LEARNING TO SCRATCH

“The Official Scratch Jr. Book” by Bers and Resnick, is $20 from NoStarch Press and is designed to teach you, the adult, how to teach children ages five to seven, how to create programs using the computer language “ScratchJr.”

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FREE AUDIO BOOKS FROM THE BBC

BBC radio has free audio books on occasion. The website was too long, so we shortened it to Tinyurl.com/fredinspring. There you’ll find “Uncle Fred in Springtime,” by P.G. Wodehouse, read by a whole group of actors. Part one is available until Dec. 6, at which point they’ll put up part two.

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FREE DIGITAL BOOKS

Read.WorldReader.org offers free digital books through its free app for Android or iPhone. It has almost six million readers in 69 countries and offers 28,500 free books. We’re reading a book about Winston Churchill.

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THE END OF PRINTED TEXTBOOKS?

If your college textbook is available online, it’s probably a lot cheaper than the printed version. In fact, scanning books to put them online for sale sounds like a good business. Unfortunately, an advanced scanner costs $20,000, and of course there are copyright problems.

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BOOK EM!

Joy’s friend Frieda is going to France but leaving her Kindle behind for safe keeping. Joy said to her: “Why not use your phone as a Kindle?” Here’s how to do that:

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APP HELPS THOSE WITH MACULAR DEGENERATION

Spotlight Text” is $10 for iPhone and claims to make it possible for those with macular degeneration to read books on their tablets. We hope the creator, Dr. Howard J. Kaplan, will do the same thing for games like solitaire.

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THE NETFLIX OF BOOKS

OysterBooks.com, sometimes called “the Netflix of Books,” recently added a new service. Besides renting all the books you can eat for $10 a month, you can now buy books as well.

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HOW AN ENGLISH TEACHER MADE A BILLION DOLLARS IN CHINA

There are books and articles that offer advice on how to become a millionaire, but this one could be called How to Become A Billionaire. Instead, it’s called “Alibaba’s World,” written by Porter Erisman, a man who was there at the beginning of a company that went public in America last year at a valuation that exceeded Amazon and eBay combined. It was the largest initial stock offering ever.

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FREE SCIENCE BOOKS

“List of Free Science Books” from physicsdatabase.com. This site has hundreds of free books in chemistry, physics, astronomy, math, physiology, etc., all online. Click on a title and the online version pops right up. We’re intrigued by “The Wonder Book of Knowledge.” The table of contents lists topics like “Why do we Smile when we are pleased?” “How did the Dollar Sign originate?” “Why do some of us have freckles?”

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THE AGE OF CRYPTO CURRENCY

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 […]

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