Tim O'Reilly predicts the imminent demise of the Kindle ebook reader unless it makes the move to open standards and abandons DRM and proprietary formats. I've been trying to get someone at Amazon to answer my basic questions about the "DRM-free" option for authors and publishers ("Does the EULA prohibit a reader from moving a DRM-free file to a non-Kindle?" "Is there a patent or other restriction that prevents competitors from making readers or converters for the DRM-free files?" and "Can DRM-free files be remotely downgraded, the way that the DRM'ed files have had their read-aloud functionality taken away after the fact?") and been totally stonewalled, as have O'Reilly.
Kudos to Tim for a great editorial and especially for the use of "strategy tax" -- what a great phrase!
So we sold GNN to America Online in June 1995. Big mistake. Despite telling us that they wanted to embrace the Web, they kept GNN as an "off brand," continuing to focus on their proprietary AOL platform and allowing Yahoo! ( YHOO - news - people ) to dominate the new online information platform.
So it was with a feeling of deja vu that I listened in mid-2007 to the promises of Amazon about the potential of its new proprietary e-book platform. While no payment is required to participate, there are clearly onerous restrictions that could limit the growth of the market: a proprietary file format, and the requirement that the e-books only be sold by Amazon.com.
The file format was a problem for us from the get-go: Amazon's Kindle file format doesn't provide support for tables or for so-called monospaced fonts, two formatting features that we use heavily in our line of technical books. And there is a viable alternative: Epub, the open format from the International Digital Publishing Forum, is based on the Web's native format, HTML, and provides full table and font support. This is the first "strategy tax" paid by those who embrace proprietary platforms: They can't support the needs of every niche and must prioritize their support for mainstream needs.
A flashlight review that begins with the promise “I’m about to hike through a remote canyon to an abandoned mine, and I gotta tell you there’s a storm raging outside” should end on an interesting note, and this one does. [via] Disturbing, strange sounds. That’s exactly what I caught on video while filming and documenting […]
Reflectacles, the hyper-reflective Ray Ban-style $75 glasses frames that Scott Urban is Kickstarting have a new feature: now you can get ones doped with materials that reflect the infrared light that CCTVs kick out to let them capture images in low light, which blind cameras’ sensors. Cool!
Typewriter historian Martin Howard (previously) writes, “I was able to pick up a rare and exquisite Waverley typewriter (1896) this summer in Scotland and have just the other day posted it to my website all cleaned and ready to show.”
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]