Author Archives: ari

Product review: Wunder360 C1 camera for 360-degree travel photography

2018-08-27

Wunder360 C1 is a 360-degree camera that can record video and photographs that show everything around the camera (up and down, right and left, front and back). It is an entry-level, budget-friendly camera aimed at people who just want to snap images, perhaps apply a special effect to the image and share it. How does the Wunder360 deal with travel photography? Here is our review.

Wunder360 C1 360-degree camera
In our case, the primary application for a 360-degree camera was travel photography. Especially, taking images in spaces like a room in a castle, filming road trips, recording city or village life, recording events that are difficult to capture with one camera (e.g. Tour of France bicycle race or a parade). Now that we have tried the Wunder360 C1 camera in all these situations, we can analyse the results.

Capturing a space like a room

The camera is good at recording a space around it, especially if there is enough light in the room or in the space. We tested this in a castle, and it is fascinating how much information it is possible to discover when viewing the 360-degree photos or videos afterwards. Also, a section of, for instance, a park with plenty of objects can be easily captured. A tripod is required for the camera.

Filming road trips

We installed the camera on a tripod that was standing on the dashboard. We wanted to take advantage of the image stabilization and camera direction features. The result: not worth it. The stabilization was not good enough for us and directing the camera doesn’t work well when the camera itself is moving with the car.

Recording city or village life

Excellent results. The idea was to leave the camera in a central place, like on a statue, in a large tree or on a bench, and let it film life on the street or on a square. The camera is so small that only few, if any, passing by pedestrian noticed it (we were hiding behind the statue so that we could see the camera).

We also tried walking with the camera, letting it record crowds on a busy street and people in cafes, but it didn’t produce good video in this situation. The image stabilization can’t correct movement caused by walking.

Capturing the motion of an event

Events, like parades, races (bicycle races, motor races, triathlon), and others have a lot of movement as many things are happening at the same time. A 360-degree camera can capture everything, and the Wunder360 has a feature that lets you direct the camera where you want after recording the video. This was exactly what we wanted, and this was exactly what we got. Good results, although the video quality after exporting the material to MP4 is not very good. Also audio sounds strange. The camera was standing still on a tripod in our tests at the Tour of France.

The street price of the Wunder360 C1 varies between 150-190 euros/dollars. It is available at online stores, and also at the vendor’s homepage.

In addition to the camera, you must have a smartphone or tablet that is new and powerful enough so that it can work with those 360 videos.
Wunder360 camcorder 360-degree video recording, edit on smartphone

These are the steps for working with the Wunder360 videos

The way a 360-degree camera works is different from ordinary cameras, and naturally, the resulting images are different from images or videos taken on an ordinary camera. These are the key steps for recording a video on the Wunder360 and sharing it on social media channels.

1. Specify a Wi-Fi name for the Wunder360.
2. Choose the recording mode in Wunder360. We used high-resolution 30fps mode.
3. Download the Wunder app on your smartphone or tablet.
4. Record videos and photos in Wunder360.
5. Connect your smartphone or tablet to the Wunder360 via Wi-Fi.
6. You should see a list of photos and videos on your mobile app that are stored on the camera.
7. You can view the images and download them to your mobile device. All photos and videos are 360-degree images.
8. Downloaded videos can be edited (e.g. camera direction) in the mobile device app and exported as ordinary MP4 files (that can be further edited in a PC video editing software). Exported files are not 360-degree videos, but only show the areas you selected in the camera direction feature.

Conclusion: take it or leave it?

For our travel photography needs, the Wunder360 C1 has just enough functionality so that we will carry it along on our trips. The small and low-cost camera has a specific role in our camera bag.

This is our first 360-degree camera, and it was a surprise how different its usage and output were compared to an ordinary camera. Fortunately, we had a specific need for it, and knew what we were going to do with it. That’s the key for anyone planning to buy one: it is essential to consider the applications for the 360-degree camera and then verify it has those features.

Tour de France road cycling race passes through the village of Bossost in Pyrenees mountains.

Wunder360 key specifications

Wunder360 360-degree video camera

2 lenses. Stitching In-Camera Real-time (when you view a video or photo, it is already one 360-degree image)
Focal length/aperture f=0.94 F2.4
Sensor Type CMOS
Photo resolution 4096 x 2048
Video resolution 3040×1520 at 30fps, or 2176×1088 at 60fps
Camera settings exposure and white balance
Status display 32 x 64 pixels (for battery, Wi-Fi, recording mode info)
Free application for Apple iOS and Android devices (required for viewing, editing, and sharing images)
Livestream to Facebook and YouTube
Important features in the app: image stabilization and ability to direct the camera movement before exporting the video to MP4.
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz/5GHz
Micro USB 2.0 port
Tripod mount at the bottom
Microphone
MicroSD memory card slot
Battery 1000mAh
Weight 95g
Dimensions 109.3 x 45 x 35 mm

Bouye Likebook Note sets lower price level for 10-inch ereaders

2018-08-21

Six inches has been the standard size for e-reader devices for years, but fortunately, the situation is changing. A number of e-readers with 10-inch screen have been introduced to the markets. It means ebook users can enjoy some tablet-like features, like writing and drawing on their devices. The Bouye Likebook Note ereader comes with a 10.3-inch screen, stylus, and with a price tag that makes it very competitive.
Bouye Likebook Note, stylus for writing and drawing
Bouye may not be a familiar brand for many people, but the Chinese company has produced a few ereader devices before the Likebook Note. In essence, it is an ereader with large, very sharp E ink screen that lets you write on it. Since the device is running on Android operating system, and some early customers are saying that Google Play is factory-installed, it is possible to install additional applications from the Play Store to the Likebook Note.

The possibility to install apps from the Play Store makes the ereader similar in functionality to a tablet, although it is worth reminding that all Android apps will not run on an ereader.

The key specifications and features of the Boyue Likebook Note

Bouye Likebook Note, adjustable front light

– 10.3-inch flexible E Ink Carta screen.
– Resolution 1404×1872.
– Front light.
– Android 4.4.
– Wi-Fi.
– RAM memory 1 GB.
– Storage space 16 GB.
– MicroSD memory card slot.
– USB port.
– Bluetooth
– Audiojack.
– Stereo speakers.
– Microphone.
– Physical buttons for page turn, back and home.
– Dimensions 191 x 262 x 8 mm.
– Weight 386 grams.

All is well in the specifications department. 1 GB of RAM memory for running Android and applications is not much, but many low-cost tablets have the same amount of RAM. Another thing is that Android is quite an old version.

Other than that, the Likebook Note has plenty of features for a 10-inch ereader that costs only about 370 euros at Aliexpress online store. Stylus and case are included.

Here is a video clip that shows a few features of the Bouye Likebook Note, like the front light and writing with the stylus:

Other e-readers with 10-inch or even larger screen are, for instance:

Onyx Boox Note
Onyx Boox Max2
Sony DPT-CP1

Bouye Likebook Note e-reader comes with case
Via Ebook Reader Blog.

Five frequently asked questions that an ebook producer has to answer

2018-08-01

Large bookstores, such as the Kindle Store, Kobo, Google Play have made downloading and reading of an ebook easy for their customers. What happens before the book is available in the store, however, is a long process where the author, publisher, ebook production expert and marketing people work with the book. Since our role is to produce ebooks, and often also to publish them, we have heard a number of questions concerning ebooks. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
cartoon character working with computer
Before we dive into the questions and answers, let’s make one thing clear about ebooks. There are two types of them: fixed and reflowable. A fixed layout ebook behaves like a printed page. The layout is exactly the same independent of the screen size you use for reading. For instance, page in an PDF document represents fixed layout: you can zoom in and out, and move up and down, or left and right to read it. If it doesn’t fit into a single screen, there is nothing you can do about it.

An ebook that has been created to have reflowable layout adjusts itself automatically to any screen size you want to use for reading. This is why it is convenient to read the same ebook on a small smartphone as well as on a large computer monitor. You can even change the font size to suit your eyesight. The magic behind this is that lines are shorter (less words) on a small screen and longer (more words) on a large screen. Because there are no fixed lines, there can not be fixed pages.

Since reflowable ebooks are far more common than fixed layout ebooks, our frequently asked questions deal with reflowable only.

Why page numbers are missing from the table of contents?

Instead of page numbers, you get links directly to chapters from the table of contents. An ebook that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes doesn’t have pages or page numbers.

Why do you want me to break my informative tables into small pieces?

It is perfectly all right to have small tables in an ebook. The problem is with large tables that may not fit on a screen horizontally or vertically. If a table doesn’t fit into a single screen, the output is unpredictable and may confuse the reader. Break large tables into small ones.

Why has the caption moved to the next page away from the image?

The image and its caption move around to allow the reader the change the font size and to read on devices with different screen sizes. Try it yourself. Change the font size and monitor how the content of the screen you are looking at changes.

The index is missing. Are you going to create it?

No. Every ereader device and reading application for mobile devices and computers has a search function that lets you search for any word you want in the book.

Why can’t you just publish the book as PDF?

Yes, we can, but … The thing is that some bookstores don’t even accept PDF books, and even if they do, readers are not happy if they try to read it on a small tablet, ereader or smartphone. PDF doesn’t adjust to screen size, but leaves it to the user to zoom in and out and to scroll sideways on every page they want to read.

Want to have an 10-inch Kindle e-reader? Here is how to get one

2018-06-18

In the early days of the Kindle ereaders, Amazon had a model with 9.7-inch E ink display. Perhaps it didn’t sell enough, or there were technical problems with the product, but it didn’t survive for long. Since then, Amazon has only been marketing 6 and 7-inch size Kindle ereaders. Many ebook lovers, however, want larger screen. Is it possible to find a 10-inch device for Kindle ebooks? Yes, it is.
Onyx Boox Note ereader 10.3 inches

Onyx Boox Note.

The trick is to find an ereader that is running on a recent version of Android operating system (version 6 or 7 is fine) that comes with the Google Play store. Then, you can open the Google Play store on the device, search for the Kindle app, and download and install the Kindle app on the ereader. That’s it. You have an ereader of any size you want where you can read Kindle ebooks.

The Ebook Reader blog has created a video where the Kindle Oasis 2 (7-inch display) and Onyx Boox Note (10.3-inch display) are compared. Because the Kindle ereader only has the Kindle app for reading, the comparison is conducted using the Kindle app on both devices.
amazon kindle oasis ereader with cover

Kindle Oasis ereader.

The fact that the Onyx Boox Note is running on Android and it lets users install applications from the Google Play store, makes it functionally more like a tablet rather than a simple ereader. You can download, for instance, a proper web browser, an app for writing notes, dictionaries, maps, perhaps even simple games.

The price of the Onyx Boox Note is about double than the price of the Oasis, but if you view the video, it is easy to understand why. The Onyx has more processing power, larger screen, it lets you install apps from the Google store, you can write and draw on the screen, among other things.
Onyx Boox Note 10.3 inch reader  for note taking, drawing

How to read Kindle ebook on a non-Kindle ereader?

View the video below for side-by-side comparison of the Kindle Oasis 2 and the Onyx Boox Note (by The Ebook Reader.com). You can see how the Kindle app and the Google Play Books reading applications run on the Onyx:

Will Amazon interfere?

Now that it has been established that Kindle ebooks can be opened in other ereaders than Kindle devices, what will Amazon do? The entire Kindle business system is built on tight control where Amazon decides where Kindle ebooks can be read. The goal is to ensure the biggest selection of ebooks is only available on Kindle devices and reading apps. The ebooks have to be purchased from Amazon Store. Well, so far, Amazon has succeeded. It is the dominant ebook business system globally.

It is obvious that Amazon doesn’t want to sell Kindle ebooks to any other ereaders than Kindle devices. Amazon may even try and prevent the Kindle app running on other ereaders. Let’s hope it doesn’t, because book lovers have more choice when Kindle ebooks are available on other ereaders as well.

Intel has created a working product concept that many ebook readers and writers want

2018-06-11

Intel is hoping more mobile device manufacturers would use its processors and other components on their products, and has created an exciting concept product to showcase the power of its processors in mobile devices. Intel Tiger Rapids is a tablet/e-reader device, or a unique laptop, that is about the size of a sturdy notebook. It can be used for reading, writing, and for all other things that tablets and ereaders are used.
Intel Tiger Rapids tablet/ereaderIntel Tiger Rapids tablet/ereader concept.

The Intel Tiger Rapids device consists of two elements: a tablet and an E Ink device that are hinged so that the device can be closed like a notebook, and opened like a laptop. The two elements can be turned so that they are back-to-back against each other.

The E Ink screen recognizes handwriting with a stylus. A virtual keyboard cab be projected on the E Ink screen, allowing typing.

The tablet side of the Tiger Rapids device has 7.9-inch LCD display. The E Ink display is 7.8 inches in size. A Kaby Lake Core processor is the engine in the device and Wi-Fi connects it to the world. A USB-C port can be used to recharge the device.

A potential problem for a device that comes with two screens is its retail price. In this case, both the LCD and E ink screens are touch sensitive, adding cost. It may be difficult to squeeze the retail priced under 500 dollars/euros, but I certainly hope a company manages to do it.

Also battery life could be a problem, but Intel told Cnet that the Tiger Rapids prototype runs for 13-15 hours which is very good. Almost two full work days before a recharge is required.

The Intel prototype is very compact in size and easy to carry along in a bag, or even in a pocket of a winter jacket. For typing on a virtual keyboard (in this case, on the E ink screen), a 10-inch screen – or even larger – would be better. 10 inches is probably the sweet spot considering product price, usability for work (and leisure) and portability.

Here is a video by Engadget where a reporter makes a brief hands-on test to the Intel Tiger Rapids.

The Apple iPad 9.7-inch 2018 model with Pencil as a writer’s tool

2018-05-21

The Apple iPad tablet is a familiar product for many writers and book lovers because of the ibooks application, and other apps on the tablet. Recently, Apple made the 2018 model of the 9.7-inch iPad compatible with the Pencil stylus that allows writing and drawing directly on the screen. How does the iPad help writers at their work?
Apple iPad 9.7 Pencil, woman drawing
During 2018, several new products have addressed the same scenario: a compact portable computer with a long battery life that allows people who read plenty of documents or books to read and to annotate those documents. Writing and drawing may have their own applications, but typically, the devices let users annotate directly on the document that is displayed on the screen.

It is now possible to choose between a tablet or an ereader that allows writing directly on the screen. The iPad 9.7 inch with Pencil represents tablets, and for instance, Remarkable, Sony DPT-CP1 and Onyx Boox Max 2 are ereaders that have a large screen and allow writing.

The interesting thing is that the 9.7 inch Apple iPad with Pencil costs less than the ereaders that come with a stylus. The start price for the iPad 9.7-inch 2018 is USD 329 plus USD 99 for the Pencil (total USD 428).
Apple iPad 9.7 tablet with Pencil stylus
In addition to writing and drawing directly on the screen, the stylus makes it easier to:

Select text
Move objects and text blocks
Highlight text
Annotate and mark documents

It depends on the application you are using which features the Apple Pencil has. The applications Apple has designed and included with the iPad have all the possible features whereas non-Apple apps may allow a subset of features.

Handwriting on the iPad screen with the Pencil feels different than writing with a pen on paper. The glass screen of the iPad and the plastic tip of the stylus establish a hard contact that may feel strange at first. Nonetheless, after a little practice, writing on the screen produces a result that everyone easily can recognize as your handwriting.

Many features are available for handwriting, like line thickness and shading. They can be achieved by tilting or holding the Pencil in a slightly different angle. For drawing, the iPad 9.7 inch 2018 model and the Pencil has many options. Artists and designers can use the tablet and the stylus for quickly drafting sketches. Also writers can easily draft schemas, symbols, and block diagrams that complement written notes.
Apple iPad 9.7 inch 2018, Pencil sketch message

Apple iPad or a 10-inch screen ereader?

A tablet is a multipurpose device. It is really a computer without a physical keyboard – and the iPad happens to be a very powerful computer. Writers who want a compact mobile computer for their research trips should find a tablet a useful tool. Having documents, notes, drafts, and sketches on the tablet and backed up to the cloud is valuable during a project.

Ereaders were originally designed for reading ebooks alone, but since the sharp grayscale screen and long battery life has converted many people to ereader users, companies like Sony and Onyx have designed devices that can be used for writing as well. Although it is possible to write on ereaders, like the Sony DPT-CP1 and Onyx Boox Max 2, they are still ereaders first. Still, writing and drawing on the screen of an ereader can be even more comfortable than on a tablet.

A review of the Apple iPad 9.7-inch with Pencil

Nathan of The Ebook Reader blog has recorded a balanced overview and comparison of the iPad against ereaders. Here is the video.

Apple iPad 9.7-inch 2018 model with Pencil key features and specifications

9.7-inch (diagonal) display with IPS technology. 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution (264 ppi, pixels per inch).
Display works with the Apple Pencil stylus.
A10 Fusion chip, 64-bit architecture. M10 coprocessor.
Rear camera: 8-megapixels, autofocus, panorama (up to 43 megapixels), HDR, exposure control, burst mode, timer, ƒ/2.4 aperture. 1080p HD video recording, slow‑motion at 120 fps, time-lapse, video stabilization.
Front camera: 1.2-megapixel photos, ƒ/2.2 aperture,720p HD video recording.
Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth 4.2
Cellular models can connect to 3G and 4G mobile networks.
GPS and Glonass satellite location.
Fingerprint sensor.
Operating system iOS 11.
Apple Pay.
Siri voice control system.
AirPlay connection to Apple TV.
Height: 9.4 inches / 240 mm, width: 6.6 inches / 169 mm, depth: 0.29 inch / 7.5 mm, weight: 1.05 pounds / 478 g.
Lithium-Polymer battery allows up to 10 hours of web, video and music over Wi-Fi connection.

Is the Sony DPT-CP1 ereader/writing tablet a tool for writers?

2018-04-23

People who read a lot tend to find ereader devices useful because the screen is visible even in sunlight and it doesn’t flicker. Writers have to read plenty of books and other texts. If an ereader existed that would allow using it for writing as well, wouldn’t it be a perfect tool for writers? Let’s see – Sony has introduced a device labeled DPT-CP1 that does exactly that.
Sony DPT-CP1 e-reader / writing tablet
Two key features make the Sony DPT-CP1 different from other ereader devices: it has a large 10.3-inch screen and it is possible to write and draw directly on the display using an included stylus. Well, there is a third factor that makes it different: the device can only open PDF documents.

How could writers make their works easier with a device like this? Nothing beats a keyboard when writing, but during the research phase of a project, Sony’s device could help.

My experience is that research activities produce documents that are saved on a computer’s hard drive, handwritten notes, photos, audio files, email messages, paper documents, and books. If I would use some time to convert all those text-based documents into PDF files, and transfer them to the Sony DPT-CP1, I would have a beautiful research library in one place. Then, reading and annotating the documents would be easy.
writing with stylus on Sony DPT-CP1 ereader
Sony has positioned the DPT-CP1 as an office device for professionals who can carry stacks of documents along in the device instead of carrying physical papers in a briefcase.

Other products that have been designed to be used in a similar way – reading and annotating documents – are the Sony DPT-RP1, Remarkable paper tablet, Onyx Boox Max 2 and Onyx Boox 96.
Sony DPT-CP1 as a large screen ereader (10.3 inches)

Sony DPT-CP1 key features and specifications

– 10.3 inch grey-scale screen. Touch sensitive (capacitive).
– Stylus for handwriting or drawing directly on the screen.
– Screen resolution 1404×1872, 227 dots per inch (DPI)
– Wi-Fi
– Bluetooth
– NFC
– Marvell(R)IAP140 64-bit Quad-core IoT Applications Processor
– Storage space 16GB
– USB port.
– Opens PDF documents only.
– Digital paper application for Windows, Macos, Android and iOS.
– Dimensions 174.2 × 243.5 × 5.9 mm
– Weight 240 gr.

The Sony DPT-CP1 ereader/writing tablet is available in Japan in June 2018, and after that it is expected to ship to other markets. The price in Japan is about USD 650.
Sony DPT CP1 for reading and annotating PDF documents

Talk to Books artificial intelligence service finds good reads from Google Books

2018-04-16

Google has many projects where the company develops artificial intelligence services for tasks that some day will help both businesses and daily life of ordinary people. One of Google’s research projects, Talk to Books, can help book readers and writers to find a good read they perhaps didn’t know existed.

Google AI service: Talk to Books, home screen
In a nutshell, here is how Talk to Books online service works at the moment. Type a sentence that describes the problem you have or what you are looking for. It is important to type a sentence, not keywords alone. The principle how Talk to Books works is different from a search engine that only finds matches for keywords.

The big difference and big promise of artificial intelligence (AI) software is that it can, to a certain extent, determine meanings. With Talk to Books, the AI system breaks the typed sentences into vectors using a hierarchy of parameters. The system has been trained and is supposed to develop further with time. Google Research Blog explains the method in more detail.

Once the AI system behind Talk to Books has determined what you want, it searches 100,000 books in Google library, looking for content that discusses the theme you are concerned with. Then, the service spits out its suggestions to you.
Google Talk to Books answers questions with books
I tried Talk to Books. The first questions I asked were relatively short. I received poor answers. Then I wrote longer descriptions what I wanted, and lo and behold, I got answers that I actually could use (like, I logged on to a bookstore to see if a suggested book was available as an ebook – it was so interesting).
Google Talk to Books artificial intelligence service finds books
As Ray Kurzweil, a visionary and technology pioneer, who now works for Google, said responses from Talk to Books may surprise you. The system can find something you didn’t know existed but is relevant for your question.

This is obviously one of the first steps in using artificial intelligence in a way that directly helps writers and readers. I would expect that the system is built so that it improves its answers as users feed in more questions. Of course, if Google expands the catalog of books that provide answers, they improve as well. For instance, travel related questions are not worth asking at the moment.

Consider your privacy, however, when you ask questions from a Google service.

How to read ebooks without installing any additional applications on your PC

2018-03-26

Recently, one of my neighbors asked how she could read the ebook she had bought from a store. She had managed to download the book, but there was no way to open it. As many of us do in a hurry to start reading a new book, she had simply ignored all the prompts to download an ebook reader application to her device. Well, the problem was quickly solved once we installed a reader application for her. Microsoft has taken a step towards easier ebook experience by including ebook reading into the Edge browser application.

The thing is that every Windows 10 computer comes with the Microsoft Edge browser application that includes the feature to read ebooks.

ebook table of content in Mircosoft Edge browser
If your Microsoft Edge can not open EPUB ebooks, ensure your system has received all the security and feature updates from Microsoft.

This is how you can instantly verify if Microsoft Edge browser on your computer can open ebooks.

Open File Explorer.
Locate the EPUB ebook you want to open on your device.
Right-click on the EPUB file.
Select Open with.
Select Microsoft Edge. If it is not on the list, click Choose another app, and look for Edge.

The ebook should open in a tab in the Microsoft Edge application. If the book doesn’t open, the chances are that you are trying to read a copy-protected (DRM-locked) ebook. The rule of thumb is that ebooks bought and downloaded from a bookstore are copy-protected (you can always read them in the app the store provides), but free ebooks are not locked (and can be read in any EPUB ebook app). Kindle ebooks are a different story altogether, but the rule of thumb is that you can read them only in Kindle devices and apps.

In addition to non-DRM, not copy-protected ebooks you can download ebooks from the Microsoft Store to the Edge browser. It is still early days for ebooks on the Microsoft Store, which means that ebooks are not yet available in many countries at all.

Once you have an ebook in the Microsoft Edge, you can use the following useful features as you read a book.

Open the table of contents and jump to a page you want. Click the leftmost icon on the black bar above the book.
read aloud (TTS) in Microsoft Edge
Let the application read the book aloud to you. Click the loudspeaker icon on the black bar above the book.
highlight, make notes in ebook in Windows 10 Edge browser
Highlight or underline text. Select a section of text, and a small tool window opens up. You can also write notes that are attached to the position you selected.
change ebook font size in Windows 10 reader app Edge
Change font and font size. Choose A-icon, and you will see the options.
search any text in ebook in Edge browser EPUB reader in Windows 10
Search any text in a book. Click the magnifying glass and type your keywords.
Bookmark pages.

Especially, read aloud is a useful new feature in an ebook reading app. You can turn an EPUB ebook into an audiobook simply by asking the Edge browser to read it to you. At the moment, three voices are available for choosing which one pleases your ears the most. Edge can read web pages as well, so you can listen to articles you discover on the internet.

Books have destroyed our civilization multiple times if we believe the wise men of the past

2018-03-19

There is nothing better than laughing at mistakes other people have made. BBC put together an infographic with famous predictions gone wrong. Here are the highlights from the compilation that relate to books and communication technologies.
clip art cartoon: old man with papyrus and young man with mobile phone and computer
Circa 370 B.C.
Socrates predicted that the written word will destroy our memories. Men will cease to exercise memory because they rely on what is written.
Yet, the world can remember what he said because Plato wrote it down.

1492
Monk Johannes Trithemius wasn’t happy about the new innovation: printing press. He worried about the future of his profession because Gutenberg had invented a machine that could print books. Monks who earned a living as scribes had to find something else to do.

1545
Swiss scholar Conrad Gesner worried that too many books in the world is perilous. Confusing and harmful abundance of books seriously bothered him.

1685
More than hundreds year later, after many books had surely been printed with new machines, French scholar Adrien Baillet wrote that he had a reason to fear that a multitude of books would drive humankind into barbarous state.

1879
A new invention, telephone, had arrived in England where the Head of the Post Office regarded the new device useless. Relaying messages with the help of messenger boys was the proper way to communicate for him.

1883
Just like books used to be a threat to powerful people in ancient times, because ordinary people could actually learn something, public education was seen as a threat at the end of the 19th century. New York Medical Journal warned that public education would exhaust the children’s brains and nervous systems.

1929
Telephone continued its inevitable conquest across the world, and was seen as a threat to the society. San Francisco Catholic Adult Education Committee worried: does the telephone break up home life and the old practice of visiting friends?

1936
Another relatively new invention, radio, was too much for the music magazine Gramophone. Children have developed the habit of dividing attention between the humdrum preparation of their school assignments and the compelling excitement of the loudspeaker, the magazine concluded.

1959
Although there were not many computers in the entire world at the time, mathematician I.J.Good believed in artificial intelligence (AI). He thought all work could be handed over to machines in 10-30 years.

1964
Arthur C. Clarke, one of the most successful science-fiction authors, predicted the rise of remote work and digital nomads accurately. He even got the popular nomad destination, Bali, right. Clarke thought that in 50 years, we can work remotely.

1975
The buzzword Paperless Office appeared on an article in BusinessWeek. Well, it is kind of happening now. The magazine article predicted that all office information would be digital by 1990. The consumption of paper, however, started to decrease in US offices in 2001.

1995
Robert Metcalfe, one of the pioneers of the Internet estimated that the network will catastrophically collapse in 1996. He had to eat his words in 1997 in front of an audience where he mixed his column into water and drank it.

The list of false predictions is endless. It is only the predictions by famous people that went horribly wrong which will live long after the world has moved on. It is also easy to find parallels between ancient and recent studies and research papers that conclude how evil a new invention is.

How many times have I seen the story that reading a book from a screen rots our brains. How many children have been doomed to damnation because they use social media. How many times has it been proved that only the “smell of book” and “holding a book” improves learning when studying something – instead of reading an ebook. How many studies indicate that the Internet is destroying our memories.

All right, I will make one prediction. Now that audiobooks and voice control are growing strongly, the backlash will be in 2019: no one can learn by listening to a book, you have to read it.

Pocketbook Inkpad 3 ereader can read ebooks aloud to you

2018-02-19

Ereaders with larger than six inches displays made a breakthrough in 2017, and we expect the trend to continue developing further. Ereader vendor Pocketbook already has a few large-screen models available, but the Inkpad 3 comes with sharp E ink display, advanced frontlight features, and a text-to-speech facility.
Pocketbook Inkpad 3 with frontlight, 7.8 inch display
The greyscale screen of the Pocketbook Inkpad 3 is 7.8 inches in size with 300 dots per inch (DPI) resolution, making it a sharp display. The 7.8-inch size seems to have become quite common, for instance, Kobo is using the same size in some of its e-reader models.

Advanced features in the display include a frontlight that automatically can adjust the level of light so that it is pleasant for reading. It can also adjust the temperature of the light. You may rely on the automatic settings, or tune all the features of the frontlight to your liking.
Pocketbook Inkpad 3: reads aloud ebooks, text-to-speech
Audiobooks are likely to find new friends along with a feature included in the Inkpad 3: the ereader can read aloud all ebooks you have already downloaded (and, of course, all the new ones). You don’t have to buy and download large audiobook files, but you can tell the ereader to read any ordinary ebook (EPUB) to you. The difference with traditional audiobooks is that a person is not reading the text, but a computer. The quality of computer voices have greatly improved, and, for instance, I can today listen to it comfortably (a couple of years ago, I couldn’t).

The Pocketbook Inkpad 3 comes with Wi-Fi connectivity that lets you access a number of cloud services, like Dropbox. This feature makes it more convenient to download ebooks because every file doesn’t have to go through a computer.

The ereader is light – only 210 grams. Its dimensions are 195 mm x 136 mm x 8 mm.

8 GB storage space for ebooks and other files is located inside the device, and more space can be added by inserting a microSD memory card (up to 32 GB) into a card slot. The Inkpad has 1GB of RAM and a Dual Core (2×1 GHz) processor.

The features of the Pocketbook Inkpad 3 indicate that it won’t fit into the lowest price category of ereaders. Product pricing and availability can be checked at Amazon and at company’s web page here.

Here is an article that introduces a number of other large screen ereaders.

Via Klaava.fi.
Pocketbook Inkpad 3 e-reader, back panel

A backup device for traveling photographers, video creators, and writers

2018-01-25

On the road, it is essential to make a backup copy of all new photos, video clips and text documents as soon as possible. LaCie has introduced a rugged, battery-powered backup disk designed to be used without a laptop wherever you may be. The key feature is that it is possible to make a backup directly from a camera, phone or drone without a laptop.

Lacie DJI Copilot backup disk
LaCie DJI Copilot is a strange name for a backup hard drive, but the manufacturer has wanted to emphasize the mobility, ruggedness and storage space of the product. It has 2TB of space. The thinking behind the name is that you can take the hard drive along to a field trip, fly your drone (or take a ton of photos with your camera), shoot all the video you want and instantly create a backup on the hard drive.

If you have a camera, drone, smartphone or a laptop with files you want to backup, you can use one of the cables that come with the LaCie hard drive or insert a memory card into the device and create a backup copy.
Lacie DJI Copilot backup disk 2TB, portable battery-powered, rugged
The LaCie DJI Copilot also has its own smartphone application. Connect the smartphone to the LaCie with a cable, and you can view the contents of the drive. A really useful feature in the smartphone app is that you can rename files and delete unwanted images. A dull moment at an airport or time stuck in traffic can be used for something beneficial.

In the US, the product is priced at USD 350, and in Europe at EUR 400 at the moment. For 2TB worth of storage, it is a pricey product. It is possible to purchase an external hard drive with the same amount of storage space for EUR/USD 100, but they are not portable, and a PC is required for making backups.

Tips for traveling professional for surviving without internet access on the road in this article.
Lacie dji copilot 2tb hard disk, portable
The LaCie DJI Copilot product package includes:

– 2TB hard drive
– MicroSD memory card adapter
– Two types of USB cables for PCs, phones and cameras
– Lightning cable for Apple devices
– Charger