue to download apps. The company released numerous devices in 2014 that had it preinstalled, but likely it was an unsanctioned version. Rather than draw the ire of Google, Onyx is relying on their users to install their favorite app store instead. We recommend our own App Store, as it features a dedicated e-Ink section.

The Onyx M96C costs 350 euros, which is around $425 US. This e-reader is certainly more viable than the Kindle DX, and worth considering if you need a large screen for your day to day reading.

Onyx M96C 9.7 inch e-Reader Released is a post from: Good e-Reader

4 New Manga Series Available via Shonen Jump

Jump start

On Monday, February 9th, Viz Media’s digital magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump, announced that it will begin it’s next round of "Jump Start" with 4 new series’ beginning with Toshiako Iwashiro’s ( Psyren, now published in North America) Kagamigami (Mirror God) in issue 11. Based on Iwashiro’s one-shot Shikigami Twilight Days, which ran in Shonen Jump last year, will premier in Japan on the same day. In the manga, "Famous detectives (!?)" Mako meets the mysterious boy Kyōsuke.

Viz Media launched the "Jump Start" intiative in North America last September. Under this project, Viz’s digital English version of Weekly Shonen Jump will run the first three chapters of "almost every single" new series that debuts in Shueisha’s original Shonen Jump magazine in Japan.

Other titles that will be premiering in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in oncoming weeks in Japan will include Yūki Tabata’s (Hungry Joker) Black Clover, Yuu Miki’s Kaizou Ningen Roggy and Utsumi Yuusuke’s (Gado-den) Urban Battle Satellite.

After next Monday’s launch of the three chapter preview for Kagamigami, in the English edition digital edition of Weekly Shonen Jump, will begin the launch of the simul-publication of 2014’s Jump hit, My Hero Academia which was recently a Manga Taisho Award nominee. The manga following a boy with dreams but no super powers in a world where super powers are the norm.

4 New Manga Series Available via Shonen Jump is a post from: Good e-Reader

Fuji Television Launches New Digital Manga Service


Fuji Television has launched a new digital manga service for residents of Japan. Customers who subscribe to Fuji TV on demand will get access to over 50,000 single issue and graphic novels that they can read online or via EBLIEVA app for smartphones and tablets. 

Fuji is running a series of commercials on their online streaming service that is hyping their new manga initiative.  They are trying to convince users that once you finish watching the anime you can go and pick up the manga edition for maximum immersion.

Fuji Television Launches New Digital Manga Service is a post from: Good e-Reader

HarperCollins to Publish Sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird

The day that literary fans have eagerly awaited has finally come with the announcement that Harper Lee, reclusive author of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, will publish her second book, a sequel to her award-winning first book, later this year.

The book, titled Go Set a Watchman, will feature an adult Scout and will be set in the 1950s in the same semi-fictitious town of Maycomb, Alabama. Interestingly, the time period of the book will be roughly the same setting as the era in which Lee actually wrote the book, as Watchman was written before Mockingbird and put aside.

As fate would have it, Lee’s publisher was originally taken with the childhood stories the adult Scout was telling in the manuscript for Watchman, and thus the book that readers around the world have come to love was born. By some accounts, the original manuscript for Mockingbird also did not include any mention of the chilling Tom Robinson case, but that the author revised the book and used the infamous case as the catalyst for many of the events in the book.

The saga of the Watchman manuscript is almost as intense as any work of bestselling fiction can be. The manuscript was found in a secure location at HarperCollins’ offices, apparently paperclipped to a typed copy of Mockingbird’s manuscript. When the publisher became aware that this was actually the original story that Lee had penned, the deal for publication eventually followed.

Go Set a Watchman will be released in the US on July 14th, but hopefully devoted ebook fans will not have to wait as long for the digital edition of this book as they did for the ebook of Mockingbird, which was released July 8, 2014, some fifty-four years after its original publication.

HarperCollins to Publish Sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird is a post from: Good e-Reader

5 Takeaways from ALA Midwinter

ALAMW2015Every time I travel to a conference for OverDrive, I am blown away by the passion that the library community exudes. Being a librarian is more than just a job; it's being passionate about users, their needs and making sure everyone has the ability to get the materials they need. They are a tireless bunch who won't let a record snowstorm keep them from coming together to make sure their communities continue to move forward and strive for more. Now that I'm finally back in the office after a comical travel situation (I'll spare the details but let's just say John Candy and Steve Martin would've appreciated it), lets dive into five takeaways from this year's ALA Midwinter Meeting:

1) Equality matters: In every sense of the word, librarians strive for equality. They want authors of every nationality and background to have a platform to be heard. It is essential that diverse collections of titles be made available for patrons to access. They also continue to believe that reading materials should be accessible for every member of the community regardless of age, background or upbringing.

2) Ease of use matters: Librarians strive to make sure they can assist everyone who walks through their doors, be they a digital native or someone who has just purchased their first-ever e-reading device. With so many devices out there, it's essential to librarians that the process of using these devices to access their resources be as easy as possible. While demoing OverDrive Read (our browser based reading option), streaming video and instant audiobooks (coming soon), I heard from countless librarians how much they appreciated the ability for their patrons to simply start using these materials right from their OverDrive website. Regardless of how easy an app is to use, it will always be easier to simply see a title and start enjoying it, and this saves librarians countless hours troubleshooting devices they may have never used before.

3) LeVar Burton remains awesome: One of the many highlights of the speaking sessions at ALAMW15 was Reading Rainbow and Star Trek legend, LeVar Burton. LeVar regaled the crowd with stories of the importance of reading. He stated that he believes his love of reading came because, "My mother not only read to me, but in front of me as well." You can pass on a passion for reading simply by showing your passion. He also reiterated the essential importance of libraries when he stated, "Libraries do one thing that no other institution does and that's provide access to all."

4) Librarians use libraries too! Something that truly speaks to the fact that being a librarian is more than just a job is the fact that librarians are truly the power users of libraries themselves. It is because of this that we proudly say that librarians (including those on our staff) are the best people to ask when looking for a book recommendation. In fact, there's a little slogan I've started saying around the office: The best book recommendation engine in the world is librarians!

5) Winter storms are no match for the power of librarians: While giving a presentation on what's new and coming soon from OverDrive, I thanked the librarians for toughing out the massive snowstorm to join us. One of them simply replied, "We've dealt with budget cuts, layoffs and people saying libraries are dying and yet we're still here. A little snow won't slow us down." Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the greatest collection of people in the world: librarians.


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist and is, frankly, sick of snow right now

Kindle Convert Software Creates eBooks from Your Print Content

The digital publishing revolution didn’t only put publishing access and large-volume content storage within easy reach of consumers, it also serves a vital purpose in protecting information. Projects like Google’s controversial but necessary effort to preserve rare texts, for example, is one of the chief applications for ensuring the longevity of the printed word.

Amazon has taken that idea to heart, and now offers a downloadable app that lets consumers scan their print books or documents and convert them to Kindle format. Called Kindle Convert, the app is available now for $19.00, but only currently in the US and to consumers with a legitimate billing address in Amazon’s system.

According to the announcement, “Kindle Convert is a software application that allows you to convert scans of your personal books and documents into high quality Kindle books. You can convert your most treasured books, documents and keepsakes into Kindle books.

“Kindle Convert books and documents enjoy many of the same features you love about Kindle books including adjustable text size, worry-free storage in the Amazon cloud, Whispersync of last page read, highlights and notes, and a built-in dictionary to look up the definition of any word. Kindle Convert preserves all the things that make your books and documents unique, such as hand-written notes, autographs, photos and images. Kindle Convert books maintain the look and feel you love about your print books.”

There are a number of reasons consumers may benefit from a process like this one. One of the chief complaints of the early ebook adopters was that their favorite out-of-print titles were not available in digital formats, and they couldn’t enjoy the portability and protection that e-readers offered. Many devoted readers also have print editions with handwritten notes in the text, autographed pages, and more, and can now enjoy seeing those annotations on their screens while they read.

Critics will immediately question the validity of an app that makes it even easier to scan and pirate out-of-print content, but as anyone in the industry can tell you, it doesn’t take a $19 app to enable piracy. In some regards, the scanning process could even be seen as a hurdle that makes it almost not worth the time. As the Kindle Convert editions are intended for personal consumer use and not uploadable to Amazon, and at the risk of a taking a head-in-the-sand approach, piracy is a reality in digital publishing, but Kindle Convert won’t increase or decrease it.

Kindle Convert Software Creates eBooks from Your Print Content is a post from: Good e-Reader