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Amazon gives away 30 free Android apps June 27, 28
June 27, 2014 | 3:36 pm

If you’ve got an Android tablet and are looking for something fun to put on it, don’t miss this Amazon giveaway. Instead of just one app, today Amazon’s giving away thirty with a combined total value of over $100. And these aren’t some random apps you’ve never heard of, either. Gizmodo has a rundown of some of the better ones.  The list includes the Plex media streamer, AccuWeather Platinum (a great weather app, which I personally used myself already), Notepad+, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and more. Most of them will work with any Android tablet, as long as you’ve...

‘Boom’ goes bust with Byliner
June 20, 2014 | 10:30 am

boomIn the New York Times, Tony Horwitz writes a cautionary tale about his travails with a small e-publisher called Byliner. a Kindle Singles publisher who’s shown up a few times in TeleRead. Horwitz had been asked by a new e-zine called The Global Mail to do a long-form work on the Keystone XL pipeline, to the tune of $15,000, plus $5,000 for expenses. So Horwitz traveled, did his research, and wrote a 40,000-word piece from the experience. As he was writing, the Global Mail informed him they had arranged a deal to co-publish with Byliner, who “thought we might...

Why fear Firefly when you can go with the Flow?
June 19, 2014 | 2:37 pm

fireflyNo, not that Firefly. Various sites are referring to the Amazon Fire Phone’s “Firefly” image recognizer as a “built-in showrooming tool.” Which I suppose it is, when you get right down to it. But it’s not as if it’s that much harder for folks to install a “showrooming tool” of their own, such as QR Droid, or even Amazon’s own “Flow” showrooming tool, on the phones they already have. In fact, having just tried “Flow” out for the first time, I can safely say it basically is Firefly (or, at least, the subset of what Firefly does...

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...

Joyland mistaken identity brings royalty joy to author of other ‘Joyland’ book
June 17, 2014 | 6:42 pm

Remember when Stephen King expressly declined to put out an e-book edition of his new novel Joyland, out of nostalgia for the experience of reading paperbacks when he was a kid? He preferred instead that readers should have to “stir their sticks” to go and get a real print book. It turns out to have had the most amusing side-effect. You see, eight years ago, an author named Emily Schultz wrote another novel called Joyland. And shortly after King’s book of that title came out, Schultz suddenly started getting angry and confused Amazon reviews from people who bought her...

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...

Amazon could ‘attack’ Android…but why would it want to?
June 15, 2014 | 3:48 pm

So, investment tea-leaf-reading site Seeking Alpha has a piece by Panabee Research on ways that Amazon could “attack” Android with its new device, presumably a smartphone, it will be announcing this week. Noting that Amazon has historically sold its hardware devices at close to their wholesale cost and made most of its money from content sales, Panabee believes Amazon should go with “a volume strategy and an attack on Android.” Because Android is so fragmented, Amazon doesn’t require a large market share in order to “threaten Android and present a compelling alternative to developers.” The article goes on to...

Don’t be ‘That Guy’
June 2, 2014 | 6:06 pm

yell-monitor-l1Over the last few days, someone on one of the forums I frequent has started screaming bloody murder about a Kindle technical problem. I’m not going to say who or where (and I’d ask that any commenters who know who I’m talking about please do the same), because it’s not my intention to “name and shame.” I’ll just call him That Guy. Anyway, That Guy has posted his rant across three different forum boards, accusing Amazon of “fraud” because he can’t get his e-books to sync to the second Kindle on his account from the “Manage Your Content &...

The Morning Roundup: ‘Media Shield’ Amendment and more
June 2, 2014 | 9:08 am

sls_offline_collection Confused by eBooks? Welcome to the Crowd (Author U) Is Amazon for eBooks the only game in town? -- Classroom into Newsroom: 9 Steps to a Multimedia Class Project (Media Shift) Like many of you, I embrace the guide-on-the-side model for teaching vs. the sage-on-the-stage version. -- House Approves 'Media Shield' Amendment, as Reporter Reveals 2011 Subpoena Fight (Boing Boing) The House of Representatives today voted 225-183 to approve an appropriations bill amendment that bars the Justice Department from forcing reporters to testify about their confidential sources. -- My...

Kindle Paperwhite, one week later
May 29, 2014 | 4:25 pm

kindle paperwhiteIt's been about a week since I have settled in with my new Kindle Paperwhite---much thanks and love to my sister Tammy for giving it to me! I have already posted a thorough review of the features. But now that I have settled in with it, how are things going? Are there are final thoughts I want to add now that I have had more time to read and enjoy? Yes, actually. There are a few little bugs which annoy me about my almost-perfect little reader, and a few hidden treasures I have found as I have explored further. Here they...

Whither the Kindle Killer?
May 29, 2014 | 7:01 am

Broken-KindleFound via Slashdot: Larry Press plaintively wonders why nobody’s come up with a “Kindle Killer” yet. He notes a whole host of ways the Kindle falls short of perfection—lack of voice recognition or full interface capability with a computer, for example—and thinks such a device really should be a “low-hanging fruit” for one of the big device makers. I’ll tell you why, Larry. The demand isn’t there. Maybe folks like you who like to get the most out of their devices would want such a thing, but the vast majority of the lowest-common-denominator general public—the ones who actually buy...

Which Hachette books are affected by Amazon spat, and why Kindle users are locked in
May 29, 2014 | 6:34 am

Here’s some more assorted Amazon/Hachette coverage. First of all, Gizmodo has some examples of the books you find on “Amazon’s hit list,” with charts comparing pricing and availability at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The article itself is rather slanted, concluding with the call to action, “Amazon has every right to fight dirty. And you have every right to show them the consequences.” Nonetheless, the charts are interesting. It’s also interesting to look at at where the story slants are. You see plenty of pro-Hachette/anti-Amazon stuff in the media and the commercial blog networks (Gizmodo, GigaOm, etc.) and the...