Amazon launched their Japanese e-Book store in 2012 and in order to read e-books, manga or comic books you basically needed to use the dedicated Kindle app for Android or iOS. Now users have another option, Kindle for PC has officially launched in Japan.
The premise of Kindle for PC is to keep your content synchronized across multiple devices. It also allows for a ton of versatility for Japanese text and displays anything you would buy from the Amazon digital bookstore. All of your purchases will be able to be viewed in both landscape and portrait mode. Customization options include changing the background color, font size, font type and access the dictionary.
Amazon launched the Kindle Cloud Reader in Japan last September, this is their online based HTML5 e-reading app. It was fairly limiting, because it was relegated to only reading novels, not magazines, newspapers or manga.
The debut of Kindle for PC comes at an opportune time for Amazon. Earlier in the month the company launched Kindle Free Manga Magazine. This is a platform that has a revolving pool of single issues and magazines, all available for free. The initial lineup includes the recent issue of Shueisha’s Grand Jump magazine, as well as Manga Action, Comic Ran Twins, Comic Zero-Sum, Manga Box service, and Square Enix’s Hobo Gekkan Otameshi Gangan.
Haruichi Furudate’s high energy volleyball manga, Haikyuu!!, has already been slated for a second season. Fans of the show weren’t surprised to hear this at all, given the show’s popularity when it aired last April. But while waiting for a release date of the second season, Haikyuu!! fans will be happily tided over by the news of a compilation film.
The film is part of the Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015. Production I.G, the company who animated Haikyuu!!’s first season, have released a slew of information concerning the volleyball boys. As well as the second season of the anime and the compilation film, there is to be a summer event. Considering that the second season will most likely air in July, the summer event could be something celebrating the return of the anime. Production I.G also promises more announcements are on the way.
The compilation film will consist of the first season of Haikyuu!! condensed into a series overview lasting about two hours. Although nothing has yet been confirmed, anime compilation films usually contain additional pieces of animation, often made in a higher quality than the animation designed for TV. Even the prospect of new animation alone is enough to entice viewers, but with the second season on the horizon, watching the film will be a great way to catch up on the series and remind yourself of everything you’ve missed.
Sports anime has been one of the fastest growing genres over the last three years, and it seems Production I.G is looking to milk it for all it’s worth. The company already produces another popular sports anime, Kuroko no Basuke. It’s no surprise they would want to bring focus on Haikyuu!!, a manga that has sold over two million volumes. As for fans of the Karasuno High Volleyball Club, we’re simply excited to see what else the Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015 will contain.
Well-lit vanity mirrors? Shower benches for leg shaving? Kinder lighting in the corridors? Why not?
Some critics of Virgin Group Ltd., the chain of entertainment and service industry offerings owned by billionaire Richard Branson, have scoffed at the corporation’s latest attempt to win over a key demographic with its new hospitality chain, Virgin Hotels. The luxury hotel chain is making a concerted effort to meet the needs of the growing numbers of female business travelers, but it’s not just makeup mirrors and smooth legs.
One key feature of this hotel chain is a divided room that allows the guest to accept deliveries like room service or luggage service through the main room door, while staying locked behind a second door with a peep hole. Corridor lighting has been enhanced to ensure that there are no dark corners for someone to lurk in. Of course, there are the less intimidating amenities like larger closets to accommodate business travelers’ suits and dresses, helping to ensure that the purpose of the trip comes off as stylishly as possible.
While some news sources have openly stated that female guests have no need of these extra features because “they’ve done okay without leg-shaving benches thus far,” Virgin’s founder sees it a little differently, considering the numbers of women who travel for business, not just for vacation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Virgin determined early on that appealing to female business travelers was part of that approach. Company executives cited a 2011 report from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University that highlighted the market opportunity: While females accounted for only a quarter of business travelers in 1991, they now comprise about half.”
It may seem gimmicky to some, but in a crowded hospitality industry, hotel chains are working overtime to meet the needs of guests in a way that make them stand out. Anyone can offer a bed, a bath, and a bagel in the lobby each morning, but companies are actively working to provide features that make travelers choose their accommodations based on features like wifi that remembers you from your last visit, free digital newspapers and magazines through apps like PressReader, the ability to read the news from “back home” while traveling, and more.
Any time a library can report an increase in circulation, patron engagement, offered services, and catalog content, it’s a cause for celebration. Libraries as vital parts of healthy communities are in a constant state of defense, so growth in the sector is good to hear. But when the libraries in question are school libraries who cater to the needs of emerging readers (and future voters who will determine the strength of public libraries down the road), it’s even better.
OverDrive, one of the world’s leading providers of digital content to public and academic libraries, released news yesterday of record growth of its ebook catalog.
“As of January 1, 2015, nearly 12,000 schools and districts have incorporated the OverDrive service into their curriculum and library plans, a 50% increase over the same time last year. OverDrive now works with K-12 partners in 38 countries, with 10 countries added to their global network in 2014.”
eBook adoption in school libraries stands to result in a significant savings for both public and private centers’ budgets, given the typically lower cost of titles and the elimination of damaged copies. One of the chief complaints in school adoption of digital titles, though, has been lack of content from publishers, a factor that OverDrive has worked hard to eliminate.
“OverDrive’s school eBook catalog has also reached record size, with 24% growth over the last year, adding more than 100,000 new titles and bringing the total digital catalog available to schools to more than 2 million titles. Audiobook availability has increased 15%, with more than 5,500 new titles available to school partners through OverDrive…In addition, the 2014 acquisition of Teacher’s Notebook has given K-12 partners access to teacher-created curriculum materials from more than 500,000 educators.
One of the most exciting parts of the announcement is the seamless incorporation of audio narration with digital titles, a factor that has been proven to increase not only comprehension and reading levels in students who utilize it, but also to play a key role in fostering reading self-selected texts for pleasure.
“In 2014, OverDrive also introduced Narrated eBooks, a feature that provides a single eBook file synchronized with audio. Publishers supplied hundreds of popular children’s titles in this new format, which are now available for schools and libraries.”
With a 234% increase in new visitors to the OverDrive site (over 2 million year-over-year), and 6.26 million visits to the school digital content website in 2014 alone (an increase of 276% over the previous year), K12 academic libraries are finally making solid headway into digital adoption.
If you buy a new smartphone from Google Play in the near future, you will be able to use Google as your new wireless carrier. The company has just ironed out agreements with Sprint and T-Mobile to sell voice and data plans directly to consumers.
Google has been experimenting with internet access with its Fiber program in a very limited capacity and via their Loon project sought to provide free WIFI access in remote places. This new endeavor is positioning Google to become a top tier wireless carrier in the US.
Currently, there are four major carriers in the United States: T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, and while T-Mobile has made efforts to shake up the wireless industry with its Un-Carrier initiatives, wireless service in the United States remains much pricier than in other countries, with subscribers getting less data for more money. The thought behind the Google branded service is to be able to directly bundle their data enabled phones at a discounted rate if you buy them from Google Play.
Google will not actually be competing against these big players but has engaged in a licensing program. They will be quite similar to other players in this sector, including Boost Mobile, FreedomPop, and Straight Talk.
The Wall Street Journal has verified this rumor, writing “Google hinted at its wireless ambitions in a letter to the FCC last week, which said higher-frequency spectrum might be used for ‘the next generation of unlicensed broadband services,’ including complements to Wi-Fi networks, ‘or entirely new technologies and innovations.’ ”
It remains to be seen how the Google wireless plans unfold in the real world. We don’t have an actual date or in what capacity users will be able to signup. It looks dubious if Apple will include them as a carrier option to opt into for unlocked iPads and iPhones. Many industry experts seem to agree that the best strategy is to sign up customers who buy Google branded devices, such as the Nexus Phone or Nexus tablet for data.
If you are looking for a great new read, but don’t know where to start, the Manga Taisho Aware shortlist has been announced. There are 14 nominations in total, meaning competition will be tight. But what sets this award apart from others is that the voting comes in from bookstore workers, the people who really know what is hot and selling.
Manga Taisho has been awarded every year since 2008 to a new manga. The parameters set are 1: the manga must have been published in the last year or earlier, and 2: it must have eight volumes or less published. Because the winner is chosen by bookstore workers, it allows for a lot more freedom of opinion. Winners are most often the more popular choice, instead of whatever looks artsy for critics. Thus, people are probably going to be happier with the result.
Ballroom e Yousoko by Tomo Takeuchi – With all the popularity of sports anime in recent years, this manga takes on the genre from a new perspective: ballroom dance. The story revolves around a young student ambushed by delinquents, only to be saved by a man who shows his ballroom dance. So it’s like The Karate Kid, but with more dancing, and if that doesn’t sound like a winner, then nothing does.
Blue Giant by Shinichi Ishizuka – This manga centers on the life of a jazz musician. The author previously wrote the mountain-climbing manga “Gaku”, the winner of the very first Manga Taisho Award back in 2008. That alone is enough to make “Blue Giant” a frontunner, and the unique jazzy style only adds to the charm.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi by Kei Sanbe – This suspense manga is running in Young Ace, detailing the life a manga author who, struggling to get by, discovers supernatural forces. As anything supernatural is popular in this day and age, this manga is another one to watch out for.
Dormitory Tomkins by Fumiko Takano – A short, one volume manga. Not much is known about this little slice of life, but it was enough to merit a spot on this list through twelve chapters alone. Clearly there is something here worth reading.
Houseki no Kuni by Haruko Ichikawa - This fantasy tells the story of “jewel people,” people with skin made of jewels. The main character Phosphophyllite has one of the lowest hardness rankings, and the story chronicles his journey to help defend his people. With a unique setup, beautiful artwork, and some geology facts as well, this manga is going places whether it wins the award or not.
Innocent by Shinichi Sakamoto – This manga follows the story of Charles-Henri Sanson, who just so happens to be the Royal Executioner of France during the reign of King Louis XVI. Fans of history know where this story is headed, but that doesn’t make the historical drama any less juicy. Filled with mature content and gorgeous artwork, “Innocent” is an easy contender.
Kakukaku Shikajika by Akiko Higashimura – This uniquely stylized autobiography tells the story of the author’s time spent in an art class with an eccentric teacher. This manga has already ranked highly on several yearly lists, making it solid competition.
Kasane by Daruma Matsuura – This dark drama details the life of a girl who owns a tube of lipstick with special powers. The story is a mesmerizing, psychological dive into the psyche of beauty. If you aren’t intrigued by now, you should be.
Koe no Katachi by Yoshitoki Oima – This short series has already seen its end, Weekly Shonen Magazine publishing the last chapter in November. But even in its short time, this manga about a deaf girl and the boy who used to bully her touched the hearts of everyone who read it. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, there’s no question as to why this manga was nominated.
Kodomo wa Wakatte Agenai by Rettou Tajima – A two volume miniseries run by Morning, this little slice-of-life is as cute as its art style. Although short, it has merit enough to be a contender for the year.
Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun by Izumi Tsukabi – A four panel web comic series shown in several magazines, this manga already has its own anime adaption. Only those living under rocks haven’t heard of this comedy. It shows the escapades of a girl who meets her favourite shoujo author, only to find he isn’t quite what she expected. Wickedly popular, humorous and at times touching, this series could easily be called the year’s frontrunner.
My Hero Academiaby Houhei Horikoshi – If superhero stories interest you, this is the manga to read. It’s about a boy living in a world with superpowered people, who dreams of being a hero – without having any superpowers himself. The kind of story we can all relate to, “My Hero Academia” is a top contender.
Ousama-tachi no Viking by Makoto Fukami and Sadayasu – A cyber action plotline with a wicked cool graphic style, this collaboration project is worth keeping an eye on.
The Ancient Magus’ Brideby Kore Yamazaki – Picked up by Seven Seas, this unpublished manga sets out to tell the story of a young girl bought by a magus – an ancient sorcerer – at a slave auction. Instead of becoming his slave, however, the man announces he plans to make her his apprentice, and his bride. A Beauty and the Beast-styled paranormal romance, this manga plays to the popular genres while still looking beautiful and unique.
There are a lot of good contenders this year, but only one can be the winner of the Manga Taisho Award. Most of these contenders are shown in Manga magazines, such as Big Comic, Shuukan Young Jump, Cocohana and Manga Magazine. Have you read any of these? If so, what are your thoughts?
Please brace yourself, I have a few truths to reveal… and they may come as a surprise to many of you (if my Facebook news feed is to be believed). It doesn’t matter how many times you share the post with all of your friends, Costco will not give you a free $500 gift card. Nobody has a stash of yet-to-be-released iPhone 8.5’s that they are just dying to give away to 200 lucky Facebook users who like and share their post. A sick child will not get a new heart if you share their heart-string-pulling photograph. I am also begging every single one of you to do a single Google search to validate any news you plan to share about a celebrity that has (supposedly) passed away.
Thankfully, Facebook understands the pain many of us feel when we see our friends falling for these ridiculous hoaxes. A feature being added to the site will allow those of us who do our research to flag a post as being false news (as well as a few other designations such as being pornographic, advocating violence, annoying, or distasteful); doing so will remove the post from your feed, so you can forget it ever happened. The more flags a post receives, the less it will be seen in general (though Facebook will never actually delete a post).
Of course, there is a downside to this added moderation: idiots and bullies get the same functionality as everybody else.
At least it’s a step in the right direction, and one I suspect will be fine-tuned over time. My suggestion some time ago was that Facebook force users to click a disclaimer before sharing or adding content that begs for confirmation that the content contained within the post was fact-checked first… and if not, accept that they risk eyerolls and sighs of disbelief from their friends.
Now that Facebook has potentially solved this problem, I’d really appreciate it if they got to work on some kind of alert system that would let people know that their mothers will not think they aren’t loved if you stop sharing those sappy greeting card poems within 10 seconds of reading it… and maybe give them a heads up that I do still love them as a friend even though I’m unwilling to describe in a single word the way we met as a comment on their status.
The dream of an used e-Book site may be over. A Dutch Court of Appeals has ruled that Tom Kabinet must shut down within three days or pay a daily fine of €1,000.
Tom Kabinet is a Netherlands based used e-Book website that was first established during the summer of 2014. Their launch immediately put them at odds with the Dutch Publishing Association. The publishers believe Tom Kabinet infringes on copyrights. Research suggests 90% of all eBooks that are listed on the site are pirated and that criminals are reselling books they download from torrent websites.
The core business model of the company is facilitating the sale of e-books that users post on their website. They don’t actually host the actual book, but digitally watermark each title to prevent reselling of the same copy over and over. When a book is sold, Kabinet takes a small commission for their role in the transaction.
Things initially looked to be going in favor of the Netherlands e-Book service in July when the court decided that that Tom Kabinet can stay open for business during the court case. The main argument that was employed was the Oracle and Usedsoft case that was decided in Germany some months sooner.
“Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a license agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that right-holder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the license agreement prohibits a further transfer, the right-holder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy. He can therefore download onto his computer the copy sold to him by the first acquirer. Such a download must be regarded as a reproduction of digital product that is necessary to enable the new acquirer to use the program in accordance with its intended purpose.”
The entire saga between Tom Kabinet and the Dutch Publishers Association was supposed to be all wrapped up on December 23rd, but due to the Christmas holidays, the judgement was postponed until just this week.
Where does this leave Tom Kabinet now? Well, it is tricky. The Dutch Court ruled that they have to close up shop within three days or pay a hefty fine. They also said the business model appeared to be legal in principle.
When many other companies would have simply closed up shop, TC is continuing to fight. They are trying to purge all of the questionable books from their site in a bid to be legitimized, but it might be far too late that now. In the courts and publishers eyes they are a pirate site that is leveraging a court case as their sole argument and it failed. It looks like the dream of a legitimate used e-book site might be over, for now.
Any of us who have been around in the tech industry for a year or twenty will remember that before Apple was what Apple has become, there was Microsoft… and they were the company you loved to hate (and hated to love). There was a time when we waited on the edges of our seats to see what was coming up in the next version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system (and then we would salivate while also joking that there is no way we’d be installing it until there was at least one major service pack). Thanks in part to the availability of solid alternatives plus a little sprinkle of Ballmer (whose goofiness made a lot of us take the company less seriously), it’s been a while since we cared about a new version of Windows. Until now. Windows 10 has now been previewed, and it actually sounds pretty fantastic.
Windows 7 was pretty solid. Windows 8 was basically a disaster. Windows 10 promises to pull the best from past versions, while leaving behind the stuff that just didn’t work.
At the top of the feature list is a makeover to the desktop experience that intends to provide a consistent user experience across all platforms (mobile and otherwise). Hard to disagree with that approach, given how interchangeable technology is these days –but what else can we look forward to with Windows 10?
- Cortana – Designed to be Microsoft’s version of the ever-popular digital assistant, Cortana looks like a combination of both Apple’s Siri and Google Now. If demo’s can be believed, Cortana listens more clearly (and responds more accurately) to voice commands than any of the competition.
- Universal Apps – Long gone are the days when users are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on individual software titles (especially when they only work for one platform and you end up buying secondary clients and access apps for your mobile devices as well). As an added bonus, Microsoft’s Xbox One is also included here.
- Project Spartan – So many people have a foul taste in their mouths over Internet Explorer. It’s wavered back and forth between being the only browser worth using and then the one that needs deleting (if only you could) more times than I can count. Microsoft isn’t abandoning their flagship browser entirely, but they are planning a new and separate web browser that is light-weight and Chrome-like.
- Updated Control Panel and Settings – Simply stated, Microsoft wants to give users more control without over-complicating things. With the addition of the new Action Center, a series of toggles will control common options like switching WiFi on and off. Configuration of notifications happens here as well, with syncing across all devices so if you handle something on one device it’s taken care of everywhere (Apple users will really appreciate this, I can’t tell you how many times I end up dismissing things like calendar alerts across all of my hardware).
- Continuum – A bit of a niche for those using convertibles, but very cool nonetheless. When docked with a keyboard and such, apps will behave in a windowed manner –pull them off the dock and use them tablet-style and the user interface adjusts accordingly. As long as this works as advertised, Continuum is all about the elegance and refinement that the corporate world really likes to get behind.
- Gaming – Finally! Microsoft is bridging the gap between their Xbox and all other Windows-based hardware by providing apps and interfaces that let you use it all together.
- Free Upgrades – As long as you are already running Windows 7 or 8.1, and you upgrade within the first year, Windows 10 will be free. This price-point is important because at this stage a large number of Windows users will only upgrade now when it falls under the heading of “what the heck, it’s free”.
- Skype Integration – Featured front and centre just like iMessage and FaceTime, Skype is the hub of text and video messaging for all Windows devices. If either Apple or Microsoft really wanted to impress me though, they’d make them fully compatible with each other (without having to use a different third-party app on both platforms).
- Microsoft Office Free for Mobile – Another stolen note from Apple’s playbook perhaps, but it seems Microsoft is finally going to offer their Office Suite (including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) free of charge on Windows Phone and small tablets.
You may have noticed that I left Microsoft’s HoloLens out of my ‘features list’. This was intentional, due in large part to my confusion over why it was included in these announcements. It is an AR platform that displays 3D projections using a pair of rather goofy looking wireless goggles. No sense in talking much about it yet, the release date was very vague (in the Windows 10 time frame they suggested)… and typically with Microsoft this means to expect more than a few delays. For whatever my opinion is worth, I think Windows 10 is Microsoft’s last chance to impress the corporate world and prove they are still relevant –so trying to look all space age and Google-like just cheapened the rest of their news.
In case you wondered if this is still the same old Microsoft, rest assured they are… few companies hold huge launch events with only the vaguest of release dates for the wares they are showing off. In this case, you can expect Windows 10 to ship sometime (later) in 2015. Almost certainly. Probably. Likely. We hope.
Now, with that said, I do want to see it in action when it comes out.
With the end of Sword Art Online’s second season fans are eagerly awaiting the next, though it might be some time before the series returns. But for now fans can now enter the SAO universe with the upcoming game “Sword Art Online: Lost Song”.
Announced at last year’s Tokyo Game Show, the new game will be released in Japan on March 26th and will be available for the Playstaion 3 and the Playstation Vita platforms. The new game will be localized in English later in 2015 as well as traditional Chinese in other Asian countries. The game will be an open world RPG with an original storyline.
Set within ALfheim Online, Characters will be able to take flight and be able to engage in epic aerial battles with the help of Kirito’s friends. So far, Bandai Namco has revealed the characters that will take part in the action will include Kirito, Asuna, Leafa, Silica, Lisbeth, Sinon and Philia. Also recently announced will be Klein and other character who’ve made appearances in the past of Sword Art Online Strea and Argo.
While we don’t know too much abut the game’s story yet, the producer Yosuke Futami has previously spoke why it will take place in the alternate ALfheim online and about how it will focus less on the death game aspect and more abut Kirito and friends having fun in the world, for a change.
There will also be a special edition of “Sword Art Online: Lost Song” available that will include a soundtrack CD, bonus Blu-ray content, a poster and a special booklet. Included will be the localized English and Chinese versions of the game that Bandai Namco says will contain better translations than Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment.
The “Sword Art Online” anime had started as a series of light novels written by Reki Kawahara that has then adapted into two seasons of anime that can be seen on Crunchyroll and season 1 on Netflix. You should really check this out, Season 1 is very good.
Have you ever wanted to join the Survey Corps and join the relentless battles against the titans? Now you can! Nexon’s Maple Story, an online 2D side-scrolling MMORPG, and Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan are now joining forces!
Characters that are level 30 and higher will have access to a portal that will take them to the world of Attack on Titan where special coins will be needed to participate in episodic content. Train with Mikasa and Eren to become a successful team member to the survey corps and use omni-directional mobility gear! Once training is over, be prepared for the episode of defending the Wall Rose from the Colossal Titan’s attack! Those who survive the attack will be rewarded with with valuable items to be able to recreate some of your favourite AoT characters such as Eren, Mikasa, Levi and Armin!
The new crossover has been available in the Japanese version since November last year but will now be available to play in the English version! Do you have it takes to take on the Colossal Titan and protect your friends? Now you can find out!
James Patterson has a new book coming out soon, Private Vegas and 1,000 fans will be given a free code to download it for free in the next five days. The catch? Users have 24 hours to read the new title before it self-destructs, disappearing forever.
The 1,000 free e-Book titles will be distributed through a new iPad app and has a 24 hour timer when you open it for the first time. The book’s website shows which readers are currently devouring the book, how far along they are, how much time is left, and the speed at which they are reading. There is also a cool map that shows people around you that are also have the digital book.
“I’ve been in the business of thrilling people for almost 40 years,” said Patterson in a press statement. “So much has changed and I want to make sure I keep my readers on the edge of their seat. Faced with imminent destruction, the act of reading against a clock allows fans to become a character in their own thriller.”
The book shows up in shops on January 28th, so these free e-books is the only way you can read it before its released to the general public. If you are feeling financially flush, maybe you just sold your company, there is a real self-destructing book you can buy for $300,000.
If you pay the $300,000 you will receive a first class flight to an undisclosed location. Two nights stay in a luxurious boutique hotel and a well-trained bomb squad to handle the self-destructing book. Users can read the book through a pair of solid gold binoculars and then watch the book blow up in spectacular fashion. Once this is all over, you will get to meet James Patterson for a five course dinner and get a ton of autographed books. This an entire experience should make for a good tale to regale your friends with the next time you get asked “so what did you do this weekend?”