A better mobile eBook reader?

It’s been a while since I took a look at what’s cool in the mobile eBook reader space, as I’ve been quite satisfied with my current reading apps (GoodReader for PDFs, Stanza for ePubs) and their use with Calibre (a must-have eBook library management program).

So today I’ve installed ReadMill — a ‘social’ eBook reader that works with both open ePubs as well as open and DRM protected PDFs (a valid Adobe ID is required). The blurb from the developers states:

Readmill is a unique ebook reader that lets you read share and discover great books. Available as an iPad and iPhone app, Readmill works with ebooks in ePub and PDF format. It’s all about sharing what you read, and all of the highlights and comments you make between the pages. It’s also a great place to discover new books through friends, and find out what’s most popular in your social graph. Welcome to a world of reading.

So I’m just getting started with it. Feel free to check out my ReadMill profile https://readmill.com/bradblog and follow me.

I’m thinking the ReadMill experience will be similar to GoodReads, but will update my experiences here as I use it more.

 

Hashable is shutting down

Long time Twitter ‘accessory’ Hashable is finally out of beta, and closing down effective July 25th 2012, according to an email I received late yesterday:

Dear Hashable Users,

We regret to inform you that the Hashable mobile apps and Hashable.com will be shutting down on July 25th. The service will be unavailable after this date.

While we are still very passionate about making better connections and meeting new people, the time has come for us to focus our energy elsewhere.

Some of you have stored valuable information in Hashable, and we want to give you the opportunity to save that data for your own records. If you’d like to receive a file with your complete history, please log onto Hashable.com, navigate to the “Profile” tab, then to the “Your History” section on that page. You can download the file by clicking “Export full history to .csv” and accepting the dialog that pops up.

We are incredibly grateful for all the people we have met through Hashable. Thank you for all your support, and we hope to connect with you again in the future.

All the best,
The Hashable Team

As it says, members can download and archive their data stored in Hashable by following the instructions.

I’m Moving to Empire Avenue!

This likely won’t come as a shock to many of you; I’ve been invited to go work on Empire Avenue.

Of course, I said yes.

Starting Thursday, September 1st, my role will be, as with any startup, kinda fuzzy to begin with. Officially I’ll be the Director of Social and Community Management. In reality, I’ll be blogging, working with the various communities, and helping the team get things done. Whatever those things may be. Clean up after the Squirrel, you know.

What I’m leaving behind
For the last five years, I’ve been a Web Content Specialist and Web Business Analyst with the Alberta Motor Association.

It’s be a great time with a marvelous people and a great employer who’s allowed me to make mistakes, grow, and test the corporate waters with innovative social media experiments (hello @AMARoadReports)!

If you’d like to check out the position I’m leaving, here’s the link to the official posting. And I’d be happy to discuss the role, or the organization should you have any questions — email me (bradblog@gmail.com).

The Future
Well, as I said, it’s going to be kinda fuzzy. Empire Avenue is a startup, and as such, there are lots of cool things that we’re doing, and that can be done! And in my work with community, I’m going to be working with and asking a lot of questions of *you*.

So, what can we do, together, on ‘the Avenue’, hmmm? Let’s find out!

Many flavours of RSS readers for iPad

title.jpgEarlier today Feedly was reintroduced to the iPad iOS world with significant buzz — Robert Scoble profiled the reader (check the video below).

One of the notable things about Feedly is its HTML 5 base — which allows the majority of functions to be device agnostic (Android, Windows Phone, etc).

But on iOS devices, there are a number of RSS readers that have made names for themselves, and are happily co-existing on my iPad.

All of these readers, in some way, tap into your various social media streams, as well as an existing Google Reader account — which is cool, as you can use the power of Google Reader to manage the feeds, then simply consume the content on your mobile device as is convenient.
 
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Some are my daily use RSS reader, and others, while interesting, just haven’t managed to keep my attention.
Here’s a few of the ones I like, and why:

 

Zite.jpg

Zite
Currently my daily use news reader, grabs content from your Twitter stream, your Google Reader RSS feeds, and your Delicious bookmarks.

Zite gives you a very clean and polished interface consisting of algorithmically-selected stories from your content feeds.

Interestingly, you can rate and share the content. As you do this, Zite ‘remembers’ the content you’ve rated and will get smarter about displaying content to you as it learns. After a few weeks, you’ll have your own tuned and personalized digital magazine made up of the content you like to consume.

The only downside? The danger of too much ‘sameness’.  I do occasionally like to read outside my regular patterns, and I fear Zite will not expose me to some new and interesting things by only showing me more of what I like and review. Time will tell.

 

FlipBoard.jpg

FlipBoard
Initially my regular reader, now it’s down to about once a month. Nice display, nice method of reading, but not good enough to keep me coming back. Zite has replaced FlipBoard as my ‘visual’ reader.

 

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Reeder
The 500lb gorilla of RSS readers — quickly and efficiently manages your content. Displays RSS feeds cleanly and allows you to easily browse your feeds. Simple and elegant design has kept me using this as my regular RSS reader when I want to drill down to see what content I’ve missed from a particular source.

 

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Pulse
I have a love / hate relationship with Pulse. Nice display. Easy to use and share content. It’s my Number 2 RSS reader…except when it crashes. And it has, usually once a session when I use it, which is becoming less frequent.

 

Flud.jpg

FLUD
An odd one that has stayed on my device, for the time being.

Similar to Pulse in layout, but not quite as efficient in handling feeds, at least from an end-user perspective.

 

Feedly.jpg

Feedly
The new kid on the block. Ties in to Google Reader, has a nifty swipe-sensitive interface to flip pages, and a very nice look and feel.

I don’t like the way the content is locked in a vertical orientation (portrait mode)…and am somewhat concerned as a blog owner that they’ve blocked out an area for inserting advertising in my blog content stream — yes they ask you to ping them if that’s your content stream, but what if I don’t — will they insert their own advertising on my content?

Regardless, Feedly is new, and has my attention for now — time will tell, especially as it grows on other mobile platforms.

Your turn — what mobile RSS reader is your daily go-to reader, and why?

Oh, and here’s that Feedly video I promised :smileyhappy:

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What is it about a Moleskine?

ms1.jpgIt’s a notebook, plain and simple. A very well-made notebook, to be sure. It is, perhaps, a premium notebook (which would justify the price). I know, I have one. And it’s quite nice.

Yet, Moleskine is also a brand that brings a lot of emotion and sentiment to the humble notebook. Notebooks are about remembering things, writing them down to have later — and the Moleskine brand is based around the concept of being the best notebook you can use to remember. Just check out this description from the Moleskine website’s about page:

Moleskine was created as a brand in 1997, bringing back to life the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin. A trusted and handy travel companion, the nameless black notebook held invaluable sketches, notes, stories, and ideas that would one day become famous paintings or the pages of beloved books.

 

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Today, the name Moleskine encompasses a family of nomadic objects: notebooks, diaries, journals, bags, writing instruments and reading accessories, dedicated to our mobile identity. Indispensable companions to the creative  professions and the imagination of our times: they are intimately tied to the digital world.

 

ms2.jpg

A lot of famous people use(d) Moleskines, and a lot of people wax eloquently about the virtues of the notebook.

And now, they can do the same about the free official Moleskine app, for iPad and iPhone / iPod Touch:

The official Moleskine App for iPhone and iPad allows you to express your creativity through text, images and sketches. Pick a classic Moleskine notebook paper style, create a new thought and start to type or draw choosing amongst different colors and sizes. Once you are done with your thought, you can store it on your device and make edits whenever you want.

Features:

  • Pick a Moleskine notebook paper style: plain, ruled, squared
  • Write and edit a text note
  • Sketching tool
  • Insert and play with your personal images
  • Catalogue as many memories as you want with a full range of categories
  • Play with images provided by Moleskine
  • Geo-tag each note created and create a virtual map of your memories
  • Share your notes with friends through email or social networks

Of course, the Moleskine app is also a marketing tool to get the Moleskine name on your iOS device, get you comfortable and familiar with the Moleskine name, and presumably get you curious about the actual paper notebook.

Marketing aside, the app is a fairly good notebook app, with some interesting features. And it’s free, so what have you got to lose — maybe it’ll work for you, as the original notebook worked for Hemingway, back in the day.
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