Friday, September 18, 2015

What is Amazon Word Runner?


Amazon has announced a new speed reading feature called Word Runner. It will debut in the companies new line of Fire Tablets due out at the end of September and will also be showcased in the Kindle e-reading apps for Android and iOS.

Kindle Word Runner shows text in the middle of the screen, like most speed reading apps. It does a few notable things though, such as the Dynamic Pacing function which slows down auto reading when you encounter a much larger word or something that is really complex. You might be breezing along in a novel until the word algorithmically appears, and it will pause for a moment to give you a chance to digest it.

One of the other major enhancements is called Brake. If you miss something, because maybe the kids are acting up or someone is calling your name and a bunch of text flies by you can just tap and hold the screen to activate the Brake. It instantly pauses Word Runner, and lets you easily scroll back and pick up wherever you'd like.

Will people use Word Runner? Well, I like the ability to customize how fast the text displays. So you can read really slow, or fast. Traditionally Fire Tablets need you to tap the screen in order to turn the page, and this is near new functionality for automatic page turns. It might be a gimmick, but I think its interesting at least. The average person may not employ it, but it might be appealing to a very small demographic.

Princess Cruises and Amazon Team Up for Free e-books


Princess Cruises has teamed up with Amazon to offer cruise ship passengers three free romance e-books.  The short love stories, written by well-known authors Carolyn Brown, Heather Burch and Barbara Longley, were inspired by their own Princess cruise experiences sailing to the beautiful Caribbean.

Not only will you be able to read the free e-books using a Kindle e-reader, tablet or app but the authors themselves will be sailing with you. Brown, Burch and Longley, along with New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Lael Miller, will be sailing aboard a five-day Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard Regal Princess, departing Ft. Lauderdale November 3, 2015. Onboard the authors will participate in meet-and-greets, book club discussions and also offer book signings.

“We strive to provide engaging experiences for our guests and we know they love to read, especially while on vacation, so teaming up with Kindle Love Stories is a perfect match,” said Adrian Fischer, Princess Cruises vice president, entertainment experience. “As part of our newly relaunched Princess Book Club, avid readers will be able to participate in exciting onboard events and enjoy great stories inspired by a Princess cruise.”

Many cruise ships have famous people riding aboard as part of the draw, there has been artists, musicians and washed up actors. This is the first time that a cruise ship  line is partnering with Amazon to bring authors aboard and at the same time provide free e-books.

10 Free Kindle eBooks – September 18th

Below is a list of ten free Kindle ebooks with a bunch of positive reviews, along with a list of a few ongoing Kindle book deals. If you happened to order one of the new Fire tablets that Amazon announced yesterday, you can get these free ebooks now and they will be on your Fire […]

First Look at Kindle Word Runner, New Speed Reading Feature (Video)

Yesterday Amazon announced a new lineup of Fire tablets for 2015. One of the changes with this year’s tablets is an updated user interface and updated software. The new software version is called Fire OS 5 "Bellini"; it’s based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. One of the new features that it adds to Fire tablets is […]

SeeMore for World Maker Faire 2015

We’re gearing up to go to World Maker Faire in at the New York Hall of Science on September 26 and 27 – if you’re going to be there, please come and say hi at the Raspberry Pi booth. We’ll have demos, activities, some little bits and bobs to give away, and much more. Eben’s going to giving a presentation too over the weekend, so come along if you’ve any questions you’d like to ask him.


World Maker Faire is always a blast. If last year’s anything to go by, we’re hoping to see more than 200,000 of you; and every year, there seem to be more and more Raspberry Pis there driving makers’ projects.

This year we’re particularly excited about seeing this exhibit from Sam Blanchard, an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Virginia Tech.

SeeMore is part kinetic sculpture, part giant parallel computer, built with 256 Raspberry Pis. Each Pi is mounted on a servo arm, which moves depending on how much individual computation the Pi in question is doing. It’s a brilliant visual representation of how a parallel computer carries out many calculations simultaneously, breaking down a large problem into many small ones which can be worked on at the same time; this is the architecture modern supercomputers use, and SeeMore makes that architecture very easy to understand.

There’s a touchscreen interface that visitors can use to set SeeMore tasks. Sam is engineering those tasks to be specific to the venue, so you’ll see SeeMore calculating things which have something to do with World Maker Faire itself.

Thanks Sam – we’ll come and say hi when we’re not on stand duty!

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