Kindle App Upgrade, Amazon Prime Versus Netflix, Californian Legislature Approves Self Driving Cars & New Kindle Fire To Be Introduced Next Week

Kindle App Upgrade : Amazon has updated its Kindle App for iOS (aka Apple) mobile devices. The new features include advanced highlighting, a new brightness control and the ability to change the backlight background from the usual white backlighting to sepia (a shade of beige) or black (with white letters).

CNET offers an in-depth article on the subject today titled Kindle ios app is now easier on the eyes and can be accessed via the following link:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57503398-93/kindle-ios-app-is-now-easier-on-the-eyes/

Amazon Prime Versus Netflix: Head New York Times tech guru David Pogue offers a comparison of video streaming via Netflix or Amazon. In essence, Pogue notes that both services offer unlimited streaming of video content from their streaming video libraries, Netflix for $7.99 a month and Amazon for $79.99 per year, and that the bulk of their titles which do number in the thousands are several years old. What Pogue doesn’t mention something is this video streamer knows well and that is that with Netflix what they have in their streaming video catalog is what they have – there is nothing else you can access. In contrast, Amazon offers streaming video fans the option to purchase and/or rent new movies and new TV episodes so if there is a new episode of Mad Men or Downton Abbey you can see that episode within 24 hours of its TV broadcast by purchasing it.

The New York Times article is titled Potluck for the Eyeballs: Amazon’s Streaming Service. Here’s the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/technology/personaltech/amazons-streaming-movie-service-offers-its-own-potluck-state-of-the-art.html?_r=1&ref=technology

Californian Legislature Approves Self Driving Cars: You may have heard that Google has developed a self driving car also known as an “autonomous car.” The car drives by an advanced computer system and additional high tech bells and whistles that allow the car to know where it is and sense where other vehicles or obstacles in the road are and is much safer in theory than human driven car because it has the proverbial eyes in the back of its head (and on all sides too!). Google has been testing its self driving cars for quite a while, with actual non-driving-the-car humans in the car, in California and Nevada and the California Legislature has just approved a law that will if approved by the governor allow these cars to operate sans humans on California roads. The Ars Technica article is titled Robot cars on public roads? California says yes and can be accessed via the following link:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/robot-cars-on-public-roads-california-says-yes/

And here’s a link to a related Forbes article that discusses how some of the self-driving car options are already being built into cars today. For example, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL sport-utility vehicle has an built in scanning device that will stop the car of the car’s computer system sense the driver is about to back into an object. Here’s the link to the article titled Cars That Can Drive Themselves Are Still A Ways Off; Cars That Can Stop Themselves Are Already On Sale:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimhenry/2012/08/30/cars-that-can-drive-themselves-are-still-a-ways-off-cars-that-can-stop-themselves-are-already-on-sale/

And another related article from 360 Yale titled Self-Driving Cars: Coming Soon to a Highway Near You which is cool because it offers a few practical illustrations of how self-driving car technology would benefit one and all:

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/self-driving_cars_coming_soon_to_a_highway_near_you/2554/

New Kindle Fire To Be Introduced Next Week: Amazon has completely sold out of its popular Kindle Fire tablets. This is usual in the tech world – that is to sell through the old model before the new model of a tech item is released. And next week Amazon is holding a press event to introduce new products which will most assuredly include a new and improve (and possible larger) Kindle Fire.

Here’s a link to a Washington Post article on the subject, with a super long title! Titled Fire’s gone out: Amazon says Kindle Fire is sold out, as announcement of new model expected:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/fires-gone-out-amazon-says-kindle-fire-is-sold-out-has-mystery-event-next-week/2012/08/30/f65afc66-f2a7-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_story.html

And on a final tech note — the library will be closed tomorrow for cleaning and staff development. We’ll be open our usual hours on Saturday, closed on Monday, September 3 for the Labor Day holiday and will re-open at 9 AM on Thursday.

And on another hours note — our fall/winter/spring hours start September 9, 2012 and they are:

Monday 10-6 pm
Tuesday 10-8 pm
Wednesday 10-6 pm
Thursday 10-8 pm
Friday 10-6 pm
Saturday 10-4 pm
Sunday 11-4 pm

Linda R.

The WSJ Reports On Apple’s iPad Mini, OLED TV Update & The C-1 A New Kind Of Car

The WSJ Reports On Apple’s New  iPad Mini: The Wall Street Journal and CNET have both reported that Apple will be introducing a smaller iPad named the iPad Mini prior to the holiday shopping season. Both reports also indicate that Apple will introduce the new iPhone and a refresh to its iPod series of music players at its September 12 press event and will hold a separate launch event for the new iPad Mini in October. The price of the new iPad Mini has not yet been released; nor in fact, has any official information about the device from Apple. However, it is reasonable to expect that the 7-8” tablet will be priced somewhere in the $200-$300 range – it will have to be to effectively compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Google’s Nexus 7 and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet all of which are priced between $179 and $199. So if you’re toying with the idea of purchasing a tablet for yourself or as a gift this fall – you may want to wait until October!

Here’s a link to the WJS All Things D article, titled Confirmed: New iPad Mini to Debut in October, After Latest Apple iPhone’s September Bow, on the subject:

http://allthingsd.com/20120825/confirmed-new-ipad-mini-will-debut-in-october-after-latest-iphones-september-bow/

And a link to the CNET article, titled Apple’s 7-inch tablet will be named iPad Mini, says report:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57500724-37/apples-7-inch-tablet-will-be-named-ipad-mini-says-report/

OLED TV Update: CNET also offers a new article that updates news on the cutting edge TV technology known as OLED. OLED is an acronym for “Organic light-emitting diode” and tech reviewers that have seen these new TVs, which were showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show back in January, have said these TVs offer the clearest most vibrant picture that they have ever seen on a TV. And the CNET article, titled OLED, What We Know, really answers the question of why these new TVs will offer out of this world pictures it can be accessed at the following link:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57495108-221/oled-what-we-know/

The C-1 A New Kind Of Car: Lit Motors has introduced, and is taking reservations for, a new kind of car called the C-1. The company describes the car as “the world’s first gyroscopically-stabilized “rolling smart phone;”” and further notes that this car “combines the efficiency and freedom of a motorcycle with the safety and convenience of a car. Offering the “alternative to alternatives” on an exciting and safe platform, the C-1 transforms your daily commute into something to look forward to.” CNET’s Editor at Large Brian Cooley offers a video overview of how the car works with assistance from Lit Motors staff in a CNET Conversations video cast. I watched the video last night and the car is small, electric, toted as being very efficient to run, reasonably priced and very science fictionish in looks so if you like technology and cars you should check out the video found at the following link:

http://cnettv.cnet.com/tech-shows/

And if you’d like to reserve your very own C-1 – here’s a link to the Lit Motors website:

http://litmotors.com/home/

Linda R. 

What the Library Has to Offer Tech Wise

This posting is a bit different from my usual postings that relay and comment on tech news. Instead of discussing what is new in the tech world I thought today I’d discuss what type of tech related items you can access or check out at our library. And you may know about some of these items and services but I’d be surprised if anyone reading this knows about every item on the list!

And here’s a list of many of tech related items and services you can obtain via the Southeast Steuben County Library.

Access free Wi-Fi – bring in your tablet, laptop or other internet connecting device and surf the web!

Free assistance with tech usage questions – if you just bought a new PC, Mac, e-reader, iPad or other tech device and have questions about how to use it – come to the library  and let our tech staff show  you the tech ropes. You can even make an appointment for a one-one-one tech session to sit down with a tech staff member and go over your questions in a leisurely manner.

Free tech programs and workshops – we have an ongoing series of tech workshops and programs that will offer you free instruction on a variety of topics including: how to use Excel, how to use your digital camera, how to edit photos, how to use a computer (the basics), where to find cooking apps and/or websites etc.

E-Books – E-Books may be read on e-readers, smart phones, tablets, PCs, Macs and other devices and are available through the STLS Digital Catalog found on the Library’s homepage at SSCLIBRARY.ORG

Circulating E-Readers – with three pre-loaded e-books a piece – want to read the Shades of Gray or Hunger Games trilogy or the new James Patterson book in e-book form and don’t own an e-reader…Check out one of ours today!

Downloadable audio books – also available through the STLS Digital Catalog and downloadable to a variety of devices including PCs and tablets so if you need a new audio book to listen to on a Sunday evening check out a downloadable audio book.
Downloadable videos and music – again these are available through the STLS Digital Catalog which may be accessed via our homepage found at SSCLIBRARY.ORG – we have only just started adding videos and music to the catalog so please peruse the titles and let us know what you think! (Note: the videos and music will play on only a  handful of portable devices but can be watched or listened to on a PC.

Free Databases: Just go to the Library’s homepage and click on the Reference Link and then the Subscription Services Link and you’ll be able to access a number of databases that we pay for but you don’t! And you will need your library card to access the databases which include:

Heritage Quest – to assist with your genealogical searches

Chilton Library – to assist you if you need to repair a car

Business & Company Resource Center – to assist you in finding basic information about a business including items like how much the company makes in a year and where the company’s corporate offices are located etc.

Health Reference Center – to assist you in searching for information on all things medical

Audiobookcloud.com – this is a streaming service for audio books so unlike the audio books available through the STLS Digital Catalog you stream the audio books found via this link from the cloud

Literature Resource Center & Twayne Author Databases – to find information on literature and/or authors

NOVEL List – this one is a neat reader’s advisory site – for example, if you like books by Stephen King, John Grisham or Danielle Steel you ‘ll be able to search for similar authors. And likewise if you like a specific title you’ll be able to search for other books in that same vein.

EBSCO Animals – this one is made great use of by students who can learn about various animals for their elementary or middle school projects

And for adults searching for credible information on a variety of sources for personal or high school/college research:

ART MUSEUM IMAGE GALLERY – a digital archive of visual works of art

OMNIFILE FULL TEXT SELECT (H.W. Wilson) – for full text scholarly journals

INFOTRAC NEWSSTAND  – this one has Full-text newspaper database

NATIONAL NEWSPAPER INDEX and this one offers access to indexed articles from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times

NY STATE NEWSPAPERS – this database allows you to search for stories and articles that have appeared in New York State newspapers

ACADEMIC OneFile this database offers peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world’s leading journals and reference sources, from Gale and NOVEL

GENERAL OneFile  – a one-stop source for full text news and periodical articles on a wide range of topics. Updated daily, from Gale and NOVEL

FUNK & WAGNALLS NEW WORLD ENCYCLOPEDIA – A wide variety of reliable source material

GROLIER ONLINE  – Encyclopedias & encyclopedic multimedia resources for students of all ages, with AP news feed

And

OCLC FIRST SEARCH Database of library collections from around the world, an STLS* member library subscription resource

We have all those tech related items and services and more! If you have any questions about this list please let me know. You can post a comment on the blog or send me an email!

Have a great day!

Linda R.

REIMERL@STLS.ORG

3 D Video Sans Glasses, Amazon Prime Instant Video Increases Its Library Holdings & Microsoft Drops The Price Of Its Xbox Kinect

3D Video Sans Glasses: The tech site Mashable offers a brief article and video today that show how 3-D technology is evolving and it illustrates the point that in the near future we won’t have to wear those goofy looking plastic glasses to watch 3-D videos!

Here’s the link

http://mashable.com/2012/08/22/3-d-movies/

Amazon Prime Instant Video Increases Its Library Holdings:  Amazon has entered into a licensing agreement with NBC Universal to offer its Prime video subscribers access to many NBC/Universal TV shows including Battlestar Galactica, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights and Heroes.

Amazon Prime costs $79 per year and offers unlimited viewing of Prime videos accessed via computers, smart phones, tablets and media streaming players. In addition to video streaming, Prime members can read one free e-book per month from Amazon’s Prime Library, receive free second day delivery of items and reduced overnight shipping fees for most items. For example, shipping for books and DVDs usually cost $3.99 for overnight delivery for Prime members.

Here’s a link to a PC Magazine article on the subject:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2408883,00.asp

Microsoft Drops The Price Of Its Xbox Kinect: Kinect is a motion controlled sensor that allows Xbox gamers to play games via physical motions instead of by using a hand held controller. You simply raise your hand or place a kick in real life in front of the sensor and your character on screen does the same! And Microsoft has just dropped the list price of this great gaming add-on from $149 to $110.

Here’s a link to a USA today article on the subject:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters/post/2012/08/22/microsoft-price-drop-kinect/100000000001828/1

Have a great weekend everyone!

Linda R.

Microsoft Has A New Logo, Amazon To Unveil New Kindles & Possibly A New Video Streaming Box

Microsoft Has A New Logo: Microsoft has unveiled a new logo to replace the old one and it isn’t hard to see why. The old Windows flag logo has been the Start Menu symbol for Windows 7 and Windows Vista computers and could previously have been seen on the Start Menu of Windows XP PCs and since Microsoft is doing away with Start Menu for Windows 8* it does seem that the time is right for Microsoft to adopt a new logo!

Here’s a link to a Reuters article on the subject:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/23/us-microsoft-logo-idUSBRE87M0MO20120823

And a link to a colorful Microsoft Youtube video that shows off the new logo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzkZWvAJUr0

Amazon To Unveil New Kindles & Possible A New Video Streaming Box: Amazon has announced it will hold a press event on September 6 and the tech news mill is a-buzz with speculation that the new Kindles including a 10” Kindle Fire tablet may be unveiled at the event and possibly that Amazon may introduce a media streaming player to compete with the Roku player and Apple’s Apple TV.

And I must say the date of the press event is interesting to note as Apple has scheduled a press event for September 12 when it is expected to unveil the iPhone 5, possibly an iPad Mini and a new Apple TV device; so obviously Amazon wants to get its new products out in front of the public before Apple does! September is likely to be an interesting month for tech fans!

Here’s a link to a CNET article on the subject titled Amazon set to introduce new Kindles at September 6 event:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33198_7-57499257-286/amazon-set-to-introduce-new-kindles-at-september-6-event/

Linda R.

*Windows 8 is coming to a store near you on October 26, 2012.

Suggested Music Apps For Kids, Amazon Kindle Available In India & The World’s Largest Ultra TV

I have to start out by admitting that there was some really cool tech related story that I came across in the last 24 hours and wanted to share that I can’t find. I can’t quite remember what it was about! Those of you who are under a certain age may scratch your heads in wonder at that comment; however, I’m willing to bet that most people over a certain age have had that same experience too and know just what I mean! It is one of those things that is along the same lines as: “Where did I put my car keys?” and/or “Where on earth did I leave my reading glasses?” And if I remember later today what it was that I thought was a cool story I’ll do another blog posting and share it! In the meantime I came across a cool story from the New York Times that discusses music apps for children, several stories that relay the news that Amazon has finally opened a Kindle Store for India and correspondingly is offering its entry level Kindle for sale in India and that the electronics maker LE has just come out with what it describes as the “worlds biggest ultra definition television.”

Suggested Music Apps For Kids: The Times article that suggests several apps for kids is titled The Young Person’s Guide to the (Smartphone) Orchestra. The article mentions several apps that are instructional and fun for kids to use if your goal is for them to learn more about music. The apps include: Garage Band ($4.99), Music Sparkles (ios; Free), Keys Kids Play ($1.00), Go Go Xylo (ios; Free), Meet The Orchestra ($2.00), Kids Musical Challenges (Free) and Kids Piano Lite (Free and a “heavy” version is available for $2.49). The only one of these apps I’ve used myself is Apple’s Garage Band and I’ll admit that it is cool although it probably wouldn’t be the best app for young children to use to learn about music. However, for older kids and adults – Garage Band is great! You can create and record songs by using a variety of keyboards, basses/bass guitars, drums and guitars. The instruments display on the screen and you tap the strings, keys or drum pads to create sound. And you can change the style of your instrument too so if you want an acoustic guitar you can pick that over an electric guitar or you can pick a light bright sounding electric guitar to compose a country type song or a heavier electric guitar with effects if you’re in the mood to create a song that sound something like Steppenwolf. Now granted, I don’t have any kids so I’m not up on the popular musicians that kids like today and Steppenwolf might not be their proverbial cup of tea but they could certainly have a blast using the app to create songs!

Here’s the link to the New York Times article on the subject: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/technology/personaltech/go-go-xylo-meet-the-orchestra-and-other-music-apps-for-children.html?ref=technology

Amazon Kindle Available In India: The Amazon Kindle e-reader is now on sale in India for 6,999 INR (about $126 American dollars). And the accompanying Kindle India Store has also opened with more than one million titles all for sale in Indian Rupees (INR). The Kindle Store has also opened with its Kindle Direct Publishing service – that is the service that allows aspiring writers to quickly, easily and cheaply electronically publish their works via the Kindle Store. Thus all self published books in the Kindle Store will appear in the India Kindle store including titles originally self-published from other parts of the globe – so that is exciting as it shows how we can increasingly communicate with other people across the globe – in this case of course new writers will be able to get their works out to an even larger audience than ever before!

One of many articles on the Amazon Kindle and Kindle Store opening in India is from CNET and is simply titled Amazon Launches India Kindle Store and it can be accessed via the following link:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33198_7-57497924-286/amazon-launches-india-kindle-store/

The World’s Largest Ultra TV: Electronics maker LG has just issued what it is calling “The Worlds’ Largest Ultra TV.” It is an 84” Cinema Quality TV that costs a whopping $22, 010! And although the picture quality is supposed to be superb it is not actually the largest TV for sale commercially in the world at the moment; that honor currently goes to Sharp which has a 90” TV for sale.

Can you imagine owning an 84” TV?

I’d have to get a bigger living room!

And of course I haven’t seen one of these TVs myself as I don’t have $22,010 worth of pocket change on hand to buy one! However, I have no doubt that the prices of these TVs will eventually drop as the technology advances and eventually we’ll all have TVs in our living room like the wall size one seen at the end of Corning Inc’s A Day Made of Glass video which makes even an 84” TV look small.

Here’s the link to the BBC article regarding that new 84” LG TV:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19344834

And for those who haven’t seen it, here’s a link to the Corning Inc. video A Day Made of Glass from their YouTube page:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38

 

Linda R.

High Tech Wrist Watches & Skype Updates iPad & iPhone Apps

High Tech Wrist Watches: I know there are many people out there that don’t wear a wrist watch anymore because they are used to having the time display on their cell phones, tablets or computers. However, wrist watch technology is advancing and today you can buy a wrist watch with a very narrow wrist band and a digital display. And you can even buy a smart watch, like Sony’s SmartWatch series of wrist watches, which will communicate with your phone and the Internet. So if you haven’t purchased a new watch in a while you may want to check out a New York Times Bits Blog article titled Disruptions: The Next Wave for the Wristwatch which offers an even more in-depth discussion of the new high tech wrist watches. You might even check it out with an eye towards gift giving for the holiday season as the summer seems to be flying right by!

Here’s the link to the article:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/disruptions-the-next-wave-for-the-wristwatch/?ref=technology

Skype Updates iPad & iPhone Apps: USA Today reports that Skype has updated its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch apps to include a new photo sharing feature, increasing the speed at which the app works and include a fix that should cut down on the amount of battery power Skype users need to make video calls from their iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. The updates will no doubt improve performance of the Skype app for the new iPhone which is scheduled to be unveiled September 12.

Here’s a link to the USA Today tech update on the Apple Skype apps:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-08-21/skype-ios-update/57189888/1

Have a great afternoon!

Linda R.