mrweaver's blog

Ebooks and privacy: a new guide

The holiday season is upon us once more. It is a time of year for reflection, family, and deals on ereaders and tablets! If you find yourself in the market for one of these devices, it is important to understand how much personal information they gather, and how the device manufacturers use it.

Ereaders, ereaders, ereaders

image of ereaderIf you are in the market for an an ereader as opposed to a tablet, I found this handy comparison chart that includes several of the top ereaders on the market including three Kindle models, the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, and the Sony Reader and Kobo Mini. This guide provides a lot detailed information about the technological specifications of the devices.

If you want reviews, I am a fan of CNET.com for reviews and the site has a special section for ereaders. Some of the newer models don't have reviews yet, but as the holidays drawer near, I'm sure both consumer and editor reviews will be added.

Tablets, tablets, tablets

image of iPad MiniAs of today we finally and officially know about Apple's new iPad Mini (which was one of the worst kept secrets in tech). While there have been other product launches of smaller tablets lately, many people have been waiting to hear about this new smaller version of the iPad before deciding on a small tablet. In today's press conference, what did we learn? I was suprised to see that the iPad Mini bucks the sub-$200 tablet price trend in a big way, with a starting price of $329.

Are you in the market for a new tablet device? I found this blog post from ars technica, hot off the proverbial presses, that does a good job comparing the major tablets based on features and specs, and includes the iPad Mini. Do you need to spend $329 to get what you want? Have a look at the guide and decide for yourself.

All of the devices listed in the article can use the Overdrive app for ebooks and audiobooks.

Nook Color/Tablet Owners: Finally, an Overdrive app!

If you own a Nook Color or Nook Tablet, Overdrive has finally launched its Overdrive Media Console app for these devices. What does that mean? You will no longer have to attach your device to your computer to upload ebooks and audiobooks. There isn't any documentation on the app at this point, but stay tuned and we will share it with you when we find it.

Have you tried Raspberry Pi?

Sorry, no, this is not a food-related post (and I did not misspell "pie," either, by the way). I just purchased a Raspberry Pi, an inexpensive ($35) computer. Not from a guy in a back alley based on a suspicious Craig's list ad, but from an organization that is sparking an interest in DIY computing that resembles the early 1980s when TRS-80s, Commodore 64s, and early Apples initiated the rise of the home computer.

From Amazon to Zoosk: Understanding "terms of service"

Any website that you create an account on has a "terms of service" agreement. Think about all of the websites you participate in: how many terms of service agreements have you actually read? If you are like most people, you have checked the little box next to “I have read and agree to the Terms” without reading them. These pages are often very difficult to understand; but you can give up some rights when you click on those agreements.

Enter the Terms of Service;Didn't read project, which "...aims at creating a transparent and peer-reviewed process to rate and analyse Terms of Service and Privacy Policies in order to create a rating from Class A to Class E."

New Property Values

The Plain Dealer has created a searchable database of home values for Cuyahoga County. You will receive a statement in the mail from the county in July, but if you would like to have a look now, you can access the database here.

iPads and Penguins--UPDATED 2/16

[UPDATE: From the "Why didn't I catch that" department, note that the text for the Kindle-format ebook in the second image, the Harlan Coben entry, reads "Kindle and Kindle free apps via USB only." This language is inaccurate: if you see "via USB only" on any such entry, it cannot be downloaded to the Kindle app. We have contacted Overdrive about this language and they are "looking into it."

Another part of this update: if you are on hold for a Penguin ebook (The Help, for instance) and you are planning to read it on a Kindle app, because of Penguin's recent decisions to eliminate wifi access to its ebooks, you will not be able to get that hold. And because holds are format-specific, your hold will not allow you to check out the ePub format ebook via the Overdrive app. If you think this is going to affect you, check your holds in the Overdrive page and see if a title has the "via USB only" language on the record. If not, you're golden. If so, call us.

Again, this only relates to people using Kindle apps to read ebooks published by Penguin.]

 

As you may have read on the website's front page, publisher Penguin has decided to end its contract with our ebook/audiobook provider Overdrive, and part of this change means that our existing Penguin ebooks have to be downloaded via USB cable for Kindle owners only.

There is a special problem for tablet users who prefer to read library ebooks via the Kindle app, as opposed to the Overdrive app, due to special features the Kindle app has. Two things:

  1. Overdrive is updating its apps to include some of those features, like a dictionary, etc, which is why many people preferred the Kindle app over the Overdrive app.
    • Unfortunately for iPad/iPhone/iPod owners, the updates for your app haven't been completed yet.
    • For Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone, the apps have been updated.
  2. You cannot transfer ebooks to a tablet device via USB, so you cannot use the Kindle app to read Penguin ebooks.

Apps for Kindle Fire

USA.gov apps

USA.gov logo

USA.gov, the U.S. government's official web portal, has a site that offers a range of smart phone apps. Apps are available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, but every app isn't available for every platform. Many of these apps are actually mobile websites that will run on any web-capable device.