Anali Lambrechts

Anali Lambrechts





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Are you struggling to think of a gift for the avid reader in your life? The obvious choice is to buy him or her an eReader so that buying and storing books is easier and cheaper. But what do you do when your loved one already has a quality eReader along with, it seems, all the accessories he or she needs with it? Check out our top six picks for gift ideas!

1. Gift Cards

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Any avid reader will thank you for the opportunity to buy and collect more books. But gifting books through places like Amazon can get tricky since you don’t always know which books your loved one wants. That’s where gift cards come in handy, since he or she can choose the books at his or her leisure.

When you buy gift cards, make sure they’re compatible with your loved one’s eReader. Amazon gift cards will work for Kindle while Barnes and Noble gift cards are for Nook eReaders. Kobo is another eReader app you can buy gift cards for that allows readers to purchase magazines, books, and more. You can even add a personal message to a Kobo gift card.

2. Chromecast

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If the reader in your life has more of a tablet than an eReader (like the Kindle Fire opposed to the Kindle Paperwhite) where they can browse the web and download new apps, then he or she might find a Chromecast device useful.

Users simply plug Chromecast into their TV through the HDMI and USB ports, and then they can use their eReader tablet to play videos straight on the TV through apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Best of all, this little device turns your TV into a smart TV for one low price of $35.

3. An Upgrade

So it seems the reader in your life has everything, huh? Well, does he or she have an iPhone 6 Plus? If the answer is no, then a technology upgrade could be exactly what he or she needs. Not only is the iPhone compatible with eReader apps like Kindle so that the user can still take their books anywhere, but it can do so much more than a regular eReader can.

Plus, it features a 5.5-inch display, making it easy to transport in your pocket while still offering a big enough screen for reading.

4. Accessories

Maybe it seems like your loved one has all the accessories he or she needs, but there are always more designs to choose from. Here are a few accessories for an eReader you might consider:

  • Cover or skin
  • Screen protector
  • Stylus
  • Car charger
  • Tablet stand
  • Compatible wireless keyboard
  • Headphones

5. An Autographed Book

example

Even readers who prefer digital format can’t pass up an autographed print copy of their favorite book. Sure, they can’t store it conveniently with the rest of their digital bookshelf, but an autographed book means so much more than just the words on the page. Find out what his or her favorite book is and try to track down a first edition copy or an autographed copy he or she can treasure forever.

6. Solar Charger

Of all the accessories your friend or family member has, does he or she already have a solar charging eReader cover like this one? When taking long breaks outside at the park or on the beach, an eReader’s battery can feel like it drains too fast. With a solar charging case, readers can enjoy the sun and their book without worrying about draining the battery so fast. Simply plug in the case to the device via USB.

As an added bonus, solar charging covers like the one mentioned come with an LED light that can help make it easier to read in the dark.

While you may be struggling with what to get an avid reader for a birthday, Christmas, or Valentine’s day, you should now have a better idea of what he or she might like. What gift from this list will you buy the reader in your life?

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dwd

With the recent introduction of mobile pay services like Apple Pay and its premature competitor, Wal-Mart Stores’ CurrentC, many small business owners have found themselves wondering if it’s time to start investing in technology a little further from the norm, albeit based in a near field. NFC technology could make purchases smoother and quicker than ever, but don’t toss your Square card reader in the bin just yet.

Mobile Pay Options and Support

According to professionals at Business Insider, mobile pay services like Apple Pay could effectively “kill” the credit card. They’re easier, more secure for the most part, harder to steal, and allow shoppers to feel like the future has finally arrived. However, right now the technology is facing a number of issues. The largest of these is the lack of support from both retailers and banks nationwide: Apple Pay is still new to the scene, so a lack of support from these banks makes some sense, but lack of retailer support is particularly troubling. This doesn’t mean that a particular store doesn’t want to accept Apple payments specifically; it means that they aren’t accepting any NFC payments at all. While this is likely to change over time—Google Wallet has already helped to alleviate a great deal of concerns, as most users trust the big G at least as much as the father of the Mac—the chances of NFC payment technology hitting the mainstream within the next five years or so are looking grim.

Another issue is specific to Apple Pay, and is part of the age old OS war. Apple Insider reported some impressive figures in January 2014 for iPhone use, claiming that up to 42 percent of all smartphone owners were using an iPhone, but that still leaves the majority running a system incompatible with Apple Pay altogether. Android users can take advantage of Google Wallet, but if banks continue to pick and choose which mobile payment systems they’ll accept, then there will always be a gap somewhere. Are consumers going to change banks if they can’t use their iPhone or Droid in place of a credit card with their current financial institution? Not likely.

This doesn’t mean Apple Pay and Google Wallet are dead in the water, of course. Google Wallet has been around long enough to become fairly trusted, and that trust is growing. The addition of an Apple-friendly equivalent is sure to help speed along universal NFC payment support in large businesses. Surprisingly, however, the most support may actually come from smaller retailers.

Small Businesses Getting In On the Ground Floor

One of the most prominent small business retail solutions online today, Shopify, recently announced that they would be soon be rolling out support for Apple Pay for their iPad-based POS systems. This could change the game for mobile payment options—if the small business world rushes to support NFC payments before the big box conglomerates can catch up, large retailers will have no choice but to accept mobile payments or run the risk of being named “outdated.” While mobile payments don’t look like they’ll become the norm until ten years or so in the future, a sea change like this could cut that timeframe by years, possibly even down to five years or less.

Does this mean small business owners should get ready to toss out their old-school card readers? Absolutely not. The National Federation of Independent Business reports that just under half of all small businesses accept credit card payments at all, and apparently they get along just fine. How is this possible in a world that runs on plastic? It’s a loud testament to the continued use of more deprecated payment methods. The fact that so many small businesses get by without accepting credit means that there are still a great deal of consumers using cash and checks as payment methods. It’s these consumers and entrepreneurs that will slow down the spread of Apple Pay and other mobile payment support options through the nation.

However, small businesses having the opportunity to take part in this financial tech revolution so early in the game is important specifically because so few of them accept the standard credit card payment, not in spite of the fact. This could enable small businesses still living without credit card processing to play leapfrog with payment methods and pass over standard credit processing altogether, resulting in a mass small business update nationwide.

Keep your standard credit card reader close at hand, but if NFC support comes knocking, entrepreneurs should be ready to answer the call. A technological shift like this could not only make shopping at small retailers more user-friendly than ever, it could change the way that banks view both small businesses and new payment processing methods. The fact is, the majority rules, so if you’re ready to help bring small business transactions into the future, be ready to become part of the majority.

Categories : e-Reader News
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mobile-gaming

The gaming market is set to become a predominately online based pastimes in the years to come, a recent study. Research has found that consumers are moving away from the more traditional PC based games, in favour of an online alternative and the figure is set to rise by a high one-digit percentage in the years leading up to 2017.

With social media platforms becoming increasingly popular, the amount of users partaking in social gaming has also risen. Users are able to play against their friends or family via the social network with the ability to “share” the result, leading to this becoming a more attractive approach to gaming. The developments in smartphone technology has also led to a hike in the figured for games played online and on social spaces.

According to a recent survey, the introduction on online gaming has given a dramatic boost to the number of web gamers, with over 40% of internet users partaking. The results have proven how fast growing the industry is, spanning across a range of various platforms and devices. Gambling games have proved to be particularly popular on social, which have drawn 11,240,000 gamers every day.

On the European market, Germany leads the way in terms of mobile gaming users, with gamers generating an astounding $3.7 billion dollars, with a year year-on-year growth amounting to 5%. China are dominating the Asian industry, with several hundreds of million people who play both mobile and online games, but also South Korea have been engrossed with a messaging app that has recently been transformed into a gaming platform, proving to be one of the most popular of its kind amongst gamers. Mobile gaming is currently the largest revenue consuming segment in the U.S. online gaming market and is set to continue growing in popularity in the next few years.

In terms of the gender divide, men tend to make up the majority of online gaming users, however gaming companies are intending to attract more women players by adding more female characters into their games. Marvel Comics, for example, have made changes to their Thor character and will now be a depicted as a female. By attracting new consumers such as more female gamers, the online gaming market will grow even further. Women tend to be more prone to social gaming so by appealing to them, the audience for online gaming will expand and grow.

Head of Consumer PR at Ladbrokes Casino David Williams discusses that;

“The rate at which social gaming is growing is undoubtedly one of the most exciting developments on our landscape. Being in the right place at the right time to influence consumer behavior and offer discerning customers precisely what they want – and more – will be key to leveraging the cash benefits of social gaming for big firms.”

Online gaming is a great environment for the gambling industry as it provides consumers with the ability to play in a social, fun way and has become a multi-billion dollar business. With women becoming more interested in the trend, social platforms such as Facebook have attracted many social gamblers who try their luck in popular casino-based games.

The future of the gambling business looks to have its eyes set towards online games and internet users. With mobile technology constantly expanding and growing, it is no surprise that the gaming industry will grow alongside it. New markets and targets are emerging with women becoming more intrigued by the industry which sets the gambling gaming industry to have a bright future.

Categories : Technology
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meego concept

On Feb 11, 2011 industry leaders Nokia and Microsoft announced plans to form a broad partnership that would utilize there complementary strengths. While there was nothing specifically stated about the future of the MeeGo OS, it appears that both companies will have there hand’s full and the chance’s of it ever making it into a mainstream OS competitor are stacked against it.

MeeGo itself is the product of a partnership between Nokia and Intel to try to bring the best of Maebo and Moblin together. Through borrowing the Moblin core, this should bring all the power of a full fledged OS, to mobile devices. With the integration of the UI (User Interface) from Maemo consumer’s can expect the same user friendly system we have come to expect.

Putting a personal touch on thing’s, Jozef Kocúr has displayed his easy to use UI concept for the MeeGo OS. As seen below, it features a side scrolling layout. Inside of this, each panel has a column. The very bottom of the screen has a menu with heading’s for Board, Applications, Now, Social, Media and System. The easy to read font, catchy icon’s and cohesive color scheme make this concept esthetically pleasing as well.

The concept makes MeeGo look phenomenal, and hopefully it will help to push the development forward. It has been announced that the first system’s with MeeGo on them will be released in the second quarter of 2011, hopefully they keep to this without delays!

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In January ASUS was pleasantly surprised by the sales of their first tablet. At a price point on the high end of the spectrum for tablets, the Eee Pad 121 sold better then the executives were expecting. With the market only growing, ASUS CEO Jerry Shen has announced plans for further development in the area of their tablets.

The first point of interest, is the 3D tablet utilizing a quad-core processor. This is expected sometime in 2011. The increase over the dual core processor will allow the tablet’s better picture quality, and to sometime in the future handle full HD.

The second point of interest is the potential release of this technology for Windows Phone in 2012. Currently, ASUS is focusing there effort’s on Android, but mention was made that support for the new Windows Phone looks promising. ASUS is currently awaiting for the development of the platform.

These are two very good step’s forward for ASUS, as they have made plans to become a dominant presence in the tablet market by the end of 2012. Other steps also include improving battery life, OS services, and avoiding dual camera’s on their tablet’s. The competition will be fierce, as Apple has long held the standard for first class product’s and services. Jerry Shen in not daunted by the prospect’s, even agreeing that Apple provides fantastic service for software. He does however, insist that ASUS has superior hardware, and I for one, am inclined to agree with him.

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ipad 2

In an effort to attract new buyer’s for there new release product’s, Apple is offering a partial refund to the consumer’s who purchased an iPad up to two week’s before the iPad2’s March 2 debut. In simple term’s, if you purchased an iPad after February 16th, you are eligible to receive the refund. The refund itself, takes the form of money being credited back onto the purchaser’s credit card. A far more useful incentive then limiting it to a $100 giftcard so the Apple loving consumer’s can spend that money on Apple product’s again!

To get your rebate you will have to proceed to your nearest physical Apple location to get the refund processed. If you ordered online, you will have to phone Apples customer service representatives via there 1-800 number. These refund’s are not automatically processed, and it is up to you to contact Apple for it. So put this article to the side for a moment and pick up a phone, or drive in.

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unity 3d

Unity is a young company by today’s standards, but they are rapidly proving that they can play in the sandbox with the longer established companies. At the Game Developers Conference this March, Unity announced their new plugin that will support 3D graphics in Web-Browsers for Android devices. The Unity plugin has been available for Apple devices for quite some time already, so it is only natural that the company would follow up Android.

What this means for consumers is that there will be no need to wait for long download times, or having to buy the DVD to install a game. This will all be supported through the browser plugin, providing more access for those that may not have the top of the line computer to play the latest games. Since we are dealing with playing 3D games in a web browser, some of the full effect will be lost. The amazing graphics need to be scaled down to fit in the browsers, where on a PC they would be utilized to their full potential. The availability outweighs this small deterrent though. Unity also has a development kit readily available, so developers can easily transfer their games into the new format so that the consumers can play! Keep in mind Unity games require Tablets with the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.

Another newcomer to the scene is also displaying a very strong plugin for displaying 3D games in web browsers. ShiVa3D has been working exclusively with a 3d browser plugin, whereas Unity is a general development company. Where Unity just announced their capability for Android, ShiVa has already been creating 3D real-time applications and games compatible with the system. While ShiVa appears to be more user friendly, the consensus is that Unity offers better developer support.

The market is slowly starting to become crowded as Adobe and Epic Games, Inc both get on board to offer 3D web browser support. Adobe angling to launch the ability to create 3D graphics in flash, which has traditionally been 2D. Epic Games is looking to expand on their Unreal engine to add more functionality and accessibility. Bringing their outstanding PC experience to Mobile devices.

Already on the market is WebGL, which is embedded in most browsers already and does not require a plugin. At least if you use Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari. Microsoft appears to be unenthusiastic about it though. So while WebGL is growing and becoming more accepted, it is hampered by Microsoft’s lack of interest, leaving the field wide open for the plugins.

In the spirit of free trade, this only bodes well for the consumer, offering more options and competition between the developers to all be the one to design the best system, for the best price, to get the most sales.

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Mar
03

What is the Apple iPad 2?

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apple ipad 2

The first generation iPad has been well received by consumer’s everywhere, leaving a lot to live up to. Additionally, some major competition is threatening Apple’s hold on the tablet market. Apple is set to release the iPad2 in March, and there are many new features to delve into. These include, but are not limited to, better hardware, graphics, connectivity, and price.

Better hardware and graphics go hand in hand. Addressing these together, the major contributor is the A5 dual-core processor. It has been reported to be twice as fast that previously seen in iPads. Other hardware goodies include the addition of a gyroscope, bringing the iPad ever closer to the Microsoft Kinect, and two more camera’s for video conferencing. One camera in the front, so you can take pictures and edit them a la DS photo type games. The other camera is located in the back, and is capable of recording video at 720p.

Connectivity is more external. Featuring a HDMI out for HD video display. Yes, we will have to invest some more money to buy an adapter, but in the long run it is worth it to spend the $39 to get your iPad viewable onto your TV. This feature also transmits sound, so we can transfer that onto our amazing sound setups that come with most standard TVs.

The iPad is looking to corner the market price wise as well. Expected to give more value for your money then the competitors’ releases this year, Apple has gone one step further and also lowered the price of the original iPad. Prices range from $500 to $830 for the new iPad 2, and $400, to $730 for the iPad.

Now some things were just fine, and didn’t need to be changed. The display will be remaining at the 9.7” measurements. Continuing on with a 1024 x 768 resolution display for that screen with backlit LED. The storage size options are also remaining the same, at 16, 32, and 64GB.

To top it all off though, the iPad2 will be lighter, and smaller. Cutting nearly 100grams off the weight across the board. The thickness was also adjusted to be smaller. Going from13.4mm down to 8.8mm. So we get all these cool and awesome new features, and somehow the folk’s at Apple managed to re-arrange and squish them in to this smaller package. Overall the design hasn’t changed from the original iPad, though there will be a new color option available. All in all great things to look forward to!

Macworld did a great video on the first day at the conference, check it out.


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windows 8 tablets

The demo of Widows 8 appears to be on the horizon, with Microsoft recently passing an internal schedule point called “Milestone 2”. As we have seen previously with Microsoft releases of products this would place the release for the end of July. There would have to be a demo first, which there has been talks of June 2011. It important to note that Windows 8 is a working name that the public has dubbed it. There has been no official release of the name for the OS following Windows 7.

With Windows 7 still doing so well both in sales and customer satisfaction it does not make sense for Microsoft to release another operating system for PC’s just yet. All speculation point’s towards this first release being for tablet’s.

It has long been known that Microsoft has been struggling to break into the tablet market. Their new marketing plan appears to release the Windows 8 so that it looks a lot similar to the iPad, even though it stemmed from their own setup with Windows XP. It was initially designed for use of a remote, but is being re-purposed to work on touch. Also in the lineup of similarities are the specs. Hopefully Microsoft can make a break into the tablet world without coming too close to copying Apple.

Although there has been a prediction that the Windows 8 for tablets will be more business oriented, it has also been shared that it will feature its own apps, and app store. Is there that big of a demand for business oriented apps? It remains to be seen, though it would appear to be a missed speculation on someones part. Regardless, this is another feature that makes the OS look more like a copy of the iPad.

Getting back to the release it was rumored that there would be a demonstration at CES back in January. It was stated that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would unveil some part’s of Windows 8 during the keynote, alongside other Microsoft product’s Windows Phone 7 and Xbox. At the end of the day, all that was announced is that Windows 8 will be running on SoC chips such as ARM. Leak’s from Dell has shown that the company is working on a tablet that runs Windows 8.

Hopefully this will be the break that Microsoft is looking for to become a presence in the tablet world, and that it will be free of major delays, which is what has cost Microsoft that chance in the past. Here is to looking forward to the demonstration!

via Businessinsider

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amazon.ca

It has been a long standing tradition that Canada get’s the short end of the stick with regard’s to online media. Being that we share the same border, and are so close in term’s of business shouldn’t it be possible by now that The most obvious is if anyone on a Canadian IP goes to a major US network to watch an episode of a TV show online. A single example would be going onto Fox’s website and trying to watch Glee. An error message appears that states that this program is not available in your country. Popular Hulu.com also does not offer service for Canadian viewers. This also translates into music, with major online radio provider Pandora also being unable to play due to licensing considerations.

Now these are all fine and dandy, they are online and most people know they aren’t avail to Canadians. We get by, there are other options, its a free world and the internet is as infinite as the imaginations powering it. When purchasing an eReader you are not just signing on with the manufacturer of the technological hardware, but also the online stores, and support services. Due to more publishing complications, nearly a third of books that are available in the United States are not available in Canada. These aren’t just lesser known book’s either, these are some newer hit book’s that the publisher’s have just opted that we don’t get to have access to.

Further investigation also revealed that the companies themselves know about these availability deficincies. Apple’s iBook and iBookstore FAQ questions asks, “Is iBooks available in every country with an App Store?”. The response being. “Yes, iBooks and the iBookstore are available in all App Store countries. iBookstore content varies by country.”

Even look at Barnes and Noble, their popular Nook E-Readers are heads over tails better then most other ones out there, but try and order a Nook online to ship to Canada, no go. If you manage to buy a Nook via Shop e-Readers or Ebay, there is no way to even buy Books unless you fake an American address and use your real credit card.

Looking at the eBook and e-Reader industry leader Amazon, Canadians again get the shaft in eBook selection. The Canadian eBook store has around 530,000 books VS. the American version which has 760,000. Now you may think, its probably older titles or classics that fall through the cracks, not so. Authors like Malcolm Gladwell, whose best-selling books like The Tipping Point and Outliers are all available to Kindle users in the U.S. but not Canadians. Also to even buy the eBooks, you do not use Amazon.ca you have to use Amazaon.com and all books purchased are in US dollars, and not Canadian.

This doesn’t mean to say that the companies themselves are being malicious. There is legal restrictions in some countries as to what content can be sold, and going even a step further, some Author’s just don’t want to be published in more then one country. At the end of the day though it begs the question, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Categories : Commentary
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apple newspaper

Hype is currently surrounding Apple as word is spreading that the mega company’s popular iPad is getting ready to launch a Newspaper Subscription Service. For the general reading public this is a great step forward, allowing increased accessability and hopefully affordability. The time a person can read the paper is no longer dictated by the time the paper carrier arrives, as well as the digital form of reading are typically offered at reduced rates, due to the reduced cost of delivery. For any Green reader’s out there it should also reduce the amount of paper that ends up in landfills un-recycled. Having already offered a bailout to the Magazine industry it is hardly a suprise that they would include Newspaper’s as well.

The success of a Newspaper is based on its circulation, how many copies are distributed on an average day, which a major deciding factor in its advertising rates. The Audit Bureau of Circulations is active in many countries with there North American and United Kingdom branches. The Bureau is an independent body offering advertiser’s a way to check that a publisher is delivering the numbers of their newspaper’s that they claim they are. Worldwide there has been a downward trend in circulation for many year’s for the Newsprint industry. Ever since the 1940’s when the Radio was introduced the Newspaper has suffered. This was then followed by the development of Television and then the internet followed suit.

However, in the face of adversity two evening newspaper’s in the United Kingdom managed to post an increase in the latest Audit released. Trinity Mirror’s Liverpool Echo posted a 0.7% increase, and Midland News Association’s Wolverhampton-based Express & Star up 1.5%. Within the United States, as of March 2010, the Wall Street Journal was up 0.5% as well. This made the business orientated paper the only major competitor to post growth, and allowed them to sneak into the number one position. The Wall Street Journal is also among the current American companies producing special editions for the iPad, which appear’s to be already making a positive impact for their circulation numbers.

There has been delays with the release of the Newspaper Subscription Service on the iPad, mainly with the negotiating of contract’s. Apple is asking for thirty percent of the subscription price for delivering the customer’s and managing the transactions. Apple would also like a slightly larger share of the pot with wanting 40%  of the ad revenue, essentially working on commission. The publisher’s dont quite see eye to eye with this, and want to pay Apple a set fee. The publisher’s also want to retain the subscriber information, while Apple wants to keep control of this in iTunes. Publisher’s have observed the potential of the iPad offsetting the losses from the introduction of the competitive medium’s. Regardless of the final contract that is settled on; the new subscription service should breathe new life into the fading print Newspaper industry. Everyone Rejoice!

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