Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Motning Coffee – 6 January 2014

Posted: 05 Jan 2014 09:17 PM PST

Top stories this morning include a critical look at the many debilitating bugs in Evernote (link), Evernote CEO’s admission that his service is as bad as described in the previous story (link), a look back on 2013 and just how much of an influence platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter had over the rest of the web (link), a couple useful links on regular expressions and optimizing a book to be found in the Kindle store, and more.

  • Amazon’s Kindle Fire Shows The Tech World That It’s Not All That Important To Profit From HW Sales (Business Insider)
  • Evernote, the bug-ridden elephant (
  • If Kant explains it simply, you don't understand it well enough (Small Beds and Large Bears)
  • Introduction to Regular Expressions For Indie Publishers (Open Office) (Learn Out Live!)
  • Is Apple’s E-Book Fight Worth the Trouble? (The New Yorker)
  • Love your e-reader? Good: You're not a book snob (Misprinted Pages)
  • On Software Quality and Building a Better Evernote in 2014 (Evernote Blog)
  • Readers to Books/Books to Readers––Part One: How to find Books in the Kindle Store (M. Louisa Locke)
  • The Year Megaplatforms Ruled The Internet (Buzzfeed)

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TrewGrip is Out to Save You From the Frustrations of a Touchscreen Keyboard

Posted: 05 Jan 2014 08:25 PM PST

Every Slider_front[1]year at CES there are some gadgets that are simply cool, others that are useful, and many that expand on what worked last year, but every so often a new gadget shows up that makes you wonder just what exactly the designers were thinking.

The TrewGrip is one such gadget. This is a 2 to 3 pound smartphone/tablet accessory which adds an oddly placed split querty keyboard not on the front but the backside of the device.


This device is kinda like a souped up version of the Gamevice controller that Wikipad is now showing off, only instead of helping you play games it wants to help you type more emails.

If you’re frustrated by typing on a smartphone screen and are willing to put up with arm strain and a lot of funny looks, then this is the gadget for you. It connects to any Android or iOS device via Bluetooth and sports a 10 plus hour battery life (which means that your arms will start cramping long before the battery runs out). It’s due out in the last quarter of 2014 with an expected retail of $250 to $350.

trewgrip 1 trewgrip 3 trewgrip 2

I came across the TrewGrip at CES Unveiled Sunday night, and I got a chance to look at and play with the demo units. The final model might look a little different because the design is going to go through at least one iteration before hitting the market, but I think I have a pretty good idea what and how it will work. There’s the split keyboard on the back, a handful of keys on the front (thumb accessible), and the front of the Trewgrip also sports little indicator lights that tell you which key is being pressed.

The developers are promising that once you’ve learned how to use it (this can take 8 to 10 hours), the TrewGrip will add 15 words a minute to your typing speed.

Frankly, I don’t understand why the average consumer would want to buy it, and I am probably not the only one to be in the dark on that point. TrewGrip initially tried to fund development via a Kickstarter project, but they were unable to raise more than $23k of the $100,000 they wanted.

If you wanted to look at that as market survey then arguably it says that there isn’t much of a market. And the fact that the Kickstarter project for a similar device, the Grippity tablet, is falling short of its funding goals only reinforces that idea.

Sure, there will be a few uses (like on-the-go data entry for conference registrations), but can you picture the average tech geek whipping this out of their bag and walking down the street with it? I can’t. TBF, I could see this having more success in the exercise market than in the general gadget market; it would be a great way to build upper arm strength.

This type of reverse keyboard product has been tried before, and Microsoft even funded a research project in 2010 which looked into the idea, but so far as I know none of the models have ever gone to market. But it looks like the TrewGrip could be the exception, so if you want one I would start checking the tech blogs sometime in September.

The post TrewGrip is Out to Save You From the Frustrations of a Touchscreen Keyboard appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Nate’s Gear Bag – CES 2014

Posted: 05 Jan 2014 12:55 AM PST

Final preparations are under way here at the secret lair for CES 2014, and before I pack everything away I thought I’d share what is going in my gear bag.

Not much has changed from last year; I’ll still be carrying around my Lenovo U410 with the same Panasonic Lumix camera, full-sized USB keyboard, and wireless mouse I had last year, but this time around I will be running a couple gadgets lighter than past years.

gear bag ces 2014

As you can see in the image above, there’s no tablet. This year I am leaving my Kindle Fire HD at home – permanently. I had realized that I was watching too many movies and playing too many games, so I gave my Kindle Fire HD to my mom and replaced it with a Hisense Sero 7 Pro. It’s not nearly as good of a gaming and media tablet as the Kindle Fire HD, which is exactly why I replaced one tablet with the other.

And the reason you can’t see the Sero 7 Pro in the photo is that I used it to take the photo. It has a 5MP camera, another reason I like it.

Also not included in the photo is the laptop stand I got nearly 5 years ago. It will take a place of honor in my motel room (America’s Best Value Inn), but I will be carrying around at least one paper notebook. In spite of everything I still feel a pen on paper is the right tool in certain circumstances.

I also forgot to include my cellphone, which will be coming, but I’m not bringing any type of mobile hotspot. The one place where I would use it the most, i.e. the show floor, is so awash in wireless signals that they jam each other. And since I will have internet in my hotel and in the press lounges (the wired network is faster anyway) I don’t see a reason to pay for a mobile data plan that I would only use while literally in motion from one location to another. That strikes me as an invitation to walk into traffic.


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B&N is Coming to CES 2014 Sans Nook

Posted: 05 Jan 2014 12:54 AM PST

For the barnes noble logosecond year in a row Barnes & Noble is renting a booth at CES. Once again they will be occupying a booth in the lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and once again they won’t be showing off the Nook (or so the exhibitor listing and scheduled event suggest).

I know that last year I said that it was crazy to come to a gadget trade show and not bring a gadget to show off, but I think there may be a method to B&N’s madness.

This post finds me stuck home for a night due to a weather -induced flight cancellation, and that delay has given me time to sit and think about B&N’s latest crazy stunt. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not as crazy as it looks. I’m beginning to think Barnes & Noble came to CES this year to promote their core business:


Much to my surprise, Barnes & Noble is acting like a bookseller. They even have an all day event scheduled for Tuesday where they promise that prominent leaders in tech will be autographing their books.

Sure, the Nook platform gets all the attention but the reality is that Barnes & Noble has always made more from their stores than from the Nook. That was true even before the Nook started its decline last holiday season, and it is even more true today. And that could be why B&N is coming to CES this year.

Now, the next question that comes to mind is whether this is a good investment. I tend to think it’s not, but even though I think it is ill-advised I also have to say that it is not a dumb idea (how I described it last year).

B&N might not see a direct monetary or marketing gain from exhibiting at CES, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have something to gain from showing up.

Would anyone care to guess what that is?

I know that more than a few of my readers run businesses of one type or another, so I am betting that you have a better idea what B&N stands to gain. What do you think they’re going for?


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