Friday, 14 February 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

How to Make Your Tablet Safe for Kids

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 06:01 PM PST

Have speck iguy ipad caseyou have recently upgraded to a new tablet and want to hand off your older model to your lucky kids?

That’s a good idea, but before you do there are a number of steps you should take before you let go of that older tablet. Even a beat up, older model is still useful, albeit a bit slower than your new tablet, but you might want to make sure it’s safe for your kids to use.

Get a sturdy case

Kids drop things – a lot. (Well, so do I, but that’s not important.) A rubberized case will protect your tablet from most drops, so it’s well worth the investment.

Tablets come on all shapes and sizes, and so do cases. The Speck iGuy case for the iPad shown above is one option, but if you need to look further afield, here are a few websites where you can buy a variety of cases:

Perform a factory reset

If you’ve been using your old tablet for any length of time, chances are good that there are any number of things on your tablet that you don’t want other people to see.

It might be as simple as work emails you don’t want anyone to read, or perhaps you don’t want your reading habits shared with the world. In any case, the best way to make sure that all of your personal documents are removed is to reset the tablet to factory settings. With most tablets this will wipe all of the internal storage, remove any apps you’ve installed, and delete any changes you’ve made to the settings.

The steps involved vary between tablets, but you can probably find the reset option under the Settings menu on your tablet. Just make sure that you save any important files first.

Install a Parental Control App

If you would like to restrict what a kid can do with the tablet (block games, inappropriate content, and so on) then you should install a parental control app. I’m not sure I would take this step, but you might want to. There are a lot of websites, Youtube videos, and apps that aren’t appropriate for small children.

There are a number of apps which would work. One Android app you could try is Kids Place. I came across it when I reviews the ClicknKids tablet, and on that tablet it blocked access to any app which had not been selected and approved by the parent. I thought it worked well, but if you don’t like it there are many other alternatives in Google Play.

Of course if you have a Kindle Fire, that tablet has parental controls built in. So does the iPad.

Block in app purchases

We’ve all read the horror stories about kids running up thousands of dollars in charges, right? You don’t want that to happen to you, so you should probably make sure that your tablet asks for a password before any purchases.

On Android tablets, both Google and Amazon have a parental control option under the settings menu which can be set to require a password before any purchases can be made. On the Kindle Fire, this setting is found with the other parental control options.

On the iPad, I would suggest a different approach. I would set up a separate account just for the kid’s iPad. This is extra work, but it will allow you to remove any chance that the kid might run up charges in iTunes.

If you need to make purchases for the kid’s iPad, you can buy a gift card with the parent account and give it to the child account.

Install a Kid Friendly Web Browser

As a final step, I’m going to suggest that you install an alternate web browser. There are any number of child safe web browsers in Google Play and iTunes.


The 5 suggestions in the above post are really just a start on what can be done to child-proof a tablet. If you have any suggestions for other apps to install, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

The post How to Make Your Tablet Safe for Kids appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite Now Available for $160 – a Ridiculous Price

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 10:21 AM PST

The samsung-galaxy-tab-3-lite[1]rumored Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is now available in the US. A number of stores including NeweggStaples, and Best Buy  are selling this tablet for $160.

Yes, $160. Apparently I was wrong to expect that this tablet would cost $99 or $119; when I bought and reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, I lucked into a sale. That tablet has since gone back up to $179.

The Galaxy Tab 3 Lite has a few details in common with the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, but in general it uses cheaper components. This tablet has the same amount of storage (8GB), a microSD card slot, Wifi, Bluetooth, but that’s about all it has in common with its expensive cousin. The screen resolution is the same (1024 x 600), but the Lite tablet has a lower quality TN screen and not the higher quality screen found on the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0.


This tablet has a 1.2GHz dual-core Marvell CPU, and not an Exynos CPU. Samsung also shaved cost by dropping one of the 2 speakers found on the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, and they scaled back on the cameras. The Lite model has only a single camera (2MP rear camera) rather than the 3.1MP and 1.3MP camera found on the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0.

In terms of software, Samsung ships the Lite model with Android 4.2, which is slightly newer than the Android 4.1 found on the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0. Samsung is notorious for not updating their mobile devices, so there’s probably no chance that either tablet will ever run Kitkat (not without a 3rd party firmware, in any case).

Neither tablet presents a good value, but I suppose that Samsung will still sell a few units. But I wouldn’t buy one. I’ve found tablets with $99 price tags that were a better value -  the HP Mesquite, for example. That tablet had an impressive battery life, decent construction, and is my choice for the sub-$99 market.

I found the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 to be a very pretty tablet that was flaky and unstable, and performed poorly. I couldn’t justify recommending the tablet when it cost $139, and that goes double now that it costs $179.


The post Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite Now Available for $160 – a Ridiculous Price appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Citia Raises $600K as it Pivots From Card-Based eBooks to Websites, Catalogs

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 08:40 AM PST

One marketing-card[1]of the more novel digital publishing startups of 2012 is back in the news again today with new funds and a new focus.

Citia, a startup which debuted with the goal of producing condensed Cliff Notes type of ebooks from existing titles, has raised $600,000 in a new round of funding. This firm has adapted their card-based organizational concept and is now using it to build websites and apps for a variety of companies.

They’ve moved beyond developing condensed ebooks and are now using their tech to create new content both for the web and as apps. For example, Citia has worked with the digital music retailer eMusic to produce a retrospective called Year In Music 2013. You can find it online as a website, and it’s also available in iTunes as an iPad app.

Citia has crafted a site which lets users browse through and listen to a selection of songs published in 2013. Each song is displayed on its own card, and in addition to streaming the song a user can also read a description or click a link and go buy the song from eMusic. Each individual card has its own URL and can be shared via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

emusic citia

Citia has in effect created a catalog for eMusic, and they are planning to offer this service to other companies as well. This is a good adaptation of their tech, and I would say it’s also a much better use than creating condensed ebooks.

I found Citia’s work to be fascinating in 2012, but I couldn’t see how it would ever be widely adopted by publishers. Citia was in effect suggesting that publishing companies pay the production costs of a new edition of an existing title, which would then only be available on the iPad. Even today, there aren’t enough iPads to justify the expense for most titles (which probably explains why Citia now develops for the web as well).

The new funding comes from angel investors, including David S. Rose and Geoff Judge, and it brings Citia's total funding to $2.8 million.


The post Citia Raises $600K as it Pivots From Card-Based eBooks to Websites, Catalogs appeared first on The Digital Reader.

New Indiegogo Project Wants to Publish Wikipedia as a Print Edition

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 06:25 AM PST

We’re logo[2]long past the point where anyone still buys the print edition of encyclopedias, but don’t tell that to PediaPress. This German startup is about to go where even the Encyclopedia Britannica no longer dares to tread.

PediaPress wants to publish a print edition of Wikipedia, and they started a new crowd funding project on Indiegogo in order to raise the required funding.

They’re trying to raise $50,000, and their goal is to print a single 1,000 volume set of the English language Wikipedia. They’re not crazy enough to think they can bring it to market, but they are planning to exhibit the set at Wikimania London in August 2014.


Each volume will have 1,200 pages. They’ll be printed in grayscale (color printing is a stretch goal) and bound in hardback. The combined set of 1,000 will require a book case 32 feet long and 8 feet high.

It’s an impressive goal, isn’t it?

I think so, but I’m not so sure they will succeed. PediaPress has 57 days left on this Indiegogo project and they’ve only raised about $1200 so far. At this rate it doesn’t look like they will get funded.

If you would like to contribute, head on over to Indiegogo. You can donate any amount from $5 to $1,000. If you donate $10, you’ll be mentioned as the sponsor of one volume. For $100, you can sponsor a volume all by yourself, and if you contribute $250 PediaPress will give you a copy of the volume you sponsored.

I hope this will come to pass, because I plan to encourage everyone to make this a true Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Once it is on display, I think visitors should be encouraged to edit it, including removing pages, crossing out articles, and inserting new content.

After all, the spirit of Wikipedia comes from the idea that anyone can make changes. I think that same idea should be applied to the print edition as well, don’t you?

The post New Indiegogo Project Wants to Publish Wikipedia as a Print Edition appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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