Book blog

1000 before 30 #46: Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes

A study on how human experiments can both enlighten and devastate their subjects. What would you do if you knew you were going to lose your mind?

Continue reading

Advertisements
Standard
Reviews

Welcome to the BlackBerry Q10

q10_black_leftangleThe BlackBerry Z10 was RIM’s last hope to recover lost customers and lost time against their competitor. The new device broke the silence and brought in a new crowdsourcing operating system, developing opportunities and a new and improved touchscreen. Although the flat, angular design looks like any other smartphone on the market, it looks like the newly named BlackBerry company has hit on a winner with users.

For those who have been wishing for less of a ‘touchscreen’ experience and a gadget more like those characteristic of the BlackBerry family, the company has just announced the upcoming release of the new BlackBerry Q10. The smartphone has the keyboard, look and feel of the BlackBerry smartphones many of us love, as well as all the benefits of the new operating system and technologies.

People in the UK can pre-order the BlackBerry Q10  on O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Three, EE and TalkMobile, according to BlackBerry Insider’s blog post. Plus, the handset will be available for purchase in Carphone Warehouse stores from the end of April.

The BlackBerry Q10, showcased originally on the 30th of January when the company officially launched the BlackBerry 10 platform, includes apps like BlackBerry HubBlackBerry Balance and BlackBerry Remember. The next video shows the best and brightest on the new gadget set to hit homes by the end of this month.

Standard
Reviews

Is there money in e-books?

ereaderThe rise of digital books means one important thing: an increase in demand for writers that can meet their needs. Is signing an e-book deal the same as signing a regular paper book deal? Can you live off the earnings of an e-book?

This infographic by NowNovel shows the rise in the economy of e-books, and whether authors are truly getting what they bargained for after investing in the world of digital reading. According to their data, e-books now rake in 30% of the market’s profit, making them the most popular form of reading after the traditional adult paperback. By 2016, it is expected that e-books will take over half the book market.

is-there-money-in-ebooks_515e906c7a65e

Creative Commons Photo courtesy of paz.ca

Standard
Reviews

How to predict the future of technology

futureThroughout the last few years, innovation and the advancement of technology on a global scale has shot forward. The Voyager has travelled outside our solar system, the Curiosity has discovered evidence of microbiotic life on Mars and scientists have allegedly found a cure for HIV. What’s next for the world of science and technology, when the boundaries between what is invisibly microscopic and unreachably far are now closer than ever?

Researchers at MIT and the Santa Fe Institute have found that some widely used formulas for predicting how rapidly technology will advance — notably, Moore’s Law (which is that everything will improve over time) and Wright’s Law (that progress increases with experience) — offer superior approximations of the pace of technological progress. The new research is the first to directly compare the different approaches in a quantitative way, using an extensive database of past performance from many different industries.

The MIT report is published in the online open-access journal PLOS ONE. The findings could help industries to assess where to focus their research efforts to more accurately predict the economic impacts of policy changes. 

To carry out the analysis, the researchers amassed an extensive set of data on actual costs and production levels over time for 62 different industry sectors; these ranged from commodities such as aluminum, manganese and beer to more advanced products like computers, communications systems, solar cells, aircraft and cars.

“There are lots of proposals out there,” Jessika Trancik says in a MIT press release, for predicting the rate of advances in technologies. “But the data to test the hypotheses is hard to come by.” Knowing which models work best in forecasting technological change can be very important for business leaders and policymakers. “It could be useful in things like climate-change mitigation,” Trancik says, “where you want to know what you’ll get out of your investment.”

The rates of change vary greatly among different technologies, the team found. “Information technologies improve the fastest,” Trancik says, “but you also see the sustained exponential improvement in many energy technologies. Photovoltaics improve very quickly. … One of our main interests is in examining the data to gain insight into how we can accelerate the improvement of technology.”

Creative commons photo courtesy of Josh Hudnall

Standard
Reviews

StoryBox, The Educational App of the Year

Storybox, an online US magazine aimed at parents of children aged 3-6, launched their own App for iPads through the iTunes App Store. It features interactive stories with familiar character SamSam, a video and a comic. StoryBox is one of the many publications and companies that have banked on parents’ love of technology, and even more, their willingness to share their gadgets with their children. Data compiled by Bloomberg suggests that most iPad buyers have children, and that 29 per cent of iPad users, especially mothers, willingly lend the device to their children. Because of this profile, the need for child and family orientated content that can be both educational and entertaining is on the rise.

StoryBox App

“Kids just get it — they touch it and it moves,” said Jamie Pearson, founder of BestKidsApps.com, a review website with almost 300,000 monthly page views, 40 percent of which are for apps aimed at kids under 5. “It’s like any other natural language at that age; they just pick it up.”

StoryBox’s new app is a version of the children’s magazine, complete with  content and interactive material. BestKidsApps.com, a review website with almost 300,000 monthly page views, 40 percent of which are for apps aimed at kids under 5. “It’s like any other natural language at that age; they just pick it up.”

The StoryBox App was named App of 2011 because of the educational values and help that it provides during Foundation Stage (elementary school) stage.

The app does prompt parents to subscribe to the magazine, but there are no additional purchases once bought. The working app is very user friendly and is multi-facetical.

If you want to check out more kids apps, you can visit http://www.bestkidsapps.com, or you can recommend ones below!

Standard
Reviews

Facebook’s Great Plans for 2012

Facebook is planning to be a Public Listing Company next Wednesday, according to BBC reports. The planned $10 billion share offering estimation  would make Facebook one of the biggest market capitalization companies in existence.(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16779779)

The company is enjoying profitable gains in spite of rising competition from other social media sites. In 2011, Facebook  introduced changes in the newsfeed, design and interface that is available to users online. Timelines  and design insideOver 50% of users are worried about the timeline @DigitalTrends the newsfeed changed so that people could see “highlighted news” in different order than what was posted. This was slightly confusing as you could see something that “Jessie” posted 3 hours ago next to something “Paul” posted 5 minutes ago.

Most of those changes (that met with great protest at the time) are now mainly forgotten. By the 5th of February, Zuckerberg’s team is planning to introduce a new design, this time within the profile, which will allow the user to make their own “banner” and create their own “timeline”.  Small boxes appear on either side of the screen and while you scroll, you can take a look at the different things that have been posted on your profile. Until the official launching, people can keep their “timeline” private and learn how to use it.

The new format will allow more apps to be developed for Facebook, in order to allow users to share news that they have read, photos that they have seen, locations and activity can be put onto their timeline. Facebook currently has gaming, music and news apps that allow you to share what you’re listening to or reading with your friends.

The company currently allows any organization or person make apps on facebook, saying “Your app can integrate with many aspects of Facebook.com, including the News Feed and Notifications. All of the core Facebook Platform technologies, such as Social Plugins, the Graph API and Platform Dialogs are available to Apps on Facebook.” (see link: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/canvas/). The apps themselves can target any demographic; age group, sex, interests, and will appeal to them through app buttons in their newsfeeds.

How protected will users be if their data makes them a target audience for apps that can be made by virtually anyone?

“In a clickjacking, users are presented with some kind of enticing material, such as a too-good-to-be-true promotion. The clickjackers add code to these links that hide the “like” button in the link itself. Once a user clicks the clickjacking link, it’s too late — the material’s already been “liked” and shared to the user’s entire social network.” says Alex Fitzpatrick on the subject.   (http://mashable.com/2012/01/28/facebook-clickjacking-spam/)

Clickjacking has proved to be such a problem for Facebook that the company has decided to install a Web of Trust (WOT) in order to guarantee the authenticity of the apps that are submitted to the site. If, by chance the user clicks on a link that could contain spam or malware, a pop-up notice will appear informing the user that the link might be dangerous. It is the users’ decision whether they want to continue on to the link or whether they prefer to go back to the previous page. This new security feature is dependent on safety information provided by users.

More information about  security on facebook click on the following link:  http://developers.facebook.com/docs/ApplicationSecurity/

Standard