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Does the Hemingwrite reflect the true nature of modern writing?
October 21, 2014 | 10:25 am

An interesting product came up on my radar yesterday. And I'm not one to diss genuine creativity and inventiveness gratuitously, but I do wonder. The Hemingwrite, you see, is designed as "A Distraction Free Writing Tool," offering the functionality of an old-style word processor, the ergonomics of a typewriter, and the freedom from distractions of a hermit's cave. And designed for decades of use. The Hemingwrite's features include a mechanical keyboard, an e-ink display with backlight, and Evernote cloud backup - for despite its retro styling, the Hemingwrite is a connected beast. What it is not, however, is connected to the...

Singapore uni develops the twenty-year battery
October 14, 2014 | 2:25 pm

For those lumbered with mobile devices without interchangeable batteries - like Kindles, for example - Singapore's Nanyang Technology University has come up with what could be a very welcome innovation. According to the University's press materials, a team there has "developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70 per cent in only two minutes. The new generation batteries also have a long lifespan of over 20 years, more than 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion batteries." The lithium-ion batteries normally found in mobile devices usually last about 500 recharge cycles ... equivalent to two to three years of...

Empowerment for the digital age?
October 8, 2014 | 12:25 pm

downloadAs part of my somewhat abandoned (well, modified, anyway) 2014 Reading Challenge, I have been finishing off some half-read non-fiction, and one of the books I just finished off was an interesting case study for me in why the self-helpy stuff doesn't do it for me the way it used to. The book was called [easyazon-link asin="0446563595" locale="us"]Simple Abundance[/easyazon-link] by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and when I started it last year, I loved its message. The third third or so of the book was wonderful---it was all about slowing down the pace of your life, taking walks outside, focusing on what was going...

Five things my mother had which I don’t
September 18, 2014 | 10:25 am

KnowledgeI'm back to school now, and as usual I spent some of my summer vacation time 'spring cleaning.' I always feel like since I am not working and the Beloved is, I need to have something to show for my day, so I clean like a fiend. And I have been busily working some family heirlooms into our home since the passing of my grandfather. It struck me, as I made my finishing touches for back-to-school, how much things have changed since my mother's time. There are products, services and routines my parents considered par for the course which people my...

Technology Innovation for Smart Publishing comes too late?
July 30, 2014 | 11:25 am

According to an announcement made on the London Book Fair website some months after the latter's closure, "The TISP network (Technology Innovation for Smart Publishing), the European project coordinated by the Italian Publishers Association which gathers 25 organizations from 12 European countries, has released a set of policy recommendations, giving the publishing and technology sectors a common base at European level to foster and sustain innovation for the first time." The open question is whether this will have any actual influence on the development of e-publishing in Europe. TISP brings together "the two European representative bodies of the publishing and ICT industries,...

Why don’t you write with that old book?
July 26, 2014 | 2:29 pm

Here's a novel (no pun intended) use for that old unwanted book or printout - why not turn its paper into a writing instrument? That takes the whole concept of recycling one step further - and sure enough, this innovation is at concept stage only. But it appears very slick, as well as interesting. From IPPINKA, the Niagara Falls, NY-based company that "wants you to consume less," the P2P intends to "turn paper into pencils." According to the designers, "the machine takes used memos and other recyclable pieces of paper and transforms them into usable pencils ... Simply feed the waste paper...

Oxford pixel density breakthrough points to ultra-hi-res ereader displays?
July 12, 2014 | 10:14 am

A technological breakthrough by Oxford University scientists, just announced in Science Daily, apparently "will make it possible to create pixels just a few hundred nanometres across that could pave the way for extremely high-resolution and low-energy thin, flexible displays for applications such as 'smart' glasses, synthetic retinas, and foldable screens." Including, of course, screens for ereaders and tablets. The breakthrough apparently came quite by chance while scientists were exploring a different line of research. "We were exploring the relationship between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials and then had the idea of creating this GST [Germanium-Antimony-Tellurium] 'sandwich' made...

Gartner says welcome to the post-PC world
July 8, 2014 | 4:25 pm

gartner136.gifResearch firm Gartner Inc. has released a new digital device sales forecast which marks 2015 as the year when shipments of tablets will finally overtake PCs and the world will move into the post-PC era. In volume terms at least, the defining digital device in the home will no longer be the computer, whether in desktop or laptop form, but the tablet. Gartner forecasts sales of the devices it tracks  - PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones - to hit 2.4 billion units in 2014, "a 4.2 percent increase from 2013." And as of 2014, it calculates a total global sale...

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 &...

Next Big Book wins Book Expo Challenge – but should it have?
June 1, 2014 | 12:00 pm

Publishing technology company Next Big Book has won the first-ever Book Expo Challenge at Book Expo America 2014, netting a $10,000 prize and the chance to present to venture capitalists and publishing execs. Next Big Books "analyzes social, sales, and marketing signals to help you make smarter, braver decisions." Next Big Book aims to help out the publishing industry thus: Digital publishing and social media have added exponentially to the intricacy of an industry already complicated by tens of thousands of authors and millions of titles spanning dozens of genres and formats. Our monitoring and analysis tools will help you make sense...

"You Are not a Digital Native"
May 31, 2014 | 10:25 am

digital nativeI greatly enjoyed this open letter author Cory Doctorow wrote to the teenagers of the world, to celebrate the US paperback release of his novel, Homeland. From the letter: "The problem with being a “digital native” is that it transforms all of your screw-ups into revealed deep truths about how humans are supposed to use the Internet. So if you make mistakes with your Internet privacy, not only do the companies who set the stage for those mistakes (and profited from them) get off Scot-free, but everyone else who raises privacy concerns is dismissed out of hand. After all, if the...

IDC reins in tablet sales forecast amid phablet explosion
May 30, 2014 | 4:24 pm

IDC_logoInternational Data Corporation (IDC) has reduced its forecast for 2014 worldwide sales of tablets plus similar 2-in-1 convertible devices - due largely to the surge in demand for phablets, which appear to be blurring the line between smartphones and tablet devices and snatching an ever greater market share. IDC's new forecast is for 245.4 million units in 2014, down from a previous forecast of 260.9 million units, and equaling a 12.1 percent y-o-y growth rate, down from e 51.8 percent growth in 2013. "Two major issues are causing the tablet market to slow down. First, consumers are keeping their tablets, especially...