Library E-Books Part IV Posting Postponed Until Monday & Four Cool Tech Articles to Consider!

Hi everyone, I’m a bit swamped today and so I’m not quite finished with my posting “Library E-Books: Part IV” which will discuss how you can download free library e-books to Nooks.

Apologizes for that!

I’ll finish that posting over the weekend and get it up on Monday morning.

In the meantime for your consideration here are links to four tech articles that shed light on how technology is changing how we read and access entertainment.

1) E-Book Statistics: This first article is from the Wall Street Journal and is titled “Your E-Book Is Reading You: Digital-book publishers and retailers now know more about their readers than ever before. How that’s changing the experience of reading.” And it does indeed illustrate how publishers can learn more than ever before about what people read including what parts of the text they highlight, if they stop reading an e-book and how fast they read an e-book and purchase their next e-book.

Here’s the link:

2) Media Streaming Players: Article 2 is from CNET and is titled: “Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Nexus Q: Media streamers compared: Google’s Nexus Q is the newest kid on the streaming block. CNET puts it head-to-head with our favorite tried-and-true stalwarts, the Apple TV and the Roku.”  Wow, what a mouthful of a title – it is certainly and in-depth one! And this article discusses the growing practice of what is known as media streaming and cord cutting – that is people who stream video content from the Internet and/or drop their cable package (cord cut) and stream TV shows and movies to that big HDTV in their living through set-top boxes like the Apple TV, Roku player and the new Google Nexus Q.

This is favorite topic of mine because I am among those have done that cord cutting thing! I stream most the television shows and movies I watch from either my Roku player or my Apple TV to my 42” HDTV and don’t subscribe to a cable package. Occasionally I watch Blu-ray discs too but that is another discussion for another time! And although I don’t cable with my local cable company I obviously do have high speed Internet! And I’ll be talking more about set top boxes, also known as streaming media players, in July. In the meantime here’s the link to that CNET article which offers a solid introduction to the subject:

3) Happy Birthday to the iPhone: And believe it or not the iPhone turned 5 today! Unbelievably so as it seems you now see smart phones wherever you go! And that is what one would call a super fast adoption of a product! And today’s New York Times Bits blog features an article that discusses how the mainstream acceptance the iPhone changed our world by issuing in the smart phone era.

Here’s the link:

4) Why Windows is Killing the Start Menu for Windows 8: In the upcoming Windows software upgrade to Windows 8 – there is no long a Start Menu. That staple of the PC era is in the twilight of its time in the spot light. And PC Pro features an article that discusses why – essentially Windows did some research and discovered that people by far prefer to pin their favorite programs to the task bar or the desk top of their PCs where they can quickly access them, than to have them be on the Start Menu where they have to hunt to find them.

And here’s the link to the article titled “Why Microsoft Killed the Windows Start Button:

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Linda R.

Library E-Books Part III: How to Download Free Library E-Books to Smartphones & Tablets

As you may be aware the Southeast Steuben County Library in Corning, NY is a member of the Southern Tier Library system. And Southern Tier Library System member libraries buy e-books for the Digital Catalog through the library e-book vendor OverDrive.

And OverDrive has created an app for all Apple, Android and Windows smartphones and tablets. You can find the app, which is officially called “OverDrive Media Console” in your respective app store.

Once you obtain the app and set it up, which requires you to register for a free Adobe Digital Editions account; you will check out library e-books by:

  1. Opening the app on your smartphone or tablet*
  1. Selecting the Southeast Steuben County Library as your library to obtain e-books from – this will then re-direct you to the STLS Digital Catalog where you can search for e-books or audio books to download*2
  1. Search for an available e-book you’d like to read (if the e-book is available there will be a button to the right of the title that says “Add to cart. If the e-book is checked out; instead, you’ll see a button that says “Place a hold” and you can click that button to be emailed when the title is available for you to download)
  1. Click the Add to Cart link (and the My Cart page will display)
  1. Click the Proceed to Check Out link on the My Cart page (and the Sign in page will display)
  1. Select the Southern Tier Library System (instead of Penn Yan Public Library) from the drop down box in the Library field*2 (just click on the down arrow to the right of the word Library.)
  1. Enter your Library card number in the library card number field.
  1. Enter your PIN number in the PIN field (this is by default the last four digits of your telephone number)
  1. Click the Log In button on that same Sign in page (The Check Out page will display)
  1. Click on the Confirm Check Out button (on the Check Out page and the download page will display)
  1. Click the download button and the e-book should start to download into the OverDrive library within your app. E-books download in a matter of seconds – and you’ll see a download status bar fill with color as the download process unfolds and completes
  1. Read your library e-book!

Tomorrow I’ll discuss how you download library e-books to Nooks and one of next weeks’ postings will be on how you download audio books and media (music and videos) from the Digital Catalog.

Have a great day!

Linda R.

*1) If your tablet is a Wi-Fi only model you will have to be within range of a Wi-Fi network in order to download library e-books.

*2) You can download MP3 audio books to all Windows, Android and Apple smartphones and tablets; however, WMA (Windows Media Player) audio books can only be directly downloaded to Windows smartphones and tablets. If you have another wireless device you should be able to download the PC version of OverDrive Media Console to your computer, download WMA audio books to it and then transfer those to Apple or Android mobile devices. Unfortunately if your main computer is a Mac – you cannot download WMA audio books to it and transfer them to mobile devices; the process will only work if you’re using a Windows PC.

Google Introduces A Tablet & A Media Streaming Device

Today Google jumped into the tablet and media streaming market by introducing a 7” tablet called the Nexus 7 and a media streaming player called the Nexus Q.

The Nexus 7 will be a Wi-Fi tablet, have a 1280 x 800 HD display, have Bluetooth capability, will be running the latest Google OS Jelly Bean and have a front facing camera for video chatting. It will go on sale in July and cost $199.

Here’s a link to an interactive CNET review of the Nexus 7 if  you’d like to see what it looks like!

The Google Nexus Q streaming media player will join media players like the Apple TV and Roku boxes. It will stream music and videos from the Android/Google cloud to your television or speakers and can be controlled by Android tablets and smartphones. It will list for $299 and will also go on sale in July.

Here’s a link to the first CNET review of the Google Q:

Linda R. 

Library E-Books Part II: A Bit About DRM & How to Download Free Library E-Books to a Kindle

A Bit About DRM: Before I jump into the subject of how you download free library e-books to a Kindle;  I have to point out that the process you use to download free library e-books to tablets, smartphones, e-readers, Macs and PCs is a bit different depending upon which device you are downloading library e-books to.

And you may wonder why that is – Why are there so many different ways to download library e-books?

And the answer to that is that the main reason is because of something called Digital Rights Management software. Digital Rights Management software, or DRM for short, is built into e-books by publishers. It is an anti-piracy tool and the intent is that it is supposed to make it hard or impossible for people to illegally copy and distribute e-books. However, the practical side of the equation for patrons of public libraries is that DRM makes it more difficult to download library e-books to e-reading devices than it is to buy e-books from an e-book seller. And the difference is because some how the DRM software has to be unlocked from the library e-book you’re downloading so you can read it – think of the book as being in jail and unlocking the DRM springs it so it can travel to your e-reader!

In contrast, if you buy an e-book from a bookseller, and assuming you already have done the prep work of setting up an account with the bookseller, than the download process is simple – you click a button that says “buy” and then enter a user ID (usually an email address) and your password and boom! The e-book downloads to your e-reading device in just a few seconds. It is literally that fast! And library e-books too download that fast – once you go through the process of unlocking the DRM software.

How to Download Free Library E-Books to a Kindle: And as far as DRM goes, Kindle owners have it easy! The download process for all Kindles, except the Kindle Fire and the first generation Kindle*1 is this:

  1. Go to the library’s website found at SSCLIBRARY.ORG
  1. Click on the link that says “STLS Digital Catalog” – it features white lettering in a green box and is located on the right hand side of the page about half way down the library’s home page – you may have to scroll down a little bit to see it…
  1. Search for an e-book  you’d like to read that has a Kindle version
  1. Click the Add to Cart link (and the My Cart page will display)
  1. Click the Proceed to Check Out link on the My Cart page (and the Sign in page will display)
  1. Select the Southern Tier Library System (instead of Penn Yan Public Library) from the drop down box in the Library field*2 (just click on the down arrow to the right of the word Library.)
  1. Enter your Library card number in the library card number field.
  1. Enter your PIN number in the PIN field (this is by default the last four digits of your telephone number)
  1. Click the Log In button on that same Sign in page (The Check Out page will display)
  1. Click on the Confirm Check Out button (on the Check Out page and the download page will display)
  1. And on the download page click on the Get for Kindle link – this will send you to the Amazon website to a page titled “Get Your Digital Library Loan” page; on the Download page click on the orange “Get library loan” link located on the right hand side of the page
  1. You will then be prompted to enter in your Amazon log in information (this is the email address and password that you use to purchase items from Amazon and/or buy e-books for your Kindle); the Please chose a device page will display and assuming you just have one Kindle registered to your account simply click on the continue button to send your library e-book to your Kindle
  1. Turn on your Kindle (And assuming you have a 3 G connecting Kindle or, if you have a Wi-Fi connecting Kindle, you are in range of a wireless (Wi-Fi) network – than your library e-book will almost instantly appear on your Kindle and you’ll be able to read it. If you have a Wi-Fi Kindle and aren’t in range of a wireless network – then the e-book will download the next time you take your Kindle somewhere where there is a wireless Internet connection – like our library! Come and visit us and you can download library e-books
  1. And read your e-book!

And if you read through that multi step process than you can see there are few more hoops to jump through, courtesy of publishers, to obtain library e-books – but the process to download Library e-books to Kindles doesn’t really require that many steps just a few more than if  you were to purchase an Amazon e-book.

*1. And Regarding the Kindle Fire and First Generation Kindle and the Kindle Fire:

The Kindle Fire: If you own a Kindle Fire than you are lucky! Currently the Kindle Fire is the only e-reading device that offers you the ability to check library e-books out to it – directly from the Digital Catalog! So all you have to do is turn on your Kindle Fire, be in range of a Wi-Fi network, go to the STLS Digital Catalog (the link is on the library’s homepage found at SSCLIBRARY.ORG), find a book you’d like to read and follow the log in process outlined above (follow steps 3-14) and the library e-book will appear on your carousel

The First Generation Kindle: The download process for the first generation Kindle, those are the ones from 2007, is a longer process that the 14 step process listed above. However, you can indeed download library e-books to a first generation! There is more pre-work involved but it can indeed be done. You have to have your own internet connected computer, download a piece of software called Adobe Digital Editions from our website and set up the software on your PC and then plug your first generation Nook into your PC before opening a web browser and going to the Digital Catalog, accessed through the library’s homepage, to look for a book to read. And the in essence what happens is that the e-book downloads to your computer and loads into the Adobe Digital Editions page where your first gen Kindle will be displayed as the e-reader you have plugged into your computer.

2. Field – when I say field you can insert the word box – field is computerese but I mean the box you can type in or select and option from…

And did I mention before that you can call the library and set up an appointment to go through the library e-book download process with a tech staff member? You can! Call us at 607-936-3713! You can even come in and check out the e-reading devices and tablets the library has for in-house use – just in case you’d like to window shop before you buy a e-reader or tablet.

And on a related e-reader subject very shortly, you’ll even be able to check out pre-loaded e-readers here at the library – and those are very simple to use because there is no download process – the e-books will already be on the e-readers!  And circulating e-readers will be coming in July so I’ll discuss that topic in more depth as soon as our pre-loaded e-readers are available to circulate.

And tomorrow I’ll discuss how you download library e-books to tablets and smartphones via the OverDrive app. And on Friday we’ll go over how you download library e-books to Nooks – so stay tuned!

And please feel free to visit our Youtube page and check out our How To Download Library e-books videos! Just remember the one little change in those very in-depth, step-by-step how to videos is that the E-Books and Audio Books link found on our homepage (that’s the one that you click on to access the Digital Catalog) is now called “STLS Digital Catalog” to illustrate the fact that the Digital Catalog now offers a handful of video and music titles to download as well as e-books and audio books.

Here’s the link to our Youtube page:

Linda R.

Library E-Books Part I

Another big related e-reader question we field at SSCL and one that most public libraries field today – is “Do you have e-books in your collection?”

And that answer to that question is a resounding yes!

We have e-books in our collection that you can download to any PC or Mac and also to a variety of e-reading devices. So if you have a PC or Mac you can simply download the required e-reading software to your desktop or laptop and check out e-books that way!

And of course you can also check out library e-books, free of charge, to Apple, Android and Windows smart phones as well as to tablets like the iPad and Galaxy 2 S. And you can additionally check out library e-books to most dedicated e-readers including all of Amazon’s Kindles and all of Barnes & Noble’s Nooks.

If you have an Android, Windows or Apple tablet or smart phone then as the expression goes – there is an app for that! Most public libraries, including ours (The Southeast Steuben County Library in Corning, NY) use the OverDrive platform to offer their patrons e-books and so the app is called OverDrive Media Console and the app artwork features a big thin O over a blue background – the app can be found in the Android Marketplace and Apple’s App Store.

And tomorrow I’ll talk about how you download free public library e-books to Kindles! (And on Thursday I’ll talk about how you download library e-books to Nooks…)

And if you really, really want to know how you download library e-books to your Kindle or Nook and don’t want to wait for my blog posting on the subject – check out the library’s YouTube Channel – here’s the link:

The how to download library e-books videos are quite new and offer a step by step explanation of how you download library e-books to Kindles or Nooks. I will point out one little change though from what the videos say – to access our Digital Catalog you used to have to go to the library’s home page found at SSCLIBRARY.ORG and then click on the green E-Books & Audio Books link located on the right hand side of the page – that link description has been changed because we recently added downloadable videos (mostly for kids) and a handful of downloadable music to the Digital Catalog – so now that link features a green background and says in white lettering “STLS Digital Catalog” so if you simply remember that and follow the instructions in the videos then that too will guide you through the e-book download process.

If you have any questions about this blog posting let me know!

Linda R.

P.S. Here’s a direct link to the library’s Digital Catalog should you wish to book market it:

And you may also want to check out the library’s Facebook page so here’s the link for that:

And on a non-tech note Michelle Wells, our very creative head of Adult Services Director, has a great literary- storytelling-writing focused blog called Story Musing which is also a great blog to check out! And here’s the link for it:

Which E-Reader is the Best?

That is a question we frequently hear at the library!

And my answer to that question is that that it depends upon what you want to do with your e-reader!

And that may sound strange. You may think “But don’t you just read e-books on an e-reader?”  And the answer to that question is not necessarily! Certainly the most inexpensive e-ink e-readers offer you the ability to read e-books and not much more.

However, if you’re willing to pay a bit more; well, you do get more bang for your buck as the expression goes! So I’m going to discuss e-reading devices in five parts:

I. Types of E-Readers E-Ink Versus Backlight/ Color Screen E-Readers

II. General E-Reader Features: E-Ink E-Readers & Backlight/Color Screen E-Readers

III. E-Reader Features: Wi-Fi versus 3G

IV. What About Tablets?

V. About Prices, i.e. how much is it going to cost me!

I) Types of E-Readers E-Ink Versus Backlight/Color Screen E-Readers: When you’re looking to purchase an e-reading device you need to start out by being aware that there are two basic types of e-reading devices at the present time and one new type recently debuted by Barnes & Noble! There are e-ink e-readers, backlight/color screen e-readers and the new B&N Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight which is the only e-ink e-reader currently on the market that has a built in lighting system.

So the three basic types of e-readers are:

1)  E-Ink E-readers: These e-readers feature black text on a light gray screen. And they are the ones you can take outside and use to read e-books in bright sunlight at the beach or the lake. And when you’re indoors you need to sit next to a lamp when using one of these e-readers just like you would if you were reading a print book.

2) Backlight/Color Screen E-Readers: These e-readers feature black text on a white background (just like a computer background – for example, if you go to the bright white background of that page is a good illustration of the white of a backlight screen) and although these e-readers aren’t easy to use in sunlight, because the sun glares off the backlight screen, they are wonderful if you like to read indoors because you need never again worry about sitting next to the best reading lamp in the room– and you can even sit in the dark and easily read e-books on a backlight screen. These backlight screens also feature color so you can look at magazines or book illustrations or surf the internet in living color.

3) New Type of E-Reader: The new Barnes & Noble Simple Touch with Glowlight: This is a new type of e-reader. It features an e-ink screen (black text on a light gray background) and a built in glow light that the reader can turn on and which will illuminate the text from behind the displayed text. So this lone e-reader is one that you can both take to the beach and use to read in bed in the dark without disturbing your partner by turning on a light. (Cost: $139)

So those are the basic types of e-readers in terms of the hardware, or if you like the machinery, of the devices goes. The other big aspect of e-readers consists of their features and that gets us back to my initial answer to the question of which e-e-reader is the best one to buy; because once you decide whether or not you prefer an e-reader with an e-ink screen or a backlight screen that can display color then the ballgame is all about the features.

II) General Features: E-Ink versus Backlight: Here, at a glance, are the basic features of both types of standard e-reading devices:

  • You can read e-books and popular magazines on these e-readers.As previously mentioned, these e-readers feature an e-ink screen and you can use them to easily read books or magazines in bright sunlight at the beach, in the car or at the lake etc.
  • You can easily increase the size of text turning all e-books into large print books.
  • You can read library e-books for free
  • These e-readers are very light usually between 5 and 7 ounces
  • Most of these e-ink e-readers are very small, are easy to hold in one hand and can easily be put in a purse, large pocket, coat pocket or attaché case.*1
  • This category of e-reading device offers you a choice between having a keyboard, or physical rocker input to use when typing in search terms (i.e. the author or title of a book you are looking for) or a touch screen.

This category of e-readers also includes the Nook Glowlight an e-ink e-reader that as mentioned has all of the above features and an internal light for night reading.

Backlight/ Color Screen E-Readers:

  • You can read e-books and popular magazines on these e-readers.
  • These e-readers feature a color backlight screen so illustrations and photos in books and magazines are rendered in color instead of black and gray as is the case with e-ink e-readers.
  • You can easily increase the six of text turning all e-books into large print books.
  • You can read library e-books for free
  • These e-readers weight more than e-ink e-readers usually between 1 pound and 1.5 pounds so they feel more solid in your hands.
  • You can read text in portrait or landscape mode
  • You can easily read e-books on these in an in-door setting without concern for lighting because the screen has a light behind it and thus these e-reading devices can be easily read upon in low light or even in the dark.
  • These e-readers feature larger screens that the standard 5”or 6” screen usually found on e-ink e-reader. For example, the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Color Nook & Nook Tablet all feature 7” screens and of course tablets like the iPad have larger screens still and we’ll get to tablets in just a minute…
  • You can set up, read and send email on these e-readers.
  • You can surf the web with any of these e-readers
  • You can zoom in and out of webpages while surfing the Internet
  • There are apps for these e-readers so you can play games like “Words with Friends” or “Angry Birds” or download a great variety of apps (basically tech talk for software) in many different subjects including: home and garden, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, education and children’s apps*2

III. E-Ink Readers: E-Reader Features: 3 G versus Wi-Fi:

3 G: Some e-ink e-readers feature 3G connectivity. And what that means is that those e-ink e-readers connect to their e-book seller’s store via the cell phone network. There is no extra charge to use this feature on an e-reader; it is a free service that comes with the e-reader and it allows you to download e-books to your e-reader from almost anywhere across the globe.

Wi-Fi: And many e-ink and backlight screen e-readers have built in Wi-Fi. And what that means is that you have to be in-range of a wireless internet connection to download new e-books from your e-bookseller. Once e-books are downloaded to a Wi-Fi e-reader than you can go anywhere and read those e-books and you don’t have to be within range of a wireless internet connection. However, in order to download the e-books to your e-reader initially, you must have access to an internet connection. You can either set up a wireless internet connection at your home or have your internet service provider do it, or access the internet from a public internet connection. And there are many local places where you can go to get free internet – our library is one (and most public libraries too!), Wegmans, McDonalds, Bob Evans or even The Central – they all have free public Wi-Fi so you don’t actually have to pay for an internet connection to use these devices. And notably, all the backlight color screen e-readers are Wi-Fi only devices – it is only when you upgrade to the tablet level that you can get a device that offers both 3 G and Wi-Fi – and the 3G for tablets, unlike e-ink e-readers – does cost you – there is a monthly fee which varied depending upon your cellular service provider and which tablet you buy.

IV. What About Tablets? Tablets like Apple’s iPad (9.7” display; entry level price for Wi-Fi version $499), the Motorola Zoom (10.01” display; entry level price $499) and the Samsung Galaxy 2 (10.1” screen; entry level price $399) are wonderful devices upon which to read e-books. However, they are alos like backlight e-readers on steroids as the expression goes – because although you can read e-books upon them and from multiple sources (there are apps to obtain e-books from Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your public library (OverDrive) and other e-book sellers), they feature larger screens than e-ink e-readers, you can set them up so you can read and write e-mail on them, do word processing, create presentations, watch movies and TV shows, listen to audio books and music and download many apps —more apps by far than are available for the Kindle Fire or B&N Color or Nook Tablet. Tablet apps are available in general categories that include: games, social networking, news, weather, business and entertainment. And notably, there are more apps for Apple’s iPad than any other tablet so if you decide that you really like what you can do with apps you may want to consider buying a tablet to double as an e-reader instead of purchase a dedicated e-reader.

V. Cost AKA How much is it going to cost me? Dedicated e-ink e-book readers – those are the ones that feature black text on a light gray screen and allow you to read e-books and that is basically it – start at around $79 and go on up in price to top out at $379 for the Kindle DX with the 9.7”screen. Amazon’s entry level Kindle with Special Offers (the Special Offers are screen saver ads!) costs: $79 and allows users to enter information by utilizing a physical rocker. The entry level Barnes & Noble Simple Touch Nook costs $99 and features a touch screen. Both devices are Wi-Fi only. If you prefer a physical keyboard there is the Kindle Keyboard (again an e-ink e-reader) that costs $139 for either the 3 G or Wi-Fi model. And if you like backlight color screens Amazon offers the Kindle Fire for $199 and Barnes & Noble offers the Nook Color for $169 and the Nook Tablet for $199.  All three of those devices include a web browser, the option to set up, send and receive email and the ability to download apps. The main difference between the Kindle Fire, The Nook Color and the Nook Tablet is that the Kindle Fire is tied into Amazon’s ecosystem and this allows you to rent or buy movies or TV shows, music and audio books from Amazon and watch or listen to them on your Kindle Fire. Barnes & Noble on the other hand does not have a music, video or audio book store so you cannot purchase music, audio books, movies or TV shows from Barnes & Noble and watch them on your Nook Color or Tablet.

If you have questions about any of the information I’ve relayed in this posting feel free to post a comment, call the library and pitch your question over the phone or stop by and pitch your question in person!

And tomorrow I’m going to follow up this posting with one that discusses the different ways you download library e-books to your e-reader or tablet – which varies depending upon which e-reading device you own.

And Also of Note: We have e-reading devices at the library that include e-ink e-readers, e-readers with backlight/color screens and iPads – they are here at the library for patrons to come in and try out – so please let us know if you’d like to come in and take a look at our e-reading devices before you buy one!

Our telephone number here is: 936-3173.

Linda R.

*1 There is one huge exception to the small e-ink e-reader size rule – the Kindle DX which is the only large E-ink reader – it features a 9.7 inch screen (that is the same size as the iPad), has a keyboard and costs $379.

*2 To see apps that are available for the Nook Color and Nook Tablet click on the following link which will take you to the Nook App Store:

And to see apps that are available for the Kindle Fire click on the following link which will take you to the Kindle App Store:

Winston Churchill E-Books – A Slice of History Coming Soon!

Winston Churchill writings are going digital! His collected works, which includes his historical works and the texts of speeches he gave during his years as Prime Minister, will all be published by Rosetta Stone, LLC Publishing.

Churchill, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, was a prolific writer and all of his works, except his “My Early Life,” which is owned by a different publishing company, will be published globally in English by Rosetta Stone. This series of works encompasses forty titles and they are expected to be available in the e-book format next spring. Some of the titles are already available in the U.S. but notably, the books will indeed be published globally in the spring of 2013– and that is a big deal because in the new world of e-books frequently titles are released at different times in different countries instead of being released at the same time for anyone across the globe to buy and read.

Here’s a link to a Wall Street Journal article titled “Churchill’s Writings Headed for E-Books” that offers a more in-depth take on the subject:

And in researching what Churchill e-resources were available I came across a great site that is all about – you guessed it – Winston Churchill! The site is the companion site to The Churchill Centre and Museum at the Churchill War Rooms – located inLondon. And it features a great deal of historical information both about Churchill himself and of course the World War II era; and it  even features a biographical interview with his youngest daughter Lady Mary Soames – for history fans – it is a cool site and definitely worth checking out.

Here’s the link

Linda R.

New & Fun Weekly CNET “Always On” Tech Videocast

CNET has just debut a new 30 minutes weekly videocast with the never shy, and always fun, Molly Wood. It is called “Always On” and has sections titled “Unboxing” which has Molly inviting us to join her and look at new and just out of the box computers, laptops, tablets and tech gadgets in general (this week Molly unboxes the new MacBook Pro); “Torture Testing” which has Molly seeing how tough gadgets really are (she puts an iPad in the freezer in one segment); “How To” which has Molly’s CNET coworker Sharon Vaknin showing you how to do something tech wise or even make a tech gadget (in this first episode she shows how you can make a stylus for your tablet from items you probably have at house); “Future Tech” which highlights up and coming technology and offers a cool glimpse of the future (this week Molly drives a solar powered car) and “Mailbag” which is just what it sounds like – viewers send in their tech questions and Molly answers them.

It is a cool show, check it out!

Here’s a link to the first episode found on CNET’s Youtube channel:

 And another link to a CNET article on the new videocast:

Linda R. 

New iRobot Roomba, Bosch Robot Lawn Mower And Insight On The Introduction Of The New Microsoft Surface Tablet

New iRobot Roomba & Bosch Robot Lawn Mower: Have you ever thought “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if I had a robot to mow my lawn and vacuum my rugs so I can do other things I really want to do”?

Well our technology is heading that way!

New iRobot Roomba: The iRobot Roomba series of vacuum cleaners are 21.5” in circumference and will vacuum your floors for you! The vacuum cleaning robots are controlled via a remote control and the highest end model will allow you to send the robot vacuum instructions, via remote control, from any room in your house. So if it is ten at night and you’re contentedly sipping the drink of your choice and reading that great new mystery while relaxing in your favorite chair; and you just remembered that “Drat, I forgot to vacuum the den and family room!”  —  you can just pick up your Roomba remote and tell your iRobot Roomba to vacuum the rooms for you!

Here’s a link to a PC Magazine website article titled “iRobot’s Roomba Vacuum Goes Wireless” that offers a look at the brand new iRobot Roomba:,2817,2406002,00.asp

Bosch Robot Lawn Mower: And on the lawn mowing front Bosch has just introduced a re-chargeable robot lawn mower that will indeed mow your lawn for you while helpfully avoiding mowing over plants and lawn ornaments! The robot is called the Indego and runs for 20 minutes on a charge. It has to be charged for 90 minutes in between mowings but still…. imagine being able to sit in the sun in a hammock and read a great book, go out to a party or go hiking in Watkins Glen State Park and leave the lawn mowing at home to your vary capable Bosch lawn mowing assistant.

Here’s a link to a CNET article titled “Bosch Robot Lawn Mower Gives You More Hammock Time” that introduces this new type of lawn mower:

More On The Surface Tablet: And on another tech note related to the introduction of the new Microsoft Surface Tablet, The New York Times Bits blog offers an insightful article titled “Microsoft’s Not Competing With the iPad — Not Entirely” which discusses the hole that Microsoft may be trying to fill in the tablet market with its new Surface tablet –what one might call the productivity hole. To be more precise the iPad, which is the tablet that more than ninety percent of tablet buyers buy – isn’t really a great productivity device. Yes, you can download the Microsoft Pages, Numbers and Keynote Apps and create letters, slideshows etc. and even buy a keyboard to use with it; however, the device doesn’t come with a physical keyboard or stand and doesn’t have a USB input and those are two major drawbacks for anyone who wants to do work on a tablet. The Surface on the other hand comes with a keyboard and stand and has a USB input so you’ll be able to easily create documents Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Publisher and then easily save them to a flash drive to access later via another computer.

So just perhaps Microsoft’s intent in introducing The Surface is to go for the productivity side of the market and create a tablet that can easily be transformed into a lap top via the accessories that come with it – so students, business professionals and others will be able to create and easily export papers and projects. The iPad, which is a really, really great tablet – really isn’t made to do work of that sort. Instead, the iPad is an excellent personal media consuming (movies, TV shows music & e-books), web surfing and email reading device but not so hot at creating papers and projects and exporting them.

And here is a link to that Bits article:

Linda R. 

Microsoft Introduces Surface Tablet

Microsoft did indeed introduce a new tablet late this afternoon, or early this evening if you’re on the east coast.

The new tablet, called Surface, will have a 10.6” screen, weight 1.5 pounds, feature an HD display, will have a built in kick stand so you can prop the tablet up without having to buy a stand or stand up case. The tablet will additionally come with and allow you to use a stylus to write and will feature a full sized keyboard that is built into its cover.

Microsoft did not release a price for the tablet or a release date; however, later this year is a safe bet as the tablet will come in two versions both of which will be running versions of Windows 8. And Windows 8 is scheduled for a fall 2012 release.

Here’s a link to a CNET review of the new tablet:

And here’s a link to the Microsoft website where they already have gallery up that shows off the Surface tablet:

 Have a great evening!

Linda R.