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5Jan/110

Touched by an iPod again

One of the best surprises I got this Christmas was the gift of a used iPod Touch by my sister-in-law. She belongs to an iPhone family, and they’ve gotten so many iPhones over the course of the last few years that the Touch, originally bought for the kids to play with, was relegated to sitting around unused for months since the kids get to play with the older-generation iPhones now. And as a result, I have an iPod Touch again for the first time since losing my original one in June.

It’s just a 1st-generation model, and only 8 gigs where my original one was 32—but I’m not going to look this gift horse in the mouth. It was free, it is in good working order, and will work with my existing accessories including the case and the FM radio/charger. (Unlike later-generation iPods/iPhones, it will work with accessories meant for the old-style iPods.) It won’t work with iBooks, but then I don’t buy from the iBookstore anyway and Stanza will read all my EPUBs just as well and a remarkable number of other e-book options are still available.

(To my annoyance, I somehow managed to delete all my backups from the old iPod Touch some time ago, so some of the stuff I was hoping to recover, such as my Distant Shore message threads, is gone forever.)

And only on getting it did I truly realize just how much I’d missed having it. It’s great to be able to carry around e-books in my pocket for whip-out reading any time I want to—or knowing that I can check my e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, etc. from anywhere that has a wifi signal. The funny thing is, I haven’t even put any music on it yet. The iPod Touch really does represent something entirely different from the mp3 players of old. It would probably be more accurate to call it a mini-tablet. For those who don’t mind the screen size, it’s still a very good e-reading option.

And as I pointed out in a comment to my original post about losing the iPod, these devices really are becoming a part of our lives, an extension of our selves that we feel lost and violated without. When we invest them with a portion of our lives and then lose them, we essentially lose that portion of our lives.

Some things have changed in the months since I lost my original iPod Touch. I’m amazed at how easy jailbreaking was. I only had to go to JailbreakMe.com from the Touch’s browser and it did all the work via the web—no more downloading of images, connecting to the computer, and running command-line software. (It only supports up to iOS version 4.0.1, but then the first-gen Touch can’t be upgraded past OS 3 anyway.)

Also, in getting Stanza set up, I noticed that the method for creating a Dropbox-hosted downloadable Stanza library has changed since we originally covered it here and here. The old method does not work anymore at all, and has been replaced by a program called calibre2opds which, in fact, makes it much easier.

I still plan to purchase a 4th-generation iPod Touch when I can afford to, but until then this iPod Touch is going to make a very good alternative.

3Jan/110

Amazon on the “Clean up the world” track again. Ebook censorship rampant





Amazon want to clean up the world’s literature – well some of it…………….

You may have noticed that Amazon have withdrawn a number of ebooks lately from their online shop.  apparently what they are now objecting to is any book that has a title with the word “rape” in it.

This was brought to our attention by the author of two books with admittedly rather crude titles, (How To Rape A Straight Guy and “Rape In Holding Cell 6″).

Whilst both of these books deal with sex between men, they are not in fact particularly pornographic, at least that is what the author Kyle Sutherland claims, (I have not read either of them) He describes them as follows:

Curt, is a very in-your-face sort of guy who thinks he can get even with the world by assaulting men.  But it winds up hurting innocent people and destroying him.  I even have a moment of foreshadowing in it, where Curt as a 6-year-old boy watches a cousin of his torture a dog until it bites him, then the boy’s father kills the dog and goes off to buy another one.  The moral of the whole book being, if you treat a man like a dog his whole life, you shouldn’t be surprised if he bites you.  And the sad reality is, when he finally does bite back, he’s the one who’s punished.

Rape In Holding Cell 6″, both volumes, is about corruption in the judicial system, and its main character, Antony, is investigating the brutal rape and murder of his lover in the county jail.  He finds a legal and political system that thinks it can get away with anything and nearly drives himself insane in his quest for revenge, a quest that threatens to harm the innocent as well as the guilty as he becomes exactly what he hates.

Now whilst these two books might not be to your taste, it would seem to me that Amazon is being unnecessarily prudish in dropping these two books from their lists, simply on the basis of their titles apparently.

It can’t be the content of the books, as they happily sell no end of books with amazingly explicit sexual passages in them, to name but a couple of authors whose work is known for its explicit sex or praise of subjects such as incest or pedophilia, Jackie Collins and Robert Heinlein, or even more extreme, the works of the Count de Sade, which deals at great and boring detail with completely revolting aspects of scatology, with kids being central to the plots.

All of these are readily available as ebooks at Amazon, as are many other remarkably sick books dealing with revolting acts of sadistic violence, but, they do not have the word “Rape” in the title.

One wonders, do they actually read these ebooks before banning them, or is it simply the word “rape” that pushes the button?   We shall see when they suddenly drop the ebook “the rape of Nanjing” from their lists.

I suspect a large part of this sudden attack of prudishness may well be owing to their problems recently with the ebook they had on offer which was a book praising pedophilia, which they promptly dropped when it was drawn to their attention.. and amusingly enough, reinstated briefly shortly afterwards.

But if they have decided that ebooks that deal with “unnatural” sexual relationships need to be excluded, it could lead to some quite entertaining happenings shortly as the army of Bowdlerizers get up to speed in Amazon, one can expect books such as the Bible – the Bible has sex, violence and even portrays incest as a positive, at one point (Lot and his daughters) and probably loads of other ebooks will fall by the wayside.

The mind boggles!

Obviously Amazon have a perfect right to choose to sell or not to sell any ebook in their store, but given their powerful position in the market place, it has obviously serious implications for authors (and readers) if ebooks are dropped in this apparently rather random fashion.

It has been suggested that Amazon introduce a sort of grading system with their ebooks, those that are of a nature that might offend (on whatever basis – sex, graphic violence or whatever) be placed in a section of their store that is only accessible to adults – with some form of realistic and reliable way of proving that the customer is actually an adult.

After all, books such as the ones here are read by loads of people without them coming to any major harm it seems to me, and for a company to decide what we may or may not read according to some list of “approved conditions” seems wrong to me.   Particularly given the unbalanced way in which it is being applied, De Sade OK, Michel, not OK.

Share with us:

So, what are your feelings about this form of censorship?   Do let us share them here, it is an important issue I feel.




3Jan/110

Why I will never buy a book “App” again: how Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” turned me off to i-Apps

51BqXL93GpL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpgI’ve been following the magazine ‘app’ discussion with interest, but not a whole lot of surprise. I have bought exactly one book ‘app’ in my life, and following the recent iPad release of said app, will never do so again. There are two reasons. Firstly, I don’t need all these apps cluttering up my iPad screen when I could buy a hundred plain old non-enhanced ebooks and access them all through one little iBooks icon. And secondly, because I strongly resent the expectation some publishers seem to have that I would be willing to pay more than one time for the same content.

The lone book app I bought was ‘How to Cook Everything’ by Mark Bittman, and at the time, I felt it was a very good little purchase. I already owned this book in print (so there’s payment #1) and felt it was worth the perfectly reasonable .99 to get it all searchable, sortable, filterable etc. in a way you could only get electronically. So I paid, again, and bought the app. Judging from the app store reviews, it seems many people bought it based on prior experience with the book, so I am not alone in paying twice either.

I enjoyed the app, but was dismayed at how terrible it looked on the iPad. I kept awaiting an update that would make it universal, but it never came. Instead, over the holiday break, Culinate Inc. quietly released a brand new iPad-only app—at double the price of the iPod version.

This is a fail of epic proportions. Firstly, Bittman is a brand name already. People are buying these apps because they already have the print copy and are familiar with his work. The iPad-only app would be the THIRD time I am paying for the same content! Secondly, to penalize iPad users by charging them double the price of the previous app—when many of the potential users will own the iPod app already—is highway robbery. Completely unjustified!

I know what the producers of this app would say. They’d tell me that they added features to this new app to take full advantage of the iPad’s screen, and that is worth both the higher sticker price and the expectation that people will pay again. To that, I say hogwash. I would rather give up the ‘extras’ and have a plainer app if it meant I could get a universal version and not have to pay—a THIRD time—for the content. And I would ask them if the extra revenue they’re getting from double-dipping on the people they’ll sucker into buying both versions will be worth the lifetime boycott of their app—indeed, of all book ‘apps’ from whomever—from customers like me who will be wary of getting burned again.

I will not be purchasing the update, obviously. Nor will I ever purchase a book or magazine ‘app’ again. You work with the more universal platforms—Adobe ePub, Zinio, anything I can read on more than one machine or platform—or you don’t work with me at all. Culinate, Inc and Mark Bittman by extension are in my bad books now. Culinate, Inc—you should have gone with a universal app, and if you absolutely could not have made that work, you should at least have kept the prices equal. And Mark Bittman, you should have known better than to lie in a bed with such fleas. This will cost you some PR points from the techies like me who still buy your stuff in paper.

14Dec/100

Smaller iPad rumors surface again

It wasn’t too long ago that the web was alive with rumors of 7 and 5 inch sized iPads for release either during Christmas or early 2011. However, Apple supremo Steve Jobs had poured cold water on all of that, stating the 10 inch sized iPad is the best and the smallest a tablet can be while still delivering a superior experience. According to him, the quality will start to deteriorate with diminishing screen size. Steve had gone on record making controversial statements, saying manufacturers of smaller sized tablets also need to sell “sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one-quarter of their present size,” and smaller screen real estate will be simply not “sufficient to create great tablet apps.”

However, we have seen the Samsung Galaxy Tab race on to reach the million mark in spite of it being relatively high priced. Corresponding with Samsung’s success, rumors of a smaller iPad have once again come to the forefront, rekindling hopes amongst those who were actually looking forward to such a device that would pack the finesse of the larger iPad but in a smaller and more portable package.

Not surprisingly, further details of the tablet are severely lacking. Except this time rumors claim the smaller device will be half the size of the current gen iPad. The timing of the rumor is very interesting, seeing as it’s no secret the Cupertino based company is bracing itself up for the launch of the next generation iPad that is said to have a camera each on the front and rear while also having a higher-resolution LCD touch screen display. The new iPad is slated to hit markets during the first quarter of next year, which means we won’t have to wait long to know the real facts.

via slashgear

Related posts:

  1. The 7 inch iPad is coming?
  2. Next gen iPad under development
  3. New iPad caught.. Or is it??
  4. iPad eating into laptop, notebook sales
  5. LG is unable to keep up with iPad demand
  6. Next gen iPad to include USB port, camera

12Dec/100

Motorola tablet spotted again

Google’s Andy Rubin had first offered us a glimpse of what the upcoming tablet device from Motorola running the Android 3.0 Honeycomb would be like though he had no other details of the tablet to share then. But that seems to have changed now as the Motorola tablet has popped up again from somewhere in Taiwan and fortunately, this time, we have quite a few details of the tablet of which we knew almost next to nothing.

So from the information that has now become available, we do know there is going to be two different size options with the tablet that will cater to the two most popular tablet segments right now – a 7 incher and a 10 incher with a display resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels.

The rest of the specifications of the tablet spell out a NVIDIA Tegra 2 T20 dual core processor, internal storage of 32GB which can worked up further by way of micoSD cards, integrated camera at the rear and front having resolutions of 5MP and 2MP respectively and a HDMI out port. The upcoming tablets will also feature a built-in gyroscope and will include the UMTS, CDMA, and LTE connectivity options.

However, while more on the tablet is awaited but what is needed even more is official confirmation that will lend some much needed credibility of the information in the first place. What has to be mentioned though is that the picture looks a lot similar to the Android 3.0 Honeycomb that Andy Ruin has shown off sometime ago. The UI too with its icons and widgets on display look to have been optimized to support tablet operation and is devoid of any buttons on the tablet’s bezel.

via engadget

Related posts:

  1. Motorola tablet running Honeycomb spotted
  2. 7 and 10 inch tablets coming from Motorola
  3. MotoPad will be ready by March 2011
  4. Motorola might come up with a “Gingerbread” tablet this month
  5. Motorola eReader spotted in China
  6. Motorola might pop up a tablet early 2011

28Nov/1013

Shuffle again with phatts:) (Better Quality) Most Discussed:) Thank you


Ebook Cracks:Shuffle again with phatts:) (Better Quality) Most Discussed:) Thank you
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