Tag Archives: Kindle

Customise me

Don’t give it to me unless I can customise it

My first car was a 1993 Rover Mini Cooper 1.3i, in British Racing Green (obviously). I bought it second hand in ’97 from John Cooper Garages (JCG) in West Sussex, and the legendary John Cooper himself handed my the keys (and made my mum a cup of tea while I did the paperwork).

Like so many people who own a Mini it didn’t stay ‘standard’ for very long, as I read through the Mini magazines on the kinds of things I could do to personalise the car. I went to Mini events, like the London-to-Brighton Mini Run and the 40th anniversary party at Silverstone, and looked over the show cars and private cars that were parked up, as well as the stands and auto-jumble traders. I bought the whole set of JCG brushed aluminium door furniture (window winders, door pulls, etc.) and chrome accessories (bling!), as well as doing more mechanical upgrades like vented discs and four-pot calliper for both front and read brakes, and a full-length straight-through (manifold to rear ‘box) DTM-style exhaust system (ooh, that was awesome!).

This was the start of my love affair with tinkering and messing with anything that’s standard to make it personal for what and how I like it.  Continue reading

Every Classroom Matters

Every Classroom Matters: How Teachers Can Self-Publish Books #edtechchat

Earlier this year I was invited to share my experiences of self publishing my work as eBooks with Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) on the Every Classroom Matters podcast, broadcast through the BAM Radio Network.

David Hopkins is a leading and respected Learning Technologist from the UK. He earned the award of Highly Commended Learning Technologist of the Year from the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) in 2014, and is the author of several books on and around learning technology and understanding the roles of Learning Technologists. His most recently self-published work is ‘The Really Useful #EdTechBook’, which is described as a ’mix of academic, practical and theoretical offerings is a useful recipe book for any Learning Technologist’ by Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor of Learning Technology, University of Plymouth.

In the recording we discuss the process and purpose of writing a book, the details of getting from Word to MOBI or EPUB files, the value and difficulties of different publishing platforms, etc. Here are some links to support it:

I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you have – leave a comment below, or contact me on Google+ or Twitter.

Reading habit

Changing reading habits – eBooks

At the end of last year I reflected on the way I’ve changed reading, the different formats of paper versus electronic books, and that it’s as much about how we access and read as well as what we read.

Now I wanted to reflect on the way I’ve changed what I read, not just on what device or platform or medium I read it.

Kindle, and the way you can buy with 1-click, makes it so easy to forget how much you’re spending. After a few impulsive purchases (one good, a couple not so) I now tend to pay attention to what I’m buying, and how much it’s costing me in the long run, but if you don’t it is all too easy to spend too much.

But the kind of books I’m reading has changed hugely too. When you spend out between £6-9 per paperback it was a good measure of my reading habit on how many new books I had, and that I must choose a good one as I’ll be re-reading it several times. Now, with ebooks between £0.99 and £2.99 (my preferred range when I’m looking for new authors) I can be more open and daring. I can afford to try something different, be a bit daring, as well as a little flippant. I mean, £0.99 isn’t much, is it.  Continue reading


Books vs eBooks: it’s about WHY as well as WHERE?

So, I buy books and eBooks. It’s not a massive revelation, but if all you read is websites like Mashable or The Verge it might seem unusual to do both.

What I see discussed about the difference between physical books and eBooks is about where we choose to read them. Plenty is written about where we read each type (and why) or how you buy or read them … but for me it’s also about why I buy and read them on the different formats.

I’ll own up to to it now and say that, yes, I do use a large online retailer for the majority of my books … I don’t have much spare money for this activity and I need to be careful about how much and how often I spend my money.

I am quite particular about the way I buy my books. I tend to buy fiction books to read on either my Kindle or using the Kindle App on my iPad. The Kindle is so much more flexible in its ease for carrying and holding than both the physical copy and iPad Kindle App (although I may have the iPad on me more often than the Kindle). I have all my Kindle books on my Kindle (I’ve still a long way to go before I start to find the limit on space), so it’s easy to choose my next book.

Continue reading

Old and New

What is an eBook?

Another innocuous tweet last night (below) led to another lengthy, and truly excellent, exchange on Twitter around the merits, format, value, and attitude of eBooks.

On the back of my tweet about my latest book project, The Really Useful #EdTechBook, I tweeted that I am disappointed at how little is written or published about, or by, technical or academic self-publishers:

It's disappointing how little is written about technical or academic #ebook self-publishing. Indicative of none happening? #EdTechBook

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eBrary eBook on a Tablet

eBook Platform Accessibility

I have commented, negatively, on the accessibility of supposed academic eBook platforms before, so it is a welcome relief to read the JISC post today – Accessible ebook platforms – seven honest dealers (and a few non responders) – whose findings support my claims – until recently many of them were not accessible, or even should be called ‘eBooks’.

My complaint is, and has been (and may continue to be), that they are not eBooks in the sense of an ePub or MOBI file, i.e. scalable, accessible, etc. Academic eBooks are files, often PDFs, loaded to a proprietary piece of software that controls access, printing, searching, etc. In this software you can view the whole book page inside their ‘skin’ which enables searches, thumbnails, chapter links, etc. When viewed on a desktop this is clunky, at best, but workable.  Continue reading

Digital distraction

Digital Distraction

“The mere presence of a cell or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy, according to a new Virginia Tech study that finds your attention is divided even if you’re not actively looking at your phone.”

The article ‘Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it‘ is as much about the social impact of the always-on connections we have through our mobile devices as it is about how we manage them.

“For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write.”

Continue reading

Kindle MatchBook

Kindle Matchbook (or free/cheap ebook when you buy paper edition)

What is Kindle Matchbook? Announced by Amazon last year, Matchbook is (from LifeHacker) “that will allow owners of hard copies of books to purchase extremely cheap ebook versions for their Kindle collection.” If you bought a paper copy from Amazon you could be eligible to buy or download an eBook edition.

From the link above (make sure you’re logged into your Amazon account) you can click the  ‘Find your Kindle MatchBook titles’ button and the website will look through your purchase history and see if any match. Naturally, none of my purchases do – eligibility in MatchBook is determined by the publisher and whether they include their title in the scheme. There is also discrepancy as to whether this is available in the UK or not yet.

Continue reading

The Sketchnote Handbook

I don’t write anymore, I sketch #sketchnote

A couple of months ago I had one of those ‘ah ha’ moments I should have had 25+ years ago at school. I have never been good at taking notes. Never.

At school I was always behind and struggling because I couldn’t keep up with my teachers and their dictated notes. I wasn’t alone with this, but it was still hard. At University it was the same, but it felt worse because everyone else wrote and kept amazing notes from lectures, demonstrations, field-trips, etc. I survived and gained my degree because I had generous friends who helped me when I needed it.

Now, with nearly 18+ years since graduation I’ve finally realised why I am still making rubbish notes in meetings, conferences, etc. (apart from the obvious reason that I suck at it). It’s the wrong medium for me. It’s not that my handwriting is so awful I can’t read it (which, unfortunately, it is) it’s that I don’t respond to those kinds of notes. Therefore I shouldn’t be trying to take notes like that.

I should be sketching, or rather taking ‘sketchnotes’.  Continue reading

The 10th Annual Edublog Awards Are Here! #eddies13

Nomination(s) for the 2013 Edublog Awards #eddies13

Nominations Open! The 10th Annual Edublog Awards Are Here!If it’s November, then it’s time for the annual EduBlog Awards. And this year it’s their 10th anniversary.

So, who or what has made a mark in 2013? Here’re my thoughts, why not write your own post and make your own nomination?

Follow the nominations and awards on Twitter #eddies13 hashtag and make your own nominations count.