Apple has the solution to all of your problems, at least as long as they relate to having an Android smartphone that you wish was actually an iPhone. For some time now, Apple has offered a trade-in and trade-up program for those wishing to swap their old iOS or MacOS X gear for the latest and greatest… but soon they will extend that same courtesy to those wanting to make the switch away from Android.
Part of it stinks of arrogance on Apple’s part, assuming that the only thing preventing Android users from switching to their platform is cash. On the other hand, with so many carriers locking you in for a few years before being eligible to upgrade your device, finding ways to switch yourself into something new could be very much appreciated.
As long as it works the same way as their existing program, it is an incredibly easy process: bring your device into any Apple Store where it will be graded based on cosmetics and functionality, receive a gift card to be used toward your fancy new iDevice.
Nobody knows just how Apple will value your Android device, particularly with so many makes and models floating around out there… which may give Apple cause to create a reasonable ‘push-pull-or-drag’ standard trade-in value for any device, regardless of the vintage.
In my experience, Apple pays a fair price that is comparable to what you could expect selling your old electronics privately (or only slightly lower, but you get to avoid all of the hassle). There will always be a sweet spot, of course –if you picked up a high-end Samsung Galaxy S5 a few weeks ago, you aren’t going to get what you paid for it… but if you’re holding on to an older Galaxy S3, you may see a reasonable down-payment toward an Apple-branded upgrade (I took $250CDN for my 32GB iPhone 5S when I bought my new 64GB iPhone 6 Plus when it was released last fall).
Even though it will cost Apple a few cash dollars, expanding their trade-in program is bound to deliver a few warm and fuzzy feelings… it also demonstrates confidence in their product line (and they have always excelled at establishing brand loyalty).
Whether you choose to take advantage of the program or not, things should be in place within a few weeks (following training programs for retail store employes that are already getting underway).
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
This weekend, the Dengeki Game Festival 2015 was held. The event announced the joint campaign of two eagerly anticipated games – Sword Art Online: Lost Song for the PlayStation 3/PS Vita, and God Eater 2: Rage Burst for the PlayStation 4/PS Vita.
Sword Art Online has already gained its fair share of attention. The light novel series by Reki Kawahara already has two games to its name, as well as two seasons of an anime series. The lesser known, but still fun, God Eater game series began in 2011, and has been adapted into several light novels and an anime series has been announced.
The campaign will be split into three parts. Part one is a pair of DLC costumes. The downloadable costumes, two for each game, will become available when the Dengeki PlayStation magazine publishes the advance serial codes in its pages. The code for the God Eater 2: Rage Burst costumes, belonging to Julius and Alisa, will come first on April 9. The code for the second set of costumes, for Kirito and Sinon in Sword Art Online: Lost Song, will be released on April 23. Part two of the campaign is a clear file folder, featuring characters from the two games. The folder will be available through Japan on March 26, continuing while supplies last. The third and final part of the campaign comes on the PS Store, where special "Spring Encounter Campaign" themes will be available. The themes will be usable for the PS 3, PS 4, and PS Vita.
The English distribution of the game, along with Chinese distribution for Asian markets, will be handled by Bandai Namco Games. Sword Art Online: Lost Song will be shipped in Japan on March 26.
Boyue primarily markets their T62 e-reader in China, but it is tremendously relevant for residents in North America and Western Europe. The big selling factors of this device is that it runs Android 4.2.2, which means you can install your own apps. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can listen to music while you read or partake in audiobooks. How does this reader stack up against the competition and is it worth the money?
The Boyue T62 features a six inch e-Ink Pearl touchscreen with a resolution of 1024×758. The screen size and resolution is fairly standard when it comes to the overall e-reading experience. e-books, PDF files and manga tend to look good.
Underneath the hood is a dual core 1.0 GHZ processor, 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. Android does take up a fair amount of memory, which is why there is more storage than your average e-reader. If you need more, it does have support for up to 64 GB via a MicroSD card.
One of the big advantages of this e-reader is the fact it has a 3.5mm headphone jack to listen to music and audiobooks. The built in stock player is not really indicative to a solid audio experience, so you will want to download a more customized solution. One of the default e-reading apps called iReader actually has iVona text to speech, so you can have the books read aloud.
Many e-readers issued by small companies tend not to have a great lightning experience. The front-lit display allows you to read in the dark and many models that we review tend to have artifacts and dark smudges. I am proud to report that the Boyue has even light distribution and while not on par with the Kindle Voyage, is very respectable nonetheless.
Boyue claims that this e-reader has a 50% better battery than the first generation T61 and blows away its competition, such as the Icarus Illuminia HD and Energy Sistem PRO.
Many people read e-books as they are commuting to work. If you are on the bus, subway or any other method of mass transit you are often holding the e-reader with one hand. The Boyue not only has a touchscreen but also page turn buttons on the left and right side of the screen. This allows you to hold it in one hand easily and turn pages.
In the end, this e-reader gives you tremendous value for your money. You have to order it online and it retails for around $140.00. This reader will really appeal to people not looking to be locked into dealing with one specific ecosystem and wants the freedom to install whatever apps they want.
The big trend in 2014 was e-readers embracing the Android ecosystem, rather than Linux. The Boyue has Android 4.2.2, which is fairly modern and gives users a ton of flexibility to run apps that are compatible with it.
There are no pre-loaded books that come with this device, instead it gives you a ton of free avenues to download e-books, graphic novels and manga. One is a cloud based reader that allows you to read books online, and the other gives you over 12 different services to tap into, such as Weibo Manga to download free content. Over the course of the review, we found that everything was basically free.
If English is your primarily language you may not be too enamored that all of the default e-reading apps are basically just giving you Chinese content. This is not really a problem, because you can download a file manager app, such as ES File explorer and uninstall anything you don’t want.
There is no built in app store on the Boyue and users will have to hunt around the internet for the apps they want. Alternatively, you can download the Good e-Reader App Store for e-Ink, the first app store designed exclusively for e-readers like the Boyue.
Overall, apps are hit and miss. Anything that involves a lot of page turn animations tend to be clunky, such as Amazon Kindle. The ones that tend to work the best is Moon+ Reader, Aldiko, Repligo Reader, and Kobo.
The Boyue was designed to read a multitude of e-book formats right out of the box. It currently supports EPUB, PDF, FB2, MOBI, TXT, RTF, HTML, HTM, CHM, RTF, DOC/DOCX, XLS/XLSX, PPT/PPTX, PDB, DJVU, DJV, ZIP, RAR, 7ZIP.
The stock e-reader app is not tremendously well designed, it does allow you to change the margins, font size and font type. I found its not really intuitive to augment your options, mainly because you have to jump across three different menus to change anything.
Reading PDF files with the default app is a bit if a nightmare. Pinching and zooming makes me wonder if this aspect of the program was designed by a sloth/turtle hybrid. When you pinch and zoom it tends to do it frame by frame and takes around 30 seconds for it to render properly. Ideally, if this e-book format is important to you I would suggest ANY other PDF app.
When you download a custom e-reading app you can’t use the manual page turn buttons, instead you have to rely on the touchscreen. Apps are hit or miss, some work well, some don’t at all. It all comes down to if an app was designed to use a lot of animations, you won’t really get a great experience.
Honestly, I haven’t really heard of Boyue until recently. Many of the people affiliated with the company have been commenting on our Youtube channel and Blog, really hyping their product. I wasn’t really sure that I would like this device, but I did.
Hardware wise, this e-reader uses the same shell and UI as the Icarus Illuminia HD, Energy Sistem PRO and a myriad of others. The only thing that is different about this model is the dual core processor and the 3.5mm headphone jack.
I would recommend this e-reader to mid level and advanced users who know how to side load in their own apps and have experience with Android.
Android 4.22 = Install your own Apps
PDF experience is slow and sluggish
|As long as you keep the screen safe, Kindles can last for many years. But eventually the battery is going to wear out, and it will get to the point where it no longer holds a charge. Most people just get rid of their old Kindles when the battery dies. After all, that is a […]|
Viz Media is the largest player in North America who sells digital manga in English. They aren’t exactly a household name, since comic books tends to garner most of the attention. In order to get manga into the hands of comic readers and build a bigger audience Viz has been distributing titles to ComiXology. Since mid 2014 new readers have been introduced to Viz’s catalog of content and the two companies have now expanded their partnership.
The new VIZ Media titles featured in this update are all published in Japan by Hakusensha, Inc., one of Japan's most prominent publishing companies and renowned for offering a wide array of award-winning shojo manga series in addition to other genres. This latest comiXology content update expands the VIZ Media manga catalog on the platform to more than 1,500 volumes across more than 220 different series. Readers can enjoy all of these acclaimed releases using Comixology's Manga Fixed Format, which enables a dedicated right-to-left full-page reading experience and the highest page resolution currently available.
In all, over 385 new issues were brought over to the Comixology platform today. Some of the more notable series include – LIBRARY WARS: LOVE & WAR, SKIP BEAT, PLEASE SAVE MY EARTH, OTOMEN, OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB, and VAMPIRE KNIGHT.
PlayStation Mobile held a link between Sony’s Android devices and the PlayStation Vita library. Unfortunately Sony will be pulling the plug on the service and on the mobile store starting July 15th. The service started in 2012 and allowed Indie developers to create their own games that would work on both platforms, but as Sony had placed their focus on other projects, PlayStation Mobile was swept to the side, making those indie title gems hard to find.
The closing of the mobile store will come in two parts, the store itself will be closing July 15th and users will have until September 10th to re-download games onto their devices. After September 10th any devices have not been authenticated will no longer be able to access the PlayStation Mobile content.
It’s always sad to see a service go, but it will be a good opportunity for them to focus 100% of their attention to a project that will really take off than to only focus a small portion of their focus on something that’s just doing alright for itself.
Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library, a member of Ontario Library Service Consortium, received an OverDrive Media Station (OMS) as the result of a collection development promotion in November 2014. Faith Roebuck Shergold, Co-ordinator of Community Engagement and Young Adult Services with the library, kindly shared how the OMS has integrated the digital collection into their physical library space and its effectiveness as a discovery tool.
Take us through the process of introducing your OMS in the library.
We were lucky enough to be the winners, courtesy of OverDrive and the Ontario Library Service, of our Media Station, the hardware and a year’s license (we made the commitment that we’d pay the full license fee in years following). Our library has several technologically-minded staff but no full time IT support, so after confirming with our community’s IT department that our network infrastructure would be sufficient for the Station, we started deciding on its location, staff training (basic functions and light troubleshooting), and a launch event. We put up signs explaining what the Station would be, drawing attention to our OverDrive collection, and inviting the public to the launch. Our library board members also attended. It was an open-house style event, with staff available to demonstrate and assist with the OMS (plus refreshments!).
Where did you set up the OMS and what purpose did you want it to serve?
We set up the OMS on what was one of our public computer carrels at eye level for patrons walking in the library, but still within reach of younger patrons. It’s a good looking piece of hardware and it’s bright, appealing, and catches the eye. We could have used a location that was more conducive to better signage: because of the broad name of our consortium collection and the way it displays, it’s not always immediately clear to those using the station that it is for one of our eBook collections, instead of a general public access catalogue. But the location we chose, close to the entrance to the library and at eye level, was certainly conducive to getting people’s attention.
We were hoping people would take advantage of the Station’s full functionality – not only discovery of our OverDrive collection, but that our dedicated e-users would also send items to their smartphones and emails for holds and checkouts. What we discovered was that active OverDrive users avail themselves of one of the service’s great advantages: being able to access the content from home. We have hardly ever had anyone do anything beyond browsing in person at the Station. But as a discovery tool, it’s fabulous!
How have patrons taken to your OMS and what has been the reaction?
They’re impressed! It encourages curiosity, with its ease of use, bright colours, and large images. Few repeat or long-term interactions, but in an area where many patrons continue to be surprised that we have e-books and other downloadable media, the discovery is the important part.
Has your OMS helped increase exposure of your digital collection?
How do you plan to use the OMS moving forward?
We’ll absolutely keep using the OMS at least in the Library. With some consideration being given to a greater emphasis on outreach and remote services, it would be great to develop the capacity to take it ‘on the road’.
Is there anything else about OMS that you'd like to share with other libraries who may be interested in adding one to a library space?
As discussed, the Station is much more effective as a discovery tool about the e-book services we offer than for the acquisition by patrons of specific items in the collection. It has, however, been invaluable in raising awareness of these services. Our thanks to OverDrive and the Ontario Library Service for giving it to us.
If you ask ten authors how they feel about fan fiction–for those of you unaware, it’s the writing and publishing (not necessarily with monetization) of content that stars existing characters or celebrities, but comes from its author’s own creative process–you might find them evenly split on whether or not fan fic is a compliment to their writing, or basically not worth using to wrap up your used chewing gum. Some authors are flattered by the fact that fans can’t let the story go, or that they want to reimagine the plot and outcomes; others get up in arms and have even taken legal action against authors who even post fan fic to their own free blogs.
However you view the concept, though, it doesn’t erase the fact that fans–whether they consider themselves to be authors or not–are taking to the internet to share their nearly-obsessed love of their favorite characters. One of the subgenres of fan fiction that is blowing the others out of the water is based around One Direction.
Kidnapped by One Direction. Rescued by One Direction. Adopted by One Direction. Bitten by vampires that turned out to be One Direction. Lots and lots of impregnated by One Direction. Gay with One Direction. Gay BECAUSE of One Direction… there is no end in sight to the imaginations that the band’s fans have, and much of it appears on the writing/reading community site Wattpad. How large an audience does the 1D fan fic have? Click that link. I dare you. Individual stories in the top listings have tens of millions of reads each.
That’s not even taking into account debut novelist Anna Todd’s six-figure deal with Simon&Schuster for her title, After, an epic 1D fan fiction about band member Harry Styles. Thanks to the more than one billion reads on Wattpad and the subsequent book deal, Anna Todd has already been called the next EL James for her steamy boy band erotica.
But what is the fascination with the bad-boy boy-band? And where does it go from here? There seems to be no end in sight for readers of this type of writing, and the authors are all too happy to provide the content that fans clamor for.
It’s important to note that fan fiction is nothing new, and it’s not relegated to cheesy Xeroxed fanzines anymore either. The film industry has taken part with the obvious acceptance of 50 Shades of Grey, but long before that movies were revamping the original stories. From the recent reimaginings of the Star Trek or X-Men franchises to the complete and total “you got it wrong so Imma gonna fix it” film adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans, movies have often taken “liberties” with the author’s original intentions, often to the fans delight or chagrin.
Once again the Raspberry Pi Foundation Education Team is taking Picademy, the official Raspberry Pi professional development course for teachers, on the road. This time to the North, thanks to our friends at the National STEM Centre in York!
Picademy North will take place on 26 and 27 May 2015 and we have space for 24 enthusiastic teachers from primary, secondary and post-16 who are open to getting hands-on with their learning and having some fun. It is our hope, by running this event in York, that we will reach those teaching in locations that are not already represented by Raspberry Pi Certified Educators.
Picademy is free to attend and applications are open to all teachers from around the world as long as you can fund your own travel and accommodation. If you have applied before but been unsuccessful, please apply again. Our selection process is based on keeping a good mix of gender, location, type of school and so on. We often identify those who have applied more than once to give a place on the course.
If you are interested in taking part and becoming a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator then complete this Picademy application form.
Yesterday I shared this news with the thousands of educators signed up to our education newsletter and was overwhelmed by the positive responses – and I promise there isn’t a Yorkshire bias here, whatever anyone thinks!
E Ink made a name for themselves in the e-reader industry since the very first Kindle and Sony e-readers. Reading on these devices were easy on the eyes and the battery life was amazing. E Ink has found that exclusively relying on e-paper sales is a losing proposition and they had to diversify. One growth avenue has been digital signage, which now accounts for 15% of their sales. Today, Visionect and E Ink have announced a new generation of development kits to enable the fast development of battery powered and wireless digital signs. The kits are specifically targeted for indoor and outdoor display systems where power and readability are key requirements.
"These signage kits are the ideal tool for any signage integrator," said Matej Zalar, CEO of Visionect. "Not only can they be used for prototyping a signage system, but also for the development of the final system design. The kits make it possible for a design team to quickly start deploying content on ePaper right out of the box."
Visionect has integrated its intelligent hardware and software platform with E Ink 9.7 and 13.3 inch e-Paper screens to create wireless connected signs that depict crisp images while consuming very little power. The easy-to-use development kits are perfect for hassle-free prototyping on E Ink's technology and are the shortest path to a proof-of-concept prototype, demo or a pilot in a custom signage project.
Visionect's development kits feature Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, with a 9.7" E Ink PearlTM display with a 1200 x 825 pixel resolution, or a 13.3"Pearl display with 1600 x 1200 pixels and 16 level grayscale. Monitoring and managing the signs takes place using the Web browser on your smartphone, tablet device or computer. The digital signs' hardware is precisely optimized for the lowest power consumption possible; paired with intelligent software that improves energy use even further, it enables the electronic paper to easily run on a solar panel.
I think these new development kits will allow people to think outside of the box. How about parking signs, keypads to open doors, meeting room signup forms, or digital menus?
E Ink Releases Development Kits for Digital Signage is a post from: Good e-Reader
Have you ever said something you later regretted? Daring Fireball’s John Gruber had a moment like this recently when he proclaimed that Apple was responsible for inventing the USB-C standard (forgetting that its creation also included a few other companies, like: AMD, Dell, Foxconn, Google, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, Seagate, Tektronics, Texas instruments and VIA Technologies). As you can likely imagine, the tech community was more than happy to point out his error.
In his own defense, Gruber tried to explain that he didn’t mean to insinuate Apple did it alone (just that they ‘basically did’). He probably could have (should have) stopped there, but he attempted to further clarify his remarks by saying USB-C is a very Apple-like design (because it is a thin, multi-tasking, reversible connector that reduces the ports required on ultra-slim laptops).
When asked why Apple isn’t taking more of the credit for USB-C on their own, Gruber suggests it is all about politics. For the new standard to see widespread adoption, public perception can’t paint this as an ‘Apple technology’.
Truth be told, it is nice to see a high-profile blogger like Gruber making the odd mistake. Unfortunately, enough people heard his initial remarks that this is now a part of Apple’s landscape.
USB-C consolidates a host of other connectors into a single port, including: power, USB, display, HDMI, and VGA. Despite accusations that it will require the purchase of expensive adapters for all of these peripherals, it also opens up a world of possibility for accessories and devices.
Now, if you will permit me to make a (hopeful) observation of my own regarding USB-C: once this technology has been added to upcoming versions of Apple’s iPad, the lack-of-USB-port criticism will hopefully become obsolete.