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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: $0.99 Kindle Romantic Thrillers and ColorUp Pro

Today Amazon offers the set of 5 Romantic Thrillers within Gold Box Daily Deal. Each books cost only $0.99 today only. Here is the list:

  1. Nerves of Steel (Hart and Drake #1) by CJ Lyons
  2. Sleight of Hand (Hart and Drake #2) by CJ Lyons
  3. Face to Face (Hart and Drake #3) by CJ Lyons
  4. Chasing Shadows: Shadow Ops Book #1 by CJ Lyons
  5. Lost in Shadows: Shadow Ops, Book #2 (Shadows Ops, Book #2) by CJ Lyons

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. CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday). Her newest project is as co-author of a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich.

 

ColorUp ProColorUp Pro is an application which can help you to make your photo more attractive. It is for free today only.

Turn Up the Color!

Bring your photos to life with ColorUp, an image-editing app for your Android device. Add a splash of color or a touch of life, and let your inner artist shine!

Import your image and watch it fade to black-and-white. Then use your finger to reveal the color of the original image. With this technique, you can create stunning images that people will rave over.

ColorUp Pro brings you an advanced feature set–more powerful than other apps out there–but it’s designed to be simple and quick to use.

Features
  • 12 image filters (Sepia, Vintage, Low Saturation, and more)
  • 5 different types of brush types
  • Color enrichment
  • Color shifting
  • Edge softening to hide mistakes
  • Background blur (depth of field)
  • Background contrast
  • “Spy Mode” to reveal painted areas
  • Double-tap to pop in and out of full screen
  • Orientation lock when in full-screen mode, so you can easily flip and turn the image as you paint
  • Pinch to zoom for pixel-level accuracy
  • Import directly from camera
  • Import from image library (Pro version only)
  • Export HD quality images
  • Unlimited undo and redo

Kindle Fire 2 To Get July 31st Launch Event With Front-Lit Kindle eReader

Naturally, there is a new Kindle Fire on the way.  We are also expecting there to be a new E Ink Kindle eReader released alongside it.  The Kindle Fire 2, or whatever Amazon decides to label their new device, has aroused a lot of interest over the past few weeks and the release of a Kindle that matches or exceeds the capabilities of the Nook Simple Touch w/ GlowLight will be a big thing for the company.  Now, citing reliable sources rather than simply the less than reliable DigiTimes reports, CNET has come up with a July 31st launch event to introduce both of these products to potential customers.

Rumors have indicated that the Kindle Fire 2 will be improved in a number of ways.  It will have a higher resolution 1280 x 800 screen while maintaining the same 7” size, according to most of the rumors today.  This latest report indicates that it will also have a camera and physical volume control buttons.  Both of these features will be welcome additions for many Kindle Fire users.  One can only assume that with the addition of a camera Amazon will also have seen fit to include a mic to make their tablet into a viable communication tool.

The new Kindle eReader will also have minor improvements across the board.  The most important of these will obviously be the ability to light up the screen.  We saw several months ago that Amazon had bought a patent that would allow them to add a refraction layer for front-lighting their eReaders, but Barnes & Noble beat them to the punch.  Given how well B&N has done in making a great lit eReader, we have to hope that Amazon has used the intervening time to improve more than just the lighting.  Expect to at least see physical page turn buttons return to the Kindle Touch version of the next generation.

Amazon is expected to be selling these new devices for the same price as current models.  The new Kindle Fire 2 will be going for $199 while the basic model of the new Kindle eReader will be just $79.  While it is too early to say for sure, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to find out that Amazon was including lighting in all their eReaders at no extra charge, thereby undercutting Barnes & Noble’s prices yet again.  The Kindle Fire that we know today will continue to be available in its present form for the indefinite future, but it is believed that the price will drop to just $149 as the new version hits shelves.

None of this tells us anything about a new larger Kindle Fire model.  While reports still indicate that such a tablet is on the way, the rumor mills are surprisingly quiet about the details.  Presumably it will be more powerful and have features comparable to other large tablets, but things like price and release date are completely unknown and barely speculated on.  We’ll try to bring you more on this when the information becomes available.

Daily Deals: Where Are They Buried and LadyBug POP Puzzle Game

Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and NoteworthyToday Amazon offers Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy by Tod Benoit just for $1.99

Updated with dozens of entries of the newly dead and now in paperback, an irresistible and browsable guide to the lives, deaths, and final resting places of the world’s most influential figures.

This unparalleled compilation of profiles of the deceased—from Abbott and Costello to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, from Arthur Ashe to Paul Newman, offers all the pertinent details on how they lived and died. It is also a detailed atlas of where they are buried.

Each entry in this fascinating book includes an entertaining capsule biography full of little-known facts, a detailed description of each subject’s death, and very specific directions to the location and site of the grave. Fifty photos and informative sidebars (on such topics as how to find anyone’s grave) round out this indispensable field guide to the “permanent addresses” of the world’s most significant late citizens.

New additions to the roster of final resting places include: • Tim Russert • Heath Ledger • Norman Mailer • Anna Nicole Smith • George Carlin • Rosa Parks • Hunter S. Thompson • Paul Newman • Katharine Hepburn … and many more

Some words about the Author

Tod Benoit is an entrepreneur who has logged more than 10,000 miles driving around the country in search of notable graves.

 

LadyBug POP Puzzle GameLadyBug POP Puzzle Game is a game. You can download it for free today only.

It’s not that we have anything against ladybugs, but they’re just so fun to pop in the LadyBug Pop Puzzle Game. Jump ladybugs in this beautiful puzzler for your Android device or Kindle Fire.

Happy Popping

The objective is simple: jump ladybugs until you have no more ladybugs to jump. Once a ladybug is jumped, it pops and disappears. The objective is to have only one ladybug left at the end of the game, but that’s not easily done. Plan your jumps and see how few you can leave on the board.

Challenge your friends and family with LadyBug Pop, and see who leaves fewer bugs on the board. It’s a fun challenge for all ages. LadyBug POP offers 15 unique puzzles, and simply mastering one is hard enough. In addition to cheerful graphics, view the ratio of jumped to un-jumped ladybugs to the left of the game board. And rest well, no ladybugs are harmed during gameplay.

Kindle Touch Hidden Gem

There is one issue with my Kindle that I wish Amazon would make more intuitive.  That issue is deleting books directly from my Kindle.  I understand that there is a lot of room for books on the device itself, but often, people would like to get rid of books that aren’t really serving any purpose anymore.

On my Kindle 2, I just slid the 5 way toggle button to the side and it gave me a menu option to remove a book or game from the e-reader.  I just figured out how to do this randomly when I was maneuvering around on it.

Figuring out how to delete books are little more difficult on the Kindle Touch, but once you know the trick, it is quite easy.  If you have an iPad or iPhone you have to press down the app for a few seconds, and an x will pop up and allow you to close or delete the app.

Using this same idea based on the iPhone delete commands, I pressed down on a book on my Kindle’s Home screen for a few seconds and sure enough, a dialog box popped up giving me an option to delete the book.

So why is this worth mentioning?  Now that you can check out Kindle Books from the library or Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, there are a lot of books coming and going.  When you return a book, the title still shows up in the list, and says “recently returned.”

Frankly, they are annoying, and can really clutter up the device’s library.  They also hide the books you actually need or want.

A friend asked me once how to do this, so I thought I’d pass it along in case you were wondering the same thing.

And don’t worry, even if you delete a book from your Kindle, it remains stored in your account on Amazon.  You can always re download it on any Kindle or Kindle app supported device at any time.

 

 

Daily Deals: Devil Wind and HTR High Tech Racing

Devil Wind: A Sammy Greene ThrillerToday Amazon offers Devil Wind: A Sammy Greene Thriller by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid just for $1.99

Outspoken, brash New Yorker Sammy Greene needs a second chance. Fired from her job as a Washington TV producer, her midnight to 3 am show Sammy Greene on the LA Scene at a small progressive radio station soon has Sammy ruffling the feathers of a popular Orange County Congressman. And everyone is listening. December, 1999. 10 days before the new millennium. Already on edge with Santa Ana devil wind fanning fires threatening to engulf the city and Y2K looming, Sammy’s callers imagine Armageddon – the perfect setting for a rogue CIA operative to manipulate fears as cover for his deadly plot. A young woman’s burned body identified as the wayward daughter of old friend, Gus Pappajohn spurs the ex- campus cop to join Sammy in what may be a murder investigation, along the way exposing the seamy underbelly of Tinseltown. If Sammy’s not careful this time, someone will make sure she’s off the air for good.

Some words about the Authors

Deborah is a physician, healthcare consultant, and author of five award winning medical mystery/thrillers, three co-authored with her husband, Joel. Linda is a physician-broadcaster-author and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA. Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid are also authors of Dead Air, which won top honors in the Thriller category of the National Indie Excellence 2010 Awards.

 

HTR High Tech RacingHTR High Tech Racing is a game for your Kindle Fire. Today only you can get this game for free.

The Need for Speed

High Tech Racing (HTR) is a slot car racing simulator; a virtual version of the classic toy from the 80s and 90s. HTR offers three different difficulty levels and 18 tracks, including several challenges such as loops, jumps, crossroads, narrows, and high speed curves. You can even build your own tracks with the highly intuitive Track Editor. Choose from three in-game visualization modes, from third-person perspective to in-car camera.

With realistic physics, HTR offers an adrenalin-packed racing simulation experience. With a single finger, you control the acceleration to keep your car on the track. There are tons of cool items to unlock including cars, electric engines, tires, and chassis to optimize your car. There are more than 440 possible configurations to test on each track.

Race freely on “Quickrace” mode and practice for the real challenge. Send your best race times and see your time in comparison to others players from around the world. Keep your records updated and prove you are the fastest on all tracks!

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.

Google Unveils Nexus 7 Anti-Kindle

Amazon made a pretty huge impression on the Android tablet market when they announced the Kindle Fire.  Competitors had to either drop their prices or drop out of the competition.  Barely functional budget tablets were rushed out to compete unsuccessfully against the biggest thing Android had seen.  Worst of all, Google was completely cut out of the fun by a carefully customized OS fork that locked Kindle Fire users into the Amazon ecosystem and out of Google’s Android Marketplace.

Rumors started to surface almost immediately that Google had a tablet of their own on the way that would blow the Kindle Fire away.  Unfortunately, the complications resulting from the need to keep the price at $199 or below meant that the project was delayed for a while.  Finally, after months of waiting and hearing leaked details about the worst kept secret in Google’s arsenal, we have the big reveal.

Here’s the break-down on the Nexus 7 as per Google’s I/O Conference reveal:

  • Android 4.1 – Jelly Bean
  • 7” 1280 x 800 HD Display
  • Backlit IPS Display
  • Scratch-resistant Corning Glass
  • 1.2MP front-facing Camera
  • Microphone
  • 8GB internal storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
  • Up to 8 Hours of battery life
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC (Android Beam)
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer
  • Magnetometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Weighs 340g
  • Measures 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm

Basically we’re looking at a tablet that is more than a match for the Kindle Fire in terms of hardware.  It is faster, has more memory, can do things like video chat, has an HD display, and so on.  For the same price as the Kindle Fire, you get a huge upgrade.  Not only that, it looks great too.  While the base model will have 8GB of storage and cost $199, there is even a 16GB edition available for $249. Amazon couldn’t have asked for a worse comparison, in other words.

Normally this would be where I once again talk about Amazon having the advantage thanks to their integration with their internal Appstore for Android and other assorted forms of digital media.  In this case, Google knows what they are doing and seems to have developed a similar level of access to their various media options through the Google Play store.  Not many companies could compete near Amazon’s level in this respect, but Google is definitely one of them.

The big hope that Amazon has to turn this around will obviously be the upcoming Kindle Fire 2.  This tablet, expected to be announced as early as the end of July, will bring additional power and improved resolution to the Fire.  We don’t know much more than that, but some people are even predicting similar camera and mic options.  The existing Kindle Fire will then supposedly drop to $149.  While it would remain less useful than the Nexus 7 in that case, reducing the price by another 25% would almost certainly be enough to keep things competitive.

For now, Google’s Nexus 7 is on top.  It will be shipping in 2-3 weeks, according to the preorder page, and at the moment comes with $25 in store credit on Google Play.  Whether it can gain enough of a following to offset the likely surge of interest in the new Kindle Fire 2 following only a month or so behind will be interesting to discover.

Daily Deals: Soldier’s Joy and Cheese Crawl

Soldier's Joy (Contemporary American Fiction)Today Amazon offers Soldier’s Joy (Contemporary American Fiction) by Madison Smartt Bell just for $1.99

Two Southern soldiers, recently back from Vietnam, struggle to resume their lives amid dangerous and deep-rooted prejudice

Thomas Laidlaw returns home from Vietnam with nothing much in mind but to tend his acreage, live apart, and get lost in the roots music he grew up with. Laidlaw’s childhood friend Rodney Redmon is doubly burdened: Not only is he scarred from the war, he is also a black man living in a prejudiced area of Tennessee. Redmon’s homecoming from the war included time in jail—the result of his being framed for real estate fraud by racist forces within the local establishment. Once released, he and Laidlaw rekindle their friendship and both veterans try to put the war behind them. But when a group of local Klansman emerges, the violence that haunts them may prove impossible to escape.

Masterful in its execution and stunning in its emotional resonance, Soldier’s Joy is a riveting portrait of two damaged souls struggling to achieve solace despite the demons of their past.

 

Cheese CrawlCheese Crawl is a funny game for your Kindle Fire. Today only you can get it for free.

Adventure Just Got Cheesy!

You’ve been invited to a reception at the new facility of GeneCorp, ZLC (a Zero Liability Corporation). But when you get there, you find that the new facility looks more like a dungeon, and the reception doesn’t seem very festive.

Cheese Crawl is a first-person adventure RPG in the style of a classic dungeon crawl…with a twist. Welcome to the world’s first wine-and-cheese-themed dungeon crawl. Battle your way through six huge levels crawling with hostile genetically-enhanced dairy products. Gather useful and unique items, weapons, and armor. Find gold and other treasures. Trade equipment at the company vending machine. Solve challenges and puzzles to help you progress towards your one and only goal: getting out alive!

This is the perfect game if you enjoy solving puzzles and mazes, amassing treasure, leveling up your character with unusual equipment, combat with hors d’oeuvres, or simply defeating an evil corporation bent on cheese-related world domination.

The Kindle and Tracking: Why Owners Aren’t Outraged

It is practically a given to many people that some amount of what you do on the internet is being tracked.  There is occasional outrage over this, such as when even their less tech savvy subscribers began to catch on to the fact that they were Facebook’s salable resource more than its target audience, but that is just going to be the case when you’re talking about “free” services.  Consumers are usually even less forgiving when they pay full price for something and get their activity tracked anyway.  Why is the Kindle so amazingly popular despite being fairly open in demonstrating that at least some tracking is obviously going on, then?

We can’t say that it is the result of Kindle owners being complacent.  Glance at the reviews of the Free App of the Day in Amazon’s Appstore for Android and you’re likely to see Kindle Fire owners outright attacking app developers for including anything that tracks or otherwise exploits users in what is supposedly the fully paid version of their application.  This is not a shy or understated bunch of people we are talking about, when the situation calls for more forceful reactions.

Where these app developers are chastised for sneaking in tracking, however, Amazon is openly displaying the fruits of their analysis.  This is one part of why they are able to get away with it.  They never deny that user data is being tracked and analyzed.  It is something that people know when they buy into the line.  Amazon is going to keep a list of what you buy, sometimes even what you consider buying, and they will draw conclusions from that.

There is more to it than that, though.  Amazon might be collecting this data for any number of purposes that work for the benefit of the company, but they are offering a clear service to their customers by offering the tailored suggestions that come standard in any Amazon account’s home page.  The popular theory that I have heard voiced is that this alone accounts for the general complacency with which Kindle users in particular take this situation.  At least there is a visible tradeoff here.

I would say that the real explanation is slightly different, although that is a part of it.  Amazon has done a lot to make itself a very customer-friendly company.  More often than anything else, their customer service receives glowing praise.  They not only brought us eBooks in a major way for the first time but actively got into disagreements with suppliers to try to bring them to us at reasonable prices.  Amazon really seems to be one of the few companies left that puts customer satisfaction first.  That makes it easy to trust that they will use any information they collect in a responsible manner.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there is an unconditional trust here.  We all remember the congressional inquiry into the Silk Browser’s privacy features around the time of the Kindle Fire launch.  If there are concerns, they should and do get brought up.  I just find it fascinating that the sort of behavior that causes outrage in other areas gets more or less ignored here.  Maybe Kindle owners are really satisfied enough to feel that Amazon deserves some trust?

Daily Deals: How to Hepburn and Body & Weight Monitor

How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the GreatToday Amazon offers How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great by Karen Karbo just for $1.99

How to Hepburn, Karen Karbo’s sleek, contemporary reassessment of one of America’s greatest icons, takes us on a spin through the great Kate’s long, eventful life, with an aim toward seeing what we can glean from the First Lady of Cinema. One part How Proust Can Change Your Life and one part Why Sinatra Matters, How to Hepburn teases some unexpected lessons from the life of a woman whose freewheeling, pants-wearing determination redefined the image of the independent woman while eventually endearing her to the world.
This witty, provocative gem is full of no-nonsense Hepburn-style commentary on subjects such as: making denial work for you; the importance of being brash, facing fear, and always having an aviator in your life; learning why and how to lie; the benefits of discretion; making the most of a dysfunctional relationship; and the power of forgiving your parents. Thrilling fans of the notoriously independent actress, award-winner Karen Karbo presents a gusty guidebook to harnessing your inner Hepburn, and living life on your own terms.

Some words about the Author

Karen Karbo is the author of three novels, two works of nonfiction, and a memoir, all of which were named New York Times Notable Books. The Stuff of Life was a People Critic’s Choice, a selection of the Satellite Sisters Radio Book Club, and winner of the Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. A past winner of the General Electric Young Writer Award, Karen is in addition the recipient of an NEA grant. Her essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Redbook, Elle, Vogue, Esquire, the New Republic, and Self. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

 

Body & Weight MonitorBody & Weight Monitor is an application which Amazon makes free for today only.

Track your body’s changes over time with Body & Weight Monitor, an app for your Android device and Kindle Fire. Whether you want to follow the effects of a diet or workout regimen, a developing baby bump, or a child’s growth, Body & Weight Monitor offers a simple, intuitive system for tracking bodily changes over time.

Simple, Easy Body Tracking

Body & Weight Monitor is easy to use. Start by opening the app and setting up a user profile and password. Choose a user to display, then return to the home screen and install the app’s desktop widget. Click on the widget to access your Body & Weight Monitor screen.

The screen displays an illustrated daily calendar and data entry buttons. Enter daily weight, height, and other specified measurements in the provided fields. (The app supports both US/Imperial and metric units.) Spaces are also provided for you to enter related goals and/or notes.

You can get daily BMI and body fat figures from the app’s built-in calculators, or enter them yourself if you know them. Body & Weight Monitor plots changes in these values over time in graphic and other formats, and measures them against any goals that you have set.

You can export your Body & Weight Monitor data to other media at any time in spreadsheet form, or save pictures of your graphs to your phone’s SD Card to be shared like you would any other photo.

Body & Weight Monitor supports multiple, password-protected user profiles, so it can be shared by family or friends who using the same phone.

Features
  • Tracking, monitoring, and goal setting
  • Weight in stones, pounds, or kilograms
  • Height in feet and inches or CMS
  • Body fat percentage: calculated from entered details or manually entered
  • Track your waist, hips, chest, calves, thigh, neck, forearms, upperarms, wrist, and baby bump measurements in centimeters or inches

Kindle Touch Travel Review

While I’m mostly a fan of the Kindle Touch, I’ve largely seen little reason to upgrade from the Kindle Keyboard in day to day use.  The darker frame is nice, the keyboard works well for any shopping I have to do, and it has generally proven reliable for quite some time now.  Since I knew I would be on the road for about a week recently, however, I decided I would give the Kindle Touch a thorough test.  You never know what you might learn by trying, right?

Connectivity

One thing that surprised me was that I was generally able to get a better 3G signal through the Kindle Touch than through my Kindle Keyboard.  The Keyboard model is definitely far more broken in, so I can’t necessarily count this as a side by side comparison of new devices, but I was able to get more reliable, faster connections at nearly every stage of a 3,500 mile trip with the Kindle Touch.

Screen Quality

I expected that the lighter case on the new Kindle Touch would be a pain compared to what I was used to.  This was somewhat accurate.  While reading in the majority of indoor lighting situations was fine with either eReader, I noticed that it was much easier to use my Kindle Keyboard in bright sunlight.  I’m sure this was an optical illusion rather than actual quality differences, but the lighter frame around the screen left the Kindle Touch looking washed out in truly bright light.

Reading Experience

Quite frankly, I love the physical page turn buttons.  I still get annoyed at Amazon for removing them.  That is literally my only complaint about the general reading experience on the Kindle Touch, though.  It is quick, light, easier to hold, and generally everything you want in a reading device.  The preference for physical buttons aside, I will admit that after a few page turns I stopped noticing that I was having to touch the screen and things moved quite naturally.  This could be a matter of my own preconceptions as much as anything.

Navigation

The place where I really appreciated having a touch screen was in PDF navigation.  Things went much more smoothly than I’m used to.  The same is true of in-line annotation in Kindle documents.  While it is slightly faster to type on the physical keyboard, that advantage is negated by the fact that the Kindle Touch allows for quick placement of your cursor rather than a slow movement via 5-way control pad.  The point here has to go to the Kindle Touch on both issues.

Battery Life

You can’t really complain about the battery life on any Kindle product.  I used each of my Kindles for about 4 hours per day across a seven day period.  They both still had just under half their batteries left when my drive was over.  The charger that was packed could have easily been left at home.

Conclusion

My Kindle Touch is going to be seeing a lot more use.  The lighter weight and smaller form made it stand out in a lot of ways and the fact that note taking was so much faster than I expected has persuaded me to make this my daily eReader.  There are still many reasons to prefer the Kindle Keyboard, the keyboard among them, but it is not as clear a choice as I had expected.  I will try to follow up on this in a few weeks to see if extended use is still preferable when both are available.

Daily Deals: The Test and Paranormal Agency

The TestToday Amazon offers The Test by Patricia Gussin just for $0.99

Renowned philanthropist and billionaire Paul Parnell had reached the pinnacle of monetary success, but not without cost. Had he put too much emphasis on work and spent too little time with his family?Determined to leave something far more valuable than money to his six children, Paul instructs his lawyers to create an unusual last will and testament. This unorthodox will, which stipulates that the lion’s share of Paul’s two billion dollar estate be given to the heirs who pass the test, was Paul’s last hope of creating an enduring legacy by inspiring his children to give back to society and embrace a code of moral values.The six children-Rory, Frank, Dan, Monica, Carla and Ashley-have only one year to make a difference. But what a difference one year will make.Before these six very different siblings can complete the test, they’ll be forced to face their personal demons and the incredibly evil influence that could claim one of their own.

Some words about the Author

Patricia Gussin is a physician who grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and practiced in Philadelphia. She and her husband, Bob, divide their time between Longboat Key, Florida, and East Hampton, New York. She is also the author of Shadow of Death and Twisted Justice.

 

Paranormal AgencyParanormal Agency is a game for your Kindle Fire. You can install it for free today only.

Sometimes there’s more to solving mysteries than simply being a good detective–especially when the crimes are being committed by poltergeists. Do you have the ghost-hunting skills to track down the truth?

Don your sleuthing gear and get ready for spooky encounters as you hunt for obscure items in Paranormal Agency, a fun hidden object game for your Android device.

Heather Mills, Ghost Detective

Detective Heather Mills has the amazing ability to see ghosts and other mysterious entities that are not visible to other people. When spooky ghosts and weird creatures start showing up in local homes, it’s up to Heather and her agency to get to the bottom of this macabre mystery and look for reasons behind recent poltergeist attacks on innocent citizens.

Help Heather hunt for hidden items in locations all over the city and find out who is behind the attacks. Explore more than 50 challenging levels and test yourself with five types of hidden object challenges in this compelling, mysterious game. You’ll play seven unique mini-games as you navigate the storyline’s twists and turns.

Note: A free version of Paranormal Agency, with fewer features, is also available. Get your chance to get the full version for free!

Penguin Tentatively Returns eBooks to Libraries, but Not Kindles

By launching a pilot program to bring their publications back to libraries through OverDrive competitor 3M, Penguin has taken a step back toward serving its customers. At least so long as those customers don’t like reading on their Kindle. One of the notable shortcomings of the new system, and likely one reason that it is so appealing to Penguin, is that it completely lacks Kindle compatibility at this time.

The ongoing disputes between Amazon and the Big 6 publishers have provided any number of inconveniences for readers over the years now, but the library system has been hit particularly hard. While demand for eBooks, especially those compatible with the Kindle platform, has been rising at an ever increasing rate, publishers have been doing their best to make sure that eBook borrowing is as inconvenient as possible when it is available at all.

If that sounds horribly over the top, it is. Just not in the way you might think. The appeal of the 3M system for publishers, when it last made big news in library lending, was that it would force customers to both be in the library building to load their eBook and to wait in line as kiosks to get their chance. The OverDrive system, which often allows borrowers to download their titles over WiFi, allows for too little friction. Penguin, along with others, is concerned that if they don’t find some way to make using an eReader less simple and hassle-free then it will result in lost sales.

The argument is simple enough to follow, but seems to demonstrate how thoroughly these publishers understand their customers. By this logic, the only reason that book stores are able to stay in business is that libraries took too much of a drive or had longer lines.

To be fair, 3M has gotten better since those planning stages. Users are now able to browse and borrow from wherever they like, it seems, and there is even a fair selection available. The originally mandatory kiosks have been changed into promotional tools within the library itself and the program now includes branded eReaders meant specifically to be lent out to library patrons. It’s possible this explains why Penguin is only tentatively on board with the whole program even now, as well as why they will only be offering titles that are at least six months old.

Supposedly there will eventually be some degree of Kindle compatibility with the 3M lending network. Reportedly Amazon broke off earlier talks with a request that they resume in June, so at least things are still being discussed. It is unlikely that 3M will allow things to go the same way that OverDrive did, however, in shuffling their users through an Amazon store page. Given the customer base that Amazon already has, as well as the internal Kindle Owners’ Lending Library being used as a promotional tool for the Amazon Prime subscription service, this might become something that takes quite a while to come to terms over. Kindle owners probably shouldn’t be holding their breath waiting for Penguin, 3M, or Amazon to come around.

Daily Deals: In the Courts of the Sun and MASH

In the Courts of the SunToday Amazon offers  In the Courts of the Sun by Brian D’Amato just for $2.99

According to the ancient Maya, December 21, 2012, could be the day the world ends. In this ambitious novel, a modern-day descendant of the Maya, Jed DeLanda, goes back in time to save mankind. Well, he doesn’t go back physically; that’s not possible in D’Amato’s world, but it is possible to send back the consciousness of a person and to place it inside the mind of someone living in the past. The plan was to put Jed’s mind inside the body of a Mayan king in the year 664 CE, but, instead, he winds up inside the head of a man about to be killed by ritual sacrifice. Can Jed keep his host alive long enough to save the world? This is the sort of novel that Robert Silverberg might write (and, in fact, it feels a bit like Silverberg’s classic Up the Line)—a richly detailed, intellectually stimulating adventure through time. Unfortunately, it takes too long for the adventure to begin. While it’s fine to describe the future world in which Jed lives and even to establish his credentials for being chosen as humanity’s savior, we shouldn’t be made to wait 200-odd pages before Jed is flung back into the past. Still, he is an engaging narrator, telling his story in an easy, often humorous style. With the release later this year of the high-profile movie 2012 (also based on the Mayan prophecy), prepare for this title to be in high demand. –David Pitt

Some words about the Author

Brian D’Amato is an artist who sculptures and installations have been shown in galleries and museums over the world. His first novel, Beauty, was hailed by Dean Koontz as “the best first novel I have read in a decade”.

 

MASHMASH – is an application which you can install into your Kindle Fire for free today only. It was chosen for daily Amazon Appstore Deals.

Discover who you’ll marry, where you’ll live, how many kids you’ll have, and if you’ll be filthy stinking rich (or just stinking). Play MASH the classic way, or mix it up and discover even more about your future. MASH Elite offers a variety of stories to download. For each story, fill in the blanks with your choices and make it your own.

In the old days, kids used to waste paper playing this game, but now you can discover all the secrets of your future on your seemingly psychic Android.

Fill-in Your Future Fantasy Life

Once you choose a story to play, you’ll be prompted to enter information. Carefully contemplate and select a choice; or, for a more serendipitous approach, roll the dice and let the app choose. You can even randomize your choices.

The Spiral Has Spoken

Once you make all of your choices, it’s time to leave the rest up to your spiral art and the MASH powers-that-be. Draw a spiral using your finger and discover your destiny. Watch the pencil eliminate choices based on your MASH number and then–voila! See what your future holds!

Once your MASH fate finally lands you Justin Bieber in a mansion off the coast of France with two beautiful children who never sass back, save and share your results with your friends via e-mail or Facebook.

Kindle Fire vs Windows 8 Tablets: Another Pointless Comparison

There is essentially no competition to be found between the Kindle Fire and any imaginable Windows 8 Tablet at this time.  I’ve touched on this a bit here already immediately following the announcement of the Microsoft Surface tablet, but it’s come up in emails and various other places often enough since then to be worth revisiting.  They are catering to completely different needs, price ranges, and purposes.  I doubt this comes as much of a surprise to anybody, but let’s hit the high points again.

The comparison ends up being very similar to that of the iPad vs the Kindle Fire.  It is inevitable that people will compare them.  After all, they are both tablets.  Add to that the fact that they are both extremely popular and that each is backed by one of the biggest companies in the world right now and the parallels are too clear to ignore.  Stepping past the most superficial aspects gives us a much more meaningful understanding.

In the case of Windows 8, we’re looking at a tablet OS that is deliberately formed into something that could replace a laptop.  The Surface is the ideal example, as you would expect when Microsoft designed both hardware and software sides of things.  Users get productivity apps along the lines of a full Office suite, a well-integrated social media sharing system, and more.  If you could possibly want to do it on a tablet, or on a portable computing device in general, Windows 8 is probably somehow equipped for that.

The Kindle Fire, on the other hand, doesn’t even come with full Android functionality.  It is an Amazon device meant for consuming Amazon media services.  You don’t get much in the way of access to third party programs.  Even media coming in from a non-Amazon source isn’t always supported as well as one might like.  I can recall a few occasions when the lack of a decent codec pack was problematic.  If a particular user’s situation demands it then they can certainly install some approximation of office apps and such, but the experience will be less than ideal and there is no way to significantly improve it.

There is a reason that the Kindle Fire is priced so far below things like the iPad and, presumably, the Surface.  You wouldn’t be wrong to guess that part of it is simply an inability to compete at that price point, but you wouldn’t be entirely right either.  Amazon is using the tablet in a different way and not even really trying to compete.

There will always be implicit comparisons.  Not only will they come up with the big names in the tablet market, but the Kindle Fire will forever be lumped in with the Android Market as people try to figure out who is doing well.  In reality, it doesn’t even belong there.  Their device is being sold cheaply, maybe even at cost even now, specifically because it doesn’t matter how much they make on the hardware.

Anybody who uses a Kindle Fire, however briefly, is a win for the company simply because they are then tied into the media network where Amazon is really interested in making their money.  They don’t want to make a tablet that can be everything for everybody, just to add a bit of incentive to choose them for any digital media needs one might have.

Daily Deals: A Small Fortune and Dumb or Smart – The Test

A Small FortuneToday Amazon offers A Small Fortune by Audrey Braun just for $0.99.

When Celia Donnelly’s husband, Jonathon, surprises her with a family vacation to Mexico, the harried book editor couldn’t be happier. She is overworked and exhausted, a situation that has taken a toll on her eighteen-year marriage, not to mention her relationship with her teenaged son. Escaping the perpetually rainy Pacific Northwest for the sugary sands of Mexico could be just what the doctor ordered. Yet shortly after their arrival south of the border, a chance encounter with a stranger sparks illicit memories of a former affair. The moment passes, but that brief encounter proves enough to change her life forever. Hours later, Celia is lured from the beach and abducted off the street. At first a seemingly random victim, Celia quickly realizes her captors know exactly who she is. Desperate for news of her family and devastated by the betrayal of someone she trusts, Celia, along with an unlikely ally, is soon running for her life. Pursued from the balmy shores of Mexico to the steamy thickets of the jungle, to the crisp, cold mountains of Zurich, Celia will stop at nothing to find her way home.

Some words about the Author

Audrey Braun has lived all over the United States and Europe. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family. A Small Fortune is her first novel.

 

Dumb or Smart - The TestDumb or Smart – The Test is a logic game which you can download and install to your Kindle Fire for free today only.

Are you up to the Challenge?

With 80 levels of puzzles, memory games, logic tests, word scrabbles, and picture challenges, do you dare learn the truth? Just how smart are you? If you’re not all that brave, challenge your friends to get three stars on all 80 levels of brain twisting, logic bending games.

Like riddles? We got ‘em. This app offers puzzles galore, and much more. If you really are a “brainiac,” prove to all who know you that you’re smarter than a fifth grader–and beyond! Relax, have fun, and don’t take the reality of your low IQ too seriously. While playing, you’ll get some serious entertainment with cool sound effects, music score, and quality graphics.

Kill some time, and relax: the burden of being the smartest person on earth will be kindly lifted from your weary shoulders.

Amazon Appstore Expansion Indicates Kindle Fire is Nearly Ready For International Release

Amazon recently announced that they are now interested in developer submissions of Android apps for the international expansion of the Amazon Appstore for Android.  Those who are interested can now submit via the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal in order to be ready for the expansion.  This summer the Appstore is expanding to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.  Beyond that there are apparently plans for more, but even a handful of new markets should generate a big surge in popularity for the Appstore in general and the Kindle Fire in particular.

The Kindle Fire has to be what this is all about, of course.  We are expecting the next iterations of the Kindle line, both tablet and eReader, before the summer is out.  Although their first Android tablet has started to lose some of its initial popularity, it is clear that Amazon has a great deal invested in the idea of mobile devices integrated into their media distribution system.

Because of its integration, however, selling the Kindle Fire outside the US has seemed problematic at best.  Amazon has a lot going for them, but media rights need to be established in any country the company chooses to support.  That means not just books as with the Kindle eReaders but also movies, television, music, and apps.

Getting the apps will probably be the easiest part for this effort.  By setting up a portal by which Android developers can submit their applications, they are actually setting up an interesting alternative to Google Play.  Google has had a few incidents with regard to paying their international developers (mostly failing to pay them, actually) that makes an alternate major app store with a proven record huge news.

There are no estimates yet on exactly when the Kindle Fire will be offered outside the United States.  It even makes some sense to question whether Amazon will bother marketing the existing model at all.  With a newer high resolution model supposedly on the way, as well as a larger version set to follow soon after, waiting an extra month or two to make sure to put the best product forward might be the smart move.

The Appstore for Android has already proven itself able to provide better returns for developers than its Google counterpart.  It’s true that many find the extra oversight and extended review process to be painful, occasionally to the point of refusal, but that has not stopped the store from growing rapidly over the past year.  Customers seem to value the higher submission standards, if nothing else.

Will this be enough to revive interest in the Kindle Fire?  That’s hard to say.  With Windows 8 right around the corner and Apple surely waiting to one-up any competition as soon as they are able to justify it financially, it’s an unsettling time to be selling Android tablets.  Because of Amazon’s break with Google’s standard interface and store, as well as the ecosystem integration, they stand somewhat apart from the Android crowd and might be able to survive even if interest in Android falls abruptly.  The next Kindle Fire is going to have to be impressive to regain the kind of market share that it had at the end of 2011, though.

Daily Deals: River of the Brokenhearted and PicShop – Photo Editor

River of the BrokenheartedToday Amazon offers River of the Brokenhearted by David Adams Richards just for $1.99

From the author of the Giller Prize-winning novel Mercy Among the Children comes the utterly beguiling, big-hearted story of one woman’s resolute struggle to overcome small-town prejudice and deceit. Spanning generations, River of the Brokenhearted explores the life and legacy of Janie McCleary, a brave Irish Catholic girl who dared to marry a man from the Church of England. Their union is quickly deemed scandalous, and when her husband dies just before the Great Depression, everyone in town, led by the unscrupulous Joey Elias, turns against her. Janie is left alone to raise a family. Her solution is to open one of the first movie theaters in North America, which she runs with such success that she manages to ostracize herself even further. She is a pioneer before the age of feminism, and the burden of her salty individualism will shape the lives of her children and grandchildren. Written with compassion and mastery, River of the Brokenhearted muses on the tyranny of memory and history, and peers into the hearts of extraordinary characters, where Richards finds an alchemy of venality and goodwill, deceit and brotherliness, and marked cruelty and true love. Once again, David Adams Richards has brought us a work of astonishing grace, rooted in his special territory on the great river of New Brunswick, but firmly universal in scope.

Some words about the Author

David Adams Richards has won numerous awards for his fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Peggy, and their sons, John Thomas and Anton.

 

PicShop - Photo EditorPicShop – Photo Editor is full-featured photo editor which you can install at your Android device (Kindle Fire and others) for free today only.

PicShop – Photo Editor features a beautiful design combined with tons of editing options and dozens of filters. With support for HD images up to 8MP, PicShop is great for serious photographers as well as casual. Post your perfected photos to Facebook, Twitter or e-mail with a single click.

The UI Layer for PicShop is fully GPU accelerated, which translates into extremely low battery consumption, and a beautifully smooth 60hz interface. This app is a joy to use.

Photo Editing Controls

The Editing Suite includes Color/Saturation, Brightness/Contrast, Sharpen/Blur, Tilt Shift, Depth of Field, Blemish Remover, RedEye Remover, Auto-Correction, Crop, Rotate, and Flip.

Features
  • Full Editing Suite
  • Filters and Effects
  • Frames and Overlays
  • Sketch Mode w/ 8 different brushes
  • Meme Maker (YES RLY)
  • Speech Bubbles
  • Text w/ Adjustable Font
  • Fun Stickers (Hats, Moustaches, Love etc)
  • Social Integration (Facebook, Twitter, Email)
  • Customize app with your own personal theme

The Tablet Divide

When I got my iPad, I also got an external keyboard.  It worked okay, but since it wasn’t directly integrated with the tablet, it did have some lag time.  My biggest hope is for the tablet to merge with the laptop.

I was unsure of how long it would take for this to happen until the release of the Microsoft Surface tablet.  It has a keyboard built into its cover.  This is the catalyst that will nudge tablets towards a hybrid laptop/tablet deal.  I’m really excited about this new development because it eliminates the need for both a computer and tablet, adds portability, and increases accessibility.

Now, to my point.  Rumors are indicating that Amazon is set to release a 10.1 inch Kindle Fire.  How much of this is just wishful thinking, it is hard to tell.  I have no doubt that the online retail giant can create a competitive larger tablet, but will they lose their original focus?

The competition gap and functionality of large and small tablets is widening.  Larger tablets more computer like in terms of power, whereas smaller tablets such as the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are more for gaming, reading, and internet browsing.

I would love to see Amazon create a Kindle Fire that would provide both an optimal reading experience and serve as a multi purpose device.  There really aren’t that many major adjustments for e-ink Kindles left, at least not any that we know of at this point.  We’ll get a glowlight version this year, and maybe color next year.

Maybe a few years from now, the technology will be there to do a hybrid e-reader and tablet.  But, considering how quickly technology changes, there may be something completely different hitting the big market by then.

So, basically, I think Amazon definitely has the resources to build a larger tablet that will sell well.  But, I would like to see them hang on to their core mission: a better reading experience. Better to excel at one or a couple of products than to make a slew of mediocre ones.

 

Daily Deals: Until the Next Time and Router Aqua

Until the Next TimeToday Amazon offers Until the Next Time by Kevin Fox just for $1.99

For Sean Corrigan the past is simply what happened yesterday, until his twenty-first birthday, when he is given a journal left him by his fatherÕs brother MichaelÑa man he had not known existed. The journal, kept after his uncle fled from New York City to Ireland to escape prosecution for a murder he did not commit, draws Sean into a hunt for the truth about MichaelÕs fate.

Sean too leaves New York for Ireland, where he is caught up in the lives of people who not only know all about Michael Corrigan but have a score to settle. As his connection to his uncle grows stronger, he realizes that within the tattered journal he carries lies the story of his own lifeÑhis past as well as his futureÑand the key to finding the one woman he is fated to love forever.

With the appeal of The Time TravelerÕs Wife and the classic Time and Again, this novel is a romance cloaked in mystery and suspense that takes readers inside the rich heritage of Irish history and faith. Until the Next Time is a remarkable story about time and memory and the way ancient myths affect everythingÑfrom what we believe to who we love.

Some words about the Author

Kevin Fox is a producer and writer for the Fox TS series Lie to Me, and his professional screen- writer credits include the film The Negotiator. He splits his time between coasts, living in both Los Angeles and New Jersey. This is his first novel.

 

Router AquaRouter Aqua is a game to download for free today only.

Router Aqua is a brain game that requires connecting matching color dots in the shortest possible distance while avoiding overlaps. Explore multiple routes through seven chapters, each more complex than the last.

… Isn’t Always a Straight Line

Chapter One introduces you to the basic gameplay and is well-suited for players of all ages. Chapter Two requires a bit of intellectual dexterity. For Chapter Three, you need to earn at least 130 points from the previous chapters to continue the game. Finish each stage with a perfect score to earn a Star Point. When you earn five or more Star Points, use them to get hints on more difficult levels.

Keep in mind that you need to plan ahead before you connect the first line, or the rest of the lines will tangle–and won’t connect. Each stage (or level) offers up to five stars, earning you a Star Point for a perfect score. Capture the Star Point by joining all dots in the stage using the shortest possible lines.

Part circuit board, part connect-the-dots, Router Aqua’s simple yet beautifully designed, glowing graphics pull you from level to level as you work through incrementally challenging puzzle boards. Every chapter contains lots of levels, and as you master the game, you may find yourself wandering back along familiar paths to replay, working toward even better scores and making your mark on the global leaderboard.

Kindle App Updates Hit iPad, iPhone, and Android

The most recent round of updates to the Kindle platform has begun to expand beyond the realm of Amazon-designed hardware.  Users of the Kindle for iOS and Kindle for Android are now enjoying updates to their software.  This comes as part of Amazon’s transition to the new Kindle Format 8 system which, while still an ongoing process, will eventually offer superior formatting control to publishers on every supported device.

The Kindle for iOS update makes this version 3.1 of the app.  The most notable changes are specifically meant for users of the iPad.  On the tablet, this app now supports KF8 formatting already in use in many children’s books and comics.  These include Kindle Text Pop Up and Kindle Panel View.  iPad users will also get to have a bit more control over their general reading experience.  You get smaller margins and an overall cleaner look to the page, which should help in any book.

The update wasn’t just for iPad users though.  Everybody running Kindle for iOS will now once again be able to look up words via Google and Wikipedia again.  The loss of that ability was a matter of some annoyance for many a while back.  Navigation should also be somewhat improved for all thanks to a search function allowing users to access specific titles and authors.

Kindle for Android didn’t get quite so extensive a treatment this time around, but what was changed will be important for some.  Assuming you are running Android on a tablet, version 3.6.0 will allow for more extensive formatting controls.  These include similar improvements in margin control as on the iPad, but also line spacing and landscape optimization controls.  If you choose to, you can now view two pages side by side in Kindle for Android to better simulate the experience of reading a paper book.  From experience, including but not limited to the Kindle Fire, I can say that this has a hugely positive effect on landscape formatted tablet reading.

No word has been given just yet about whether or not the KF8 features that have now made their way to the iOS app, along with the Kindle eReader and more, will be coming to Android in the near future.  I would say to expect them around the same time as the new Kindle is released at the latest, but we don’t know when that will be beyond that it is most likely before the end of July.

While I am a huge fan of the dedicated eReader for any sort of extended reading experience, the Kindle apps add a level of convenience that you really have to appreciate.  Not every occasion for reading requires pulling out the Kindle and sitting for hours poring over your favorite book.  These improvements are a good sign that Amazon is paying attention to the way their apps present themselves on various platforms and device types, as well as signaling that they have every intention of optimizing things for as many users as possible.

Daily Deals: The Eagle Has Landed and Sudoku SuperDoKu 1.0

The Eagle Has Landed (Liam Devlin)Today Amazon offers The Eagle Has Landed (Liam Devlin) by Jack Higgins just for $1.99

In November of 1943, an elite team of Nazi paratroopers descends on British soil with a diabolical goal: to abduct Winston Churchill and cripple the Allied war effort. The mission, ordered by Hitler himself and planned by Heinrich Himmler, is led by ace agent Kurt Steiner and aided on the ground by IRA gunman Liam Devlin.

As the deadly duo executes Hitler’s harrowing plot, only the quiet town of Studley Constable stands in their way. Its residents are the lone souls aware of the impending Nazi plan, and they must become the most unlikely of heroes as the fate of the war hangs in the balance.

Some words about the Author

Since The Eagle Has Landed—one of the biggest-selling thrillers of all time—every novel Jack Higgins has written has become an international bestseller. He has had simultaneous number-one bestsellers in hardcover and paperback, and many of his books have been made into successful movies, including The Eagle Has Landed, To Catch a King, On Dangerous Ground, Eye of the Storm, and Thunder Point. He has degrees in sociology, social psychology, and economics from the University of London, and a doctorate in media from Leeds Metropolitan University. A fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an expert scuba diver and marksman, Higgins lives in Jersey on the Channel Islands.

 

Sudoku SuperDoKu 1.0Sudoku SuperDoKu 1.0 is a game for your Kindle Fire which you can obtain for free today only.

If laws were written to discourage apps from taking steroids, SuperDoKu would definitely be in trouble. In this case, proprietary algorithms created by the developers of Sudoku SuperDoKu act as steroids, generating infinite numbers of puzzles, ensuring you’ll never run out of new puzzles to solve.

An App to Change your Sudoku Experience

Have you ever been half-way through a Sudoku puzzle only to be interrupted with a phone call or with the need to launch another app on your smartphone? Well, with the unique auto-save feature of Sudoku SuperDoKu, you’ll never again have to worry about losing your game progress. Simply relaunch Sudoku SuperDoKu, and you’ll pick up right where you left off. Whether you’re an expert Sudokuict or a beginner, there’s a puzzle for you. For seasoned players, the standard puzzle comes in easy, medium, and hard flavors. Beginners and children can play the mini-Sudoku (2×2, 2×3, or 3×2) puzzles.

Features
  • Hint feature if you get stuck
  • Pencil-marking option
  • Step-by-step animation showing how to solve tough puzzles

Stuck on a hard puzzle? Maybe you’re too tired to think but still want to play? Try the on-demand “Hint” feature for a hint or to find incorrectly marked cells. Or use the special “Crib” feature using pencil-markings to hone your playing skills. Tapping an empty cell multiple times narrows possible values. Or sit back and ask Sudoku SuperDoKu to solve the puzzle for you, and enjoy a step-by-step animation that even reveals dead-ends! You can also stop the animation by tapping any cell or function key to resume gameplay. And the “Undo” animation feature complements the “Solve” feature with soothing music media.

Kindle Fire Passed By Nook Tablet in Web Traffic

Right now it is safe to say that the iPad is on top when it comes to tablets.  I’m assuming nobody genuinely thinks anymore that the Kindle Fire was ever about trying to bring down Apple’s device.  It is no surprise then that in a recent analysis of their web traffic impressions, the Chitika Ad Network found that 91% of tablet traffic on the web comes from iPads.

What was somewhat surprising was that for the first time we see the Nook Tablet beating the Kindle Fire in terms of use.  Since May, the Nook has jumped from making up 0.53% of all tablet traffic to accounting for 0.85%.  For just a month, that’s an impressive increase in presence.  The Kindle Fire saw no such increase and even seems to have fallen off slightly in the same period.

What does this mean for the two devices?  Unfortunately this data is hard to draw any real conclusions from.  Lacking any sort of information about data collection, we don’t even know as much about what devices we are talking about.  How much of the Nook’s internet presence comes from people running rooted tablets thanks to simple tools making use of the SD slot, for example?  That matters, since it is essentially a lost customer for B&N when they are selling their hardware at near-cost in order to lock people into their ecosystem.

Even if we assume that those users are completely removed, we are still left with a study that examines only web use.  Anybody who has spent time browsing the internet on either of these devices already knows that while pleasant enough for what it is, the browsing experience a 7” tablet offers will generally fail to impress.

I would be more excited to see information about impressions and click-throughs on advertising in popular apps across multiple platforms.  That would be likely to give us a better understanding of the comparison since just about everybody loads up some Angry Birds or Words With Friends from time to time.

With the iPad still providing about fifty times the traffic of its closest competition this is all really a minor point.  You just can’t expect a small device designed for media consumption to do the same job or generate the same interest as Apple’s more powerful and popular product.  They have nothing to fear from Android tablets in general right now, let alone the budget side of the market.

Clearly this data will be helpful for anybody who is interested in trying to target tablet users specifically when designing a web-based advertising campaign.  For the rest of us, however, there is not enough detail to be worth thinking too much about it.  It would be nice if the Nook Tablet suddenly experienced a huge boost in popularity since Amazon couldn’t help but push back by adding new products or software features, but that isn’t necessarily the case here.

Maybe the next generation of tablets, with Windows 8 competing against the iPad and a Microsoft-backed Nook line providing intense competition for the Kindle Fire, but for now things are pretty much on hold.

Daily Deals: Pocket-47 and Animal Find

Pocket-47 (A Nicholas Colt Thriller)Today Amazon offers Pocket-47 (A Nicholas Colt Thriller) by Jude Hardin just for $1.99

Meet Nicholas Colt, a PI with an intriguing past. Once guitarist for the renowned band Colt .45, he’s the sole survivor of a small-plane crash that killed his wife, daughter, and the rest of the band. After that, he renounced music and set up shop as a detective in his Airstream trailor near a lake in north Florida. When orphaned Leitha Ryan hires him to find her runaway 15-year-old sister, Brittney (eschewing police for fear of losing Brittney to foster care), the trail leads to a white-supremacy sect and connects to Colt’s earlier life through SWAT sniper and former SEAL Roy Massengill, who once worked for the band. Pocket-47, Colt learns, is a pilot’s expression that can mean not only an unexplained glitch but also sabotage. Colt is a physical, no-holds-barred PI, reminiscent of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, and his debut is action-packed. With a hefty toll of dead bodies, some described in cringe-inducing detail, this is crime fiction at its rawest. Hard-boiled connoisseurs should make Colt’s acquaintance now.

Some words about the Author

Jude Hardin graduated from the University of Louisville with an English degree, and currently lives in northeast Florida. When he’s not pounding away at the computer keyboard, Jude can be found pounding away on his drums, playing tennis, reading, or down at the pond fishing with his son.

 

 

Animal FindAnimal Find is a funny application for your Kindle Fire which can entertain your kids for long time. Today only you can download the game for free.

The world is full of unique animals, and the Animal Find app lets your child discover them. This fun matching game designed for young children encourages learning through spoken word and picture association. The pleasant narration and beautifully animated graphics are sure to make this animal safari fun and educational.

Match the Animals

Facing a grid full of different kinds of cute animals, your child will listen for the cheerful narrator to speak an animal name. Simply touch the matching animal. A correct answer is awarded with a pleasant tone. The animal disappears from the grid of choices and another is added.

Find Animals helps to promote self-directed learning time. An incorrect choice results in a non-alarming buzz. After a few seconds, the animal will bounce to help your little tyke match it properly–without your help! As your child learns the animals, they’ll be able respond to the animal names much more quickly and earn more stars.

From Boars to Narwhals

Your child will learn all kinds of exciting new animals. Animal Find sends your tyke searching for more than just cats, cows, monkeys, and tigers. It’s easy to learn more specific and rare animals like the anglerfish, chameleon, narwhal, and antelope.

Play either of two game modes: Play All Day or Tik Tok. While playing in the timed mode, choose a difficulty mode of easy, medium, or hard. Choose the difficulty mode to match your child’s age.

Animal Find will help to develop auditory, visual, and fine motor skills. Save scores and watch your little one improve. With beautifully illustrated animals and graphics, your child will stay engaged and entertained.

Microsoft Surface Tablet Isn’t Kindle Competition Exactly, But…

Ok, so as much as the Microsoft tablet announcement seemed potentially poised to do something even more unsettling to the small tablet market than Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire pricing could accomplish, the danger has mostly passed.  There is no way that either of the versions of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet are going to be priced comparably to consumption-specific tablets any time soon.

They do bring a few things to the table that might make people think twice about bringing anything else into an academic situation, though.  That could be bad news for the Kindle given Amazon’s emphasis on academic applications for their devices.  While many students couldn’t afford something like an iPad in addition to their computer, a tablet like the Surface has the potential to let students do without a computer while still retaining much of the functionality of a Kindle Fire type of device.

Looking specifically at the ARM-driven Windows RT model, which will be the first to become available, there are really interesting things going on.  No, it will not have anything approximating an E Ink display, but it will come with a 10.6” HD screen.  That’s going to make a big difference for everything from movie viewing to game playing.

On top of that, the device integrates two digitizers.  One of those handles normal touch behavior while the other is specific to stylus contact.  In the event you are writing with a stylus, the Surface knows to ignore your fingers so that you can write naturally.  This will be huge for everything from in-text annotation to general note taking.  Comfortable one-handed scribbling on the go might finally be possible on a tablet.

For media, the Microsoft tablet will have outputs so that you can put your video on an HDTV or monitor as desired.  This was an important enough feature that they practically opened the reveal by talking about how there would be a Netflix app available at launch.  It is also something that the Kindle Fire has definitely been missing.

It will, as always, come down to price.  Right now we know nothing besides that the Surface for Windows RT will be priced close to comparable ARM tablet alternatives.  That probably means that it will run at least $400.  In that case, Amazon has little to worry about among their primary customers.

The biggest concern is going to be when Amazon reveals their new Kindle Fire later this year.  A 10.1” Kindle Fire would be nice, but if it doesn’t significantly undercut both the iPad 2 and the Surface then there will be trouble.  I love the tight integration that Amazon has given their tablet, but when you have something that is literally intended to be a complete PC you don’t need that.

The best we can hope for is that Amazon will stick to their undercutting strategy and market the newer, larger model of the Kindle Fire for something like $250 to maintain its position as a valid alternative for the consumer on a budget.

Daily Deals: Five Top-Rated “Brain Books” and To-Fu: The Trials of Chi

Today Amazon offers the set from 5 Top-Rated “Brain Books for $1.99 each. This inspiring collection is filled with fascinating and fun strategies for unleashing your imagination, recharging your intuition, and bolstering your self-confidence. All five books feature expert advice and refreshingly original approaches designed to improve your mind and quality of life. Here is the list of the books:

  1. The Misleading Mind: How We Create Our Own Problems and How Buddhist Psychology Can Help Us Solve Them by Karuna Cayton
  2. Brain Power by Michael J. Gelb (Author), Kelly Howell (Author), Tony Buzan (Foreword)
  3. The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life by Thomas M. Sterner
  4. Creative Thinkering by Michael Michalko
  5. The Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee (Author), Chris Guillebeau (Foreword), Kate Prentiss (Illustrator)

 

 

To-Fu: The Trials of ChiTo-Fu: The Trials of Chi is an application for you Kindle Fire shared by Amazon without taking a fee today only.

He’s pliable, resilient, and tasty. Besides pairing nicely with noodles or soup, he’s an excellent weapon for sticking, slinging, and flinging through the Trials of Chi. Go on: play with your food in this entertaining game for your Android device.

Avoid the To-Fu Traps

Join our stretchy protagonist as he gets ready to undertake the infamous Trials of Chi. Ping, stick, and rebound our little hero through treacherous booby-traps and complex mechanisms using only your finger and To-Fu’s unique stretch control. The objective is to get to the Fortune Kitty while collecting as many blue Chi as you can. Don’t fall victim to a trap and become Tofurkey. Conquer the trials and help To-Fu become the illustrious Master of Chi.

Tough as To-Fu

To-Fu may quite possibly be the world’s most malleable martial artist. Stretch To-Fu with your finger and aim. Release your finger to ping him. Return To-Fu to his normal size and release to cancel the ping. Drag your finger to the spot you want To-Fu to land for precision aiming. Drag the screen to adjust your viewpoint which is very useful for floating platforms.

You and To-Fu will fight your way through five different surface types and 150 unique trials with simple touch-screen controls. Don’t underestimate his strength: even Meat knows he’s a formidable foe.