Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Apple News Not Available in Canada

Apple started pushing out their latest firmware update out today, in the form of iOS 9. One of the big things that Apple was hyping up almost six months in advance was their News AppNewsiPad, which replaces the Apple Newsstand. Sadly, this app is US only and is not available in Canada, something that Apple has failed to mention.

Apple disabled the Newsstand as part of the iOS 9 roll-out and relegated all of the old content to the far reaches of the App Store. When Canadians purchase an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad there is now no news apps out of the box, unlike our American counterparts.

I have no idea why a syndicated news app is simply not available outside of the US. Apple made it quite clear it was looking to give Flipboard and LinkedIn Pulse a run for their money. I was really looking forward to this app and refuse to make a US App store account just download one simple app.

Amazon Prime Now Offers Free Six Month Subscription to Washington Post

Amazon Prime is a fairly compelling value proposition when it comes to all things Amazon. You can read a free e-book every month with the Kindle Lending Library, music and video streaming in addition to free two day shipping. Amazon has just introduced a new reason to subscribe to Prime, a free six month subscription to the Washington Post.

In 2013 Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post and immediately started to incorporate it into the Kindle Fire tablets. A customized app was developed in mid 2014 that allowed Fire owners to get a free six month subscription and then it costed one dollar for the next six months.

Do you see free access to the Post as being the deciding factor to subscribe to Prime?

iOS 9 Now Available for iPhone and iPad


Apple is pushing out iOS 9 for the iPhone and iPad and this update is perfect for people who read. One of the exciting elements on the iPad is that you can enjoy split screen view, which means you can have the Kindle app open and a dedicated dictionary app. The possibilities of having multiple reading apps open is fairly compelling. In addition you can now checkout Apple News, which is the companies answer to Pulse or Flipboard.

Treasure Island is Free eBook and Audiobook Pair for Kindle

I’ve got some good news for those of you that miss getting the free ebook and audiobook pair from Amazon each month. They’ve finally updated the Whispersync for Voice page to add a new title as the free promo after six months of offering the same ebook and audiobook combo (The Blue Fairy Book, which […]

Amazon Plans to Release 4 Fire Tablets and Kindle Voyage 2


Amazon is planning on releasing four new Fire Tablets and the Kindle Voyage 2 e-reader this week. The company is gearing up to dominate the low-end spectrum with an upcoming $50 six inch tablet. They also have a 7, 8 and 10 inch model in the works, according to leaked photos on the main Amazon server. All of these tablets will be running a new version of the Fire OS that will be based on Android 5.1.

Over the last few years the Fire tablets have lost their charm, as people tend not to upgrade their devices every year. Will Amazon offer a compelling enough reason for people who have older models to upgrade to the latest and greatest? Likely not, but a $50 entry level model will appeal to people on on a budget or with kids. If you are already heavily invested in the Amazon ecosystem, it might be a compelling value proposition.

Fire Tablet Pictures 1, 2, 3, 4

Leaked Photo Shows a New 10 Inch Amazon Fire Tablet

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Amazon is expected to announce four new tablets and a second generation Kindle Voyage this week and we finally have a high resolution image that is showing off their upcoming 10 inch model.

As you can see from the photograph, Amazon has tremendously redesigned the UI of the homescreen, removing the carousal that has been the bane of many users for a number of years. Instead, you have a fairly vanilla version of Android, that simply shows you the apps that have been installed.

Amazon has incorporated a new version of Google Android in the Fire OS that will ship on this unit. They will be employing Android 5.1 and of course all of the apps you will install will be from the Amazon Android App Store.

Big Library Read returns in October with two great titles

The Big Library Read is coming back in October and, due to the overwhelming response to our voting survey, we’ve decided to make this the first ever Big Library Read with two titles. The genre this time around is Young Adult and the winning titles are The Door In the Hedge by Robin McKinley and In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. This global event will run from October 7th through the 21st, enabling readers from around the world to enjoy the same eBook titles at the same time, creating a worldwide book club.


For those who may be new to the Big Library Read here’s how it works:  OverDrive has partnered with our publishing partners to make two popular eBooks available to public libraries and schools for lending. During the two-week program, the Big Library Read titles are available to borrow through participating libraries and schools. It's free and there's never a waiting list during the program. All you need is a library card or student ID to get started reading in this international eBook club.


Libraries and schools can download marketing materials on the Partner Portal and we’ll provide other outreach ideas and Big Library Read promotional events closer to the 7th. For now though, join the conversation by using the hashtag #BigLibraryRead, spread the word to your users and share the read alike suggestions at!

Adam Sockel is a Social Media Specialist with OverDrive


Build a better mousetrap

If you’re of an even slightly sensitive disposition, the problem of mice in the home is nightmarish. Cats are either brutally violent or (step forward, Mooncake, Official Raspberry Pi Cat and Friend of Mice) a pushover.

Mice? What mice?

Mice? What mice?

A snap trap with back-snapping force and liver-squirting power is just horrible to deal with, and I don’t want to talk about it. The glue traps in which the mouse gets stuck in ever-more-panicked contortions, subsequently leaving you to have to hit it very hard with a spade or drown it in a bucket, just don’t bear thinking about. And even the humane traps are pretty…inhumane. In the time between the thing going off in the night and your remembering to check it when you get home from work the next day, a mouse is liable to die of terminal claustrophobia. Which can leave you feeling rather guilty. (Trust me on this.)

Alain Mauer and his Raspberry Pi have come to the rescue. Keep watching – there’s a live mouse test at about 1:10. No mice were harmed etc. etc.

We really like this – it solves the problem of speedy notification so nobody dies of stress, doesn’t harm the mouse (so you can take it outside and drop it off at somebody else’s house somewhere safe but far away from your own kitchen), and relieves the problem of rodenticide guilt.

Want to make your own? Everything you’ll need, including CAD design for the case (which in the video above is made from sheet PVC, which can be cut by hand or in a CNC milling machine); schematics for the infrared barrier he uses; and all the software, is available at Alain’s website. Thanks Alain!

The post Build a better mousetrap appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Kobo Touch 2.0 vs Kobo Glo HD e-Reader Comparison

Kobo Touch 2.0 and Kobo Glo HD

The Kobo Glo HD was released earlier in the year, and people were really attracted to the high resolution reading experience.  It is device is comparable to the 3rd generation Kindle Paperwhite, except with Kobo you can do more advanced things like load in your own fonts and have more flexibility in crafting your own unique reading experience.  The only other device to be issued in 2015 by Kobo was the Touch 2.0, which is being marketed for a paltry $89 Canadian. Today, we look at the viability of these two devices and compare them directly against each other to give you a sense on what one might be best suited for your own needs.

The Kobo Glo HD features a six inch e-ink Carta screen with a resolution of 1448×1072 and 300 PPI. The Touch 2.0 on the other hand is running an older E Ink Pearl screen with a resolution of 800 x 600. Additionally, the GLO has a front-lit display, allowing you to read in the dark, while the Touch does not.

When you are reading the same e-book on both of the screens, sometimes it is hard to tell what screen is better. You have to jack up the fonts to the max in order to see the subtle pixelation of the letters on the Touch. A casual user would be content with either of these two e-readers.

In the video below, we present the reading experience in an EPUB book purchased from Kobo and a sideloaded PDF file. Please pay close attention to the PDF comparison if you are thinking about buying the Touch 2.0

Teenagers Resist the Sirens Call of Reading for Pleasure

When it comes to reading in the digital format, there are no surprises that adults and the elderly are reading the most. Teenagers on the other hand are simply not reading for pleasure anymore.

A recent study conducted by Nielsen has proclaimed that 54% of USA adults currently read eBooks. Not only is digital on the rise but overall the average person is reading more books on a yearly basis.

Interestingly, there appears to be an intersection at work between how Americans read and how much they read. Those who read either more or exclusively in the eBook format are more likely to read over 20 books in an average year (30%) than either those who read more/only in hard copy (18%) or those who read in both formats equally (21%). They also report a higher average readership per year than either hard copy hardliners or equal-opportunity readers (22.5 books vs. 16 and 15, respectively).

Scholastic recently conducted a YouGov survey and 1,755 parents responded about their children’s reading habits. The results showed that children's fondness for reading lessens as they get older, because whilst 17% of the older age group read for fun, that figure is much higher among ages 6-8 (54%), dropping to 43% for ages 9 to 11 and 24% for 12-14.

Parents of older children are more likely to say they do not have a preference as to whether their kids read books for fun in print versus e-books. However, about two in three parents (67%) of kids ages 6–8 prefer that their children read in print.