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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle 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 Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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Daily Deals: Sipping from the Nile and Brixter

Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from EgyptToday Amazon as usual offers a book and a game within Daily Deals: Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt written by Jean Naggar for $1.99 and Brixter which you can download for free today only.

Born into a prominent, sophisticated Jewish family who spend time in Europe and live in the Middle East, author Jean Naggar’s coming of age memoir tells the story of her protected youth in an exotic multicultural milieu. To Naggar her childhood seemed a magical time that would never come to an end. But in 1956, Egyptian President Nasser’s nationalizing of the Suez Canal set in motion events that would change her life forever.

An enchanted way of life suddenly ended by multinational hostilities, her close-knit extended family is soon scattered far and wide. Naggar’s own family moves to London where she finishes her schooling and is swept into adulthood and the challenge of new horizons in America. Speaking for a different wave of immigrants whose Sephardic origins highlight the American Jewish story through an unfamiliar lens, Naggar traces her personal journey through lost worlds and difficult transitions, exotic locales and strong family values. The story resonates for all in this poignant exploration of the innocence of childhood in a world breaking apart.

 

BrixterBrixter offers an original approach to the classic blocks-style puzzle genre. This game for your Android device is a compelling brain puzzle that stimulates thought and challenges your coordination skills.

Block by Colorful Block

When you start playing Brixter, you’re given an assembly grid. In this grid, you’ll assemble groups of blocks with the same color in tile-puzzle fashion. Once you’ve grouped three or more blocks, and at least one of them touches the top boundary of the grid, a new shape is activated.

You’re not completely at the mercy of circumstance as you play, either. You can create your own shape and send it up to complete full rows as they accumulate on the upper area of the screen.

After a short learning curve, you’ll master the game functions and enjoy cruising through the levels. But don’t worry, you’ll definitely be challenged as the game progresses. And you can always set the difficulty level to match your skills (you’ll find this in the options menu).

No Colors, No Problem

If you happen to be color blind, you can still enjoy this game! It’s easy to enable Color Blind mode if you have trouble distinguishing between the blocks’ colors.

Brixter supports OpenFeint. You can choose to play against the rest of the world and save your high scores globally, or you can turn OpenFeint off through the menu and use the local high scores table.

Already Impressive Kindle Singles Lands Vonnegut Exclusive

What began as seemingly little more than an experiment to test whether or not there was a market for intermediate length written works, Amazon’s Kindle Singles program, has succeeded beyond all expectations.  To highlight this fact, they have made a rare exception to the usual policy of never releasing sales numbers to reveal that the 2-millionth sale of a Kindle Single had been made.  Estimates put the company’s revenue from the program at over $1,200,000 in the 14 months since the program launched.

Unlike the larger Kindle Direct Publishing program, Kindle Singles are highly selective and can be extremely difficult to create.  If accepted, however, they tend to be almost guaranteed successes.  Those millions of sales were divided up among fewer than 200 short works.  Considering that this is a form that had completely gone out of fashion and that many felt was at best of marginal interest, it is an amazing accomplishment for Amazon to have come so far with them.

Now things are getting even better, thanks to an exclusive deal with Rosetta Books.  They have arranged for the Kindle Singles program to have exclusive access to a never before published piece by Kurt Vonnegut.  Written in the 1940s, Basic Training is about 20,000 words and was intended to be published under the pseudonym Mark Harvey.  It is a very early work by the author and while likely rejected for a reason at the time it was submitted, hence the never before published status, will be quite interesting for any Vonnegut fan.

In a way this demonstrates how effective it is to have quality control factors involved in determining available selections.  The average title in the Singles program is obviously doing better than the average KDP eBook.  Potential readers know in advance that the whole library of Singles has been screened and approved, which removes some of the uncertainty that has plagued the eBook publishing scene for a while now.  Nobody runs the risk of picking up what looks to be a good book and turns out to be nothing but a five page advertisement for questionable internet pharmaceutical sales sites.

On the other hand, because this is such a narrowly defined category of books, the Kindle Singles do hold a certain special place that might make their example a poor one in terms of wider applicability.  Much of Amazon’s success in the realm of digital publishing is coming as a result of offering any aspiring author to get their work out there in hopes that it can stand on its own merits even without the endorsement of a major publisher.  If they were to seriously undertake gate keeping duties for the Kindle, it would undermine that aspect of the business.

No matter how you personally view the situation, it is safe to say that this is positive information for those who find the quicker, more concise offerings of the Kindle Singles shop enjoyable.  Sometimes it is just nice to be able to read this sort of work without unnecessary cutting or padding to fit more familiar forms.

Check out Basic Training now for $1.99, only at Amazon

Daily Deals: Borrowed Time and Fling!

Borrowed Time

Today you can buy Borrowed Time written by CJ Lyons just for $0.99. This book is is a USA Today Bestseller. CJ Lyons has been praised as a “master of the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) for her “breathtakingly fast-paced” (Publishers Weekly) romantic medical thrillers.

Pittsburgh Police Officer Kate O’Hern is on the trail of a killer targeting cops. Only problem, he’s already killed her once…

Trauma surgeon Joshua Lightner saved Kate’s life, only to have her awaken suffering from an unexpected side effect: visions of other people’s deaths. As a doctor, he refuses to believe in “psychic mumbo-jumbo” but as a man, he can’t deny his feelings for Kate. When the killer targets them both, are they living on BORROWED TIME?

Some words about the Author

As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart. Her newest project is as co-author of a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich. Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at cjlyons.net

 

Fling!Also Amazon allows for free downloading a game for your Kindle Fire - Fling!

Fling! offers a challenging yet cute puzzle game with territorial yet cuddly contenders. Facing a field of colorful, dough-eyed furballs, fling one into another until only one victorious furball remains. Don’t get too confident; plan your moves carefully, or you’re sure to share the board with other furballs and no more moves.

Becoming King Furball

Imagine your field as a grid. Fling furballs along a line into other furballs, causing the targeted furball to roll off the board. Furballs who are side-by-side cannot fling the other off of the board. They must be separated by at least one space. Furballs cannot be flung off the board unless knocked off. Use the undo and hint buttons when you get stuck.

It’s a Furball Frenzy

Enjoy Fling! in four game modes: Free Play, Arcade, Challenge, and Frenzy. Freeplay mode allows you to solve puzzles at your own pace, and at any level of difficulty you choose. Unlock harder difficulty levels for a greater challenge. Arcade mode is a race against the clock as you solve puzzles of increasing difficulty before the clock runs out. Challenge mode requires you to solve sets of puzzles within a specific time frame, while trying to beat your personal best. Frenzy mode is a total fling-fest! Keep the board from filling up by flinging same-colored furballs from the board.

Fling! features 100,000 unique puzzles, so you will never encounter two puzzles that are the same. The puzzles are categorized into 35 levels of increased difficulty. Each puzzle has a single, unique solution.

Key Features:

  • Use hints and undos
  • Listen to game music or your own soundtrack
  • Compete for local and global high scores
  • Begin where you left off with automatic game saves
  • Switch themes and play with marbles or fruits
  • Watch the informative tutorial and practice

Harry Potter FInally Arrives on the Kindle

J.K. Rowling’s hit Harry Potter series finally became available on the Kindle on March 27th.  I admit, this announcement does sound a  bit anticlimactic since all of the books and movies have been released already.

For those who are not familiar with the actual plot, it features a boy wizard named Harry who must defeat the Dark Lord, otherwise known as Lord Voldemort.  The seven books in the series take readers through many adventures that result in both sad and happy endings.

I’m not usually one to read fantasy, but this series sucked me in along with most of the rest of the world.  I think the endearing characteristic of these books was that despite the supernatural element to the story, the characters were very human.  The issues that Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione faced were not all that much different than our own.  Relationships, doing well in school, death, rejection, and more were very evident throughout the series.

The movies overall did a good job at capturing the magic of the books.  I think the final one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was my favorite book and movie.  Well, part 2 of the movie that is.  It is heartbreaking, but it ties everything up nicely.

Future Harry Potter readers will have it easy because the Kindle weighs next to nothing compared to the print editions.  I remember when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out.  It is the thickest book in the series, and the ones to follower were not all that much thinner.  Especially considering that most Harry Potter fans will sit and read the book for hours on end.  It always was such a let down when the book ended.

I didn’t get on the Harry Potter bandwagon until after the fourth book was published, but I fondly remember eagerly waiting for the new ones to arrive.  Now Rowling has finally joined the growing digital book world, and her beloved Harry Potter will be enjoyed by readers of all ages for many years to come.

 

Daily Deals: 11 engaging young-adult novels and Fast Food Nutrition

Today Amazon makes a discount on 11 engaging young-adult novels. The price for any of them is $0.99. All of these books have positive customer reviews but only few persons have left them. According to my own experience you should not be afraid to open a new name for yourself. Each great author has to write his 1-st story, 2-nd and so on.

Here is the list of these books. Click on them to go to the relevant page on Amazon.

 

Fast Food Nutrition

Also Amazon allows free downloading application for your Kindle Fire. Today it is Fast Food Nutrition which can help you keep nutritional data at your fingertips.

Do you like to dine out at fast food restaurants, but are concerned about what you are eating? Fast Food Nutrition is a handy app for your Android device that provides you with a variety of nutritional information. This simple tool helps you to keep track of all your nutrition and diet information for more than 300 of your favorite restaurants chains and 50,000 menu items.

The app’s nutritional data includes: calories, Weight Watchers points, fats, trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, and protein. Fast Food Nutrition is more than a calorie counter; it actually helps you calculate your calories as well. It also displays the total percent of RDA for all meals consumed.

Simply input a restaurant name into the search function, or click on its easy-to-recognize logo, to access its menu items. Then, click on the menu items to create an order and see how many combined calories and other attributes your selection contains. Also, you can save your selected restaurants to your Favorites for easy future access.

Kindle To See Competition From Windows 8 Readers

Say what you will about Windows 8 and the Metro style it introduces as a general computing option, it is amazing on a touch screen.  I’ve had a chance to play around with it more than a bit since the Consumer Preview build was released to the public a few weeks ago and after a short adjustment period I have had nearly no complaints.  There are obvious potential complications for the Kindle world, though since we can’t guess yet how inexpensive it will be possible for a full Windows 8 tablet to be, at best it is possible to make educated guesses about how portable device development changes in months to come.  What might surprise many people, though, is that just as Android has been used effectively to power E Ink reading devices like the Barnes & Noble Nook, Windows 8 has been mentioned as a possible operating system for future Kindle competitors.

The goal has always been to create a consistent experience between every device that runs a version of the operating system.  If you’re using Windows then it doesn’t matter if you’re on a tablet, a desktop, or a smartphone, because they will all function effectively the same way.  Traditionally Windows has been seen as far too slow and overly large to be considered a cost effective way to handle a dedicated eReader, but this may be changing.  Since Windows 8 emphasizes speed, efficiency, and power consumption, it may well work perfectly to bring that distinct touch-centric Metro style to the reading world.

This wouldn’t be bad news for the Kindle platform, of course.  While Microsoft Is developing their own in-house app store to compete with that of Apple, there is already a Kindle for PC app to play with.  It seems fairly safe to assume that since Microsoft will not be allowing highly customized or restricted copies of their software to be shipped (unlike with Google’s Android), the Kindle app will remain open to anybody using these new tablets and eReaders.

While we’re still a long way from anything certain, especially since the launch of Microsoft’s new operating system is expected no earlier than October, we do know that representatives of the company have hinted at an interest in joining the eReader market.  They don’t build the hardware, so it might be quite a while before anything affordable comes along to demonstrate the potential of the Windows 8 option, but if a barebones copy of the software can be had cheaply enough to match existing prices then it might really shake things up.

Right now the Kindle is dominating the reading world.  None of the Kindle eReaders make use of Android, but the Kindle Fire and any number of competing eReaders do.  Microsoft would have to set prices so low as to shock many people if they really wanted to hope to compete with established products, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do so.  They are butting up head to head with Apple and are clearly trying to establish a competing ecosystem.  I don’t see them teaming up with Amazon to offer a dedicated Kindle Store option as an official counter to iBooks, but it’s inevitable that something is brought up to match practically every facet of iOS.  The Kindle might well be caught in the crossfire.

Daily Deals: Chaos Walking Trilogy and Lights Off

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)Today Amazon offers 3 books and a puzzle game: Chaos Walking Trilogy written by Patrick Ness and Lights Off . The price for each of the books is $0.99 and the game you can download for free today only.

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

 

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking)The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking)

Part two of the literary sci-fi thriller follows a boy and a girl who are caught in a warring town where thoughts can be heard – and secrets are never safe. Reaching the end of their flight in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, while Todd faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?

 

 

 

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking)Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking)

In the riveting conclusion to the acclaimed dystopian series, a boy and girl caught in the chaos of war face devastating choices that will decide the fate of a world. As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

 

 

Lights Off - The Original GameWho Turned Off the Lights?

Lights Off is a deceptively simple game that will test the limits of your logic and puzzle-solving skills. The goal is straightforward: turn off all the lights to progress to next level. But as you go up the levels, this task gets harder and harder.

Light Switch Labyrinth

There’s one little catch to turning off the lights. When you turn a light off or on, it toggles all the lights next to it. So, if you tap a light off, all the lights next to it will turn on. Conversely, if you tap a light on, all the lights next to it turn off.

You’ll soon be juggling increasingly difficult light combinations to turn off those lights. To solve each board, you must think ahead three or four steps (or more) into your choices. Turning the lights off has never been this challenging!

Fun Interface

Tap the LCD area to select a level. Lights Off also keeps track of the number of moves you make to solve each board. Reset the board you’re on at any time if you want to start that level over. Featuring smooth animations, subtle sound effects, and beautiful artwork, Lights Off is the perfect way to kill some time and give your brain a workout.

Will Amazon Unwittingly Destroy the Kindle?

Kindle Touch

Kindle Touch

It’s been clear since early this year that as the Kindle Fire was taking off so impressively, Amazon was experiencing some amount of decreased Kindle eReader interest among its customers.   It is probably fair to say that most people expected this.  The Kindle accomplishes its narrow purpose well, but many people will always prefer a device that does many things adequately over one that does one thing extremely well.  As the trend continues, and as the Kindle Fire becomes the first in its own line of tablet products, do we have to worry about this being a popular enough substitution to lead to the end of the Kindle eReader?

A year or two ago I would have, and am known to have, argued against the idea.  The strengths of the Kindle are things that you just can’t match in a tablet.  The Kindle Fire’s inferior screen, shorter battery life, and greater weight all make it a distant second-best for reading activities by comparison.  Clearly not everybody is agreeing with those points, as sales estimates for the popular eReader have been declining coming into this year.

I believe it is possible to argue against this being just a matter of one device being somehow better than the other, though.  The real problem is the way that Amazon has segmented their customer base.

If we assume that the Kindle Fire is more appealing to people who only read occasionally, and who would like to get more regular use out of their purchase, that leaves E Ink Kindle buyers as the more dedicated reader base.  Let’s face it, Amazon’s actions lately have not been entirely pleasant for many fans of literature despite bringing prices down.

People get very attached to their favorite authors, and to the idea of authorship in general.  For many, the “One of these days I’m going to sit down and write a book” mantra is less a matter of actual intent and more a sign of respect for the craft.  The cult popularity springing up around any number of self-published Kindle authors is just another sign of this.  By pitting themselves against groups like the IPG, and thereby inspiring even more public condemnation from big name author and those speaking more or less officially on their behalf, Amazon is damaging their pro-reader stance.

I don’t believe that the eReader as we know it is on the way out.  The E Ink Kindle remains one of the best options for reading that money can buy and the combination of great selection with commitment to customer satisfaction works heavily in Amazon’s favor.  This sort of questionable behavior does much to dampen enthusiasm for the product among potential buyers, though.

So is Amazon biting into Kindle sales?  Definitely.  There’s at least as much interference coming from their heavy-handed negotiation tactics as their tablet alternative, though.  The Kindle Fire is an amazing little device and most people seem glad to have it once they take it home, but for reading nothing can beat E Ink so far.  Sadly, Amazon has been doing some work making sure people have doubts about tying themselves to the otherwise amazing Kindle ecosystem in the long term, and so there are issues.

Daily Deals: A Dangerous Talent and Preschool Cannonball Monkey

Today, on Tuesday, Amazon helps us to start our new working week with A Dangerous Talent (An Alix London Mystery) written by Aaron Elkins which cost only $0.99 and Preschool Cannonball Monkey which everyone can download for free today only.

A Dangerous Talent (An Alix London Mystery)Alix London has a promising career as an art consultant, a sumptuous condo in Seattle’s toniest neighborhood, a gorgeous figure, and a presence that exudes Ivy League breeding and old money. She has it all…or does she? Only Alix knows that the image she presents to the world is a carefully constructed mirage that veils an embarrassing truth. A brilliant, once-promising art student, the daughter of a prominent New York art conservator, her world was left in ruins when her father went to prison for art forgery. Now a Harvard dropout with an emptied bank account, she is languishing in a career that has produced little more than a lucky house-sitting gig. But all of that changes when Alix meets Christine Lemay, a novice art collector with money to burn and a hot tip on a recently discovered painting by American master Georgia O’Keeffe. Chris hires Alix to perform the authentication, an assignment that finally could launch Alix into the big leagues. But soon after her arrival in Santa Fe, she finds herself tangled up in a web of forgery, deceit—and murder. Anxious to avoid becoming the next victim, she teams up with FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth—and gets a little unlikely help from her roguish father—to uncover the truth behind the painting and those who would kill to have it. Sharp, witty, and devilishly fun, A Dangerous Talent offers an insider’s look into the surprisingly treacherous contemporary art world.

Some words about the Author

Charlotte Elkins wrote her first novel while working at the MH de Young Museum in San Francisco. Published under the pseudonym Emily Spenser, it was the first of her five romance novels that have sold in twenty countries. She switched to writing mysteries when she realized how much fun it was to collaborate with her husband, Aaron. Their first novel, A Wicked Slice, was published in 1989; since then, they have co-written four more novels starring a golf-pro-turned-sleuth and several short stories, one of which, “Nice Gorilla,” won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story of the year.

Aaron Elkins’s novels have been published in thirteen languages and made into a major television series. He is the author of sixteen novels featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver and of three mysteries featuring art museum curator Chris Norgren. He has won an Edgar Award and a Nero Wolfe Award, and he shares an Agatha Award with his wife, Charlotte. Aaron’s nonfiction articles have appeared in the New York Time’s travel magazine, Smithsonian magazine, and Writer’s Digest.

 

Preschool Cannonball Monkey

Preschool Cannonball Monkey

Sometimes a monkey loves fruit so much, he’ll do anything to get some more. Too high up? Too far away? Not for this mischievous monkey!

In Preschool Cannonball Monkey, a quirky and fun Android game for young children, a fruit-fixated monkey has gotten really creative in his pursuit of the perfect meal. He’s devised a cannon to propel him into the air, where he can pick all the fruit as quickly as possible.

Monkey Business

Your job is to aim the cannon carefully and then send the monkey flying! As he whooshes through the air, he’ll blast through rows and columns of delectable fruits, grabbing as many tasty treats as he can.

Eat your way through more than 30 levels of charming gameplay in this toddler-friendly game. You can pause the game at any time by double-tapping the screen.

Help the monkey fill his hungry tummy with delicious fruits. Ready, aim, and have fun!

Widespread Kindle Use Prompts FAA Investigation of Safety Regulations

While there is essentially no evidence that use of a Kindle during takeoff will have any effect on the performance of an aircraft no matter what technology it employs, FAA regulations prohibit their use at this time.  It isn’t a matter of ignorance or discrimination on the part of the agency; there are just too many different types of electronic devices and airplanes in use at any given time to be able to safely assume a lack of interaction.  A blanket ban aside from certain white-listed categories makes sense when looked at like that.  As usage of devices like the Kindle increases though, the FAA has felt the pressure to start making some accommodation.

It won’t be a quick transition.  There is a complex system in place for approving a class of devices for use, and in most cases the responsibility for proving safety has rested with the airlines themselves.  Given the expense of such testing, it isn’t really a surprise that the FAA has decided to take matters into its own hands.  Still, we now know that a serious reevaluation of personal electronics like the Kindle is going on.  It is good news, since there has been no evidence of such devices producing any sort of interference and as such we can likely assume that test passing is inevitable.

The only real complication might be the presence of Kindle 3G models that are not easily distinguished from the WiFi models without close inspection.  At this time, the FAA is not considering cell phones of any sort for exclusion from restricted use guidelines.  There is, or at least may be, some potential for the presence of optional cellular connectivity in these eReaders to cause problems.

Pilots are already able to use their iPads during takeoff much of the time in order to view charts and manuals, but each such device is subject to airline scrutiny and must be individually certified, maintained, and generally found to be harmless.  Presumably there is some fear that a broken tablet would have at least some chance of transmitting more interference, based on how handling of this situation has been implemented, which might be an interesting factor that complicates the testing as it moves forward.

While I think we can all agree that it is in the best interest of every passenger to make sure that each flight is as safe as possible, it will definitely improve travel for Kindle owners to have these restrictions lifted.  Chances are good that a fairly large number of passengers sneak in their use during these periods anyway already, and there has not been one confirmed report of interference from any sort of electronic device used by passengers in quite some time.  Modern aircraft are generally well enough made that this simply isn’t the issue it once was.

We have no time frame to work with at the moment, so there is no way of saying how long this testing will take.  It’s been years since the last big round of certification though, dating back to before things like the Kindle even existed.  It seems likely that the FAA will now finally catch up to things and allow people to read in peace during these periods.

Daily Deals: Rena’s Promise and Idea Tree

Rena's Promise: Two Sisters in Auschwitz

Today’s Daily Deals from Amazon include: “Rena’s Promise: Two Sisters in Auschwitz” by Rena Kornreich Gelissen and “Idea Tree”. The first one is a ebook which definitely worth to read and has only positives readers feedback - 4.8 out of 5 stars from 117 customers reviews. The book’s price is $1.99 within today’s deal. The second one is Android application for your Kindle Fire which you can download for free today only.

On March 26, 1942, the first transport of women arrived in Auschwitz. Among the 999 young Jewish women was Rena Kornreich, the 716th woman numbered in camp. A few days later, her sister Danka arrives and so begins a trial of love and courage that will last 3 years and 41 days, from the beginning Auschwitz death camp to the end of the war.

Rena’s Promise stands out from other memoirs in mere length of time she spent in the camps. No other survivor from the first transport has ever written about her experience and what it meant to survive for so long as a peasant and a hard laborer who spent 10-12 hours a day making bricks, pushing lorries, sifting sand, performing cartwheels…. From her escape from Dr. Mengele’s experiment detail to her surreal meetings with SS woman Irma Grese, Rena tells a dynamic tale of courage and compassion that reminds us of the resiliency of the human spirit, and the power of people to help one another in unimaginable circumstances, be they Gentile or Jew, German or Pole, kapo or prisoner.

 

Idea TreeBranch Out Your Ideas

Idea Tree’s unique interface helps you arrange your ideas into a hierarchy of notes. Use the level slider to quickly drill down into details or jump back up to your headings. Organize and outline everything in your busy life with ease, set a password to keep your thoughts to yourself, or share your plans by exporting or e-mailing in text, HTML, or CSV format. Idea Tree automatically keeps old versions, so you can restore previous notes if you change your mind, or just compare your current ideas with old ones.

Organize Your Thoughts

Comprehensive help files include a do-it-yourself walkthrough, and six different examples show a few of the many ways you’ll use Idea Tree to combine creativity with organization. Add phone numbers, e-mail addresses, web sites, and SMS messages to each item. Change each item’s status to “complete,” and keep track of your progress with business projects or to-do lists. Move items up and down the list, along with their dependent tasks, or “children”. Change the indentation from left to right to arrange your ideas into categories.

Don’t forget those creative ideas; jot them down in an Idea Tree, and you’ll be taking care of business–and the fun stuff–every day.

Arguing that Amazon’s Behavior Justifies Agency Model Price Fixing is Idiotic

Since the rise of the Agency Model that Apple made possible for publishers in a partnership surrounding the release of the iBooks application and store for the original iPad (a partnership now awaiting trial in an anti-trust case), there has been serious talk about how Amazon has set out on a crusade to utterly destroy traditional publishing with the Kindle.  This isn’t news, exactly, but it has become an important and popular topic after the recent contract dispute that the company had with the Independent Publishers Group that has resulted in the ongoing absence of IPG titles from the Kindle Store.

There can be no question that Amazon is acting like a bully in this dispute.  They want a lot and are in a position to demand rather than ask or negotiate.  What has risen up in response to this anti-Amazon sentiment has been shocking to say the least, however.  Scattered around popular blogs, we can now see any number of authors and publishers coming out against Amazon and claiming that publishers were somehow right to have engaged in price fixing and that even if it was technically illegal they should be allowed a pass because otherwise Amazon will win.

On the one hand, it is understandable sentiment.  Thanks to the Kindle, Amazon controls around 75% of the eBook market already.  Without their platform, the rise of eReading as we now know it would slow to a crawl.  Nobody else has the resources, or seemingly the interest in customer satisfaction, that Amazon is willing to put into keeping such a platform going.

On the other hand, this is insane.  Publishers were unhappy with how poorly the old business model applies to new media and so their potentially illegal activities should be excused.  It makes no sense to me, somehow.

This is made to seem like it is a one-sided arrangement.  I believe that to be a mischaracterization.  If publishers lacked power, they could not have compelled the adoption of the Agency Model in the first place.  They were just too concerned at the time with short term profits to be willing to take a stand and risk losing Amazon as a storefront.  It was a move that only made sense for every individual company if they knew that none of the competition would be capitalizing on their threatened withdrawal.

Amazon’s acting like a bully aside (because in the matter of the Agency Model and its potential legal implications that that does not apply) they have built the simplest and most usable way for readers everywhere to access eBooks.  Nobody else has come close, despite competing efforts from Barnes & Noble’s Nook line, the Kobo, and more.  This does not mean that anybody has been compelled to use it.

There would be no case against them if the Big 6 Publishers had come out with their own Kindle competitor and started offering all of their titles through it.  The Kindle would still be there attracting self publishers and generally making itself useful in various ways, but it wouldn’t have the content to be so important.

These publishers don’t want to have to deal with building new distribution channels, though.  They also don’t want to have to adapt when other people build them.  The fact that there is a power disparity is undeniable, but that doesn’t mean that these publishers were ever powerless.  Nobody compels them to use the Kindle platform.  To say that they should be able to get away with their own anti-competitive and manipulative actions because otherwise the Kindle line will make people start seeing books as more affordable and ruin their profits is just ridiculous.

Daily Deal: 77 cookbooks for all tastes and Yoga Guru Pro

Today Amazon makes a great deal for thous who loves spend a lot of time on kitchen 77 cookbooks with prices from $0.99 up to $1.99. It is huge number of books for describing everyone but every one could choose good books for himself. Shake up the new season with some fresh ideas for the kitchen. Whether you’re an omnivore or a vegan, today’s wide-ranging variety of cookbooks is sure to satisfy all culinary needs and desires.

You can see all cookbooks on this link. Do not loose this chance!

 

Yoga Guru Pro

Also Amazon offers for free downloading Yoga Guru Pro – application for your Kindle Fire or any other Android gadgets today only.

If you’re looking to make yoga a part of your life, Yoga Guru is for you. This Android app acts as a personal yoga trainer, guiding you to practice yoga with well-organized regimens, step-by-step instructions, and videos.

Yoga Guru offers a platform for you to attain physical discipline, self awareness, and mental peace. Its content has been developed by expert yoga practitioners, with the intent of making it easy for you to realize yoga’s many benefits.

Take the Yoga Path
The app features exercise regimens that can be customized easily to your preferences. Choose a regimen based on your experience level; you can choose from Beginner, Default (for mid-level yoga skills), and Advanced. Add or remove exercises to make any regimen fit your needs.

You can also select from three separate types of yoga exercise. For moves that focus on a healthy body, choose the Physical Yoga Exercises category. For a healthy mind, choose the Meditation category. If you’re looking for exercises that help common ailments, choose the Medical category.

Within each regimen is a series of yoga exercises that have been prepared by expert yoga trainers. You’ll see simple, step-by-step instructions for each move, as well as a video that clearly demonstrates the correct form.

Kindle for Android Gets Send to Kindle and KF8 Support

While the news that Amazon had jumped at the chance to update the Kindle for iPad app to take advantage of the new Retina display being included in the iPad 3 was interesting, it didn’t accomplish a whole lot in terms of feature improvement for the end user.  In fact, many complained that they noticed some small but useful options having been taken away quietly in the course of the update.  One might expect that this is an effort to draw slightly more attention to the usefulness of Kindle eReaders, or at least the Kindle Fire, but with their newest release of Kindle for Android Amazon has demonstrated that they are still interested in making sure that users stay satisfied.

The most important feature update by far is the new ability to use Amazon’s Send-to-Kindle application to transfer files between your PC and your Android device’s Kindle app.  Say what you will about the inconvenience of wireless transfers of large quantities of files, it will never be anything but a major advantage to be able to instantly move any compatible file right to the device you want to use it on.  Nobody really likes having to keep track of their data transfer cables or swapping SD cards around, as far as I can tell.

While it will probably come up slightly less, at least right away, the inclusion of Kindle Format 8 compatibility for the Kindle app should make a big difference going forward as well.  This format, announced in October of last year but only released officially back in January, gives the person generating each title far more control over the way their work is displayed than ever before.

This format has met with mixed responses, given that for many the advantage of the eReader will always be its ability to reflow text to meet the demands of the reader in terms of font, text size, spacing, etc., but it does allow Amazon to add some content to the Kindle Store that would otherwise be difficult at best.  Among those titles that Android users will now be able to make use of are thousands of comics, graphic novels, children’s books, and more.  All forms of image heavy composition should benefit from improved use of the newer HTML5 based format.

Kindle news is going to continue to center around the ongoing push to improve the Kindle Fire and its anticipated successor for quite a while, it seems.  This is only natural since it is a huge undertaking that has thus far met with almost unbelievable success for a company so new to hardware development.  It is reassuring to those who bought into the Kindle line as a reading method that this side of things is not being lost in the rush of things.

By improving the Kindle Apps and further supporting the new Kindle file format, Amazon improves the reading experience for millions of people and attracts even more high quality content for readers to enjoy.  With luck the trend will continue and more effort will be put into improvements across the board in months to come.

Daily Deals: The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning and Heavy Gunner

The Hitman's Guide to HousecleaningToday’s Amazon daily deal are: ebook “The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning” by Hallgrimur Helgason for $0.99 and a game Heavy Gunner free for downloading today only.

With some 66 hits under his belt, Tomislav Bokšić, or Toxic, has a flawless record as hitman for the Croatian mafia in New York. That is, until he kills the wrong guy and is forced to flee the States, leaving behind the life he knows and loves. Suddenly, he finds himself on a plane hurtling toward Reykjavik, Iceland, borrowing the identity of an American televangelist named Father Friendly. With no means of escape from this island devoid of gun shops and contract killing, tragicomic hilarity ensues as he is forced to come to terms with his bloody past and reevaluate his future.

Toxic, the hero of Hallgrimur Helgason’s The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning, had a record of 66 perfect kills. Then came the 67th–an undercover FBI agent–and suddenly he found himself in Iceland with a new identity. Oops. Avoid this kind of careless error by following Toxic’s handy tips.

1. Don’t miss the target. People tend to get a bit upset if they notice you’re trying to kill them.
2. Don’t waste a bullet. You have to think about the environment, too–you really shouldn’t add an unnecessary gunshot to an already noisy city.
3. Morning is for murder. Nobody expects a bullet for breakfast.
4. Don’t kill a priest. He who kills a man of the church will be killed by a church.
5. Don’t confuse killing and murder. Murder is for amateurs, killing is for the professionals.
6. If you have to take on another person’s identity, never let it be a priest. With that collar around your neck, your sex appeal is gone.
7. When you’re dating, don’t talk about your job–unless you’re overseas. Foreign girls are crazy about guys who kill Americans.
8. Embrace every new passport they give you. It’s always nice to get a new life now and then.
9. Don’t kill the wrong guy. Or you’ll end up in Iceland.
10. When in Iceland, stop the killing. There are so few of them.

 

Heavy GunnerReady… Aim… Fire!

Dust off that bandana, light your cigar, and put away your teddy bear, because it’s time to become a turret-turning, machine-gun wielding soldier! Get ready for the ultimate melee in Heavy Gunner, an intergalactic shooting game for your Android device. With its manic action and tilt control, Heavy Gunner is the kind of game that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Be the last man standing in defense of humanity. Now get started!

Campaign and Challenge Modes

Are you the type to complete a campaign where your aim is to eliminate the target in a series of operations or do you prefer test your ability and endurance with challenge mode? Either way, Heavy Gunner has you covered. In Campaign Mode you have a designated amount of time to complete the objectives and two difficulty levels. Challenge Mode offers an Infinite option where you have endless enemies in five different scenarios as well as a Survival option with 50 stages of extreme situations. Conquer both if you’re tough enough.

Trade Points for Upgrades

Outfit your tank with the meanest, deadliest weapons possible. As you play through the game, you earn points to purchase or upgrade your weaponry. To arm your tank, select up to two weapons that can be used alternately in battle.

Custom Gaming Experience

Heavy Gunner features robust setting options to customize the gameplay experience. You can calibrate the settings to your device and play style. Choose from tilt or touch controls, adjust the sensitivity, select touch style from multi- or single-touch, and select priority from speed or quality.

Achievements and Ranking

There are dozens of unique achievements to earn in Heavy Gunner. Earn achievements by racking up enemy kills, getting upgrades, clearing stages and chapters, and more. The app also features local leaderboards to track your high scores.

Kindle Color E Ink Rumor Completely False

I would be the first to admit that the Kindle line is amazing.  I love my Kindle Keyboard and use it daily.  I also know that I’m not the only one.  It is therefore unsurprising that when a Digitimes rumor indicated that Amazon was buying up truckloads of color E Ink screens in a size that would work in the standard eReader form, many people took it seriously.  It turns out that this is pretty much confirmed to be a fabrication already, and that is not at all the bad thing that it seems at face value.

As those who have followed any of the rumor storms surrounding Kindle releases are probably aware by now, Digitimes is something of a questionable source.  While they get just enough right that people keep checking back, this time other more reliable resources with far better track records have checked into the situation and confirmed that there is no chance at all that Amazon will be launching a color Kindle.  Not only are the E Ink Triton displays currently being produced primarily in 9.7” rather than the 6” that Amazon would certainly require after the failure of the Kindle DX to take off in any major way, they would apparently need at least a year to gear up for fresh production of this magnitude.

Before you get upset, though, take a look at the Triton display a little more closely.  Under ideal conditions, it is amazing.  Everything we would ever ask for from a color eReader and perfect for a new Kindle to breathe innovation into the eReader market with.  What we saw at CES 2011 was not that.  It looked nice, but that’s about all.  The colors were definitely on the screen and they were distinct and easy to make out, but they were dull.  Uninteresting.  Not quite ready.

As much as I would love to have a brand new color eReader that could bring everything in the print world together again without the need for the flaws of LCD displays, this is not the way to pull it off.  When Amazon releases their first color Kindle eReader, let’s hope that they take it seriously and make it a serious product rather than just jumping to get something on the market to prove to customers that they haven’t completely given up on reading in favor of tablet sales.

Make no mistake, in time there will be a Kindle Color and it will not have an LCD display.  Jeff Bezos said a long while back now that he was unwilling to release a color eReader before the technology was ready to do it right.  This is not that time and I am happy to say that there is no reliable indication that either Bezos or Amazon in general have changed tune.  Give it a year or two, then we can see what the future of eReading looks like.  In the meantime, there is always the Kindle we know.

Daily Deals: Dystopian Fiction for Young Adults and Tiny Village

Today’s Daily Deals consist of 5 Dystopian Fiction books for Young Adults and a game “Tiny Village“. The game you can download for free while each novels cost $1.99 today only. If you’re a fan of the The Hunger Games this is great deal for you. From the disease-ravaged American landscape in The Eleventh Plague–a Suzanne Collins favorite–to the other-worldly seaside of The Scorpio Races, all of today’s books are masterfully imagined.

The Scorpio Races The Scorpio Races

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver and Linger comes a brand new, heartstopping novel. With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff–with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.

Some reviews on this book:
“Masterful. Like nothing else out there now.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Stiefvater’s novel begins rivetingly and gets better and better…all the way, in fact, to best.” – The Horn Book, starred review
“A book appealing to lovers of fantasy, horse stories, romance, and action-adventure alike, this seems to have a shot at being a YA blockbuster.” – Booklist, starred review
“An utterly compelling read.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

 

 

The Eleventh Plague

The Eleventh Plague

In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade for food and other items essential for survival. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues, a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.

 

 

Ashes, Ashes

Ashes, Ashes

A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl’s unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts–for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she’s rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can’t continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There’s something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

 

 

 

Green Heart

Green Heart

A two-fold tale of grief and hope loss and love told as only Alice Hoffman can.

When her family is lost in a terrible disaster 15-year-old Green is haunted by loss and the past. Struggling to survive in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings she also begins to destroy herself. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters that Green relearns the lessons of love and begins to heal as she tells her own story.

As she heals Green lives every day with feelings of loss. Her family is gone the boy she loves is missing and the world she once knew has been transformed by tragedy. In order to rediscover the truth about love hope and magic she must venture away from her home collecting the stories of a group of women who have been branded witches for their mysterious powers. Only through their stories will Green find her own heart’s desire.

 

Empty

Empty

A dystopic look at what happens to one American town when all the fossil fuels run out…

It’s the near future – the very near future – and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be.

Nobody expected the end to come this fast. And in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that once seemed easy are quickly becoming matters of life and death. There is hope – there has to be hope – just there are also sacrifices that need to be made, and a whole society that needs to be rethought.

 

 

 

 

Tiny VillageIt Takes a Village to Make a Village

Join more than a million fans playing one of the top-rated games, Tiny Village. Can you develop your small settlement into a thriving prehistoric village?

PLEASE NOTE: This app lets you purchase digital content using actual money. You can configure parental controls for in-app purchases, which will require your Amazon account password or a 4-digit PIN, by tapping the Menu icon and then Settings.

Civilized Cavemen

Rupert and Regina, like most prehistoric folks, are at the mercy of the elements, often ending up as lunch for rampaging carnosaurs. During one particularly frenzied chase, the couple hides behind a huge rock that possesses special powers, frightening a pursuing dinosaur and giving Rupert and Regina a sense of security. So, they decide to stay near their Magic Rock and make a home for themselves, and they need your help to build their village.

Your Village Evolves

The game offers four main resources–rock, food, trees, and fur–plus three other resources that require a refinery: stone, lumber, and woven fur. You need to develop your village with its shops and resource buildings, as well as gradually upgrade your Magic Rock, to access some of the top-level production items.

Build a pre-historic village in which you harvest resources, build homes, and construct cool shops. Assign your villagers to work different jobs and use the seven different resources to craft tools, clothes, candy, and more. Upgrade the Magic Rock at the center of your town to unlock beautiful buildings and gorgeous decorations. Follow the quests through the tutorial, then pick and choose as several quests open at once. Arrange your buildings, farms, and decorations however you wish.

Big Sale on Kindle Games Going on Now

The Kindle Fire tends to be more well known for its games because it has a lot of the really popular ones.  Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja are the first to come to mind.  But, the e-ink Kindles also have a huge selection of games to choose from.  They may not be as vibrant as the tablet counterparts, but they’re designed to fit into the look and feel of the monochrome display.  Different ones usually go on sale each month.

For March, many of the most popular games are on sale for 50% off or more.  They’re already quite cheap anyway.  Gone are the days of $50 video games.  Now we often complain when a game hits the $5 mark!

I see some of my favorites on the list: Mahjong Solitaire and Jewels.  There are also a couple of newer ones: Lingo and Jungle King.  Aside from those games, there is a game suitable for everyone: cards, puzzles, interactive fiction, and more.

It has been interesting to observe what game developers have come up with for the limited e-ink platform.  I have been surprised at how many different style games have been adapted for the platform.

The Kindle Touch has eliminated the need for the 5-way controller.  Games like Bubble Pop and Gem Falls work much better with the touchscreen user interface than with the toggle and keyboard.  I had a lot of fun playing Bubble Pop on my Kindle Touch.

I’ve noticed more and more interactive fiction available in the Kindle games list.  This is a fun and engaging way to get people more engaged in reading.  You pick your own characters and control the direction of the story.  So, you have to be actively involved with the story as a whole.

So take a look at the games on the sales list.  In addition to the games on this list, there are hundreds of free and very inexpensive apps available for the e-ink Kindle.

Daily Deals: Fully Loaded and Backyard Zombies

FULLY LOADED: The Complete and Collected Stories of Blake Crouch

Today’s Daily Deals from Amazon includes: ebook “Fully Loaded” by Blake Crouch for $0.99 and game “Backyard Zombies” which you can download for free from Amazon site today only.

Thriller writer Blake Crouch is known for delivering page-turning suspense and gut-wrenching literary punches, and each of the 10 works included here is no exception. This 60,000-word collection includes Crouch’s introduction to each story and an interview with the author.

*69 – Tim and Laura West receive a bizarre voicemail on their answering machine that seems to have unintentionally recorded a brutal murder. But what happens when the killer realizes their mistake? This story develops over one terrifying evening, and this young couple will never be the same.

REMAKING – Tragic events unfold in a snowy, sleepy Colorado town. From the first scene, in which a man sits alone in the cold, watching a father and son in a diner, you know something is about to go horribly wrong. You may think you know what’s happening, but in this thrilling, heartbreaking story, nothing is as it seems.

ON THE GOOD, RED ROAD – A group of four hard men trying to reach a remote 19th Century mining town become stranded in an early blizzard and resort to drastic, terrifying measures, to stay alive.

SHINING ROCK – An older couple encounter a strange and menacing visitor during a camping trip in the North Carolina mountains. Friendly at first, this stranger seems to know them, seems to know their secrets, and as things escalate, they become convinced that they may never leave these mountains alive.

PERFECT LITTLE TOWN – Ron and Jessica Stahl are a power couple from California, on a Christmas holiday in Colorado. When they stop for the afternoon in sleepy Lone Cone, they’re charmed by the quaint tourist town. But the folksy hospitality will vanish as the sun drops behind the mountains. The Stahls couldn’t have picked a worse night of the year to get snowed into this perfect little town with a dark, dark secret.

SERIAL – The classic horror short I wrote with J.A. Konrath, in which we turn our attention to the twin golden rules of hitchhiking: # 1: Don’t go hitchhiking, because the driver who picks you up could be certifiably crazy. # 2: Don’t pick up hitchhikers, because the traveler you pick up could be a raving nutcase. So what if, on some dark, isolated road, Crazy #1 offered a ride to Nutcase #2?

THE NEWTON BOYS’ LAST PHOTOGRAPH – At 25 words, the shortest story I ever wrote. But it packs a wallop.

THE METEOROLOGIST – Peter, a disgraced meteorologist and chronic wanderer, has traveled the country for years in his Winnebago, in search of the only thing that gives his life meaning. He’s just arrived in the middle of nowhere—Hokie, Kansas—for the same purpose, but when he meets a waitress named Melanie, another sufferer, he’s faced not only with his first real human contact in years, but perhaps someone who can save him.

UNCONDITIONAL – A conversation between two people—devastating, tragic, and beautiful.

THE PAIN OF OTHERS – Letty Dobesh, a gorgeous, degenerate thief, is fresh out of the clink and back to her old tricks—in this case, burglarizing suites at a luxury hotel in Asheville, North Carolina. But when she’s surprised by returning guests on her last room of the day, she’s forced to hide in the closet to avoid getting caught, and inadvertently overhears a hitman being contracted to murder the wife of a wealthy lawyer.

 

Backyard ZombiesOMG, zombies!

So, what’s better than a gaming app for your Android device? A gaming app featuring zombies of course. Blast your way through tons of zombies in this fun, mayhem-filled 2D side-scroller.

Backyard Zombies features goofy art and easy-to-use controls. Shoot zombies and jump over them as you progress across the screen. Unlock new backgrounds and characters as you play. Become the soldier, pirate, ninja, chicken?! Collect coins and save civilians to score points. Complete levels and unlock achievements as you compete for high scores–and don’t forget about the epic boss battles.

Kindle Keyboard 3G Tethering May Provide Emergency Options

Kindle Keyboard

Kindle Keyboard

The Kindle eReader has long come with unrestricted 3G access on its more expensive models.  This has been such an expected option that when Amazon stopped offering the feature on the newer Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch models it shocked many of us.  Fortunately, for those who are still interested in the service, there is always still the Kindle Keyboard 3G.  While they aren’t really being pushed as a current product any longer, Amazon still seems to have plenty of the older model with its unrestricted access available on their site.

The biggest problems with taking advantage of this feature for anything besides simply purchasing from Amazon have been tied to the shortcomings of the eReader itself.  The Kindle Keyboard’s 5-Way directional controller is nice enough, but can be incredibly tedious to use.  The web browser is extremely basic at best, and will almost certainly enough fail to load important pages or crash completely from time to time under regular use.  Still, it is a free lifetime 3G connection that accomplishes the goal of keeping you connected to the Kindle Store no matter where you happen to be.  It is hard to complain about that.

What was once just a convenience for people willing to spend some extra money on their initial Kindle purchase might now be a valid thing to keep around for emergencies, however.  You see, somebody has finally worked out a way to make this free 3G coverage available to more generally useful devices via a tethering hack.  While I won’t go into the details here (this is absolutely warranty-voiding and quite possibly illegal enough for action is abused), hacker Andrew D’Angelo has posted the complete method on his easily searchable personal web site.  Using this method, you can now get your PC or laptop onto the internet via the Kindle Keyboard’s cellular connection.

I say that this is an emergency tool specifically because every bit of data sent through this connection runs through Amazon’s proxy servers.  You are tagged with a unique ID number that can easily trace unusual activity back to your personal account.  Since this is, as mentioned above, rather blatantly in violation of the Terms & Conditions for Kindle 3G use, chances are good that both the connection and the associated account will be shut down before too long at the very least.

This could be great to have around for those situations where a storm takes out the local communications, and I can think of some flooding a while back that I would have loved to have it available for, but it is not a tool for daily use.  Still, it might be worth considering the 3G option on any new Kindle purchase now even if you have no interest in it as an aid to your eReader experience.  $40 added to the purchase price for a cell connection with no monthly fee running through a device that only runs out of batteries once every month or two is great by itself, but being able to use that connection so fully when you really need to have that available is invaluable.

Daily Deals: In Her Sights and Musaic Box

In Her Sights

Today’s Daily Deals from Amazon includes Kindle ebook: In Her Sights by Robin Perini for $0.99 and Game for Kindle Fire: Musaic Box free downonlad today only.

Jasmine “Jazz” Parker, Jefferson County SWAT’s only female sniper, can thread the eye of a needle with a bullet. But she carries a secret from her past that she thought she buried for good at the age of fifteen. Two years ago she even drove away the one man she believed she could love—ex-Army Ranger turned reporter Luke Montgomery—to keep her past hidden. Now, in a fleeting second, the time it takes for one clean shot, one perfect hit, to save the life of the governor’s daughter, Jazz’s world begins to crumble around her.

Luke splashes her face and name across the front page of the newspaper, reawakening her past with a vengeance. A vicious enemy is now bent on destroying her life, forcing Jazz to turn to the one man she can never have in order to stop a killer before she and everyone she cares about pays the ultimate price. Full of explosive action and almost unbearable suspense, In Her Sights is a relentless, steamy thriller surprisingly infused with soul and poignancy.

 

Musaic Box

A Musical Hidden Objects Adventure Awaits You

Musaic Box is an unusual combination of mystery game and musical puzzle. It’s your task to find the old organ master who has disappeared. Enter a world of music and magic to gather clues and solve various quests. Unlike other puzzle games, Musaic Box requires not just logic, but a sense of musicality. Correctly composed melodies will lead you to the mystery’s solution and unlock a new game mode. Do you have an ear for music?

Test Your Logic and Listening Skills

In each level, you are tasked with exploring and searching a room in the organ master’s house to uncover hidden objects. As you do, you’ll come across outlines of musical scores for your music box that reveal intriguing puzzles in which you have to recreate masterpieces of classical and modern music. After you listen to the lead melody, it is your job to arrange the audio puzzle pieces to match. Correctly composed melodies lead you to the mystery’s revelation and unlock a new game mode.

Gather Achievements along the Way

As you solve the melody puzzles, you can earn a new high score and add a new melody to your list. If you do well enough, you can earn one of more than a dozen unique awards, such as the Amulet of Atlantis for completing the game in normal mode and the Stone of Truth for finishing the hard mode. Save your high scores locally and online.

With Musaic Box, anyone can be a composer!

Kindle Fire vs iPad 3 Is Easy, But Will Kindle Fire 2 Change Things?

I’ve gone over the fact that choosing a Kindle Fire or iPad isn’t really a tough decision before.  They are completely different devices that offer drastically different capabilities to their users.  A Kindle Fire could no more replace everything an iPad does than it could a traditional Desktop PC, but buying an iPad to do nothing more than what the Kindle Fire is capable of is wasteful at best.  There is some speculation that this will be changing in the fairly near future, however, and we have to wonder how well Amazon can hope to pull off a direct confrontation.

Their strength has been the ability to present a device that does exactly what it sets out to do, does it well, and doesn’t claim to be able to do anything more.  The Kindle eReader can be adapted to type on if a user feels like it, but Amazon never advertises it as a tool for that.  The Kindle Fire was provided with just enough power to handle movie watching and most common apps.  To be able to compete with an iPad on Apple’s terms, Amazon would have to be prepared for just about anything a user would want to do.

Some of these things are easy.  Cameras, which most people are either convinced or at least hopeful that the Kindle Fire 2 will have, would go a long way toward making it a better communications device.  A mic, which obviously would be needed in almost any situation where a camera would be useful, would also allow for voice controls and speech-to-text.  The larger screen would offer users greater real estate for customizing their experience and developers more leeway to add in features or information in ways that couldn’t fit on a smaller device.  To really match the iPad 3 side by side though, they would need more.

It is pretty safe to say that the Kindle Fire 2 will not have a Retina Display.  It will also not have multi-touch capabilities able to handle significantly more than two contact points at a time.  The screen will be larger, which is useful, but the impact of that can’t be assumed to cover everything.  In terms of processing power, graphics capabilities, and any number of other factors, there is little reason to believe that Amazon has a chance at taking the lead in general use situations.

Does this mean that a larger Kindle Fire will flop?  I don’t believe so.  If Amazon can keep the price down, it will still stand out.  Apple’s keeping the iPad 2 available at $400 is ingenious in that it makes the comparison with a 9-10” competitor at $300-350 closer than it would be otherwise, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to move in.  Really the only question will be how much they advertise what the new Kindle Fire is meant to do.  If they can make it clear that despite being larger it is still a purely consumption drive design, that will work as an advantage.  If they seem to be actively trying to create and sell a full featured tablet, it will take something big.

Daily Deals: The Change Maker and Doodle God

The Change Maker: Preserving the Promise of America

Today Amazon proposes the book for reading: The Change Maker: Preserving the Promise of America by Al Checchi just for $1.99 and the game: Doodle God for free downloading today only.

Entertaining, fast-paced, instructional, The Change Maker is not only a memoir, but a blueprint for how we can change our own lives, as well as the world around us, by providing personal lessons in the values of strategic thinking and responsible leadership. Through compelling true stories, both humorous and serious, Al Checchi demonstrates that through experience, vision, and courage, one person can make a difference and lead others to move beyond their comfort zones and transform our institutions.
Al Checchi, a remarkable change maker, chronicles how his creativity, strategic thinking, and negotiating skills helped transform three major American institutions—Marriott Corporation, Walt Disney, and Northwest Airlines—and led him to challenge the California political establishment as a candidate for governor.
Peppered with excerpts from speeches and articles, The Change Maker offers thoughtful perspective on institutional change in America since the 1960s, and scalding commentary on the current state of our public and private institutions, political parties, the emergent political class, and the economic policies and leadership of today’s administration.
The Change Maker challenges us to confront the status quo and demand accountability and a restoration of the fiduciary standards that are so vital to reclaiming and maintaining America’s position of economic and political leadership. Readers will finish the book feeling revitalized, hopeful, and armed with new ideas on how change can, and always will, occur.

 

Doodle GodWith a name like Doodle God, you might think this is a simple doodling app. Wrong! In this game you mix fire, water, earth, air, and more to create storms, build armies, and grow civilizations. The graphics may be simple doodles, but make no bones about it–in this game, you are an almighty god!

Gameplay

“In the beginning there was only Doodle God.” This proclamation kicks off your adventure in godhood. The premise of the game is simple: mix the four basic elements to create new ones, then mix those together, and so on. For example, by combining fire and air, you make energy. Mix fire and water and you make… alcohol? Why not–you’re a god, after all.

Limitless Possibilities (Well, Almost)

Keep combining because your first assignment is to create more than 100 items (dust, clouds, dolphins, etc.). The full app boasts almost 200 items and concepts, much more than the online game. Your ultimate goal? To forge your own complete world, right down to the insects and mud. Can you do it in less than seven days (or seven hours)? Doodle God dares you to try.

It Can Be Punny

Just to keep it fun, Doodle God throws in relevant quotes and maxims along the way. For example, when you mix water and earth to create a swamp, the app tells you a joke: “What do swearing frogs say? Oh, bull frog!” OK, we said they were fun, not funny.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

All three of the books in the Hunger Games Trilogy have been on top of the Kindle Bestseller list longer than any other books I’ve seen.  Suzanne Collins is one of the few authors who have managed to reach one million Kindle books sold.

The movie based on the first Hunger Games book will be released this weekend.  The excitement is comparable to the Harry Potter movie releases.  I hope that this movie will do the book justice.  I am particularly excited about this because North Carolina is the primary setting for the movie, and several scenes were shot in my hometown.

For a brief overview of the trilogy, see the post I wrote about it a couple years ago: Hunger Games Trilogy: Kindle Edition.

The setting is a futuristic world.  The country is a post war United States, and is divided into 12 districts.  The Hunger Games are sort of like the Olympics, except that it involves teenagers, and only one survives.  Each districts sends a male and female to the Games.  It sounds pretty brutal, and it is, but it shocks me sometimes how much science fiction or futuristic writing can address issues that we deal with today.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can check out all three books in the trilogy for free through the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, Unfortunately, it limits you to one each month,   Otherwise, each book is about five bucks.  Considering how addicting the reviewers say the books are, I can’t imagine wanting to wait a whole month for each one.

Mia

“The author has a way to do what so many writers cant. She brings you in, keeps you there and then rocks your entire world. I am really good at predicting where a story is going to go, however, just when I was thinking it would go one way the book went in a completely different direction. Fantastic series, if I could give more stars I would. If the movie is a tenth as good as this trilogy I think it may become my favorite!! ”

 

Daily Deals: How to Win at the Sport of Business and Weather+

How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do ItToday’s Amazon deals are the following: How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It by Mark Cuban which cost $0.99 and Weather+ which you can download for free today only.

 

Mark Cuban shares his wealth of experience and business savvy in his first published book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, available now only as an e-book. Using the greatest material from his popular Blog Maverick, he has collected and updated his postings on business and life to provide a catalog of insider knowledge on what it takes to become a thriving entrepreneur. Cuban tells his own rags-to-riches story of how he went from selling powdered milk and sleeping on friends’ couches to owning his own company and becoming a multi-billion dollar success story. His unconventional yet highly effective ideas on how to build a successful business offer entrepreneurs at any stage of their careers a huge edge over their competitors.

 

 

Weather+Where the Weather Adds Up

Weather+ gives you current weather conditions and a five-day forecast for locations all over the world. The information is visualized with beautiful full-screen video loops for all conditions.

Rain, Snow, Which Way to Go?

Background videos change to reflect highlighted conditions
Swipe the screen from left to right to switch between selected locations. Use the Flip Clock with the World Clock time setting for your current location and another selected location. Switch your settings between Fahrenheit and miles to Celsius and kilometers.

Weather+ includes a wide range of professional features:

  • Weather and time details for an unlimited number of cities
  • Full-screen video loops of the weather in a selected location
  • Fully functional on all Android devices and resolutions
  • Standard weather information like condition description and temperature
  • Wind direction and speed details
  • Humidity, precipitation, pressure, and visibility details
  • Weather forecasts cover 3-hour increments over the next 5 days

Weather+ is designed to be your daily companion for your basic weather condition needs and will drastically improve your connection to nature and its elements.