Are you reading books on your iPhone & iPod?

Technology usually comes in waves.  Remember when CB Radio was the best (and coolest) way to communicate when outside your house?  Then came the big bag phones.  We loved the feeling of freedom, untethered from our home.  Cellular Phones have evolved into everything since.

Book readers have been around for a long time.  Over a decade ago, companies like VeriSoft, and the Guttenberg Project were creating alternatives to tactile books.

Amazon threw its marketing muscle into the Kindle last year, and since, there’s been a flurry of trying to provide potential digital book readers with many ways of accessing (and purchasing) books online.  The key to the Kindle, and everything that’s come since, is in the distribution method.  Wi-Fi has enabled Amazon to seamlessly deliver thousands of online books to readers. Barnes & Noble, and others have followed with their own devices.

Lately, Amazon, B&N, and Stanza, have made reading an online book on your iPhone or iPod as simple as downloading a song on iTunes.  This new reality has book publishers and distributors scrambling to capture a piece of this growing segment.  Can you actually read a 300 page book on a 3″ screen?  Thousands of downloads from the iPhone apps store seems to suggest that many are willing to try.

Just like the yearning for communication led us down the path from CB Radio to our modern cellular devices, it’s clear to me that we are still in the infancy of online book reading.  With so many choices entering the fray, along with improved delivery services and ever-improving technology, online book-reading may be the real growth segment for 2010 and years to come.

How to upgrade your Router into a Super-Router for Free!

We all have last year’s model routers lying around our house collecting dust. With the help of crafty open source developers, you can now bring these older devices to their full potential.

If you have a linksys or compatible broadband/wireless router, there are several free open source firmware upgrades you can use to make your router do some very advanced and neat things.

The most talked-about of the third party firmware upgrades for broadband routers is a program called Tomato. Download it here

There are other open source tools, such as Free WRT, but Tomato does the job well, and the installation process is quite simple.

How to upgrade using Tomato Formware:
1. Go to the Tomato website and download the firmware file
2. Unzip the downloaded file
3. Plug in your old router and go to your router’s firmware upgrade page. (If you don’t know how ot do this, perhaps this project isn’t right for you 🙂
4. Read the simple instructions that comes with the Tomato Router download to determine which installation file is compatible with your specific model.
5. Choose that file as described in step 4 and off you go. It may take up to 5 minutes to upgrade the firmware.

What Does the router firmware upgrade do for me?
There are a bunch of nice utilities included in Tomato that don’t come with the default software from Linksys. For example, bandwidth monitoring, QoS settings, Enhanced access restrictions, tools to help increase your P2P connections (good for Bit Torrent and the like) and some new wireless features like WDS.

Additional third party firmware upgrade sources:
http://www.freewrt.org/
http://www.openwrt.org/ (and the easier to install http://x-wrt.org/)