Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Classic Arcade Title Fatal Fury Special Released for Android, iOS


It makes me sad when I think that my kids will never know the joy of plugging quarters into a machine deep inside a dark (and usually dingy) arcade. Gaming was different then, in a way I can’t explain… the closest I can come is to say we were somehow grateful for new titles (and we certainly didn’t imagine a time when we’d carry them in our pockets and play them in the palms of our hands). I think that’s why the geeks among us get so excited when a legendary arcade title like Fatal Fury Special makes a debut on mobile devices.

Described a one of the most highly praised Fatal Fury titles, this edition was highly successful in arcades (circa the early 1990’s; modern by my personal standards, but wesome enough to overlook that fact) and comes as an update to Fatal Fury 2 (though the developers insist it shouldn’t be seen as a sequel).

Led by iconic protagonist Terry Bogart, Fatal Fury Special is a fantastic entry into the fighting game genre –complete with added combos, 16 fighters, versus battles that let you challenge your friends via Bluetooth, and a new 6-button arcade layout. Many early adopters are complaining about a lack of external controller support, but it is a solid game despite that oversight.

It will cost you a little less than $5 to give it a try, but grab Fatal Fury Special now if you’re in the mood to replay an oldie but a goodie.

Classic Arcade Title Fatal Fury Special Released for Android, iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Chapters Bookstores Now Requires ID to Redeem Loyalty Points


Chapters is the largest bookstore chain in Canada and the company has quietly implemented a new policy.  If anyone is trying to redeem points via their loyalty cards to get discounts on books,  magazines or newspapers they now have to show government ID.

Apparently Chapters has been seeing an influx of unscrupulous people who use stolen loyalty cards in order to receive free books. This has promoted a mandate for most Chapters bookstores in major urban centers to now prompt customers to see their drivers license, passport, provincial ID or Nexus cards for verification.

The Chapters loyalty card has a ceiling limit of $100 and once you attain that level of free points, you cannot earn anymore.  This is primarily done for security, but it looks like the bookstore is going one step further and making people have to prove who they say they are.

I don’t know If i like this new policy. I visit various Chapters bookstores in Vancouver every week to buy stuff. Whenever I make purchases I am always getting gilt tripped into donating to their underprivileged reading campaigns. So basically I can donate money, I can pay money, but if I want to redeem $5.00 to get a small discount its now this big thing to prove to them who I say I am. What is next? Retina scans to buy books? Maybe I should just buy exclusively from Amazon.

Chapters Bookstores Now Requires ID to Redeem Loyalty Points is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle v4.8 For iOS Adds Flashcards to iPhone, iPod Touch


Amazon has been busy this last while, the latest measure of this work being an update to their Kindle iOS app. In addition to changes that promise improvements to stability and performance, students will enjoy iPhone and iPod Touch support for the well-loved Flashcards for Print Replica format textbooks functionality (there things were available for the iPad before, the restriction to which seemed rather arbitrary and unnecessary).

Think of Flashcards as a high-powered study-aid, allowing students to test their memory for key terms and concepts. Flashcards can be made automatically using the X-Ray file from a book, but can also be customized using personalized notes (with edit an delete functionality for each).

Also added for iOS users is the “Before You Go” experience, that offers suggestions for readers based on the book they just finished (plus options for learning more about the current material).

Most people would agree that the long-term reading experience on an iPhone or iPod Touch isn’t comfortable or convenient, but having access to Flashcards while on the go could be incredibly valuable.

Kindle v4.8 For iOS Adds Flashcards to iPhone, iPod Touch is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Prime Instant Video Arrives on Android Tablets


Android users have been able to stream Amazon Prime Instant Video to their smartphones for some time now, but finally the app is tablet-compatible (for those who don’t have Kindle Fire hardware).

To make it work, grab the Amazon Instant Video app (which is free, but you are still going to need a subscription to the Prime service of course). From there, just visit by way of your favourite web browser and select ‘Watch Now’ to load your choice into the Prime Instant Video app.

It’s still a multi-step process (which seems a little archaic, frankly), but at least it isn’t the series of band-aid fixes and work-arounds that it used to be.

So why the change? Only Amazon knows for sure and they aren’t saying… but it seems that they are suddenly placing more value in the monies brought in by Prime subscriptions than those coming from hardware sales (which seems wise, given their lacklustre results). No matter the reason, I just became 100% more likely to subscribe.

Amazon Prime Instant Video Arrives on Android Tablets is a post from: Good e-Reader

Oyster Launches New e-Book Store


Oyster is well known in the US as being one of the few companies that participate in the Netflix for e-books space. The company has the support of a number of notable publishers and currently competes heavily against their arch-rival Scribd. Today, in a big to differentiate itself for the competition, Oyster has just launched a new digital bookstore.

Publishers have been tepid about e-book subscription services, the ones who have committed themselves to it, have primarily done it with older titles. This might be fine with people who like binge read, but what about all the bestsellers and new releases?

Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster have all contributed their entire catalog of e-books to the new Oyster bookstore.  Oyster is betting that their existing subscribers will stick with the them to purchase the books they don’t have in their current catalog.

I think the one interesting thing Oyster is getting out of this, is likely an influx of new customers who are tired of all the drama with Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Obviously Oyster will never compete against these two companies, but it certainly gives them an edge over the other e-book subscription services out there.

Oyster launched in 2013 and exclusively is doing business solely in the US market. They currently have 500,000 e-Books in their portfolio and membership costs $10 per month. They raised over $14 million dollars from a number of venture capital companies and are not profitable yet and rely on their funding to continue doing business.

Oyster Launches New e-Book Store is a post from: Good e-Reader

Cengage Learning, EveryLibrary Partner on Awareness Campaign

It’s no secret that libraries need all the help they can get, and a new campaign by two industry powerhouses stands to provide some much needed awareness and bipartisan protection for these valuable community resources. Gale, a division of one of the country’s top educational content, technology, and services company Cengage Learning, has partnered with political action group EveryLibrary on a media campaign to help keep citizens informed about the vital resource that is their library.

"Libraries are the heart of communities and that is why advocacy has been a core part of Gale since it was founded over 60 years ago," said Lisa Spicko, vice president of marketing at Gale, in a press release. "Our innovative campaigns on behalf of libraries, such as our recent My Library Story community which pledged a national promotion for libraries, led to the establishment of this partnership that will highlight the unique benefits only libraries and librarians can offer."

"Gale has an amazing commitment to supporting library advocacy that works," added John Chrastka, founder and executive director of EveryLibrary. “We know from our campaigns how important it is to talk to voters about the relevance of libraries and librarians to business development – both locally and nationally. This support from Gale will help us communicate effectively about business reference not only to local starters and entrepreneurs, but also across the country to the incubators, accelerators, and venture funds that power the next generation of business development in this country.”

Interestingly, Americans may already recognize the value of libraries, even if they don’t take full advantage of them and even if lawmakers aren’t as eager to support them. A Pew Internet study has shown that “94% of Americans said that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community” and “81% of Americans ages 16 and older say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere,” although the same survey that led to those findings found that only 54% of Americans had used a library in that past year. That clearly demonstrates that even those who don’t have a reason to visit a library for themselves can see the need to keep the doors open for those who don’t otherwise have access to the services that a library can provide.


Cengage Learning, EveryLibrary Partner on Awareness Campaign is a post from: Good e-Reader

Viz Media Now Offering Grenadier and Red Hot Chili Samurai Digital Mangas!


On Tuesday, Viz Media, the largest manga distributor in North America, announced that it will now be offering the classic manga series Grenadier by Sousuke Kaise as well as Red Hot Chili Samurai manga series by Yoshitsugu Katagiri on it’s digital roster.

Grenadier follows the beautiful Rushuna, a gun expert with the goal of traveling around the world to make it a more peaceful place. Instead of fighting with weapons, Rushuna’s task is to simply take people’s will to fight by simply offering a kind smile however when left with no other choice, this gal has no problem showing off her amazing gun skills.

Sousuke Kaise launched the action manga in Kadokawa Shonen Ace magazine in 2003 with the seventh and last volume ended in May 2005 while Tokyopop picked up the first volume in English in 2003 the seventh and last volume wasn’t released until August 2008. Viz is planning to release the first digital volume of Grenadier on April 21st.


Red Hot Chili Samurai follows Kokaku, a flashy casual dressing, lazy samurai. Though Kokaku may be lazy, he has no compassion for the wicked, often sneaking into gambling dens and pavilions to beat up the baddies! But his key trait… the amount of love he has for chili peppers!

Yoshitsugu Katagiri serialized Red Hot Chili Samurai series in Kadokawa’s Bean Ace magazine from 2007 until the magazine ended it’s publication in October 2009. The manga then was picked up in Monthly Asuka in 2010. The final volume was then published in August 2010. Both Tokyopop and Jmanga then liscensed the manga and had released four volumes in North America before it had announced that it would be shut down. This time around, we know viz won’t be going anywhere so we can now begin reading the series from start to finish beginning on April 28th!

If you want to check out Viz and all the other awesome titles they have, go on over to the website!

Viz Media Now Offering Grenadier and Red Hot Chili Samurai Digital Mangas! is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Glo HD Available for Pre-Order; Plus Quick Video Review

Yesterday Kobo officially announced their latest new ebook reader, the Kobo Glo HD. It’s claim to fame is the fact that it comes with a 300 ppi E Ink Carta display, the latest and greatest screen technology from E Ink. The Glo HD also features an adjustable frontlight to help illuminate the 6-inch screen, it […]

Oyster Launches New eBook Store, But It’s a Walled Garden

Today Oyster announced that they’ve just opened the doors on their new ebook store, where they sell ebooks from all the major publishers. Right now the store is only available to residents in the United States, but Oyster is expected to begin expanding internationally later this year. Previously Oyster only offered ebooks through a monthly […]

Growing things in the (mushroom) cloud*

We’re getting quite excited about horticulture here at Pi Towers this year; Rachel’s got a desktop greenhouse growing interesting edible leaves with a high degree of Raspberry Pi involvement (we’ll have much more on that, and on how she’s scaling it into a bigger installation you’ll be able to visit, in a month or so). I’m waiting for a warm weekend to set up a new owl box, with Pi camera, in my garden; and there’s another Pi camera deployed in the direction of the plants on my desk so I can check that Clive doesn’t forget to water them again next time I have to go overseas.

(The best) part of Rachel's Pi garden setup.

(The best) part of Rachel’s Pi garden setup.

Green plants benefit from a spot of automated attention from a Raspberry Pi to their water levels, UV light levels and the length of their “day”, and temperature. Kyle Gabriel has been applying a similar process to mycology, automating the cultivation of mushrooms with a Raspberry Pi.

Mushrooms’ needs are not the same as those of Rachel’s salad vegetables; the Pi overseeing a mushroom farm needs to be paying attention to CO2 levels, temperature and humidity, among other things. (Fun mushroom-raising fact: if you’ve got a log prepped with shiitake spores, you’ll need to shock it to get it to start to fruit, either by hitting it hard with a hammer, or submerging it in really, really cold water for a couple of days.)

Kyle’s setup, which heats, humidifies and introduces filtered, sterile air into the mushrooms’ environment, outputs data on temperature, humidity, dew point and how long the setup has been running to a browser, creating handsome graphs to reassure the user that everything is tickety-boo inside the mushroom box.


The results don’t speak for themselves, because they’re mushrooms, and mushrooms are vocally challenged. But they look pretty darn tasty.


Kyle has made a full build diary and detailed explanation of what’s going on in the chamber available at his website. Thanks Kyle!

*A long argument has been going on this afternoon over whether we should have gone with this title, or changed it to “A Fun Guy to be with”. Please let us know your preference in the comments.

Get Brian Grazer’s A Curious Mind free from Simon & Schuster!

Simon and Schuster is doing something very curious. For every eBook and print sale of the new release , A Curious Mind, by Brian Grazer from April 7 – April 18, Simon and Schuster will donate one eBook copy of the title to a school or public library (up to 5,000 copies). And what's more – Simon and Schuster will randomly select 10 winners from the list of registered libraries to win an autographed copy of the book. You can sign up for a chance to be one of the 5,000 winners here.

Please note that completing registration does not guarantee a free copy of the book. Full terms and conditions can be found on the registration page.

Brian Grazer is the producer of A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Splash, Arrested Development, 24, 8 Mile, Empire, and J. Edgar, among others. His films and TV shows have been nominated for forty-three Academy Awards and 149 Emmys. In 2007, he was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World. A CURIOUS MIND, his first book, was published by Simon & Schuster on April 7, 2015.

You can start reading the title below:

Overdrive now Allows Libraries to Pre-order eBooks Six Months in Advance


The digital collection manager is chiefly responsible for insuring there are enough audiobooks, e-books, music and videos available for their patrons to borrow. In the past, they did not have much flexibility in ordering ebook titles in advance. Basically, whenever they showed up in the Overdrive Marketplace, that was when they could place an order. The process has become more robust, with the ability to order digital books six months in advance.

Librarians can now be considered the smartest book nerds around. They will be well informed about the new Stephen King and Mary Higgins Clark books are due out, before their friends even hear about the news.

One of the big benefits about this new program is that your library won't be invoiced for these titles until the street date. In order to build hype around a potential bestseller, libraries can take advance of the Curated Collections tool to promote them on their websites.

via Overdrive

Overdrive now Allows Libraries to Pre-order eBooks Six Months in Advance is a post from: Good e-Reader