Nexus 5 is launched

In the errra where ever major company has a press event for their flagship product Google yesterday silently releases the Nexus 5.

This is a deviation from major manufacturing lines and also deviation from Google who last year to several parties for both of Google I/O and their Nexus line.

What causeed their deviation is Google trying a new marketing strategy where the they release leaks little by little to get people hyped up and then silently release the product? Or is it related to Hugo’s departure from Google and the love triangle mess he left behind. It’s no coincidence that since that is incident neither have made public appearance.


YotaPhone launching in November


According to the folks over at Phandroid the YotaPhone is finally set to launch this November.  The phone was introduced late last year but faced many obstacles that delayed their launch.

From an e-reader perspective this phone has captured my interest more than most phones to date. One can now read on one’s phone for long hours at a time without drain on the battery.

Excellent for reading both in daylight and at night. Something all eInk e-readers, tablets, and phones fail to accomplish today.

The unfortunate part is that this device is only slatted for the Russian market.

more here…

Sony Releases it’s Mega Phone, the Xperia Z Ultra


This phone is a whopping 6.4″ phone with a 1080p screen. Sony did not pull punches on any of the specs. The Ultra is a high end phone, that leaves most tech enthusiast watering in  the mouth.

However the question is this device to big or did Sony hit the sweet spot.

Two years ago Samsung made a bold move and released the Note. Many bloggers clamored up and wrote up a cacophony of noise stating the device being too big to be practical. Some of the more shallow bloggers just said you’d look silly using that phone. Yet Samsung held fast and was was rewarded with a home run.  The Note was wildly successful. This has left manufacturers scrambling to make their own phablet.

While LG’s approach was to completely copy Samsung and one up it in specs, Sony has created their own. Some of the features are real winners.

From a digital book reader some of the features are real appealing, water resistant, bright screens, and a large screen. However we come back to the same question, ids the screen size the right size, it is it too big.

Reminiscing: How the eReading field has changed

Much has changed in the world of eReading, in the past I was a huge eInk proponent.

So much I that I bought devices for most of my family members and looked to invest in the company.  The latter was a bust as I discovered eInk was a private company worse they where bought by a company that has sat on their technology. However that did not deter my enthusiasm for eInk. I still loved the technology and hoped to see more.

So what caused me to start changing my opinion. The change stemmed from the most unlikely device, my blackberry Storm. You see a good amount of books  still come in PDF and reading such books on an eInk device is painful. While all eInk support PDFs, they did so poorly. Sadly as much as I enjoyed reading on my eInk device, I had to resort to reading PDFs on my phone. A small 3.5″ screen and ironically that proved to be a better reading experience than my eInk device.

That got me thinking that maybe eInk isn’t the end all. The only drawback was reading on your phone was the a tad killed the battery very quickly. This made using the phone as an ebook reader impractical. So I reverted reading on my eInk.

That experience two years ago.

However as time processed and older technology adapted. In particular the rise of the LCD/LED screens in form of tablets things slowly started to change. Then B&N did something that revolutionized the eReading market they released the Nook. A 7″ tablet with an amazing screen and battery life.

Here is a device that could handle PDFs and ebooks in one device. (This was after I rooted and ROMed the device – – the nook software was extremely limited). Most importantly it was portable. While the iPad existed it was not as portable as an eInk or nook.

I did not pick up my eInk device again. Though the battery life does not compare they nook lasted enough to get a reader hours of reading before a charge was needed. With the battery limitation minimized this made all the advantages of a tablet worthwhile.

Today I’m no longer carrying a tablet and phone I’m using a Note 2 ( aka phablet) as my primary source of reading. Incidentally It’s also the same device I used to write and post this blog.

Do in think eInk has gone by the waste side.  No I still think there is great opportunity for that technology and still room for the device to complete in the eReading space, phone and tablet arena. The fact that the battery on such device will always out perform any LCD both in battery life and daylight visibility means there is a market. I believe their fall was in their focus. They put all efforts behind low performance hardware, with a hefty price tag. What eInk has to do is deliver a product with better hardware at competitive prices. People will buy because now it fits a need and the experience will not be subpar.

Galaxy Note II Now in Pink

It goes to show that the Galaxy Note is not only for men but it seems women have taken a fancy to the phone as well

For the moment, the pink Galaxy Note II can be seen only over at Samsung Taiwan’s official website. We don’t know if it’s going to be available in other markets, but it probably will anyway, especially since Valentine’s Day is one week away.more…


Fictionwise closing their doors

Well in a bit of sad news Fictionwise is closing their doors by the years end.

While we all pretty much new the end was near for Fictionwise once Barnes and Noble bought them it is still sad to see them go.

I’ve purchased many books from them because of their excellent sales.
Many folks including myself moved on to other bookstores because of agency pricing and B&N.

Alas they are no more.

Dear Fictionwise and eBookwise Customer,

As you may know, in March of 2009, Fictionwise, comprised of several eBook retail websites, including , and, was acquired by Barnes & Noble.

Fictionwise is in the process of winding down its operations, and (including and will end sales on December 4, 2012. Please note, you will not be able to access your Fictionwise Bookshelf after December 21, 2012.

Android provides better parental controls than iOS

Great article on parental control. Not only does it give a good comparison, but some good solutions.

It’s all about the parental controls. While iOS includes some basic app-blocking and content-filtering optioans[sic], the protection is largely limited to the software baked into the operating system, like iTunes or Safari. Android doesn’t offer very robust protection out of the box either, but the open-source OS gives developers access to much deeper parts of the operating system than Apple. That’s led to a thriving ecosystem of third-party parental control apps.

Read the full post here
Does Android provide a better parental control than iOS?

A Poor Man’s Wispersync

Arguably one of the Kindle’s most loved feature is the Whispersync technology. Whispersync, for those not familiar with the technology, is the ability to synchronize ones Kindle books across all kindle devices, be it an eReader, Tablet, iPad, Smartphone, PC, etc… This is all done on the application layer so the user need not lift a finger to get this great feature. However this technology is not without its limitations. One major limitation is that Whispersync does not work for personal eBooks it only works for eBooks purchased from Amazon.

For those s are completely bought in to to Amazon’s ecosystem it’s not such a big deal, but what happens when we’re not? What about those that require some degree of freedom.

Note: when I refer to a “Kindle device” I am referring to an Android device with the Kindle app installed on it.



I read a lot on the go and I often find myself reading books on my phone and on my Android tablet. As a result of my reading habits the Whispersync is an important feature I can’t do without. For books I have purchased through Amazon this is no problem unfortunately for me most of my books are not from Amazon.

Considering a large majority of my books where purchased outside of the Kindle’s ecosystem the vast majority of my books could not take advantage of this excellent feature. To replicate this features I had one of two choices: I could repurchase all of my eBooks from Amazon or manually sync all the notes, last page read, and annotations for each book. While both solutions work, they are both costly.  Repurchasing the books is financially expensive and manually syncing the books is time consuming and prone to errors.  Neither was an option for me.


Not happy with either option I set out to find a solution that would work for me. I did a little research and found out a neat little trick with the kindle app. It seems all of the annotations are kept in an MBP file that is generated the first time you open a MOBI/AMZ file from your Kindle device. By coping the MBP, file from my kindle device to any other kindle device, I was able to keep my devices synced. (Note the ‘last page’ setting is stored in the MOBI file, but I always used the bookmark feature to track my last page read and that information is stored in the MBP file.)

While this manual process wasn’t so time consuming or difficult, it still had its pitfalls.  I still had to remember to connect to a PC and manually copy the files from one device to the other. If I did not have access to a PC and both kindle devices with me I could not sync my devices.

So while I was one step closer to finding a solution, I still was not satisfied due to the limitations previously mentioned.  The next iteration was to use a cloud solution like Dropbox. This was a huge step in the right direction. I could now sync my device(s) without the need of a PC or having to have both devices with me.  However there was still some major limitations. There was the human element, I often forgot to upload the files to Dropbox or did not have a wireless connection to upload the changes.

So even though I was a step closer the current solution, it was not adequate. The flaws were still large enough to keep me from having a working solution.  …And so my quest, for a better solution, continued.



I came to the conclusion that the only real solution is to come up with a fully automated system anything short of that would lead to failure.

The solution would required that my eBooks (MOBI and MBP files) on my Android devices sync automatically to all of my Android devices.  My first step was to see this feature existed within the current cloud apps like Dropbox, Sugarsync, Box. etc…. Could the eBooks on my Android device get pushed up to the cloud automatically and can they get automatically refreshed if the files changed in the cloud. No dice, while their PC apps did offer that feature, their Andoid clients did not.

The next step would be to look for any app that integrated with Dropbox, Sugarsync, Box, etc…. That’s where I struck gold!  An app, called DropSync, did just what I was looking for. This app allowed a user to synchronize all files within a directory on an Android device to one’s Dropbox account.  The app was written by a guy who was just as frustrated with the limitations of the Dropbox app as I was.  In particular, how Dropbox lacked the synchronization feature that existed with the desktop.

Like many apps on the Play market there is a fee version and a paid version.  The free version is a light version and has a few limits imposed by the developer. As of this writing, the limitations are as follows: you can only synchronize one directory, there is a size limit on synchronized files, and you can only use the default periodics to kick of the synchronization process. For the purpose of this article these limits do not affect us. However, I did purchase the license because I read large PDF files that do exceed the limit, also its nice to support the developer who created such a fine product. One thing I will add is this developer is very active and keeps his product up to date, something you don’t always see.

Apps you will need, for this tutorial, are all found in the Play store.  These apps are, Kindle for Android, DropBox, and DropSync.




1. Install the Kindle app to your Android device.
2. Login to your Kindle app and download a book, this will create the kindle directory on your Android device.
3. Install the Dropbox app.
4. Login to the Dropbox app(create an account if it’s your first time–that is a 5min. process.)
5. Download the Dropsync app.
6. Configure the app to sync with Dropbox. (see images).


Step 1: Link Dropbox with Dropsync

Step 1: Link Dropbox with Dropsync

Step 2: Accept the authentication, depress the "Allow" button.

Step 2: Accept the authentication, depress the “Allow” button.

Step 3: Read screen and hit the "Next" button

Step 3: Read screen and hit the “Next” button

Step 4: Select the Kindle folder

Step 4: Select the Kindle folder

Step 4-b: After selecting the Kindle directory in step 4, click the"Select" button.

Step 4-b: After selecting the Kindle directory in step 4, click the “Select” button.

Step 5: IMPORTANT this is on the Drop box Account. 1. Create a kindle directory. 2.Select the directory. 3. Depress the "Next" button.

Step 5: IMPORTANT this is on the Drop box Account. 1. Create a kindle directory. 2.Select the directory. 3. Depress the “Next” button.

Step 6: Setup is complete hit the "Done" button.

Step 6: Setup is complete hit the “Done” button.


And this is all there is too it. You will have to repeat steps 1-6 for every android device you wish to synchronize with.

7.(Optional)  You don’t need to install the desktop version to sync the devices but having the desktop makes it very easy to deploy files to all devices after you create the MOBI.


That’s all there is to it,

    Enjoy and keep reading.


Is the iPad the New Kindle?

Is the iPad the new kindle?  I can’t tell you how many times, while sitting in a public setting, how often my  nook is mistaken for an iPad.

I remember back when I would carry my SONY PRS-505 and be constantly asked if it was the kindle. Well time has passed and the kindle is not the new kid on the block.  And just like an old pair of sneakers the Kindle has been tossed out from the publics mind. Only to be replaced with the newest, hottest toy the iPad.

Maybe I’m a contrarian by nature, a rebel who must sport the device that goes against the grain. As I have chosen devices with no fame like the PRS 505 and for my newest aquisition it’s a nookCOLOR over the popular iPad. I like to believe that the real reason is because I make educated choices and buy the best devices at the best prices.

And so history repeats itself but the details are different. It’s not a SONY PRS 505 I’m rocking, it’s a nookCOLOR and folks are not asking if I’m reading with a Kindle but an iPad.  However the conversation is the same and so is the reaction.  Below is a reprint of the typical conversations.

The story goes like this:
“Wow! is a that an iPad.”

I look up, but I’m hesitant to say the truth for I know what is to come. But being earnest I’m compelled to answer truthfully. So I answer, “No it’s … “. I know the answer matters not, for as soon as they hear the word “no” the twinkle in their eye is gone; the excitement in their face disappear. I finish the sentence “… a nook. “

As if I dashed their dreams or shattered their hopes of exciting new frontier of gadgetry some folks quickly walk off.   Most do stick around for a a full explanation…politely smile and quickly scurry off.

I’m not sure what to make of this phenomenon, but only this.  The public mind and media only has appetite for a few high profile gadgets along with a short attention span.  So when all the hype is gone and a new toy is in the limelight and people no longer huddle around your eReader.  Ask yourself this, do you still enjoy your gadet and do you still use it daily?  If so I congratulate you for you have bought for your needs and not into the hype.