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eReaders

Barnes & Noble removes ability to download its e-books outside of the Nook ecosystem
September 18, 2014 | 9:54 pm

I’m hesitant to believe this story Nate’s reporting, even after clicking the links and reading the sources for myself. How could anyone in the modern e-book market be this dumb? But the writing seems to be on the wall. Barnes & Noble has removed the “Download” button from its e-book library,  [Update: Nate’s posted another piece indicating B&N cited “security” as the reason for the change.] It’s no longer possible to download a book directly from the B&N web site to your hard drive by saving it from your B&N e-book library through your browser. And that...

xkcd explains why texting is good for writing skills
August 29, 2014 | 7:18 am

Origin 8292014 70958 AM.bmpRandall Munroe, Hugo-winning webcomic artist of xkcd, has hit the nail on the head with another keen observation about our mobile lifestyle. The xkcd character Cueball is not surprised when his friend observes that SMS texting is actually good for spelling and grammar. Practice, he explains in the rest of the strip, makes perfect. (The text does contain an F-bomb, but it’s an F-bomb that was dropped by James Joyce.) Be sure and pay attention to the alt-text that comes up when you mouse over the comic. In an odd juxtaposition, this came just a few minutes after I...

Staples offers 2013 Nexus 7 for $99 with clearance coupon
August 25, 2014 | 5:22 pm

If you’re in the USA, you have a Staples in your area, and they still have 2013 Nexuses in stock, you might be able to get a really good deal. Android Authority has the details on a coupon good for $100 off the 16 GB and 32 GB Nexus 7 tablets. This would cut their price down to $99 and $159, respectively. For a tablet as good as the N7 ‘13, that’s a steal. They’re already out of stock online, so you’d have to go into a store to get the deal. On a related note, Nate at The...

Smartphone size no obstacle to long reading
August 5, 2014 | 8:45 am

Hey, guess what? People read on their smartphones. That’s the thrust of a piece in Wired that talks about how the smartphone has been a godsend for long-form written journalism. Where people used to read their newspapers on the subway, now they read their smartphones—and despite the predictions of those who said such devices would destroy our attention span, the evidence is pretty good that smartphone users are able to concentrate enough to read articles thousands of words long in one go. The Atlantic recently reported that a gorgeously illustrated 6,200-word story on BuzzFeed—which likewise...

Best Buy CEO says tablet sales are ‘crashing’
August 4, 2014 | 12:38 pm

Re/code has an interview with Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly in which he talks about a few things like fighting showrooming with pricematching, why people might want to buy gadgets in Best Buy rather than Amazon, and perhaps most interestingly, the sales rates for tablets. We’ve mentioned before how the tablet seems to be replacing the laptop in terms of most ordinary consumers’ needs, but according to Joly sales have been starting to fall off. He believes this might suggest the market has just about reached saturation—all the people who wanted a tablet have gotten one, and they don’t...

Apple bought, shuttered book recommender Booklamp in April
July 26, 2014 | 9:01 pm

MacRumors reports that Apple bought and shut down book-recommendation service Booklamp back in April. Booklamp was intended to be a sort of “Pandora for Books”—it used a similar system of categorizing books based on specific elements—but as I determined when I checked into it last November, it fell pretty far short of actually being useful, for two major reasons: it didn’t have a very big selection due to its opt-in nature, and it couldn’t account for humor. Apple hasn’t been saying much about why it bought the service, but that’s not unexpected. I imagine that, as is usually the...

How are eReaders affecting our children?
June 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

ereadersBy Miles Young Those of us who have been around for a while continue to marvel at the way mobile technology is rapidly becoming a part of everyday life. For today's young children, however, smartphones and tablets are as basic and intuitive as the household refrigerator. Parents and teachers alike are asking themselves: what role do e-readers have on today's learning reader? One of the reasons it is difficult to reach a conclusion is because there are several factors to consider, including age, platform, and whether the child is reading alone or with a parent. It is also important to note that...

Jolicloud Drive adds cloud EPUB reading capability
June 30, 2014 | 11:30 am

Origin 6302014 111244 AMJolicloud was originally conceived as a web-based “operating system.” The web version of it showed the same home screen, with all the same web apps, that a user might have configured on the Ubuntu-based JoliOS operating system for computers or tablets. The problem was that apparently the JoliOS Linux operating system never really became popular enough to support, and Joli discontinued it. Since then, it seems to have been casting about for something to keep it from being just another collection of bookmarks to web apps. It has renamed itself “Drive,” and now bills itself as a way...

Amazon’s Fire Phone is the smartphone for people who love Amazon
June 18, 2014 | 3:40 pm

amazon_phone-1200-80Well, the Amazon launch event just wrapped, and there are articles covering all the details all over the place. (Here’s a good one at Ars Technica plus our own Juli Monroe wrote one.) The Amazon Fire Phone (what a creative and original name!) is pretty much as expected from all the rumors. It has decent specs (quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB RAM; 4.7” IPS Gorilla Glass 1280x720 display) four head-tracking cameras for lenticular 3D effects, a 13 megapixel image-stabilized rear facing camera, and a few other neat gizmos like that. It does have...

App Review: Google Play Books for Android
June 17, 2014 | 12:19 pm

Screenshot_2014-06-17-10-57-52I hadn’t paid much attention to Google Play Books before. I’d installed and even paid for readers like Aldiko and Moon+ (TeleRead review), and snagged a couple freeish ones like UB Reader, but Play Books just sat in my app drawer, unused, like most of the pack-in Google apps. But when I came across this Lifehacker piece calling it “the best e-reader for Android,” I figured it was worth trying out. And darned if I don’t by and large agree. Offering a simple and easy-to-use reading interface and cloud reading-position sync with all books, Google Play Books is...

Amazon to partner with AT&T for its smartphone service, sources say
June 17, 2014 | 9:09 am

An iconoclastic company introduces a new cell phone, and announces it will be available exclusively through AT&T. Anyone feel like it’s 2007 again? The Wall Street Journal reports (paywalled; google the headline to get the full article) that anonymous sources have revealed Amazon’s new smartphone, to be announced tomorrow, will be available exclusively through AT&T. AT&T is already the service provider for Kindle tablets and e-readers, so it’s not exactly a surprise. It’s amusing that Amazon is taking a page from its rival Apple’s book, with Apple’s very own former dance partner yet. I suppose AT&T’s been hurting a...

Ars Technica exhaustively documents all Android versions
June 16, 2014 | 2:37 am

its-been-quite-a-journey1-980x439In the interest of documenting it for the historical record, Ars Technica has just posted an immense 40,000-word retrospective on all versions of Android to date, with as many screen shots and as much information as they can gather. It’s possibly the biggest article I’ve seen on their site, at 26 separate pages; Ars Technica premier subscribers can view it in single page form on the site or download a PDF. Those folks who don’t pay for a subscription may want to use an aggregator like Instapaper to view it in a more manageable form. It might even...