Non-Fiction DVD Recommendations 9 9 17

Hi everyone, here are our recommended non-fiction DVDs for this week!

(Click on the photos to request the DVDs)

Yoga for Everyone Stamina

Description: Certified instructor description: Through this energizing yoga session you will …• Build strength, stamina, and determination• Increase balance, coordination, and concentration• Lengthen, firm, and sculpt your muscles• Energize your entire body and relieve stress

Dewey Decimal Number: DVD 613.7046 WAI

Yoga for Everyone Stamina Trailer:

The Everyday Guide to Wine


Description: Wine has been a part of human civilization for thousands of years, since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians. It’s been used as a communal beverage, a sign of power and prestige, and even as a religious symbol. Studies show that wine also can have a positive effect on your well-being; when enjoyed in moderation, wine may offer benefits for cardiovascular health, longevity, stress reduction, and more. Further, every time you open a bottle of wine, you embark on a journey through a wonderful world of sensations. For all its pleasurable qualities, though, wine can be bewildering in its mystery and complexity. Unlocking the secrets of wine – its varieties, the ways it’s made, the techniques of tasting and shopping for it – is the key to heightening your appreciation of this intense and rewarding experience. Whether you’re a novice looking to master the basics, an enthusiast who tours vineyards, or somewhere in between, there’s no better way to learn about wine than from a wine expert – someone who has an authoritative knowledge of wine in all its glorious breadth and depth. Now, The Everyday Guide to Wine brings this rare opportunity right into your home with 24 engaging lectures delivered by acclaimed Master of Wine Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, one of only 26 Americans to hold this coveted title. In her interactive and accessible course she gives you all the knowledge and tips you need to build your understanding and improve your ability to try, buy, talk about, and – most of all – enjoy the world of wine.

Dewey Decimal Number: DVD 641.22 EVE

The Everyday Guide to Wine Trailer: 

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon and legendary recording artist, Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius and tortured melancholy. In this epic documentary, director Liz Garbus interweaves never-before-heard recordings and rare archival footage together with Nina’s most memorable songs, to create an unforgettable portrait of one of the least understood, yet most beloved, artists of our time.

WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? is a Netflix original, using recently unearthed audiotapes, recorded over the course of three decades, of Nina telling her life story to various interviewers and would-be biographers. From over 100 hours of these recordings, the film weaves together Nina’s narrative, told largely in her own words. Rare concert footage and archival interviews, along with diaries, letters, interviews with Nina’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, friends and collaborators, along with other exclusive materials, make this the most authentic, personal and unflinching telling of the extraordinary life of one of the 20th century’s greatest recording artists.

Dewey Decimal Number: DVD B SIMONE

What Happened Miss Simone? Trailer:

Have a great day!

Linda, SSCL

Netflix Streaming Interface Upgrade Coming, iPhone Book Covers, Making Videos Look Better On Your TV & New Gaming Consoles Coming But Is Gaming Changing?

It has been another super busy week in library land! So here is a short series of personal technology related topics and related articles for your weekend perusal!

Netflix Streaming Interface Upgrade Coming: Netflix is going to shortly upgrade its streaming video interface and make it much more modern looking and add more search options – it should be a cool upgrade.

The tech site The Verge offers and article on this subject titled “Netflix introduces one unified TV interface to rule them all: The streaming-video giant turns into a TV channel programmed just for you” and here’s the link to the article:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/13/5098224/netflix-introduces-one-unified-tv-interface-to-rule-them-all

iPhone Book Covers: The New York Times offers a neat article, titled “An iPhone Case Hemingway Would Love” on new “Pocket Book” cases for the iPhone 5 that make your iPhone truly look like you just took it off the shelf of your own high class library-bound-volumes included library.

Here’s the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/technology/personaltech/review-pad-and-quills-little-pocket-book-iphone-case.html?ref=personaltech&_r=0

Making Videos Look Better On Your TV: The New York Times also offered an article this week that includes helpful hints on how you can improve the quality of the picture on your TV – simply by adjusting your TV settings as you sit on your couch.

The article is titled “Enriching Your TV Picture, From the Couch” – here’s the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/technology/personaltech/enriching-your-tv-picture-from-the-couch.html?ref=personaltech

New Gaming Consoles Coming But Is Gaming Changing? And the New York Times also offered an article this week on the upcoming gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft that will shortly go on sale; the article also speculates on the state of gaming and ponders the fact that with the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets and the corresponding great variety of inexpensive games that can be played on smartphones or tablets – will we still be buying gaming consoles in another year or two or will the soon be going the way of the 8 track tape?

The article is titled “New Gaming Consoles Coming But Is Gaming Changing?” and here is the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/technology/sony-and-microsoft-ready-with-new-game-consoles.html?src=me&_r=0

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.

References

Bishop, Bryan. (2013, November 12). Netflix introduces one unified TV interface to rule them all

The streaming-video giant turns into a TV channel programmed just for you. The Verge. Online. Accessed November 15, 2013, http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/13/5098224/netflix-introduces-one-unified-tv-interface-to-rule-them-all

Furchgott, Roy. (2013, November 6). Enriching Your TV Picture, From the Couch. New York Times. Onlne. Accessed November 15, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/technology/personaltech/enriching-your-tv-picture-from-the-couch.html?ref=personaltech

Schmidt, Gregory. (2013, November 12). An iPhone Case Hemingway Would Love Review: Pad and Quill’s Little Pocket Book iPhone Case. Online. Accessed November 15, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/technology/personaltech/review-pad-and-quills-little-pocket-book-iphone-case.html?ref=personaltech&_r=1&

Wingfield, Nick. (2013, November 11). New Consoles on the Way, but Gaming Isn’t the Same. New York Times. Online. Accessed November 15, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/technology/sony-and-microsoft-ready-with-new-game-consoles.html?src=me&_r=

Getting Ready For iOS 7, Gadgets That Track How Well You Sleep & Netflix Secures Exclusive Streaming Rights To Season 2 Of Under the Dome

Getting Ready For iOS 7: Apple’s new mobile software upgrade will be unrolled next Wednesday, September 18th. And I’ve come across a number of interesting articles on the subject including one from OS X Daily that offers some helpful hints as to what Apple smartphone, tablet and iPod touch 5 owners can do to prepare their devices for the upgrade. Most of the suggestions are common sense items like checking to see if your device can receive the upgrade, deleting apps you don’t use anymore and backing up your photos and videos to a computer.

Here’s a link to the article, titled Prepare for iOS 7 Before Upgrading, which offers more tips:

http://osxdaily.com/2013/09/13/prepare-for-ios-7-before-upgrading/

And here’s a link to a second article on iOS 7 that offers you a glimpse of how iOS 7 differs from iOS 6; and although the different look of iOS 7 isn’t quite as big a shock as the change between Windows 7 and Windows 8 – it does have different look! The OS will also prompt users to do some common things a bit differently. The article is titled What We Already Know About iOS 7:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2048407/what-we-already-know-about-ios-7.html

Gadgets That Help You See How Well You Sleep: There are a number of new tech gadgets and apps that can assist you in tracking how well you sleep and even how you’re feeling at various times of the day. These gadgets include wearable gadgets like the Fitbit One that you attach to your clothes and which tracks how many steps you take during the day, how many calories you burn and how well you sleep,  the Jawbone Up which you wear on your wrist and which like the Fitbit One keeps track of how much physical activity you get each day and how well you sleep and the Nike FuelBand which doesn’t track how well you sleep but does track how many steps you take and how many calories you burn (and it may be the most popular health gadget on this list!) . Another tech sleep/wellness category is, believe it or not, apps. There are apps that will, in conjunction with your smartphone or tablet, track how well you sleep like the Sleepbot app which tracks your sleep cycle and doubles as an alarm clock and there are also tech devices that will work with your smartphone or tablet to track how well you sleep like the RenewSleep Clock which is compatible with Apple smartphones, tablets and iPods that have the old larger dock connector.  

Here’s a link to a Neon Punch article that offers a bit more info on tech sleep gadgets:

http://www.neonpunch.com/top-five-products-to-track-your-sleep/

And a second link to an interesting blog article also on sleep gadgets titled “Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, Fitbit Flex, Misfit Shine, Bowflex Boost: Which sports band to choose?”

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/123074-nike-fuelband-jawbone-up-fitbit-flex-misfit-shine-bowflex-boost-which-sports-band-to-choose

Netflix Secures Exclusive Streaming Rights To Season 2 Of Under the Dome: As another sign of the fact that streaming television shows is gaining in popularity consider the fact that Netflix has secured the exclusive rights to stream the episodes in the 2014 season 2 of the popular sci-fi series Under The Dome. The series is based upon the Stephen King book of the same name and this new deal will offer Amazon Prime subscribers access to each episode for free less than a week after it airs on CBS. And just as an FYI Amazon Prime is a subscription service Netflix offers that costs $79 a year and allows subscribers unlimited access to Amazon’s Prime Video Library and its e-book lending library where readers can access one free e-book a month. Additionally, Prime Members get free second day shipping on any items they buy directly from Amazon.

Here’s the link to a paidContent article that offers a bit more information on the new CBS/Amazon Under The Dome Deal:

http://paidcontent.org/2013/09/12/cbs-amazon-renew-deal-to-stream-under-the-dome-exclusively-on-prime-instant-video/

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.

References

7 top changes in Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system: From location-based app store selection to a male Siri. (2013, September 10). CBC. Online. Accessed September 14, 2013,

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/7-top-changes-in-apple-s-new-ios-7-operating-system-1.1700967

Buying Guide: Top Five Products to Track Your Sleep, (2013, September 13). Accessed September 14, 2013, http://www.neonpunch.com/top-five-products-to-track-your-sleep/

Caldwell, Serenity. (2013, September 9). What we already know about iOS 7. PC World. Accessed September 9, 2013

http://www.macworld.com/article/2048407/what-we-already-know-about-ios-7.html

Chappell, Bill. (2012, February 13). Apps For Apnea? New Gadgets Promise To Improve Sleep. All Tech Considered. Online. Accessed September 14, 2013, http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/02/13/146711356/apps-for-apnea-new-gadgets-promise-to-improve-sleep

O’Boyle, Britta. (2013, August 22). Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, Fitbit Flex, Misfit Shine, Bowflex Boost: Which sports band to choose?. Pocket-Lint. Online. Accessed September 14, 2013,  http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/123074-nike-fuelband-jawbone-up-fitbit-flex-misfit-shine-bowflex-boost-which-sports-band-to-choose

Owen, Laura Hazard. (2013, September 12). CBS, Amazon renew deal to stream Under the Dome exclusively on Prime Instant Video. paidContent. Online. Accessed September 14, 2013,

http://paidcontent.org/2013/09/12/cbs-amazon-renew-deal-to-stream-under-the-dome-exclusively-on-prime-instant-video/

Prepare for iOS 7 the Right Way: What To Do Before Upgrading an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to iOS 7. osXDaily. Online. Accessed September 14, 2013, http://osxdaily.com/2013/09/13/prepare-for-ios-7-before-upgrading/

 

Netflix Adds Account Profiles, Apple’s Next iPad Mini Will Have Retina Display & The Top 5 Free Anti-Virus Softwares

Netflix Streaming Adds Account Profiles: Netflix has just added a new feature to its streaming account settings – the ability to add different profiles. And by “streaming,” as you may well know, I am referring not to the subscription service that has Netflix sending subscribers DVDs through the mail by the Netflix streaming service which allows subscribers unlimited access to the Netflix streaming library of titles 34/7/365 from anywhere they have an Internet connection. And what the fancy computer terminology “profiles” means is I think most simply explained by saying that up until now Netflix streaming subscribers logged into their account and had one list of favorite titles that they saved to watch later and this single list would have to do for everyone in a family so if the Jack the family patriarch loves documentaries and nine-year-old Sally Anne loves  cartoons and they have both saved their favorite videos in the favorites list to watch later – then all those videos would be jumbled together “Dora the Explorer” might be found in between National Geographic and PBS documentaries! And now with the new profiles feature five individual family members can log into the same account have their own favorites list (their own profile list) of titles so all of Sally Anne’s cartoons can be on her list, Jack’s documentaries on his list, all the scientific programs on son Tyler’s list and the dramas can all be on matriarch Jane’s list. So in essence, the streaming Netflix subscription now is like a PC – you can log in under your own profile and customize your favorites list and not see the listing of other videos you aren’t interested in!

Here’s a link to a USA Today article that offers more info on the subject titled “Netflix Adds New Profile Feature;”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/personal/2013/08/01/netflix-adds-new-profile-feature/2603675/

Apple’s Next iPad Mini Will Have Retina Display: The Wall Street Journal’s All Things D reports that Apple suppliers are currently working on components for second generation iPad Mini which will have a Retina display – although this being Apple we are talking about it comes as no surprise that there is not yet a release date for the second generation iPad Mini. However, if Apple follows its refresh pattern from last year just perhaps we will see new iPads this fall.

Here’s a link to the All Thing’s D article which is titled ‘Apple’s Next iPad Mini Will Likely Have ‘Retina’ Display From Samsung;”

http://allthingsd.com/20130801/apples-next-ipad-mini-will-likely-have-retina-display-from-samsung/

The Top 5 Free Anti-Virus Softwares: The tech site Mashable offers a cool list today of five free anti-virus softwares. And if you have a computer and go online at all you really should have a virus protection software on your computer. Of course you can pay for virus protection software and two of the most popular paid softwares are Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee. However, the Mashable list offers five solid, and free, alternatives. Counting them down from the top pick to the fifth the softwares are: 1. AVG Anti-Virus, 2. Comodo, 3. Ad-Aware, 4. Malwarebytes & 5. avast! The Mashable article features a gallery of photos, also known as a slideshow if you’d like to know more – here’s the link:

http://mashable.com/2013/08/01/free-antivirus/

And remember if you need assistance in learning about a personal technology device like an iPad, e-reader or brand new laptop — drop by the library or call us to make an appointment for a free One-On-One session with a member of the library’s tech team!

We’re here to help!

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Fee, Jess. (2013, August 1). 5 Best Free Antivirus Software Options. Mashable. Online. Accessed August 1, 2013. http://mashable.com/2013/08/01/free-antivirus/

Luk, Lorraine. (2013, August 1). Apple’s Next iPad Mini Will Likely Have “Retina” Display From Samsung. All Things D. Online. Accessed August 1, 2013. http://allthingsd.com/20130801/apples-next-ipad-mini-will-likely-have-retina-display-from-samsung/

Google Chromebooks Coming To A Store Near You & DreamWorks Animation Signs A Deal With Netflix

Google Chromebooks Coming To A Store Near You: Google has announced that is now selling its inexpensive cloud-based Chromebook laptops at Walmart and Staples. Walmart is carrying the Acer C7 Chromebook that costs $199 and Staples will sell the Acer Chromebook along with the slightly more expensive Chromebooks from Samsung and HP at its stores.

And just on an FYI note the library owns a Google Samsung Chromebook that patrons are welcome to come in and sit down and try out!

And Chromebooks – if you’re not familiar with them – are light weight, cloud based laptops running the Google Chrome operating system. These laptops are meant to be used with an Internet connection and you are pretty much locked into the Google ecosystem – meaning that you can use the online Google Docs service to create word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations but you can’t install software on a Chromebook the way you can install Microsoft Office on a Windows PC. However, for the price – and the Chromebook that I’ve seen that has the best reviews is the Samsung Chromebook which costs $249 (and that the model the library owns) – the Chromebook is a reasonable choice for an inexpensive laptop for one to do light word processing, email and/or web related tasks upon. And if you simply need a second laptop for light weight tasks or even perhaps for your cottage at the lake (provided you have Internet service there) a Google Chromebook might just fit the proverbial bill.

Here’s a link to a CNET article that relays more information on the fact that the Chromebooks are coming to a store near you titled “”Google’s low-cost Chromebooks coming to 6,600 more stores:”

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57589721-93/googles-low-cost-chromebooks-coming-to-6600-more-stores/

And a second link to a CNET review of the Samsung Chromebook:

http://www.cnet.com/laptops/samsung-chromebook-series-3/4505-3121_7-35500150-2.html

DreamWorks Animation Signs A Deal With Netflix: DreamWorks Animation has signed a deal with Netflix to offer new programming. DreamWorks is known for its visually stunning videos and is working on expanding its offerings by sidestepping traditional cable companies and instead offering new shows for Netflix subscribers to stream. The new deal was announced on Monday and this new partnership will translate into 300 new hours of episodic television being created. The deal can also be seen as another battle in the Internet TV vs. Traditional Cable Television because the new shows will not able available to TV fans through traditional cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast but will be available for Netflix subscribers stream. The details regarding the new shows have yet to be released but DreamWorks did say that the new shows would be inspired by their back catalog which features a number of notable franchise videos including: Shrek, Mr. Magoo, Lassie and Casper the Friendly Ghost. The first of the new programs is tentatively slated to be aired in 2014.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article on the subject titled “DreamWorks and Netflix in Deal for New TV Shows:”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/business/media/dreamworks-and-netflix-in-deal-for-new-tv-programs.html

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Barnes, Brooks. (2013, June 17). DreamWorks and Netflix in Deal for New TV Shows. New York Times. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/business/media/dreamworks-and-netflix-in-deal-for-new-tv-programs.html

Kerr, Dara. Google’s low-cost Chromebooks coming to 6, 600 more stores. CNET. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57589721-93/googles-low-cost-chromebooks-coming-to-6600-more-stores/

Portnoy, Sean. (2013, June 19). Acer’s $199 C710-2865 Chromebook laptop includes SSD, will be sold at Walmart. ZDNET. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://www.zdnet.com/acers-199-c710-2856-chromebook-laptop-includes-ssd-will-be-sold-at-walmart-7000017015/

Samsung Chromebook review: The one we’ve been waiting for (at least in price). Accessed June 19, 2013.

 

 

Internet Television Update & Supreme Court Says Human Genes Cannot Be Patented

Internet Television Update: I’ve seen numerous articles in the last week that discuss the changing landscape of television – and by that I mean the fact that movie and TV fans are increasingly watching television shows and movies on their computers, smartphones and tablets whenever and wherever they want to through online sources like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu and YouTube. And in response to this trend the major cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast are dragging their feet as far as embracing this new way consumers increasing want to watch videos. The traditional cable companies would much prefer to hang on to their traditional status quote that demands their subscribers pay a monthly fee for many channels when those same consumers would really rather only pay for the channels and/or programs they want to watch and of course they’d like to watch the content they pay for whenever they want to on whichever internet connecting device they have on hand.

The tech company Intel is trying to change the cable company status quote by introduction a high speed internet connecting media streaming box that would allow consumers to accesses online video content quickly and easily – and would take its place alongside the Roku, Apple TV and Google TV media streaming players. We’ll have to wait and see how successful Intel is but for my two cents worth for whatever it is worth – probably about two cents! I think the traditional cable companies need to jump on board the internet TV bandwagon or eventually they will get left behind. I think those companies can delay the explosion of Internet accessed television for a while but eventually consumer demand will shift the money flow and more and more people will pay for internet accessed television shows, movies and subscription internet services like Netflix that they can then use to access the video content they want to watch when they want and where they want and on whichever internet connecting device they want to whether that device is a smartphone, laptop, tablet or the large HDTV in their living rooms.

Here’s a link to a Bloomberg Business Week article on the subject titled “How Big Cable Companies Keep Internet TV At Bay:”

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-13/how-big-cable-keeps-internet-tv-at-bay

A second link to a New York Times opinion piece on the same subject titled “The Television Will Be Revolutionized” which has tech writer Tristan Louis offering his five cents worth on the subject (I gave him three cents more since he’s a professional tech write and I’m a librarian!):

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/06/12/televisions-next-frontier/the-television-will-be-revolutionized

And a link to a New York Times opinion section on internet video aka streaming video titled “Streaming for the Small Screen: An Introduction:”

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/06/12/televisions-next-frontier

Supreme Court Says Human Genes Cannot Be Patented: The Supreme Court ruled today that human isolated human genes cannot be patented. The case was brought before the court by the Utah Company Myriad Genetics a company that does testing that shows a relationship between certain genes and a hereditary risk of getting cancer. The patents that Myriad was trying to protect had been challenged by a number of scientists and doctors because the costs of the tests – due to the patents – was around $3,000 which was making the genetic tests cost-prohibited for many people. So the cost of the genetic test should now come down. And interestingly the Court actually offered a split decision ruling that “isolated” genes couldn’t receive a patent but that genetically engineered genes can.

I think the entire subject is fascinating because it illustrates, among other things that we are on the cusp of revolutionary advances in medicine that may indeed one day soon lead to a cure for cancer and the common cold among other maladies.

Here’s a link a Washington Post article on the Supreme Court ruling titled “Supreme Court rules human genes may not be patented:”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-rules-human-genes-may-not-be-patented/2013/06/13/9e5c55d2-d43d-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html

And a second link to an article on the same subject from the New York Times titled “Supreme Court Rules Human Genes May Not Be Patented:”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/us/supreme-court-rules-human-genes-may-not-be-patented.html

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Bachman, Justin. (2013, June 13). How Big Cable Keeps internet TV at Bay. Bloomberg Businessweek. Online. Accessed June 13, 2013.

Barnes, Robert. & Brady, Dennis. (2013, June 13). Supreme Court rules human genes may not be patented. The Washington Post. Online. Accessed June 13, 2013.

Louis, Tristan. (2013, June 13). The Television Will Be Revolutionized. New York Times. Online. Accessed June 13, 2013.

 

A Windows/Android Laptop, Self-Improvement Apps and Netflix Dominates Streaming Video For Now

Wow, another super busy day in library land! How did it get to be 6 PM already?

Here is a short tech posting for today!

A Windows/Android Laptop: the popular laptop maker ASUS has just shown off a new tablet – it is called a “Transformer Book.” And this new laptop is notable because it has two sides two it –one side runs Windows and the other runs the Android operating system which is notable because Android has, so far anyway, been predominantly seen on tablets and not laptops or desktops.

Here’s a link to an Engadget article on the subject titled “ASUS Transformer Book Trio: a hybrid laptop running Windows and Android (hands-on):”

http://www.engadget.com/2013/06/03/asus-announces-the-transformer-book-trio-likens-it-to-a-laptop/

Self-Improvement Apps: All Things D Columnists Lauren Goode reports on a number of apps that will assist you in become a better person!

Her article is titled “On the Road to Self-Betterment, Apps That Keep You on Track” – here’s the link:

http://allthingsd.com/20130603/on-the-road-to-self-betterment-apps-that-keep-you-on-track/

Netflix Dominates Streaming Video For Now: And the NPD which is a global information company that keeps track of, among other things, how many people stream video from the web and which subscription services they use to do so, has just issued a press release which indicates that right now Netflix has 89% of the streaming market but that both Hulu and Amazon Instant Video are gaining traction in the streaming video market. Here’s a link to a NPD press release on the subject:

https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/the-npd-group-as-tv-viewing-drives-subscription-video-on-demand-netflix-dominates-but-hulu-plus-and-amazon-gain/

And on the same subject of streaming video, which is gaining in prominence, here is a link to a Huffington Post article titled “Amazon, Viacom Announce Prime Instant Video Streaming Deal;” which offers info on the new Viacom deal with Amazon which will allow consumers to watch even more videos via the Amazon Instant Video store:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/04/amazon-viacom-prime-instant-video_n_3382985.html

Have a great evening!

Linda R.

References

Goode, Lauren. (2013, June 3). On the Road to Self-Betterment, Apps That Keep You on Track. All Things D. Online. Accessed June 4, 2013.

The NPD Group: As TV Viewing Drives Subscription Video-On-Demand, Netflix Dominates, but Hulu Plus and Amazon Gain, NPD. Online. Accessed June 4, 2013.

Stenovec, Timothy. (2013, June 4). Amazon, Viacom Announce Prime Instant Video Streaming Deal. Huff Post. Online. Accessed June 4, 2013.

Wollman, Dana. (2013, June 3). ASUS Transformer Book Trio: a hybrid laptop running Windows and Android (hands-on). Engadget. Online. Accessed June 4, 2013

The Growing Popularity Of Kindle Singles & Netflix’s New Family Streaming Plan

The Growing Popularity Of Kindle Singles: The New York Times has a neat article on its site titled Amazon Broadens Its Terrain, which discusses Amazon’s Kindle Singles. And if you’ve never heard of them Kindle Singles are short works of fiction or non-fiction that can usually be read in one or two sittings. The Times article describes these short works as “novella-length journalism and fiction, known as e-shorts.” And these e-shorts can are being e-published by new authors and very popular tried and true authors like Lee Child, David Baldacci and Jeffery Deaver.

Additionally, the e-short formats makes it possible for writers to create short works regarding events currently in the news and then get those e-shorts out into the hand of the public (through the Amazon website) very quickly. For example, the article discusses the case of author Stephen King who wrote an e-short about the debate of gun control. His e-short is simply titled Guns and it took only a week from the time he finished writing his 8,000-word e-short until it appeared for sale in the Kindle Shorts store.

Most Kindle Shorts cost less than $3 so you aren’t spending a great deal of money if try out a new author’s e-short to see if you like it. And Kindle shorts are indeed short by novel-length standard usually running between 5,000 and 30,000 words so they don’t take a great deal of time to read which is a plus for many people in our busy society.

And on final how-the-advancing-technology-is-changing-the-way-we-work-and-live pondering note one of the reasons that Kindle Shorts are so popular with self-published authors new and old is because they can truly earn money for their work. Amazon takes a 30% cut of all sales; however, that leaves 70% for the author and if you sell several thousands copies of a short that can add up. The average price an author earns for a Kindle Short is $22,000.

So e-shorts in general, and Kindle Shorts specifically, are something we’ll undoubtedly be hearing, seeing and reading more of in the future!

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

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/23/books/with-kindle-singles-david-blum-jump-starts-his-career.html?ref=technology

 And a second, and Google Shortened, link directly to the Amazon Kindle Shorts webpage if you’d like to check it out!

http://goo.gl/EoyZm

Netflix’s New Family Streaming Plan: The current Netflix streaming plan cost $7.99 a month and allows two people to log into the same Netflix account (i.e. with the same user ID and password) at the same time and stream different videos. If a third person, say a third family member, tries to log into the same account and stream a third video at the same time he or she would not be able to do so. With the new Family Plan Netflix subscribers can opt to pay $11.99 per month and that will allow up to four people to log into the same account at the same time and stream video content to four different locations. So this new plan will be ideal for families who don’t all want to watch the same television shows and movies at the same time.

Here’s the link to The Verge article which is titled Netflix will offer $11.99 family plan with up to four simultaneous streams:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/22/4253820/netflix-launching-11-99-family-plan-four-simultaneous-streams

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Kaufman, Leslie. (2013, April 22). Amazon Broadens Its Terrain. New York Times. Online.

Welch, Chris. (2013, April 22). Netflix will offer $11.99 family plan with yp to four simultaneous streams. The Verge. Online.

 

Aereo Streaming Television Service Wins Appeal & Expands Service

I’ve mentioned Aereo in blog postings before but just to refresh all our memories; Aereo is a New York City based company that offers broadcast television shows that go out over the airwaves and into Aereo’s office and then are sent to subscribers via the Internet. The idea is that you don’t have to be home in front of your television set to watch content that you could get for free via aerial antennae if you were at home.

And to give you an example, it used to be, and sometimes still is, that people lived far enough out of town that they couldn’t subscribe to a cable TV service via a cable service provider like Comcast or Time Warner Cable because the cable wires were not set up that far out of town – so no service was offered in their out-of-town region. So instead they hooked antennas to their roofs and/or television sets to receive a basic number of broadcast television channels for free. Now granted you couldn’t get all television channels that way – premium paid channels like HBO and Showtime weren’t available; however your local network stations and PBS were – so you could tune in to ABC, NBC, CBS or PBS if you were at home and watch whatever programs were being shown. And Aereo offers those free over-the-air (aerial) broadcast channels to customers in their service areas by actually having a small antenna for each customer in their service centers that receives the free broadcast programming and then sends it to customer’s accounts over the Internet.

And thus Aereo offers the free over-the-air broadcast television stations to their customers to access via an app on their smartphones and tablets. And Aereo further offers a certain amount of DVR storage for each customer so if you live in one of their service areas you can record that episode of Law & Order or Seinfeld that you missed the first time around and watch it later via your smartphone or tablet whenever you want to.

Aereo debut its service to consumers living in the New York City region last March. And as you can imagine this system is not one that the cable and media companies are pleased with! Comcast, CBS & Walt Disney have so far brought two law suits against Aereo claiming that Aereo is illegally broadcasting their content by essentially cutting cable service providers out of the picture altogether. They claim that Aereo is infringing on their copyright for the channel programming they sell to their customers even though it is perfectly legal for consumers to put a TV antenna on their own roofs and to access over-the-air television channels for free when they are at home; and Aereo is only broadcasting over-the-air channels to people who could obtain those channels for free, via rooftop antenna, in their area. So last March, just before the Aereo service debuted, Comcast, CBS & Walt Disney filed an initial law suit against Aereo claiming that their service was illegal – the court ruled against them and for Aereo stating that the Aereo service was in fact legal. And not surprisingly the plantiffs appealed the ruling. This morning a second court decision was also handed down upholding the first decision and yet again ruling that the Aero service is legal.

And so far this year Aereo has expanded its service to include 29 additional near-by counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut so the ability to access broadcast television networks and their shows via the Internet may become the new norm.  I’m sure most people, including myself, would be willing to pay the $8.00 per month subscription fee (or the $80 yearly fee) to watch broadcast television programs via our smartphones, tablets or streaming media players whenever we want to.

And in relation, I think that they cable companies, by tight fistedly trying to hang on to their outdated bundled channel business model, are missing the proverbial boat and the opportunity it presents to make money in this new high tech Internet streaming age of ours. I can’t of course speak for anyone but myself but I did that cord-cutting thing three years ago and I much prefer it! I stream video content at home via my Roku and Apple TV players via my Wi-Fi network, and on the go via my smartphone and iPad. And I pay Netflix $7.99 a month for their all-you-can-eat (okay all-you-can-view) subscription to their catalog of titles and $79 per year to Amazon for unlimited access to their Prime Library of video titles and I can then watch them anywhere I can access the Internet. I can also purchase or rent videos from Amazon and buy videos from Apple so if I want to watch the latest episode of Grimm or Mad Men I can buy it the day after it airs on television. TV episodes come in standard definition for $1.99 and HD for $2.99 and I don’t mind paying that for episodes of a series I really like but I did mind an ever increasing cable bill that had me subscribing to many channels I never watched just so I could watch the handful of channels that I did want to watch. And did I mention the price? Amazon Prime & a yearly subscription to Netflix totals $175.77 – and I was paying almost that for my monthly cable bill before I cut the cord.

So I am excited by the second court ruling in favor of Aereo because I see this as not just a win for Aereo but also a win for consumers who today increasingly like to be able to watch whatever video content they want to watch when and where they want to watch it and not be tied to a cable TV cord.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article on Aereo and the new court ruling in its favor:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/business/media/aereo-wins-in-appeals-court-setting-stage-for-trial-on-streaming-broadcast-tv.html?ref=technology&_r=0

A second link to a Tech Crunch article on the same subject:

http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/01/aereo-looks-to-tv-providers-isps-to-accelerate-growth/

A third link to a short USA Today article that sums up the basics of the subject:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/04/01/aereo-wins-appeals-court-ruling/2042527/

And a link to the Aereo website that offers you a look at the pricing of their service plans:

https://aereo.com/plans

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Compare Plans. Aereo. Online. Accessed April 1, 2013.

Crook, Jordan. (2013, April 1). Aereo Looks To TV Providers, ISPs To Accelerate Growth. Tech Crunch. Online.

Stelter, Brian. (2013, April 1). Aereo Wins Appeal: Trail Likely for Streaming TV.

Yu, Roger. (2013, April 1). Good news for cable cord-cutters in Aereo win. USA Today. Online.

 

T-Mobile Discontinues Cell Phone Contracts & Mainstream Media Discusses The Television Revolution

T-Mobile Discontinues Cell Phone Contracts: T-Mobile, the fourth largest cell phone carrier in the United States, just dropped all its contract plans and has moved to a pay-by-the-month becoming the first large carrier in the U.S. to do so. Cell phone users can now transfer their old phones to T-Mobile, or obtain a new phone from T-Mobile and pay a monthly fee for the phone for a certain period of time until the phone is paid off. However, cell phone users will also have the option to pay off their phones early, without penalty, and will be able to switch carriers or obtain new phones whenever they want to as of course there will no longer be a contract to adhere to. Monthly service plans are called “Simple Choice” plans and the entry level package costs $50 per month for unlimited texting and voice and 500 MB of data. Customers can also pay $70 per month for an unlimited texting, talking and data plan.

Here’s a link to a Ars Technica article titled After months of speculation, T-Mobile finally ditches cellphone contracts on the subject:

http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/03/after-months-of-speculation-t-mobile-finally-ditches-cellphone-contracts/

And another link to a New York Times article on the subject titled T-Mobile Unveils Aggressive Phone Pricing With No Contracts:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/technology/t-mobile-unveils-aggressive-phone-pricing-with-no-contracts.html?_r=0

Mainstream Media Discusses The Television Revolution: I keep talking about the Television Revolution and how more and more people are streaming television shows and movies over the Internet and now mainstream television is beginning to cover this very cool story as it unfolds! More specifically NBC’s Night News offered a news story on Sunday regarding how the Netflix production of the hit Kevin Spacey series House of Cards is very popular. NBC also notes that when Netflix debut the first season of the series for its customers they offered the entire season all at once so eager viewers can have House of Cards marathons and watch the series in either one long weekend sitting or each night over the course of two weeks – basically they can watch all of the series whenever they want to. And that so called “binge” or marathon streaming of shows by television and movie fans is a large facet of the unfolding TV Revolution.

Here’s a link to the NBC video clip titled Netflix Changing TV

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/51312617#51312617

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Chen, Brian. (2013, March 26). T-Mobile Unveils Aggressive Phone Pricing With No Contracts. The New York Times. Online.

Farivar, Cyrus. (2013, March 25). After months of speculation, T-Mobile finally ditches cellphone contracts: Firm’s new plans start at $50/month for unlimited voice/texting and 500MB data. Ars Technica. Online.

Netflix Changing TV. (2013, March 24). Nightly News. NBC. Online.