Monday, July 13, 2015

Best New Anime You Need to Watch – Summer 2015


Many of the top anime that debuted in the Spring is now over and a slew of new shows are just starting. Most of them are completely terrible, but there are number that are actually really solid. Today, we look at the top 10 new anime to debut on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

Actually, I am – Asahi Kuromine is a high school student who supposedly cannot keep a secret. One day he spots his crush Yoko Shiragami, unfurling a large pair of wings from her back. She explains to him that she is a vampire and is only able to attend a normal school on the condition that no one discover her true identity. Asahi swears to keep her secret but finds it hard to maintain seeing as how Yoko herself is an airhead and Asahi’s friend Mikan keeps bullying the two of them. Eventually, he discovers more girls in his school with secrets of their own: a tiny alien who rides a human-sized exoskeleton of herself, a werewolf capable of switching gender at any depiction of a moon, a thousand-year-old demon who secretly runs the school, and more who pose a challenge as Asahi tries to keep Yoko’s secret.

Gatchaman Crowds – “Gatchaman” is the general term for warriors who wear special power suits called NOTE, which are manifestations of special spiritual powers possessed by living beings. The Gatchaman force on Earth consists of aliens who have been dispatched by a council and Earthlings who have been scouted for their latent abilities, all of whom work together to protect Earth’s people and resources from alien criminals who have invaded the planet in violation of the probation enforced by the council. Most recently, their main duty is dealing with MESS, a mysterious entity about which even the council has little knowledge.

MONSTER MUSUME EVERYDAY LIFE WITH MONSTER GIRLS – Three years ago, the world learned that harpies, centaurs, catgirls, and all manners of fabulous creatures are not merely fiction; they are flesh and blood – not to mention scale, feather, horn, and fang. Thanks to the “Cultural Exchange Between Species Act,” these once-mythical creatures have assimilated into society, or at least, they’re trying.

GANGSTA. – In the city of Ergastulum, which is run by four crime families, a pair of “Handymen” provide a service doing dirty jobs for anyone who calls and hires them. A fifth power tries to gain a foothold within the city.

Sky Wizards Academy – Forced to retreat to floating cities due to an invasion of magical armored insects, humanity must now depend on Sky Wizards to battle the menace via mid-air battles. Once known as the "Black Master Swordsman," Kanata Age is now considered a traitor and is assigned to lead an F-class of mismatched mages. Misora Whitale has all the enthusiasm to be a leader, but she's failed 100 consecutive tests. Rico Flamel is a genius sniper, but she's a little self-absorbed, and Lecty Eisenach is a candidate with all the ambition but zero confidence. It's up to Kanata Age to train the troubled trio to become accomplished Sky Wizards.

Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Senyaku – The story takes place in Huanli (the Year of Dazzling) 3015. Donatia and Kouran, two countries fighting for supremacy, are causing the world to be torn apart due to the constant war. Amidst the strife is the island country Nil Kamui, which has lost its independence. Red Dragon, the guardian god of Nil Kamui, goes out of control. Will the island country be able to regain its independence?

Classroom ☆ Crisis – Fourth Tokyo–one of Japan's new prefectures on Mars. Kirishina City, Fourth Tokyo's special economic zone, is home to the Kirishina Corporation, an elite corporation renowned for its aerospace business. The company has been expanding its market share in various industries, while also running a private school, the Kirishina Science and Technology Academy High School. That alone would make it unique, but there's also a high-profile class on campus.

Ted Cruz Memoir in a Battle with the New York Times


U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has a new memoir has been climbing the online bestseller lists. Despite its strong multi-week performance the New York Times has refused to put it on its own bestseller list, citing that bulk sales account for the majority of purchases. This has promoted HarperCollins and Amazon to proclaim they find no evidence of anything shady going on.

When political books first come out, they often climb to the top of the bestseller lists due to bulk purchases being made by people in their party or lobby groups who want to see media spotlight on their boy. The Cruz book is a bit of an anomaly though, because all of the sales seem to be organic.

On Sunday, Sarah Gelman, Amazon’s director of press relations said that the company’s sales data showed no evidence of unusual bulk purchase activity, casting further doubt on the Times’ claim that the book — “A Time for Truth” — had been omitted from its list because sales had been driven by “strategic bulk purchases.

“As of yesterday, ‘A Time for Truth’ was the number 13 best-selling book, and there is no evidence of unusual bulk purchase activity in our sales data.”

HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, also found issue with the New York Times omission of the book. They said they have investigated the sales pattern and found “no evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization.” Moments after that announcement, Cruz’s campaign issued a press release accusing the Times of lying and calling on the paper to provide evidence of bulk purchasing or else formally apologize.

"A Time for Truth,” which was published on June 30, sold 11,854 copies in its first week — more than 18 of the 20 titles on the Times best-seller list for the week ending July 4, according to Nielsen Bookscan. If you look at all of the sales numbers, Cruz’s book would have finished at number three on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction category. However, the Times informed HarperCollins last week that Cruz’s book would not be on the list.

In an email last week, Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy said “A Time for Truth” did not meet the paper’s “uniform standards,” which include “an analysis of book sales that goes beyond simply the number of books sold.” In the case of Cruz’s book, she said, “the overwhelming preponderance of evidence was that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases.”

This is the first time ever that Amazon, a major publisher and a US senator have ganged up on the New York Times in such a public fashion. Ted Cruz is being painted as someone who is selling a lot of books and the Times is refusing to include his title due to his political agenda.

Authors Unions Petition Justice Department to Investigate Amazon


Amazon is celebrating their 20th anniversary, but not everyone is participating in the festivities. Three of the largest collective bodies that represent authors have filed reports to the US Justice Department that stated "Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America's readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society."

The Authors Guild, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of Authors' Representatives and Authors United have all sent letters to the US Justice Department and even published a piece in the New York Times today.

The requests for an investigation arise out of last year’s titanic battle between Amazon and the publisher Hachette. As part of an unusually bitter contract dispute, Amazon made it more difficult to buy Hachette books, which angered Hachette authors and others.

Amazon's critics portrayed it as a predator. The retailer and its supporters said the critics were trying to preserve their privileges against a much-needed wave of digital disruption. The conflict left both sides bloodied but produced no clear winner.

The collective bodies of author bodies main arguments is that Amazon's dominant position makes it a monopoly as a seller of books and a monopsony as a buyer of books. According to published figures, this one corporation now controls the sale of:

  • More than 75 percent of online sales of physical books.
  • More than 65 percent of e-book sales.
  • More than 40 percent of sales of new books.
  • About 85 percent of e-book sales of self-published authors.

The American Booksellers Association has even accused Amazon of Free Riding.  “Amazon has long enjoyed three major competitive advantages over its brick-and-mortar counterparts: Without any physical stores, Amazon has low fixed costs, which enables it to offer lower prices than brick-and mortar stores, even when not selling below cost. Amazon can and does free ride off the sales and promotional efforts of brick-and-mortar stores (consumers browse the books at brick-and-mortar stores and then purchase them online at lower prices), greatly encouraging "showrooming." Showrooming is the phenomenon whereby customers go to a physical bookstore to make a purchasing decision but actually purchase the item from an online retailer, in most cases Amazon. Amazon has even created an app to facilitate this practice, which allows customers to scan the barcode of a book in a brick-and-mortar shop and complete the purchase from Amazon's website through their smartphones. Multiple industry research studies demonstrate that this is occurring, and publishers themselves have noticed increased Amazon sales during author events at bricks-and-mortar bookstores. State governments have subsidized Amazon with sales taxes avoidance. (Unlike bookstores, Amazon does not have to collect sales taxes in many locales.)”

This is the first time these collective bodies have ever banded together over a singular issue,  the market dominance of Amazon.  Will the Justice Department do anything about it?  If they don’t, these author unions will be relegated to standing on a soapbox and shouting into the wind.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Kobo Glo HD


Amazon and Kobo are the two largest companies in the world that both manufacture their own e-readers and have an extensive e-book ecosystem. This year they have both released new devices that are appealing to people who want a high resolution gadget, but don’t want to break the bank to purchase it. Today, we evaluate the Kindle Paperwhite 3 and Kobo Glo HD side by side.

The purpose of this comparison video is to give you a sense on how they both stack up against each other. On paper, their hardware specs are nearly identical, so its all about real world conditions. How do they handle reading the standard e-book or PDF Files? Are the page turns super fast? What type of fonts are available? Is one better than the other when it comes to reading in the dark? What about response time when opening up menus?

Both devices have the same 1448 x 1072 resolution 6-inch E Ink Carta screens and 300 PPI. The Glo HD has an infrared touchscreen, while the Paperwhite 3 has a capacitive touchscreen. Both work equally well, but the capacitive layer degrades screen clarity slightly.

Underneath the hood you get 4GB of internal storage and the exact same 1GHz processor, Wi-Fi, and similar battery life. The Glo HD is smaller and lighter, measuring 6.2″ x 4.5″ x 0.4″ and 6.4 oz while the Paperwhite is 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″ and 7.2 oz (WiFi only–3G model is 7.6 oz).

When it comes to e-reading I think the Kobo might be the better buy for mid level or advanced users. There is far more customization options in regards to changing the font size and font type. Users can even sideload in their own fonts, whereas Amazon only has 7, including the brand new Bookerly Font. Generally speaking, Kobo's fonts are thicker and bolder, whereas Amazon's fonts are thinner and sharper.

Both of these guys have a front-lit display and it allows you to read in the dark. I found from comparing these side by side that the Kindle is a bit cool, whereas the Kobo has a more warm lightning system. Their illumination levels are roughly the same.

We never mentioned it in the video, but I find the timing of these two devices to be very interesting. Kobo rushed the Glo HD to the market due to the overwhelming success of the premium Kindle Voyage. This device was released late last year and had the best resolution and highest PPI in the world. It also carried a hefty price, retailing for $199 US vs the $129 of the Glo HD. Amazon simply couldn’t afford to let Kobo dominate the e-reader market at the mid range price point and that forced them to reissue their Paperwhite e-reader at $139.

Join us for a Digipalooza author chat with Jane Green on Wednesday!

Jane-GreenThis Wednesday at 1:30 pm (ET) we will be doing a Twitter chat with Jane Green, author of sixteen New York Times best selling books and keynote speaker at Digipalooza this August. You can join the conversation by following @OverDriveLibson Twitter and using the hashtag #DigiP15 to ask any questions you may have!

Jane's books have been published ten million times in print in over 25 languages worldwide and her latest title, Summer Secrets, was just released last month. Jane has also written cook books, hosted a radio show for BBC and has appeared on television shows including Good Morning America and The Today Show.

Join us Wednesday at 1:30pm (ET) to learn about her fascinating life and see why her keynote speech at Digipalooza is sure to be one attendees won't soon forget!


Ben Heck’s DIY graphing calculator

Ben Heck’s got another terrific build: a DIY graphing calculator built with a Raspberry Pi Compute Module.

No schematics yet, but if Ben does release them we’ll add a link here. Frankly, this is one of those projects that’s just so daft and so much fun to watch coming together (especially when things go wrong), that we suspect you won’t really mind that you can’t duplicate it at home (yet)…we hope you’ll feel the same.


The post Ben Heck’s DIY graphing calculator appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

How to Contact Your Favorite Audiobook Company


Some audiobook companies are notoriously hard to get a hold of and there are many reasons why you might need immediate attention. Maybe your device was stolen and you want to insure nobody can make any purchases. In other cases you might have a refund request or maybe you even downloaded a copy riddled with errors. If you need to get in touch with your favorite company, here is the contact list you need.

Tablet Sales Have Plateaued


Tablet sales skyrocketed from 2010 to 2013 as Apple, Samsung and others introduced these new pieces of innovation to the market. Much like e-readers people don’t replace these every year like they do smartphones. Have tablet sales plateaued? Forrester Research thinks so.

A new Forrester Research report has found that tablet sales are slumping. This isn't to say that tablets are declining in sales, it's just that the amount of tablets purchased every year becomes less than the previous year.

For example according to Forrester, tablet sales in 2014 was forecasted at 205.46 million. In 2015, that number becomes 217.84 million, 229.46 million in 2016, 240.16 million in 2017, and 249.95 million in 2018. As you can tell, every year that number grows less and less, but at the same time it is still increasing.

However, there may be an upside to the news. Tablets are becoming increasingly critical for business. More than half of employees use a tablet for work purposes at least once a week, the study says. While those aren't near the same numbers as laptops and smartphones, it shows a critical presence.

The plateauing of the tablet market is occurring at the same time as e-books. Nielsen Pubtrack data has demonstrated that digital sales have fallen 6% in 2014, which equates to 223 million e-books being sold in the US, down from 240 million units in 2013.