Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Jolla Tab Sailfish Tablet is Available for Pre-Order


The Jolla Tab is the first tablet in the world to run the Sailfish OS, which was developed to be heavily gesture based. The big selling point is not only can it run native apps, but also has support for Android. Today, the company has announced that it is available for pre-order in limited quantities and will ship to European Union, Norway, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Australia, India, Hong Kong and Russia for €267.

The tablet has a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom processor based on the Bay Trail design inside, running at 1.8GHz. Its IPS display has a resolution of 2048×1536. Inside, there’s 2GB of RAM, a 5MP rear camera, a 2MP front facing camera and a 4450mAh battery. The tablet also has a microSD card slot to add additional storage.

When you pre-order this tablet it should be shipped out within a month or so, if you supported their crowdsourced campaign those are shipping out in a week.

We live in a world of Android and iOS, and to a limited degree Windows and Blackberry. It will be a pleasant change of pace to have a new operating system that had tablets in mind.

Google to Nix Bloatware on your New Phone or Tablet


When companies want to make a new phone or tablet and use Google Android as an operating system there are certain apps that have to be installed as part of the agreement. This is why when you buy a new device there are often two or three pages of apps when you take it out of the box for the first time. This will all change in the near future as Google is relaxing restrictions on this sort of thing.

Google Play Games, Google Play Books, Google+ and Google Newsstand now join the ranks with Google Earth and Google Keep as apps that aren’t a required part of the Google applications package. If you direly need these apps, you can just download them manually from the Google Play Store.

I like the fact that there will be less bloatware on future phones, but this won’t stop carriers from installing their own programs.

New York Times Revamps Children’s Bestseller List


The New York Times has augmented their children’s bestseller list for the better.  They  are now separating hardcover middle grade and young adult titles from paperback and e-book bestsellers. This will obviously be beneficial towards young readers, but also authors.

I really like this move because in the past paperback titles were overwhelming new hardcover titles, and often, the same authors were dominating the list for weeks at a time, despite the book being several years old. Having separation between hardcover and paperback will be good for readers, giving us a sense of what is new and trending.

Give your teachers a digital place of their own

Teachers-Lounge-Collections-AccessBack when I was a student, many moons ago, I believed the Teacher's Lounge in my school to be filled with chocolate chip cookies and soft beds for naps. Because the door was always closed, I believed opening it lead to Narnia-like magic. I have since learned that while it was very much an escape, there usually weren't any cookies. It was, simply, a space for teachers.

OverDrive has borrowed that idea. We are happy to promote our 'Teacher's Lounge', a tailored digital collection for teachers. It is a dedicated space within your OverDrive-powered website focused on your teachers' needs. It features your professional development, adult-oriented materials and filters out your school's juvenile and young adult content. It can be accessed via a special URL or the Collections of your OverDrive-powered website. Your teachers and faculty will find streamlined menu options along with a clean, modern design with applicable touts.

Teachers can sign into their accounts and borrow titles as normal from the Teachers' Lounge – their bookshelf, holds, wish list and rated titles will always be the same, whether they sign in through the Teachers' Lounge or the main website. And, if a teacher decides that they do want to check out a juvenile or young adult title, they can always navigate back to your full digital collection by selecting the Digital Library link in the top-left corner of the screen.

OverDrive Marketplace has tons of professional development content available to feature at your Teacher's Lounge. We have must-have content from Corwin Press, ASCD, International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) and Jossey-Bass, to name a few.
Among those we offer these top titles:

Contact your OverDrive Account Specialist today to add a Teachers' Lounge!

Dasung PaperLike E Ink Monitor Video Reviews

Earlier this year we first saw the PaperLike E Ink Monitor from Dasung, and now there are several video reviews on YouTube showing it in action. The PaperLike is a 13.3-inch E Ink monitor that connects to a computer’s USB port to use as a secondary display. It uses so little power that the USB […]

Forumula AllCode – robotics course

Liz: Robotics is a really powerful way to get kids excited about programming and electronics, and a Kickstarter from Formula AllCode, with its integrated course, has all the elements you need to get a kid from zero to robot overlord. I asked Liam Walton from Matrix TSL, the people behind Formula AllCode, to write a few words for us about what they’re doing with the project. 

We think the Formula AllCode robotics course is great for makers to test their skills and capabilities; it’s also great for introducing learners to programming and robotics in a fun and motivating way.

Raspberry Pi is one of the hosts you can use for this neat little robot from Matrix TSL​, designed as part of a course in robotics that aims to cater for beginners and advanced users alike. It’s controlled over Bluetooth from any platform that can support the Bluetooth RFCOMM protocol, so you can program for it in just about anything (popular examples are provided).


Matrix TSL have also written a full tutorial about how users will talk to the Formula AllCode robot using the Raspberry Pi.


Kitted out with a variety of sensors, microphone, speakers and LCD display, and with capacity for expansion, it has plenty of appeal, and it’s on Kickstarter now with 16 days left to go. You can back the project by clicking here.

The project itself consists of:

  • The Formula AllCode robot
  • A FREE course in robotics
  • Accessories used to learn, including graphical mat and maze walls


The robot can be used with a number of hosts, including Raspberry Pi. A low cost robot buggy, the AllCode is great for makers to test their skills and capabilities using an interesting and diverse platform or for introducing younger school children to programming and robotics in a fun and motivating way with huge scope for further work and competitions.


The video below explains more about the vision for Formula AllCode and provides some examples of what the robot itself can achieve when used with Raspberry Pi and other devices.

The Formula AllCode Kickstarter campaign runs until 4th September. To back the campaign from as little as £5 click here.

The post Forumula AllCode – robotics course appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Overdrive is Poised to Convert all PDF files to EPUB


Overdrive has made a name for themselves for being the number one distribution company that facilitates e-book lending for thousands of libraries all over the world. Last year over 10 libraries in North America loaned out one million e-books and for the first time two of them loaned out over two million. Needless to say there is a large demand for this type of content and soon Overdrive will be doing something really special. They are implementing technology that will convert their vast content catalog from PDF to EPUB.

Overdrive currently has close to one million PDF e-books and hardly any of them are in circulation. Libraries know that the vast majority of their patrons are using e-readers, smartphones and tablets and that PDF files are quite inflexible and not indicative of a fluid reading experience.

The CEO of Overdrive Steve Potash conducted a "Crystal Ball" presentation at the Digipalooza conference where nearly 500 library and school partners from around the world came together with publishing executives in Cleveland to develop plans and enhance the future of the library world. Steve said "We want to unlock all of the old PDF books, PDF textbooks, PDF handbooks, travel guides—books that we've collected, millions of them—that were never optimized for mobile use," he said. Potash later added that "if we could translate these at little or no cost, and all of the sudden make them fully distributable, optimized just like the beautiful [fixed layout EPUB 3] titles you get from our key suppliers, I think this is going to be huge."

If there is anyone capable of developing an in-house system that will convert millions of PDF files to EPUB, Overdrive has the best chance of doing it. Potash was a founding member of the Open E-book Forum, which later became the International Digital Publishing Forum. The IDPF has become the industry leader in EPUB development and works with publishers and companies all over the world to refine the format and implement best practices.

There is no timeline on when Overdrive will develop the tools and push out millions of new titles to libraries. The big question is, will libraries buy into it? Overdrive has acknowledged that many of their PDF files are old, therefore travel guides, maps, and handbooks are likely years of out date. Who wants to borrow a London Travel Guide from the library, visit and find out the most of the cool bars and restaurants have been closed for a decade?