Thursday, September 3, 2015

Michael Bay Starting a Digital Comics Imprint


Michael Bay is best known for blockbuster Hollywood movies like the Transformers and Bad Boys. He is going to be starting a new initiative soon, interactive digital comics.

Bay’s 451 Media Group has set up an interactive publishing division which will create a series of graphic novels that will walk the line between traditional page turners and cutting edge digital media.

Nothing has been created yet, but Bay is tapping into a number of screenwriters to generate some buzz. Currently announced are Con Air’s Scott Rosenberg, Swordfish’s Skip Woods, The Wire’s George Pelecanos, Black Mass’ Mark Mallouk, novelist Clay McLeod Chapman, and visual effects artists Peter and Paul Williams.

451 will partner with online video network Machinima to distribute the content, starting with sneak peeks this summer. The actual graphic novels are supposed to debut at around the time of New York Comic Con in October.

B&N Announces Samsung Galaxy S2 Nook for $400


Three days ago Good e-Reader broke the news that Barnes and Noble was extending their partnership with Samsung and going to release the Galaxy S2 for Nook.  It looks like I was right and the Nations largest bookseller announced the news officially today.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 for Nook is available today for $400,  which is a bit on the pricier side. The tablet features an 8 inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels with 320 PPI.

Underneath the hood is a Octacore processor featuring a Quad-core 1.9 GHz & quad-core 1.3 GHz. There will be 3G of RAM and an SD card that supports up to 128 GB of extra memory. It is unclear whether Barnes and Noble will support two different variants of memory, since Samsung has both 32/64 GB for internal storage. You will be able to take pictures via the rear facing 8 MP camera or employ the front-facing 2 MP camera for video conferencing.

What is surprising about this new tablet is that it continues to maintain exclusive Samsung branding and does not even have the Nook logo anywhere on the hardware. If you were to put the stock Samsung Galaxy S2 8.0 from B&N and the Samsung branded one side by side, you wouldn’t notice any difference.

Barnes and Noble is making this tablet their own, in the same way the did with the Samsung Galaxy Tab for Nook 7 and 10 inch models released last year. They have a number of customized apps on the home screen, such as a library, e-book reader and digital bookstore. This apps are entirely unique to this tablet and aren’t available on Google Play.

This is the best tablet Barnes and Noble has ever released, in terms of overall specs and hardware performance.  One of the advantages you will have purchasing this from the bookstore is that if you have any questions, concerns or warranty issues you can bring it right to the shop you purchased it from and get immediate support.

The question is, will you buy this $400 tablet from Barnes and Noble?

Get a Kindle Voyage for $169 – Certified Refurbished

Last month Amazon started selling refurbished Kindle Voyages, but at the time they only had the 3G model for $219, which is $50 off the regular price of a new one. Now Amazon has also started selling the cheaper non-3G model as well. It costs $169, and is the refurbished Special Offers Kindle Voyage. Special […]

B&N Releases New 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Nook for $399

Barnes and Noble has announced the latest addition to their line of Samsung branded Nook tablets with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Nook. The Tab S2 Nook is an 8-inch tablet with high-end specs. It has a Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 (320 ppi)—perfect for ereading. It’s […]

Jill’s 10 deserted island books

Ed. Note: This is the 5th in our seris of books we’d take with us on a deserted island if we could only pick ten. Today’s list comes from Jill Grunenwald, a librarian and Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive.


Angels in America by Tony Kushner

Have you ever read a book that digs down deep into your bones? The kind that leaves poignant lines lingering to such a degree that you can quote them decades later? For me, that is Tony Kushner's brilliant and heartbreaking play which won both the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Set in the 1980s at the height of the AIDS epidemic, the themes presented feel just as timely and the conversations just as necessary in 2015.

Candyfreak by Steve Almond

Self-proclaimed candyfreak Steve Almond takes on the delicious task of investigating the small, often regional, candy companies that are struggling to survive in a world where big name chocolate dominates the market. Granted, having this book might make me hungry while on an island but at least I won't have to worry about all the chocolate melting in the tropical sun.

Daphne's Book by Mary Downing Hahn

Narrator Jessica is a shy bookworm who struggles with losing friendships amid the perils of middle-school popularity and social hierarchy. To say I self-identified with her is an understatement. When Jessica is forced to work with outcast Daphne on a school writing project, both girls learn lessons that reach far outside the classroom.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

This Slytherin would be remiss if she didn't include at least one of the Harry Potter books on this list, although I admit that it's odd to include the penultimate title. But if I can only have one book from the series with me on a deserted island, it would be this one. Graceful and gorgeous, it's the perfect lead up to saying farewell to beloved characters.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

A haunted house story told through multiple narratives is probably the best, and least complicated, way of describing this dense opus that plays with form and page layout in a whole new way. Reading this is like attempting to navigate a labyrinth, which is probably not accidental since Danielewski's debut was partially inspired by the myth of the Minotaur.

I Will Love You For the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories by Michael Czyzniejewski

I should preface this by saying that Mike was my thesis advisor when I got my BFA in Creative Writing and is still a good friend, but lest you think I'm biased, know that I'd have this on my list regardless. His stories are wild and weird and wonderful with the perfect balance of humor and heartache. "High Treason" is my personal favorite.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

There are no enough words in the English language to describe how much I love Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel set in a terrifyingly near future. (And by "terrifyingly near," I mean I would not be surprised to wake up a week from today and find myself in this world.) The first of a trilogy, it was followed by The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I first discovered du Maurier's classic gothic romance through my mom, who utterly adores this book. My copy was purchased at my fifth grade book fair and I staunchly remember running out to the kitchen at certain key moments and her just nodding with a knowing smile. I was also completely blown away by the thought of reading a book where we never learn the first name of the narrator.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Set at an elite college in Vermont, Tartt's debut follows a socially isolated group of students and the lasting effects that come from a murder within the group. Mind you, this is not a spoiler. In fact, The Secret History is not a whodunit but a whydunit as the situation and circumstances leading up to the murder unfold through the eyes of our narrator. Fun Fact: a now grown-up Francis Abernathy makes a cameo appearance in Tartt's Pulitzer Prize winning The Goldfinch.

Valley of the Dolls by Jacquelinne Susann.

I feel like this one needs a #sorrynotsorry, but, really. Sorry, not sorry. This is one of a handful of books that I read on an annual basis going all the way back to high-school. It's trashy and tawdry and received horrible reviews when first published in 1966. If anything, though, its disreputable reputation is exactly what made it an overnight success. As I've gotten older, my understanding of Anne's motives has changed, making each reading a new experience.


Jill Grunenwald is a librarian and a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

Apple Signs up 50 Major News Publishers for Apple News


This fall Apple will be launching a new app called Apple News and the company has been very busy trying to secure plenty of launch partners. They have now secured over 50 publishers to distribute their content through the platform.

The list of publishers includes Conde Nast, Vox Media, Mashable , New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, BuzzFeed, Quartz, ESPN, and our very own publication Good e-Reader.

The publishers participating with Apple News are said to be very happy about the revenue share system.  Apple has verified that publishers will be able to sell their own display adds within the app and keep 100% of the revenue. Apple says it will also sell ads itself directly within the app with its advertising platform iAd, and partners who wish to benefit from Apple's salesmanship will keep 70% of the revenue.

Apple has a tremendous amount of competition in the online news space and one has to wonder if it will ever replace Flipboard, Feedly, Newsify, Google News, Buzzfeed and Smart News. Facebook has also redoubled their efforts in the last year with positioning news within their social media experience on the PC.

The exact launch date of Apple News will likely be known on September 9th, when Apple has a major event planned. It is thought they will be announcing the iPhone 6s, iPad Mini 4 and a new version of Apple TV.

Barrel o’ Fun: Arcade machine barrel table

What do you do if you are given a big old wine barrel? You could make it into a twee garden planter; go over Niagara Falls in it; or cut off the end and make a secret passage like in Scooby Doo. Or you could do the obvious thing and build a Raspberry Pi-powered arcade machine. Matt Shaw did just that. Arcade games, wine and Donkey Kong style barrels—three of our favourite things in one.

The arcade machine in all it's barelly glory

The arcade machine in all it’s barelly glory

The machine itself has the benefit of a sit-down cocktail cab (you can put your drinks on top) with the standup advantage of being able to jostle your opponent. It's a nice clean build—deliberately low tech—wired using crimps and block connectors with no soldering. The Raspberry Pi runs the excellent PiPlay, an OS for emulation and gaming.

The other great thing about this project is its scrounginess. Reusing and repurposing makes us happy and this whole project does just that: an unloved 4:3 monitor, free table glass from online classifieds and an old barrel. The main costs were the buttons, joysticks and wiring and the whole build came in at around £90.

Circuit testing at it's finest!

The circuit tester is quite brilliant

Although we've blogged about Pi-powered arcade machines before (we have two in Pi Towers, we like them, OK? :)) the point is that if you have a Pi lying around then you can make a games machine out of almost anything. For not much money. (And as someone who spent every Saturday feeding their pocket money into arcade machines in seedy arcades in Southport, that's an amazing thing.)

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