Daily Links and Deals: 10 Spring Cleaning Tips for Getting rid of Old Unread Books

daily_links_1In today’s stories, there’s an new Netflix competitor in town. Plus, stories on wi-fi, Amazon Prime, and more. In deals today, there are savings on Dremel tools and accessories (great for crafting) and  pre-owned Fire Tablets.

Daily Links for Thursday, March 31, 2016:

Fullscreen Unveils $5 Subscription Video Service, Taking on Netflix and YouTube Red (Variety) Hm. Very targeted, which is interesting. Wonder if there is enough interest in that market share to pull this off?

New wireless tech from MIT could bring password-free Wi-Fi (Computer World) This could be a good thing…. Especially if you put it together with the ability to shut out router invaders based on distance.

10 Spring Cleaning Tips for Getting rid of Old Unread Books (Bustle) Some of these look like fun projects!

You can now buy Amazon Prime for a month at a time — if you’re a Sprint customer (ReCode)And if you want to pay a third more for the service. Easier just to buy Amazon Prime.

The complete list of ‘OK, Google’ commands (CNET) This is a pretty comprehensive list. I had no idea that it could do this much and intend to take a second look at the idea of using this.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results by Bob Knight and Bob Hammel for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals, Amazon is offering savings of up to 63% on your choice of select Dremel rotary tools and accessories. You will also find some flash drives and memory cards at reduced pricing. Plus, you can still find deals on pre-owned Fire tablets.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is How to Instantly Connect with Anyone: 96 All-New Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes for $1.99.The Romance Daily Find is The Bad Boy CEO by Sugar Jamison for $1.99.

STILL AVAILABLE: B & N is running a special where you can get a NOOK Bundle Offer: 10″ NOOK Device, Free Screen Film and Free Cover of Your Choice- a $330+ Value for Just $199.99. And finally, you can take 75% off all Nook Accessories.  And if you have jumped on the coloring books bandwagon, B & N  now has Harry Potter Magical Places & Characters Coloring Books available.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries) by James Runcie for $1.99.

STILL AVAILABLE:  Kobo  has the Great Reads For $1.99 or Less promotion.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The More You Ignore Me by Jo Brand for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

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Peter Shandy mysteries sale

macleodProlific mystery writer Charlotte MacLeod has been called “America’s Agatha Christie”.  She wrote award winning cozy mysteries under both her own name and a pen name. One of her most entertaining mystery series was the Peter Shandy mysteries which featured botany professor Peter Shandy and his librarian wife, Helen solving mysteries in Balaclava County, Massachusetts.

Today, publisher Open Road Media has put five of the ten books in the series on sale for $2.99 each.  You can find the series at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo  and Google. The available titles are:

  • The Luck Runs Out
  • The Curse of the Giant Hogweed
  • Vane Pursuit
  • Something in the Water
  • Exit the Milkman

I also found An Owl Too Many for $1.99! That makes 6 of the 10 books for less than $2.99 each!

I LOVE it when a whole series is available as ebooks!

Enjoy!

Daily Links and Deals: Why You Try iPads and Quinoa So Readily, and Drop Them Just As Fast

daily_links_1In today’s links, we have stories on Snapchat, wireless spectrum and everything from ebooks and ipads to quinoa. In todays deals, there’s a unlocked Blu GSM phone and some great books, including Dean Koontz and some personal recommendations by me! 🙂

Daily Links for Wednesday, March 30, 2016:

A wireless-spectrum battle means you’ll get a signal in more places (FAQ) (CNET) All the details on what’s at stake here.

Snapchat just made a huge change to become your go-to messaging app (Quartz) Well, this looks somewhat easier, LOL!

Bowie tribute concert at Radio City will be streamed on Skype (Engadget) Donate to charity to catch performances by the Pixies, Blondie, the Flaming Lips and more.

What is a kernel – Gary explains (Android Authority) If you have heard the term “Linux Kernel” and were clueless about what it meant, this one’s for you.

Amazon cracks down on dodgy USB Type-C cables and adapters (Ars Technica) This is a good thing. Now,  about some of those supposedly “OEM” and lightning cables….

28,000 French-Language Ebooks Are Newly Available in the US (Publishing Perspecitves) But you can’t get them at Amazon….

Why You Try iPads and Quinoa So Readily, and Drop Them Just As Fast (Ad Age) Personally, I have stuck with quinoa and I LOVE kale, so that means I probably don’t have “Hyper-adoption” syndrome, right?

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals, the BLU Life One X – 4G LTE Smartphone – GSM Unlocked, black or white is $99.99. You can also find Bluetooth headphones, and universal car mounts among the deals. And, Amazon still has deals on  pre-owned Fire tablets.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is The Warrior (Warriors Series, #1) by Ty Patterson for 99 cents. The Romance Daily Find is Savage: The Complete Series by Shelli Stevens for 99 cents.

B & N is running a special where you can get a NOOK Bundle Offer: 10″ NOOK Device, Free Screen Film and Free Cover of Your Choice- a $330+ Value for Just $199.99. And finally, you can take 75% off all Nook Accessories.  And if you have jumped on the coloring books bandwagon, B & N  now has Harry Potter Magical Places & Characters Coloring Books available.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson for $2.99.

Kobo also still has the Great Reads For $1.99 or Less promotion going on.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Moonlit Mind (Novella) by Dean Koontz for $2.99.

A couple of personal book recommendations: 

Several of my favorite authors have new books hitting the virtual shelves!  The Second Death, Volume three in T. Frohock’s Los Nefilim urban fantasy series has just been released. It’s a fantastic series, beautifully written, with a really cool system of magic – and the books are priced at just 99 cents each! And if you like dark fantasy, check out her exquisite novel, Miserere. (I re-read this book several times a year – it’s that good!)

I am really excited that Broken (The Extrahuman Union Book 1) by Susan Jane Bigelow is now back in print. This moving story of superheroes in a dystopian world really, really deserves a much wider audience. The other volumes in the series will be re-released this year, along with the new and final book in the series. The ebook edition includes tie-in prequel short story “Crimson Cadet” and a preview of book 2 in the series, Sky Ranger.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: Genius Web Annotator vs. One Young Woman With a Blog

daily_links_1Today’s stories include a change to Google photos, questions on the future of librarian careers in the UK, a conversation about web annotation and  more. Today’s deals include $2 ebooks and savings on APC products and pre-owned Fire Tablets.

Daily Links for Tuesday, March 29, 2016:

Google Photos no longer creates copy of edited images, replaces original picture on device and cloud (9 to 5 Google) Since I have to go back and re-edit images all the time, I don’t like the idea of this. You?

Facebook’s erroneous “safety check” accidentally became a breaking news alert (Quartz) And the minute Facebook realizes this, everyone is doomed. PS: It may have already happened….

Libraries: The decline of a profession? (BBC) With library closures and jobs disappearing, this is a rough time to be a librarian in the UK.

Genius Web Annotator vs. One Young Woman With a Blog (The Observer) Thought-provoking article about web annotation and how it fits into the larger conversation about what constitutes good manners and adult conversation on the internet.

AnkerBox launches charging-as-a-service (Techcrunch) I think this idea is brilliant!

7 Chrome shortcuts you should start using right away (CNET) I am going to print this out to use as a cheat sheet.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes books 1-4 of the Tucker Series for $1.99 each. There are just a couple of days left in Amazon’s Monthly 50 Kindle Books for $2 each deals.

In Today’s Deals, Amazon is offering discounts on select APC products, including UPCs, surge strips, power packs and more. There are also deals on PNY flash drives and a selection of pre-owned Fire tablets.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Walk on Earth a Stranger (Gold Seer Trilogy Series #1) by Rae Carson for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is From Scratch by Rachel Goodman for $1.99.

Barnes and Noble is still running several promotions” First, you can take 50% or more off teen bestseller Nook books. They are also running a special where you can get a NOOK Bundle Offer: 10″ NOOK Device, Free Screen Film and Free Cover of Your Choice- a $330+ Value for Just $199.99. And finally, you can take 25% off all Nook Accessories.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Master (The Game Maker Series) by Kresley Cole for $1.99.

Kobo also has a Great Reads For $1.99 or Less promotion going on.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Rock with Wings by Anne Hillerman for 99 cents.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Could the language barrier actually fall within the next 10 years?

welcome-905562_1280By David Arbesú, University of South Florida

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to travel to a foreign country without having to worry about the nuisance of communicating in a different language?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, technology policy expert Alec Ross argued that, within a decade or so, we’ll be able to communicate with one another via small earpieces with built-in microphones.

No more trying to remember your high school French when checking into a hotel in Paris. Your earpiece will automatically translate “Good evening, I have a reservation” to Bon soir, j’ai une réservation – while immediately translating the receptionist’s unintelligible babble to “I am sorry, Sir, but your credit card has been declined.”

Ross argues that because technological progress is exponential, it’s only a matter of time.

Indeed, some parents are so convinced that this technology is imminent that they’re wondering if their kids should even learn a second language.

Max Ventilla, one of AltSchool Brooklyn’s founders, recently told The New Yorker

…if the reason you are having your child learn a foreign language is so that they can communicate with someone in a different language twenty years from now – well, the relative value of that is changed, surely, by the fact that everyone is going to be walking around with live-translation apps.

Needless to say, communication is only one of the many advantages of learning another language (and I would argue that it’s not even the most important one).

Furthermore, while it’s undeniable that translation tools like Bing Translator, Babelfish or Google Translate have improved dramatically in recent years, prognosticators like Ross could be getting ahead of themselves.

As a language professor and translator, I understand the complicated nature of language’s relationship with technology and computers. In fact, language contains nuances that are impossible for computers to ever learn how to interpret.

Language rules are special

I still remember grading assignments in Spanish where someone had accidentally written that he’d sawed his parents in half, or where a student and his brother had acquired a well that was both long and pretty. Obviously, what was meant was “I saw my parents” and “my brother and I get along pretty well.” But leave it to a computer to navigate the intricacies of human languages, and there are bound to be blunders.

Even earlier this month, when asked about Twitter’s translation feature for foreign language tweets, the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey conceded that it does not happen in “real time, and the translation is not great.”

Still, anything a computer can “learn,” it will learn. And it’s safe to assume that any finite set of data (like every single work of literature ever written) will eventually make its way into the cloud.

So why not log all the rules by which languages govern themselves?

Simply put: because this is not how languages work. Even if the Florida State Senate has recently ruled that studying computer code is equivalent to learning a foreign language, the two could not be more different.

Programming is a constructed, formal language. Italian, Russian or Chinese – to name a few of the estimated 7,000 languages in the world – are natural, breathing languages which rely as much on social convention as on syntactic, phonetic or semantic rules.

Words don’t indicate meaning

As long as one is dealing with a simple written text, online translation tools will get better at replacing one “signifier” – the name Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure gave to the idea that a sign’s physical form is distinct from its meaning – with another.

Or, in other words, an increase in the quantity and accuracy of the data logged into computers will make them more capable of translating “No es bueno dormir mucho” as “It’s not good to sleep too much,” instead of the faulty “Not good sleep much,” as Google Translate still does.

Replacing a word with its equivalent in the target language is actually the “easy part” of a translator’s job. But even this seems to be a daunting task for computers.

So why do programs continue to stumble on what seem like easy translations?

It’s so difficult for computers because translation doesn’t – or shouldn’t – involve simply translating words, sentences or paragraphs. Rather, it’s about translating meaning.

And in order to infer meaning from a specific utterance, humans have to interpret a multitude of elements at the same time.

Think about all the contextual clues that go into understanding an utterance: volume, pitch, situation, even your culture – all are as likely to convey as much meaning as the words you use. Certainly, a mother’s soft-spoken advice to “be careful” elicits a much different response than someone yelling “Be careful!” from the passenger’s seat of your car.

So can computers really interpret?

As the now-classic book Metaphors We Live By has shown, languages are more metaphorical than factual in nature. Language acquisition often relies on learning abstract and figurative concepts that are very hard – if not impossible – to “explain” to a computer.

Since the way we speak often has nothing to do with the reality that surrounds us, machines are – and will continue to be – puzzled by the metaphorical nature of human communications.

This is why even a promising newcomer to the translation game like the website Unbabel, which defines itself as an “AI-powered human-quality translation,” has to rely on an army of 42,000 translators around the world to fine-tune acceptable translations.

You need a human to tell the computer that “I’m seeing red” has little to do with colors, or that “I’m going to change” probably refers to your clothes and not your personality or your self.

If interpreting the intended meaning of a written word is already overwhelming for computers, imagine a world where a machine is in charge of translating what you say out loud in specific situations.

The translation paradox

Nonetheless, technology seems to be trending in that direction. Just as “intelligent personal assistants” like Siri or Alexa are getting better at understanding what you say, there is no reason to think that the future will not bring “personal assistant translators.”

But translating is an altogether different task than finding the nearest Starbucks, because machines aim for perfection and rationality, while languages – and humans – are always imperfect and irrational.

This is the paradox of computers and languages.

If machines become too sophisticated and logical, they’ll never be able to correctly interpret human speech. If they don’t, they’ll never be able to fully interpret all the elements that come into play when two humans communicate.

Therefore, we should be very wary of a device that is incapable of interpreting the world around us. If people from different cultures can offend each other without realizing it, how can we expect a machine to do better?

Will this device be able to detect sarcasm? In Spanish-speaking countries, will it know when to use “tú” or “usted” (the informal and formal personal pronouns for “you”)? Will it be able to sort through the many different forms of address used in Japanese? How will it interpret jokes, puns and other figures of speech?

Unless engineers actually find a way to breathe a soul into a computer – pardon my figurative speech – rest assured that, when it comes to conveying and interpreting meaning using a natural language, a machine will never fully take our place.

The ConversationDavid Arbesú, Assistant Professor of Spanish, University of South Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Posted under a CC license.

Daily Links and Deals: #BOOKNERDPROBLEMS: Wanting to read books that don’t exist

daily_links_1In today’s stories, we talk about #booknerdproblems, mysterious library returns , aspect ratios, copyright and more. In today’s deals, we have Anker and Microsoft computer and electronic accessories.

Daily Links for Monday, March 28, 2016:

A lost 120-year-old newspaper collection is mysteriously returned to a D.C. library (Washington Post)  A piece of history is anonymously returned to the library.

It is illegal to screenshot and share Snapchat snaps without permission, Government minister says (The Independent) Um…Why copyright and not privacy?

Widescreen, letterbox and black bars: How to wrangle TV aspect ratios (CNET) Understand the various TV aspect ratios and how to deal with them.

People are paying to remove sex, violence, and Jar Jar Binks from movies (Quartz) Yet another censorship service crops up. Is this copyright versus the right to sanitize.

#BOOKNERDPROBLEMS: Wanting to read books that don’t exist (Overdrive) I can so relate. I have bought books written by fictional characters like the Nikki Heat series written by TV character Richard Castle….

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals, savings on Anker devices and accessories, including chargers, bluetooth speakers and cables. You can also save up to 70% off select Microsoft computer accessories, including headsets, keyboard/mouse bundles and web cams.

Have an old Kindle to trade in? Amazon is having another trade-in promotion for both working and non-working Kindles. You can get between $5 and $50 for your old device plus a $20 bonus coupon good towards the purchase of a new Kindle. The details are here.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Apartment 3B: A Novel by Patricia Scanlan for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Roses by Leila Meacham for $1.99.

Barnes and Noble is still running several promotions” First, you can take 50% or more off teen bestseller Nook books. They are also running a special where you can get a NOOK Bundle Offer: 10″ NOOK Device, Free Screen Film and Free Cover of Your Choice- a $330+ Value for Just $199.99. And finally, you can take 25% off all Nook Accessories.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam for $2.99.

Kobo has a Great Reads For $1.99 or Less promotion going on right now. Also ongoing is is the Supersale, offering up to 80% off and  5X Super Points on all purchases. And, continuing through March 28, Kobo is still featuring  bestsellling memoirs for $2.99 and under.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson for $2.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

There’s a New Kindle Trade-in Offer

trade-in_2Back in January, I posted news on an Amazon Trade-in promotion that allowed you to trade in older Kindles in both working and non-working condition. That program is coming to an end on March 31st. As I mentioned in that post, I was thinking about trading in several of my older Kindles. Of course, given work, tax prep and a lot of Kindle updates, I never got around to actually completing the process.

Interestingly, now that we have gone through all that work of updating our old Kindles, Amazon is offering us another shot at trading-in and getting a coupon good towards an upgrade. Trade-in values range from $5 to $50, depending on the model Kindle. You can trade in any model of e-ink Kindle, working or not, from the first-generation K1 to the 6th generation Paperwhite.

The process is pretty straightforward: You pick your Kindle model, check the box that describes the condition, and then accept the offer. You then print a pre-paid label and send the device to Amazon with seven days. Amazon checks the Kindle and, once the condition is verified, credits you account with a gift card in the amount of the agreed on value and your bonus coupon. Unacceptable device will be returned to you at no extra charge. There are a few terms and conditions that you can read here.

If you need help identifying your model, this post that I wrote may help. If all else fails, Kindle Customer service can help you determine your Kindle model.

This trade-in offer is good through the end of the year; you have until December 31, 2016 to complete the transaction. The $20 bonus coupon can be used towards the purchase of a new Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage or Kindle for Kids bundle.  The coupon must be used by February 28, 2017.

After having to update all those devices that I don’t really use, I had already decided that I was definitely going to have to get rid of some of these old e-readers. No excuses this time! This new offer means I don’t need to drop everything and get it done before the 31st. 🙂 Now, if Amazon would just make me an offer on my original NOOK First Edition or my Onyx BOOX Afterglow 2….

Did anyone take advantage of the last trade-in offer? How did the process work for you? Please leave a comment, we’d love to hear about it!