Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sony Z4 Tablet might make a Good e-Reader

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When dedicated e-ink readers were the only game in town, people flocked to them in droves to do their digital reading. When the iPad and Android tablets started to gain traction, people switched to them to read manga, magazines, newspapers and digital comics. Sony might give people a compelling reason to switch to their brand of tablets because its using a 2K display, which will really make vibrant content stand out.

Sony has confirmed that it will shortly release the Xperia Z4 Tablet. The device has made an appearance on the official Xperia Lounge app, before being swiftly pulled. We do not know the full specs of the device, but the screenshot confirms it will have a 2K display, "the latest ultra fast processor" and "industry leading battery performance". It will likely be announced at Mobile World Congress in Spain next week.

When it comes to digital reading, resolution is king. This is partly was has led to the success of the iPad has being the definitive tablet for reading. The main reason is the Retina display, which allows comics to be read in pure HD and developers spend a copious amount of time optimizing their content. Android really hasn’t had a slew of devices that really take resolution to the next level, but the new Z4 might do the trick.

Sony Z4 Tablet might make a Good e-Reader is a post from: Good e-Reader

Microsoft gives Free Office 365 Access to Students

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Microsoft wants to be an educational partner and wants to leverage their Office 365 suite as an incentive to do so. They want schools to give up their dependencies on Google branded services and Amazon AWS. In order to appeal to schools budgets Microsoft is giving away free access to Office 365 to students.

Office 365 Education for Students is an Office 365 plan that is available for free to students who attend academic institutions that have purchased Office for faculty and staff available at www.Office.com/GetOffice365. This plan allows students to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access on up to 5 PCs or Macs and Office apps on other mobile devices including Android, iPad, and Windows tablets. The plan also includes 1TB of OneDrive storage, managed by the school, and students can edit and collaborate using Office Online, Yammer, and SharePoint sites.

I think this is a great move for Microsoft. Google may trumpet a copious amount of storage via Google Drive and digital textbook rental solutions but students need productivity. Office is a name known by virtually all students and it carries a name brand recognition. I think its also a compelling offer because it works on Android tablets and iOS devices, so it doesn’t lock you into needing a PC.

Microsoft gives Free Office 365 Access to Students is a post from: Good e-Reader

Highlight your streaming video collection with the new OverDrive Screening Room!

Last year OverDrive provided library partners the opportunity to highlight children and young adult content by offering an eReading Room for kids and teens. The purpose was to provide a solution that would feature popular Juvenile/YA content for kids in a safe, digital environment, while allowing parents to have peace of mind.Capture

Now we're offering you the chance to highlight your OverDrive streaming video content in much the same way; by creating an Screening Room designed to feature all of the video content you've purchased in Marketplace! This feature will provide your patrons a convenient location to browse your streaming videos where they can borrow from custom collections and start watching a title instantly on any device with a browser.

The Greater Phoenix Digital Library consortium was the first to add this new feature and they couldn't be more excited:

"The Greater Phoenix Digital Library consortium is excited to launch with the first OverDrive Screening Room for our streaming videos. The Screening Room allows us to better highlight and promote our streaming videos—and we hope to attract new users, interested in streaming video from the library, to our OverDrive digital collection. Now patrons can access all of their digital media in one place!"

-Jeriann Thacker, Electronic Resources Librarian, at Phoenix Public Library.

To add a Screening Room to your OverDrive-powered digital library simply contact your Collection Development Specialist. They can help create curated collections of the hottest movies and TV shows so that your patrons can begin streaming today!

Welcome James to our Education Team

If you visited us at the Bett Show in January, or came to Picademy in October or February half term, then you will recognise James Robinson as one of our education team volunteers. He is a well-established member of the Computing At School community, as both a CAS Master Teacher and CAS Hub Leader for Cambridge. He is also a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator and a frequent attendee of Cambridge Raspberry Jams.

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I’ve known James for roughly a year now. He is a hugely successful and experienced teacher whose opinion I have sought on regular occasions. We also seem to keep bumping into him at Computing education events like the CAS Conference, and PyconUK as well as at community events like Piwars. It seemed like we were destined to work together!

James says:

I have always enjoyed tinkering with technology and understanding exactly what's going on under the surface. To learn more, I studied Computer Science at university, and graduated with first class honours. This enhanced my passion for the subject, and I worked at IBM for a while. I initially trained as a maths teacher, but within a term I was leading an ICT department in a middle school, and offering training to non-specialists. Most recently I worked at Soham Village College as lead teacher for Computing. I am very excited about the introduction of Computing to KS3 and 4, and enjoy testing and developing projects with students. My current interests and projects include: using Raspberry Pi in the classroom, Minecraft Pi, Sonic Pi and High Altitude Ballooning. Looking forward to working on the weather station and getting more schools involved with Pi in the sky!

As part of the Foundation’s Education Team, James will be writing educational resources for the website (especially schemes of work for teachers of KS4), as well as continuing to assist with Picademies and other outreach. James has the best case I’ve ever seen for all his Raspberry Pi bits and bobs, and as soon as I saw it I knew he would fit in around here.

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Nominees for Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize

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It’s awards season everywhere, including the world of manga.  This week, the nominees for the 19th Annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize were announced.

The award is given in the name of Tezuka Osamu, a manga pioneer who penned such manga as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. Osamu has been referred to by some as the king of manga, and since his death in 1989, manga readers have done their best to honour his memory. One of these is by handing out the Cultural Award, given to the year’s manga that best follows in his footsteps.

This year’s nominees are:

A Silent Voice – Koe no Katachi
Yoshitoki Oima
A heatrfelt manga that centers around love and forgiveness, this story revolves around a deaf girl and her previous bully. Shouya Ishida, the boy who was a bully, meets the girl a few years after his actions caused her to transfer schools. From there, a beautiful relationship blossoms that changes both of their lives. The manga is available through Crunchyroll, and an anime film adaption has been announced.

Aizawa Riku
Yoriko Hoshi
This little-known manga short chronicles the story of a middle school girl, whose fake tears can be turned on like a faucet.

Aoi Hono
Kazuhiko Shimamoto
A coming-of-age tale that fictionalizes the time the author spent at the Osaka University of Arts. Many manga artists have chosen their life story as inspiration for a manga but not many get adapted into Japanese television dramas. Aoi Hono, otherwise known as Blue Blazes, has.

Assassination Classroom
Yusei Matsui
When an octopus-like creature destroys the moon, lands on Earth, and gives mankind the news that he’s going to annihilate us all, the only logical decision is to assassinate him. That’s what the government is trying, but it’s a little easier than expected, seeing as this creature has struck a bargain with mankind: give him one month as a homeroom teacher in Japan, and let one of the students assassinate him. Otherwise, he will destroy the Earth. Odd, but fun, as logic is thrown out the window in this action comedy. The manga is available through Viz Manga, and the new anime has been licensed by Funimation.

Chaser
Jokura Koji
Speaking of the Tezuka Osamu award. This manga takes place in 1955, when Tezuka Osamu himself is known as the God of Manga. Fellow artist KĊichi Umitoku is challenging himself to become greater. He’s the same age as Tezuka, and has three popular manga already serialized, but it isn’t enough for him. Although fictional, this manga does its best to honour the memory of the God of Manga himself.

Five Colour Boat – Goshiki no Fune
Yasumi Tsuhara & Yoko Kondo Kadokawa
Another little-known manga, this chronicles the story of a family struggling to survive in a war when they can’t see the attacks. They make their living by running a freak show. Eventually, this family ads a real onster to their show. His name is Gudan, and he can see the future.

Heisei Uro Oboe Zoshi
Hajime Toda
Who doesn’t love a good time-travel story? This (completely fictional) tale of an Edo-era painter recounts his visit to the modern era. He drew the story of all the things he witnessed, including mascots, pop bands, and the Sky Tree (most likely, Tokyo Tower.)

Naruto
Masashi Kishimoto
As if anyone didn’t know the story behind this one – the massively popular manga follows the journey of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage. This epic tale stretched over fifteen years of publication, earning its place in the manga hall of fame, and developing an almost cult-like fanbase. You an find the manga on Viz, and the extensive anime can be found at Crunchyroll.

Silver Spoon
Hiromu Arakawa
The manga details the story of Yugo Hachiken, a city boy who flees his family to attend agricultural school, after failing his high school entrance exams. He soon discovers that agricultural school is anything but easy. But despite the hard work, Yugo comes to appreciate the lifestyle, and starts to make choices regarding his undecided future. The manga has already won some awards, has an anime adaption, and received the live-action treatment in a film released in 2014.

Nominees for Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize is a post from: Good e-Reader