DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 29, 2017

Read a Book

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:55 am

I wrote a year or so ago about a couple of ways to get eBooks for your reading.  Things change and move on so today I would like to talk about them again.  Today we will discuss three them I have tested.

Just Read!

The first is a freebie with only one easy caveat, you must have an active library card.  The site is Overdrive (overdrive.com).  At Overdrive, you can “Borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and more from your local public library – anywhere, anytime. All you need is a library card.”  So, you must have a library card and your library must participate with them…which most do.  For instance, I have a library card with the Augusta County Library and they do participate.  Go to Overdrive to see if your library takes part.  If so you can check out eBooks or audiobooks for a fixed period of time for free.  The application is available for most platforms.  Do not forget about your physical library as they have a lot to offer.  The pro of Overdrive is “free” the con is that if the library book is not available at your library, either not there or checked out by someone else, you cannot get it until it is there.

Next is one that I am sure you have heard of, Amazon.com.  Amazon has many, many books that are easily read on the Kindle application.  Their application has its own name, “Kindle”, which I am also sure you have heard of before now. This app is available on most platforms too.  You can even get real, paperback or hardback books here including audible books on CDs.  They are offered in every format; however, there is a minimal cost for many eBooks.  Another very interesting fact is that Amazon bought Audible.com several years ago.  Audible.com is the major audiobook provider online at this time.  You can get a book a month there for $14.95 and listen to it forever as you have purchased it for your account.  With the combination of the two companies there is now “Whispersync for voice.”

Whispersync allows you to purchase an eBook from Amazon and then get the same book in audio format from Audible (much less expensively than the monthly charge).  The neat thing is that you can either read or listen to the book when you would like.  When you “open” the book next time, it will be at the same place in the book.  So, whether listening or reading you will always be up-to-date.  Their slogan is, “Add narration to your Kindle books and switch seamlessly between reading and listening. Best of all, you’ll never lose your place.”

If you are an Amazon Prime member you can even pick up a book for free on occasion.

One that I have not tried yet is called, “Scribd” (Scribd.com).  Their pitch is slightly different from others.  It is “…a reading subscription that is available anytime and on any device. Enjoy access to 3 books and 1 audiobook each month – plus unlimited access to magazines and documents – for $8.99 / month.”

There is one other I will give a short remarks about that we have used.  Hoopla (at hoopladigital.com) is another “hooked” to the library system.  You can “Instantly borrow digital movies, music, eBooks and more, 24/7 with your library card.”  You log in with some information, including your library card number, and you have access to many books.  Again, like Overdrive if your library is out, so are you and you cannot get the book (both have the ability to add you to a waiting list.)  This one is useful; however, it has been my experience that the application, though available in most platforms, is not as trustworthy as some of the others.

April 24, 2012

Android Tablet Apps

I always receive emails from Android users asking what apps I like to run on my phone and tablet.  I always have to insert when I mention phones that I work for NTELOS Wireless, so there you go.

Anyway, I thought instead of writing each person individually for a while I would tell you all here.  I know many in world like iPhones and all they offer, but I am an Android lover so I won’t mention them much.  However, NTELOS started carrying iPhones just last week so when I get a hold of one my opinion may change slightly… nah.

imageI wrote an article about some apps back in January of this year but these are always changing.  For instance, then it was called the Android Market;s now it is named Google Play and found at a different URL: play.google.com.  I guess one of the reasons the name changed is now you can purchase more than just Android apps.

OK, here is my list of apps I use and like most.  There are others that may do the same things but I like these or have not heard of the others yet. So if you have suggestions please shoot me an email and let me know.

All of these can be found on Google play if you search for them.

Nook for Android – if you are a Barnes and Noble e-book reader you can use this app to read on your phone or tablet PC instead of your nook.

Barcode Scanner – Scan barcodes on products and look up prices and reviews. Also QR for websites, information, contact, etc.

Bible – (by LifeChurch) great bible app with many versions.  You can study; use an annual reading plan and more.

Evernote – this app lets you take notes, photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders, etc.  You can then make them searchable and sync them across most platforms so you can find them anywhere.

Facebook -I cringe recommending this since I am not a fan, but lots of people use it, even me on rare occasions. 

Fox News – I am not much into news but this app works well and that’s the news for now.

Moon+ Reader Pro – You know me; I don’t like to pay for apps, but pay for this one I did. It reads all non-DRM e-books.  There is also a free version to try out.

Office Suite Pro – OK, here’s another I like so well I actually pay for the full version. This replaces Microsoft Office on your Android devices. It does a better than average job of it, too.

See you next week with a few more.  Remember let me know if you have some favorites!

March 19, 2012

2012-03-19 WSVA Show Notes

Here you go the show notes from Monday, March 19, along with the podcast.  Enjoy to fun and games and let me know what you think.

Have fun with your new iPods if you an owner of the “new” iPod.

Tech News
The newest iPad is out
I don’t need to say much just Google for ipadand seen the bazillions of articles. There is one I read where a lady got in line several days before they went on sale (she was #3 in line) and sold her place to a guy for $5,000. Proof that some people are truly insane.Windows 8 Consumer Preview
The next Windows Operating System, cleverly named, “Windows 8” has a consumer preview available to anyone who wants to give it a whirl. This is ONLY for you if you are geeky enough to install it virtually on an existing computer or you have a computer you don’t mind installing it on and then running W8 as your main system.

I have been using it for a week or so and so far I’m not that impressed…unless it is on a tablet PC. For a notebook or desktop I would stick with W7 at least as it stands now.

It bothers me that their online video shows media galore, email and not much else. Why don’t they push some office compatibility.

Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(this app can be found on the android market from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
Moon ReaderIn my opinion this is the best book reader out there for non-DRM (Digital Rights Management [copyright protection]) e-books. Read thousands of ebooks for free, supports online ebook libraries.

  • Read local books with smooth scroll and tons of innovation.
  • Support txt, html, epub, umd, fb2, chm, zip or OPDS, key features:
  • Full visual options: line space, font scale, bold, italic, shadow, justified alignment, alpha colors, fading edge etc.
  • 10+ themes embedded, includes Day & Night mode switcher.

Liquipel http://www.liquipel.com
Save your Smartphone from becoming a Dumbphone (or any other electronic device) when they get dropped in water.

Water damage has threatened our devices for far too long. Liquipel protects every feature of your device with a revolutionary waterproof shield.


Pinterest http://pinterest.com
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

At this point in time to use it you must request an invite to the program. Without a “membership” you can only browse a little of the content.


True Crypt http://www.truecrypt.org/
If you carry around free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.


Thanks for looking, listening and I hope to see you back next month, Monday, April 16 @ 10:00o am on WSVA Radio with Jim Britt.

November 8, 2011

Take a Tablet

During the summer months I wrote several articles regarding e-book readers in general and more specifically Barnes and Noble’s Nooks (www.bn.com).  They are both great to have if you are a reader; however, something different has come to my attention.

I was very happy to receive a gift of a tablet PC and I have to say, "I think it is great!"  I did not get an iPad, which is the most popular right now.  I received a tablet I had never heard of, the Toshiba Thrive.  Now that I am using it I think I may never use another.  It has just about everything I would look for in a tablet PC and some things I would never have thought available.

I will start with a definition just in case you are not aware of what a tablet PC is.  A "tablet" is a crossbreed type of computer.  It is a cross somewhere between a notebook computer and a smartphone…lacking the phone part. Of course, with the Thrive (bit.ly/w0EQmU) and Skype (skype.com) that isn’t exactly correct, but more on that later.  Also, it does not have a keyboard on the outside but it does have a digital one built-in.

Toshiba ThriveThe Thrive has a 10.1" high resolution touch screen.  This means that it is smaller than my 17" work notebook but larger than my 8.9" personal netbook.  This screen is great for reading a Barnes and Noble e-book (or any other brand) and watching movies or TV shows on Netflix.  Yes, you can watch other TV networks’ sites too. 

You may ask what I use my Thrive for.  I surf the net.  OK, I realize that was an obvious use.  I also check email for work and home, read the Daily News-Record, read other news sources from around the world, post my columns to DoubleClicks.info, send my columns to the DNR and others for publishing, watch a TV show I missed last week, log onto my desktop computer if I need a file I don’t have on the tablet, write this column…What? Write on a tablet?

OK, in my opinion there are two disadvantages to a tablet.  First is the keyboard, which is adequate for typing an occasional short email or web address.  However, if you are typing a 500-2500 word article it is way too slow, even if you use Swype like I do.  You cannot type as fast as you can on a regular keyboard.  It is more hunt and peck; of course, if you type that way on a regular computer it will be fine for you.

Included with the Thrive is a full size USB port, so that means you can plug in most USB devices.  This includes most full sized keyboards.  You can also plug in a thumb drive for copying pictures to and from the Thrive.  Did I just say pictures?  I did and the Thrive has two cameras.  There is one camera on the back for taking photos and movies.  The other is on the front which can be used to take the user’s picture.  Why you may ask?  I will talk more about that next week.

July 19, 2011

E-books vs. P-books

(   or Electronic books vs. 
         Paper/Printed books)

Several weeks ago I wrote about my wife’s e-ink Nook from Barnes and Noble.  I was surprised by the number of responses.  I had a small number asking why I did not write about the Amazon Kindle or some of the other e-readers.  The reason is that I do not get demos to test, so I have no experience with them.  (Of course, I would be more than happy to test out any of the others if the manufacturers would like to send them to me-hint, hint.)  We read, talked to people, researched and made an informed educated guess.  We chose the one we thought would be best for our use and pocketbook. 

Most answers were a toss-up : "I couldn’t stand not holding an actual paperback or hardback book…e-books are just a passing fancy, a fad."  Or, "I bought one last (fill in a calendar date) and I think they are great!"  No one wrote to say that they bought one and did not like it, quite the opposite. 

There were many reasons people liked the e-readers.   Take a look at the comments below and see if you agree, disagree, never thought of that or really just do not care. 

Some people said that the small size and being able to include 1,000 plus books was a big reason they liked theirs.  My wife included a couple of her thoughts…if it is windy outside, while reading, you don’t have to fight the wind to keep the pages from turning.  Also, bookmarks can’t fall out losing your place.  Since she has recently had wrist surgery she finds them lighter in weight and much easier to hold (or just laying it on the table to read is good for her). 

Others, like me, who are over 40, can change the font size to a larger or smaller size and even a different font if they wish.  That means that you may not need to use reading glasses to see the e-pages.

One very popular reason is: great convenience.  The convenience is you do not have to travel to the bookstore to get a new novel.  That would not influence my purchase of an e-reader since I love walking around a large bookstore and looking at all the available titles.

In closing, I have often heard that reflected light, like from a paper book, newspaper or e-ink (used with the Barnes and Noble Nook) is better for your eyes than direct light, say from a computer monitor or a color eBook reader shining into your eyes.  I checked with my eye doctor, Dr. Mary Alice Portillo, of Waynesboro, VA, for the validity of this thought. 

Dr. Portillo says that although the eyes are not negatively affected by either type of light, some people’s eyes become tired or more uncomfortable from the direct light of the computer screen.  However, it is really a personal preference for comfort.  So if you aren’t bothered by eye strain/stress from your computer screen, feel free to choose either type of e-book reader.

One last thought from me…I think these are some derivative of them are here to stay, these are not a passing fancy or a fad.  At least not for me since I bought my color Nook last week.

June 28, 2011

Nook

OK, although I never thought I, or my wife would participate in the latest technological “fad,” we have.
 
It’s confession time here.  I bought one; but it is mainly for my wife’s use.  The culprit is an eBook Reader.  Yes, a month or two ago I bought a Nook which is sold by Barnes & Noble stores.  Now one aside here:  If you know me you know that I am tight, a penny-pincher, cheap and any of the other words with the same connotation.  So I bought one of the black and white or e-Ink, refurbished ones for about half the price of buying one new.  It has the same guarantee as new, so I figured, “What the heck, let’s give it a spin.”

Again, being a miser, I first went out and got some old Edgar Rice Burroughs books I had read as a kid.  They are free all over the net.  I downloaded mine at Project Gutenberg.

imageI am an avid reader, when I have the time, and figured I would miss the tactile sensation of holding a paper book.  I found that after about three minutes I was lost in the book and could care less about the feel. I have to admit I liked the experience.

My wife likes to read (especially in the summer when school is out) so we bought her first e-book.  This is in a continuing series she reads and she likes it too.  And not having to stack the book somewhere to store it is good, too.  Once read you can archive the book, go back another day and re-download it for another reading.  We also now have a book or two from Barnes & Noble Nook site.

The Nook I bought will also surf the net (in black and white, or e-Ink) but it is not really an enjoyable experience.  However, if you get one of the new color Nooks (Nook Color) it is a good thing…not bad at all.  With the Nook Color you can surf the net, check email and do many things that you can do on more expensive tablet PCs.  It also has the Android operating system which is another plus in my opinion.

That being said, it is not a fully developed Android tablet with access to the Market and the full gamut of Android applications and features.  It does have some of the Android Market at this point but not the major part, although I imagine that will change in time.

You can also get full copies of most of your favorite glossy magazines with lots of photographs on the Nook Color.  It is excellent to read them this way and there are no trash byproducts when you are finished.  Magazines for the e-Ink readers display gray-scale images and most images are omitted from these.  Many newspapers are also available for e-readers.

There are a couple of things you should note.  If you read mostly indoors, even in rooms with miserable lighting, the Nook Color is a good choice with a listed battery life of about eight hours. If you read outdoors at a picnic bench or on vacations at the poolside, get the e-Ink reader like I did. E-Ink displays look their best under bright light and require reading lights or ambient room lighting indoors.  The e-Ink is amazing to see in action, but not in poor light.  This one also has an advertised battery life of ten days, yes, days… not hours. Also, the lack of a touch screen on the e-Ink reader makes navigation awkward on anything other than books.

Speaking of books, you can get most of the latest titles Barnes & Noble carries for your reader.  The prices are below the prices of printed books, so that is another good thing.

I now disagree with my first statement.  I do not believe it is a fad as something like it will be around for a long time.

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