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David Rothman

Summer time and the stealin’ is easy: How do you protect your Kindle, iDevice or other goody? Ever been ripped off?
May 29, 2015 | 9:18 am

pickpocketA relative of mine took her Kindle to the beach. She got a tan. The Kindle got a new owner. Soon my relative discovered that someone had bought a foreign-language magazine with it. So, with summer vacations coming up, what anti-theft tips can you share with fellow members of the TeleRead community? Last September, Nathan over at TheeBookReader.com reminded Kindle owners of the need to call Amazon first and then deregister your Kindle. Other tips? And how about other popular devices, ranging from iPhones and iPads to Android phones (fodder for pickpockets?)? Are you using remote-disable apps and...

Morning Links: New $99 Kindle bundle for Kids. iOS vs. Android for e-reading apps. FCC chair’s new digital divide plan.
May 29, 2015 | 7:58 am

kindleforkidsAmazon Debuts A $99 Kindle Bundle For Kids Including An E-Reader, Cover And Warranty (Tech Crunch) This new package includes the combination of a Kindle e-reader, a durable cover, and an extended warranty on the device which protects against spills and drops. The Bundle is being sold for $99, which is a savings of $39.98 if all three items were purchased separately, notes Amazon. The TeleRead take: Yes, this is a price-sensitive market. But next year when parts are cheaper than ever, how about text to speech capabilities for the millions of kids with learning...

Why can’t Google code? My Chrome browser still sucks. So does Gmail in major ways
May 25, 2015 | 7:10 am

New Orleans Carnival: Krewe du Vieux float satizing George W. Bush.  GNU Free Documentation License. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KdVWrongStuffDunceRocket.jpgLarry and Sergey, you can brag all you want about Moonshots---your driverless cars, your WiFi for developing countries, your other marvels; and sure, I’m also happy to hear about the new Literata font for e-books. But overall, compared to the past, you just don’t care as much about the people who made you billionaires. Us. Customers. End users. Pick the term. I’m running the latest nonbeta Chrome on my HP Pavilion and using the tips I shared earlier with TeleRead community members. And you know what? Chrome is still crashing far too often. While I realize you want to add new capabilities...

Exactly how waterproof is the Kobo H2O e-reader? Find out before you hit the beach
May 24, 2015 | 8:02 pm

AuraH2O_lifestyle_largeSeveral decades ago Arthur C. Clarke reminded a friend and me that e-book devices might develop amnesia if dropped in the bathtub. Well, time passes. I myself own a dandy waterpoof case for my Kindle Paperwhite. And I keep up with the Kobo world through a waterproof Aura H20. But wait! Exactly how waterproof is the H2O itself? The issue isn’t as simple as giving the H2O a quick dunk. How long will it be underwater? At what depth? I’ll leave such questions to braver souls in regard to the $180 Kobo. I was fine with dropping a $90...

‘A Beautiful Mind,’ e-books and the Five Laws of Library Science: RIP, John Forbes Nash, Jr.
May 24, 2015 | 4:54 pm

John_Forbes_Nash,_Jr._by_Peter_Badge“A Beautiful Mind,” the inspiration of the book and film by that name, died over the weekend.  John Forbes Nash, Jr., 86, and his wife, Alicia, 82, were killed Saturday in an automobile accident. A world-famous mathematician, he shared a Nobel Prize in economics for his contribution to game theory. His work helped shape fields ranging from diplomacy to law to computer science. But when I read of Nash’s death. I thought of something else—the Five Laws of Library Science. They remind librarians of the need to help patrons find the right books, and the right...

How to kill off Chrome RAM hogs: Crash-proofing tips
May 22, 2015 | 4:52 am

chrome ram hogs pac-man imageGoogle’s Chrome browser these days can be the Pac-Man of apps---with an insatiable appetite for RAM. Talk all you want about e-books in browsers and other goodies. But what about the basics? My Chrome was crashing constantly, and even a Google support staffer hadn’t a complete solution for my HP Pavilion---overwhelmed despite 8GB of RAM. I’d vaguely heard of the Great Suspender, a Chrome plug-in which tidies things up a bit by dumping tabs that you have not used in X amount of time (yes, you can adjust that value). And there is also OneTab to help you manage in a...

National digital library endowment proposal makes Education Week
May 13, 2015 | 6:25 pm

edWeekEndowmentLibraryCity’s proposal for a national digital library endowment has now made the leading publication in the field of K-12 education---not just philanthropy (Chronicle of Philanthropy) and libraries (Library Journal). Education Week has published a 1,300-word essay with a home-page link. Also to be reproduced in the print edition, the article is a collaboration between me and Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library Consortium. Jim is offering his personal views. The beginning: As a boy, Warren Buffett is said to have read book after book on money. Thankfully, he did not live in Los Angeles and rely on the library at Roy Romer Middle...

No Paperwhite read-aloud for you! FCC again lets Amazon and friends diss people with disabilities
February 2, 2015 | 12:25 pm

ptaAmazonText to speech would cost a pittance to add to current E Ink readers like Amazon’s Paperwhite and the $200 Voyage. In fact, some earlier Kindles even came with read-aloud. No longer, though. With all the laws on the books, can’t Washington stop this dissing of people with disabilities? In one form or another, the Kindle is so common that it’s become “The Official E-reader of the National PTA.” Yet despite TTS’s potential benefits to millions of Americans, the Federal Communications Commission has just granted the e-reader industry another year’s exemption from the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The...

The K-12 and economic cases for a national digital library endowment
January 24, 2015 | 11:00 am

President Obama wants expanded broadband, as indicated in his State of the Union address---a laudable goal. But what to use it for, beyond such purposes as, say, the faster downloading of YouTubes? Here's the latest version of LibraryCity’s call for a national digital library endowment and intertwined public and academic library systems online. Short of time? Read an executive summary. – D.R. The average 15-to-19-year-old in the U.S. spends only six minutes a day reading for fun, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What’s more, a just-released report from Scholastic, discussed later in this commentary, warns that the number of...

Want read-aloud in Kindles and other readers? Use FCC’s easy online form by Jan. 9
January 3, 2015 | 2:52 pm

Amazon CEO Jeff BezosUpdate: See the most recent version of the LibraryCity post with mention of an unofficial Jan. 9 deadline and a link to the FCC's easy comment form. You need to submit formally. Please e-mail the FCC ASAP. The agency deals with accessibility matters and will soon make an important accessibility decision affecting Kindles along with other e-readers. Don’t delay! For years, I’ve been publicly begging Amazon to stop muting its E Ink machines and restore text to speech in the future. I may even have been the first commentator to break the news about the Paperwhite’s lack of TTS. This isn’t mere rhetoric. I sold my...

Overpaid $266.5K city manager vs. library books
December 26, 2014 | 6:25 pm

Rashad Young: One of many overpaid city officials in the U.S.Wonder why your local public library is underfunded? Overpay of top city officials could be one reason. Here’s an example from my hometown, Alexandria, VA. The city manager’s $266,508 salary and additional benefits are almost as much as the entire substandard budget for library materials. – D.R Rashad Young, hired at $245K and now paid $266,508 a year, is leaving as Alexandria’s city manager to become city administrator for D.C. In my hometown of 150,000, Mr. Young has been pulling down a bigger salary than that of Vice President Joe Biden, paid $230,700. Across the Potomac, he’ll make $295K in his...

Amazon’s $99 Fire HD shines for library and public domain books—and here are a few related tips
October 30, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Thumbs up on Amazon's Fire HD 6 from Len Edgerly of the Kindle Chronicles. Amazon’s new Fire HD 6, a $99 tablet computer, might be catnip for frugal lovers of library and public domain e-books who don’t need a cell phone in the same gadget. Libraries themselves, in fact, may want to loan out HDs and other Amazon models while experimenting with other brands, too. The six-inch screen’s resolution is 1280x800, and the pixel count is 252 per inch. That’s equal to many cell phones selling for twice as much. 252 ppi is just 48 ppi shy of the 300-ppi of the Voyage, the new top-of-the-line E Ink reader from Amazon. The HD 6’s screen should also...

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