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News and Notes
By Richard Corzo
March's topic was digital magazines, books, and offline maps.
Apple sells magazines in the App Store that show up in the Newsstand app on your iPad or iPhone, but those are the only two places you can read them. Zinio is a seller of digital magazines which has been around for a long time, starting with applications that run on your Windows PC or Mac. Zinio kept up when mobile devices started appearing; its publications are available on iOS and Android devices, and Zinio even has a Windows 8 Store app. It has a deep inventory to choose from, including foreign magazines. You buy the magazine or subscription once, and it's available on all your devices by logging in to your Zinio account. Zinio supports bookmarks but those are available only on the particular device where you save them, and doesn't support syncing across devices (a feature available on some e-book platforms). The Barnes & Noble NOOK store is another good source for magazines and is available on the same mobile devices as Zinio (including Windows 8), but no longer provides Windows PC and Mac desktop applications. Instead they have a NOOK for Web application that runs in most current browsers.
In recent years, Apple has been selling e-books in the App Store that appear in the iBooks application on your iPad and iPhone. Since the release of OS X Mavericks in October 2013, Macs now have an iBooks application for reading the same iBooks in your library. Other sellers of e-books, such as Barnes & Noble NOOK and Amazon Kindle, are available on more platforms. They sell their own dedicated e-reader devices and tablets, as well as offering apps in the App Store for Apple devices. They are able to remember your reading location when you switch from one device or computer to another. I prefer the NOOK format because it offers page numbers and not just a percentage complete as is typical with the Amazon Kindle format. NOOK and iBooks are able to side load and read the EPUB format in which you sometimes find e-books, often free, that do not have DRM protection.
You sometimes find PDF maps that you can download and use off line (when a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection is not available). A great app for that purpose is Avenza PDF Maps. Since I go hiking I can find PDF trail maps for Connecticut parks at the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. I can paste the URL I find in Safari into the PDF Maps app to save the map and later view it. The app has a digital map store with some free and paid maps of all kinds in the U.S. and worldwide. If you create an account the maps will be available on all your iOS (and Android) devices.