Tag Archives: technology

Read an ebook week

Until Saturday, 13 March, it’s again Read an ebook week, or as we fondly acronym it, REBW.

With Reader devices such as the Kindle, the Sony Reader, the Nook, the iPhone, and the upcoming iPad, ebooks have become increasingly popular as a medium for reading. If you’re an avid reader and love to own books, the ebook is ideal.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you love the feel and smell of a paper book. But you know what? Paper books take space. Lots of space. I currently have over two hundred books in my Sony Reader. At one inch a book (and that’s conservative), that’s 16 feet of shelf space.  Since I read on average three books a week, I’d add about 13 feet of shelf space a year to my bookshelf. Frankly, I don’t have enough walls for that.

I’ve been reading ebooks since they began, really, ten years ago. I haven’t abandoned the paper book; I consider each a different medium for words and both have their level of comfort. My Sony Reader fits in my purse easily. I take it with me when I wait at the doctor’s office or when I go to the park for a picnic. It’s ideal when I travel — I can take dozens of books with me and they weigh less than a pound. Plus, I feel righteous: I’m doing my bit to diminish my carbon footprint in the world.

If you’re not sure about which reader to buy, read this article at Wired.

Zumaya has jumped into ebookweek by offering free the complete text of five of their books, in .pdf format (which means they can be read on any device):

In the Service of Samurai by Gloria Oliver (YA Fantasy)

Synergy by M D Benoit (Science Fiction)

Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows by David Lynn Anderson (Fantasy)

Milky Way Marmalade by Michael DiCerto (Science Fiction)

The Dream Ender by Dorien Grey (Thriller)

You can also read excerpts of dozen of Zumaya Publications’ books at Scribd.

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The future of eReaders

I found the video below through a tweet from @newspaperman and it got me thinking of the advance of technology. I recently bought a Sony Reader (PRS 505) and have been following the reviews and critiques. I’ve been reading eboks for years, started on a Palm Pilot black and white, then a Zire71 and just graduated to the Sony Reader. I love it, I love the portability of ebooks, and am fascinated with the technology. There is, and always has been, a segment of readers, writers, reviewers, who say that ebooks and the readers will never take a significant, important place in people’s world. I disagree. To wit, I offer this video on cell phones. They said it would never take. Too clunky. Too difficult to use. Ha.

I love the geeky-looking computer user at the end. Those either weren’t supposed to take.

The new cell phone

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About Ebooks

This is a 2008 article from Epublishers Weekly about ebooks, but it does talk about some good reasons to read ebooks, one of my favourites being that it’s good for the environment.

There also a great Feb. 2009 article by John Siracuse in ars technica about “The once and future ebooks.”  Siracuse starts by saying:

“people don’t get e-books.” This is as true today as it was ten years ago. Venture capitalists didn’t get it then, nor did the series of owners that killed Peanut Press, nor do many of the players in the e-book market today. And then there are the consumers, their own notions about e-books left to solidify in the absence of any clear vision from the industry. […] Here’s an awesome, obvious, inevitable idea, seemingly thwarted at every turn by widespread consumer misunderstanding and an endemic lack of will among the big players. Continue reading

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Free Unabridged Books Online

Way in the beginning when I was first published –my, how time flies– you could read my book only as an ebook. I’d always been a proponent of the medium, but the number of ebooks available, in formats I could read on my Palm Pilot, were scarce.

Today, it’s not the case, especially with e-ink technology, which is used by the Sony Reader and Kindle. There also have been many projects over the year to make available most of the classics online for anybody to read. These, of course, are one way or the other, copyright-free. The site below has put together a list of online sites where you can find free ebooks for download. The site has a scholastic goal, but I like the fact that they’ve added a site for children’s stories and poems, which are usually difficult to find. Some sites such as fictionwise.com and eReader offer only a limited number of free ebooks but offer a bookstore of tens of thousands of great books, including current best-sellers. Fictionwise.com has all the available formats (and carries my own books, of course!)

List of Online Archives for Free Unabridged Books Online

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Life After Firefox

No, Firefox is not a new kind of genetically enhanced animal. It’s a free browser that lets you surf the internet in a completely new way. It’s sturdier, less sensitive to attacks by viruses and worms, it has tons of features, and it’s fast. Firefox has several basic advantages: first, it’s completely free. Firefox is a product in the Mozilla suite that has been developed as Open Source, a concept where people develop applications and enhancement and provide them free to individuals (organizations must pay a modest fee for its use). The Open Source concept developed as a reaction to monopolies such as Microsoft who not only imposed their own restrictions of what the product was and how to use it but also created an interdependence that is difficult to break from. Here’s what so neat about Firefox:

  1. It includes protection from active scams, viruses and worms; this browser is considered one of the most sturdy in existence, which means you seriously decrease your chances of attack.
  2. It completely eliminates pop-ups; my dad was going nearly insane with pop-ups he wasn’t able to eliminate with Internet Explorer. Since he’s using Firefox, he hasn’t had one pop-up — and he’s going to the same sites he used to.
  3. It takes less than five minutes to install and it’s free
  4. It has hundreds of additional tools and add-ons that change the functionality, usage and look of your browser.

What do I mean by tools and add-ons? These are features that lets you use your browser for more than surfing the internet. Let’s look at a few of the more popular ones (my favorites have a star beside them):

  • Firefox Companion for Kodak EasyShare Gallery: Organizing and sharing your pictures is easier than ever with Firefox Companion for Kodak EasyShare Gallery. Upload photos directly to your Kodak EasyShare Gallery, all within your browser. Drag, drop and arrange pictures adding photo titles, etc.
  • Firefox Companion for eBay 1.5:: Keep an eye on your eBay trading wherever you are on the web when you install the eBay Companion for Firefox. It’s a free tool built with eBay users in mind that will help you get more out of your buying and selling.
  • Interclue 1.5.2: Interclue tooltip windows display content previews, useful extra information and relevant next actions for almost any link on the web. A truly user-centric design, “Clueview” tooltips show you only the most relevant content from linked pages, and can provide embedded viewing for images, mp3s and YouTube videos.
  • *PDF Download 1.0.1.: PDF Download relieves the pain experienced when encountering PDF files on the Web. Whenever you click on a PDF file, PDF Download lets you know before trying to open it, and then offers you choices such as downloading, opening, or converting it straight to HTML.
  • Download Statusbar: View and manage downloads from a tidy statusbar – without the download window getting in the way of your web browsing.
  • Piclens: *PicLens instantly transforms your browser into a full-screen 3D experience for viewing images across the web. Our new interactive “3D Wall” and built-in search function lets you effortlessly drag, click, zoom, and zip your way around a wall of pictures for an extraordinary viewing experience.
  • *Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer: If you use Firefox on more than one computer, you’ll want Foxmarks. Install Foxmarks on each computer, and it will work silently in the background to keep your bookmarks synchronized. You can also log in to my.foxmarks.com to manage your bookmarks from any computer.
  • *FireFTP: FireFTP is a free, secure, cross-platform FTP client for Mozilla Firefox which provides easy and intuitive access to FTP servers.
  • *Cooliris Previews: Cooliris Previews gives you the power to browse and share Web links and rich media faster. Just mouse over any link, and the Cooliris preview window immediately appears to show you the content. To email it, just click.
  • *ColorfulTabs: The most beautiful yet the simplest add-on that makes a strong colorful appeal. Colors every tab in a different color and makes them easy to distinguish while beautifying the overall appearance of the interface.
  • Delicious Bookmarks: The Official Delicious Add-on seamlessly integrates your browser with del.icio.us, the leading social bookmarking service on the Web.
  • Scribefire: ScribeFire (previously Performancing for Firefox) is a full-featured blog editor that integrates with your browser and lets you easily post to your blog.
  • *Dictionaries and Language Packs: From Afrikaans to Zulu, if you use your browser to write (emails, blogs, etc.) Firefox will highlight your spelling mistakes. You can install more than one language pack and switch between them, as well as add new words to each dictionary.

These are only a very few add-ons from the thousands you can choose from (all free!) to personalize or streamline your browsing experience. Firefox has add-ons in the following categories:

* Alerts & Updates
* Bookmarks
* Download Management
* Feeds, News & Blogging
* Language Support
* Photos, Music & Videos
* Privacy & Security
* Search Tools
* Social & Communication
* Tabs
* Themes & Appearance
* Toolbars
* Web Development

You can also change the look of your browser through the hundreds of themes (from cute to gloomy to businesslike).

The beauty of it? Any and all of these add-on and themes are one download click away (any download takes between two and ten seconds), they are all tested and work, and they are as easy to uninstall if you decide you don’t want them. Firefox is compatible for both Windows and Mac.

See the light. Switch to Firefox. Your Internet time will be greatly enhanced.

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