Friday, July 3, 2015

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kindle Paperwhite 2


Amazon has just released their latest e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite 3. Whenever a new product comes to the market people often wonder what the primary differences are between it and the previous generation. Today, we take a look at the Kindle Paperwhite 3 and the Paperwhite 2.

In the video below we document the subtle hardware differences between the two models and how the new Bookerly font compares to Caecilia. These two e-readers have dramatic differences in terms of resolution and you will see it for yourselves when we read e-books and PDF files. Finally, we look at reading in complete darkness via the front-lit displays and take them out in direct sunlight.

Happy 4th of July reads!

The 4th of July is a great time to spend with family and friends, having cookouts, watching fireworks, and enjoying an eBook or two!  Take advantage of the holiday and use your OverDrive account to learn a bit more about the founding of the U.S.A. from these collections put together by OD's staff librarians.

Lovers of American history will enjoy The Quartet by Joseph J. Ellis, the true story of the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and how America came to be run today.

For our younger readers, Women Heroes of the American Revolution by Susan Casey is a great insight into the unsung female patriots who helped form our country!

Patriotic Reads for the 4th of July

Juv/YA Patriotic Reads



Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kobo Glo HD Comparison Review (Video)

Back in May I posted a comparison review between the Kindle Voyage and Kobo Glo HD. At the time they were the only two ebook readers to use E Ink’s new 300 ppi Carta screens. Now that the Kindle Paperwhite 3 has just been upgraded to use the same exact screen, it’s time to throw […]

Climate control

If you’re in the UK this week, you’ll hear a lot of people muttering darkly about the big yellow ball in the sky, and how they’re having to mist the bed with water in order to get it cool enough to sleep, or steal fans from their children’s bedrooms, or make makeshift beds on the cool tiled floor in the kitchen out of cushions. (All overheard at Pi Towers yesterday.)

And Jon is wearing three-quarter length trousers.


The UK, you see, does’t really do summer. So this week’s egg-cookingly hot heatwave has had us all wishing we had air conditioning – while it’s pretty standard these days in offices, nobody (apart from my mother, who has a mobile unit she calls Mr Freeze because she is awesome like that) really has one at home, unlike those of you in countries whose summers last longer than the standard British week. Mark my words. Next week it’ll be raining again.

The outlay for an air conditioning unit at home is pretty big – they’re unusual, so not very cheap here – but there are options. You can build your own 12v evaporative unit very cheaply, with a PC fan, a bucket, an aquarium pump and some inexpensive electronics and bits and bobs from the homewares shop: this version comes in at about £40. You can take it a step further and add a cheap thermostatic switch.


And, of course, now you’re equipped with an air conditioner that you have made with your own hands, you can start to automate your house. Because that’s what we do here when we’re not spraying the bed sheets and wearing trousers which display our calves.

If you’re taking cooling seriously, you should be looking not just at active cooling like the orange bucket swamp cooler; but also at stopping the heat from building up in the first place. Chris Rieger from Australia has a neat and simple home automation project that controls his blinds as well as his air conditioning. (If you have curtains, you can automate those too – see this project from Jamie Scott, which would be easy to incorporate into Chris’s system in place of the blinds mechanism.)

Chris has made a neat little GUI you can use to control the system over a web interface, with the ability to automate by time or temperature, or to manually turn the system on or off. Full instructions are available at his website.

So really, Great Britain, you’ve got no excuses to keep complaining. I expect to see you all ripping out old PC fans and buying buckets at Homebase this weekend.


The post Climate control appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New Barnes and Noble CEO Will Kill NooK


Barnes and Noble has lost over one billion dollars on trying to make the Nook brand into a viable business model. Since 2009 the largest bookseller in the US has gone through two CEO’s and has just announced they have hired their third, Ron Boire, who starts this September. It looks like the Nook brand is in seriously jeopardy.

Boire—who has only been CEO of the faltering Sears Canada department store chain for the last ten months has kept the store in business by closing retail locations and axing thousands of job will be the new CEO of Barnes and Noble. His number one priority with the company is to stem the blood loss from the ailing Nook division. Last week Barnes and Noble announced that Nook hardware and e-books sales fell 40% in the three months ending May 2 and declined 48% year on year.

Before being the CEO of Sears, Ron was CEO of Brookstone, a chain that improved on his watch but nevertheless filed for bankruptcy protection two years after he left. From 2003 to 2006 he worked at Best Buy and he was responsible for global technology and vendor management, global sourcing, and private label development. And in his 17 years at Sony he had tech experience in personal mobile products.

Obviously Ron has an impressive resume but an entire digital industry passed him by. He was not actively working in tech when the original iPad came out, or the first generation Kindle. He did not play a role when people gravitated away from visiting websites and a billion dollar app market developed. It remains highly dubious that he can fundamentally understand the core of the Nook business and their competition.

As an outsider I think Ron will quickly realize what type of financial black hole Nook really is and not feel any loyalties towards it. It is my belief that he will abandon hardware and accessories and focus on audiobooks and e-books, which have low overhead and high profit margins.

Ron starts the job this September and likely there will be a period in which no major decisions will be made. I have it on good authority that a new Nook e-reader is in development and should be announced in September or October. This might be the last, at least there should be no shortage of Nook related news in the next calendar year.