In Semiosis, You Have to Watch out for Alien Plants

Semiosis by Sue Burke has an interesting premise: When you land on another planet, what if instead of worrying about alien life forms or animals, you had to keep an eye on the plants? It’s a wholly unique book that I had fun reading. Instead of following the same characters, we’re presented with a new cast in every chapter. We start with the original colonists as they land on Pax, then follow each subsequent generation as they have to deal with the land, the flora, and the actions of the previous generation. Will the children of the Parents adhere to the rules, or will they rebel? I thought the book was great, and look forward to the second book coming later this year. Apple Books: US$9.99 | Kindle: US$9.99

eBooks and the Nature of Ownership

Microsoft closed its eBook store several weeks ago. People lost their books, but at least the company refunded them. Because of this, Michael Kozlowski of Good e-Reader says people are experiencing a “crisis of confidence” in eBooks.

I believe that ebooks are suffering from a crisis of confidence.  It is beginning to be quite difficult to trust a retailer to not disappear overnight with your ebooks, no matter how big they are…A recent study published in the journal Electronic Markets found that the vast majority of  people felt a constricted sense of ownership of ebooks versus physical books, based on the fact that they don’t have full control over the products.

He also mentions how a lot companies use DRM on eBooks, which factors into the “You license, not own, your eBooks” argument. I’d like to point out that Apple Books doesn’t apply DRM to most if not all of its books. I can take books I buy on there and move it to another service if I want, which makes me feel as if I truly own them.

Leander Kahney’s Tim Cook Biography Out Today

Leander Kahney’s (Cult of Mac editor) Tim Cook biography is out today. Subtitled “The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level” it tells the story of Mr. Cook’s role as Apple CEO and how he has handled the company after the death of Steve Jobs. It also looks at Mr. Cook’s life before Apple, like when he worked at IBM for 12 years. After that he briefly worked at Compaq, and helped transition the company from in-house manufacturing to creating products overseas with China and Taiwan. He used that expertise when he joined Apple in 1998, where he became a leader at operations and supply chains. I haven’t read the book yet but I look forward to sitting down with it. Mr. Kahney says he didn’t dive into Mr. Cook’s personal life, so it sounds like the book is more about his role at Apple. Apple Books: US$13.99

Book: The Absolved by Matthew Binder Hits Close to Home

The Absolved by Matthew Binder feels like one of those books that could predict the future. It’s 2036. We follow along with the character Henri, who is a wealthy physician, husband, father, and “serial philanderer”. He is also one of the relatively few people to still have a job. Automation and other technological advances have led to unemployment so severe that many people are no longer expected to work and are now known as “The Absolved.” Meanwhile, it’s election season, and a candidate from a radical fringe party called the Luddites is calling for an end to the “Divine Rights of Machines.” After Henri is displaced from his job, two Luddite sympathizers—whom Henri has befriended at his local bar—frame him for an anti-technology terrorist act. The prospect of Henri’s salvation comes at the cost of foregoing his guiding principles in life. This new vision for the world, after all, just might prove better than the technological advancements that, paradoxically, have left humanity out in the cold. Apple Books: US$3.99