Emerging Tech: This magazine app knows what you like

screner

You’ve got an iPad and all the popular magazine, content, reading apps like Reeder, Flipboard, Pulse, and FLUD. Well now there’s a new one using technology from the University of British Columbia’s Laboratory for Computational Intelligence.

It’s called Zite, and is it ever cool. But first, the video.

Why I like it
It’s a learning app. Log in to your Google Reader and Twitter account, let Zite perform a bit of analysis, and you’ve got content that Zite thinks you’re interested in. And it’s free 🙂

Three essential PDF readers for iPad

A while ago I wrote about ways to read PDF files on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. Well that post is showing it’s age, so rather than completely redo it, I thought I’d discuss my current three top PDF readers, and why.

GoodReader
GoodReader is my first choice, go-to PDF reader on my iPad.

First off, getting files into GoodReader. It’s simple, and supports iTunes file transfer, Network transfer via WiFi, or downloading from shared services such as;

  • DropBox
  • Google Apps
  • Mobile Me
  • SugarSync
  • FTP servers

Next, it’s under active development, with frequent new features, updates and bugfixes.

As expected GoodReader supports PDF and TXT files, but it can also display all of the most popular file types including:

  • MS Office – .doc, .ppt, .xls and more
  • iWork’08/’09
  • HTML and Safari webarchives
  • High resolution images
  • Audio & Video playback in some formats

Yes, GoodReader is my PDF reader of choice. But, there are cases where an alternative is important. Enter…

CloudReaders
This is a more simplistic app that I use primarily for reading graphic novels and comic-book files. Some are in PDF format and others in CBZ or CBR format.

CloudReaders allows WiFi upload by running a small server that you connect to using your desktop computer. Here’s some of the cooler features of CloudReaders:

  • Multi-task support
  • Rotation lock
  • iPhone/iPod/iPad touch support
  • Automatically add books when files were transferred via iTune application
  • Auto page alignment (on iPhone/iPod touch)
  • Smoothing (from Settings app)
  • Default page-orientatin (from Settings app)

As a free eReader and PDF reader, it’s a bargain. There’s also an in-app purchase that allows you to share (via P2P) with other local CloudReaders users. Very neat.

Stanza
This is my go-to eBook reader on the iPad, and has been one I’ve used on the iPod Touch previously.

I’d written about it here, and it’s still a solid app you should check out, especially since it’s free!

How to easily convert almost any eBook to open ePub format

My iPod Touch is also my eBook reader. I use the Stanza app (recently upgraded), and the Stanza desktop application to get pdf and other formats into my iPod Touch. But Stanza can’t read all formats, and occasionally an imported file will not display correctly — the layout gets messed up.

This is where 2epub.com comes in. This online eBook converter will take up to 5 eBooks of various formats (doc, epub, fb2, html, lit, lrf, mobi, odt, pdb, pdf, prc, rtf, txt) and convert them to ePub (or fb2, lit, lrf, mobi) format.

Then it’s a simple matter to share the file with Stanza, and send it to my iPod Touch.

I’ve only converted a couple of titles so far, but the output files have worked like a charm.

2ePub is a very cool and sophisticated application, utilizing a few ‘hidden’ backend applications — according to the developers:

2EPUB relies on various open source software, including Calibre, OpenOffice, AbiWord, Unoconv and pdftohtml.
2EPUB can convert only those documents that were, intentionally or not, made suitable for automatic conversion.
So now, when I get a new eBook (in whatever format) I’ll be running it through 2ePub first, to clean it up and make it more sharable with my variety of hardware platforms

3 books I’d give as Christmas presents

I’m spending much more time in malls and shops this month — must be the season.  One of my favourite places to spend time is a book shop. Any book shop. Something about them just make me happy.

This year, I spotted three books that I’m considering either giving or getting for myself, just ’cause they’re so darn cool, for various reasons (Amazon affiliate links):

So I’m curious, what books would you like to give (or get) this Christmas?

How to view PDF and other files on your iPhone and iPod Touch

This article was originally written in April 2009. A few new apps have appeared since then, but one, GoodReader is now my daily go-to PDF reader right now. I touch on a few of the new apps here, including GoodReader, but you’ll be back on this page if you want to check out Stanza — a great eBook reader.


I have to read a lot of fiction in the next few months. A lot of Science Fiction to be precice, and it’s so I can cast an informed ballot to help select the best of the genre at this year’s World Science Fiction convention (WorldCon).

As a member of WorldCon, a packet containing this year’s nominees arrived in my inbox earlier this week. Lots of PDF, RTF, DOC and TXT files, for many diverse categories including best Novel, Novella, etc. Not small files by any stretch.

So, to avoid culling a small forest by printing it all out, I decided to try and read them on my iPod Touch. In the past I’ve enjoyed reading on my previous portable device, the Palm T|X, so figured that I should give it a try on the Touch. And that got me wondering, is there an iPhone or iPod Touch app to read pdfs? I’m happy to say the answer is yes, but.

The dilemma, how to get just under 200mb of data on to this little sucker. Well, I solved it, two ways. Here’s how: Continue reading “How to view PDF and other files on your iPhone and iPod Touch”