BitCoin is a much bigger deal than we thought. In the new book, “The Age of Crypto Currency,” by Vigna and Casey, two veteran Wall Street Journal reporters, we learned that Bitcoin is used all over the world where banking is a problem. An Afghani teenager, for example, traded her Bitcoins for an Amazon gift certificate and bought her first laptop. Without Bitcoin, her earnings would have disappeared into her father or brother’s bank account. In Mali refugee camps, people receive Bitcoins as text messages on $5 phones. Without crypto currency, workers often have to depend on strangers to carry money back home to relatives. “The Age of Crypto Currency,” $28 from St. Martin’s Press, also gives us a concise […]
– “Lauren Ipsum” by Carlos Bueno is the story of a little girl who must find her way home by thinking like a programmer. It may do for children what Douglas Hofstadter’s “Godel, Escher, Bach” did for Joy back in the 1980s: get them excited about programming ideas. The name “Lauren Ipsum” comes from the dummy text used as filler when printers don’t have the actual text of a page yet or want to show off a font. It’s been around since the 1500s, when an unknown printer used assorted type to make a specimen book. The book’s title character tackles classic problems like “Zeno’s Paradox” and “The Traveling Salesman.” Each chapter connects to a real-life computer science lesson in […]
Apps.NPR.org/best-books-2014 displays dozens of colorful book jackets for the best books of 2014. Hover over a book for a mini review, then click for more details. This is a very pleasant way to browse new books. We selected “Rebel Yell,” about Stonewall Jackson, for our history club.
GetAbstract gives you summaries of the latest business books, articles and Ted talks. They put out 50 new summaries a month. Get up on the hot new trends in business – maybe you’ll learn how to kill an existing product with a new version. Starts at $89 a year.
Story Bug lets you share an ebook with a child from afar, while video chatting together on an iPad or iPhone. It’s free for the first two books, then $5 a month. Of course you could do this in Skype for free, but it’s kind of neat to be able to look down at a story page and in a corner of the screen there’s a small video chat window. The books are aimed at babies and on up to age 6. Nice illustrations.
“Build iOS Games with Sprite Kit,” by Jonathan Penn and Josh Smith, $34 from PragProg.com. It shows you how to make games for the iPhone and iPad. You learn how to build two games that are fun: One is a pinball game and the other a version of “Asteroids.”
Publishing your book on the Kindle or the iPad is free and open to anyone, but the steps involved can be tricky. A company called “Tablo” will do it for you.
Tablo is new to the field and charges $8 a month to publish to the iPad and Kindle, but you can use the service for free until you’re ready to publish. They assign the “ISBN” number and handle the technical parts. All you have to do is upload a Word document.