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Posts tagged review

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...

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...

Review: SwiftKey Note for iOS
May 15, 2014 | 12:31 pm

swiftkey note for iOSOne of the things I love most about the Android platform is the ability to use third-party keyboards, like SwiftKey, which has an uncanny predictive ability. Unfortunately, iOS doesn't allow third-party keyboards. The stock keyboard is okay, but it doesn't have crazy good prediction. The folks at SwiftKey have coded a work around called SwiftKey Note for iOS. It's a separate app, so you can't use it systemwide, but if you can live with the limitations of only using it in the dedicated app, it has utility. The app syncs seamlessly with Evernote, so if you use it, SwiftKey Note might meet...

N2A card on Nook HD: Two weeks later
March 11, 2014 | 12:23 pm

n2a card on nook hdI reported a few weeks ago that I had purchased an N2A card running Android KitKat for my Nook HD. I'd planned to use it for at least a week as my (close to) sole tablet and report back on my findings. I've now used it long enough to make some recommendations, and I made a few surprising discoveries along the way. The Nook wasn't quite my sole tablet. My iPad is just better for some tasks, but I used my N2A-running Nook enough to give it a good workout. I'll get my biggest objection out of the way first. It's not...

Review: Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner
February 28, 2014 | 6:58 pm

coverIf you type the words into Google, you’ll find that random story generator sites are everywhere on the Internet. It seems like people have discovered the randomness of computers can help them shuffle up a bunch of basic archetypes and come up with a plot outline they can write to. But there’s a set of random story generation tools out there that pre-date the Internet by most of a century—and while not as old as some people claim they are, they’re nonetheless old enough, and well-used enough, that they can make a great tool in any writer’s toolbox. I’m talking about...

Book Review: Undead & Unbound
December 7, 2013 | 10:50 am

Undead & Unbound: Unexpected Tales From Beyond the Grave, put together by the horror and dark fiction authors and serial anthologists Brian M. Sammons and David Conyers, is anything but your usual grab-bag of selfies from the zombie apocalypse that fill the horror aisles these days. No surprise when it comes from Chaosium Inc., a publishing house that won its stripes producing rulebooks for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game before expanding further into horror fiction. The various revenants and walkers in these 19 tales include some of the most outre and genuinely disturbing I've encountered lately, though inevitably one...

Book Review: Nathan’s Run by John Gilstrap
September 26, 2013 | 11:32 am

I'm late coming to John Gilstrap, which is too bad. He's an excellent thriller writer. I burned through a couple of his Johnathan Graves books, and just finished Nathan's Run, which was his first published novel. Until I read the Afterward, I hadn't realized it has been a Banned Book, which made a review this week well-timed. The premise is that a 12-year old boy, Nathan Bailey, escapes from a juvenile detention center, killing a guard during the escape. What's interesting is that there's never any doubt about the murder. We know Nathan killed the guard. What we learn throughout the...

Book Review: ‘The Dragon Masters’ by Jack Vance
August 31, 2013 | 7:57 am

Thanks to Jack Vance, my early teens were haunted by dragonish monstrosities with such names as Termagants, Striding Murderers, Juggers, and Blue Horrors. These weren't drawn from a young adult story, but from one of Vance's most concentrated, intensely imagined and effective evocations of a place and above all, a society, very remote from ours, in time, space, and mindset. "The Dragon Masters" was one of the classics that consolidated his early reputation, and it has worn very well with time. Note that this book is an example of how mutable the standards of story length can be, as well as the...

Book Review: Yesterday’s Classics E-Book Collection
August 27, 2013 | 8:09 pm

Yesterday's ClassicsIt's my last week of summer vacation, and I'll be spending it planning for the coming school year. I have been delighted to find a growing niche of publishers that are targeting the back-to-school market with specialized e-book collections, and this e-book collection comes from one such publisher. Yesterday's Classics is part of a website called The Baldwin Project, which formats children's classics and offers them in print, via email subscription, or online as a plain-text website or interactive learning portal. The first 225 releases are available in Mobi or ePub, in a bundle that they were kind enough to provide for me to...

Book Review: ‘Just a Geek’ by Wil Wheaton
August 20, 2013 | 11:00 am

Wil WheatonI got this book from the recent Humble Bundle, and I went into it expecting to like it. I was a huge "Star Trek" fan back in the day, and I never 'hated' Wesley Crusher the way some fans seemed to. I've also enjoyed his recurring bit part on "The Big Bang Theory," so I was expecting a fun read. And I got ... an OK read. My main issue was that although all of his stories were technically about separate incidents, the incidents all were about the same few themes, so they got tiresome. There was the "auditioning for a part if...

Book Review: ‘Dust’ by Hugh Howey
August 20, 2013 | 9:29 am

Hugh Howey"Dust" is the final instalment in indie darling Hugh Howey's Silo Saga, which began with "Wool" in 2011 and concludes with this just-released title. I picked it up on release day because I enjoyed the previous two volumes and also because Hugh Howey sells his work free of DRM, and I am all for that! "Dust" picks up where the "Shift" omnibus left off, with Donald and his sister Charlotte hiding in Silo One and trying to unravel the end game for the silo folks, while Juliette struggles as mayor of an untrusting Silo 18. While Lukas, her lover, picks up...

App Review: Duolingo for iOS
July 30, 2013 | 8:41 pm

DuolingoDuolingo is a learning app that promised to 'gamify' language learning. As a language teacher, I was ready to roll! I downloaded the app, picked my desired language, and ... and I lasted about an hour before I was bored and annoyed. Sorry! The App Setup The app is set up with a series of short 'lesson' books, grouped into little branches of a tree. You can start with book one, or 'test out' and move onto the next unit by successfully completing a little mini-lesson. The main control panel also has a little sidebar that offers such useful information as how many...