Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Some Authors are a Victim of Malware on their Websites


Authors often have to contend with deadlines, book promotions and social media campaigns in order to draw attention to their latest novel. Whether you are traditionally or self-published the process is more or less the same. Websites are critical to an author, not only does it promote your back catalog of content, but it servers as a nexus point in which the readers learn more about you.  Some authors though have to be wary, the more popular you become, you have to start considering about security.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver recently had his website hacked. Malicious code was installed on it and sought to exploit vulnerabilities in users’ systems and install malware. The script would direct unsuspecting users to a WordPress site that hosted yet more malicious code. That would then run an exploit kit that would seek to find vulnerabilities in any user’s system and install software called Dorkbot.

This particular code would replace a users default search engine on whatever browser they had installed on their computers. Whenever a search was engaged the hackers would earn affiliate fees, making it a very lucrative business.

A spokesman for Jamie Oliver confirmed that existing code on the site was modified by a hacker, but said the website team was still trying to work out when that had happened. In the meantime the problem has been remedied and the site is now safe to use.

The only reason the website security team managed to solve the problem in a few days is because at least ten users wrote and let them know about it. How many authors might have malicious code installed on their website or blog and not even know about it? New authors who have only self-published a few titles could quickly find themselves in a heap of trouble with their fledgling base of readers, if it came out their websites hacked the readers computers. Say Joe Author had a website that was compromised and a reader might assume the Author is a scam or a shill for a hacker group. It could be considered the kiss of death to the authors credibility.

Self-published authors often have to be a jack of all trades. Not only do they have to write the book, but have to play the part of promoter, social media ambassador, organizer of virtual blog tours and website designer. Do authors really have to add security specialist to their resume as well? It looks like there is a coordinated effort underway right now to target famous authors, but indie authors could be next and they are woefully unprepared to deal with this issue.

Some Authors are a Victim of Malware on their Websites is a post from: Good e-Reader

NBC App Allows Live Streaming For Some Android Users


So it would appear that NBC is finally starting to realize that the concept of cable these days does not include any actual cables. To this end, the latest update to their app actually lets us enjoy live streaming (as long as you can log-in with credentials from the subscription you have with your local TV provider… oh, and if NBC happens to also own the local station in your market).

For those not in one of the large markets initially supported (including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Dallas-Fort Worth), there are a few other updates to enjoy: a larger library of old NBC shows (so if you miss Knight Rider as much as you should, your patience has now been rewarded), and added AirPlay support (which is good for those using iOS devices, with no word on a target for Chromecast support).

If you want to watch your favourite TV shows on-the-go, download and install the NBC app now to take advantage of these latest upgrades.

NBC App Allows Live Streaming For Some Android Users is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo H2O e-Reader Now Available in Japan


Good e-Reader has exclusively learned that the Kobo Aura H2O e-reader will be available in Japan in the next few days. It is going to be available to purchase at the Rakuten Kobo Store, Sofmap,  Bic Camera and a number of retail shops for 19,980 yen.

The Kobo Aura H2O features a 6.8 inch e-ink Carta touchscreen display with a resolution of 1430×1080. Carta Imaging Film offers a 50% improvement in contrast ratio over previous generation of e-Paper displays. This allows for faster page turns and the ability to turn pages in a digital book, without the need of constant screen refreshes.

One of the main benefits of the H2O e-Reader is the ability to enjoy eBooks, graphic novels or newspapers in lowlight conditions or complete darkness. Unlike a smartphone or tablet that has an LCD screen that emits light from behind a layer of film, the H2O has five LED lights on the bottom of the bezel. It shines upwards, insuring even light distribution and makes it easier to devour books without eye strain.

Kobo has managed to attain the prestigious IP67 certification for their first waterproof device. It will basically allow users to have the e-Reader completely submerged in five meters of water for an hour, with the MicroUSB and MiscroSD ports closed. This makes the H2O the most complete, well-rounded device the market and eliminates the need to send off your reader to a third party and pay over $60 for them to waterproof it for you. During underwater tests I found that even completely submerged in water, you can still turn pages and access the core functionality.

The H2O e-reader will officially be available in Japan on February 19th 2015. If you buy it directly from the Rakuten Kobo Store, you will get five times the Super Points on your loyalty card.

Do you live in Japan and want to be one of the first ones to buy it? Here is the full list of locations selling the H2O. The e-reader will sold online at Rakuten Kobo e-book store, EDION, Kojima, Joshin Denki, Sofmap, Bic Camera online. It will be available on the retail level at Bic (Ikebukuro, Ikebukuro PC Museum, Lazona Kawasaki shop, Shibuya east exit shop, Shinjuku Nishiguchi shop, Bikkuro Bic Camera Shinjuku East Exit Store, Tachikawa, Nagoya Station Nishi-ten, Namba shop, Yurakucho), and the main building at Sofmap Akihabara.

Kobo H2O e-Reader Now Available in Japan is a post from: Good e-Reader

Trade-In Values Have Tanked for Older eReaders

I was checking trade-in values the other day over at Amazon for Kindle ebook readers and Fire tablets, and was surprised to find that trade-in values have fallen off a cliff since the last time I checked. Most models aren’t even available for trade-in anymore. Last year I traded in a couple of old Kindles […]

Fans Petition Against “Ghost In The Shell” Lead


Back in 2008, DreamWorks acquired the rights Ghost In The Shell. Slowly but surely, they’ve been gathering cast and crew, such as Rupert Sanders of Snow White and the Huntsman fame to direct. Last month, it was confirmed that the movie’s lead role of Major Motoko Kusanagi had gone to Scarlett Johansson. The movie is set for an April 2017 release, but that date might have to be pushed back, as fans have started a petition to remove Scarlett Johansson from the lead role.

It isn’t as if fans have anything against Scarlett Johansson. She’s beautiful, she’s a good actress, and she has already shown her capability at bringing comic characters to life through Marvel’s Black Widow. The outcry isn’t against the actress herself – in fact, almost any Hollywood actress could have been cast to the same reaction.

Fans problem is with the studio, and its white-washing of the film. The manga of which the movie will be based off takes place in Japan, but with a white lead, it is a guarantee the setting will be changed the the protagonist will no longer be called Motoko Kusanagi.

There is a serious problem in Hollywood when it comes to Asian representation. The petition raises many excellent points about the industry’s flaws and the problems with the recent casting:

“Fans of the iconic 1995 animated Japanese sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell have been anticipating a live-action remake for years — but now, instead of casting an Asian actress, Dreamworks has selected Scarlett Johansson for the lead role! The film revolves around Major Motoko Kusanagi, a member of a futuristic security force tasked with tracking a mysterious hacker.

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. One recent survey found that in 2013, Asian characters made up only 4.4% of speaking roles in top-grossing Hollywood films.

 DreamWorks could be using this film to help provide opportunities for Asian-American actors in a market with few opportunities for them to shine — please sign the petition asking them to reconsider casting Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell and select actors who are truer to the cast of the original film!”

Fans who have already signed the petition have been quick to suggest other actresses for the role, most prominently Rinko Kikuchi of Pacific Rim fame. Even if the entire film is not cast with Asian-American actors, having the lead role be as she should is a major step in the right direction.

The petition, which needs 35,000 signatures, is already sitting at over 34,000. If you’re a fan of Ghost In The Shell and want to see your favourite characters represented properly, or even if you’re not familiar with the subject but want to see more Asian-America actors in Hollywood, sign the petition here!

Fans Petition Against “Ghost In The Shell” Lead is a post from: Good e-Reader

Energy eReader Pro Review and Video Review (Boyue T62)

The Energy eReader Pro is a new Android-powered ebook reader that was just released by Energy Sistem earlier this month. The folks at Energy Sistem were nice enough to send one to test about two week ago and I was able to get the eReader Pro review finished today along with the video walkthrough. Energy […]

Is Sony Abandoning Smartphones?


Sony closed down their e-reader business in 2013 and the PRS-T3 marked the last consumer product they ever released. The President and Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai proclaimed that the company is getting out of the smartphone and television business and focusing on game development for the Playstation, streaming music and camera sensors.

If all goes to plan, Hirai predicted, Sony’s operating profit could increase by a healthy 25% over the next three years. However, in the process it could leave Sony’s product range looking very different than it does today.

Sony has seen their market share for smartphones continuously erode from cheaper Asian rivals as well as industry leaders like Apple and Samsung.  The smartphone unit is looking at a yearly operating loss of 215 billion yen ($1.83 billion), adding another 11 billion yen to this estimated loss it projected in October 2014.

In order to reduce costs in the smartphone division Sony recently axed 1000 positions and another 1100 jobs will be lost, in a bid to reduce annual operating expenses.

The exiting of the phone arena could effect e-book and e-reader company Kobo. When Sony got out of the e-book and e-reading business they transferred all of their customers to Kobo. Part of the agreement was that the Kobo Android App would be pre-loaded on all new smartphones and tablets. Since Sony is getting out of this space, this means that Kobo will not be able to attain new customers at the same rate as before.

Is Sony Abandoning Smartphones? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Move Over, 50 Shades: Skrawl Has a Whole New Fan Fic Community

Readers and movie goers have had a lot to say about 50 Shades of Grey: some love it, others would rather eat the book than be forced to read it. But however consumers feel about the content, the story line, and the misrepresentation of the BDSM lifestyle, there is no question that 50 Shades was a game changer. Besides bringing erotica into the mainstream and opening the door for a wealth of talented authors to reach broader audiences, the book also generated buzz about the viability of fan fiction as a genre, since it started life as a twisted Edward/Bella Twilight revamp.

Fan fiction has come into its own, largely thanks to online communities like Wattpad and the Kindle Worlds platform from Amazon that allows authors to publish and monetize on their fanfic works. Now, a collaborative writing app from BoomWriter Media that got its launch in schools has shifted into building a growing community of writers that gives them the chance to be seen by rights’ holders with the purpose of generating new story lines.

Skrawl, which is already in place in more than 20,000 schools in 60 countries and has been responsible for more than 2 million writing contests, allows story collaboration based on engagement and a points system. One user will post a story, then others will add their own sections to it; the sections are then voted on, and the winning section gets added to the story. The process then repeats itself, resulting in a complete story that has had tremendous reader support and vetting of the concepts and content.

Skrawl announced two partnerships today with the Hollywood community with a new goal in mind, to allow rights’ holders for some of these popular fan fiction worlds to weed through the posted stories in search of new story lines and talented writers. Much like publishers like Simon & Schuster have offered book deals to Wattpad authors, Skrawl’s community seeks to invite the film industry into the minds of its users. BoomWriter Media has teamed up with child actor/attorney Jeff Cohen and actress and fan fiction “maven” Trisha Hershberger to bring this about.

“We have a specific target on fan fiction,” explained Chris Twyman, CEO, “and we’ve been working with Jeff out of Los Angeles, which is kind of the hub of the entertainment world, to see if we can spread our wings in that space.”

“I think it’s gotten a really good response,” added Cohen. “I think celebrities are always looking for a great way to interact with their fans, and Skrawl provides a fantastic and unique platform to do so. Fan fiction generally is about camaraderie, and fans of various genre or entertainment property sharing their experience, and this takes that to the next level.”

Cohen, known for his portrayal of “Chunk” in the Steven Spielberg production Goonies, added, “"Skrawl is the future for creative interaction between celebrities and fans. I can't wait for the first Boomwriter Media movie production."

Move Over, 50 Shades: Skrawl Has a Whole New Fan Fic Community is a post from: Good e-Reader

Five million sold!

Yesterday we received some figures which confirmed something we’ve suspected for a few weeks now: we’ve sold over five million Raspberry Pis.

The Pi has gone from absolutely nothing just under three years ago, to becoming the fastest-selling British computer. (We still have Sir Alan Sugar to beat on total sales numbers – if you include the PCW word processor in the figures, Amstrad sold 8 million computers between 1984 and 1997.)

We roll this picture out every time we have a sales update: this is the first batch of Raspberry Pis we ever had made, around this time three years ago. There are 2000 original Raspberry Pis in this pallet. That’s 0.04% of all the Raspberry Pis that are currently out there. (Every individual Pi in this pallet now has 2500 siblings.)

There were so few Pis in this first production run that Eben and I were able to stick them in our car and drive them to RS and Farnell’s headquarters.

Three years ago today, I was sitting at my kitchen table stuffing stickers into envelopes (we were selling them for a pound a throw to raise the money we needed to kick off the original round of manufacture). Today, I’m sitting in an office with nineteen other people, and if I’m quite honest, we’re not quite sure how we got so far so fast. It definitely feels good, though.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity. That means that we personally don’t make a profit from the Pi – all profits go straight back into our educational mission and into R&D. Your five million purchases mean that we’re able to train teachers for free; provide free educational resources; undertake educational outreach; fund open-source projects like XBMC (now Kodi), PyPy, Libav, Pixman, Wayland/Weston, Squeak, Scratch, Webkit and KiCad; and – for me, most importantly – we fund this sort of thing (and much more; you’ll hear more about projects we’ve sponsored with our education fund over the coming year, as they get written up by their owners).

Thank you. The Raspberry Pi community is a wonderful thing, and we’d be absolutely nowhere without you all.



The best ways to contact the OverDrive support team

Over the last few years, OverDrive has gone to great lengths to improve the quality of our help and support resources. From redesigning the Help pages, to improving the quality of the information in the articles, to greatly improving the search functionality, a lot of hard work has been done to deliver a better help and support experience for your patrons or students.

To access OverDrive's Help, your patrons or students can simply click the "?" button at their library or school's OverDrive-powered page, and select "OverDrive Help." The much improved Help pages were redesigned to make finding answers easier. By adding a better search, users now have a way to find the info they need, and quickly. Whether it's by typing in a question or selecting information from menus to drill down to specific answers, they should be able to find what they need.

If users can't get what they need from OverDrive's help pages, then they can always go to the "Contacting your library for support" page. You can get to it from the "Find library support" button that's found on each article page of Help. You can also get to it from the "Support" link in the footer of OverDrive Help. From there, users can contact support staff who should be able to answer their questions.

If they're using the OverDrive app, they can get to it from Home menu > Help > Having trouble? From there, they can select the "contact your library" link to bring up the form. The options provided include the Front Line Tech Support form, an email address, or a website link.

If your users are not sure which library to contact, they may be interested in our newest way to find support: From here, users can search for their local library or school and get support.

There are many excellent ways to get in touch with support staff able to assist with OverDrive products, and an extensive knowledge base to help users find solutions to common issues. OverDrive continually strives to improve and expand upon the solutions, Help articles, and support delivered to better serve all of OverDrive's users!


Justin Noszek is a Support Specialist at OverDrive.