Kindle Paperwhite vs Kobo Glo

Both Amazon and Kobo made some announcements today, revealing new versions of the Kindle and Kobo e-readers.

Introducing the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kobo Glo. (Note: Affiliate links!)

As an avid reader and user of my Kindle Keyboard, I wanted to take a look at these two side-by-side to make my purchasing decision easier and I figure I would share.

Kindle Paperwhite Kobo Glo
Display 6″ Paperwhite display with patented built-in light, 212 ppi, 16-level gray scale 6” E Ink XGA Pearl screen; 1024×768 resolution; 16-level grey scale
Size 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″ (169mm x 117mm x 9.1mm) 6.2″ x 4.5″ x 0.39″ (157mm x 114mm x 10mm)
Weight 7.5 ounces (213 grams) 6.5 ounces (185 grams)
Storage 2GB (approximately 1.25GB available for user content) 2GB (approximately 1GB available for user content)
Battery Life 28 hours of continuous use with light on 55 hours of continuous use with light on
Connectivity Wi Fi 802.11 b/g/n Wi Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Warranty 1 year limited warranty 1 year limited warranty
Return Policy Within 30 days of delivery Within 30 days of delivery

NOTE: I calculated the Kindle Paperwhite’s 28 hour battery life by taking 30 minutes per day with light on, multiplying it with 8 weeks and finding the number of hours from that. Not sure if entirely accurate, but I wanted a comparable number with Kobo Glo’s numbers.

It’s a pretty even race, from my point of view.

Personally, the most important factors are the size and weight. The Kindle Paperwhite is taller and wider than the Kobo Glo, but also a hair thinner.

I think I’m going to give both a purchase and figure out which one I like using the most. I’m a little more entrenched into the Amazon ecosystem (with plenty of books and a lot of store credit to use up) but I would be happy to switch if I received a significantly better reading experience from the Kobo Glo.

If you’re purchasing one of the new Kindle or Kobo models, please do share in the comments which one you will be buying and why. I’m very curious!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the Kobo internal storage can be expanded by 32GB using a micro SD card. Personally, not a factor for me, but people should know.

Gallery Separation with WordPress Lightbox Gallery Plugin

While working on a friend’s blog, I ran into a bit of a problem with having multiple Lightbox galleries on a page in WordPress: all images on a page will be in the same gallery despite being from different posts. It would basically mean that clicking on an image from one post’s gallery will allow a reader to navigate to all images on a page.

There was a simple fix, but it was rather manual. It involved taking the gallery shortcode for WordPress:


And adding a class to separate the galleries:

[gallery class="gallery2"]

However, this was a manual process and I was sure that there was a way to make it more automated so that I wouldn’t have to add a class for each gallery, perhaps using the post ID as the class name to separate them?

After some digging around, I found this in /wp-content/plugins/lightbox-gallery/lightbox-gallery.php:

	'order'      => 'ASC',
	'orderby'    => 'menu_order ID',
	'id'         => $post->ID,
	'itemtag'    => 'dl',
	'icontag'    => 'dt',
	'captiontag' => 'dd',
	'columns'    => $columns,
	'size'       => $size,
	'include'    => '',
	'exclude'    => '',
	'lightboxsize' => $lightboxsize,
	'meta'       => 'false',
	'class'      => 'gallery1',
	'nofollow'   => false,
	'from'       => '',
	'num'        => '',
	'page'       => $page,
	'before' => '<div class="gallery_pagenavi">' . __('Pages:'), 'after' => '</div>',
	'link_before' => '', 'link_after' => '',
	'next_or_number' => 'number', 'nextpagelink' => __('Next page'),
	'previouspagelink' => __('Previous page'), 'pagelink' => '%', 'pagenavi' => 1
), $attr));

A simple change with the ‘class’ part of the the array do exactly what I need:

	'class'      => "'" . $post->ID . "'",

Ta-da! Multiple Lightbox galleries on a single page are now automatically separated by post ID without any extra manual fuss. Photos in each post will now remain sandboxed inside of each post, regardless of how many are listed on a page.


The CTV Olympics App and AirPlay Mirroring

If you’re like me, you want to watch very specific sports and events at the Olympics, and what they play on the television channels isn’t always what you want to watch.

Well thank goodness CTV made an app for that, called CTV Olympics London 2012. You can watch any event that is currently playing, and I was thrilled. I immediately went to the men’s basketball game that was going on (USA vs France) and the video loaded up and started playing.

CTV Olympics London 2012


Then I tapped the video to AirPlay it onto my Apple TV so I could enjoy it on a larger screen while I went about my day.

Oh, what’s that? CTV built a custom video player UI that blocks any sort of volume control and AirPlay options? Trying to force AirPlay (via the iPad task bar controller) doesn’t work?

CTV Olympics London 2012 Video Player

Well that’s not nice.

Thankfully, there’s a way around that.

CTV Olympics London 2012 iPad AirPlay Mirroring

  1. Double tap the Home button on your iPad to bring up the task bar.
  2. Swipe left on the task bar until you get to the controls section.
  3. Tap the AirPlay button, and put it on your Apple TV or AirPlay-enabled devices.
  4. Turn ‘Mirroring’ on.

And ta-da, the 2012 Olympics are now playing on my TV!

Remember CTV, restricting my ability to improve my experience with your apps is not a great way to go about doing business. People will rebroadcast your streams regardless of having access to AirPlay, the only people you are making it harder for are legit viewers like myself. Don’t think I didn’t catch the fact that you let an ad play over AirPlay before causing an error.

Be nice to your viewers, content holders.

UPDATE: It appears that you also cannot scan through a video replay of an event. Attempting to scan through the video causes it to start from the beginning. Don’t cripple our experiences, CTV.

The Price Difference Between Book and Kindle Prices on Amazon

Price Difference Between Book and Kindle Prices on Amazon

Since my last post about Amazon, where I found a price disparity between two versions of the same Kindle book, my interest in e-book pricing and publishing has been rekindled (no pun intended) and I spent a bit of time putting together a few numbers to illustrate the instability of pricing models in the world of e-books.

My method was simple: take a look at the top 10 books in specific genres, curated by Amazon, and record the book price and the e-book price of each book on the list.

Here are a few notes I should mention:

  • Price selection: I decided to grab the cheapest Amazon price I could find for the physical copy of the book, as well as the cheapest Kindle price I could find for the e-books. This ensured that the prices were fair, making sure they were being sold by Amazon, and it would be consistent throughout.
  • Book selection: I went with the Amazon list because they were the most convenient to find, I will be spending time later on for the other e-reader platforms to ensure that I have a complete look of the landscape throughout ALL providers. Amazon is just the largest and most influential, so it was the best place to start.
  • Price difference: The “Price Difference” column is the Kindle Price minus the Book Price. This number gives us an idea of how much more expensive the Kindle prices are compared to the physical book prices, with red signifying the Kindle version is more expensive than the physical version.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the lists by genre as provided by Amazon.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Title Author Book Price Kindle Price Difference
Ready Player One Ernest Cline $10.99 $12.02 $1.03
The Magician King: A Novel Lev Grossman $10.88 $12.28 $1.40
Inheritance (Inheritance Cycle, Book 4) Christopher Paolini $18.47 $16.39 -$2.08
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) George R.R. Martin $9.99 $17.48 $7.49
Embassytown China Miéville $10.88 $15.30 $4.42
Among Others Jo Walton $10.19 $12.62 $2.43
Akata Witch Nnedi Okorafor $12.23 $17.99 $5.76
Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) James S. A. Corey $10.87 $9.99 -$0.88
The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2) Patrick Rothfuss $11.49 $12.37 $0.88
Vortex Robert Charles Wilson $10.40 $7.39 -$3.01
Quick Stats: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Average Book Price: $11.64
Average Kindle Price: $13.38
Average Price Difference: $1.74
Largest Price Difference: $7.49

Literature & Fiction

Title Author Book Price Kindle Price Difference
The Art of Fielding: A Novel Chad Harbach $10.99 $9.99 -$0.20
1Q84 Haruki Murakami $16.62 $18.58 $1.96
The Marriage Plot: A Novel Jeffrey Eugenides $10.88 $10.92 $0.04
The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel Tea Obreht $10.20 $14.20 $4.00
The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern $9.00 $13.11 $4.11
The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel David Levithan $10.40 $12.62 $2.22
Lost Memory of Skin Russell Banks $10.19 $9.99 -$0.20
The Sisters Brothers Patrick deWitt $10.19 $9.68 -$0.51
The Cat’s Table Michael Ondaatje $10.20 $11.99 $1.79
Please Look After Mom Kyung-Sook Shin $10.17 $15.30 $5.13
Quick Stats: Literature & Fiction
Average Book Price: $10.80
Average Kindle Price: $12.64
Average Price Difference: $1.83
Largest Price Difference: $5.13

Mystery & Thrillers

Title Author Book Price Kindle Price Difference
Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel S. J. Watson $10.19 $13.47 $3.28
Reamde: A Novel Neal Stephenson $12.91 $14.96 $2.05
Feast Day of Fools (Hackberry Holland) James Lee Burke $9.99 $13.64 $3.65
11/22/1963 Stephen King $13.59 $16.99 $3.40
Sister: A Novel Rosamund Lupton $10.99 $12.02 $1.03
A Trick of the Light: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Louise Penny $13.70 $12.68 -$1.02
The Most Dangerous Thing (P.S.) Laura Lippman $10.19 $11.97 $1.78
The Night Strangers Chris Bohjalian $10.20 $15.30 $5.10
Turn of Mind Alice LaPlante $10.20 $17.48 $7.28
The Affair: A Jack Reacher Novel Lee Child $9.99 $12.02 $2.03
Quick Stats: Mystery & Thrillers
Average Book Price: $11.20
Average Kindle Price: $14.05
Average Price Difference: $2.86
Largest Price Difference: $7.28

Given my small sample of data, it’s hard to draw any real conclusions. What was apparent from this small sample is that Kindle e-books are priced significantly higher than physical books on Amazon, but the reason for that is difficult to figure out. I am sure publishers could blame piracy, or immaturity of the e-book market, or antiquated supply chains that haven’t become accustomed to publishing and promoting digital content.

Regardless, I hope that prices for digital books come down to reasonable levels. While “reasonable” can be subjective, I personally think that it’s reasonable for e-books to be priced below the price of the mass market paperback.

For my next research project, I’m going to run the same books through the Nook and Kobo stores and compare their prices, so we can get an idea if this problem is just for Amazon or accross the board.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to give feedback or ask questions in the comments!

Canadian Streaming TV Apps: Report Cards!

Television watchers in Canada usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to watching shows, on-demand, online. If we aren’t being restricted because we don’t live on American soil, then we’re being restricted for not having a specific type of account.

To give you an idea of what we’re dealing with, I spent a bit of time with four of the only streaming TV apps that work well for *any* Canadian who has an iOS device or a computer. In addition, I’ve tested out how each of the apps handles AirPlay and what happens to the quality of the video upon doing so; a useful metric for those of us who own an Apple TV.

NOTE: If you want to see the combined report cards, go directly to the Canadian TV Streaming App Report Card page!


I visualized the data into a “report card” of sorts to give you a side-by-side comparison of features and offerings. Here’s how to read the report cards:

Canadian Streaming TV App Report Card Reading Instructions

  1. App Info
    The name of the app and who it is published by. This is also an indicator of which of the major media companies in Canada happens to own this channel and app.
  2. Device Availability
    From left to right: iPhone, iPad, Web, and Airplay. Certain apps are only available on certain platforms. If it is not available, that given platform will be greyed out, such as AirPlay in this instance.
  3. Measurement Minimum
    For the given section, in this case the “Number of Shows,” this is the minimum number for the measurement. For both instances, it will be zero.
  4. Measurement Maximum
    For the given section, in this case the “Number of Shows,” this is the maximum number for the measurement. This is determined by the highest number I encounter while measuring.
  5. Measurement Average
    For the given section, in this case the “Number of Shows,” this is the average number measured across the board.
  6. Video Quality Indicator
    For a given device, I took a look at the video quality available for a user across multiple shows and made my judgment. This is rather subjective, but if it is passable quality (not full of artifacts and jaggies) then it is given a checkmark. An ‘X’ will only be given if it is not available in the first place, and/or it is of very poor quality.
    NOTE: Quality, for most of these apps, was great on iOS devices and so-so on the web at full screen.
  7. Advertisement Usage
    An indicator of when and where advertisements show up, in relation to watching a television episode. Some apps, such as the CTV app, will actually interrupt you as you are using the app and looking for a show to watch.

General Comments

While using these apps, it became increasingly apparent that “on-demand” was a term that could only be loosely used by these apps. There seems to be a general trend, with web content from large media companies, where they will only store a handful of the most recent episodes (if that) and the rest are nowhere to be found. In fact, CTV had the highest show count of the four apps, but had the lowest “average number of episodes available” count because they just had so many shows that had zero video content.

In addition, there can be some misleading content in these apps. For example, I don’t believe a collection of your season finale episodes count as a “show,” CBC. And 245 videos labeled “Season X, Episode Y,” but are actually just 2 minute clips, do not count as episodes, CTV. Not to mention, certain platforms do not show all content actually available; CBC had a handful of shows only available on their website but not on the CBC TV app.

With “on-demand” apps like this, it would be a great way to reduce piracy of your shows while receiving some advertising revenue. However, you are forcing consumers to either purchase DVDs (which I assume is the reason to not put full catalogues online) or to pirate shows. I would suggest a re-evaluation of how content is provided to consumers, because you are only making it more difficult for us.

Additional Notes

As I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, I only spent time with these four apps. For the sake of full disclosure, you should know that there should have been a fourth: Rogers Anyplace TV. There were two reasons, on my part, to exclude a valid television streaming service: 1) you need a working Rogers account to access the site, which not all Canadians have. 2) even if you have a Rogers account, the tablet app is restricted from you if you are on a monthly plan.

Rogers Anyplace TV

That made no sense, so they were not included.

In addition, I do not hold any of the copyrights for the app icons used in the report card, they are owned by their respective media companies.

You can also find the data I collected here. It contains all of the shows that can be found in the apps themselves, along with episode numbers, and any notes I may have made along the way.

I am happy to answer any questions that might come up, as well as add analyses of any apps that I may have missed.

Thanks for reading!

NOTE: If you want to see the combined report cards, go directly to the Canadian TV Streaming App Report Card page!


On Saying Goodbye

Tonight, I found out that my grandmother has passed away.

I’ve mentally prepared myself for this since I visited her in the hospital in San Francisco with my family, and yet this is not any easier. I’ve never had to deal with this in my life, so to put it bluntly: this is not easy.

While standing by her side in that hospital, I realized that I was getting angry. Very angry. Angry at the world. Angry for taking a loved one and putting them under such duress. Angry for bringing concern and worry to the lives of her children. Angry for bringing an entire family to tears.

How could the world do such a thing?

And then I took a look around and realized: my grandmother is a part of each and every single member of my family. Her children, nieces, and nephews have all created wonderful families. Each of us possesses a bit of her in our blood, in our minds, and in our hearts, and that will never change.

You are a part of all of us, grandma, and that gives me peace. Please say hello to grandpa for me.

I love you.

Rest in peace, Elisa Q. Lim.

Great Burgers in Scarborough / Markham: Big Moe’s

Good burgers in the northern parts of Scarborough, where I live, can be hard to find. In fact, up until November 2011, my only real option within 10-15 minutes of driving was Moxie’s, who make a mighty mean “Xtreme Burger.”

Well, burger-lovers rejoice: Big Moe’s has opened up at Kennedy and Steeles.

Big Moe’s
3517 Kennedy Rd
Scarborough, ON M1V 4S4

I ordered the Juicy Lucy burger, which is a patty stuffed with cheese on the inside, and then I went “Big”, which means I added an extra burger patty. The burger was mouth watering-ly good, the patties were perfectly cooked (though I’d ask for a little rarer next time), and I think I pretty much inhaled that thing.

Grabbed some fresh-cut fries to share as well, and they were basically cut and fried in front of us. Well seasoned, cooked just right, and disappeared in a manner of minutes.

Ended the night with a 6″ funnel cake with ice cream and strawberry sauce. I used to get these at Wonderland, and I miss them very much. The dough was cooked just right, but I would have preferred less ice cream and more strawberry sauce.

The food at Big Moe’s was great, one of the best meals I’ve had in this area. More importantly, Big Moe’s is a local restaurant that produces great food for very good prices.

Give them a try and let me know what you think, I’m definitely going back!

“Let’s just break in!” – An Interactive Story

Last night, I piloted the first iteration of an interactive story game I created for my friends. The idea that sparked it all was that I wanted to play a group game where we would have a common goal to work toward together, and have fun while we’re at it.

The first scenario was simple: three masked gunmen have invaded a home and taken a woman and her two children hostage. They are heavily armed and will be making their demands soon. You (as a group) are the police special forces unit, and it is up to you as a group to save the woman and two children.

I even made a floor plan of the house!

As a group, they were given the following rules:

  • The game progresses in turns. You can make as many movements in an area that you like, but the minute you go to another area, you are moving onto the next turn. Certain milestones happen on certain turns.
  • Actions with an ambiguous certainty in completion are determined with a dice roll (using two dice). For example, picking the lock on a door would have a dice roll for success or failure, the range of which is determined by the game master.
  • Combat requires two rolls: a roll to determine the winner of the first exchange, and the loser must roll to determine what part of the body takes damage. 1-2 is in the legs, 3-7 is the torso, 8-9 is the arms, 10-12 is the head.
  • The only limitation to actions is if it is completely infeasible or unrealistic. For example, you cannot curve a bullet around anything, or suddenly gain magic powers and blast the bad guys.

We got rolling and I think it turned out alright. Well, for me anyway.

As a group, they immediately decided to storm the house. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and they waited for the gunmen to make demands before doing anything, and THEN they decided to split up into two teams and break in through the back and lock pick the front.

Unfortunately, it all went awry when they were discovered inside the house (each action inside the house required a roll for discovery, as in, whether or not they made enough noise to be discovered) and a firefight broke out. During the firefight, two of the team were shot in the vest and taken out for the turn (wind knocked out of them) and a third managed to take down a gunman while getting shot in the limbs repeatedly. The other teams managed to storm into the living room, where the hostages were being held, and taking down the last remaining gunman. However, they were not quick enough and he managed to take out the mother and one of the children before he could be taken down.

I received plenty of feedback on how to improve the game and its mechanics, and the suggestions are definitely going into the next story that I craft for this. A really fun experience, and a wonderful excuse to flex my creative thinking while spending time with friends!

Belle + Kevin

On October 15, 2011, I helped film Belle and Kevin’s wedding. It was a big deal, not only because it was my first ever wedding shoot, but I also wanted to give them a damn good video to remember the most special of days.

Shot entirely on a Canon T2i, swapping between a Canon 28mm f/1.8 and a Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6 and using a Rodes VideoMic and a Zoom H4N to record the audio.

Song selection was easy: Belle’s father played this during the reception, and it was a no-brainer to use it here.

Congratulations Belle and Kevin! Thanks for making me a part of your special day. :)

Soon-to-be Real Life

I attended an event today as a panelist at the University of Toronto Scarborough for soon-to-be graduates, separated by industry/stream.

I was lucky to have a very outgoing panel who had plenty of knowledge to drop all over the students. During the discussion, several points kept coming up that I feel I should share:

  • Work hard. Your entry level job isn’t going to be your dream job, but you’re going to have to be persistent and tough it out until you have the skills and knowledge necessary to get there.
  • Take small steps. You can’t go from student to super-star CEO of a company immediately, you have take a look at where you want to go and create a strategy on the steps you need to take.
  • Don’t be afraid to look dumb and take risks. You’re going to have a lot of naysayers if you’re not following a traditional path. Ignore the haters and carry on.
  • Have something to say. You need to have the knowledge to speak with your peers in your industry, and what better way to show that you have that knowledge by having opinions on important matters for that industry?
  • Network, network, network. It’s easier said than done, but you have to hustle hard and create meaningful relationships with people and create that repor that establishes credibility.

The session had many more gems from the super intelligent people I was sitting next to, and in my opinion, these are the important ones.

I would love to hear any tips they would give to soon-to-be graduates from university. Leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to my list!

Here are some of the additional tips I have received:

  • Know what you want? Chase it and be aggressive. If you have an idea of exactly what you want, you should actively chase it and aggressively ask for related responsibilities. (by Wendy Kwan)
  • Learn to think outside the box, and be proactive. It shows that a person is analytically inclined, and capable of solving problems in new and innovative ways. (by Slxia1215)