Archive for the ‘Techno News’ Category

Playing Games

Friday, December 17th, 2010

black_cobra_screen_shot Between end of the year work and getting ready for the holidays, I’ve been a little short on reading time lately.  Life is fun, just really hectic.  When I got an email from Avon announcing that they had created a new game based on Stephanie Laurens’ Black Cobra Quartet, I thought it might be fun for a quick break.  I was right about it being a diversion – but I got sucked in for entirely too long.

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Yet Another eBookstore…with a Difference?

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

The news has been floating around for a while, but Google finally made it official on Wednesday: Google Editions, their eBook store, launched on Monday.

What’s the big deal?  Well, as many of us agree, the proprietary formats are just a pain.  You can’t read Adobe DRM on Kindle, you can’t read AMZ on anything except Kindle-compatible devices, blah blah blah.  (Although the Bluefire app, which reads Adobe-DRM books on Apple devices, just broke through a major barrier.)

Anyway, the difference with Google Editions is that their books are entirely Web-based.  This means that you would be able to read books anywhere, on any device, as long you can connect to the internet and have a Web browser.

The tech media are talking it up, saying it makes a significant difference, that it will provide true competition to the juggernauts.  And in a way it is.  Without being tied to a proprietary format, readers can read on anything.  Similar to most eBook stores, the purchased books will stay on your virtual bookshelf, which you can access as long as you have a Google account.  Reading the fine print on the Google Editions page (which is directed at potential booksellers, not consumers), there are some points of interest:

Kindle 3: A Consumer Review

Monday, September 6th, 2010

With a lower price, a smaller size, and improved contrast and faster page turning, Amazon may be offering an irresistible temptation to those who have yet to jump onto the eReader bandwagon.

I’ve been a Kindle user for close to three years now.  I’ve had all the versions and noted the significant improvements Kindle 2 offered over the original.  But, now, Amazon has topped all other versions with the new Kindle 3.

What I Love:

  • The faster page turning.
  • The smaller size.
  • The easy to use navigation buttons that all but eliminate accidental page turns.
  • The improved contrast that makes an already user-friendly reader experience even friendlier.
  • The ease of buying books without having to connect to a computer.
  • The longer battery life – Amazon says up to one month.
  • Storage that Amazon says will handle up to 3,500 books.  Wow.

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The eBook Format Wars

Monday, August 9th, 2010

books_really_suckA lot can happen in one week.  Seven days ago, I was madly researching eBook readers, gung ho over the prospect of quasi-unlimited digital storage, heaps of portable reading material, and so on and so forth.  Now, my interest has skydived.  Why?  It’s those bloody format wars.

I’ll just say first off, I have no claims to being a tech expert; I’m a consumer and I try to be informed, but that’s it.  So as a potential consumer, this is how I see it: Without stripping DRMs, there is no single portable device that reads all the major eBook formats.  And that’s a pain.

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iPad? Seriously?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

t1larg.steve.jobs.tablet.giI’ve had a crush on Steve Jobs for 20 years.

But, Steve, my man, you muffed it on the name.  Big time. Because only one thing comes to mind when women hear the word “pad” and a computer isn’t it.

But you know, Steve is a rockstar.  Always has been.  Always will be.  I suspect that after a whole lot of cheap iPenis jokes, we’ll all get over it.

Back when I got my first job at an ad agency, one of the things I remember doing on my very first day was to sit down at my original Mac Classic and spend a half hour or so on a a “How To Use a Mouse” tutorial.  Because, believe it or not, back in those days most people didn’t have  a clue.

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Libraries in the Digital Age

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

reviewcoffee This confession will probably give some of you a heart attack, but I haven’t read any of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I know, I know. It’s like I’ve been living under a rock buried 3 miles below the surface of the Earth. But lately I’ve been thinking about giving the first book a try. So I sent out a half-joking tweet on the subject. To my surprise, I received a personal response from my local library letting me know that Outlander is available for checkout, should I so desire. Now granted, I’m kind of a dork, but I thought this was really cool. So cool, in fact, that I decided to explore more of the digital/virtual features my local library offers, and get the perspective of the Sacramento Public Library’s Digital Services Librarian Megan Wong on the subject of libraries in the digital age.

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The FTC Guide Revisions and What They Mean to AAR

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

FTC Earlier I posted about the revisions to the FTC guides which will take effect on December 1, 2009. So, what do these mean to AAR? This site is not strictly a blog, but we are a set of volunteers providing reviews of books. As many of you reading already know, we receive most of our books free of charge from publishers and authors, so we quite probably fit within the FTC’s guidelines on dislosure.

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Kindle 2: iCool

Friday, March 6th, 2009

I was already in love with the original Kindle. Now with Kindle 2 and the new iPhone app my love affair is now epic.

For my money, Kindle 2 is the Don Draper of eReaders. The Sawyer. The Eric the Vampire.  In short, it is sexy, cool, and incredibly functional.

Like many readers these days, I dwell somewhere in that happy land between tech geek and Luddite. But it’s also fair to say that I come at this from the perspective of a spoiled 20+ year Mac-head in that I expect electronic stuff to work in a user-friendly way. No complicated programs. No work-arounds. 

So, with that said, I’m not  approaching my unofficial Kindle 2 review by talking about DRM—a big, big topic, indeed—since there are others out there far more educated (and, okay, interested, too) in the issues surrounding it than I am. I’m going to write about Kindle 2 from the perspective of someone who doesn’t want to deal with the technical stuff and expects to turn on an eReader and have it work—comfortably and as advertised.

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