Friday, February 27, 2015

Microsoft Offers Predictions For the Future of Mobile Devices


Microsoft is terribly fond of looking forward, almost too much so –to the point that they forget about the present. In their latest video featuring their vision of the future (linked below, if you are interested in watching it for yourself), Microsoft tries to prove something… that feels a little bit like ‘hey look, we’ll still be around’!

For the most part, the devices shown in the video are not entirely different from what we are using today (with a few exceptions). I am most fond of the bendable displays, with a tablet shown that looks very much like a book or magazine that is loosely folded and unfolded as it is being used. If this device works anywhere near as cadvertised in this video, I’d like to start begging Microsoft to take my money right now.

A stylus is also in play, though it isn’t entirely clear what or why it is there (sure it shows people writing with them, but that’s not terribly futuristic).

Displays are still large, but everything seems much thinner; a concept that seems like a terribly sexy idea until you consider how much more fragile that is likely to make them (if it’s easy to bend the iPhone 6 Plus, consider a tablet-sized screen that is even larger).

Wearables were not forgotten, with a somewhat strange wristband shown that was used to extend devices like large-scale, wall-mounted screens; headsets were excluded, which seems most unusual given Microsoft’s recent product launch for that very thing.

Microsoft’s predictions are only looking forward 5 to 10 years, so all things considered it really isn’t an issue of clairvoyance as much as it is a series of logical and educated assumptions regarding the direction being taken by the mobile device marketplace.

Microsoft Offers Predictions For the Future of Mobile Devices is a post from: Good e-Reader

UK Children Are Enamored with Dystopian Fiction


UK children are not reading classic books in schools such as the works of JRR Tolkien. Instead, they are being drawn to dystopian fiction by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth.

The seventh version of What Kids Are Reading report has just been released and it analyses the reading habits of over 500,000 children in over 2,700 schools in the United Kingdom. It revealed that Tolkien's books have dropped out of the overall most popular list for the first time since the report began six years ago. In previous years, Tolkien's titles have featured within the chart's top 10 places, mostly among secondary-school children.

What are kids reading these days? Well for the most part they are enamored Suzanne Collins's Catching Fire, from the Hunger Games series, Veronica Roth's Divergent, and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.

The report basically summed up that children’s reading habits fell into two "distinct" categories – either dystopian fantasies by the likes of Collins, Clare and Roth, or what it described as "irreverent, larger than life anti-hero comedies" such as Kinney's Wimpy Kid stories, Dahl's The Twits or Walliams' Gangsta Granny. "While the primary chart top 20 is split down the middle, featuring equal amounts of comedy and fantasy, by secondary school the 'most popular' charts almost exclusively feature darker conflicts from an epic fantasy genre," it said.

Why has Tolkien fell out of the top 10? Well, it can primarily be attributed to the fact that all of his  works are now available in film. The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogy are now completed and likely the vast number of people interested in this franchise have seen the films. Whereas the Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments and the Hunter Games are ongoing.

UK Children Are Enamored with Dystopian Fiction is a post from: Good e-Reader

Some of the Most Prolific Authors Had Day Jobs

authors with day  jobs

Some of the most prolific authors sometimes had to work a day job to get their start or to maintain their sanity. Authors have found that being cooped up in your home all day writing can make you lose prospective and sometimes that greatest ideas stem from the doldrums of a menial job.

Some of the Most Prolific Authors Had Day Jobs is a post from: Good e-Reader

An update on OverDrive and Kindle eBooks

Earlier this week, we became aware that a number of eBooks added to our catalog this year were lacking the Kindle format.  This has now been resolved, and the Kindle format of the affected titles is now available in OverDrive's Marketplace.  All U.S. libraries' digital collections will be automatically refreshed with the Kindle format for any titles they have purchased that may not have had the format at the time of purchase.

As always, we will continue to add daily to our world leading catalog of over 2.6 million titles with all available formats.  We look forward to continuing as the only provider of Kindle format eBooks for our U.S. library and school partners.

We thank all of you for reaching out.  Please enjoy borrowing Kindle eBooks from your library's OverDrive-powered digital collection.

Kobo Glo Discontinued, New 300 ppi Kobo Alyssum to Take it’s Place?

Earlier in the month Kobo teased us with some “big news” that we thought could have meant that Kobo was getting set to release a new ebook reader or two, but that just turned out to be a letdown when the big news ended up being the return of Oprah’s book club. But that doesn’t […]

BookBub Offers Daily eMails for Free and Discounted eBooks

A reader sent in a tip yesterday about a popular service called BookBub that sends out daily email notifications highlighting various ebook deals, discount promotions and free ebooks from major ebook retailers. You can choose what types of notifications to receive across categories and genres that interest you. And the service is free to use. […]

All change: meet the new MagPi!

Some of you may have sniffed this in the wind: there have been some changes at The MagPi, the community Raspberry Pi magazine. The MagPi has been run by volunteers, with no input from the Foundation, for the last three years. Ash Stone, Will Bell, Ian MacAlpine and Aaron Shaw, who formed the core editorial team, approached us a few months ago to ask if we could help with what had become a massive monthly task; especially given that half the team has recently changed jobs or moved overseas.

We had a series of discussions, which have resulted in the relaunch of the MagPi you see today. Over the last few months we’ve been working on moving the magazine in-house here at the Foundation. There’s a lot that’s not changing: The MagPi is still your community magazine; it’s still (and always) going to be available as a free PDF download (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0); it’s still going to be full of content written by you, the community.

We don’t make any money out of doing this. Even if in the future we make physical copies available in shops, we don’t expect to break even on the magazine; but we think that offline resources like this are incredibly important for the community and aid learning, so we’re very happy to be investing in it.

Russell Barnes, who has ten years of experience editing technology magazines, has joined us as Managing Editor, and is heading up the magazine. He’s done an incredible job over the last couple of months, and I’m loving working with him. Russell says:

I’m really excited to be part of The MagPi magazine.

Like all great Raspberry Pi projects, The MagPi was created by a band of enthusiasts that met on the Raspberry Pi forum. They wanted to make a magazine for fellow geeks, and they well and truly succeeded. 

It might look a bit different, but the new MagPi is still very much a magazine for and by the Raspberry Pi community. It’s also still freely available under a Creative Commons license, so you can download the PDF edition free every issue to share and remix.

The MagPi is now a whopping 70 pages and includes a mix of news, reviews, features and tutorials for enthusiasts of all ages. Issue 31 is just a taste of what we’ve got in store. Over the coming months we’ll be showing you how the Raspberry Pi can power robots, fly to the edge of space and even cross the Atlantic!

The biggest thanks, of course, has to go to Ash, Will, Ian, Aaron and everybody else – there are dozens of you – who has worked on The MagPi since the beginning. You’ve made something absolutely remarkable, and we promise to look after The MagPi just as well as you have done.

So – want to see the new issue? Here it is! Click to find a download page.



Can You Read Kindle e-books on a Different e-Reader?

A woman reading on a Kindle

One of the most common questions and concerns we get at Good e-Reader is if you read Kindle e-books on a non-Amazon branded device? The answer depends on what type of e-reader or tablet you might have.

Amazon uses e-book technology that is quite different from their competitors. The industry standard right now is EPUB, which is what Barnes and Noble, Kobo and virtually ever other e-reader on the market uses.

The Kindle format is distinctively Amazon and it has been upgraded and refined over the years. Amazon first started selling e-books using the MOBI format since 2005. In recent years the company has been heavily using the AZW format and Kindle Format 8 for enhanced e-books.

It is important to note that the Amazon e-book format is totally incompatible with most e-ink readers on the market. If you have a device that only runs EPUB or PDF, you are out of luck. The exception to this rule is if you own a handful of e-readers that have come out in the last twelve months. The Icarus Illumina HD second generation, Onyx Afterglow 2, Onyx BOOX T68 Lynx and the Energy Sistem PRO all run a vanilla version of Google Android. This allows you to install the Kindle e-reader app on them, so you can buy and read e-books.

If you own a tablet or smartphone, you can read Amazon Kindle e-books, provided you download one of their official apps. They currently support Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows and a myriad of others.

Can You Read Kindle e-books on a Different e-Reader? is a post from: Good e-Reader

5 Anime That Need A Second Season


Too many times it happens: a good anime is cut short before the manga is finished. Whether  the anime concludes several story arcs too early, leaving behind an open and unsatisfying ending, or it diverges from the plot of the manga entirely to create an ending of its own, it leaves fans feeling a little bitter. And for many, we’re still here waiting for that next season. It has happened before – Fullmetal Alchemist, after giving the plotline a complete overhaul in the anime, returned with a second season of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which discarded everything that had happened previously and followed the manga to the end. Inuyasha received a second season to finish off the manga five years after the original anime finished airing. Even the timeless classic Sailor Moon recently underwent a full reboot to better adhere to the story told in the manga. With those thoughts in mind, here are, in no particular order, 5 anime that could use a similar treatment.

1. Soul Eater


The manga by Atsushi Okubo about Shinigami, death scythes, withes, and demons, was a smash hit from the beginning. Fat paced, filled with action, the supernatural, inappropriate moment and a good dose of humour, Soul Eater was a staple in the world of anime since the first episode. Buts fans of the show started to realise something was of when, around episode 30, the plot began to change. The plot of the anime veered off in a wildly different direction than the manga, and ended 2009 while the manga continued until 2013. Many viewers have stated that Soul Eater needs to receive the same treatment as Fullmetal Alchemist: a second season that dismisses the inaccuracies of the first season and continues the manga to its proper end. And yes, we know about the spinoff, Soul Eater Not! – and somehow, we don’t think that counts.

2. Ouran High School Host Club


It isn’t considered one of the most popular anime in the world for nothing. It’s hard to find someone in the anime world who hasn’t seen Ouran yet, mostly because fans of the show will mob you if you don’t. But there’s no reason not to watch Ouran. The show is a satirical crack at shojo stereotypes, yet it still manages to be genuine and heartwarming. And yet, very few have read the manga. This in itself is a shame, for while the anime only had a 26-episode run back in 2006, the manga persevered until 2011. The anime featured an ending that left the story wide open for further adventures, and it is safe to say that there isn’t a person in the world who could turn down a second – or third, or fourth – season of the classic anime.

3. Ookiku Furikabutte


Alternatively titled Oofuri or Big Windup, this anime is the anomaly on the list. It already has a second season. While the manga began in 2003 and is still continuing today, Oofuri has had two anime runs – a 26-episode season in 2007 and a 14-episode season in 2010. But even having that second season wasn’t enough to satiate fans. As with every sports manga, the team had to get low before they could get high, and the anime ended on a low. While not overly vocal, the fan of Oofuri have been sitting and waiting patiently for almost five years to see their favourite baseball boys succeed, and will most likely continue to wait until their bones turn to dust. With the rise in popularity of sports anime, this is the time for that third season to arise!

4. Blue Exorcist


Nothing much needs to be said about this one, other than: why did it end in the first place? A supernatural adventure about the son of Satan who runs around exorcising demons? Who could possibly say no to that? And yet, Blue Exorcist’s anime run ended in 2011 after just 25 episodes. The manga is still widely popular in Japan. The author, Kazue Kato, has even extended the expected length of the manga due to its popularity. So why no second season? This still remains a mystery, and with no good reason against it, fans still eagerly await the announcement of a continuation.

5.  Fruits Basket

fruits basket

Forget a second season. What this anime needs is an entire reboot, Sailor Moon style. Often cited as one of the best shojo manga out there, Fruits Basket had an impressive run from 1998-2006. But despite the  length, the manga’s anime adaption only ran for 26 episodes in 2001. Because the manga was only half through at that point, the anime staff merged events from the manga and altered the storyline to make it fit into the short one-season run. Because of this, the very heart of the manga was lost. Important characters were never introduced, backstories were changed, and some important character features were changed (Akito, anyone?) Several fans have already epxressed interest in seeing a Fruits Basket reboot, so its safe to say it would succeed. Whether any studio decides to make one is a different question entirely. This is one we’ll just have to get lucky on.

5 Anime That Need A Second Season is a post from: Good e-Reader

Lord of the Rings Trilogy Book Covers Reimagined Chinese Artist


One of the benefits of  buying tangible books over the digital editions is some of the artistry that goes into designing the book covers. One fine example of this are the possible new Chinese variants of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

These amazing covers were designed by artist Jian Guo  and are part of a competition held by the publisher WenJing Publishing. The company has been soliciting entries for the past year for the upcoming re-release of the Chinese version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The original design for the books featured unimaginative covers with images directly ripped from the Peter Jackson movies.

Overall these book covers feature Chinese characters and lovely, monochromatic illustrations that draw on many of the design elements of Tolkien's original paintings for the trilogy's covers, elaborating on the iconic ring and towers with intricate Asian lines and flourishes.  If you look closely there is a noticeable stained glass motif that permeates across all three book covers.

In the above image you can see The Fellowship of the Ring in green,  The Two Towers in red, and The Return of the King in blue.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy Book Covers Reimagined Chinese Artist is a post from: Good e-Reader