Friday, April 24, 2015

The Kobo Glo HD Has a Hidden SD Card


The Kobo Glo HD is a new e-reader and its purpose is to heavily compete against the Amazon Kindle Voyage. When we received our early review unit there was no evidence of an SD card to boost the internal storage, which alienated users who want to store more books. When we removed the back plate off of the Glo HD we did find an SD Card, but it comes with a catch.

The Kobo Glo HD does not have any internal memory, the entire operating system and proprietary Kobo files are stored on a 4 GB Sandisk SD card. We tried cloning the OS and put it on a 2 GB SD and a 16 GB SD and the e-reader failed to boot properly. We also verified that there were no hidden files preventing it from working, but all of the files are clearly visible.

Right now it does not seem very likely that users will be able to put their own SD cards into the Kobo Glo HD and have the e-reader function correctly. Instead, this is a boon for the hacker community that wants to write their own programs and software enhancements for expanded features.

It is very important to note that if you decide to take the back cover off your Kobo Glo HD, make sure there is no moisture or dust. As you can see from the picture above, there is an exposed circuit board and can likely result in device failure.

There has been mixed messages between Kobo and their various marketing channels. Some reference there is SD card support, while others fail to mention it at all. We have found there is an SD card, but the average user will not be able to take advantage of it and expand their memory.

The Kobo Glo HD Has a Hidden SD Card is a post from: Good e-Reader

“When Marnie Was There” Coming To More Theatres


It’s been almost a year since Studio Ghibli’s film ‘When Marnie Was There’ came out in Japanese theatres. Now, North American fans are getting the chance, as the GKids English dub of the movie is coming to select theatres starting May 22.

The film is adapted from the novel of the same name, changing the setting to Japan instead of Great Britain. It follows a girl name Anna, who moves up to a small seaside town to live with relatives. Tomboyish and shy, Anna soon makes a mysterious friend named Marnie, who lives in a house on the marsh that changes between dilapidated and abandoned, to vibrant and full of life.

The film holds a special place in the hearts of Ghibli fans. This is the last film produced after Ghibli announced their short hiatus, taken after the release of The Tale of Princess Kaguya. The hiatus, combined with the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki, means that this could potentially be the last feature film by Studio Ghibli. Almost every child in the world has been touched by Ghibli’s films, from My Neighbour Totoro to Spirited Away. If this really is the last film of a company that reached so many lives, you should be sure to see Studio Ghibli's last hurrah.

Have a look at the theatres and dates below and see if ‘When Marnie Was There’ is coming around to a theatre near you!

May 22:
-New York, NY – IFC Center
-Los Angeles, CA – Landmark Nuart

May 29:
-Toronto, ON – TIFF Bell Lightbox
-Vancouver, BC – Vancity Theatre
-Pasadena, CA – Laemmle Playhouse
-Encino, CA – Laemmle Town Center
-Irvine, CA – University Town Center

June 5:
-San Francisco, CA – Landmark Embarcadero
-Berkeley, CA – Landmark Shattuck Cinemas
-Philadelphia, PA – Landmark Ritz at the Bourse
-Boston, MA – Landmark Kendall Square
-Minneapolis, MN – Landmark Theatres TBD
-Denver, CO – Landmark Theatres TBD
-Portland, OR – Regal Fox Tower
-Austin, TX – Regal Arbor at Great Hills
-Phoenix, AZ – Harkins Valley Art
-Santa Cruz, CA – The Nick
-Montréal, QC – Cinéma du Parc
-Montréal, QC – Cinéma Beaubien (in French)
-Québec City, QC – Cinéma Le Clap (in French)
-Sherbrooke, QC – Maison du Cinema (in French)

June 12:
-Washington, DC – Landmark E Street Cinema
-Salt Lake City, UT – Broadway Centre Cinemas
-Providence, RI – Cable Car Cinema
-Columbus, OH – Gateway Film Center
-Pittsburgh, PA – Regent Square Theatre
-Knoxville, TN – Regal Downtown West
-Charlotte, NC – Regal Park Terrace
-Tucson, AZ – The Loft Cinema
-Santa Fe, NM – Regal DeVargas
-Amherst, MA – Amherst Cinema

June 19:
-St Louis, MO – Landmark Plaza Frontenac
-Indianapolis, IN – Landmark Keystone Art

June 21:
-Atlanta, GA – Landmark Midtown Art

Watch the GKids trailer below!

“When Marnie Was There” Coming To More Theatres is a post from: Good e-Reader

BookShout Partners with Cheerios for Free e-books


Bookshout has a novel business model, partner up with established companies to give away free e-books. The company has just ironed out a new literacy campaign with Cheerios to give away free titles from Karma Wilson, Frank Asch, Andrew Clement, Ashley Wolff, John Lithgow and Lenore and Daniel Jenneweinarma Wilson, Frank Asch, Andrew Clement, Ashley Wolff, John Lithgow and Lenore and Daniel Jennewein.

Since 2003 Simon & Schuster has put physical book titles inside Cheerios boxes for their Cheer on Reading program. This is the first time ever that 8.4 million e-books will be given away, which cuts down on production costs. The free titles can be read with Bookshouts line of apps for iOS, Android, Kindle or Nook apps.

The one big problem with this campaign is that physical titles can be kept, read and collected. S&S, Cheerios and Bookshout all assume that people have tablets or smartphone.If Bookshout were to ever go out of business, like so many other e-book startups, all of the digital books will simply disappear.

BookShout Partners with Cheerios for Free e-books is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Aura VS Kobo Glo HD Comfortlight Test


The Kobo Aura and Kobo Glo HD both have an illuminated screen. This allows you to read in the dark or other low-light conditions. The source of “comfortlight” as Kobo likes to call it is 5 LED lights on the bottom of the bezel that project light upwards. Today, we give you a sense on how these two e-readers perform.

Both of these e-readers have innovative ways to control the brightness of the screen. The Kobo Aura allows you to drag two fingers down on the center of the screen to adjust the minimum and maximum brightness levels. The Glo HD on the other hand recognizes a single finger dragging down on the left-hand side to adjust the brightness. These two things are certainly easier than constantly having to access the light icon on the settings menu.

Kobo Aura VS Kobo Glo HD Comfortlight Test is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Glo HD Reviews Roundup (Videos)

Since Kobo has little interest in the US market, I won’t be able to post a hands-on review of the new Kobo Glo HD, I wanted to up together a roundup of reviews from some of the European ebook reader websites that have already posted them. These reviews aren’t in English but you can use […]

The-eBook-Reader Won’t Be Reviewing the Kobo Glo HD

This is just a quick note to mention that I won’t be posting a dedicated hands-on review of the Kobo Aura HD on I’ve posted reviews, video walkthroughs, tutorials, and comparisons of all the different Kobo ebook readers released up until now, but the Kobo Glo HD is where that ends. Kobo apparently has […]

OpenBooks Lets You Download eBooks Then Pay What You Want After Reading

If you are tired of paying high prices for ebooks that you later find out aren’t worth the time to read, then might be an alternative worth looking into. OpenBooks is an independent ebook store that lets readers download ebooks for free without commitments, and then you decide how much you want to pay […]

New Kindle Direct Publishing Dashboard to Help Indie Authors

KDP Dashboard
Amazon is famous for surprising its authors with new features, new offers, and newly revamped designs, all while keeping quiet about it. Past moves have included adding whole new sales territories in foreign countries, and only revealing to authors that their books were available in Mexico, for example, when they found the country listed on their sales dashboards. It’s akin to the non-announcement that KDP Select titles were going to be available as part of Kindle Unlimited, a move that had some authors crying foul and lost revenue.

Hopefully the newly launched KDP dashboard–albeit possibly temporary, per a statement on the dashboard itself–won’t be quite so surprising to authors, although it will certainly take a little getting used to.

Amazon’s dashboard now features a more streamlined, white space look, with a lot of the info that authors need tucked away behind clickable buttons. The status of each book (ie, Live, Draft, or unpublished) is prominently stated next to the title, along with the book’s publication date.

Right off the bat, the first complaint about the new look is that this is information that authors don’t need, at least not in the way that it’s displayed. A book that was once live but has now been taken down, for example, won’t come as a surprise to the author who removed it from Amazon’s shelves, so why dedicate so much of the screen to informing an author that his book is available for purchase? Isn’t that why he’s checking his sales dashboard in the first place? And why does an indie author need the publication date of his own book, especially since it can be called up right from the Amazon sales page for that title?

Another key change that can be confusing is the right-hand buttons that offer different options, depending on the KDP Select status of the book. If a title is enrolled in Amazon’s exclusive program, the button to the right says “Promote and advertise,” but if the book is not enrolled, the button says, “Edit book details.” Authors who are used to seeing a very prominent indicator of where to take advantage of KDP Select opportunities may be confused about “promoting and advertising,” and may also wonder if they no longer have the option to edit anything about their title if it’s enrolled in Select.

Finally, there is a comparatively tiny box at the end of the book’s details box that simply contains three dots. It’s now a recognizable icon for the “More” option, but knowing that a lot of authors have come at self-publishing rather late in the game means that many of them won’t think to look for some really crucial options hidden away in that box.

Overall, the look of the dashboard is “cleaner,” but it may not achieve the goal that Amazon is looking for. Even more confusing is the box at the top of the dashboard that informs authors this is only a test model for the new dashboard. It states, “Welcome to your new Bookshelf!We’re testing an improved Bookshelf and hope you enjoy the new look. As we test, you may see this Bookshelf or the earlier version.” That type of phrasing usually indicates you can click a button to see the older version of the dashboard or website, but that’s not the case here. Even more ambiguously, authors might see the new version or they might see the old version, depending on what Amazon is doing that day.

Once the bugs are worked out and authors become used to this new format, this will all surely become a non-issue. In the meantime, authors would do well to work through the new format and get used to it so that when need arises for a sudden or immediate change, they’re well versed in how their own dashboards work.

New Kindle Direct Publishing Dashboard to Help Indie Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

Plotter made from scrap computer parts

Our old friend HomoFaciens (who has the best voice of any Raspberry Pi user we’ve met) has another fantastic piece of work to share. He’s recycled old optical drives for their stepper motors, and made a tiny plotter, controlled over WiFi, from those motors, a servo, four H-bridges and a Raspberry Pi.

HF has made a full writeup, including all the source code you’ll need, available at his website. As always, he’s also made the whole video and writeup available in German. HomoFaciens’ website is one of those bits of the internet you’ll find yourself wandering around for ages if you’re even slightly interested in this sort of thing. He’s got some fascinating stuff on there; I heartily recommend giving one of his camera-equipped robots a spin via the web interface they’re hooked up to. (No prizes for guessing which is my favourite.)

If you decide to make your own plotter, be aware that not all old optical drives have stepper motors – HomoFaciens’ hit rate was about 50% when he started pulling them apart.

Books for dog lovers

We all know librarians love them some cats, but I have a confession: I'm a total dog person! The first book I ever checked out from the library was The Poky Little Puppy. Growing up, we always had dogs and they were treated as family (actually, they 1172040_202036763316057_2119235193_nwere treated better than family). They went everywhere with us; my dad's German Shepard, Junior, rode on the lawnmower with him. Once I moved out on my own, I was desperate for a furry companion but my apartment did not allow pets. I lived vicariously through my friends by spoiling their dogs and filling my phone with pictures of them (I even have a painting of my best friend's beagle, Betty Davis). On Halloween 2013 the timing was finally right for me to get a puppy of my own. I still remember picking up my sweet shih-tzu/pit mix, Fancy (pictured), from the Mineral County Humane Society. She immediately wriggled into my lap and covered my face in kisses. She is the best Halloween treat I could ever receive and I can't imagine my life without her now. Like other pet parents, I truly think of her as my child. If you're a fellow dog devotee, you'll love these titles:

Dog Shaming by Pascale Lemire – Based on the popular blog, this book lets us laugh at the embarrassing, shameful, and gross things our beloved fuzz butts sometimes put us through (like eating the tv remote and two replacement remotes).

I Could Chew on This by Francesco Mariculiano – If your dog had opposable thumbs and could write poetry, this book would be the result.

Shiloh – A young boy rescues a beagle from an abusive owner in this touching tale. Bonus: this book is set in my home state! Montani Semper Liberi!

Underwater Puppies by Seth Casteel – This collection of photos featuring submerged puppies will kill you by overload of cuteness.

Title availability may vary across platforms and regions.

Michelle Ross is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive and is the proud owner of the most adorable dog in the world.