Apple Takes Heat & Goes Buy the Book

There was a lot of controversy about Apple’s iBooks Author app and its EULA this week. I surmise that my incredible readers have seen all the major stuff from the Mac Web. But I found a couple articles that weren’t written by the usual technical columnists that are interesting. The first was by Audrey Watters: “Apple and the Digital Textbook Counter-Revolution.” The second was from ReadWriteWeb, which I now follow on Twitter (@RWW), and written by John Paul Titlow: “Why Apple’s Restrictive iBooks Author Rules May Not Be Legally Enforceable.

These articles were written by people who don’t have such a public axe to grind as an Apple enthusiast, and I found them very intriguing. Finally, one has to dig into the output format of iBooks Author. The argument is now raging: why doesn’t Apple just stick to EPUB 3? It’s almost Microsoftian. “Enthusiasm for iBooks Author marred by licensing, format issues.”


Getting into the game a little, poking some fun at Apple, Microsoft has promised not to take 30 percent of your royalties if you write a novel in MS Word.

There is a whole lot to talk about when it comes to the preservation and migration forward in time for our eBooks. Paper books have survived for hundreds of years and are still readable by the human eye. But will your kids be able to read books in the year 2040 that you bought for the iPad in 2012? Here’s a starter kit. There’s much more out there, but I haven’t started to catalog it.

Vaguely related to that is Amazon and the Kindle’s approach to Android. All this proprietary stuff is scary, not to mention that Kindles use the MOBI formt and not EPUB. Only the angels know where eBooks are going. Meanwhile, see what Google thinks about Amazon forcing Android into submersion. “Is Amazon’s Kindle Fire cutting Google out of the loop?

Humor in this industry abounds in the form of cartoons and clever videos. But clever literature combined with technology is rare (except at The Onion) so I’ll point you to this cute piece by Chris Matyszczyk. “Why Google owes you nothing.” Watch out for coffee through the nose.

On the other hand, obnoxious techno-entitlement can also run rampant. If everything you know, you learned in Kindergarten, then were you the one who was pulling pigtails and eating paste? “Please, Spare Me Any More Of This Obnoxious Techno-Entitlement.” I propose: if you’re called for jury duty and have a smartphone, read this one first.

Everyone covered Apple’s 1Q FY12 earnings report at the 10,000 meter level, but there are still plenty of details to be found under the hood. And here they are: “Lesser-known facts from Apple’s earnings statement.” Chris Rawson at TUAW did a great job on this one.

Twitter and Facebook are public social media. So why not do a little data mining? “Revealed: The FBI Wants to Monitor Social Media.” A quote: “The FBI has conducted market research and determined that a geospatial alert and analysis mapping application is the best known solution for attaining and disseminating real time open source intelligence and improving the FBI’s overall situational awareness.” Oh, those clever government fellows.

This week, from a news perspective, I covered the kerfuffle about the plight of Chinese workers who make consumer electronics. I mention that a hundred years ago in this country, immigrant workers were in the same boat, no pun intended. One result was Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle that exposed conditions in American meat packing plants. So this topic is not new, and has enduring philosophical issues. Here’s a thoughtful article that discusses utilitarian frameworks, consequentialism and deontologicalism. It’s perfect for Particle Debris readers. “The Cost of Doing Business: Foxconn, Apple and the Fate of the Modern Worker.

Cosmic Top

Last year, I reviewed “Cosmic Top.” It’s nominal for the iPad, and it’s not a game. It’s a toy. There’s no competition, no score keeping. You just conduct creative play with sound and light. The new version is even better than the 1.0 version I reviewed in 2010. Check it out. Big thumbs up.

iPro Lens

Here’s a new product announced at Macworld|iWorld 2012, another marvelous toy, a fisheye lens. I’m hoping to get one for review when it ships in April. It’s a nice alternative to those monster attachments that allow one to attach, say, a full size Nikon lens. Check out the iPro Lens from Schneider optics.


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