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Review

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...

Gadget Review: RAVPower Dynamo-On-the-Go
June 13, 2014 | 2:07 pm

RAVPower Dynamo-on-the-goI've been a fan of RAVPower ever since they sent me a 14000 mAh external battery to review. So when they offered me a [easyazon-link asin="B00KKCQ7SC" locale="us"][2-in-1] RAVPower® Duo 7800mAh Portable Charger[/easyazon-link], I said, "Yes please!" It's ironic that it's described as great for camping, and they offered it to me a day before I was leaving for a camping trip, which meant it didn't arrive in time for me to use it. However, I can certainly see why it would a great camping accessory. I hadn't really clued in on the fact that it's cammo-colored, so I had a good chuckle when I...

E-book review: The Chronicles of the Kencyrath is fun, dark fantasy
May 26, 2014 | 2:22 pm

godstalkIf you’re looking for something interesting to read, I’m going to talk about an underappreciated, inexpensive series of e-books from Baen that I’ve grown to love. It’s called the Chronicles of the Kencyrath, and the first book, God Stalk, was written by Patricia C. Hodgell back in 1982. Go and buy and read it right now, links are at the bottom of this post. You want me to tell you more about it? What, don’t you trust me? Well, all right. I first came across God Stalk back in the late ‘90s, as one of the top-ranking books...

Book Review: Every Short Story 1951-2012, Alasdair Gray, Canongate Books
May 25, 2014 | 2:00 pm

With the near-destruction of the renowned Glasgow School of Art building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, it's a good time to celebrate one of its most famous alumni: Alasdair Gray, artist, author, polemical Scottish nationalist, and dyed-in-the-wool Glaswegian. He started writing in the late 1950s, although he only began seriously publishing in the 1980s, with his landmark novel Lanark appearing in 1981. And Every Short Story 1951-2012 collates every published story in his five published collections: Unlikely Stories, Mostly (1984), Lean Tales (1985), Glaswegians (1990), Ten Tales Tall and True, (1993), and The Ends of Our Tethers: 13 Sorry Stories (2005). The Endnotes,...

Kindle Paperwhite In-Depth, Part 3: The Final Verdict
May 21, 2014 | 12:25 pm

kindle paperwhiteYesterday, I highlighted some Kindle-only features I particularly liked. Today, I will talk about some quirks which were less appealing, and then give my final verdict. Will I be keeping the Kindle Paperwhite, or will I continue trucking along with my Kobo Glo? Firstly, let's talk about one feature I do miss from the Kobo---Pocket integration. The Kobo did this very well. You could save articles from sites like Longform, straight from the on-board web browser! And you had full control over what to do with them when you were done---delete from both the device and the server, archive, save to favourites...

Kindle Paperwhite In-Depth, Part 2: Kindle Features Up Close
May 20, 2014 | 12:25 pm

kindle paperwhite in depthIn Part 2 of my Kindle Paperwhite review, I am going to look more closely at some of the Kindle's features. You can do a lot more than just plain read on this thing! Here are some features which jumped out at me. 1) Goodreads Integration This was not a huge deal for me because, while I do use Goodreads, I don't just rate the book but I review it too. That's a lot easier to do from a computer! But if you just want to shelve and star your books, and you get most of them from Amazon, then having this feature...