Monday, 21 April 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 22 April 2014

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 09:30 PM PDT

Noteworthy articles for this Tuesday morning include a look at the publishing industry’s last major format shift – paperbacks (link), the possible demise of the Oxford English Dictionary’s print edition (link), an outsider’s view of the London Book Fair (link), and more.

  • How Paperbacks Transformed the Way Americans Read (Mental Floss)
  • Hugo voter e-book bundle to include entire Wheel of Time series (TeleRead)
  • Knock It Off About Not Having Time to Read (BOOK RIOT)
  • The London Book Fair: Many Tote Bags but Few Industry Solutions (The Millions)
  • Online education resources gain footing in colleges via open textbooks ()
  • RIP for OED as world’s finest dictionary goes out of print (Telegraph)
  • SAY Media-Owned Blogging Platform Typepad Enters Day 5 Of On-And-Off DDoS Attacks (TechCrunch)

The post The Morning Coffee – 22 April 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Unread RSS Reader Updated – Now Supports Fever, NewsBlur

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 05:35 PM PDT

A noteunread rss reader ios7 came across my desk this evening that Unread, a news reader app for iPad and iPhone, got a major update today. In addition to a long list of bug fixes, Unread v1.2 also adds support for 2 new news reader platforms, new support for image, font, an text options, and more.

Unread now supports Fever and NewsBlur (along with FeedWrangler, Feedbin, and Feedly). Unread now offers even more options for readers to pair the app with their preferred service.

Other improvements include rearranged menus, numerous bug fixes, a new option menu just for images, subtle improvements to the internal web browser,  and new options for marking one or all articles as read.

I haven’t had a reason to try Unread before (it didn’t support Bazqux, my preferred news reader). But I can see from the listing that this is a full featured news reader app with the usual sharing options, a background refresh, and all the features you would expect from a paid news reader app.

You can find the app in iTunes. It requires iOS7 or above, and costs $4.99.

Have you tried it? Is it any good?

The post Unread RSS Reader Updated – Now Supports Fever, NewsBlur appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Sony’s Waterproof Tablet Ships Next Month, Will Cost $499

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:49 PM PDT

Sony sony experia z2 tabletannounced today that the Xperia Z2 Android tablet (not to be confused with the Z2 smartphone) is now up for pre-order in the US. This 10″ tablets is a thinner, lighter, waterproof replacement for the Xperia Z1 tablet, and it is shipping in a couple weeks from Sony’s online store.

The Z2, which first debuted at Mobile World Congress last month, runs Android 4.4 KitKat on a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU. IT comes equipped with 3GB RAM, 16GB Flash storage, a microSD card slot, and the requisite 2 cameras (8MP and 2.2MP) .

This tablet has a 10.1″ display with a screen resolution of 1200 x 1920. Weighing in at 439 grams, the Z2 bests the iPad Air’s weight spec but not its screen resolution or battery life. The Z2 is also missing another detail found on the iPad Air: an Apple logo. Of course, some of us see that as a benefit and not a deficiency.

And oh yes, it is waterproof:

sony experia z2 tabletThe Xperia Z2 tablet is certified to meet the IP55 standard for dust and waterproofing, which means it can survive being subjected to a jet of water or dust. It also meets the IP58 standard for water resistance; it will remain functional after being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to half an hour.

In terms of connectivity, the Z2 has Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC,  Glonass (Russian GPS, not available everywhere), and an FM Radio. It’s also designed to act as a second screen for your PC, or stream content to a smart TV via the DLNA protocol.

The Wifi-only version of the Z2 tablet is shipping next month with a $499 price tag; Sony also plans to release LTE and GSM equipped models in various markets.

This tablet turned heads last month at MWC, but I can’t see that there are any in depth reviews just yet. But even without reviews, I think this is a tempting tablet. You should buy one fast, before Sony sells off the division (like they sold off PCs, TVs, and a lot of real estate).




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Slate Launches Slate Plus Membership Club

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 08:22 AM PDT

Ask anySlate_Macro_1[1] news website and they’ll tell you that ad revenues simply aren’t enough.There are too many places for a reader to spend their time, and this has lead to dropping ad revenues as advertisers split their funds between more and more sites. The funding/traffic problem has lead some sites to erect paywalls (NYTimes, Gannett, etc), while others restrict their RSS feed in the hopes of increasing traffic on their websites.

Slate is pursuing a third approach favored by Geekwire and a number of other blogs; they’ve announced a membership club today. For $50 a year Slate is promising its paying subscribers will have a better experience and extra goodies that aren’t available to regular readers.

For starters, Slate Plus members will get special access to favorite Slate writers and editors. On the Slate Plus homepage—look at it here—Dear Prudence's Emily Yoffe and our film critic Dana Stevens, for example, will host discussions for members only. Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and I will live-stream video of our Political Gabfest tapings to members, and answer questions in a private Q&A. Members might help David Weigel decide which politico to profile, assign a tech story to Will Oremus, or chat about Mad Men with Willa Paskin.

Slate will be sleeker for Slate Plus members. We know how much some of you dislike pagination: Slate Plus members will automatically get single-page articles throughout the site. Members will also be able to read and post comments directly on article pages, rather in a pop-up window, and we'll highlight member comments.  We'll post some of our feature stories early to Slate Plus, too.

If you're a podcast fan, Slate Plus will be chockablock with goodies. Members can listen to our three biggest podcasts—the Political Gabfest, the Culture Gabfest, and Hang Up and Listen—ad-free. We'll also include bonus content on those podcasts that only members can listen to. Members also receive at least 30 percent off tickets to our live podcasts—as well as to all our other live events. We're setting aside reserved seats for members at every show, and members will get first access to pre-show parties.

Slate was launched in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley with funding and support from Microsoft. The site was acquired in 2004 by The Washington Post company. It’s been free to read since 1999.


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Onyx Launches a 9.7″ E-ink Android Tablet in Russia

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Android onyx boox m96m zeus blackon E-ink is still a pipe dream in the US but the rest of the world is another matter. Onyx’s Russian retail partner MakCentr has just announced a new 9.7″ Onyx Boox ebook reader.

The Boox M96M Zeus runs Android 4.0 and is available now with a retail price of 14,990 rubles, or about $420 USD.

This ereader is based on a 9.7″ Pearl E-ink screen with a resolution of 1200 x 825, and it comes with both a touchscreen and a frontlight. It runs a customized version of Android 4.0.4 on a 1GHz Freescale i.MX6 Solo Lite  CPU with 512MB RAM, 4GB Flash storage, a microSD card slot, Bluetooth, and Wifi. Weighing in at 510 grams, the Boox M96M Zeus has a 1.6Ah battery with an expected one month of runtime without charging.

In terms of software, the Zeus runs Onyx’s custom reading app, which includes support for a wide variety of ebook formats. The Zeus is also going to ship with FBReader, CoolReader, and AlReader, giving readers the choice of several good reading apps. Readers will also find English-Russian and Russian-English dictionaries on the Zeus, as well as the option for installing additional dictionaries.

onyx boox m96m zeus white onyx boox m96m zeus black

If you’re thinking that the specs are rather thin for a $400 device, I agree. I think this device would have a lot more success if it had a dual-core CPU (at least) as well as more RAM and an external USB for accessories. The extra hardware would enable users to use the Zeus as an Android tablet rather than as an ebook reader. As it stands, the Zeus is so underpowered and overpriced that it has priced itself out of my pocketbook.

The post Onyx Launches a 9.7″ E-ink Android Tablet in Russia appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Official CyanogenMod Support Arrives for the 2012 Kindle Fire HD 7, HD 8.9

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 05:05 AM PDT

Amazon’sCyanogenMod_Logo[1] second generation Android tablets might not be getting any attention from the retailer but other parties are showing more interest.

The open source Android firmware project CyanogenMod added new nightly builds last week for the Kindle Fire HD 7 and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9. KFHD tablet owners can now share in the joy of using one of the most widely adopted Android firmwares.

The nightly builds are available for download from the CyanogenMod website, where you will also find instructions. As always, caution is in order. Sometimes these things are stable, and sometimes they aren’t.


CyanogenMod 11 is based on Android 4.4 KitKat, and includes both the illicit official Google apps as well as many other useful mods. The very first version of CyanogenMod was based on the firmware for the Google G1, the original Android smartphone. That early firmware drew popular support, eventually growing into a community-driven effort to develop and maintain a freely available Android firmware.

The CyanogenMod team reinvented itself in September 2013 when it was formally launched as a startup with the goal of commercializing the CyanogenMod firmware. It has since gone through 2 rounds of funding, taking in about $30 million in capital investment.

Over the past 6 months CyanogenMod the startup has also announced partnerships with Chinese smartphone makers Oppo and OnePlus. Each company will be releasing at least one smartphone which runs the CyanogenMod version of Android.

Android Police

The post Official CyanogenMod Support Arrives for the 2012 Kindle Fire HD 7, HD 8.9 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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