Archive for Top News
Google I/O is in full swing, which is the companies largest developers conference. Tons of news has been breaking and many new apps have been announced. Today, we look at the best new apps of the week, that you might have missed.
Google Cardboard - Cardboard puts virtual reality on your smartphone. Try a variety of immersive demos on Android, and get inspired to build your own using the VR Toolkit
Path Talk - Talk is a new messenger from Path available for Android and iPhone. Replace SMS and Facebook with Path Talk to message friends, family, and groups for free.
YO – This app received over a million dollars in funding. The sole premise? Say YO to people on your contact list. Mainstream media picked up on the simplicity in the app and the resulting hack of it. Everything is back to normal now, see what all of the hype is about.
NFL Fantasy Football - You asked. We listened. NFL.com Fantasy Football is all-new for the 2014 season. Better. Faster. Redesigned. Available and designed for Android smartphone and tablet. The official NFL Fantasy Football app is your ultimate fantasy companion on the go.
Pet Shop Story Soccer World - The #1 FREE Pet collection game returns with Pet Shop Story: Soccer World! Create the perfect Pet Shop for your favorite lovable animals, and share with your friends! Design, decorate, and collect hundreds of adorable pets! Celebrate sports and soccer around the world with themed animals, decorations, and fantastic storylines! Set up a special Soccer World shop and get into the party spirit of Brazil!
1 Second Everyday - For over 3 years now, I’ve been recording 1 second every day, so I’ll never forget another day ever again. This project has had such a profoundly positive impact on my life, that I’ve passionately developed an App that will make it extraordinarily easy for anyone to do this too.’
Google Slides - Create, edit, and collaborate with others on presentations from your Android phone or tablet with the free Google Slides app.
Rising Star ABC - Will you raise the wall? Join the new era of singing competitions! For the first time ever – see yourself and your vote count in real time on your TV. Only a wall of Rising Star app user faces separates each artist from their dream, and your vote can raise it. This app serves as your judging tool, and puts the power directly in your hands. Every Sunday night on ABC, you can decide the fate of each singer before their performance is over. You hold their dreams in your hands as you decide who will be the next Rising Star.
BrightNest – Home Tips & Ideas – Keep your home in great shape without breaking a sweat! BrightNest helps you tackle important tasks with our home tips, personal schedule and helpful reminders. From simple cleaning tricks to interior design ideas, we deliver everything you need to shape up your home and simplify your life!
EverythingMe Launcher – A launcher, or a home replacement app, can upgrade the look and functionality of your homescreen. It can also personalize the way you open apps, make calls and perform other tasks. Unlike other launchers that mainly deal with customizing your workspace, EverythingMe personalizes your phone – matching it to you based on your needs, your location and the time of day.
The National Library of Australia recently held an event in Canberra to mark the launch of the “Mapping our World” exhibition that is showcasing some of the rarest and oldest maps . Lending grace to the occasion was none other than Hollywood star Russell Crowe, a self-professed “map geek who said he has loved pouring over maps since his childhood.
“We have a history of cartography from the time of the ancient Babylonian world, to Ptolemy, through the middle ages right up to Matthew Flinders…to do that in 120 items is quite something,” said Nat Williams, Director of Exhibitions with the National Library.
Special mention must be made of Fra Mauro, which the authorities explained is a hand painted world map that dates back 600 years. It is also expansive, at three square meters and weighing a mammoth 1,300 kilos. It also is the first time that the Fra Mauro has ever left its home in Venice.
“It was disassembled in three crates, and the journey was by air freighter with couriers all together and it was really very difficult. It was a great challenge but we won it,” said Director of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice Maurizio Messina.
The British Library has lent some of its rare maps from its huge collection of over 4.5 million pieces, which includes a map of the world that once adorned a wall in the bedroom of Henry VIII. However, the map is only of historical significance as most of what has been depicted has been found to be largely inaccurate.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing people in here – that’s really when it’s it. At the moment, the lighting people are out, and I can see these wonderful objects for what they are from any angle, I can compare this map with that map, I can understand the cartography of the French and the British, or the Dutch and the Portuguese,” said a naturally excited Martin Woods, National Library’s curator of maps, who said the exhibition marks the culmination of years of planning and negotiations.
Barnes and Noble unveiled their second generation Nook with Glowlight at an exclusive event in New York City on Monday. Good e-Reader was live on the scene getting the exclusive scoop on what this new device brings to the table.
The new Barnes and Noble Nook with Glowlight has a six inch screen and a resolution of 1024×768 pixels. It has 62% more pixels than the first generation model and should result in a better eBook reading experience. One of the big factors is the new glowlight, which sees a more evenly distributed light on the screen. The first generation model did not have the most uniformed lightning when you were in a darkened environment. You often saw the light being very clear at the top and started to wane about half way down. The new light is very much akin to the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Kobo Aura in terms of clarity. Underneath the hood is a 800 MHZ processor, 256 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of internal memory. There is no expandable memory, so you will have to stay under your cap.
“Barnes & Noble was the first company to recognize and answer E Ink customers’ number one request with a breakthrough integrated light for reading in the dark and today, with the new NOOK GlowLight, we’ve taken the reading experience to a new level,” said Mahesh Veerina, Chief Operating Officer of NOOK Media. “We developed an all new lightweight design that’s extremely comfortable to hold in one hand for people who love to read anytime, anywhere. Lighter and brighter, with crisp, sharp text, no full page flashing and no ads, our redesigned reading experience is more immersive than ever making the device a must-have item for long-form readers. We welcome customers to their local Barnes & Noble store where they can try the new NOOK GlowLight and see it shine.”
Barnes and Noble is employing the latest generation E Ink technology with Pearl’s Regal wave. This eliminates the full page refreshes that normally plague e-readers every page or every six pages. Instead, you will only see it happen every chapter. This new tech is really noticeable when you are browsing B&N’s online store and checking out books that are on a carousal.
There was a big design change in the way the new Nook model looks compared to the earlier iterations. You can tell that you can drop this thing and it will not break and has a large rubber casing that should protect it from day to day use. The physical page turn keys are also absent, which means you have to solely interact with the touchscreen. It is quite lightweight too, coming in at 6 oz.
Barnes and Noble borrowed a page out of Kobo’s playbook by offering new covers in a multitude of colors. These simply clip on and come in 6 different colors at launch, with more planned down the road. This will allow you to customize your reader without having to buy one in a particular color.
The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight 2013 edition uses Android 2.3 as the core operating system. Although there is 4 GB of internal memory only 512 MB is reserved for loading in your own books. The rest of it is allocated towards content only purchased from Barnes and Noble.
For people who love to escape to a great book, content is what matters most and the new NOOK GlowLight introduces an all-new customer experience intuitively designed to minimize distractions and let stories shine. The home screen has been refreshed to make it easier and faster for customers to jump right into their current books, magazines and newspapers directly from the home screen, even if they’re reading more than one item at a time in the new “Reading Now” section.
This e-reader still maintains the permanent navigation bar at the bottom of the page and it is quite easy to access the Library, Shop, or Search. Customers can also now easily view their entire collection of books, magazines, newspapers, and side-loaded content right in the Library, where book covers are rendered beautifully on the device’s new display. You can even use 3rd party programs like Calibre to send your book collection right to the device. The newspaper and college newspaper sections give you tons of daily news from most major USA publications. eBooks really shine with the enhanced screen and cover art looks great.
The new Nook gives you a very solid reading experience. Choose from 6 customized fonts, select from 7 font sizes, select one of 3 margin settings (thin, normal, expanded), or select one of 3 line spacing options (condensed, normal, expanded). If you are unhappy with any of these options, you can just establish the publisher defaults.
We had a good bit of one-on-one time to play around with this new device, and everything has changed from the prior models. The UI is completely different but borrows subtle elements from prior readers. It feels more intuitive than ever before to read and manage your collections. The Glowlight really gives the Paperwhite 2 and Kobo Aura a run for their money and you would be hard-pressed to find any flaws in the light distribution.
It is going on sale today in the B&N bookstores and college bookstores, as well as on the Barnes and Noble website, and will retail for $119.00 in the US without cost-savings measures like advertising. Current Barnes and Noble members will receive a ten percent discount.
The Good e-Reader News App for Android received a big update today! We sped up the loading time when you fire the app up for the first time, allowing it to pull our featured news items very quickly. We also alphabetized our topic section, which makes browsing our various news categories easier than ever. We really enhanced the app in many different ways and squashed some annoying bugs.
Good e-Reader has been chronicling the rise of the entire modern era digital publishing industry and has been reviewing e-readers since they first began to appear on the market. We provide a free online news service that is written by some of the best people in the publishing industry, and give you a play by play of all major events and trends.
Sony announced a new 13.3 inch e-reader last week that uses technology the company developed internally and in conjunction with E Ink Holdings. The new Sony e-Paper reader will seriously appeal to anyone that has lamented that their PDF reading and editing experiences have been sub-par on six inch devices. At SID Display Week in Vancouver, we caught up with Giovanni Mancini, the head of RND at E Ink, to check out the new Sony e-Reader.
This was the lightest device I have ever played with in the history of e-readers. The 13.3 inch screen is beguiling to behold and you would figure from looking at it that it would weigh significantly more than the Kindle DX. In truth it weighs only 12.6 oz, compared to the Kindle DX, which weighs a hefty 18.9 oz. The e-paper screen glides like a feather when dropped, as I found out.
The screen itself is quite respectable in terms of resolution and pixel density. The resolution on the display is 1200×1600 with 150 PPI. It is dubbed Mobius by E Ink and the company is actively shopping it around to the who’s who list of the e-reader world. The main attraction is using the active digitizer and interacting with complex PDF documents. You can edit documents by jotting down your own handwritten notes, or even highlight passages to go back to later. The large screen display will simply give you the best PDF experience you have ever had on an e-reader. I have personally reviewed over 83 different e-readers since launching Good e-Reader in 2009, and this was the first one to give me a quality PDF experience. I have received emails from airline pilots, heads of research divisions, and publishers about what device they should buy to read their PDF Files. I would implore everyone to buy this Sony one when it comes out; it changes the game. I don’t normally gush about things like this, but when it comes to school, work, newspapers, gaming guides, and technical PDF documents, this is solid.
The software right now is quite buggy, and we often found ourselves hitting a function key many times before the feature loaded up. The digitizer pen has a small button it that allows you to erase things when pressed. One of my concerns, along with some of the other media people there, was that the “erase” button was placed where you naturally grip the pen. This may result in you pressing down on it during your natural tendency to grip the stylus like a pencil. We noticed that when you are holding down the button, you can’t launch any commands or click on any of the GUI buttons. This forces you to write on the e-reader in a very unconventional way that may take some getting used to.
The world of self-publishing is rife with unfriendly, non-intuitive platforms that demand a strong technical knowledge to be able to produce compelling ebooks. Barnes and Noble is hoping to solve this problem with the unveiling of its Nook Press platform. Announced today, it is a direct follow-up to the company’s first generation PUBIT initiative that was launched in 2010.
Theresa Horner, the VP of Digital content at Barnes and Noble, explained the company’s process in an exclusive interview with Good e-Reader. “When we launched PUBIT, we had no idea how big the community would be,” she said, and went on to describe how difficult it would have been forming direct relationships with authors without PUBIT. “If we did not start PUBIT, we wouldn’t have been able to get content from all of these great indie authors. We are investing two times into the new platform than we originally did PUBIT.”
Nook Press provides an all in one solution that allows authors to upload existing Microsoft Word documents and instantly see how they look in EPUB, or create EPUB documents from scratch using the online tools. One of the barriers to ebook creation is being able to constantly refine your work; many self-publishing platforms do not allow you to make changes in the web-interface and demand you make the changes locally and then re-upload the finished result. Nook Press allows authors to make any changes on the fly and even create an interactive table of contents, something that makes everyone’s life a little bit easier.
When you have selected your cover art and added your metadata, it is time to list your book on the Barnes and Noble ecosystem. US publishers and authors can select whether they want the book for sale both in the US and the UK, and establish different prices accordingly. You also have the option to choose whether you want your finished product to have DRM or not. Having the option to avoid encryption and allow your ebook to be free and open will resonate with the segment of outspoken authors that love freedom of information. Another thing most people will love is the ability for all ebook titles to be included into LENDME—Barnes and Noble’s social sharing feature—that allows users to loan a title out only once to a friend for up to two weeks.
The entire ebook creation is done in EPUB2 and there is no functionality to include interactive content, videos, or animations with EPUB3. Also, there is no way to export your ebook as a PDF, so self-publishing comic books may not be the easiest thing in the world to smoothly accomplish. The Nook Press program is exclusively available for US residents only and will not accept submissions from any other market. The company may look at the United Kingdom at some point, but does not have immediate plans to make publishing available there.
Many authors love to know how their sales and metrics are doing for a title they have just released. Nook Press has new analytical functions that can give you an immediate report on every single purchase made. It is on a 3 hour delay for sales reports, as the company has to verify credit card data and other purchasing information. You can see the raw numbers, or juggle the graph data to show how it is performing over time.
First time authors have lots of questions when they are self-publishing for the first time. Barnes and Noble is making customer support for authors its top priority by introducing a new live chat feature. From 9 AM to 9 PM on weekdays, authors can talk directly to a Nook specialist to get help for anything that they need. Theresa told us that she recognized B&N’s support for self-publishing has been very weak in the past, and the company is remedying it with Nook Press.
Many first time authors want to share their books with their friends and family. Whether you have added a new chapter, or are just starting out, there are new tools to involve collaborators. You can invite people via email to get access to your book in the cloud. They can leave their impressions on specific sentences or chapters via the notes tool. Currently, the ability to edit an ebook as a collaborator is not included in the first release, but is on the company’s roadmap to introduce in the future.
Speaking of the future, introducing new features is something most people love when they are self-publishing on any given platform. Since PUBIT was first released in 2010, there has not been a single new enhancement added. The entire point of Nook Press is to create a scalable product in which new enhancements can easily be pushed out for everyone to enjoy. Speaking of PUBIT, the entire platform will be retired once Nook Press sees a broader rollout.
Considering where PUBIT left off, there is a night and day difference with the unveiling of Nook Press. The entire process of creating an ebook is actually very intuitive and easy. The platform eliminates anything that would be a barrier to you proudly launching your first title.
Amazon is no stranger to the world of advertising, with the Seattle based company launching their own network six years ago. The company is forging ahead with plans to allow companies to run targeted adds on the entire line of Kindle Fire Tablets and e-Readers.
Amazon has some very big data that it is using to leverage themselves against the likes of Facebook, Bing and Google ad networks. 185 million customers buying habits are cultivated by Amazon to deliver more concise recommendations on eBooks, devices and even shoes. Currently Amazon has launched new advertising options for companies looking to target Kindle users exclusively.
Advertising for Amazon is big business. The company never releases breakdowns like they do in the UK, but according to recent filing reports they make around 1.7 billion dollars a year. This new program would act similar to Google Adwords, where you can customize specific ad units and have them displayed.
Amazons Special Offers program was originally launched in 2011, with the release of the Kindle 3, or known now, as the Kindle Keyboard. The essence of the program is that customers buy $30.00 less on the hardware to have advertisements served on the homescreen and screensaver. Amazon continued rolling out the program to the Kindle 4th Generation, Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire line of tablets. People often were quite happy to save some money, because all of the advertising was fairly unobtrusive.
When Amazon was originally developing the program they had their key properties like Audible being advertised. You could see they maintained synergy between their various products, including eBooks.
During the last three years, Amazon knows how many people are buying their “Special Offers” editions and is pitching the metrics to advertisers. Companies can now elect to exclusively run a month long campaign on your Kindle. If you are a company looking to put an add, the Kindle e-Readers are only available to run campaigns in the USA. The Kindle Fire line allows for the USA, UK and Germany for their targeted markets.
Previously we reported on Douglas County acquiring 10,000 self-published ebooks from Smashwords. Now, an article in The Digital Shift outlines how much work was required to complete the deal as the parties had to weed, filter, and tweak a list of indie titles to develop the optimal collection for library patrons.
“It was a lot more complicated for us than we expected,” said Smashwords founder Mark Coker, “We’re giving libraries the option to slice and dice by multiple categories and multiple filters. And, along the way we discovered some cool ways to surface titles more accurately, that we think better reflect the interests of readers.”
The list began with Smashwords’ top 10,000 bestsellers—titles that have proven their appeal through sales. However, DCL and Smashwords soon realized that relying exclusively on a sales ranking could cause problems, such as leaving popular book series incomplete. Focusing instead on bestselling authors, and simply purchasing everything they had written, wasn’t an ideal solution, either. Hypothetically, what if an author had published 1,000 books, each of which sold only a few copies,” Coker said.
Smashwords developed a new mathematical ratings model and then based the bestseller list on it. To this was applied specific filters requested by Douglas. The filters included price caps and limits on specific genres, the exclusion of certain genres, such as erotica, and special dealing with such items as romance titles.
“There were just some really racy covers,” Nemechek explained. “As you know, our catalogs are very visual now. And it’s not that we don’t buy that stuff, but I was afraid that there would be so much of it, and that it was going to flood our system. So I was a little more careful with covers than I probably otherwise would have been… We usually select erotica based on professional reviews or sometimes patron demand. But we try to sift through that stuff more carefully. Given that we had 10,000 titles to work with, excluding the erotica would give us more science fiction, mystery, romance, and the genre fiction that our readers really love.”
According to the University of Chicago Library News, the original manuscript of Walt Whitman’s The Bible as Poetry has been digitized, along with related pieces of Whitmaniana, and is now online. The manuscript includes a letter sent from Whitman to his publishers and Whitman’s edits of his own work. The complete essay was published in The Critic in 1883.
Being a rabid Doctor Who fan, I just had to cover this story from The Guardian. Doctor Who is up for its 50th anniversary! To celebrate, Puffin and BBC Worldwide will be publishing a series of original Doctor Who stories by famous children’s authors, who are described by the publishers as ranging from commercial blockbusters to literary-award winners. A new story will be released as an ebook on the 23rd of each month and will cost £1.99. The article does not say whether the stories will be available outside of the UK.
The first author will be Eoin Colfer, who is the creater of Artemis Fowl and who “finished” the Hitchhikers Guide
series. The story will feature William Hartnell’s portrayal of the Doctor and future ebooks will each re-imagine a different one of the eleven Doctors.
The University of Michigan’s most famous papyrus is now available to users on the iPhone or iPad. High-resolution images of the third-century codex, which is the oldest known copy of the Letters of St. Paul, can be flipped through like the pages of a book.
The app includes a translation from Greek to English, either word-by-word or by the page, along with annotations which explain where the papyrus differs from the Standard Version in the New Testament. The codex was originally made up of 104 pages, of which 86 survive. “This gives an idea of what it was like to read an ancient book, with no capitals, no spaces between words, and no punctuation,” explains Arthur Verhoogt, acting archivist of the library’s papyrology collection.
More info in the University of Michigan Record.
Once again Smashwords is showing up the mainstream publishers. According to ALA TechSource, the Douglas County Libraries acquired 10,000 titles of self-published ebooks from Smashwords. This means that DCL will now own a total of 21,000 ebooks. The titles purchased from Smashwords include fiction, romance, mystery, and science fiction. Rather than leasing ebooks from third-party vendors, the library purchases the books directly and owns them.
Jamie LaRue, director of DCL, said, “We’re eager to connect our readers to fresh streams of digital content… Smashword’s average price per title [about $4] allows us to do that more readily than we could from the big publishers [now charging as much as $84 per ebook]. This looks like the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”
Once again, Smashwords takes steps to reform digital publishing.
Chitika is a online ad network and data analytics firm. It presents 4 billion targeted ads each month to a network of 200,000 sites. By analyzing the traffic on these sites, it was able to come up with the following figures for December 1st to December 27th. This data is for the US and Canada only.
According to Chitika, the Kindle Fire gained 3% in usage, followed by the Samsung Galaxy tablet (7 and 10 inch) at 1%, Google Nexus at 0.92%, and the Microsoft Surface at 0.17%. The iPad declined by 7%, leaving the iPad with a 79% share of the market. In market share, the iPad was followed by the Samsung Galaxy tablets at 4% and the Google Nexus at 2%. Prior to the Christmas period, Chitka says that the iPad had an 86% market share. The firm expects the iPad to return to the 80% range after the holiday period as users return from vacation and browse with their new devices less frequently.