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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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January 2012
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Daily Deals: The Best American Noir of the Century and Learning to Draw is Fun

The Best American Noir of the CenturyIf you like horrors you should look up at today’s offer from Amazon: The Best American Noir of the Century written by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler. The today’s price is only $1.99 If you compare with yesterday’s price $16.95 you will see that it is real good deal.

James Ellroy and Otto Penzler mined the past century to find this treasure trove of thirty-nine stories. From noir’s twenties-era infancy come gems like James M. Cain’s “Pastorale,” and its postwar heyday boasts giants like Mickey Spillane and Evan Hunter. Packing an undeniable punch, diverse contemporary incarnations include Elmore Leonard, Patricia Highsmith, Joyce Carol Oates, Dennis Lehane, and William Gay, with many page-turners appearing from the past decade.

Some words about the Authors

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels—The Black DahliaThe Big NowhereL.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—were international bestsellers. His most recent book is Blood’s a Rover.
Otto Penzler is the founder of the Mysterious Bookshop and Mysterious Press.

Also we would like to quote only one review: “Well worth its impressive weight in gold, it would be a crime not to have his seminal masterpiece in your collection.” –New York Journal of Books

 

Learning to Draw is Fun

“Learning to Draw is Fun” is a name for a game for your kids which you can get today only for free.

If Rembrandt and Picasso had smartphones as kids, Learning to Draw is Fun would have been their favorite app. If you want to teach your kids how to draw, try this easy and fun app. Learning to Draw is Fun allows kids to try their hand at 20 different pictures, and then gives them a full color palette to finish their masterpiece.

Art School on Your Android Device

First, the budding artist chooses which design to draw. Learning to Draw is Fun features twenty cute pictures including a butterfly, snowman, pig, flower, and birthday cake. The artist then follows four easy steps to reproduce the picture. You can erase the picture at any time.

Artsy Tools

Once the picture is done, the child can go to a full color palette to finish the picture. Choose from 15 different colors with six different brush stroke sizes.

Share the picture through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, or set it as a wallpaper. You can also get the details of the picture’s file size and resolution within the app.

Warning: This app may inspire your child to become an art major. But at least your kid won’t be drawing on the living room wall.

In One Person by John Irving

Good news for John Irving fans.  He is coming out with a new book on May 8 called In One Person.  His novels: The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany have been adapted into award winning movies.  The movie adaptation for A Prayer for Owen Meany is called Simon Birch, and it is one of my favorite movies.  In One Person is currently available for pre order on the Kindle.  The only other Irving novel available for download on the Kindle is Last Night in Twisted River.  More to come soon.

Irving touches on major issues like abortion, love, AIDS, death, gender, sexuality, and disability with a great deal of candor.  In One Person is no exception.  It is set in the 80’s when AIDS was rampant.  So, it is sure to deal with the emotions and heartbreak that came along with dealing with that disease  during that era.

I have read three of Irving’s novels.  A Prayer for Owen Meany has stuck with me the longest.  It is about a dwarf named Owen, but the story is told from the point of view of his best friend.  Owen Meany has a lot to show the world, and has some psychic powers that shape the way he lives his life.

The World According to Garp is a very gender and sexuality focused book.  This book is best for the mature audience.  All of Irving’s books include issues that only adults can fully grasp, but I stress that fact for this one in particular.

The Last Night in Twisted River is Irving’s latest book currently available.  It features father-son protagonists who start off as cooks in a logging town.  An unexpected turn of events forces them to skip town.  The son later becomes a novelist, but fate catches up to both of them in the long run.  It took me a really long time to get through this book.  It moved too slowly for me.  Out of the three books I’ve read by Irving, this one is my least favorite.  It does have good reviews though, and others give high marks, so it is just a matter of preference.

Irving’s novels work your brain.  If you want a book that has depth, includes a well defined and complex plot, and steamrolls through controversial issues, this if your type of book.  On top of that, Irving has been a highly successful author for many, many years.  So, I am eager to read what he has to say in his newest novel when it comes out in May.

Daily Deals: The Land of Later On and Money

The Land of Later OnToday Amazon allow you to get The Land of Later On by Anthony Weller just for $0.99

Kip—a New York jazz pianist whose career was cut short by a neurological disease—returns from a failed suicide attempt with a vivid, detailed memory of his journey through the afterlife. Resembling the world as he knows it, but unlimited in space and time, it’s unlike any eternity he has contemplated. Its residents are those who choose not to reincarnate, which would erase all memory of who they once were. Kip has a quest: to find his beloved Lucy, a yoga teacher who shared his apartment for years but died of leukemia before he took his own life. Is she still here? Has she waited for him, or “gone back” to become someone else? In his odyssey across centuries and locales (Istanbul to the Marquesas Islands, India to Oklahoma and New Guinea) to find her, Kip is guided by Walt Whitman—who urges him to write this memoir on his return.

Some words about the Author

Anthony Weller was born in 1957. His books include novels—The Garden of the Peacocks, The Polish Lover, and The Siege of Salt Cove—and a travel memoir of India and Pakistan, Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road. He is also well known as a musician. His poems and stories have appeared widely. As a journalist he traveled through Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific, Central America and the Caribbean, for National Geographic, G.Q., Forbes, GEO, the Paris Review, the New York Times Magazine, etc. He recently edited two books of his father’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting. First into Nagasaki:The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War (introduction by Walter Cronkite) was named by Kirkus one of the best books of 2006, followed by Weller’s War: A Legendary Foreign Correspondent’s Saga of WWII on Five Continents.

Money

 

Manage your personal finances in the most comprehensive manner with Money for Android devices. Track different accounts (wallets), record your transactions, budget your income and expenses, and keep full control of your personal finances.

Financial Planning in Three Easy Steps

Manage all your bills and arrange them via a calendar with bill reminders included in the application, and catch up with any deadline.

Do you have several credit cards, debit cards, and bank accounts plus cash? The Transaction Register is included in the application together with a list of all your accounts. OFX import is supported, so you can import your bank records to the Money app easily and instantly review your accounts, all on the same screen.

Plan all your income and expenses, and check with the available reports to determine whether your plans are accurate. Create reports for each item or category, or check a full report over time.

Elegant Organization
iBear’s Money offers 13 expense categories including car, miscellaneous, taxes, entertainment, and more. When you are ready to analyze your assets and liabilities, Money has four main tabs for reporting: Transactions, Balance, Budget, and Reports.

Money uses a beautiful, realistic design reminiscent of a leather organizer, creating a more personal user experience. Everything works as closely as possible to a real-world organizer with paper reports, making your finance management more intuitive and enjoyable.

Kindle Fire Tips & Tricks

I’ve recently gotten a series of emails, and seen a small number of comments around the site here, from people confused or misinformed about what is and is not possible for the Kindle Fire at this point.  Mostly, as I mentioned previously, the result of misinformation still floating around the net from the state of things when it first launched.  Regardless of the reason, however, it seems worth going into some tips for getting the most out of your new Kindle Fire‘s potential.

 Remove Apps From The Kindle Fire

It has always been possible to just delete the local data that an app installs on your Kindle.  Just press and hold on the app’s icon and choose “Remove From Device”.  What if you want it gone entirely though, even from the Cloud tab of your App selection?

  • Go to Amazon.com
  • Go to Kindle > Manage Your Kindle
  • Sign in now if prompted
  • Select Manage Your Apps from the menu bar on the left
  • Find the App or Apps that you want gone in this list
    • Select “Delete This App” from the drop down menu next to each one
    • When prompted, choose “Delete”

Now, don’t be too upset when it does not disappear from the device’s menus immediately.  I found that it usually takes an overnight wait to get results right now.  Not sure why Syncing and such don’t do it immediately, but they don’t.  Regardless, now that Kindle Fire app is gone.

Return Library Book

I’ll start this out by mentioning that this advice may not complete the whole process.  Consult with your librarian in case it doesn’t, as some libraries have their own individual proceedures.

  • Go to Amazon.com
  • Go to Kindle > Manage your Kindle
  • Sign in now if Prompted
  • In your Kindle Library, find the book you want to return
    • From the drop down menu next to it, choose “Return This Book”
    • Do NOT choose “Delete”, as that will not return the book to the library system early

For the most part that is all that’s required.  Since all of the OverDrive software seems to be routed through the Amazon.com page when dealing with Kindle Book borrowing, it makes sense that this is the way you have to return.

Access All Magazine Issues

While the Kindle Fire might appear to only allow you to read the most recent edition of a magazine, but fear not!  All of your subscription should still be hanging around.  Simply navigate to the most recent issue, press and hold.  An option will appear to view back issues.

Obviously these are far from all of the useful things that one needs to be aware of when using a Kindle Fire, but there’s only so much room to work with here.  Let me know either here or in my email what you are interested in finding out and I will do the research and follow up!  No point in waiting and wondering how things work.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese is a must read.  It has depth that only a select set of authors can truly capture.  The novel has been translated in multiple languages and is an international bestseller.

The paperback version is kind of heavy and has really small print.  So for a more comfortable reading experience, I recommend getting the Kindle edition.  The prices for each are about the same.

Abraham Verghese is a doctor and professor of medicine at Stanford School of Medicine.  He also has a degree in creative writing and has written two other nonfiction books.  You can see his expertise reflected in the medical descriptions in Cutting for Stone.

Cutting for Stone follows twins Marion and Shiva, born to a nun and skilled surgeon in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The delivery is a difficult one to say the least, and changes the lives of Missing Hospital’s staff forever.  The story is told in the past and a much older, present day Marion is the narrator.  Throughout the book, the reader will find various themes such as love, family, medicine and politics all woven together to form an intricate storyline.  Despite the rifts and hardships that each character faces, it all works out in the end.

I have to warn you.  Cutting for Stone is very detailed.  It can really suck you in, but it can also wear you out keeping up with the story’s progression.  So, take breaks!  I love the writing style and the characters’ personalities.  Even though the majority of the book was set in another country 50 years ago, I could still relate to the characters as if they lived in America today.

Kris

“Cutting for Stone is a coming of age novel which emphasizes the way in which we are shaped by the forces and intricacies of our past. Verghese pays particular attention to themes around loss. He writes about the desperation to fill voids and the struggle of letting go. Verghese also writes about freedom, both psychological and physical. He writes about love as a terror and as a savior. He writes about sacrifice and passion. He writes of the importance of perspective in order to foster empathy. The themes are plentiful, profound, and woven together throughout each of the characters’ stories.”

 

Daily Deals: Black Like Me: The Definitive Griffin Estate and Galactic Striker

Black Like Me: The Definitive Griffin EstateToday Amazon, as usual, offers Kindle Daily Deals: “Black Like Me: The Definitive Griffin Estate Edition” written by John Howard Griffin (Author), Robert Bonazzi (Author, Afterword), Studs Terkel (Author, Foreword), Don Rutledge (Photographer) and sold for $1.99 This American classic has been corrected from the original manuscripts and indexed, featuring historic photographs and an extensive biographical afterword.

Here are some reviews of this book:

It was a wonderful story that really opened my eyes to what life used to be like, and made me thankful that life has changed so much since then. — Aaron

I picked this up completely on a whim after hearing someone mention it online. It is absolutely an amazing work. To really get a feel for how far this country has come in 50 short years, and to really understand how far we have left to go, you need to read this.

As a white male, I’ve always been offended by the term ‘white privilege’, because it implies that I somehow didn’t work for what I have. But having read this, I can finally appreciate it. My ‘white privilege’ has nothing to do with me not working hard and not deserving the things that I have accomplished. I have worked hard, and I do deserve those things.
But these are things that blacks never had the opportunity to do. No matter how smart they were, no matter how well dressed, or well spoken, no matter how *white* they tried to appear to blend in, they would never be given the opportunity to prove themselves on their own merits. Their opportunities were taken away before they ever had a chance to even attempt to do grab them.

And while I can definitely appreciate how far we have come in a relatively short time, I am now able to see with a fresh new perspective the things that are still wrong with our thinking today. — Alex Malinovich

 

Galactic Striker

Galactic Striker is a game for your Kindle Fire which you can get for free, but only today.

Blast aliens into space dust, save your own skin, and make smart-alecky comments–all at once–in Galactic Striker, an arcade-style, accelerometer-based Android game. This exciting shoot-em-up adventure boasts 3D graphics and even comes with a fully developed comic-book style backstory.

Find Your Way Home, Jack

In Galactic Striker, you’re Jack Panic, the world’s greatest (and cockiest) astronaut and hero. As the story begins, you’re called upon to protect Earth once again–this time from a renegade asteroid. But during this routine mission, you accidentally damage an alien mothership (oops) and insult their leader (double-oops), who subsequently teleports you to the other side of the galaxy (not cool, bro).

To get home again, you’ll have to shoot your way through waves of alien attacks and other deep-space obstacles. Tilt your phone to navigate your spaceship, and choose from an ever-expanding list of futuristic weapons as you fight your way through space. You’ll need your strongest firepower, steeliest nerves, and sharpest wisecracks to make it back to Earth.

Are you up to this massive challenge? Of course you are–you’re Jack Panic! (Let’s assume that “Don’t” is your middle name.)

A free, ad-supported version of this game is also available.

Daily Deals: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Dream Journal Pro

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleEven in holidays Amazon offers to come back to our workings days and thinking about our effectiveness and what we can do to improve it with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen R. Covey and sold for $0.99.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change was a groundbreaker when it was first published in 1990, and it continues to be a business bestseller with more than 15 million copies sold. Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, so this book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. His anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges. Before you can adopt the seven habits, you’ll need to accomplish what Covey calls a “paradigm shift”–a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your “proactive muscles” (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more. This isn’t a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you’ll want to study this book, not skim it. When you finish, you’ll probably have Post-it notes or hand-written annotations in every chapter, and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a powerful seminar by Covey. —Joan Price

 

Dream Journal Pro

Dreams are, as Freud said, the “royal road to the unconscious.” Now you can map these roads with Dream Journal Pro, a dream journaling app for Android.

The Stuff of Dreams

Dream Journal Pro allows you to record your dreams for convenient reference and analysis. Adding a new dream is as easy as tapping the button and then filling out the Dream Form. Highly detailed, this form prompts you to analyze your dreams guided by Jungian Dream Theory. You’ll enter information such as title, date, type (Lucid, Nightmare, Premonitory, Anxiety, Initial, and others), dream text, general notes, setting, age, feelings, and much more. You may gain considerable insight into your dream as you record this information. As time passes, your journal can become a valuable reference tool for interpreting new dreams.

Features and Other Stuff

Dream Journal Pro is packed with useful features. Night Mode darkens the screen to avoid disrupting your sleep but remains active so you can access your Dream Journal as soon as you wake. Backup and restore your dreams from your device’s SD card, and backup your dream database through e-mail. Find a particular dream with the convenient search feature and enjoy the security of keeping your dreams private with password protection.

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Journey into the landscape of your unconscious with Dream Journal Pro.

Kids Videos for Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire and other tablets currently out in the market are full of great videos and offer unprecedented portability.  You can curl up on the couch with your Kindle Fire and watch YouTube or Netflix.  This is great for adults who have the ability to use discretion on what they can or want to watch.

For kids, the the portability and easy video access can cause issues.  Content meant for mature audiences are everywhere.  Controlling what kids watch and the constant worry over whether they might stumble over something inappropriate can be exhausting.  You can check what they’re watching on a TV or computer, but a tablet can be easily concealed.

The good news is that MeFeedia has developed an app called Kids Videos for the Kindle Fire and iPad.  The app includes family friendly videos from YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion.  So parents can get peace of mind knowing what they kids are watching is appropriate and even educational.

Kids Videos allows you to search by genre, “like” your favorite videos and save for later.  The videos are pulled from all over the web so there is a huge library to choose from.  Watching educational videos on the Kindle Fire makes learning so much more fun and interesting.

At the time of writing this app was available for free in the Amazon Appstore.  There are other kid video apps available for the Kindle Fire, but this is the first one that has shown real promise with highly favorable reviews.  For the most part the reviewers echo what the product description says.  So it appears to do what it set out to do.

The age range for tablet users has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few months.  The Kindle Fire is inexpensive enough for the average consumer to justify.  It also offers a lot more kid friendly content thanks to apps like Kids Videos, games, and e-books written for children.  What used to be a niche market is fast becoming the norm.

 

 

Daily Deals: City of Masks and Router

City of Masks (Cree Black)

Today Amazon offer to your attention the following book: City of Masks (Cree Black) by Daniel Hecht just for $1.99.

Superb…A thoroughly satisfying, disturbing novel. –Cleveland Plain Dealer 
In City of Masks, the first Cree Black novel, parapsychologist Cree and her partner take a case in New Orleans’s Garden District that leaves them fearing for their own lives. The 150-year-old Beauforte House has long stood empty, until Lila Beauforte resumes residence and starts to see some of the house’s secrets literally come to life. Tormented by an insidious and violent presence, Lila finds herself trapped in a life increasingly filled with childhood terrors. It takes Cree’s unconventional take on psychology and her powerful natural empathy with Lila to navigate the dangerous worlds of spirit and memory, as they clash in a terrifying tale of mistaken identity and murder.

If it’s New Orleans and the novel’s main characters have been dead for years but are still walking around terrorizing people, it must be an Anne Rice adventure. But it isn’t–it’s the first in a new series starring a fascinating heroine, Seattle parapsychologist Cree Black, whose own murky past and special gifts make her the perfect choice to investigate a haunted house in the Garden District and the family that’s slowly being scared to death. Lila Beauforte has moved back into her ancestral home, now inhabited by ghosts who seem bent on driving her out. Cree, her senses more attuned to the presence of revenants than flesh-and-blood bad guys, shakes enough closets in Beauforte House to bring the skeletons out, solve mysteries of the past as well as the present, and fall in love with an equally appealing if more traditional investigator of the unconscious who may be able to help her free herself from her own emotional prison. She’s a smart, vulnerable, and attractive character in an unearthly and unusual thriller that starts off a promising new series with a howl and presages a long run on the bestseller list–Jane Adams

 

Router

Also you can download into your Kindle Fire Router. It is free for you, but only today.

Test your mental might with Router, a circuit puzzle game that’s fun for the whole family. Your goal is to connect identically colored points with continuous lines without any of the lines overlapping each other. Game controls are easy to master, but some of the puzzles will have you quite perplexed until you find the right solution to connect the dots. With multiple challenging chapters to solve and engaging game-play features, Router is a winner for puzzle lovers.

Nine Challenging Chapters

Router features nine different chapters, each full of more than a dozen puzzles that increase in difficulty as you progress. In each puzzle, you will connect the similarly colored dots with continuous lines by tracing your finger on the screen. More advanced levels will present you with more dots in new and unique positions. You will earn more points for making shorter connections. An undo button is provided if you make a mistake.

As you would expect, Chapter 1 starts off easy enough, but the difficulty soon picks up. Each subsequent chapter will require increased intellectual dexterity. Once you hit Chapter 3, you will be required to earn enough points in prior chapters to unlock more.

Earn Bonus Points; Get Hints

If your mental acuity is up to the task, you’ll be able to solve each puzzle with a perfect five-star score. For your efforts, you will be rewarded with a Star Point, which you can spend to gain Hints if you find yourself stuck in subsequent puzzles. With a worldwide leaderboard, you can see how your scores stack up with other players from around the globe.

Electrifying Graphics and Smooth Controls

Router brings you hours of brain-teasing fun along with smooth touch controls, which makes for a completely satisfying puzzling experience. Depending on your device, you can adjust the quality of the graphics as well as the sound volume and other game settings to ensure it suits your preferences.

What are you waiting for? Get puzzling!

Amazon Kindle Fire Profits May Exceed Initial Estimations

It comes as no real surprise that Amazon’s bestselling Kindle Fire tablet is going to make the company some money despite estimates that say the hardware is being sold at, or even slightly below, the cost of manufacturing.  They basically brought eReading to the mainstream at a time when people barely understood what the idea meant, after which I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to identifying profitable ways to create content sales.  What has come as a surprise to many is exactly how much average profit the company many stand to make on each unit.

Ross Sandler, an analyst from RBC Capital, has managed to estimate that your average Kindle Fire will be the source of around $136 of income for the company during its lifetime.  Naturally this is speculative to a certain extent, but it was based on an independently conducted survey of over 200 Kindle Fire owners regarding their spending habits thus far.  The findings are actually somewhat surprising to me and I have to wonder if they don’t reflect a certain amount of skewing due to early adopters with narrow expectations of the tablet’s potential.

Personally, despite having had the Kindle Fire since the day it came out, I can’t imagine sitting through so much as a single book on it.  It works for the occasional article or academic publication when needed, and I couldn’t be much happier with the PDF functionality for my own purposes, but owning E INK eReaders has left me with higher expectations.  It was therefore interesting to find that the most popular use for the Kindle Fire among those surveys was eBook reading by a wide margin (71% citing this as among their most frequent uses.

Also interesting is the fact that video streaming, which has seemed to be Amazon’s primary focus with the Fire so far, is relatively unpopular with only 13% of those surveyed reporting it as a frequently used feature.  That seems to include all video streaming, including things like Hulu Plus and Netflix, which works against Amazon even further given their efforts to built the Instant Video service into something impressive.

So where is all of this money that the Kindle Fire will supposedly earn coming from?  It looks like the current numbers support an estimation of around 5 eBooks per quarter, 3 apps per quarter, and a noticeable but unaccounted for increase in the number of general Amazon purchases each quarter.  My inclination would be to say that this is an overestimation of eBook purchasing and an underestimation of app appeal that will turn around once people get more comfortable with the capabilities of the tablet, but that is admittedly a matter of personal observation with no backing in numerical research.

The problem with any survey of this sort is that it the recent surge in Kindle Fire owner numbers has led to potential inaccuracies.  This is especially the case since all those surveyed came to own the Fire during 4th quarter 2011, nearly half of them as gift recipients.  It is hard to know for sure if things will change once the primary pool of new owners is made up of people buying for themselves.  Even so, chances are good that the numbers will level out somewhere along these lines.  Amazon clearly made a smart move here, and the Kindle Fire is going to pay off big in the long run.