Monday, September 28, 2015

Do you Dream of Sleeping Overnight in a Bookstore?


Many serious readers have dreamed about either living in a bookstore or sleeping overnight. You can read whatever you want having access to thousands of books, magazines and newspapers. A bookstore in Japan has listened and are in the process of organizing a sleepover.

According to Rocknews “a little over a year ago, someone in Japan tweeted that they would "love to live in Junkudo", one of the country's largest book store chains. Little did they know that someone at that very company would not only see the tweet but organized a sleepover called "Try Living in Junkudo."

The bookstore has an online application if you are interested in checking out. There will be a grand total of 10 lucky people (five pairs) to spend the night inside the Sennichimae Junkudo store in Osaka.  The event will occur on October 31st and will last the entire night.  Best of all, it will cost absolutely nothing to spend the night, but you will be expected to buy at least three books or magazines.

Google Play Increases the Size of Apps to 100 MB


If you have ever downloaded an app or game from Google Play before that is larger than 50 MB you often need to download an expansion file. This is all going to change with a new update to Google Play that will let developers submit apps that are 100 MB or less that don’t require an OBB file.

Many people have a large disdain for apps that are not ready to play as soon as they are downloaded. The increase from 50 MB to 100 MB will be a boon for app developers who struggle to keep things under the limits and often forgo adding critical features that the community wants.

The increase in size might be good for developers but it will certainly increase the amount of space apps take up in your lower end phones or tablets in the future. I know plenty of people who can only install a few apps on their phone before they have to uninstall some stuff for every new app they want to install. This change also will likely encourages bad code and overall bloat.

Young Kids Want their Parents to Read to Them


Young children are quite enamored with story time in the evening, but parents are finding it hard to meet their needs. When parents do read to their kids, they tend to back off when their young ones become independent readers.

A recent survey, by YouGov for the children's publisher Scholastic, revealed last week that many parents stop reading to their children when they become independent readers, even if the child isn't ready to lose their bedtime story. The study found that 83% of children enjoyed being read aloud to, with 68% describing it as a special time with their parents.

Life is busy and sometimes parents don’t have time to read to their children. 2,000 parents responded to a survey that was produced by Settle Stories, an arts and heritage charity. The data stated that only 4% read a bedtime story to their child every night, with 69% saying they did not have the time. In February a study by TomTom of 1,000 parents of children aged one to 10 found that 34% never read a bedtime story to their children, with 29% blaming late working and 26% the daily commute.

Reading to your child establishes stronger bonds and promotes a love for reading. The last thing you want, as a parent, is the classroom to be the first place where a child has access to books.

Ra: sound art with pyrite sun discs

The video below introduces an unsual sound art piece based on a Raspberry Pi. Named Ra – as in the sun god of the ancient Egyptians – it’s a little like a record player, except that it doesn’t play records; instead, it “plays” pyrite discs, a rare kind of mineral deposit. Its creator is Dmitry Morozov, a “Russian media-artist, musician and engineer of strange-sounding mechanisms.” He describes Ra as a sound object/synthesizer.

::vtol:: Ra

Ra is a sound object / synthesizer which uses laser for scanning the irregularities of the surface of the pyrite disc and further transforms this data to produce sound. Pyrite disc is a rare form of pyrite which is crystallised in radial shape (as unusual disc spherulites) which also was named ‘pyrite suns’ or ‘pyrite dollars’.

Usually, pyrite, or fool’s gold, forms cuboid crystals. But in coal mines near Sparta, Illinois (and nowhere else on Earth, so far as anyone knows), it forms discs with grooves radiating out from the centre, and these are known as pyrite dollars or pyrite suns. Ra uses a laser to scan the surface of a pyrite disc as it is turned, and represents the mineral’s superficial irregularities as sound.

Cuboid and discoid crystals of pyrite

Cuboid and discoid crystals of pyrite

Dmitry was inspired to create this piece of sound art by his reading about the preservation of the earliest sounds recorded in fragile media such as wax. The projects he was learning about all used lasers, and he set out to make his own laser sound reader that would be able to produce sound from unorthodox irregular surfaces.

A DIY laser pickup “reads” the surface of the pyrite as it is turned by a stepper motor. Its output is passed to a Raspberry Pi which synthesizes it and applies various filters and effects, and plays the resulting sound through a single speaker. Ten control knobs and nine switches allow a user to alter the speed and direction of the disc’s motion and the parameters of the sound synthesis and processing carried out by the Raspberry Pi. There’s a little more information on Dmitry’s website, and the object itself is in the Sound Museum in St Petersburg.

Ra, a sound art piece

Ra, a sound art piece that synthesizes sound from the surface irregularities of pyrite disks

As you’ll have heard if you played the video above with sound, the audio representation that Ra makes of the patterns in the material is an eerie cinematic sci fi-like soundtrack with with long, sustained tones interspersed with short and distinctive motifs of rhythm and melody that alter as they repeat. It’s unexpectedly appealing, to me at least, and leaves me wondering what the synthesizer would make of other substrates.

The post Ra: sound art with pyrite sun discs appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Amazon Disables Send to Kindle on Rival Bookstores


Amazon is in the process of disabling their Send to Kindle functionality on competing bookstores. The Seattle company recently changed their terms of service that is having a reverberating effect on the e-book industry.

Last March Amazon augmented their cloud system that requires users to subscribe to Prime in order to store photos and video. If you are not a Prime member, it costs $11.99 per year.  When this new system went live Amazon changed their their terms of service for a number of things, which included a new clause that bars 3rd party companies from using "Send to Kindle" or “Send to Email".

The terms now state "You may not charge directly or indirectly to distribute content via the Service. You may not use the Service to send infringing, unauthorized, or otherwise illegal content."

Amazon is using the augmentation to the TOS to suspend the ability or to impose arbitrary limits on how much content can be delivered to your Kindle e-Reader, Fire tablet or any of their apps.

The entire 3rd party book selling industry has been feeling the effects of Amazon. A couple of months ago Baen Books announced that they no longer could send e-books to the Kindle and a small time later The Pragmatic Bookshelf said the same thing. Today, O’Reily is the latest company to proclaim that Amazon has disabled them.

O’Reily has stated on their website that this is the last day they have the ability to deliver paid content to the Kindle.  In order to cushion the blow they are having a 50% sale on everything in their store.

I don’t have any confirmation, but considering some ecosystems such as Netgalley or Smashwords can deliver e-books to the Kindle, but some companies can’t, leads me to believe that Amazon is adopting a favored nation policy or are licensing access to Send to Kindle in return for money.

Library Wars Short Film Shows the Future of Libaries


Library Wars demonstrates the future of the libraries role in Japan in the year 2020.  This new short film is a precursor to much larger cinematic experience that is entitled Library Wars: The Last Mission and will open in Japan on October 10.

This short film does not require you to watch anything in advance. The premise is actually fairly interesting. A new law threatens to clamp down on freedom of expression. Iku Kasahara joins the Library Defense Force, a military unit dedicated to protecting books from being confiscated. You can think of it as a romantic comedy that is cenetred around the lives of people working in a library.

I would recommend checking out this nine minute short film, it was composed with no dialog and just has music and subtitles.

Fire HD 10 Comparison Review vs Lenovo Tab 2 A10 Tablet

Ever since Amazon released their new 10-inch Android tablet, the Fire HD 10, I’ve been saying that it isn’t a good buy. There are better tablets on the market for the money, namely the Lenovo Tab 2 A10 tablet. I just posted a Lenovo Tab 2 10 review a couple days ago, and there’s no […]