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Review

Accessory Review: Inateck USB 4 Port Hub
September 5, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Inateck USB 4 Port HubSome Android devices have micro-SD slots and some, like the Nexus 7, do not. If you listen to a lot of music or like to load video to your device, you know it's easy to run out of space. Without on-board expandable storage, what are your options? I just came back from a camping trip, and I used my HooToo TripMate Elite for streaming video to my iPad, but maybe you don't want to carry something so large, or you'd rather not be broadcasting your files on a WiFi connection. That's where the Inateck USB 4 Port Hub could come in...

Review: French Readers at the Kindle Store
August 31, 2014 | 10:25 am

french readersI wrote last year about a series of 'French reader' storybooks I found at the Kindle store. I had downloaded several of them as freebies and found them decent, but over-priced. I would rather pay $10 for a full-length book than $4 each for a whole bunch of mini ones! So I was delighted to find that my favourite paper-only 'French reader' book has finally hit the Kindle store---and in my travels, I picked up another beginning reader which has its plusses too! Here are my reviews of these two reader books. I welcome any recommendations on where to go next! 1)...

E-Book Review: Rand Unwrapped: Confessions of a Robotech Warrior
August 30, 2014 | 5:55 am

coverIt’s no secret that the animated TV show Robotech had a big formative influence on me when I was growing up. I still use the handle “Robotech_Master” for my Twitter, Facebook, and other personal Internet accounts, and I still love the show. And my main foray into podcasting, Space Station Liberty, is about Robotech. On Space Station Liberty, I’ve interviewed a number of the actors and writers associated with the show, including the late Carl Macek himself. Today at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern, I’m going to be interviewing another: Frank Catalano, voice actor for the characters Rand,...

Book review: The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris, Spectral Press
August 10, 2014 | 12:25 pm

UK imprint Spectral Press, "a British Fantasy Award-nominated small independent imprint publisher," has hitherto been known for "very limited edition signed and numbered single story chapbooks," as well as occasional themed anthologies such as "an annual Christmas Ghost Story anthology." They made something of a departure, though, with "the very first volume of what is hoped to be an annual publication, The Spectral Book of Horror Stories," and with good reason. In an introduction that harks back to the great Fontana and Pan series of UK horror anthologies of the 1960s and 70s, Mark Morris explains that his ambition "is for The...

Review: Designers & Dragons Vol. 1: The ‘70s
August 8, 2014 | 5:23 am

designdragon70s I’ve finished reading through the first volume of the RPG history from that Kickstarter I mentioned the other day, and I have to say that I’m very impressed. In fact, I plan on nominating it for the “Best Related Work” Hugo when the 2014 Hugo nominations come around. It’s just that good. As I explained in the last article, this history is split across four volumes, divided by decade. However, the decade only refers to the period in which the company was founded. The approach the book takes is to trace the history of each company from...

App review: FBReader–Immersive mode and more
July 21, 2014 | 2:56 pm

fbreader logoI prefer ereading apps that support immersive mode in KitKat, and I periodically browse for additions to the short list of apps that support it. Right now, unless I'm missing one, the list is Moon+ Reader Scribd Google Play Books FBReader There are a few related apps, such as Instapaper, Pocket and Comixology, but I don't consider them ereading apps per se. I recently noticed that FBReader was on the list and decided to try it out. I tried it several years ago, when I used an N2A card to open up Android on my Nook Color, and I remember not being impressed. Obviously, that...

Accessory Review: Snugg Executive iPad Case with Card Slots
July 17, 2014 | 1:35 pm

Snugg Executive iPad Case with Card SlotsI have been looking for an iPad case with pockets for some time. I go to many meetings during the week where I want my iPad and perhaps a credit card and driver's license, but I don't want to carry my messenger bag. An iPad case with a few pockets would do it. When the folks at Snugg asked me to review the [easyazon-link asin="B009K2PPMC" locale="us"]Snugg Executive iPad Case with Card Slots[/easyazon-link], I jumped on it. It's been almost a week now, and so far it's perfect. (Yes, I did opt for the electric blue case pictured. I was tired of...

Zombies, Run! and The Walk cross a pedometer with audiobooks
July 13, 2014 | 2:35 pm

Screenshot_2014-07-13-14-28-56Mobile technology is really bringing about some interesting new forms of gaming, isn’t it? Lately I’ve been experimenting with an Android/iOS smartphone game called “Zombies, Run!” while I play Ingress. I had heard from friends that it was a pretty good game, and after finding out that it worked just as well on a bicycle as on foot, I decided to give it a shot. The premise of Zombies, Run! is that you’re “Runner 5,” a rather quiet military operative sent in to help a small settlement called Able Township by running missions to fetch supplies, deliver messages, and...

Review: Wool Gathering by Various Authors
July 4, 2014 | 4:25 pm

wool gatheringI loved Hugh Howey's Wool series, and while I had heard that he had opened it up to the Kindle Worlds program, I had not checked out any of the new additions---until now. I heard about this via a blog I follow, and I love the concept. [easyazon-link asin="B00IZRAUD2" locale="us"]WOOL Gathering[/easyazon-link] is a sort of sampler anthology which presets stories from some of the 'top' authors in the Wool Kindle Worlds community. The proceeds go to support National Novel Writing Month , a cause I appreciate. It's a win-win situation---I get to test out some new authors, and support the Nano...

Amazon Prime Streaming Music is terrific for Prime subscribers
June 17, 2014 | 3:41 pm

Juli gave her review of Amazon Prime Music yesterday. Now I’ll have my say. First of all, as Slate and the Verge point out in their reviews, Amazon Prime Streaming Music is not a Pandora or Spotify killer, and it’s not meant to be. It really isn’t even a new service at all, so much as an extension of an old one. Amazon has offered cloud music storage since 2011, after all. You can already upload music to Amazon’s cloud and stream it, or stream mp3s you buy from Amazon’s mp3 store. Prime Streaming Music just lets you stream...

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...

Techno-thriller about Taiwan, China was 10 years in the making
June 16, 2014 | 6:25 pm

Dragon Storm coverFor T.J. McFadden, writing the military thriller [easyazon-link asin="B00ITUEKYA" locale="us"]Dragon Storm[/easyazon-link]-- about a potential war between China and Taiwan -- was a labor of love and part of a ten-year learning process. A recent thumbs-up review in a newspaper in Taiwan has given the Ohio author a feeling of success, even if sales are still slow. To write the Kindle ebook, McFaddeen was able to use many of the things and terms he learned in serving as a military journalist in the U.S. navy, he told this reporter in a recent email. ''I was a journalist assigned to the USS Ashland," he...