The Wonderful World of E-Reading

E-reading is far too large a topic for me to cover in depth in one post, so this one is only going to focus on where you can get free books for your e-reader. I’m assuming you either have one or want one, and who doesn’t love free books? I finally talked myself into asking for a Kindle for Christmas, and while I still love my book analogs, I am becoming a voracious e-reader as well.

This article from CNET lists a few good sources for free books, including those in the public domain. And yes, your library is a great place to get ebooks! The NOVA library has them too!

Librivox is a volunteer project with the mighty objective “to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet”. I’ve been a fan of Librivox for a long time; they’re my go-to source for audiobook classics. Some readers are better than others, but that’s part of the charm.

Hundred Zeroes is a website that provides a frequently updated list of ebooks available for free on

Ereader News Today is a blog with at least one daily update on ebooks avilable for the Kindle. I know some of these links are Kindle-heavy, but that’s because that’s what I have!

Curious about e-readers? The Faculty and Staff Resource Center has Nooks and iPads (you can use your iPad as an e-reader!) that you can try out for free!




What’s New With Apple

If you’re a geek like me, you know that today was the keynote speech from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2012, and perhaps you watched one of the live streaming webcasts for up-to-the-minute coverage. But maybe you aren’t a geek (actualIy I hope you aren’t; otherwise this post might be very boring) and you’d just like to know, in plain English, if anything big went down today at Apple.

The main questions first: Did they announce a new iPad or iPhone or iPod? No, they did not. iPhone 5 should be coming our way soon, but not yet.

So what did they announce? The biggest deal, in my opinion, that came out of the keynote speech is the introduction of the new MacBook Pro. It seems like a hybrid between the former MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air, and the iPad 3. It’s super thin (.71 inches), light at just under 5 lbs, and it has Apple’s spanking new retinal display on a 15.4 inch screen, which means that the display looks absolutely gorgeous. There’s no optical drive though, which means you can’t stick any discs in there…it’s all Flash memory. But that’s how they got it so thin. Apple calls the “most beautiful computer” that the company’s ever made. Oh, and if you really want one, the price point is a staggering but Mac-standard $2,199.00 (that is the STARTING price), and you can buy one right now at the online Apple Store.

When the new iOS6 (the operating system used to power your mobile Apple devices) is released, our Apple friend Siri can now give you more information about movies, sports and restaurants  (I’m no Siri follower but apparently these things gave her issues before) and she can update your Twitter and Facebook, as well as open apps for you on your iPhone. I don’t use an iPhone, but these improvements will probably make heavy Siri users very happy. And Siri will be integrated into certain automobiles over the next 12 months. Siri will be available on iPad, too. While we’re talking mobile, FaceTime has been upgraded so that it will work on a cellular connection rather than just over wi-fi.

And speaking of Facebook and driving, Apple’s new OS, rolling out this summer, will integrate with Facebook, which is something Apple users have been requesting for awhile. And Apple is rolling out their own map service as a competitor to Google Maps, with live traffic updates and turn by turn navigation, which dovetails nicely with the car integration.

The new OS for Mac desktops is also coming out soon, and will include features such as Power Nap, which will sync your computer to any clouds you might be connected to (say, iCloud) and update software in the background, and voice recognition and dictation. Mac’s browser, Safari, will include a new search bar that can be used both to search the internet and enter URLs of sites you want to visit…exactly like Chrome and Firefox already do.

There are some other features, but I’ve listed what I think are the highlights. More details, if you want them, can be found here: