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Thin Interactive Displays Are Coming!

Imagine a world in which very thin interactive displays can be placed on almost any flat surface you can think of; on backpacks, coffee mugs, on kitchen counters, bathroom mirrors, car dash boards, kitchen cabinets or bedroom closet doors as well as any flat surface in your office.

In this new interactive display world you’ll be able to read an instant text message from a co-worker, that appears on your bathroom mirror while you’re brushing your hair, and will be able to instantly respond yes or no to your available to attend a business meeting that day with a new start time, talk to your mother on your very thin cell phone or via a video display on your kitchen counter as well as via the large HD 3-D wall size television display in your living room, read the news on your coffee mug and where you can pick up directions in a new town simply by waving your cell phone in front of a map display of the town you’re visiting.

That new display world is coming! Speculation is that it will arrive sometime in the next ten years as display glass and plastics get thinner. A recent USA Today article, titled “Flexible displays bend what’s possible for computers,” discusses this new thin display technology and Corning Inc. even has two super cool videos posted on the YouTube website that show how this new display glass will revolutionize the way we live. The Corning Inc. videos are called “A Day Made of Glass” and “A Day Made of Glass 2.”

The USA Today article is found at the following link:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-04-05/flexible-displays-computing-screens/54064128/1

 

The first A Day Made of Glass video clip is found as this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38

 

And the second Corning Inc. video, A Day Made of Glass 2, is found at this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZkHpNnXLB0

 

And I’ve just discovered Corning put out a new video on Gorilla Glass just last week which shows another glimpse into the near display future. It is found at the following link

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

 

Linda R.

 

Self Published YA Authors, Google Virtual Reality Glasses & E-Books Again!

Self-Published Young Adult Authors: First a little background info! Prior to the advent of the E-Book era if a writer wanted to publish a book he or she had to either personally foot the rather expensive bill to have a small number of copies of the book printed and then be responsible for distributing those copies – that is the writer was personally responsible for selling the books; or, the writer had to convince a publisher that his or her book deserved to be published and would sell and then the publisher, once convinced, would be responsible for the manufacture and selling of the book.

The pre-E-Book era publishing process was to say the least a time consuming and challenging one and a process that not every author could manage to partake of – if you couldn’t get a publisher to agree to sell your book and you couldn’t afford to self publish the book than you simply wouldn’t get your book published no matter how well written that book might be.  Today all of that is changing, because the E-Book format and the Internet when combined translate to writers being able to very inexpensively publish their work in the E-Book format and then easily sell their E-Book through online E-Booksellers like Amazon. This new process has several benefits! It is relatively inexpensive, meaning that almost anyone can afford to self publish their book as an E-Book and once published the E-Books is available for sale online so the E-Book may be seen and purchased by millions of people across the globe. So in essence the author’s work is accessible to more people than ever before. And several authors like Amanda Hocking and the non-philosopher author John Locke have made millions of dollars by self-publishing their E-Books. Sometimes the E-Books are so popular and sell so well that after they’ve been self-published as E-Books they are picked up by a large publisher to be sold as printed books. This was the case with Amanda Hocking and is currently the case with the British author E.L. James whose “Fifty Shades” trilogy of books is so popular that all three titles are in the top five of the New York Times Bestsellers list!

With that background in mind, there is a new group of self-published authors emerging – young adult self-published authors. And by “young adult” I don’t mean authors who write books for young adults, although most of the E-Books in question are intended for that audience, I mean E-Books actually written and self published by young adults! Granted, usually the young adults need a little help from their parents in coming up with money to self publish their works; however, the cost can be relatively minimal even less than $500. And this growing group of creative authors includes a number of young writers profiled in a recent New York Times article, titled “Young Writer’s Dazzle Publisher (Mom & Dad).” Those writers include: twelve year old Ajla Dizdarevic who has published two books of poetry, 14-year-old Ben Heckman who has published two books about a fictional rock band named “Black Velvet;” high school student Elizabeth Hinges whose first novel “The Last Dove” has recently been published by Xlibris, middle school student Camille Mancuso whose first book, titled “Through the Eyes of Eak,” has been recently been published and 15-year-old Mac Bowers whose first book “Running Scared” was also just published.  You can search for all of those young authors on Amazon and find their books for sale. And that just goes to show one of the major benefits to being able to self publish E-Books — that anyone can write a book and get it published today and if people like the work, and say so via word of online mouth, than that E-Book can sell well thus getting the authors works out into the hands of E-Readers across the globe.

The New York Times article that chronicles the young adult authors mentioned can be found at the following link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/young-writers-find-a-devoted-publisher-thanks-mom-and-dad.html

And Amazon’s Self Publishing Page can be found at this link:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin

Google VA Glasses: I’ve mentioned the Google Augmented Reality Glasses in this blog before. And they are cool! This is upcoming cutting edge technology that will change how we live. And Google has very helpfully come out with a video that shows you how these eye-glasses will work! The glasses can overlay information about locality you are currently in and receive messages, both audio and video, from other people connected to the Internet. So if you’re lost you could ask for a map, if you’re running late you can send a hand free message to a co-worker letting them know you’ll be late, if you’d like to take a hands free picture of something you see you can and you can even show other people you contact what you are looking at – like a beautiful sunset. So you might say I’m just a little enthusiastic about the possibilities these glasses will provide!

Here’s the link which offers the video and an accompanying CNET article, titled “Google: Yep, we’re testing augmented-reality glasses:”

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57409331-76/google-yep-were-testing-augmented-reality-glasses/?tag=mncol;txt

PEW Research Center E-Book Report: And on the E-Book front there is a new PEW Research Center report on the growing popularity of reading of E-Books. PEW is reputable research organization if you’re not familiar with it, and the report is interesting for a number of reasons but my favorite reason is one that I personally aware of! And that is the fact that if you own an E-Reader or E-Reading device like a smart phone, iPad or Motorola Xoom you tend to read more books simply because you can access and download a new E-Book in a matter of seconds. So if you just read a great New York Times book review or heard a glowing NPR review of a new book you can be reading that book within seconds via an E-Reading device like a Kindle, Nook or iPad! And that is not to mention the great gift of being able to make every E-Book a large print book! No more squinting at the text on the page to read it! Make that font size 18 please!  I love that aspect of E-Reading!

Here’s a link to the PEW report titled “The Rise of E-Reading”:

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2236/ebook-reading-print-books-tablets-ereaders

Have a great weekend everyone!

Linda R.

NPR Podcasts With A Touch of Classic Rock!

Have you ever been gotten in your car and turned on your radio only to catch the end of a really fascinating radio show? If so then you may want to check out a number of neat podcasts that are available for online for free. And if you’re wondering what on Earth is a podcast? The answer to that is that a podcast is a recorded radio program that you can access from the Internet and even subscribe to via your portable Wi-Fi device or computer so you never miss a show!

There are many podcasts available online and through apps stores including the following great free NPR podcasts which are updated weekly:

NPR Books Podcast: Check out this podcast to find out about new and upcoming book releases:

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=89697155

 

NPR Car Talk Podcast: Check out this podcast for the humor of the hosts and to learn more about how to fix cars or determine what is wrong with a car:

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=9911203

 

NPR Music Podcast: This podcast showcases critically acclaimed music from artists of all kinds including some of the best musicians in the jazz, country, rock, classical and popular music genres:

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=4819384

 

NPR Planet Money Podcast: This podcasts features stories relating to economics, politics and current events:

http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=127413729

 

NPR Popular Culture Podcast: NPR notes that this podcast offers:  “Perspectives on the cultural landscape: stories, interviews and reviews from Morning Edition, All Things Considered and other award-winning NPR programs:” It is always an interesting listen!

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=4985904

 

NPR Technology Podcast: Listen to this podcast to keep up on what is new and exciting in the tech world:

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=4819382

 

NPR Science Friday Podcast: This Friday favorite focuses on science stories of all kinds:

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=13994790

 

And on a non-NPR podcast note if you are a classic rock fan you should check out the fun Roots Rock Radio podcasts produced weekly by Richard Taylor and found at  http://rrradio.com/ — You are guaranteed a fun time and there is not a synthesizer or drum machine in sight (or sound)!

And if you are a music fan and have a smart phone or tablet NPR even has a music app titled NPR Music – it can be found in Apple’s iTunes store so if you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch you can download the app and listen to a smorgasbord of music of many genres.

 

And on a final note, if you do own an Apple device you can always the music store (iTunes) and simply search for “NPR” and you’ll find a whole host of free NPR podcasts to listen to!

 

Linda R.

E-Book Anti-Trust Settlement Coming & E-Book Sales On The Rise

Justice Department vs. Apple & Publishers Settlement Coming:

As previously mentioned in blog discussions, the U.S. Justice Department has been looking into what they’ve described as “a collusion” between Apple and five of the largest publishers in the U.S. – Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan and HarperCollins. The bone of contention is that Apple and the publishers made an agreement to raise and keep the price of E-Books higher across the board by adopting an “Agency Model” which allows publishers to set the price of the E-Books they are selling through distributors. This model also bars distributors (bookstores) from charging customers anything other than the publisher list price for E-Books. This model is in contrast to the print wholesale model which allows publishers to set a list price for books but also allows booksellers the flexibility to discount titles and consumers to purchase books that are on sale. It appears that a settlement is being hammered out between the Justice Department and the six companies, Apple and the previously mentioned five publishers, which will abolish the part of the Agency Model that currently makes it possible for publishers to require booksellers to sell E-Books at the list price in a take-it-or-leave-it manner.

Here are links to two articles on this subject:

The first article is from Reuters and is titled E-Books Settlement Talks Advancing:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/30/us-apple-publishers-ebooks-idUSBRE82T19620120330

And the second is from the Huffington Post and is titled Justice Department eBook Lawsuit Against Apple, Publishers Advances Toward Settlement:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/31/e-books-settlement-apple-justice-department_n_1392501.html

 

E-Book Sales on the Rise:

On another E-Book note, sales of E-Books are furiously on the rise! For January 2012 the sales of adult reading level E-Books grew at a rate of 49.4% rate over January of the year before; and the sales of children’s and young adult E-Books were up 475% for that same period!

Here’s a link to a report on the subject from the Association of American Publishers:

http://www.publishers.org/press/62/

Linda R.

 

 

 

 

 

April Fools Map Fun Courtesy of Google

If you’re in the mood for a humorous cyber trip today head on over to Google, click on the Maps link at the top of the Google homepage and then click on the Quest box located near the top right hand corner of the screen. You’ll then be treated to a word view that is very reminiscent of console style arcade games – particularly Nintendo. So if you too spent hours playing arcade games back in the day you might enjoy playing with Google’s April Fools’ Day interactive arcade map!

And here’s a direct link to the Google Maps page:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

Enjoy your Sunday!

Linda R.

 

Voting by Paper or by Hand May Be A Thing of the Past!

Anyone who has ever attended a conference, lecture, meeting or class that required a show of hands for voting purposes knows how long, in capital letters LONG; it can take to vote on a series of topics or even vote on candidates to elect a new officer for a group.

And that process can of course, even turn out to be a longer one still if everyone attending a meeting has to fill out a succession of paper forms to express their opinion on a subject – one certainly wants to have plenty of coffee on hand for people participating in a paper ballot process!

And as it turns out the sometimes extremely long and drawn out process of voting by hand or by paper may be a thing of the past! Now there is a faster way to gather people’s opinions while meeting in a large group. There is a device called a “Clicker” that looks like a small TV remote and allows group participants to quickly express their opinion in answer to a question, or even to select a candidate to vote for by wirelessly sending their responses to a computer. Clickers are being used in schools, churches and by many different groups at many meetings and conferences held across the country today.

And the New York Times has a neat article, titled Speak Up? Raise Your Hand? That May No Longer Be Necessary, on the subject of Clickers that gives an even more detailed account about their increasing usage in American life.

Here’s the link to the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/us/clickers-offer-instant-interactions-in-more-venues.html?_r=1&ref=technology

Enjoy your rainy spring Saturday everyone!

Linda R.

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter E-Books And E-Audios Finally Available And Are DRM Free!

Yesterday the Harry Potter series made its digital debut. J.K. Rowling actually had a much better crystal ball than Professor Trelawney.  She had the foresight back in the 90’s to keep the digital rights to the Harry Potter series. So essentially J.K. Rowling is self-publishing the Harry Potter E-Books and E-Audios through her Pottermore website – and thus she has both the responsibility for publishing the E-Books and gets to keep all the profits from the sale of the E-Books!

You can purchase Harry Potter E-Books for most E-Readers and tablets including the iPad, all versions of the Kindle and all versions of the Nook.

The first three Harry Potter E-Books cost $7.99 and the last four cost $9.99 or you can purchase the entire E-Book Collection for $57.54.

And the E-Audios are similarly priced; the first three E-Audios cost $29.95, the last four E-Audios cost $44.95, and the entire E-Audio collection can be purchased for $242.94.

And on a related note, all the e-versions of the Harry Potter works are available DRM free! And for those of you who may not be familiar with DRM (also called Digital Rights Management) it is the restrictive software built into digital content that makes it difficult for an E-Book purchaser to access E-Books and/or transfer E-Books to e-devices (other than the device the E-Book was purchased for initially*). For those of you who have dedicated E-Readers other than Kindles and have checked out E-Books through the Library’s Digital Catalog – you know just what I mean! The DRM software, which publishers are responsible for incorporating into the make up of E-Books as an anti-e-piracy tool, is what makes checking out free Library E-Books a somewhat cumbersome multi-step process. J.K. Rowling has thankfully decided to ditch the DRM process and instead go with what is known as the Watermark process. Watermarking E-Books and E-Audios will show when and where the E-Books/E-Audios were purchased but without locking those E-Books or E-Audios down – the Pottermore site well sums up the Watermarking process by very civilly noting: “The Pottermore Shop personalises eBooks with a combination of watermarking techniques that relate to the book, to the purchaser and the purchase time. This allows us to track and respond to possible copyright misuse.”  Thus the Harry Potter E-Books will be easy to use and access. And as soon as I go through the process of purchasing one of the Potter E-Books I’ll have an update as to how easy the process is!

Additionally of note, you can purchase the Harry Potter E-Books and E-Audios through the Amazon or Barnes & Noble sites (you’ll be re-directed to the Pottermore site) or, you can simply go to the Pottermore site found at:

http://www.pottermore.com/

Linda R.

*For example, my first E-Reader was a Sony Reader and I purchased all of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books available at the time for my Sony Reader. Since then I’ve moved on to reading E-Books on my iPad and sometimes on my Kindle; however, I cannot move the E-Books I bought for my Sony Reader onto my iPad or Kindle because they are locked down, by the DRM software, so that they can only be read on my Sony Reader. So essentially, I have to either read the early adventures of Harry Dresden on a 6” e-ink screen or re-purchase the E-Books so I can read them on my iPad or Kindle.

And here is a link to a neat article titled “What Book Publishers Should Learn from Harry Potter” that gives a more                    in-depth explanation about why DRM is undesirable!

http://gigaom.com/2012/03/27/what-book-publishers-should-learn-from-harry-potter/