Eason Fails to Sell eBooks via Billboard

…or “Why DRM is killing ebook sales outside of Amazon or Barnes & Noble”.

Being a international superstar and global jetsetter*, I had the pleasure of passing through Dublin’s Connolly railway station today. In the atrium there was a billboard display of book covers complete with QR codes.

Billboard of Books

“Totally cool,” I thought. Scan the QR code, buy the ebook, download to my tablet and start reading. The bookstore, Eason, had helpfully included free wifi in the area to get on-line. (For those not familiar with Ireland, Eason would be the leading newsagent, stationers and bookstore, comparable to WHSmith in GB). I scanned this book:

Book cover

The QR code took me to this page. Strangely, the book offered was a paperback and not an ebook. Huh?

Book purchase

Then I looked at the original poster, “1. Choose your book 2. Scan your QR code 3. Make your purchase 4. Wait for the post 5. Enjoy your book!”

Seriously…”Wait for the post”. Have these guys actually heard of ebooks or did the Kindle completely pass them by? Sure enough, Eason does have a section for ebooks on their website. It says, “Eason eBooks are compatible with Sony, Iriver and Elonex eReaders, as well as all devices that support Adobe EPUB DRM eBooks. Our eBooks are not currently compatible with Apple iOS, Google Android or Amazon devices – this includes iPads, iPhones, iPods, Android phones and tablets, and Kindles.

So let me get this straight….Eason is appealing to a travelling customer, offering the QR codes to smartphones that will typically be iPhones or Android devices, but ebooks can’t be offered on these because of Adobe’s ePub DRM? Fail, fail, fail.

It’s both totally unbelievable yet completely expected. It’s no wonder Amazon and the Kindle are dominating the market because everyone else is fighting with one hand tied behind their back with DRM. Eason, I had a two hour train journey ahead of me and you had a 100% chance of an ebook sale but you blew it. I’ll turn on my tablet, fire up my Kindle or Nook app and buy directly from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Fail.

* This is completely untrue.

The Korg MicroStation Does it All

Korg has something that I think every musician can use. It’s called the MicroStation. It solves a lot of the problems that many musicians face when they are trying to create and record music at home, (or outside of a professional music studio).

The MicroStation has a compact 61-key Natural Touch Mini-Keyboard that is way more portable than a standard sized keyboard could ever be. The proportion of black keys and white keys has been adjusted in a way that makes chords more comfortable to play. The smaller size is nice for musicians who do not have a dedicated studio to keep all of their equipment in.

It has an intuitive onboard sequencer for recording. New features include Loop Recording and Visual Grid Sequencing. It also has several hundred sounds that include a variety of drum kits and audition riffs.

This is useful if you want to add some drums or other percussion into a song, but don’t have access to a full drum kit to play it on, or knowledge about how to properly record a drum kit. It also allows you to drop a riff or a drum track into your song, and test it out. If you don’t like what you selected, you can easily remove it.

There are four real-time control knobs that can be used for convenient sound editing or for performing with the arpeggiator. Turn the External switch on, and the knobs can be used to control a MIDI device. It even comes with a joystick for more expressive potential.

The MicroStation is also bundled with helpful software: the “MicroStation Editor” and the “MicroStation Plug-In Editor”. The MicroStation also provides an SD card slot that you can save your Programs onto. You can also save the Combinations you selected and song data directly onto an SD/SDHC card.

It also comes with a nice price. The Korg MicroStation is available at a variety of retailers in the United States for $399. That’s a great price for a drum kit, a keyboard, and recording and editing software, all in one package.

Image by Korg

Lowest .com Price Ever $2.95 from GoDaddy

It is not very often that I have a wow moment. But the team at GoDaddy has cut loose the deal of the year! Happy Holidays folks..

Get up to 3 .com’s for $2.95 each. You can just click on the link or use my Promo Code: geek295

Thats $5.00 off retail… This code will expire on Dec 31st go get em!

Glass by iStabilizer

iStabilizer Do you use your smart phone while driving. Well, stop according to a recent study by the Institute of Advance Motorists and Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) your reactions while using a smart phone is 37.4 percent slower than normal. In fact your reactions are quicker if you are drunk then if you are using a cell phone, while driving. Plus it is illegal in most states.


Many people though use their phones for turn by turn directions and occasionally have to look at their phones. Looking down at your phone even for a moment takes your eyes off the road and endangers yourself and those around you. iStabilizer has a solution for this problem. They have made a windshield mount for the iPhone, most Android phones and GPS units. The suction cup base will mount to most windshields or dashboard. This keeps the drivers eyes level with the road, even when they are looking at the device. The Glass by iStabilizer can hold any smartphone or GPS unit up to 2.75 inches wide. It will even work if the phone is in a case. The base is detachable using a lock and unlock method and the arm is adjustable.

Normally the Glass by iStabilizer is $29.95 but thru today November 27 the cost is only $22.50. iStablizer also makes mounts, flexible tripods, monopods and dollies.

3 apps to customize Windows 8 to your liking

Microsoft made major changes with the move to Windows 8. Many users love the new operating system, but it also seems to have it’s detractors and they tend to be the loudest voices. Yes, the new OS is different, but Microsoft has always made Windows pretty customizable and features that aren’t readily so can be changed by third-party apps. That hasn’t changed in Windows 8.

Skip Metro Suite

I personally don’t mind the new Start screen, although I rarely use it. I don’t mind having to hit the Desktop icon after boot up and I genuinely like the Charms menu. With that said, my opinions aren’t shared by all and Skip Metro Suite will help those who don’t share my views. It will let you skip the Start screen on boot up, disable the switcher, disable the Charms menu and remove edge panels.

Start8

The lack of the now familiar Start button has probably been the biggest cause of concern for Windows traditionalists. Again, I find no reason to bring this back — using the Charms menu Search feature to open an app is perfectly acceptable. However, many seem to feel they simply can’t live without this Windows 95 leftover.

For those of you who want that feature back, there are a number of apps that have sprung up to take care of it. Perhaps the best is Start8 from Stardock. It isn’t free, but the $4.99 price tag isn’t too steep if this is truly what you want.

QTTabBar

Now here is an app that I really like! Not that the previous two aren’t good, but only that they do things that I don’t find necessary. You see, Microsoft did update Windows Explorer by adding the ribbon interface which became popular in Office. However, the company failed to add perhaps the most requested feature – tabs. Tabs like those Chrome, Firefox and even Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have had for some time.

QTTabBar is perhaps the simplest way to add tabs to Explorer. It’s also free and open source software, which makes it even better.

So, what apps do you like to use with Windows 8? I am always looking for suggestions.

GNC-2012-11-26 #819 Cyber Monday

Did you all get your shopping on? I share my shopping adventure along with an weekend update. I also break into all the tech news of the day and analyze what is happening in the space.

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Firefox 18 beta launches, faster JavaScript and Retina support

Mozilla may be suffering a bit lately thanks to the growth of the Chrome web browser, but they are still a popular choice for many computer users. They have also begun updating the browser at a much faster pace in order to keep pace with the competition. Those frequent updates don’t always result in cool new features, but the release today of the version 18 beta does bring some welcome new features.

Whenever a company updates their software I always tend to go first to the changelog so I can find out exactly what I am looking for. In this case I was surprised to find a couple of nice updates.

The first was a major inprovement to JavaScript by implementing the much anticipated IonMonkey engine. This should improve the display of web apps, games, and other JavaScript-heavy sites and services. The second was new support for Apple’s Retina displays. Beyond these two important changes, there are several other things that are notable.

Changelog

  • CHANGED: Performance improvements around tab switching.
  • DEVELOPER: CSS3 Flexbox implemented.
  • DEVELOPER: Support for new DOM property window.devicePixelRatio.
  • DEVELOPER: Support for @supports added.
  • DEVELOPER: Improvement in startup time through smart handling of signed extension certificates.
  • HTML5: Support for W3C touch events impemented, taking the place of MozTouch events.
  • FIXED: Disable insecure content loading on HTTPS pages (62178).
  • FIXED: Improved responsiveness for users on proxies (769764).

If you are already using the beta version of Firefox then you should receive this update automatically. If not, then head over to the Mozilla Beta Channel to make the switch. The final version will be released in January.

Using Technology in the Classroom

Two teachers who live halfway around the world from each other figured out a really interesting way to get students engaged in learning something new. They are incorporating technology into their classroom in order to utilize the technology in “real world” scenarios.

St. Patrick’s Catholic School, in Arroyo Grande, California, used Skype to connect with another classroom. The fifth-graders from California had no idea where the students in the other classroom were located.

They had to ask the other students yes/no questions in order to gather enough information to be able to make an educated guess about where in the world the other students were located. It turned out that the other classroom was located in Fairfield West Primary School in Fairfield, (which is a suburb of Sydney), Australia.

The American students used their school iPads to create a short autobiography which they will share with the Australian students. The kids are learning that the iPad can be used for more than playing games and reading ebooks. The students are also going to be working in groups of four, (two from the US and two from AU) in a project where they will explore ways to conserve the ocean.

I think this is awesome! These kids are learning that Skype can be used to talk to someone who is in another country. They are going to learn how to work on a project with people who are not in the same room with them.

These are skills that the students are going to need to use in “real world” situations in the future. It sounds like they are getting the basic idea about how to have an online meeting and how to work on a project with co-workers who are at a different location from where they are. Imagine what the fifth-graders that learned in school how to do a collaborative online project with students from around the world will be able to do when they become adults!

A Review of Glyde

Glyde This is the time of year that you maybe getting some new gadgets. The question is what do you do with the old gadget you already have. You could try to sell it on EBay but if you are like me you don’t want to deal with the hassle. If you have an Apple product or a few Android products to sell then Gazelle is a great option. With Gazelle you indicate what item you want to sell and its condition. Gazelle then tells you how much they are willing to pay for it. The price they give is good for 30 days. They send you a shipping label and often a box to ship it in. You can get paid by Amazon gift card, through Paypal or by check.

This works fine if you are selling an Apple product but what about a tablet, eReader or phone that is not made by Apple. For example I decided I wanted to sell my second generation Amazon Kindle, Gazelle wasn’t an option and as I said before I don’t like dealing with EBay. So I started to look for another option and I found Glyde. Like Gazelle, you indicate the item you want to sell and its condition, Glyde then tells you what it is worth. This is where Glyde starts to differ from Gazelle. Unlike Gazelle with Glyde you are selling to an individual, Glyde is simply acting as the middle man. Once you put the item up for sale you then have to wait until someone agrees to buy it. Once there is a buyer Glyde then sends a box and shipping label out to you. As soon as you have the box you then have 24 hours to ship it out.  When the buyer receives the package, they have 48 hours to accept or reject the item. If they accept the item the money is then deposited into your Glyde account. You can then with drawl the money and get a check or have it electronically transferred to your bank account. I put my Kindle up for sell on October 29. It was purchased on the November 6 for $29.00 and I had the money in my bank account by the 23rd. As a seller I was very happy with how Glyde worked.

I have not brought anything from Glyde at this time, however most reviews by buyers that I read were positive. If you have a tablet, phone, dvd or game to sell I would definitely check out what it is worth on Glyde.