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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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Daily Deals: Cat’s Cradle and Gallop for Gold Slots

Cat's Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut Series)Today Amazon offers Cat’s Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut Series) by Kurt Vonnegut just for $1.99

Cat’s Cradle (1963) is Vonnegut’s most ambitious novel, which put into the language terms like “wampeter”, “kerass” and “granfalloon” as well as a structured religion, Boskonism and was submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for a Master’s Degree in anthropology, and in its sprawling compass and almost uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) invention, may be Vonnegut’s best novel.

Written contemporaneously with the Cuban missile crisis and countenancing a version of a world in the grasp of magnified human stupidity, the novel is centered on Felix Hoenikker, a chemical scientist reminiscent of Robert Oppenheimer… except that Oppenheimer was destroyed by his conscience and Hoenikker, delighting in the disastrous chemicals he has invented, has no conscience at all. Hoenikker’s “Ice 9” has the potential to convert all liquid to inert ice and thus destroy human existence; he is exiled to a remote island where Boskonism has enlisted all of its inhabitants and where religion and technology collaborate, with the help of a large cast of characters, to destroy civilization.

Vonnegut’s compassion and despair are expressed here through his grotesque elaboration of character and situation and also through his created religion which like Flannery O’Connor’s “Church Without Christ” (in Wise Blood) acts to serve its adherents by removing them from individual responsibility. Vonnegut had always been taken seriously by science fiction readers and critics (a reception which indeed made him uncomfortable) but it was with Cat’s Cradle that he began to be found and appreciated by a more general audience. His own ambivalence toward science, science fiction, religion and religious comfort comes through in every scene of this novel.

Some words about the Author

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is one of the most beloved American writers of the twentieth century. Vonnegut’s audience increased steadily since his first five pieces in the 1950s and grew from there. His 1968 novel Slaughterhouse-Five has become a canonic war novel with Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 to form the truest and darkest of what came from World War II.

Vonnegut began his career as a science fiction writer, and his early novels–Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan–were categorized as such even as they appealed to an audience far beyond the reach of the category. In the 1960s, Vonnegut became closely associated with the Baby Boomer generation, a writer on that side, so to speak.

Now that Vonnegut’s work has been studied as a large body of work, it has been more deeply understood and unified. There is a consistency to his satirical insight, humor and anger which makes his work so synergistic. It seems clear that the more of Vonnegut’s work you read, the more it resonates and the more you wish to read. Scholars believe that Vonnegut’s reputation (like Mark Twain’s) will grow steadily through the decades as his work continues to increase in relevance and new connections are formed, new insights made.

 

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Funamo! Parental Controls for Kindle Fire May Cover For Lack of Built-in Options

The lack of intricate parental control options has been a popular complaint about the Kindle Fire since about the time it was released.  Amazon has made some moves to address the most pressing issues.  We haven’t heard any horror stories about people going into debt over Smurfberry purchases, for example.  Still, until Amazon comes up with more options that allow parents to manage how these devices are used, there is going to be a steady stream of complaints.  Funamo has stepped up to handle that need in the meantime, for a small fee.

At $20, this is not a cheap application.  Not only that, Funamo is not yet available in the Amazon Appstore for Android.  This means that it needs to be purchased through the developer’s website.  The hassle and expense may be worth it considering what can be accomplished by having it around.

The default settings are fairly straightforward.  You install Funamo and log in, after which the device settings will be completely locked out.  It comes with its own web browser, which has all the usual things one would expect parents to want to keep blocked already cut off, and encourages users to put the Silk browser onto the “Protected Apps” list.  Besides that, everything else is up to the user.

This isn’t just a matter of locking out certain content, either.  Yes, it is likely that many parents would approve of the ability to block porn viewing from their child’s tablet.  Using Funamo, it is also possible to say that the same child’s favorite games will only be available between 9am and 11am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Parents can set limits on everything from media viewing time to reading.  Many will even be quite encouraged to note that it is possible to block the Kindle Fire’s access to the Appstore entirely when desired.

Any of these settings can, of course, be overridden with a password.  You never know when exceptions to the normal rules might be in order.  They can also be changed on short notice as well, and not only from the Kindle Fire itself.  Nightly syncing allows parents to maintain control through any internet-connected browser.

Through this web interface, it is possible to add, change, or remove access restrictions.  It is also possible to view a detailed history of everything that has been done on the tablet recently.  If a child does something unexpected that the parent never thought would come up, it is a simple matter to adapt the rules to cover the new situation.  While the Kindle Fire does not support Push updates, Funamo is set to sync up nightly by default.

At a glance, this seems to be slightly overprotective.  Users are encouraged to take control of literally every aspect of their kid’s tablet experience.  That sort of control is precisely what many parents are looking for, however, and if this allows the child to enjoy ownership of their own Kindle Fire where it would otherwise not be allowed, it is probably worth the hassle for everybody involved.