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Apps

Stephen Hawking’s ‘Snapshots of the Universe’ App From Random House

hawkingappRandom House has released a new iPad app that lets you get inside the mind of Stephen Hawking called Stephen Hawking’s Snapshots of the Universe. The app is designed to teach the principles that control the universe through eight experiments.

Each interactive experiment is designed to teach basic theories that govern the universe. For instance, you can spin planets and create your own solar system. In addition, you can drop objects with Galileo to learn about gravity and search for black holes in the constellation of Leo. A virtual Einstein teaches G-force in outer space within the app. The app is available in iTunes for $4.99.

“This app provides a great opportunity to introduce Professor Hawking’s teachings to a whole new audience, through an entirely new medium,” stated Scott Shannon, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Digital Content at Random House.  “We are very proud to continue our publishing tradition with Professor Hawking, now across more platforms than ever.”

Oxford University Press Releases Spelling App for Kids

spellwithpipOxford University Press has created a new iPad app designed to help kids learn how to spell. It’s called Spell with Pip: An Oxford Spelling Game. The app turns spelling into an arcade game for the 4-8 year old set.

The app features a parrot named Pip who does somersaults when the player correctly places a letter. When the word is misspelled, he squawks and loses a feather. Pip serves as a kind of guide through a jungle of letters and spelling games. The app has more than 3,000 words, all of which were taken from the Oxford’s First Dictionary. The app is Oxford University Press’ first children’s dictionary app.

“We know that children love games and that they are keen and motivated to spell well, this ambitious and exciting app combines these to help children practice their spelling in a creative and fun way,” stated Vineeta Gupta, Head of Children’s Dictionary Publishing, at Oxford University Press. “What sets Spell with Pip: An Oxford Spelling Game apart is that it focuses on words that children find hard to spell, and is based on the latest research from the Oxford dictionaries team.”

NPR Books Reveals Book Concierge App to Help Navigate Best Books of the Year

nprappNPR Books has released a new web app designed to help readers discover what they might like to read among NPR’s best 200 books of the year. The Book Concierge lets you mix and match from 21 different categories of reading. You can combine your moods to come up with what will fit.

When you launch the app, you are greeted with view a visual feed of book covers for all of NPR’s top books of the year. Then on the left hand side bar you can pick and choose tags. For instance, mix “Cookbooks & Food” with “Comis & Graphic Novels” will result in the recommendation that you check out Relish by Lucy Knisley. If you mix “Seriously Great Writing,” with “Memoir & Biography” and Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward, Fosse by Sam Wasson, I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place by Howard Norman are among the recommendations. You can link to reviews of the books after you’ve made your choices and see who at NPR recommends the book.

Try it out, it’s a fun way to browse the “best books of the year.”

 

How to Help Typhoon Haiyan Victims

redcrossTyphoon Haiyan smashed through The Philippines over the weekend leaving many in need. If you want to help victims of this terrible storm, you can donate money to Red Cross disaster relief right now. Doctors Without Borders is also seeking donations to help fund their work in the area.

AppNewser reports that Google is trying to help people in the devastated regions connect with loved ones. Here is more from our sister blog:

The “Google Person Finder” allows people to post messages about their missing loved ones via a web application. It’s also a place for survivors to post messages letting others know they are OK. Or, if you have information about an individual, such as their location or status, you can also post that information.

If you know about other ways to help victims of the storm, email GalleyCat the details to we will include them.

5 Apps to Help You Track Your Personal Libraries

librarymanagementAre you looking to create a digital list of all of the print books that you own? There are lots of apps that can help you create digital bookshelves based on the print books that you have in your home. Many of these tools let you scan the barcodes with your phone to be added to the list. We’ve put together a list  of five of these tools along with a link to the app and the app’s description. Feel free to share additional recommendations in the comments section.

5 Apps to Help You Track Your Personal Libraries

1. Delicious Library: “Delicious Library invented the aesthetic of photorealistic shelves, beautifully adopted by iBooks and Newsstand. Delicious Library 3 uses Scene Kit to take skeuomorphism to a new level: with 3D graphics and OpenGL, our software creates images that cast shadows, reflect on surfaces, and interact with your eyes like actual objects (real parallax!). We are the first major consumer app to build our user interface with OpenGL.” Read more

The Acquisition That Helped Build Google Docs

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Do you use Google Docs as your word processor?

The powerful app began as Writely, a start-up acquired by Google. In Quora post, one of the Writely co-founders of discussed what it was like to start working on Google’s suite of work apps. AppNewser has all the details:

On Quora, one reader asked: What is it like to sell your company to Google? Writely co-founder Sam Schillace responded with a frank email, explaining what it was like when Google acquired Writely in 2006. Google would use the writing app as a cornerstone of the Google Docs project–building the company’s free set of work apps.

(Image via qisur)

3 Million Books Read on Reading Rainbow App

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Kids have read more than three million books using the Reading Rainbow app.

AppNewser has more about the app’s success:

[Burton] teamed up with business partner Mark Wolfe, obtained the rights to the brand and launched the Reading Rainbow app. The free app, published by RRKidz, features more than 300 books, and 50 video field trips as well as classic clips from the TV show aimed at kids aged 3-9. According to iTunes, users have accessed more than 3 million books and video field trips in less than a year since launch.

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Margaret Atwood & George R.R. Martin Fansite Curate Flipboard Magazines

flipboardbigNovelists Margaret Atwood and George R.R. Martin fansite Westeros.org have Flipboard digital magazines. Anyone can read these free magazines at these links: MaddAddam’s World and The World of Ice and Fire.

Random House partnered with the digital app Flipboard to build these new offerings. AppNewser has all the details:

Atwood’s Flipboard is based on her new novel MaddAddamm, and the fan site Flipboard is a collection of all things related to the author’s worlds. These Random House publications are included in sections curated by Flipboard’s editorial team. App users can discover the magazine in sections including: books, culture, tech, and Flipboard picks. In addition, Flipboard is promoting the new publications with an exclusive “Red Couch” interview with Random House authors including Atwood.

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The Most Popular Books on Oyster

 

What books will people read when presented with more than 100,000 choices?

With the new Oyster service, readers can pay $9.95 a month to get unlimited access to a collection of more than 100,000 books–giving us a glimpse into what books will be popular with this new model.

Last night, we browsed the service to find out what are the 15 most popular books according to the site’s calculations. Although the Oyster has only been running for a short time, it is an interesting collection of books. Above, you can see a screen-grab of the 12 most popular books.

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The Shakespeare Quote Behind Oyster

Oyster is a new digital reading platform, giving subscribers unlimited access to more than 100,000 digital books for $9.95 monthly subscription fee. AppNewser has more about the start-up.

Currently, you need to request an iPhone invite to check out the service. TechCrunchWired and Gigaom have all reviewed the app. The company name comes from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor (read it for free):

Our name reflects more than just a love of bivalves, although we’ll never turn down a dozen Bluepoints. Actually, Oyster takes inspiration from the famous literary line, “the world’s mine oyster.” All the pleasures of reading are yours for the taking, no matter where you go. The only thing missing is the dark ‘n’ stormies.

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