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Review

Review: Inateck Kindle Paperwhite Case
November 20, 2014 | 4:25 pm

inateck kindle paperwhite caseIt's getting to be that time of year when people will be deciding on gifts to give for the holiday. With the Kindle Paperwhite now being marketed as the mid-range offering in Amazon's eInk reader line up, I'm betting there will be a number of them wrapped in colorful paper soon. However, if you've owned such a device in the past, you know that it's not enough to buy the reader. You also want to protect the reader, and the folks at Inateck recently sent me a case to review. Gotta say, I love it. The [easyazon-link asin="B00JP7R7DC" locale="us"]Inateck Compact Kindle...

Cash for reviews: a slippery slope
November 14, 2014 | 4:25 pm

cash for reviewsI recently purchased some teaching products via Amazon.com. The order arrived last week and everything was fine, so I didn't pay too much attention to it, and did not realize it had come from a third-party seller until I got a curious email from them this week. The email said that their records indicated my order should have arrived by now, they hoped I found everything satisfactory, and they suggested that if I indeed did find it so, perhaps I could leave them a review for it. Fair enough so far, I guess. But then I got to this little clincher: "If...

Want to nix all those pesky bad reviews? The EU shows you how
November 3, 2014 | 4:25 pm

reviewsThe all-too-predictable consequences for the creative arts - including literature - of the European Union's apparently misguided attempt to legislate a "right to be forgotten" appear to have started to roll. Croatian pianist Dejan Lazic has submitted a request to The Washington Post dated October 30th, asking the paper to remove a negative review of a performance he gave in 2010, on the grounds that it has featured too prominently in his Google search records for years. The fact that the original EU legislation applied to search engine providers rather than media outlets doesn't appear to have troubled Lazic unduly. Nor does the...

Book review: Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War, by Alexander Watson, Basic Books
September 27, 2014 | 11:07 am

The centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914 is naturally bringing out a lot of commemorative publications of varying kinds, as well as all the events and documentaries, etc., and Alexander Watson's Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War 1, is one of the more interesting and revisionist, and the most challenging to preconceptions and received wisdom among English-speaking readers. It dives deep into German and Austria-Hungarian social history in the war years, using a vast amount of documentary evidence from war leaders to teenage girls, delivering a whole herd of sacred cows to the...

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...