My latest Guardian column, "Downloads give Amazon jungle fever," asks the question: how can a company that gets online selling so right get downloads so wrong
As a consumer advocate and activist, I'm delighted by almost every public policy initiative from Amazon. When the Author's Guild tried to get Amazon to curtail its used-book market, the company refused to back down. Founder Jeff Bezos (who is a friend of mine) even wrote, "when someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone understands this."
More recently, Amazon stood up to the US government, who'd gone on an illegal fishing expedition for terrorists (TERRORISTS! TERRORISTS! TERRORISTS!) and asked Amazon to turn over the purchasing history of 24,000 Amazon customers. The company spent a fortune fighting for our rights, and won.
It also has a well-deserved reputation for taking care over copyright "takedown" notices for the material that its customers post on its site, discarding ridiculous claims rather than blindly acting on every single notice, no matter how frivolous.
But for all that, it has to be said: Whenever Amazon tries to sell a digital download, it turns into one of the dumbest companies on the web.
On January 17, 2017 — yes, 2017 — the USPTO granted Patent 9,547,842 to IBM: “Out-of-office electronic mail messaging system.”
Spiral Toys — a division of Mready, a Romanian electronics company that lost more than 99% of its market-cap in 2015 — makes a line of toys called “Cloudpets,” that use an app to allow parents and children to exchange voice-messages with one another. They exposed a database of millions of these messages, along with […]
NHK’s children’s show Pythagora Switch features fiendishly clever, astoundingly amusing interstitial segments with beautiful little Rube Goldberg machines, possessed of a Miyazakiesque whimsy and a Mujiesque minimalism. These are wonderful — and at 30 seconds each, you can watch a whole ton of ’em.
Wireless headphones aren’t a mind-bending thing anymore now that Apple made them the standard thing-to-be-outraged-over-in-the-new-iPhone fare, thereby killing the cool factor. But let’s be reasonable here. Wires really are a pain when you’re running, trying to get off the bus, or even just standing up from your desk. Wireless headphones make sense, they just don’t […]
Python is such a commonly used general-purpose programming language and features such (comparatively) simple syntax, that most veteran programmers consider it an excellent foundation for aspiring programmers. The Python 3 Bootcamp Bundle packs over 30 hours of training into nine courses to build that foundation for you.If you’ve never had any introduction to code at […]