Saturday, February 28, 2015

Microsoft Delivers Numpad to Android Tablets for Excel


If you want to get in to a heated debate with a true nerd, ask them if they feel numpad is a true necessity for a keyboard (and let me advise you ahead of time to avoid the arrow keys argument entirely). Honestly though, if you do a lot of work with spreadsheets that numpad comes in pretty handy. Microsoft agrees, and so if you happen to have an Android tablet, there is a keyboard now that lets you enter numbers with speed, ease, and precision (unfortunately smartphones are still out of luck, no matter how many numbers you plan to crunch on the smaller-format devices).

As handy as it is, the main keyboard is truncated, which means it really is designed for making numerical entry easier at the sacrifice of alpha-numeric typing (as I think about it, there are a few games out there that could benefit from this little addition as well).

No matter your take, this is yet another piece of evidence in support of Microsoft starting to really understand mobile users and the experiences they demand.

All this keyboard is missing, is that inexplicable noise that was produced by those journal ling calculators with the paper tape roll… if you are of a certain vintage, you will know exactly what I mean.

Microsoft Delivers Numpad to Android Tablets for Excel is a post from: Good e-Reader

What is the best Solution for Digital Newspapers and Magazines for Libraries?


There are three major companies that market newspapers and magazines to libraries and there is a fair amount of concern about what ecosystem to invest in. Library budgets are finite and the average system can ill-afford in making the wrong choice when investing in digital content for their patrons. Today, we look at the three best ones out there and give you a sense on what they are all about.

All of the companies involved in magazines and newspapers in the library have their own apps. This is necessary to read the digital content and normally the branches will have detailed instructions on their website about where to download and how to use their apps.  I think the most compelling aspect of this type of content is that there are no limits like e-books. You can borrow them for as long as you want and borrow as many titles, without limits.


Overdrive got into the digital newspaper and magazine game very late. The company launched their new service in February 2015 and relies on Barnes and Noble for all of their content. Currently, there are only 1,000 issues that libraries can purchase and its only available in the US.

Libraries that invest in the Overdrive ecosystem are always paying a bit more, because Overdrive is the market leader for e-books and audiobooks. They can get away with charging a bit extra, because the vast majority of libraries already deal with them.


Pressreader deals with both digital magazines and newspapers and has the largest catalog with over 3,7000 publications. The company also offers a hotspot solution, to be able to hook the entire library up with wireless internet access, so anyone can ride the connection to download content from PressReader or just surf the internet. Libraries all over the world can signup, something that they can’t do with Zinio or Overdrive.

One of the big advantages with the newspaper aspect of Pressreader is being able to get audio editions. Their apps have the capability of doing text to speech, so people who are visually disabled can have the articles read aloud. Secondly,  the newspapers they offer are replica editions, which means they mirror the printed form. This allows you to see local advertising, classifieds and even the Sunday Funnies.


Zinio focuses exclusively on digital magazines and does not bother at all with newspapers. Their primary partner for selling their services to libraries is Recorded Books. Recorded Books started out in 1979, heavily investing themselves into the library space. Aside from marketing magazines they also have a catalog of 13,500 audiobook titles and 100,000 eBooks.

Zinio currently has around 500 titles that publishers have sanctioned for use in the library. Due to their relationship with Recorded Books it means that users need to setup 2 accounts: an RB Magazines account, which lets you check out magazines for free (as long as the library subscribes to them); and a Zinio account, which lets you read checked-out magazines online in your browser or read via an app.

Zinio isn’t really global, in the respects that the vast majority of their clients are solely in Canada and the US. I think this is one of the things that hinders their growth potential in this sector.

What is the best Solution for Digital Newspapers and Magazines for Libraries? is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Kobo Glo is Now Discontinued


The Kobo Glo was originally launched in September 2012 and did quite well in North America and Europe. In recent years this e-reader was a bridge to overseas markets and sold all over the world. The Glo is now officially discontinued.

The main Kobo website now brings users to a 404 page when they try and purchase this low cost e-reader.  This is the same thing that has occurred in the past when the Canadian based company discontinued the Kobo Mini.

Kobo currently has two openings in their product portfolio and they are actively developing the next generation of e-readers.  Their codenames are Alyssum and Pika.

The Alyssum e-reader will be six inches and have a resolution of 1072 x 1448 and 300 PPI. This is very similar to the e-reader that Amazon released late last year, the Kindle Voyage. It is very likely that Kobo wants to heavily compete against Amazon with very similar hardware.  Pika on the other hand will supplant the Mini, which was discontinued in 2014.  It will be five inches and have a resolution of 800 x 600.

The Kobo Glo is Now Discontinued is a post from: Good e-Reader

OverDrive Fixes Technical Issue with Kindle Library eBooks

Yesterday OverDrive announced that they have resolved a technical issue with their library ebook lending service that had caused a number of Kindle-formatted ebooks not to appear available for lending. The glitch affected newer titles added to the system since the beginning of this calendar year. Now that OverDrive has become aware of the issue, […]

Happy birthday to us!

It’s the Raspberry Pi’s third birthday today (or as near as we can get: we launched on February 29 in a leap year). To celebrate we’re having a huge party/conference/scrum over the weekend in Cambridge – we’ve sold 1,300 tickets and I’m currently hiding in the press room to get this post written. I’m on a really overloaded WiFi network, so I’m having trouble uploading pictures at the minute: we’ll have some for you next week.

Three years ago, we made 2,000 little computers, and I remember looking at the pallet, and thinking: “Cripes. Can’t believe we’ve made so many computers. That’s amazing.”

We’ve sold half a million of the things just this month. Thanks to everyone who’s joined us on this extraordinarily weird journey – you’re all brilliant.

This is becoming an annual tradition: Matt Timmons Brown, one of my favourite 15-year-olds, has made us another celebratory video. (Here’s last year’s.) Thank you Matt!