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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: After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Daily Leg Workout

After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (Crimescape)

Today Amazon offers you the following items: After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by Marilyn Bardsley and Daily Leg Workout. The first one is cost $0.99. The second one is free to download today only.

After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Marilyn Bardsley exposes the naked truth behind the death of Danny Hansford at the hands of his eccentric lover, the iconic Savannah, Georgia, socialite Jim Williams. It’s a bizarre, page-turning look at the crime which inspired the best-selling novel and hit movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

(A 100-page True Crime Short with photographs) Clint Eastwood’s movie and the book from which it was made — Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — put the grand historic city of Savannah on the map. Tourists flocked to see the gorgeous mansion where flamboyant designer and antiques dealer Jim Williams, played by Kevin Spacey, killed his young gay lover, played by Jude Law. While the movie portrayed the natives of Savannah as remarkably decadent, exotic characters, it missed the amazing dark side of Jim Williams himself.

Savannah owes Jim Williams an enormous debt of gratitude for his remarkable restoration of historic houses. A brilliant and intensely interesting, charismatic figure, he brought a style and sophistication to the city that it did not have before. Rich and famous people, like Jacqueline Onassis and Rockefellers, made special trips to bargain for his extraordinary antique treasures. However, he was also a smooth predator, whose crimes could have put him behind bars long before he shot his lover.

The wonderful world of Jim Williams came crashing down on him one night after he killed Danny Hansford. Williams stood trial four times for premeditated murder. Between the passionate and dedicated prosecution and the best defense lawyers money could buy, precisely what happened that night is still a mystery. The prosecution’s documents, never published before, reveal its highly effective strategies and the intrigue that caused the Georgia Supreme Court to overturn two convictions.

“Finally! The real story of one of the most bizarre cases in modern crime history. Marilyn Bardsley has nailed it. The movie was Hollywood. The book was…a stretch. After Midnight is the unvarnished truth.”

—Chuck Hustmyre, bestselling crime novelist and screenwriter, A Killer Like Me and House of the Rising Sun

 

Daily Leg Workout

Daily Leg Workout

If you think your lower body could use some strengthening–or you just need a good excuse to grunt more often–try Daily Leg Workout. This exercise app for your Android device could be just the thing to get your legs toned, stronger, and feeling more fit.

Strengthen Your Lower Body

Daily Leg Workout contains two 5- to 10-minute daily leg routines that guide you through 20 great lower body exercises. This workout is developed and demonstrated by a certified personal trainer. Spending just minutes a day can strengthen and tone your legs.

The routine’s simple interface, complete with video and timer, allows you to easily follow along and understand each exercise. This full version includes two workouts, landscape mode, randomized features for different daily workouts, and is ad-free.

If you’re looking to get your lower body into better shape, give Daily Leg Workout a shot. The only thing you have to lose is the old you!

Draw Something for the Kindle Fire Now Available

Have you been wanting to engage in a social experience with friends using your Kindle Fire despite its lack of camera or microphone?  If so, it’s a good time to head to the App Store and check out the new releases.  OMGPOP’s hit game “Draw Something” is now in stock.  With both Free and Ad-Free flavors ready for your download, everybody has a way to play.

Much like the ever-popular Words With Friends, a game which came packaged with the Kindle Fire, users are matched up with friends in a turn-based back and forth game.  There are no time limits, and you can have a number of simultaneous games going if that suits your mood.  Don’t have friends who play?  No problem.  Draw Something will match you up with complete strangers at random just so you have something to do with your time.

The core game mechanic in Draw Something is…ok, you can probably figure that one out on your own.  Anyway, each player takes turns either drawing one of three word options presented at random or trying to guess what word the other player was trying to represent with their drawing.  It’s a pretty straightforward kind of game.  Scoring is done using in-game currency, which can then be used to purchase things like extra colors for your use when doing more drawing.  Naturally there is also a micro-transaction option, but it is unobtrusive and easily ignored.

This new release still has a couple problems with it compared to more established incarnations.  There have been issues reported when logging into your account from multiple devices.  There have been similar, yet seemingly unrelated problems for people who own multiple Kindle Fire devices on the same account.  Perhaps the biggest problem that people are running into is the lack of an option to take a screenshot.  Since achieving popularity, Draw Something screenshots have been shared all over the internet and the inability to save a particularly good one due to limitations in the Kindle Fire’s software may be frustrating.

As with many other popular social games, Draw Something is a cross-platform program.  Players can connect with their friends over Facebook or via usernames chosen within the app itself.  If you want to do without a Facebook account then you will need an email address, but there have been no reports of these addresses being abused or spammed in any way.

What it all comes down to is that Kindle Fire users have access to perhaps the most popular time-waster type of game on the market for the moment, which by extension more than doubles the potential Android Tablet user pool.  Better late than never, of course, and there will most likely be months yet before something else comes along to capture popular attention.  Have fun with it and exercise your creative side.

Daily Deals: More than 100 Mystery and Crime Novels and Link

Today Amazon makes good deal: more than 100 Mystery and Crime Novels. Buried beneath every modern mystery and crime novel is an influential body of work. The Prologue Crime Collection mines these gems to shed light on books from generations past that have influenced today’s new releases, offering a page-turning look into the evolution of the modern-day crime and mystery genres.  All books within today’s daily deal cost only $0.99 each. You can have a look at all of them here.

 

LinkAlso you can download for free Link. It is a modern take on a classic bridge-building game from the 1980s. Build bridges using wood and steel girders, and in more advanced levels, with stone blocks and rope cables. With 100 levels, Link will provide you with days of enjoyment and frustration. As a 19th-century industrialist, you’re building trains across the great West. The expansion of America depends on the delivery of coal, lumber, crates, animals, and of course passengers across a variety of valleys, ditches, waterways, and canyons.

Decisions, Decisions

Link uses principles of civil engineering to create stable structures. Creating bridges using randomly-connected materials will probably result in a lot of casualties. Instead, you’ll need to think like a designer. Will a rectangular or triangular girder structure provide less strain on the girder joints? Does it make more sense to attach cables near the ends, or near the middle? If there is no place to attach cables, what type of structure can you build on which to attach cables?

Choose Wisely

You should also consider the physical properties of wood vs. steel. Steel is heavier and sturdier, while wood is lighter but probably not able to handle as much stress. Concrete is the heaviest and sturdiest of all construction elements, but you have a limited number of blocks to use and a limited number of places to put them. Cables provide some additional support from above, but they are also limited, and in some cases you will need to build a support structure for them.

In each level, you have a limited number of construction elements and structural anchors. On levels with concrete blocks, the tops of blocks also provide additional anchor points. Use these blocks carefully though! An improperly placed anchor can make all the difference between success and failure.

Tools of the Trade

Several user controls are available, including zoom in and zoom out, grid overlay toggle, show or hide bottom controls, reset the entire level, undo, and delete (the “X” icon). This should be fairly obvious based on the icon. At the far right, bottom corner is an up and down arrow to toggle the bottom control bar display.

Thunder and Rain by Charles Martin

Charles Martin is one of my favorite authors.  I hate that he only comes out with a new book once every two years, but you can tell that he puts a lot of thought into each book he writes.

Thunder and Rain is his latest, and I’d say, one of his best.  This is the first of his books that I’ve read on my Kindle.  I heard him speak a few years ago and took all of my books to be signed.  Makes me wonder what will happen to book signings once e-readers become the norm?

Thunder and Rain is set in Texas.  Martin’s books have been set in different parts of the country, which I find very refreshing.  The narrator is Ty Steele, a third generation retired Texas Ranger.  This book takes the reader through all of the emotions from sorrow to joy, and touches on many controversial issues.

Ty Steele is highly respected in his community, and cares deeply for his family, friends, and random people he meets on the side of the road.  He goes out of his way to help out those who are down on their luck.  His selflessness and service to others shapes the direction of the book as a whole.  Chivalry is not dead!

Now, I will admit that Martin can get a bit sappy at times, but the depth of the story and the easy going nature of his writing help make it more real.  I always feel like I’m right there with the characters because his writing is so conversational.

Charles Martin’s most recent book prior to Thunder and Rain, The Mountain Between Us, didn’t capture my attention as much as some of his other books, but it was still a good book.  It is currently in the process of being made into a movie.

Reviews of Thunder and Rain are overwhelmingly positive.  Many reviewers are with me on the writing style observation.  So, if you’re looking for books to stock your Kindle with for the summer, I recommend adding this one to the pile.

Daily Deals: Because of Winn-Dixie and Zen Hopper

Because of Winn-DixieToday Amazon offers you to get Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo just for $0.99. What can I say – harry up to get this book for your kinds and for yourself. It has 836 customer reviews with average 4.6 out of 5 stars.

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor.A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive.Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.

Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship and forgiveness can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.

Recalling the fiction of Harper Lee and Carson McCullers, here is a funny, poignant, and utterly genuine first novel from a major new talent.

 

Zen Hopper
Also you can download the following game: Zen Hopper. It is free today only.

A Zen Master… of Hopping?

Welcome to the Cave of Transcendence, where Zen masters apply their skill and training. Prove yourself worthy of the title Zen Hopper.

Move Without Moving

The concept is simple. Hop across a series of wooden pillars over a bottomless pit. Don’t miss any; try to touch the center of each pillar as it passes for a perfect score. The poles move faster and faster, increasing the challenge. See how far you can go in Endurance Mode or find out if you can complete the Belt Mode challenges from white belt to black belt–achieve your black belt for a special ending.

Focus Without Looking

A dragon slides gracefully up the left side of your screen, marking the time until the end of your current challenge. Meanwhile, your sense of balance is marked by the lotus flowers on the right. If you close all of the lotuses, you’ve missed the pillars too many times, and you must repeate your training for the current level.

Review: Barnes & Noble’s GlowLight Nook Leaves Kindle Playing Catch-Up

The biggest complaint about eReaders since Day 1 has been the fact that you can’t read them in the dark.  Now, normally I’m the first to call out such complaints as poorly informed since they tend to involve comparisons between E Ink Kindles and LCD alternatives.  Apparently that will no longer be an important distinction soon.  The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight has begun shipping ahead of schedule and should already be in the hands of many of the earliest preorder customers.

Now that there are actual devices available for review it is possible to make a more informed comparison.  We can start with the Nook Simple Touch that we already know and love.  The differences between the two models are minimal.  The new incarnation has a gray border around the outer edge of the device, but it is otherwise hard to tell them apart.  It apparently has an screen protector to reduce glare laminated to the display, but this does not reduce clarity in any significant way even in side by side comparisons.  There is no essential loss involved in the addition of the new technology.

What you gain by going with the GlowLight version of the Nook Simple Touch is fairly impressive.  Any other additions aside, the lighting feature is the important part.  It is not, as some have claimed, an example of back-lit E Ink.  The new Nook uses a type of LED-lit front-lighting to spread the illumination evenly without causing any significant increase in eye strain.  Unlike the situation for many reading on something like the Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire, there will be no noticeable discomfort due to the light even after hours of extended use.  It also does not drain the battery in a shocking fashion.  While I have not had a chance to map out the exact side by side comparisons in battery life with the original Nook Simple Touch, the drain from the GlowLight feature seems to pale in comparison to the WiFi connectivity that comes standard in every device.

There are downsides, as always, but in this case they are minimal.  The extra forty dollars added to a $99 eReader is a fairly big jump, but the expanded number of potential use environments will likely more than make up for that in the eyes of many.  There is currently no option to get this model with 3G connectivity or integrated audio.

The Kindle has a lot of catching up to do.  While they still have what is arguably the best eBook selection on the net, this development puts Amazon way behind in terms of hardware features.  Nothing that has happened since the release of E Ink Pearl has been more important to the development of the eReader as a product and we can only hope that Amazon gets their front-lit Kindle in production and ready for sale as soon as possible.  In the meantime, the Kindle might honestly not be the best option for new users regardless of how much nicer the integrated store is than the Nook’s.

Daily Deals: The Sirens of Titan and Recipe Guru Pro

The Sirens of Titan (Kurt Vonnegut Series)Today Amazon offers great deals for whose who fall in love of reading: The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut just for $1.99

The Sirens of Titan (1959) is Vonnegut’s second novel and was on the Hugo ballot with Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers but lost in what Harlan Ellison has called a monumental injustice. Sirens of Titan is a picaresque novel which almost defies being synposized; it is an interplanetary Candide (lacking perhaps Voltaire’s utter bitterness), the book follows lead character Malachi Constant, a feckless but kind-hearted millionaire as he moves through the solar system on his quest for the meaning of all existence.

Constant is aided by another tycoon, Winston Rumfoord, who with the help of aliens has actually discovered the fundamental meaning of life (the retrieval of an alien artifact with an inscribed message of greetings). With the assistance of Salo, an alien root and overseeing the alien race, the Tralmafadorians (who also feature in Slaughterhouse-Five), Constant attempts to find some cosmic sense and order in the face of universal malevolence. Together Constant and Rumfoord deal with the metaphysics of “”chrono-synclastic infundibula”", they deal with the interference of the Tralmafadorians; the novel is pervaded by a goofy, episodic charm which barely shields the readers (or the characters) from the sense of a large and indifferent universe.

All of Vonnegut’s themes and obsessions (which are further developed and/or recycled in later work) are evident here in this novel which is more hopeful than most of Vonnegut’s canon. It is suggested that ultimately Constant learns that only it is impossible to learn, and that fate (and the Tralmafodorians) are impenetrable, unavoidable circumstance.

On the basis of this novel, Vonnegut was wholly claimed by the science fiction community (as witnessed by the Hugo nomination), but Vonnegut did not likewise wish to claim the community for himself and the feelings were not reciprocal. He felt from the outset that being identified as a science fiction writer could only limit his audience and trivialize his themes. His recurring character, the hack science fiction writer, Kilgore Trout (who also features in Slaughterhouse-Five), represented to Vonnegut the worst case scenario of the writer he did not wish to become.

Some words about the Author

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

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

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

 

Recipe Guru ProAlso Amazon give a chance to download and use for free Recipe Guru Pro.

Discover a World of Flavors

A world of sumptuous cuisines beckons you at Recipe Guru, where you can find practically anything and everything that your taste buds crave. Recipe Guru Pro comprises a database for thousands of professionally-tested recipes from famous cookbooks, magazines, and chefs.

Explore Your Palate

Recipe Guru offers more than 35 different cuisines, from southwestern U.S. flavors to Filipino delicacies, and from mouth-watering Greek dishes to heart-warming kimchi. Choose any cuisine, and the categories below–including breads, vegetables, soups, poultry, and 20 other categories–change according to what Recipe Guru offers for that cuisine.

Must try every one of these…

As if all of these choices aren’t enough, Recipe Guru Pro provides special sections, including:

  • Kids Recipes: healthier choices for tasty treats, plus dozens of baby food recipes
  • Pet Recipes: forget the fillers in commercial foods and serve up smarter kibble
  • Cocktail Recipes: shaken, stirred, blended, and poured for your next mixer
  • Diet Recipes: hearty healthy choices, diabetic alternatives, Weight Watchers options (with points), and much more

Widen Your Culinary Horizons

Explore the world of fine cooking and baking with Recipe Guru Pro, and try thousands of new things, from Hot Potato Salad with Bacon Specks to Miso Shiru (Japanese Miso soup with bean curd and spinach). Too exotic for your first taste test? Make your own English muffins–it’s unbelievably easy–or try a quick and simple vegetable stir fry. Mark your favorites to make them again, and take note of the nutritional information provided for each dish.

Macs Get Send-to-Kindle Option

It hasn’t been all that long since we first saw the release of the Send-to-Kindle program for the PC, but it has already proven to be a huge improvement to the Kindle’s functionality for many users.  Not only does it make things like exporting DRM-free eBooks from Calibre that much easier (nobody likes having to find their USB cable, assuming they even have one), the ability to print from practically any window directly into a Kindle document makes life a lot easier.  Now Mac users will get to experience the same benefits, thanks to Amazon’s newest software release.

If you are a Mac user and have an interest in taking advantage of this new feature, head over to this page on the Amazon.com site and download the application.  The installation is simple and will result in having a “Send to Kindle” icon sitting in your dock.  Any time you want to send something to your Kindle, you can simply drag and drop the document into the dock icon.  Multiple simultaneous documents are acceptable as well, of course.

If you want to send something active to the Kindle, perhaps a web page or working document from Word, the Send to Kindle application also includes the same sort of “printer drivers” that the PC version makes available.  Simply print as you normally would, choosing “Send to Kindle” as your device of choice.  The same window will appear that you see when dragging document icons into the dock.

This window offers a few useful options.  Most importantly, you get to tag your document with both Title and Author metadata.  This means that it is not important to worry about file naming prior to transfer.  One less hassle.  You also get to decide on delivery options.  You can choose to have your documents sent via Wi-Fi or Whispernet.  If you choose Whispernet, the usual charges will apply and as such it is usually preferable to avoid it.  You also get to decide which Kindle or Kindles get access to the document being sent.  This can be everything on your account, just your smartphone’s Kindle for iOS app, or any combination in between.

You also get the option of archiving your document in your account’s Kindle Library.  This is particularly handy and may get used more often than you expect.  While each account only gets 5GB of free storage space, this does not generally fill up quickly when it is used primarily for document storage.  This means that anything you think might be handy to have available can be stored in the cloud even when it is not worth the trouble of keeping on your Kindle itself at any given time.  I find myself frequently using this function even when I have no reason to need an immediate transfer to the Kindle.

So far we lack any information about a possible “Send to Kindle for Linux” option.  That would seem to be the next big step if another were to be take.  Given Amazon’s enthusiasm for Linux as a platform, it might be a fairly long wait.  It is definitely nice to see Kindle eReader and Kindle Fire functionality continuing to be expanded and made available to the largest possible audiences, however, and we can only anticipate the trend continuing as Kindle eBook prices drop in the near future.

Daily Deals: Blue is for Nightmares and Audubon Birds

Blue is for NightmaresToday Amazon offers you to get Blue is for Nightmares (Stolarz Series) written by Laurie Faria Stolarz just for $0.99. Customers evaluate with book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is very high score as the book got 93 reviews.

“I Know Your Secret . . .”

Boarding school junior Stacey Brown has nightmares too real to ignore.  Her nightmares come true. This time they’re about Drea, her best friend who’s become the target of one seriously psycho stalker. To  try and protect her, Stacey’s working with what she knows-candles, cards, incantations, and spells…

In this Deluxe Spellbook Edition you’ll find: Spells created by You and other keepers of secrets-poems, spells and meditations contributed by fans of this popular series. Extras also include an interview with the author.

Some words about the Author

Laurie Faria Stolarz (Massachusetts) has a great interest in teen culture, and admires young adults for their passion, energy, and creativity. Blue is for Nightmaresis the product of her desire to write a novel that would have appealed to herself at that age, namely one that has a blending of suspense, romance, and the art of keeping secrets.

Stolarz has an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Young Adult Literature from Emerson College in Boston. She currently teaches writing and is a member of the SCBWI as well as several professional writing groups.

 

Audubon Birds: A Field Guide to North American BirdsAlso you can get Audubon Birds: A Field Guide to North American Birds for free. You need just click here and download to your Android device today only.

Identify North American birds with quality photos, bird songs and calls, range maps, descriptions, and more. Audubon Birds is your essential guide to identifying common and rare species of birds in your backyard or in the field. Great for seasoned and amateur bird watchers, Audubon Guides for Android places nature at your fingertips–no bulky books.

Note: Audubon Birds has 529 MB of additional content available as an optional free download. Because of the large file size, if you choose to download the content we recommend using a strong Wi-Fi connection–the bulk download is not a requirement for using the app. This application is not optimized for large tablets.

See Where They’re Soaring

Browse by first name, last name, and scientific name of every species, by family, or by species shape and type. Search by multiple advanced variables including size, shape and color, and zip code for localized identification. Create your own Life Lists, Sightings, and Photo Albums, and record your own Field Experiences. Track a species using GPS, take a picture of it with the camera, take notes, and save to the app for records of your nature adventures.

Advanced search functions allow you to search birds by wing shape, locomotion, song type, song pattern, likelihood by month, within state and province, and much more. This comprehensive mobile field guide app contains the most up-to-date range maps with additional wintering range maps for over 125 migrating species. The wintering range maps are an exclusive feature to Audubon Birds.

Special features include:

  • Conservation status plus range maps with color key
  • Multiple images of each species in their natural habitat from the best bird photographers
  • Ability to enlarge each image to see incredible detail
  • Over 6 hours of bird sounds and calls from the best audio field naturalists in North America
  • Personal sightings tracker and life list

Built for Beginning Birders and Advanced Field Naturalists

Explore the World of Birds with the Experts

Audubon Birds: A Field Guide to North American Birds includes over 770 species and contains the most complete species descriptions updated to the latest AOU checklist, with extensive details on behavior, habitat, life history, nesting times, number of eggs, nest location, bird family information, similar species, and family. All Audubon guides feature professional color photographs, in-depth descriptions of each species, fast and easy navigation, state-of-the-art search functions, real time availability, life lists, sightings, and photo albums. All apps are created in affiliation with the National Audubon Society.

Synch It and Share It

  • Optional Species Synchronization: Enable the synchronization feature to receive updates to your app in real time. Every time a new species, photo, or any other information enriches the Audubon database, your app will be updated accordingly.
  • Optional Content Synchronization: Enable synchronization to upload your user content, including lifelists, sightings, and photos to AudubonGuides.com, and share your findings with friends.

Kindle Faces Major Competition Internationally

While the Kindle name is practically synonymous with eReading for many people, it has been confined largely to the US for a rather long time now and as such Amazon may have lost a chance to build the same momentum in other markets.  Much of what made them so successful was being the first company on the scene ready to get eBooks out there when customer interest began to stir.  The situation will be a bit different moving forward.

When it comes to international market coverage in eReading, Kobo is the name to reference.  They haven’t had the same impact in the US that Amazon has managed with the Kindle, but the Kobo Touch eReader has been available in areas where a Kindle was hard to come by for quite a while now.  They have recently partnered up with WHSmith in the UK in an effort to gain more coverage.  The Kobo Vox, essentially their attempt to match the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, is just £149.99 (by comparison, the Kindle Fire is not even available).  That’s not to mention the fact that Kobo devices are already available in 190 countries with expansion still ongoing, or the newly revamped  self-publishing platform that they are having some success with.

Sony is also making something of a comeback.  While they were possibly the first company to launch a major eReader line with the Sony PRS series, they have failed to stay relevant in recent years.  Their new Reader Store has finally opened (months behind schedule) in the UK and they have a fairly substantial presence in select other markets where the Kindle is just beginning to move in.

Even Barnes & Noble is going to be something of a threat, potentially, in specific international markets.  Well, one specific international market if they’re lucky.  The much-reported partnership that the company has with Waterstones has produced very few results so far.  The partnership is still likely to happen, but they are taking their time about it.  This is most likely a matter of developing relationships for content to fill UK eBook stores with and could be held up at least partially due to the chance of the Agency Model being abolished in book publishing by ongoing lawsuits.  This would naturally have widespread implications.

None of this is to say that the Kindle won’t be able to make it outside the US.  If anything, the international launch of the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G enjoyed such popularity that even Amazon was shocked.  Since the creation of a real, local Kindle Store in any given market is likely to be a major undertaking, however, anybody who has already got their store and device out there for customers is at a distinct advantage.  Amazon certainly has enough weight to throw at the problems they encounter, and they will do so without much hesitation as the recent small publisher negotiations prove, but it may be a long process at best with all the other big names already at work.

Daily Deals: Shell Games and Slam Dunk Basketball

Shell Games: A John Marquez Crime NovelToday Amazon offers you to buy the following book: Shell Games: A John Marquez Crime Novel by Kirk Russell just for $1.99.

The discovery of thousands of empty abalone shells and two murdered divers sends Lieutenant John Marquez’s poaching investigation in a new and very risky direction. Former DEA agent and now head of a special operations unit of the California Department of Fish and Game, Marquez learns he himself has been targeted as the next victim. Stalking him is Kline, a vicious drug smuggler turned abalone poacher who has a vendetta against Marquez. John Marquez is supposed to protect wildlife, not solve murders, but the only way he can break the multi-million-dollar abalone-smuggling ring, as well as save his own life, is to find and stop Kline. A fast-paced crime novel set along the majestic Northern California coastline, Shell Games introduces a tough, complex, and appealing hero and a masterful new series.

Here are some reviews on this book:

“You know as you read this one that you are on to something good. Kirk Russell comes out of the gate with a story brimming with fresh characters and artful prose. Shell Games announces the start of what I think will be a great career.” - Michael Connelly

“Excellent…a compelling plot, fully realized characters, white-knuckle suspense, and unusual yet accessible settings. What truly sets it apart, though, is Kirk Russell’s vigorous, lovely, unadorned prose. Shell Games marks the debut of a substantial new talent in crime fiction.” - John Lescroart

Shell Games integrates spellbinding suspense into a wonderfully unpredictable plot that holds the reader hostage to the very last page.” - Ridley Pearson

 

Slam Dunk BasketballIf you would like to spend some time with a game on your Kindle Fire or other Android gadget you download Slam Dunk Basketball. Today you can do it for free.

Hoop It Up!

When real basketball just isn’t cool enough, it’s time to move up to Slam Dunk Basketball. This fast-paced arcade basketball game for your Android device features a unique goal system designed to reward players who score cool-looking shots. Combine these goals to fill your Fever Meter, and unleash awesome power-ups to increase your score.

Show Off Your Skillz

In Slam Dunk Basketball, your job is to score as many points as possible in 90 seconds. Increase your playing time by scoring clean shots, and combine goals to get cool power-ups.

As you play through all the levels, you can earn credits, unlock levels, upgrade your power-ups, purchase new balls, complete challenging goals, and increase your fame. Use OpenFeint to soar to the top of the leaderboards.

Do you have the trick-shot skills to dominate the competition? Shoot towards fame and glory and show the world that you’re the real Slam Dunk Champion!

Features
  • Awesome power-ups to increase your score
  • 11 varied levels with different difficulties
  • Over 40 unlockable ball skins
  • Fun and challenging goals to complete on each level
  • Complete the goals and reach the Hall of Fame
  • Over 60 achievements to earn
  • Simple controls: aim where you want to shoot
  • Unlock levels, balls, and power-ups in the shop
  • Helpful tutorials for learning how to score all goal types
  • Check your stats, upgrades, and achievements in the locker room
  • High-resolution graphics

Kindle Fire vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 2: Which Should You Buy?

There are loads of new 7” tablets coming out lately that have their eyes on the Kindle Fire’s success.  The common theme seems to be having either slightly higher specs and a few of the features that people complain the Kindle Fire lacks, or a lower price point that doesn’t preclude basically functioning in the ways that matter.  As I’ve mentioned numerous times here, companies who are looking at just the hardware or just the price and picking these out as roads to success are missing the point.

Samsung’s first attempt at a 7” tablet was not precisely groundbreaking.  For a smaller device, the Galaxy Tab was impressive and did practically anything you might want a tablet to do.  It packed more power and features into that small package than any other Android tablet I can think of to come out in 2010.  Still, as a device intended to compete with the iPad, it didn’t take off.  Later, with the Kindle Fire announced, it became practically irrelevant.  Nobody is going to want to consider a tablet running twice the price of the most popular thing around unless it is truly amazing.

Now Samsung is coming out with the more realistically competitive 7” Galaxy Tab 2 and there’s reason to give it serious thought as a choice.  It isn’t amazing, but at $250 it also isn’t overpriced and the value is impressively high for what you pay.

The new Galaxy Tab 2 is slightly thinner and lighter than the Kindle Fire.  We’re not talking about the most powerful tablet on the market, with a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, but it should do the job.  It comes with 8GB internal storage as well as an expandable memory slot that can allow for an extra 32GB.  As a perk, new users will get a free year of 50GB Dropbox storage. There are dual cameras, though the front-facing is mediocre at best and even the rear-facing isn’t anything to get excited about.  The Galaxy Tab 2 does run Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3) and is the first Samsung offering to do so, which may be a draw for some.

Overall, we’re talking about something that beats the Kindle Fire point for point across the board in hardware specs.  That isn’t exactly exciting on its own, given that the Kindle Fire was never intended to impress in terms of raw power, but the fact that there aren’t really any missing features besides perhaps an HDMI slot is worth keeping in mind.  The screen is actually somewhat less clear than the Kindle’s, but not enough to get upset about.  The consideration is going to come down to hardware versus software and media.

If we’re going to talk about a Kindle Fire vs Galaxy Tab 2 comparison, we have to consider the overall experience.  The Kindle Fire, in addition to featuring a $200 price tag, a heavily streamlined UI, and integration with Amazon’s digital services, can take advantage of the Amazon.com movie library and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library in a way that the Samsung tablet can’t.  Amazon has also proven more reliable about their firmware updates than Samsung, whose older customers still have not been able to upgrade to Android 4.0.  If these conveniences don’t weigh you toward the Kindle Fire then a 7” Galaxy Tab 2 might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Daily Deals: Heroes and Monsters and My First Words

Heroes and Monsters

Today Amazon offers you to get Heroes and Monsters by Josh James Riebock just for $1.99. This book has positive customers reviews – 26 people gave 5 star and only 1 customer evaluate it with 4 star out of 5 stars.

Every one of us is both a hero and a monster, and the world we inhabit is both beautiful and twisted. We are shaken by changes, losses, gains, insights, desires, mistakes, and transitions. And just when we’ve gotten settled back down, things get shaken up again. This is the life we’ve been given. So how do we make sense of life’s unexpected nature, find a way to embrace the tension, and live with a sense of peace despite pain?

In this stunningly honest, compelling, and ultimately hopeful book, Josh James Riebock explores issues of trust, obedience, intimacy, dreams, grief, purpose, and the unexpected stops along the journey that form us into the people we are. In a creative way, he shows readers that pain and beauty are so inextricably linked that to lose the former costs us the latter.

Those grappling with life’s inconsistencies and trials will especially find a welcome resonance between their lives and Heroes and Monsters. Riebock both validates their experiences and challenges them to live beyond them in this ever-changing life.

 

My First Words

Also you can download a good game for your kids to stimulate learn words while playing. This game called My First Words and you can download it for free today only.

Let Me Spell It

Teach basic literacy skills to little kids in a fun, colorful way. This game includes 50 words in three different themes. This educational app is designed for kids ages two to seven.

Animals, Fruits, and Colors

In the opening screen, select from three categories: animals, fruits, and colors. You then choose how you want the text of the word to appear: upper case, lower case, and cursive. From there, choose the number of stars (1, 2, 3) to determine the level of difficulty.

The aim of the game is to arrange the letters in the correct order to make the word. All letters are pronounced when touched. When the word is correctly completed, the whole word is pronounced and an animation is displayed.

My First Words teaches kids pronunciation, spelling, and word-picture association. What a fun way to learn how to read!

Thoughts on Amazon, the Kindle Platform, and the Anti-Amazon Publisher Defense

The ongoing conversation regarding the DOJ suit against five of the Big 6 publishers and Apple has at times been even more interesting than the case itself in what it says about the publishing industry and those who have a stake in it.  I won’t deny for a moment that I’m a fan of the Kindle or that I regularly enjoy many facets of Amazon’s business, so feel free to call me out for being biased, but I think that there are a few strange assumptions being made in some of the more popular Pro-Publisher arguments lately that need to be addressed.

The most popular justification of the Agency Model by far seems to be that without it Amazon would simply have too much control over prices and undermine competition since they could use books as loss-leaders to sell other products.  The underlying assumption here is that there was literally no other option available to prevent Amazon from offhandedly destroying a whole industry.  This ignores the process that allowed the Agency Model to be imposed on the Kindle Store in the first place, of course.

In early 2010, the publishers dictated their terms to Amazon and a brief conflict ensued.  When Amazon resisted raising their prices, Macmillan pulled their titles.  It worked, and Amazon caved.  Publishers are not, in this case, the helpless bystanders trying to scrape by that they make themselves out to be.  They have the choice to leave at any time, and allow Amazon to find their own way to fill Kindles with eBooks.  This is exactly what happened recently when IPG was unwilling to agree to Amazon’s contract renewal terms.

The problem is that publishers don’t want Amazon out of the game.  Amazon does exactly what they want a retailer to do.  The store makes suggestions, up-sells, promotes, and opens the doors to customers anywhere.  The problem wasn’t the potential for anti-competitive control; it was that publishers were unwilling to lose access to the channel.  It is also why the collusion was necessary.  Without that collusion, Amazon could presumably have done without any member of the Big 6 and they would have been left with only comparably inferior vendors to sell their books through.

The other really fun argument is the devaluation of eBooks.  Basically that by selling Kindle Editions cheaply, Amazon is making customers expect affordable books and publishers will make less money.  This is often tied to the idea that Amazon is trying to sell cheaply enough to get a monopoly, after which they will screw their customers and raise prices.  Personally, I see the arguments as contradictory.

If Amazon’s whole Kindle sales model is designed to lower customer expectations in terms of pricing, publishers retail the previously mentioned option of removing their content.  Unlike with paper books, there is no possibility of a secondary market.  To me this is basically an assertion that the content offered by these publishers is less important to customers than the fact that they can get it on a Kindle.  If that is so, then the need for publisher as gatekeeper is a thing of the past anyway.

Let’s assume that Amazon does accomplish lowering expectations, though.  How would raising prices on eBooks after driving out the competition work to their advantage?  We are talking about digital products, presumably now in a publisher-free world since Amazon ruined them all.  In what way would self-publishing authors have trouble selling outside of the Kindle Store?  And if that were an option, why would customers pay Amazon’s presumably higher prices after having been acclimated to cheap eBooks over the course of years?  I’m not one to say that the free market will solve all your problems, but what incentive does Amazon have to dominate a market and immediately destroy their most profitable approach to it?

Basically, I can’t help but feel that redirecting the issue of Agency Model price fixing to make it appear as if the DOJ is out to appoint Amazon king of publishing is a sign that people know something illegal was done and are now out to justify it.  The Kindle may be the best eReading platform out there, but it is far from the only one.  Publishers had other options they could have gone with; they simply couldn’t see a legal way to get the higher profits they wanted without losing access to customers who love their Kindles.

Daily Deals: Into the Black and Kokabot

Into the Black: Odyssey One [Remastered Edition]

Today Amazon offers you to get Into the Black: Odyssey One [Remastered Edition] by Evan Currie just for $0.99 and Kokabot which you can download for free today only.

This edition of Odyssey One has been completely edited and remastered to correct the typos and content issues that reviewers commented on in the original edition.

Beyond the confines of our small world, far from the glow of our star, lies a galaxy and universe much larger and more varied than anyone on Earth can possibly imagine. For the new NAC spacecraft Odyssey and her crew, the unimaginable facets of this untouched world are about to become reality.

The Odyssey’s maiden voyage is an epic adventure destined to make history. Captain Eric Weston and his crew, pushing past the boundaries of security, encounter horrors, wonders, monsters, and people, all of which will test their resolve, challenge their abilities, and put in sharp relief what is necessary to be a hero.

A first-rate military science fiction epic that combines old-school space opera and modern storytelling, Into the Black: Odyssey One is a riveting, exhilarating adventure with vivid details, rich mythology, and relentless pacing that will leave you breathlessly awaiting book two.

 

KokabotIf you’re up for a unique puzzle challenge, try Kokabot. This physics-based game for your Android device is visually simple, yet it demands clever strategic thinking to conquer. And it’s fun, too!

Your job is to collect stars as you blast around a world of simple colors and shapes. Kokabot, a bulls eye-like orb that you propel through the air with your finger, is there to help you. Just place your finger behind Kokabot, pull back, then release to send your odd little assistant flying through the air.

Kokabot, Super Star Collector

The game seems simple at first, but don’t be fooled. You’ll soon be steering Kokabot through complex patterns, twisting tunnels, and more as you sleuth out ways to get more stars.

Progress through 20 levels of difficulty as you master each challenge. Can you collect all the stars on every level? There’s only one way to find out. Get started!

Kindle Touch International Release Begins Ahead of Schedule

The Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G have begun to make their way to customers outside the US a full week ahead of schedule.  Some may already have them in hand.  The company mentioned on Friday that they had begun sending out the new Kindles for pre-order customers.  Shipments are being mailed in the order those pre-orders were received.

The enthusiasm from customers outside the US has apparently exceeded expectations by quite a bit.  Since there has already been a well observed secondary market for Kindle re-sales emerging in areas that did not have access to the device previously, this could indicate a more active expansion on the international scale than we have seen so far.  Much of that will depend on how much ongoing popularity the Kindle enjoys now that it is past the pre-order stage, but it’s safe to say that Amazon will expand to pretty much any area they see the potential for profit in.

At the moment the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G are, as Amazon claims, the only more or less globally available eReader in the price range to offer such a wide range of features.  While some of them are not fully functional in all circumstances yet, such as the newly introduced translation ability from the last firmware update, the important parts are all still there.  Users will still be able to enjoy the high contrast E Ink screen, two month battery life, and all the other basic eReading functions that we’ve come to expect even in cases where the more creative new abilities have not quite become available.  On top of that, the optional 3G connectivity will work all over the world and remains free of monthly charges no matter where you’re ordering from.

So far we have no word on the possible international release of the Kindle Fire media tablet.  Surely there will be some effort to bring this branch of the Kindle line to a wider audience at some point in the relatively near future, but it could be a complicated enough problem to work through that delays until the next generation of the product would not be surprising.  If nothing else, securing rights to media streaming over a variety of different media forms will tend to involve time-consuming  negotiations of a sort that many publishers don’t want to be in with Amazon given their recent tactics.

Check back here for more information on Kindle Fire international release schedules, tech specs for the Kindle Fire 2, and generally anything Kindle related that I can come up with.  There should be no shortage of such information over the next several months.

Daily Deals: The Distant Land of My Father and Photo Transfer App

The Distant Land of My Father: A Novel of ShanghaiToday Amazon offers us to get The Distant Land of My Father: A Novel of Shanghai by Bo Caldwell just for $1.99 and Photo Transfer App which is free to download today only.

For Anna, the narrator of Bo Caldwell’s richly lyrical and vivid first novel, growing up in the magical world of Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s creates a special bond between her and her father. He is the son of missionaries, a smuggler, and a millionaire who leads a charmed but secretive life. When the family flees to Los Angeles in the face of the Japanese occupation, he chooses to remain, believing his connections and luck will keep him safe. He’s wrong. He survives, only to again choose Shanghai over his family during the Second World War. Anna and her father reconnect late in his life, when she finally has a family of her own, but it is only when she discovers his extensive journals that she is able to fully understand him and the reasons for his absences. With the intensity and appeal of When We Were Orphans, also set in Shanghai at the same time, The Distant Land of My Father tells a moving and unforgettable story about a most unusual father-daughter relationship.

Some words about the Author

Bo Caldwell has published short stories in numerous literary magazines. Her nonfiction writing includes a long-running series of personal essays in the Washington Post Magazine. A former Stegner Fellow in creative writing at Stanford University, she lives in Northern California. This is her first novel.

 

Photo Transfer AppPhoto Transfer App

Photo Transfer App allows you to easily transfer photos and videos from your Android device to your computer as well as exchange photos from and to another Android device, iPhone, or iPad using your Wi-Fi network.

Androids and Apples

Upload multiple photos from your computer to your device. Transfer photos and videos from one Android device to another over Wi-Fi; no cables are necessary. Transfer photos from your Android device to an iPhone or iPad and vice versa.

Please note: to transfer photos from to an Android device to an iPhone/iPhone, both devices must have Photo Transfer App installed. Access to a Wi-Fi network is required for this application to work. Some public Wi-Fi networks, such as hotels or public spaces, may be configured to block communication between devices.

Daily Deals: Solomon’s Oak and Word Drop +

Solomon's Oak

Today Amazon offers to get the following stuff: an ebook Solomon’s Oak written by Jo-Ann Mapson and a game Word Drop +. The former cost $1.99. The latter you can download for free today only.

Solomon’s Oak is the story of three people who have suffered losses that changed their lives forever. Glory Solomon, a young widow, holds tight to her memories while she struggles to hold on to her Central California farm. She makes ends meet by hosting weddings in the chapel her husband had built under their two-hundred-year-old white oak tree, known locally as Solomon’s Oak. Fourteen-year-old Juniper McGuire is the lone survivor of a family decimated by her sister’s disappearance. She arrives on Glory’s doorstep, pierced, tattooed, angry, and homeless. When Glory’s husband Dan was alive, they took in foster children, but Juniper may be more than she can handle alone. Joseph Vigil is a former Albuquerque police officer and crime lab photographer who was shot during a meth lab bust that took the life of his best friend. Now disabled and in constant pain, he arrives in California to fulfill his dream of photographing the state’s giant trees, including Solomon’s Oak. In Jo-Ann Mapson’s deeply felt, wise, and gritty novel, these three broken souls will find in each other an unexpected comfort, the bond of friendship, and a second chance to see the miracles of everyday life. “If you haven’t discovered Jo-Ann Mapson yet, you’re in for the finest of treats-her books will move you from out-loud laughter to bittersweet tears.” Jodi Picoult

 

Word Drop +

Word Drop can satisfy your obsession with word games and fast-paced matching games in one entertaining app for your Android device or Kindle Fire.

Letter Pile-up!

As pieces fall from the top of your screen, match them properly so the pieces will vanish, earning you more points and longer gameplay. Failing to match pieces fast enough results in a pile-up. Once the pile-up reaches a certain point, your game is over.

Speedy Spelling Test

Spell words with letter pieces. As letters fall from the top of your screen, they collect at the bottom. Spell a word using any of the available letters, but be quick because more letters are always falling. You must prevent the letter pile-up from passing the blue bar.

Word Bonus

On occasion, you’ll receive bonus pieces, like the Wild Card or the Bomb. Use the Wild Card as any letter you like. Tap the bomb to ignite it, and destroy all of the letters surrounding it. This helps to create more distance from the blue line if you’re creeping a little too close for comfort.

Play in multiple game modes for a little variety: Panic Mode (Standard), Time Mode, and Puzzle Mode. Panic Mode is as described above. Puzzle Mode drops five new letters with each word you create, so try to think big. Time Mode gives you three minutes to spell as many words as you can with no blue bar.

Word Drop is a pleasant challenge with colorful graphics and nice sound effects. It can be enjoyed by both young children and adults alike.

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin is best known for her book, Something Borrowed.  It was made into a movie and is now out on DVD.  I saw it recently.  I wasn’t overly impressed.  However, I’ve read three of the books so far, and have enjoyed them.  You can find them on the Kindle for reasonable prices.

Something Borrowed is the first in a series that is follwed by Something Blue, then Heart of the Matter fits in there somewhere in the line up.  All include the same characters, but each is narrated by a different character.

Heart of the Matter has two narrators: Tessa, the wife of a plastic surgeon, and Valerie, the mother of the surgeon’s patient.  Valerie is also “the other woman” so to speak.

Cheating is a common theme in Giffin’s books.  I get kind of tired of seeing it addressed over and over.  But, she presents both sides of the issue.  She also portrays the stay at home mom vs working mom culture.

I think what keeps me reading is her writing style.  It is very conversational and you can see how each of the characters’ personalities mesh together.

The summer is coming up.  Heart of the Matter would be a good book to load on your Kindle for some lazy beach or pool side reading.

The reviews are pretty good overall.  I think many echo my thoughts regarding the point of view and beach read writing style.

Kenlah0406

“Just when you think you have a clear cut view of what life is all about or about what you will or won’t do, you find that it is very rare for any person to be all good or all bad. There are more areas of gray in this life than just black or white. This book speaks to what it means to human, which mean to be imperfect. It speaks to the choices we make and the reasons for those choices and how they shape our lives, as well as the people’s lives around us. ”

 

 

Daily Deals: Through a Window and DoubleTake

Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe

Today  Amazon offers Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe by Jane Goodall for $1.99

Through aWindow is the dramatic saga of thirty years in the life of an intimately intertwined community—one that reads like a novel, but is one of the most important scientific works ever published.The community is Gombe, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, where the principal residents are chimpanzees and one extraordinary woman who is their student, protector, and historian.

In her classic In the Shadow of Man, Jane Goodall wrote of her first ten years at Gombe. In Through a Window she brings the story up to the present, painting a more complete and vivid portrait of our closest relatives.We watch young Figan’s relentless rise to power and old Mike’s crushing defeat. We learn how one mother rears her children to succeed and another dooms hers to failure.We witness horrifying murders, touching moments of affection, joyous births, and wrenching deaths. In short, we see every emotion known to humans stripped to its essence. In the mirror of chimpanzee life, we see ourselves reflected.

Some words about the Author

Jane Goodall continues to study and write about primate behavior. She founded the Gombe Stream Research Center in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, and the Jane Goodall Institute for Wild Life Research, Education, and Conservation to provide ongoing support for field research on wild chimpanzees. She is the author of many books, including two autobiographies in letters, Africa in My Blood and Beyond Innocence. Today Dr. Goodall spends much of her time lecturing, sharing her message of hope for the future, and encouraging young people to make a difference in their world.

 

DoubleTakeAlso you can download DoubleTake for your Kindle Fire for free today only.

DoubleTake is a chilled-out yet frantic pair-matching game based on the classic card game Memory. DoubleTake features shiny graphics, soothing sounds and music, and four different game modes for every skill level. Train your brain or just relax and enjoy the pretty colors.

Four Ways to Test Your Memory

The four game modes give you a wide variety of matching games. Sprint mode is a super-fast game; you get only one minute to match as many pairs as you can. Your score is based on speed. Timed mode is a little less frantic, but you still have a time limit. When you make matches, you restore your time to the time limit.

Survival mode is more relaxing as there is no time limit, but it’s still a challenge. Your health meter depends on accuracy; you lose health points for mismatches, and gain health for fresh matches. Basic mode is the most relaxed mode. Simply match the entire board without penalties for mismatches. Try for the best time and the fewest number of moves.

Build combos for higher scores, and take advantage of the cool power-ups in Survival and Timed modes. DoubleTake improves your memory skills while relaxing your brain.

Will the iPad Mini Kill the Kindle Fire? Also, Will iPad Mini Rumors Ever End?

It seems the rumor mills just won’t give up on the idea of a 7-8” iPad.  We’ve been hearing rumors about the development of such a device for well over a year now that have yet to manifest.  At this point having one announced would almost make me wonder whether it wasn’t a response to the popularity of the rumors rather than the rumors being a reflection of actual development.  Either way, iPad fans are convinced that if and when such a tablet is released it will spell the end of the Kindle Fire.

Of course it is also being touted as Apple’s answer to the anticipated Windows 8 Tablet boom later this year.  There is a very real impression that some people think all Apple needs to do is get this one last product to market to prevent anybody else from having the opportunity to break in.  Unfortunately, the rumors don’t really explain why they would want to.

Depending on the source, we are talking about a 7”, 7.85”, or 8.1” iPad running at 1024 x 768.  Essentially a scaled down version of the first two generations of the line.  There is no explanation of how this will reduce prices enough to really make such an offering attractive.  An iPad Mini would have to be scaled down in other ways as well.  This would probably need to be more than just reduced battery life.  We’re talking about a comparatively underpowered processor, reduced storage space, etc.

I won’t make the claim that this product will never appear.  It feels that way a bit now though.  Even if we assume, as many of these rumors do, that Apple made no effort to directly match price with the Kindle Fire and sold this smaller iPad for $299, it would mean the lowest profit margin they have taken to date.  Every iPad being sold right now makes the company at least $200 profit, according to analysts.  Apple is not a company who sells their hardware at a loss, as a rule.

Even if we do take the leap of faith and assume this happens, will it change things?  The Kindle Fire is marketed to a completely different audience than the iPad.  This might not, and probably will not, always be the case.  For now we have to assume that Amazon is dedicated to developing the product as a means of ever-improving media consumption, though, and as such there is little need for the kind of versatility that the iPad manages.

Amazon would lose those customers who just want an iPad anyway but who are unwilling to spend enough money to pay for the larger, more expensive models.  They are still going to be in a position to undercut Apple on the hardware prices due to the lack of reliance on device sale profit margins.  This means that the customers who just want a smaller, cheaper tablet with access to a lot of features will still have a good chance of buying a Kindle Fire, or whatever the current model is called by the end of the year.  An iPad Mini would upset the balance and be a big blow to the general Android Tablet market, but chances are good that the Kindle Fire could weather it.  Somehow I still doubt we will have a chance to find out for sure.

Daily Deals: The Black Stiletto and Brick Buster Pro

The Black Stiletto

Amazon offers The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson just for $0.99 for all glutton for books.

Could Martin Talbot’s elderly, Alzheimer-stricken mother, Judy, really have been the Black Stiletto? When Martin discovers several volumes of her diaries hidden by his mother, he is stunned beyond all imagination. His mother, the underground heroine of yesteryear? The famed ,still unidentified woman who battled Communist spies, took on the Mafia, and preyed on common crooks? The woman who exacted punishment on evildoers without mercy?But it is all described, in great detail, in the diaries. What caused her to begin her quest for justice. Her decision to act outside the law. Her feats as the famed and feared vigilante. How her reputation exploded. In short, how it all played out. Could it be true? Talbot is filled with doubt and disbelief. But the reappearance of one of the Stiletto’s old enemies with a thirst for merciless revenge makes the story more than real and could imperil the life of not only the Stiletto, but her son and granddaughter as well.

 

 

Brick Buster Pro

If you like to spend some piece of time playing a game Amazon gives your opportunity to download Brick Buster Pro for free today only.

Make a Break

Do you like old-school games from the 70s and 80s? Then you will love Brick Buster. Brick Buster hearkens back to the birth of game consoles that featured classics such as Pong and Tank.

Brick Buster revives the classic Breakout game. The premise is simple. You hit a ball with your paddle toward a set of bricks. You must avoid missing the ball as it comes back down from breaking up the bricks.

Take on the World

Brick Buster features realistic physics and multiple levels that become increasingly difficult. Compete with players from around the world with a global leaderboard. Do you have what it takes to make a break for freedom?

Daily Deals: Summer of Skinny Dipping and Hockey Fight Pro

Summer of Skinny Dipping

Today’s deals are: Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells for $1.99 and Hockey Fight Pro which you can download for free today only.

Summer of Skinny Dipping

Sometimes I still wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon and feeling as invisible and free as a fish. But I’m jumping ahead, and to tell the story right I have to go back to the very beginning. To a place called Indigo Beach. To a boy with pale skin that glowed against the dark waves. To the start of something neither of us could have predicted, and which would mark us forever, making everything that came after and before seem like it belonged to another life.

My name is Mia Gordon: I was sixteen years old, and I remember everything.

Some words about the Author

Amanda Howells grew up on a small bay on the Atlantic Ocean and spent summer weekends in the Hamptons while a college student in New York City, where she studied creative writing. She has published many stories for teen and adult readers and now lives in the pacific Northwest.

 

Hockey Fight ProHockey Fight Pro – Drop Your Gloves, Put Up Your Dukes

Are you a diehard hockey fan? If so, let’s get down to the real question: are you also a diehard hockey fighting fan?

Yeah, that’s what we thought.

It’s time to drop the gloves and test your skills in Hockey Fight Pro, a unique 3D-style hockey fighting game for your Android device. The game is rough and the stakes are high. Fueled by pride or desperation, when it’s game time, nothing else matters.

Hockey Fight Pro features realistic, down-and-dirty, old-school hockey fighting. Note that this game is not recommended for the faint-hearted; it features images of graphic violence and plenty of blood. Can you handle it?

No Puck Required

Using an intuitive control system, fight your opponents on the ice by executing punch combinations and unique combos. Complete the tournament mode to fight against nine of the world’s most dangerous hockey fighters. Fight against any opponent to improve your skills, and practice your combos in quick fight mode.

Do you have what it takes to step on the ice? There’s only one way to find out!

Amazon Adds In-App Purchasing to the Kindle Fire, App Development Expansion Predicted

Amazon’s Appstore for Android is not exclusively available for the Kindle Fire, but at this point that is the device that matters.  The relatively new media tablet already holds the majority share of the Android tablet market and has proven more or less untouchable by comparably priced hardware competition so far.  The secret, if it can really be said to be one, is in the content.  Amazon has just about anything one might want to consume through the Fire ready to go at a moment’s notice with the push of a button.  Nobody else can come close for the price.

When some major shortcoming is addressed in the design of their ecosystem, it is therefore worth taking note of.  Like the recent announcement that developers now having access to the option of in-app purchasing, completely changing the potential for ongoing revenue from Kindle Fire owners.  This is a long-time staple of iOS app market that is well overdue here.

Until this point, Amazon affiliated app creators have earned a reported $0.89 for every $1.00 they earn selling the same offering through the iTunes App Store.  That is despite the lack of ongoing microtransactions supported by Amazon.  For comparison, the same app being sold through Google Play will earn an average of $0.23 for every dollar its creator catches via iTunes.

Opening up more possibilities for developers to make money through Android will put Amazon in a better position to build the best app selection available.  Currently, in sheer numbers, they are lagging behind both Apple and Google significantly.  By allowing options that don’t involve advertisements or unpopular third party tools, Amazon is making the Kindle Fire an even more attractive option.

This does open up some potential drama for Kindle Fire owners, of course.  The biggest draw of Amazon’s 1-Click purchasing system is that it is so easy you almost don’t notice you’re spending money.  Combine this with apps that are designed to offer quick and easy purchases and you may well have a recipe for personal financial disaster.

Many will recall an incident in the earlier days of the iPad when an eight year old girl made news buying Smurfberries to speed up her in-app play.  The bad publicity from this and similar events is what brought about the iPad’s detailed array of Parental Controls.

Amazon hopes to avoid similar efforts by having fewer loopholes in their existing restrictions.  Kindle Fire users have the ability to block in-app purchasing entirely, password protect the process using their Amazon account password, or create a PIN to unlock purchasing.  Between these choices, there should be little room for complaint about accidental shopping unless users simply don’t know how to access the controls.

For reference, you can manipulate Kindle Fire In-App Purchasing settings by going to the Apps tab from the Home screen, clicking on the Store, and opening the Settings menu.  Since all purchasing appears to be routed through this store app, it makes sense to find these settings here.

Daily Deals: A Gentle Rain and Mathris – A Math Game

A Gentle RainToday Amazon offers to get and read the following book: A Gentle Rain by Deborah Smith just for $0.99

Kara Whittenbrook is an unlikely heiress. Down-to-earth and lovably quirky, she’s never fit in with the stogy Whittenbrook clan of Connecticut. Growing up at her parents’ rainforest preserve in Brazil, she has a quaintly off-beat view of life. Now her beloved parents have died in a plane crash, and Kara’s learned a stunning truth. She was adopted. Her birth parents are Mac and Lily Tolbert. They live and work on a backwoods cattle ranch in northern Florida. Ranch owner Ben Thocco is running out of time and money. He’s going to need a miracle in order to save the ranch and care for the likable crew of unusual hands he employs, including Kara’s parents and his own fragile brother Joey. Kara, using a fake identity on the advice of her lawyer, gets a job at Ben’s ranch in Fountain Springs, Florida, where her adventures include entering an unpredictable mare in a local horse show.

Some words about the Author

NYT bestseller Smith is author of A Place To Call Home, Sweet Hush, The Crossroads Cafe

Mathris - A Math GameIf you want to make your brain to work with fun you can download and play Mathris – A Math Game for free today only.

Do Sums. Have Fun.

Mathris – A Math Game is a Tetris-style game for kids to learn numbers and build their basic math skills while still having a blast. Players must scramble to solve arithmetic problems while correctly stacking the blocks.

Mathematical Blocks

The numbers fall like Tetris bricks, but you can only remove the bricks by matching a question and an answer (4+2 with 6), a question with a question that has the same result (4+2 with 3+3), or two of the same numbers (5 with 5).

Math Tetris features three game modes (addition, subtraction, and multiplication) and four themes (winter, spring, summer, and autumn).

More Options

Mathris features high scores, and is integrated with OpenFeint so you can compete with players around the world. Toggle sound effects and background music. Mathris also comes with a tutorial and option to customize the number space (1 to 10, 1 to 20, and 1 to 50). Just how fast are your arithmetic skills?