Category Archives: ebooks


The WATT – In this Kickstarter pledge the team of entusiasts, lead by Ben Jervey, ask for a crowd funding in order to write an interactive ebook which explains the nature of energy for the broad masses. It should be an Energy 101 Primer. An interactive e-book to complement and enhance our user’s guide to energy in the 21st Century. Follow their funding request on Kickstarter, which is still running for around 8 hours.

Petition the White House for Open Journal Access has a new-ish “petitioning” feature that allows basically anyone to start a signature-collecting campaign which, upon reaching a certain number of clicks from registered users, will require an official response on the issue in question.

At issue is open access to scientific information gathered using tax dollars.   Which, in the US, is about a third of it.  If you’ve ever been hot on the trail of a technical lead and run up against a robot demanding $40 to download one four-page, twenty-year-old journal article, you know what I’m talking about.  Please take a minute, if you haven’t already and are so inclined, to go register an account and sign.  They’re just shy of 23,000 clicks, as of this writing, and need 2,000 more before June 19th.

Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research

2012 Philip K. Dick Festival

Philip K. Dick is one of the most amazing science fiction author, who published a countless number of short stories on which most of the premier class science fiction films, such as Minority Report, Total Recall, Matrix, Blade Runner and many more are based on. This year a Philip K. Dick Festival is scheduled for September 22-23 in San Francisco. Guest speakers are Jonathan Lethem, Erik Davis, Paul Sammon, and many other big thinkers on topics as self-induced amnesia, computer simulations, mysticism, dystopia, and, of course, drugs. 2012 Philip K. Dick Festival

Porträt Philip K. Dick von Pete Welsch

ZAINOO – Personalize your Italy travel guide!

Zainoo, a brand new startup located in Austria, lets you plan your trip to Italy
by selecting a list of interesting regions, cities and sights. Individualistic
travelers can plan their trip to italy and download their finished selection to a smartphone
or tablet pc. Compared to TripWolf, one of the big players within the community travel guide
market, Zainoo offers first hand inside tips, descriptions and photos from the authors
themselves. At this stage Zainoo contains detailled information about Venice, Florence, Milan, Sicily and Rome.

About The Future Of Ebooks

Watch a recent TechCrunch TV Interview With McGraw-Hill Higher Education President, Brian Kibby about the future of Ebooks. It gives some interesting insight view of the strategy one of the largest text book publishers concerning the offer of Ebooks.

Kibby who has worked in textbooks for most of his career and as the group president, he has seen the movement from “dead tree” to augmented learning experience that purports to connect the net with the standard learning experience. However, new technologies are placing McGraw-Hill – and a number of educational competitors – on a path towards completely bookless learning. This reduces costs on the one hand and improves retention on the other. It is, in short, a win-win… if it works.

In this interview Kibby talks about the future of ebooks, the current status of ereading.

image taken from

Microsoft invests in ebook Business

Shortly Microsoft announced a 300 Mio. $ investment in Barnes & Noble which represents one of the strongest competitors of Apple and Amazon on the ebook market. Barnes & Noble offers one of the biggest collection of ebooks on the US market which is accessable through their Nook readers. The Nook readers are a good ebook reader alternative compared to the popular Amazon Kindle. Microsoft acquired around 17 percent of a new Barnes & Noble ebook spin-off company that will host this new ebook market segment.

Maths symbols and eBooks

After some websearch i found a software (PDFRead) that reads pdf documents and generates images out of the pdf pages. The images are sized according to the layout of your eBook reading device and packed into a readable format (e.g. lrf format). So i can successfully convert technical texts into a format that allows eBook reading devices to display the maths symbols within the texts. This is not the optimal solution but it works for me.

Creation and Management of eBooks

My ongoing effort to bring selected literature (some proceedings with maths symbols in it) on my new Sony PRS-505 eBook Reader identified some issues i would like to address here. First i realized that any text or pdf is hard to read on the reader without a specific conversion to the resolution of the specific ebook. Especially the page breaks and line breaks can be annoying if they do not match the readers resolution. I found an excellent software (Calibre eBook Management) that solves this issue for me. Calibre also allows to download RSS feeds from newspapers in order to generate a structured file that can be read on eBooks.
However Calibre is not able to solve another issue i identified while experimenting with my eBook device. It is not possible to display maths symbols within the texts on the eBook reader, which is a major problem for people that are reading technical papers!

The future of reading books and news

Today i got an ebook reader Sony PRS-505 which will be my first experince with electronic reading devices.

As i am reading really a lot literature within my job (scientific journals and proceedings as well as technical books) i am curious if this reading device will change the way how i am reading these material. Since today i always printed the articles i read and bought hardcopy books. The big disadvantage is that while traveling you always have the wrong texts with you and you are quite limited in the amount of material you take with you. With my additional 8 GB SD-card there is no limitation of books and articles you take with your ebook reader. I can in fact take my whole library with me while i am traveling.

Despite the fact that most of the conference papers are two columns format, which can not quite clearly displayed on the ebook reader i am sure that the digital formats may change in the future. According to the dramatic slide of newspaper readers it seams that the future of printed news and magazines could also lie in publishing the material for electronic readers and tablets. This surely changes the publishing industry according to the fact that no transport is necessary any more and the time of reading news will also shift, as it has already happened with reading internet news.

I am even thinking of writing and online publishing a technical book which deals with microcontroller programming and hobby robotics.