|Google has added a handy new feature to their Play Books app for Android and iOS that gives users the option to sync notes, highlights, and bookmarks to Google Drive. After you turn on the new notes saving feature in the Play Books settings menu, all your notes and highlights get organized into a Google […]|
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Your staff is busy. Between assisting users with the many programs your library runs, managing the library itself, one-on-one meetings with patrons, cataloging and trying to offer book recommendations, it can be hard to find time for professional development. Team OverDrive understands that your time is valuable and we want to make sure you can learn about new OverDrive features and services when it's convenient for you.
Our on demand Learning Center offers short training modules on everything from the user experience to navigating Marketplace and even how to manage reports. These pre-recorded training videos are perfect for getting new staff up to speed or for providing existing staff updates on what's new with your OverDrive service. You'll even find "Getting Started" guides and training templates that you can use to host classes for new users.
While on the Learning Center, you can sign up for our live training sessions which offer an in-depth look at the basics of OverDrive Marketplace and using the service from an end user perspective. You can also sign up for our quarterly hot topic webinar where we discuss trending issues in the digital library world. The upcoming session will be all about helping your patrons find their next favorite book.
In addition to the training sessions we currently have available, what aspects of your OverDrive services would you like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments section or by emailing training@overDrive.com.
Adam Sockel is a Social Media Specialist at OverDrive.
Liz: today’s guest post comes from Gordon at IQAudIO, who makes and sells audio accessories for the Pi, which we really, really like – with one of his DACs you can turn your Pi into a proper audiophile-approved piece of kit. Gordon had made a project we really liked the look (and sound) of when we last saw him, so I asked him to write it up. Over to Gordon:
When my grandmother passed away many years ago I was asked if there was anything of hers I'd like to have in order to remember her by. The choice at the time was pretty easy for me – her bright red Roberts radio. This radio sat on her kitchen worktop, and whenever we visited I was always being told off for touching it, tuning it to some other radio station and spinning the whole thing around on its turntable base far too quickly.
My grandmother was affectionately called "Granny Hi-Tech", simply because she was always the first to get hold of gadgets, most of which I assume she bought having seen them being demonstrated at the large department store in Glasgow where she worked during the 1960's and 70's.
The original intention on receiving the Roberts radio was to get it working again and keep everything authentic, but I really didn't know where to start, so it was placed in a box and forgotten about. It's moved house with us six times since, and was rediscovered, grubby and broken, during our last house move eight months ago.
A bit of a state
I did finally find a spare wet afternoon, but on taking the radio from the box and giving it a good look over, it was obvious I'd been seeing it through rose tinted glasses – it was much worse than expected, and although I may have been able to restore the inner workings, what stations can you pick up on Long and Medium Wave these days?
It was decided that a sympathetic transplant was called for, keeping the aesthetics of the original radio but delivering a modern music playback solution. Some parts of the radio were okay, some terrible and overall it had lost that lovely red colour that I fondly remembered. One of the dials had lost its brass cover, the grill was dented, the Roberts logo was yellow and broken, and the inside had corrosion in places.
A Roberts R300 with Airplay
I could have bought a cheap bluetooth speaker and transplanted the workings into the R300, but I wanted the original radio buttons to work as expected (on/off, volume) and wanted it to have some real musicality to surprise. I also wanted the ability to have synchronous playback across the house with my other HiFi systems. Overall it should look and feel like an original Vintage 1960s radio but in terms of audio performance I wanted it to sound awesome.
Enter the Raspberry Pi
There are several add-on boards for the Raspberry Pi, and we develop and sell a few of these ourselves. For this transplant I used our Pi-DigiAMP+. This Raspberry Pi HAT board takes the digital audio signals (I2S) from the Pi's 40-way header, and delivers high-quality stereo audio up to 192MHz/24bit resolution – you just need to add speakers and a suitable power input to complete the job. The DigiAMP+ is designed to drive bookshelf or larger speakers – we usually pair it with QAcoustics 2010i or 3020 speakers, and it sounds simply brilliant. We demonstrated this very combination at the recent CamJam and also at the Recursion Computer show in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
The IQaudIO Pi-DigiAMP+ can run from 5v -> 18v, and has on-board circuitry to power the Raspberry Pi too. Here we have used a 15v/3.3amp power brick from XP Power – this will allow the Pi-DigiAMP+ to deliver 2x20watts into 4ohm speakers, with a little less into 8ohm drive units – more than enough for a bedroom or kitchen radio.
Using the Raspberry Pi allows us to take advantage of the many Linux-based music playback solutions available. We could have gone for Volumio, RuneAudio, Moode, PiCorePlayer, Pi MusicBox, Max2Play or others; but for this build we went with Mike Brady's Shairport Sync. Mike is a computer science lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and has posted his source code on GitHub making it easy to build and modify if needed. We've been running Raspberry Pi-based Shairport Sync systems for a while with great reliability and ease of use. Thanks Mike!
Remove the unnecessary and rework the rest
Taking the radio to pieces was pretty simple; there were none of those annoying plastic clips you break when attempting to open a modern device. Here it's mostly wood screws with the occasional brass nut and bolt. We carefully removed the innards and stripped down the radio to its bare components, unsoldered the 60s electronics and removed protruding and unnecessary metal that would make the overall transition more difficult.
Obviously, a 40-year-old paper mono speaker wasn't going to cut the mustard, so we removed that too, replacing it with a pair (to give us both left and right channels) of full range Balanced Mode Radiator (BMRs) drive units – not only do these fit in the available space, but they sound good too.
Now left with a bare carcass, it needed a good old clean and polish, but what we didn't expect was for the carrying handle's leather strap to disintegrate, which was one of the key aesthetics, along with the base turntable, we really wanted to keep. A quick Google search and subsequent calls to Roberts themselves resulted in some replacement (but modern) parts being received next day, although we ended up only using the new silver "Roberts" logo, as the beautiful replacement red handle was just too big a colour difference.
Rebuilding the radio was just like a Haynes manual (refitting is the reverse sequence to removal). We cut an MDF support panel for the speaker drive units.
The analog volume potentiometer of the original was replaced with a simple 3-pin rotary encoder, wired to the Pi's GPIO. We used the sample code from the IQaudio GitHub repository to take the Rotary Encoder pulses and convert them into Linux ALSA volume commands.
Adding the Raspberry Pi and Pi-DigiAMP+ was the easiest part. The speakers were connected to the Pi-DigiAMP+ and the Official Raspberry Pi WiFi Dongle was added.
From the outside you wouldn't know anything had changed, and to keep the functionality of the radio's Off/Long Wave/Medium Wave selector, we wired it in-line to the positive power from the external power brick. Selecting either Long Wave or Medium Wave powers the Pi-DigiAMP+ and Pi, while selecting Off cuts the power to both – we added a simple power barrel connector onto the back of the radio so it wasn't always tethered and didn’t have a flying lead.
Finally, we replaced the wooden wedges and measured up the display window (ordering another to be laser-cut from www.podbox.co.uk at the same time). We also added some sound damping from an old speaker we had lying around. The handle was repaired using some similar covered vinyl.
As with all good builds, there were a few extra pieces left over…
How does it sound?
Surprisingly good, way better than expected. It really makes us smile streaming Deezer/Apple Music to radio that’s nearly half a century old. Having the physical volume control just adds an extra retro feel too.
What's left to do?
Having used the Raspberry Pi/IQaudio Radio for a while now, we've decided there are a few additional tweaks to perform when we find the time. These include:
The first printing run of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee has missing text on the last few pages from the initial printing run. HarperCollins who published the book has blamed it on a printing error. Customers who ordered it online from companies like Amazon are promised a new copy with the corrected text will be mailed out soon.
How do you know if you have a physical copy that has the printing defect? It occurs in the middle of an argument between Scout, who is now mainly referred to by real name Jean Louise, and her father Atticus Finch about his views on a changing society.
This printing situation obviously pissed a lot of people off and it highlights why purchasing the digital edition sometimes bypasses this type of problem, partly due to automatic updates.
Likely one of the most underrated benefits of buying the e-book edition is that the digital title can be updated on the fly by the author or publisher. Anyone who had previously purchased it will have the new version automatically delivered to their e-reader. Surprisingly Amazon and Apple are the only two companies that actually has this type of content delivery system. Barnes and Noble and Kobo both don’t support it, even though self-published authors have been bugging them about it for years.
If you have previously purchased an e-book title and there is a few version available, normally it is automatically downloaded to your Kindle e-reader, Fire Tablet or Kindle e-reading app. If you are not receiving the updates, you need to do the following;
1. Turn on the Annotations Backup* for your Kindle device or Kindle reading app to sync your notes, highlights, bookmarks, and furthest page read
One of the big advantages of using Apple products, such as the iPad is to purchase digital textbooks. These get updated for any number of reasons. Thankfully, the iBooks app supports book and textbook updates. That means if a book you purchased is republished with new or additional content, iBooks lets you know. You can download the updated version free, and it automatically replaces the older copy in your library."
I really think that a number of people are switching to the e-book edition so an eagerly anticipated book is not subject to simple printing errors. Could you imagine if a new Harry Potter book came out and it was missing the last chapter?