Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Microsoft Oddly Excited Over Low-End Windows Phones


Generally the news coming out an event like Mobile World Congress is buzz-worthy and exciting, filled with cutting edge hardware and software solutions… but leave it to Microsoft to break the mould, and good on them! Some people would argue that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em (speaking specifically about high-end hardware manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei), but that strategy isn’t without risk. Coming somewhat late to the mobile device game, Microsoft understands that the success means growth, but how? Find the consumers currently being left out and deliver something usable and affordable.

To this end, Microsoft was delighted to brag about the growth of their Windows Phone ecosystem –while also debuting a lineup of cheap and cheerful smartphones.

Many of these new smartphones have underwhelming specs and come from manufacturers we’ve barely heard of (at least without employing a quick Google search). Does that really matter? Ultimately it comes down to mobile market share, which in turn motivates and engages developers, making it possible to create a more enviable and valuable platform. You never forget your first is a philosophy that applies here as well… everybody finds comfort in the familiar, so the trick is getting them a Windows Phone before any other.

It’s a gamble of course, but could also be a lucrative long-term investment.

Let’s think logically here:
Do you give you kids a device with a pricetag that rivals your monthly rent or would you prefer something dramatically less expensive while also being waterproof and dust-proof like the 4.5-inch Coship BVC L08 LTE smartphone?

Don’t forget that Microsoft isn’t the first mobile manufacturer to attempt this kind of stunt. Android used to enjoy being the undisputed king of distributing low-end devices anywhere and everywhere in an effort to persuade statistics in their favour –letting them boast about Android activations, even it most of those smartphones don’t subscribe to an actual data plan.

Microsoft Oddly Excited Over Low-End Windows Phones is a post from: Good e-Reader

Microsoft Introduces Foldable Universal Mobile Keyboard


It isn’t very often that Microsoft creates a product that truly turns my head, but their introduction of a foldable keyboard at Mobile World Congress is a definite exception. While most of me wonders why people cling so desperately to the idea of having a physical keyboard for their touch-screen devices, another part has to admit there are occasions when having one would be awfully convenient (especially when it works equally well with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone powered devices –complete with the special, platform-specific keys present and accounted).

We have all seen the keyboard cover-style cases, and frankly there are plenty of good options available (heck, Microsoft has even turned their Surface Pro 3 Touch cover into a near-trademark) –but what about those of us interested in a little less keyboard commitment? Truthfully, the look and feel of this accessory is so refined it’s almost as if Apple had been involved in the design process. Microsoft’s new keyboard is crazy thin, folds directly in the middle, and includes a well-placed magnet capable of holding the whole deal together (while you slide it effortlessly into your jacket pocket or that formerly useless side pocket in your laptop bag or purse).

Concerned about battery life? This keyboard will apparently last nearly three months on a single charge. Even if this length of time is unrealistic, I have no problem doing a little charging on a monthly basis –I just don’t want to be on the list of things that need charging daily.

Given the sleek profile of this accessory it may also surprise you to find out that the keys have just the right amount of tactile response. Connectivity is provided by Bluetooth as you likely expected, or by way of a microUSB cable if you prefer (and your device allows).

If you need to have one of these as badly as I do, visit a Microsoft Store this July and hand over $99.95 USD.

Microsoft Introduces Foldable Universal Mobile Keyboard is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Best Tablets of 2015 – Spring


Many people are looking at investing in a new tablet for the springtime or are in the process of upgrading their old device.  Researching is often critical in choosing the best thing that suits your budget. Today, we are going to give you a sense of the top new tablets that are going to soon be released.

Jolla Tablet

The Jolla Tablet is the first commercial device using the Sailfish 2.0 OS. What I like about it, is that their operating system feels fresh and unique in a world full of Android and iOS tablets. Its going to be available in early May and will be sold online for $299.

Lets look a little bit about the specs, the 8-inch (well, 7.85-inch) screen has a 2,048×1,536-pixel resolution which made everything look very crisp. You will be available to play most games and watch videos in HD.

Inside it’s running on an Intel quad-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz, a 5-megapixel camera sits on the back, and there are 32GB or 64GB storage choices available. A 4,450mAh battery provides the juice which should be plenty for a full day of use. The build quality is high and the final product looks amazing.

Sony Xperia Z4

When Sony first started releasing tablets their design was very out of the box. After a few generations they slowly found their identity and the new Sony Xperia Z4 is a perfect example of why Sony should not stop making smartphones and tablets.

The Xperia Z4 features a ten inch QHD display, with a resolution of 2048 by 1080. You will be able to bring this tablet in the bath or on the beach since it has IP68 certification. Its other features include 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 32GB of internal storage, 8 megapixels main camera, 5 megapixels front shooter and supports LTE. The tablet is powered by a 6000 mAh battery, and Sony promises the amazing up to 17 hours on a single charge. It is also ridiculously thin at 6.1 mm and weighs less than 396g.

It will be available this Spring and there is no price yet, but you will likely have to pay iPad Air type of money for it.

Apple iPad Air 2

The Apple iPad Air 2 is likely one of the best tablets on the market and you will have to pay serious money to buy one. It has the highest resolution in the business and a huge library of apps to support it. Some Android tablets also have high resolution, but not a lot of developers are optimizing content for it.

The 9.7 inch tablet features a staggering resolution of 2048×1536 and it makes playing games and watching videos a pure joy. In practical usage text in e-reader apps will be more defined, comics will be in HD and the magazine experience on the iPad is second to none.

Underneath the hood is a Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone CPU, 1 GB RAM, 5 MP rear facing camera, 1.2 MP front facing camera and fingerprint sensor. Really, with this hardware you should at least get three or four solid years out of it before it becomes obsolete.

I think iOS is great because of the whole iCloud system. Whenever you switch to another Apple product, all of your settings, email accounts, multimedia and apps follows you around. This makes the process of setting up any future Apple product a walk in the park.

This tablet is available now and an entry level model is : $499.00 – $639.96.

Amazon Fire HDX 8.9

The latest generation Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is a polished piece of hardware and has the best audio capabilities in the business. The world class Amazon ecosystem gives you a great selection of e-books, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks and polished software to give you an experience that can’t be matched.

One of the benefits of the entire Fire 2014 product line is that it is fully compatible with the Fire TV. IT has a feature called the second screen, which allows you to replicate exactly whats on your tablet on the television. This is similar technology that the iPhone and iPad employ to build synergy via Air Play to the Apple TV.

The 8.9 slate has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels and 339 PPI. The screen composition is IPS LCD and features a capacitive touchscreen, able to display about sixteen million colors. One of the new graphical enhancements was the inclusion of "Dynamic Light Control", which changes the white balance of the pages in reading mode to make it look more like paper depending on the ambient light conditions. That means it can go from cool to warm, from blue to nearly yellow.

Underneath the hood is Qualcomms Snapdragon 805 chip, which is top of the line. It clocks in at a staggering 2.5 GHz via the quad-core processor and has 2 GB RAM. Raw performance aside, Amazon is claiming 12 hours of runtime this year, roughly similar to its predecessor. In addition to that 805 chip, this is also the first tablet with Dolby's Atmos surround sound technology.

This tablet has been available since late 2014 and retails for an entry level price of $379. Keep in mind, unless you live in the US or UK you won’t be able to buy everything Amazon sells, such as music and videos.

Huawei MediaPad X2

The new MediaPad X2 features a  7 inch LPTS display with a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels which covers more than 80% of the device’s front. This will provide users with a great tablet to watch videos, play games or read books. It is also extremely portable, at just seven inches.

Underneath the hood is an “ultra” octa-core, 64-bit Kirin 930 chipset clocked in at 2.0Ghz. The 13MP camera at the back boasts a dedicated ISP chip, which is said to generally improve the low-light performance of the tablets’s camera sensor. Most tablets have poor front facing camera, but the MediaPad has a 5 MP edition, which beats most other devices on the market.

The device will be available in two versions – one with 2GB of RAM/16GB of native storage and a beefier one with 3GB of RAM/32GB of available storage. Connectivity-wise, both of these are dual-SIM slates with LTE support.

There is currently no release date, but will ship in the Spring of 2015, no price has been defined either. People suggest it will be between $199 and $250.

The Best Tablets of 2015 – Spring is a post from: Good e-Reader

Are Solar Powered E Ink eReaders Really Necessary?

Bookeen, a small ebook reader company based in Paris, has announced that they intend to bring solar charging to ebook readers through a new partnership with Sunpartner Technologies, also based in France. The press release is slim on details, and doesn’t specify whether the technology will be used on Bookeen’s line of Cybook ereaders exclusively […]

B&N Releases New Nook Android App – Version 4.0

Today Barnes and Noble announced that they’ve just launched a new version of the Nook Android app, version 4.0, that introduces a new look and adds some additional features. B&N is also trying to entice new customers to sign up for a Nook account by giving them a free $5 credit to get started purchasing […]

Barnes and Noble Unveils New Nook Android App

NOOK App for Android_Home

Barnes and Noble has just revised their Nook Android App to mirror the same type of shopping experience as found on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook line of tablets. Basically the entire shopping system has been revised, giving you more of a channel view approach. This makes it easier to find magazines, e-books, comics and all the other digital content B&N sells.

Likely the centerpiece of the fresh new app design is Nook Channels. Each Nook Channel is a collection of great reading content, both old and new. As a while, it is meant to give shoppers a the same type of online experience as you get when you visit a Barnes & Noble bookstore directly. This popular discovery feature is powered by Barnes & Noble's breakthrough recommendation system, which combines bookseller knowledge with advanced algorithmic technology to present an endless shelf of relevant, personalized, and surprising choices beyond the bestsellers.

With the NOOK Reading App 4.0 for Android, readers also have more customization tools, including the ability to create profiles within the app and to organize favorite content by personal shelves. The updated app enables users to add a NOOK widget to the home screen of any Android phone or tablet, providing quick and easy access to NOOK reading content.

Download the new Nook Reading App today from the Good e-Reader App Store or Google Play.

Barnes and Noble Unveils New Nook Android App is a post from: Good e-Reader

New York Times Bestsellers of yesteryear – A Look Back

The New York Times Bestsellers list has been a monumentally influential force on publishing world for decades and decades. Authors and publishers dream to have a book that makes the list and readers trust it's authority to find their next book.

Looking through past lists isn't just reading old lists of books, it's a time portal that illuminates history. See the grandeur for yourself in our lists below….

New York Times Bestsellers 1940s nyt

New York Times Bestsellers 1950s 

New York Times Bestsellers 1960s 

New York Times Bestsellers 1970s 

New York Times Bestsellers 1980s 

New York Times Bestsellers 1990s  

New York Times Bestsellers 2000s  

New York Times Bestsellers 2010s  

And of course, you can add the Current New York Times Bestsellers as well. A great idea would be to add these lists to your collection and do curated collections of best sellers!

Questions? Email us at collectionteam@overdrive.com for more information today.

Please note that title availability may vary by geographic location and platform.

Rachel Kray is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive

Launch day – what happened to the website?

Liz: As you may recall, back on February 2 we launched a new product. This website buckled a little under the strain (as did some of our partners’ websites). At the time, we promised you a post about what happened here and how we dealt with it, with plenty of graphs. We like graphs.

Here’s Pete Stevens from Mythic Beasts, our hosts, to explain exactly what was going on. Over to you, Pete!

On Monday, the Raspberry Pi 2 was announced, and The Register’s predictions of global geekgasm proved to be about right. Slashdot, BBC News, global trending on Twitter and many other sources covering the story resulted in quite a lot of traffic. We saw 11 million page requests from over 700,000 unique IP addresses in our logs from Monday, around 6x the normal traffic load.

The Raspberry Pi website is hosted on WordPress using the WP Super Cache plugin. This plugin generally works very well, resulting in the vast majority of page requests being served from a static file, rather than hitting PHP and MySQL. The second major part of the site is the forums and the different parts of the site have wildly differing typical performance characteristics. In addition to this, the site is fronted by four load balancers which supply most of the downloads directly and scrub some malicious requests. We can cope with roughly:

Cached WordPress 160 pages / second
Non cached WordPress 10 pages / second
Forum page 10 pages / second
Maintenance page at least 10,000 pages / second

Back in 2012 for the original launch, we had a rather smaller server setup and we just put a maintenance page up and directed everyone to buy a Pi direct from Farnell or RS, both of whom had some trouble coping with the demand. We also launched at 6am GMT so that most of our potential customers would still be in bed spreading the initial surge over several hours.

This time, being a larger organisation with coordination across multiple news outlets and press conferences, the launch time was fixed for 9am on Feb 2nd 2015 so everything would happen then, apart from the odd journalist with premature timing problems – you know who you are.

Our initial plan was to leave the site up as normal, but set the maintenance page to be the launch announcement. That way if the launch overwhelmed things, everyone should see the announcement served direct from the load balancers and otherwise the site should function as normal. Plan B was to disable the forums, giving more resources to the main blog so people could comment there.

The Launch


It is a complete coincidence that our director Pete took off to go to this isolated beach in the tropics five minutes after the Raspberry Pi 2 launch.

At 9:00 the announcement went live. Within a few minutes traffic volumes on the site had increased by more than a factor of five and the forum users are starting to make comments and chatter to each other. The server load increased from its usual level of 2 to over 400 – we now had a massive queue of users waiting for page requests because all of the server CPU time was being taken generating those slow forum pages which starved the main blog of server time to deliver those fast cached pages. At this point our load balancers started to kick in and deliver to a large fraction of our site users the maintenance page containing the announcement – the fall back plan. This did annoy the forum and blog users who had posted comments and received the maintenance page back having just had their submission thrown away – sorry. During the day we did a little bit of tweaking to the server to improve throughput, removing the nf_conntrack in the firewall to free up CPU for page rendering, changing the apache settings to queue earlier so people received either their request page or maintenance page more quickly.

Disabling the forums freed up lots of CPU time for the main page and gave us a mostly working site. Sometimes it’d deliver the maintenance page, but mostly people were receiving cached WordPress pages of the announcement and most of the comments were being accepted.

Super Cache not quite so super

Unfortunately, we were still seeing problems. The site would cope with the load happily for a good few minutes, and then suddenly have a load spike to the point where pages were not being generated fast enough. It appears that WP Super Cache wasn’t behaving exactly as intended. When someone posts a comment, Super Cache invalidates its cache of the corresponding page, and starts to rebuild a new one, but providing you have this option ticked… supercache-anonymouse …(we did), the now out-of-date cached page should continue to be served until it is overwritten by the newer version. After a while, we realised that the symptoms that we were seeing entirely consistent with this not working correctly, and once you hit very high traffic levels this behaviour becomes critical. If cached versions are not served whilst the page is being rebuilt then subsequent requests will also trigger a rebuild and you spend more and more CPU time generating copies of the missing cached page which makes the rebuild take even longer so you have to build more copies each of which now takes even longer. Now we can build a ludicrously overly simple model of this with a short bit of perl and draw a graph of how long it takes to rebuild the main page based on hit rate – and it looks like this. Supercache performance This tells us that performance reasonably suddenly falls off a cliff at around 60-70 hits/second. At 12 hits/sec (typical usage) a rebuild of the page completes in considerably under a second, at 40 hits/sec (very busy) it’s about 4s, at 60 hits/sec it’s 30s, at 80hits/sec it’s well over five minutes – the load balancers kick in and just display the maintenance page, and wait for the load to die down again before starting to serve traffic as normal again. We still don’t know exactly what the cause of this was, so either it’s something else with exactly the same symptoms, or this setting wasn’t working or was interacting badly with another plugin, but as soon as we’d figured out the issue, we implemented the sensible workaround; we put a rewrite hack in to serve the front page and announcement page completely statically, then created the page fresh once every five minutes from cron picking up all the newest comments. As if by magic the load returned to sensible levels although there was now a small delay on new comments appearing.

Re-enabling the forums


With stable traffic levels, we turned the forums back on. And then immediately off again. They very quickly backed up the database server with connections, causing both the forums to cease working and the main website to run slowly. A little further investigation into the InnoDB parameters and we realised we had some contention on database locks, we reconfigured and this happened.

Our company pedant points out that actually only the database server process fell over, and it needed restarted not rebooting. Cunningly, we’d managed to find a set of improved settings for InnoDB that allowed us to see all the tables in the database but not read any data out of them. A tiny bit of fiddling later and everything was happy.

The bandwidth graphs

We end up with a traffic graph that looks like this. raspi-launch-bwgraph On the launch day it’s a bit lumpy, this is because when we’re serving the maintenance page nobody can get to the downloads page. Downloads of operating system images and NOOBS dominates the traffic graphs normally. Over the next few days the HTML volume starts dropping and the number of system downloads for newly purchased Raspberry Pis starts increasing rapidly. At this point were reminded of the work we did last year to build a fast distributed downloads setup and were rather thankful because we’re considerably beyond the traffic levels you can sanely serve from a single host.

Could do a bit better

The launch of Raspberry Pi 2 was a closely guarded secret, and although we were told in advance, we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the increased traffic. There’s a few things we’d like to have improved and will be talking to with Raspberry Pi over the coming months. One is to upgrade the hardware adding some more cores and RAM to the setup. Whilst we’re doing this it would be sensible to look at splitting the parts of the site into different VMs so that the forums/database/Wordpress have some separation from each other and make it easier to scale things. It would have been really nice to have put our extremely secret test setup with HipHop Virtual Machine into production, but that’s not yet well enough tested for primetime although a seven-fold performance increase on page rendering certainly would be nice.

Schoolboy error

Talking with Ben Nuttall we realised that the stripped down minimal super fast maintenance page didn’t have analytics on it. So the difference between our stats of 11 million page requests and Ben’s of 1.5 million indicate how many people during the launch saw the static maintenance page rather than a WordPress generated page with comments. In hindsight putting analytics on the maintenance page would have been a really good idea. Not every http request which received the maintenance page was necessarily a request to see the launch, nor was each definitely a different visitor. Without detailed analytics that we don’t have, we can estimate the number of people who saw the announcement to be more than 1.5 million but less than 11 million.

Flaming, Bleeding Servers

Liz occasionally has slightly odd ideas about exactly how web-servers work: 


Now, much to her disappointment we don’t have any photographs of servers weeping blood or catching fire. [Liz interjects: it’s called METAPHOR, Pete.] But when we retire servers we like to give them a bit of a special send-off: here’s a server funeral, Mythic Beasts-style.

Zuckerberg Doesn’t Want Telecoms to Fear Internet.org


Zuckerberg took the stage at Mobile World Congress to discuss the state of the union as it applies to his Internet.org initiative (with very little being said about Facebook at all). In an appearance that felt more like a public relations stunt than an actual interview (conducted by Jessi Hempel from Wired Magazine), Zuckerberg wasn’t his usual awkward self… instead choosing to appear modest and almost pandering to mobile carriers (which maybe isn’t such a bad thing when working with them is so much easier than the alternative).

The idea behind Internet.org is to help bring the developing world online, giving users in those countries with low Internet usage access to the most-used apps available. Of course this includes the desperate need for every man, woman, and (over 13 years old) child to have a Facebook profile… right along side having access to essential services like health information and educational resources. In the end, no matter how silly it seems to put social media on that kind of pedastal –it’s about getting people online and connected.

Big telecoms have been wary of the Internet.com initiative, openly expressing their concerns that access to certain apps could eat into their bottom line (eliminating the need for money-generating services they provide, such as voice calling and text messaging). Zuckerberg did his best to calm those fears, basically saying they all need to work together in ways that make the initiative mutually beneficial. (Personally, I subscribe to the ‘evolve or die’ philosophy of business… meaning telecoms need to re-think and re-invent the services they offer instead of relying so heavily on past revenue streams.)

Connectivity is expensive. Data plans are expensive. Infrastructure is really expensive. Zuckerberg understands, but he also knows that Internet.org is capable of increasing smartphone use which should ultimately result in more subscribers than these telecoms may have had otherwise. Balancing out those expensive facts is the reality that (generally speaking) more customers means more revenue.

Ultimately, the creator of Facebook knows a thing or two about growing a business and being successful. Sure it makes a few eyes roll when Zuckerberg talks about how Facebook (and Google) get too much credit for their efforts to “connect the second half of the world to the Internet,” but a little applause is probably reasonable for those who can see beyond their own front doors.

Zuckerberg Doesn’t Want Telecoms to Fear Internet.org is a post from: Good e-Reader

Digital Lending Reaches Japan

Just as libraries in the US have had to learn to navigate the sometimes frustrating world of digital content circulation, libraries in Japan have launched digital lending initiatives of their own. While the numbers remain small–only a total of thirty-three libraries offer some form of ebooks–it’s the high rate of adoption spreading throughout the various library systems that are noteworthy.

An article for Mainichi.jp on the ups and down of digital library lending in Japan demonstrated some interesting parallels to what readers in other countries have faced when trying to shift into a digital lending mindset.

Patrons have been quick to adopt the service, too, according to several librarians. One library only pursued digital lending after the numerous requests it received from patrons, and stated that in the three months they’ve offered this type of 24-hour access to ebooks, patrons have borrowed more than four hundred titles of the 3,400-book catalog.

While the first library to offer ebook lending in Japan did so as far back as 2007, it seems that the mistakes US libraries and Japanese libraries made at the onset went hand in hand. Tokyo’s Chiyoda Public Library first started with renting out the actual readers, or in their case, tablets, that could only be used while in the library. The investment in the stockpile of devices was significant, as was the content to put on it, and there was no benefit to using it over simply reaching for a book off the shelf. US libraries initially experimented with in-house e-readers that could be checked out and borrowed, but still required the investment in the technology and a staff trained to assist patrons with the devices.

Much like the headache of licensing ebooks to libraries stateside, Japanese patrons and librarians have been frustrated by the lack of bestselling and new release content available for digital lending, for many of the same reasons that publishers in the US have balked at making their entire catalogs available to libraries, namely fears that print sales will decline.

However, one library conglomerate in Japan has seen enough of an impact in ebook lending that probably won’t translate in the states, and that’s an increase in people who do not live in the immediate area but who are traveling to other regions to take advantage of ebook lending. While many US libraries require proof of immediate residency to use their library, eliminating the benefits of ebook lending altogether, would-be patrons have actually traveled to the nearest library in order to sign up for library cards and take advantage of ebook availability, which has proven good for local businesses as these new patrons shop and dine in the region while they’re there.

While so much of the Japanese ebook lending market has mirrored that of other regions, it will be interesting to see how the market takes to digital magazines, newspapers, audiobooks, and MP3 lending, all of which are available to US libraries through their agreements with their content providers.

Digital Lending Reaches Japan is a post from: Good e-Reader

Blackberry Unveils Torch Inspired Slider Smartphone


The last great phone Blackberry made was the Torch. This model had a full touchscreen a slider keyboard, it gave you the best of both worlds. Sadly, since then phones have either had a keyboard and a small screen or a large screen and no keyboard. It looks like Blackberry is releasing a modern version of the Torch, using their new BB10 operating system.

One of the most exciting elements about this new phone is the fact it has an end to end screen. This means there is little to no bezel and similar to the new Samsung Edge. Not much is known about the phone itself, or the release date. In addition to the new slider, BlackBerry says it will launch a new Porsche Design device and another keyboard-based phone. No further details were given for those new models.

Blackberry Unveils Torch Inspired Slider Smartphone is a post from: Good e-Reader

Bookeen Developing New Solar Powered E-Reader

Booken and Sunpartner

Bookeen has been making e-readers for six years and the company has always focused on developing solid devices and marketing them all over the world. In order so stay competitive against Amazon and Kobo they are making a new solar powered e-reader that will do away with having to charge it via USB.

The new e-reader will be powered by Sunpartner Technologies who is a a high-tech engineering company specializing in Solar NETs (New Energy Technologies). Since 2008, they’ve been developing the transparent PV component Wysips that seamlessly integrates into any surface, transforming it into a solar panel.

Bookeen and Sunpartner are both based in France, so this new partnership makes sense. They can both promote it through their different marketing channels and hopefully more companies participating in the e-reader space will start to adopt solar powered technologies.

Accross the entire industry there has been only a few companies that have invested in solar powered e-readers. Toshiba, in 2010, released the Biblio Leaf in Japan and it had six inch electronic paper display similar to the Kindle. Toshiba said that the solar panel that is built into the front of the device is capable of charging the battery enough for users to read up to 25 books, or 7,500 pages, on a single charge. Not only can you read tons but you can recharge it when you are not using it by just leaving it to catch ambient sunlight.

LG developed e-Paper screen technology that was employed on a TFT-LCD screen. It never really got past the prototype stage. At 10cm wide and a thickness of just 0.7mm, its dimensions are almost akin to that of a credit card. This combined with the weight of a fountain-pen, it is unprecedented in its form. The photovoltaic cell provides a steady stream of solar energy, which gives LG an absolutely winning design. Sadly, no companies picked it up.

There is no estimated date in which this new e-reader by Bookeen will ship. We do know that it will hit the market “sometime in 2015.” Hopefully it won’t be delayed like the Cybook Ocean was.

Bookeen Developing New Solar Powered E-Reader is a post from: Good e-Reader

Mortal Kombat X for Android Due in April


Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for any mobile game that inspires nostalgia. Mortal Kombat X is one of those titles, having been a gaming staple for one platform or another since the classic arcade days. It concerns me more than a little that I can scarcely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I can hear in-game phrases like “Outstanding!” and “Finish him!” inside my head with resounding clarity. Luckily for those of us who played this fighter game once upon a time (armed with a stack of quarters), Mortal Kombat X will be mobile-ready this April.

Developed by Warner Bros., Mortal Kombat X for mobile will feature all of the classic (and beloved) characters we remember side by side with a few fresh faces –and if you watch the game trailer (linked below) you will see that the “brutal fatalities and x-ray hits” have all been maintained.

It is somewhat difficult to imagine just how this game will translate onto a touch-screen. For those new to the franchise, defeating your opponent back in the day meant delivering a complex (and often somewhat mysterious) series of joystick moves and button presses as each character thrashes around with their signature moves. Chances are good this aspect has been dramatically simplified, but my hope is that the soul of the game successfully carries over.

What passed for brutal and gory in the early days of gaming will seem pretty tame to most anyone now, but those who have played Mortal Kombat standing at a classic arcade machine will tell you it was the kind of game that really engaged you –remember with me just how hard you were pounding on those buttons by the end of any grudge match!

There are no specifics yet regarding price, but other titles by this developer have hit the Play Store with a zero dollar price-tag (though apparently there is also a collectible card game component, so you can bet there will be a host of in-app purchases available for those willing to spend a little cash). Consoles will see Mortal Kombat X on April 14th, so while a specific day hasn’t been announced for mobile, it is safe to assume it will be on or around that date as well.

Mortal Kombat X for Android Due in April is a post from: Good e-Reader

Veronica Roth Will Write Two New Books


Bestselling author Veronica Roth has signed a new deal with HarperCollins to pen two new titles. The author of the hit Divergent series has a new movie hitting theaters soon called Insurgent. Likely the news of her upcoming novels will be met with wild abandon.

Little detail has been offered about the two books, both of which remain untitled. According to HarperCollins, the saga will feature "a boy who forms an unlikely alliance with an enemy […] they help each other attain what they most desire: for one, redemption, and the other, revenge." The release also somewhat cryptically describes the narrative as "in the vein of ‘Star Wars.’"

The first of Veronica Roth’s upcoming young adult novels will be published in 2017, with the next novel to follow in 2018.

Going into the direction of a young male protagonist when all of Roth’s lead characters are female is interesting. Lets be honest, its mainly women that are the core reading audience of Divergent. Maybe the intention with the next two novels is to appeal towards a male audience, the sort that reads Ender’s Game and Maze Runner.

Veronica Roth Will Write Two New Books is a post from: Good e-Reader