Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rogers is Giving Away 2 Year Free Subscription to NextIssue


Rogers is a major investor of the Netflix for magazine subscription service Nextissue. The Canadian telecom company has just unveiled a new promotion that gives users a two year free subscription to either Nextissue, Shomi or Spotify.

In order to qualify for this promotion you need to have whats known as a Plus Plan, which includes data for your mobile phone and additional services such as voicemail and caller ID. If you already have this sort of plan with Rogers you can initiate an online conversation with a customer service agent and they will send you an email with detailed instructions on how to opt into getting the free digital content.

Nextissue traditionally has two plans if you wanted to pay by the month. Basic which gives you 100 monthly magazines per month and costs $9.99 or Premium which gives you the monthlies in addition to weekly magazines such as Enterainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated for $14.99.

I think two years of the Basic Nextissue plan has tremendous value for people who already do business with Rogers. It is basically the only way that Canadians can read unlimited magazines, other than Zinio. It is important to note that if you are changing your plan in the middle of the billing cycle you can opt into Nextissue right away, but if you are waiting until the next billing period you have to wait to get the subscription.

Scribd Focuses on Audiobooks as an Avenue of Growth


Scribd has been experiencing growing pains trying to make audiobooks financially viable. They company made the decision to scrap unlimited listening back in August and relegated their subscription base to onlyone title per month. If you want more, it will cost an extra $9.99 for every other audiobook you want. This decision to change their business model did not resonate well with their customers, but considering Entitle and Oyster are going out of business, there are few options left.

Audiobooks are a relatively new product category for Scribd, who have been making a name for themselves with a low cost subscription fee to read as many e-books and comics as you want. They have only been involved in the audio sector since November of last year when they struck a deal with Findaway World. Almost immediately they distinguished themselves from the competition and brought in thousands of new users who wanted to listen to novels, instead of reading them. Today, Scribd has announced that they have established a working relationship with Hachette, Macmillan, HighBridge Audio, Tantor Audio, and Recorded Book to add 30,000 more audiobooks to their catalog. Listeners will be able to now get audio editions by authors such as James Patterson, David Baldacci, and Nicholas Sparks.

Scribd has confirmed that when one of their subscribers listens to a single audio edition they are only making two dollars in profit. It is very likely that the revenue system they worked out with these new companies will allow them to make more money then the deal with Findaway.

Good e-Reader APK to BAR Converter is Back Online


The Good e-Reader APK to BAR converter was the worlds first online tool to easily convert Android apps over to the Blackberry format. It tremendously simplified the process for developers who wanted to take their Android apps and see how they functioned on Blackberry devices such as the Playbook, Z10 and Q10. The average person could also use this tool to download Android apps and convert them to see if they worked on their device. The Tool has been down the last two months, and is now back online!

Not only is our APK to BAR converter tool back online, but we developed a companion app for it too. A few months ago we made an online tool that allows you to download any app you want from Google Play. We recognized that our own App Store might not have every app out there, so we introduced our Google Play App Downloader Tool. It basically allows you to input the name of the Android app you want to download and it will instantly generate a download link. You don’t need a Google or Good e-Reader account to even use it, the process takes about 10 seconds.

Blackberry Playbook and Blackberry 10 users can now download apps from Google Play and then take the apps and convert them to the Blackberry format just by using our site. You don’t need complicated command line tools anymore or a Google device, you just need Good e-Reader.

Sensly: an air quality monitoring HAT

Altitude Technology have a very interesting Kickstarter campaign that’s just entering its final few days. It’s for an Internet of Things air quality monitoring device called Sensly, and one of the interesting things about it is that it’s available either as a consumer unit or, considerably more cheaply, as a Raspberry Pi HAT.

Sensly's air quality monitoring HAT has applications at home and in education

Sensly will be able to detect benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur oxide, ammonia and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; now that it has met its first stretch goal, it will also detect particulate matter such as pollen, smoke and mould spores, and backers will get this useful additional functionality for free. Temperature and humidity sensors are thrown in too. As with the Sensly consumer unit, the HAT version can communicate directly with your smartphone, giving you push notifications of high levels of pollutants, as well as uploading data for viewing (and, if you want, sharing) via a web browser.

We really like the idea of making a device available as a Raspberry Pi HAT as well as a boxed appliance so that you can hack and customise your own system, and the possibilities of this one are pretty broad. You could connect a camera board, for example, and investigate whether anything in particular happens to nitrogen dioxide levels when lots of Volkswagens are in the vicinity. Several unpleasant constituents of cigarette smoke are detected by Sensly, so you could quantify the effect of cigarettes on your air quality. With the addition of pH sensors, a number of the devices could monitor sulphur oxide levels and rainwater acidity across geographically distant locations over long periods; what patterns might be found in those data? And if I still lived aboard the fine narrowboat I used to own, I could save myself a considerable amount of anxiety by properly logging carbon monoxide levels and finding out how they actually varied with the use of our three cooking and heating stoves.

Narrowboat Roe moored on the Old West at sunset

Converted 1959 British Waterways freight butty Roe moored on the Old West at sunset, and a heady quality of nostalgia. But there’s no point my hanging around here reminiscing; the past, as Elsa put it with memorable force, is in the past.

The team behind Sensly might be onto something when they argue, as they did in their winning pitch to Pitch@Palace On Tour recently, that making air quality more personal and tangible with a low-cost sensor system could motivate people to take action, and all sorts of recent news stories suggest that there is scope for paying a bit more attention to what we’re breathing. As a single example, evidence to the UK government’s consultation on air quality plans, released a week and a half ago, revealed that nitrogen dioxide exposure alone is causing an estimated 23,500 early deaths in this country each year.

Early-bird backers of Sensly’s Raspberry Pi HAT will get a device that shows them local levels of this and all kinds of other substances of interest for £25, but you’ll have to move quickly; the campaign closes this Saturday.

The post Sensly: an air quality monitoring HAT appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

ReadMe! eBook App Offers Unique Speed Reading Features (Videos)

ReadMe! is an ebook app for Android and iOS tablets and phones. It supports ePub format, and what makes the app different is it offers two different speed reading tools. ReadMe! is the first app to incorporate BeeLine Reader, which uses colored text to help guide your eyes from one line to the next. BeeLine […]

Narrated eBooks: perfect for your young students and readers

By: Adam Sockel, OverDrive’s Social Media Specialist

It’s hard to believe but the calendar has inched towards October, signifying both the end of summer and back to school time for students of all ages. You can take advantage of our Back to School sale to add content for your middle and high schoolers but it’s important that your early readers have something to access as well. Enter OverDrive’s Narrated eBooks. These titles are accessible through OverDrive Read, our browser-based eReader, so students don’t need to download any apps or software.


These titles combine the visual text of an eBook with a read along capability to help readers better understand sentence structure, language flow and syntax. The text is highlighted as the narrator reads with many titles enabling students to easily follow along. Narrated eBooks are a wonderful way to get your young students excited about reading and introduce them to technology and devices through interactive reading experiences.


Once you add some narrated eBook content be sure to feature them on your website by quickly creating a curated collection so they can be easily located. For a great example of how a narrated eBook curated collection will look check out Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Kid’s eReading Room. Click on one of the books below to sample some narrated eBooks and you’ll see why your young readers will love these great read along adventures!