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.


A book to tide me over until the next Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend

Last weekend was great fun as @tturbo and the rest of our years-old Guild Wars group jumped in to the most recent Beta Weekend event.

But now the event is done, and the wait continues for the *next* event, and I’m finding I need more of the world to explore.

So ‘a man has said’ that there are these Guild Wars 2 novels out there, which means I must check them out. And I did by downloading the first (from iTunes): Guild Wars: The Ghosts of Ascalon.

The Story So Far…
Actually it’s pretty good. Standard adventuring fare, but being published in 2010, brings many of the game improvements into the story-line. Guards have rifles. The world map has changed. They fear Dragons again.

I’m hoping we’ll see the introduction of the Engineer 🙂

Ok, it’s an eBook, downloaded from iTunes. Which means it’s got DRM. For me that’s a problem as I like to read on different devices. I prefer my Kobo, but occasionally will read on my iPad or iPhone, depending on the context.

Fortunately there’s a cool app that will easily remove iTunes DRM from most iTunes eBooks — and it worked like a charm — and I’m reading happily on my Kobo, slowly. I don’t want to rush through the book and *still* have to wait a while for the next Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend 🙂

Checking out library books on your eReader?

sonylib.jpgGot a Sony eReader and use the Sony Reader store? Well check out the little blue & white box in the right-hand sidebar on the page.

Yep, you read correctly — you can check out books from the library and read them on your eReader.

In early December, Sony (and technology providers Overdrive) will have hundreds of Canadian libraries hooked up and ready to lend books; many libraries are already set up and running. As I understand it, only libraries in Atlantic Canada will be missing…for now.

This Library search page will help you find a participating library in your region. For example, entering Alberta in the search field turned up a large number of participating libraries in my province.


The system requires you have an Adobe account to manage the DRM and ‘return’ of the eBook you ‘borrowed’. Actually the DRM just expires and you can’t read it after the lending period runs out. Which is another way of saying you don’t have to remember to return borrowed eBooks back to the library.

Not every book at your library will be available for loan, but as libraries start to convert their catalogues to digital, you’ll find more and more of the popular reads on your library’s virtual shelves. Welcome to the 21st century :smileyhappy:

The Decline and Fall of the Physical Media Empire

When’s the last time you bought a CD – the actual physical media? Do you remember the artist or album name?

I can’t remember either. It’s just not a media format that has relevance to me now, in the age of wifi and online media stores.

When once upon a time I used to have my discs proudly shelved near my CD player, today they are gathering dust in my closet — long since having been ripped to my digital media centre. Especially since the DRM wars are mostly over. Mostly.

Continue reading “The Decline and Fall of the Physical Media Empire”

Finally. If it’s Friday then it’s time for a video.

Earlier this week OK Go parted ways with their record label in order to have more creative and publishing control over their music videos. Short version – EMI was not letting their videos be published through YouTube. Longer version and overview at FastCompany.

Since that relationship has ended, the following link to the YouTube video of OK Go’s awesome ‘This too shall pass’ video is my simple way of supporting their move. Well done.

When do you own the gear you buy?

Two articles recently crossed my desk:

  • Content in lockdown – Tom Yager, InfoWorld.com
    I’m increasingly aghast at the erosion of the traditional freedom we’ve enjoyed to do whatever we please with our personal computers — but intrigued by the science behind it.
  • Your Right to Repair – CAA Driver’s Seat
    Imagine taking your vehicle to your long-time independent service provider only to be told he can’t fix your car. You have to take it to a dealership because he can’t access the repair information.

Both from completely different fields, yet both dealing with the same issue; your right to access the information on the hardware you’ve purchased. This is not a new issue, but these two articles, from different perspectives, seem to intersect at the same issue; your right to do what you want, with stuff you’ve bought.

At first glance, this doesn’t even seem to be an issue at all. You paid for the technology, you should be able to do whatever you want with the technology. To make a simple analogy, you buy the pie, you eat the pie, or share the pie, or throw it out.

Ah, yes, but the hardware developers would have you believe that the issue is really not that simple, with reasons like these:

  • Yes, paid money and have the hardware in your possession, but what you really bought was a piece of paper with lots of legal text giving you the right to actually USE the hardware. And no, once you’ve used the hardware, you’ve implicitly agreed to abide by the terms of the licence… which clearly state that you can only have the hardware serviced at a licensed service centre.
  • The technology in our hardware is super-secret. Only skilled, trained and licenced technicians really know how to fix our technology. Anyone else is just tinkering with your investment…and may actually break it!
  • We’ve invested significant research and development dollars in creating your technology. If we allowed anyone to access it, why, they could easily copy it, or even make it better and compete with us.
  • You’re a thief. You only want to use our technology to copy the content that our technology presents. You want to take dollars away from our licenced service centres, our partners, and give it to other pirates. To keep you from copying our content, we’re not going to let you access it, unless you can prove that you’ve paid a special fee to access it.

The list goes on, but you see the point. Hardware developers have invested a significant amount of money in product development. Society has allowed them to put in place legal mechanisms that keep you from fixing your own car, copying your own video, or making your computer work better.

Personally, I’m on the side of openness…freeing up the systems and hardware to the benefit of all. But (cue the poll) what do you think?


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