Articles by Carly Z

Amazon, the iPad, and Why iBooks Might Not Be So Great

Amazon has been proudly showing off their iPad app today and made it clear they’re looking to develop for tablets as a category. Since there’s really only one category of Apple tablet-esque devices, it’s safe to assume devices like the HP Slate, and possibly, hopefully, Android tablets, will also be blessed with a big-screen and finger friendly version of the Kindle. Compare this to the iBooks app, which, if it has any portability at all, will most likely only move…


Adventures in Internet Radio!

Driving to Maine from New Jersey is a looooong drive. Even breaking it up with a stop in Boston for a few days, we quickly ran through an audiobook and couldn’t find a decent radio station on the drive. Luckily, I had my Droid handy, and we gave Pandora and Slacker a spin. Slacker…I want to like it, I really do. But on the free version, it doesn’t seem to hold onto a music stream well. It gets four or…


Alex Reader’s Price Yo Yos Up and Down and Up Again

The Alex Reader was announced for pre-order this week, and I reached out to their public relations representative for an explanation of their pricing. If you recall, back in January at CES the following announcement was made (it is also worth noting this is the most recent press release on their site, where you can read the whole thing). An excerpt: “Our agreement with Spring Design represents another step in our digital strategy, which continues to focus on offering book…


StatusNote for Android Review

I usually need several types of productivity and reminder applications. Tasks need either alarms or some sort of agenda view or I won’t remember them, but they need to have a date. Floating tasks tend to be forgotten and languish on my lists for days or weeks. To combat this, I’ve usually relied on the old “email it to myself” trick. I also leave myself voice mails and even use old-fashioned sticky notes. It looks like I may have found…


Ides of March eBook Edition

Welcome to this week’s “State of the ebook”. As usual, we’re diving in with news, then looking at a few major stories that have been floating around the ebook world. Apparently the eInk/Android mashup is becoming very attractive these days, as on the heels of the Entourage Edge and the Alex Reader we have yet ANOTHER similar device. This one is the 1Cross Tech MIDHybrid, and it has an LCD screen with Android and a QWERTY on one side, and…


Flip AT&T’s Control over the Backflip

If you bought a Moto Backflip, you probably noticed the odd use of Yahoo Search over Google, and the incredible amount of AT&T bloatware included on the device. Unfortunately, short of rooting it there’s not much you can do about either of those, but AT&T did something far worse to the Backflip that you WILL want to change. Every other Android phone offers an option to install apps from outside the marketplace. Sometimes it is a beta (like the Swype…


Manage Your Agenda on Android

The built-in Android calendar is ok, but has a few major limitations. One, the default calendar widget is awful. It’s small and doesn’t really share much beyond the upcoming appointment. Two, there is no task integration, so if you plot out your day based on tasks and appointments you have to move back and forth between two programs. While there’s no solution for a better native calendar app, there is a way to turn a portion of your homescreen into…


eBook Bundles, Interactions, and More!

I recently started re-reading one of my favorite books of all time: “Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping“. It was my bible when I worked for Borders, and even on the consumer side of retail, I find it fascinating. The author, Paco Underhill, runs a company that studies how people shop. Everything from how much time people need to acclimate to entering a store to sightlines, signage, and spacing of aisles is scrutinized and tweaked for maximum impact based…


Reading PDFs on Your Android Tablet or Phone

When I kicked off my “LCD vs eInk vs paper” smackdown, one of our readers emailed me asking about PDFs on the Camangi Webstation. I was slightly ashamed to admit that I hadn’t actually tried them yet! Reading ebooks on it had been such a great experience that I hadn’t branched out to PDFs yet, but that email gave me the impetus to try a few different options. Unfortunately, the Camangi does not come with access to the official Android…


eBook Reading Options for Android

So you bought a shiny new Android phone or tablet, and now it’s on to the important stuff: How can you read your books on it? Admittedly, there aren’t the same number of ebook options for Android as there are for the iPhone, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a decent selection of options! Rather than review each one individually, I thought it might be best to do a roundup/quick overview of the major readers available. There are several…


Review: Easy Note+Todo for Android

Android does not come with even a basic notes application. Luckily there are services like Evernote available, but sometimes you need a local notes application (rather than a cloud based one). That’s where Easy Note+Todo steps up. Can it replace a notes app and a to-do list? Read on and find out!


eBook Readers Ahoy!

While the last few months have been dominated by publisher drama, it looks like things are quieting down, and we’re starting to hear more about upcoming readers (hardware and software). We have a lot to cover, including the (supposed) upcoming release of a much-anticipated reader, so let’s get started! First, let’s start with the big picture. eBook sales increased 176.6% in 2009, showing they are easily the fastest growing segment of the publishing market. Not to be outdone by Amazon’s…


Verizon Shell/Holster for Motorola Droid Review

I hate cases for my phones. I tend to forget this however and buy them anyway. In 10+ years of owning cell phones, I think I’ve used one case for more than a few weeks (an Agent 18 ecoShield for the original iPhone). At the same time, I really love my Moto Droid and thought it would be prudent to have a case for it…so I did my research and discovered there were very few exciting options out there. A…


eInk, LCD, Paper Smackdown: The Results Show

As you may recall, I threw down the gauntlet and vowed to engage paper, e-ink and LCD in a battle to the end. It has been tough, but I’ve forced myself to carve out time to read three books from my favorite author, all in the name of this review. Hopefully you all appreciate the sacrifices I made. 😉 To review, here were the ground rules: Readability: • How long can I read comfortably without my eyes needing a break?…


Publishers, Pricing, and Pretensions

Friday afternoon The Consumerist reported on a comment made by Michael Cader on a publishing industry site. Essentially, he said that if you can afford an ebook reader, you can afford higher ebook prices. Needless to say, many of us at Gear Diary vehemently disagreed. Each of us had our own take on the publishing industry, high prices, and our general frustration with publisher’s attitudes towards ebooks.


PC Tools Spyware Doctor with Antivirus Review

I used a mac exclusively for many years until I picked up my Toshiba netbook last summer. It was my first experience using a non-work issued PC since college, and while I knew to install a few free anti-virus and spyware utilities, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about security. Since then, I’ve started using my netbook far more than I expected; as a result, when Gear Diary was offered the chance to review PC Tools Spyware Doctor…


eBook State of Confusion

(image courtesy banklawyersblog) I thought this week might be a good time to step back and just review a few big themes/ongoing news in the ebook world. Some of these have been covered before, but since it can get very confusing very quickly with the changing landscape and players in the ebook world. So bear with me, as we run through a few major ebook areas that have been in the news and muddying the ebook waters this week!


Is the Honor System a Failure for Books?

(image courtesy Smashwords) Smashwords today on their blog revealed some interesting statistical data; that people are cheapskates. I know, you’re shocked. Try to keep it together for the rest of this post. Apparently, in a wide-ranging study (353 people!) only 15% paid. Everyone else downloaded the book for free. Smashwords explained their take on this data:


Overdrive Audiobooks Come to Android

If you are an audiobook fan, you know how pricey they can get. Audiobooks usually cost around $30-$40 in a bookstore, though many libraries have decent selections on-hand. The best case scenario is when your library supports Overdrive, a company that supplies digital media to libraries, schools, etc. Overdrive audiobooks usually come in WMA and MP3 flavors, but of course, they are all coated with special DRM. Even digital files have limited timeframes (usually 14 days), though at least they…


Bookeen Cybook Gen 3 Review

The Cybook Gen 3 is a few years old (it was released in 2007), but about six months ago it received an update allowing it to read Adobe ePUB files, giving it new relevance in an increasingly ePUB focused ebook world. Thomas sent me his Cybook to update with the new firmware and review, so let’s take a look! Does it stand up well against my Kindle? Is the Cybook worth the $350 Bookeen lists it for? Read on and…


Amazon Scores Another Exclusive

Looks like Ian McEwan and Stephen Covey have company in the Amazon exclusives club! Gavin De Becker, author of “The Gift of Fear”, has an exclusive with the Kindle Store for one year. This is probably Amazon’s best defense against the agency model that’s all the rage among scared publishers; Amazon guarantees themselves great content, the author gets a raise, and the consumer wins too! And if you don’t know who Gavin de Becker is (I didn’t!), Amazon’s press release…