Boing Boing 

Amazon vs Hachette is nothing: just WAIT for the audiobook wars!


In my latest Locus column, Audible, Comixology, Amazon, and Doctorow’s First Law, I unpick the technological forces at work in the fight between Amazon and Hachette, one of the "big five" publishers, whose books have not been normally available through Amazon for months now, as the publisher and the bookseller go to war over the terms on which Amazon will sell books in the future.

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Alameda Sheriff boots reporter from SWAT show for "unauthorized photos"

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The Economist defends America's enslavement of Africans


When The Economist reviewed The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, its anonymous reviewer condemned it, sticking up for America's legacy of slavery as a means of wealth creation, saying "Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery; almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains -- this is not history; it is advocacy."

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Meet the spooky tech companies getting rich by making NSA surveillance possible


Wildly profitable companies like Neustar, Subsentio, and Yaana do the feds' dirty work for them, slurping huge amounts of unconstitutionally requisitioned data out of telcos' and ISPs' data-centers in response to secret, sealed FISA warrants -- some of them publicly traded, too, making them a perfect addition to the Gulag Wealth Fund.

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Forecasting versus the stubbornly arbitrary world

In a fascinating long, thinky piece, economist Tim Harford looks at the history of business and political forecasting, trying to understand why both Keynes and his rival Irving Fisher both failed to forecast the Great Depression and were wiped out (and why Keynes managed to bounce back and die a millionaire, while Fisher died in poverty).

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Canada's anti-counterfeiting bill stalled by US demand for removal of humanitarian safeguards

Michael Geist writes, "Last year, the Canadian government trumpeted anti-counterfeiting legislation as a key priority. The bill raced through the legislative process in the winter and following some minor modifications after committee hearings, seemed set to pass through the House of Commons. Yet after committee approval, the bill suddenly stalled with little movement throughout the spring. Why did a legislative priority with all-party approval seemingly grind to a halt?"

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Free ebook of Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box for owners of the print book


Peter from Bitlit writes, "Best selling author Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) has made his acclaimed horror novel Heart-Shaped Box available as a free eBook bundle. For the next two weeks anybody with a hardcover or paperback is eligible for a free ebook through Bitlit."

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Keurig's K-Cup coffee DRM cracked


When they unveiled the stupid idea of locking out competitors' coffee-pods, I predicted this would happen, and I still wonder if Keurig will be dumb enough to bring a test-case that makes some good law; after all, they are a good candidate for Battle Station Most Likely to Have a Convenient Thermal Exhaust Port.

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Customer fined $250 for complaining, told "You are playing games with the wrong people"

Public Citizen is helping Cindy Cox sue Accessory Outlet for charging her $250 when she complained that an Iphone case hadn't shipped when promised; the company's rep told her that he'd fine her even more for emailing him to protest, adding an ominous "You are playing games with the wrong people and have made a very bad mistake."

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Market Basket victory: worker-friendly, fair business trounces looting klepto-investors


(WBUR)

The beloved, profitable, worker-friendly Market Basket grocery chain is back in the hands of former CEO Arthur T Demoulas, following a mass worker and management revolt at the news that Demoulas's cousin, Arthur S Demoulas, was taking over the company, bringing in a notorious former Radio Shack CEO, and getting set to break up and sell off the company in order to extract higher dividends for shareholders.

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Open Intellectual Property Casebook: free, superior alternative to $160 textbook


James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, eminent copyright scholars at the Duke Center for the Public Domain, have released their 788-page Open Intellectual Property Casebook as a free, open, CC-licensed download, replacing textbooks that normally sell for $160 (you can get a hardcopy is $24); it's not just a cheaper alternative, either -- it's a better one, enlivened with sprightly writing, excellent illustrations (including comics in the vein of Boyle and Jenkins's Bound By Law).

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Adversarial Compatibility: hidden escape hatch rescues us from imprisonment through our stuff


My latest Guardian column, Adapting gadgets to our needs is the secret pivot on which technology turns, explains the hidden economics of stuff, and how different rules can trap you in your own past, or give you a better future.

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Kleargear's new street address is also home to notorious ripoff site


Kleargear destroyed the credit of customers who complained about getting ripped off, then disappeared when a court ordered them to pay restitution -- now they have a new US address, shared with a scammy auction site, raising questions about what other ripoffs the company's owners are involved with.

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Respected medical journal changes hands, starts publishing junk science for hire


Experimental & Clinical Cardiology published for 17 years out of Oshawa, ON, but is now owned by shadowy figures in Switzerland, whose payments are processed through Turks and Caicos, and they'll publish anything under the journal's banner, provided it's accompanied by a payment of $1200.

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3D printed bump keys make short work of high-security locks

High-end locks rely on their unique key-shapes to prevent "bumping" (opening a lock by inserting a key-blank and hitting it with a hammer, causing the pins to fly up), but you can make a template for a bump key by photographing the keyhole and modelling it in software.

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Malaysia Airlines's near-empty planes ply the world's skies, losing $2M/day


Malaysia Airlines, who suffered the unprecedented and tragic loss of two jets this year, is having an understandably hard time attracting passengers; though the circumstances of the two losses do not appear to be related to negligence or anything other than terrible, awful random chance.

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How to Get a Figurine Produced in China and Not Lose Your Shirt

Jared Zichek decided to make his own, and says you can, too.

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Ikea may not kill Ikeahackers fan-site after all


Ikeahackers -- a venerable fan-site that competed with Ikea's newly launched, empty "online community" -- were previously threatened by Ikea and looked to face extinction.

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Newspapers are, pretty much, dead.


Clay Shirky has some some truths: "Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide 'Click to buy' is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really."

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Canadian government caught secretly smearing scientist who published research on tar-sands


The Harper petro-Tory government's money comes from the people who got rich from the tar-sands, the dirtiest oil on the planet, and they've done everything they could to suppress science critical of Alberta crude; finally a scientist who wasn't under their thumb published his work and they started maneuvering behind the scenes to discredit him.

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Harpercollins Humble Ebook Bundle with Gaiman, Bujold, Coelho, Williams, and more

Name your price for more than 12 DRM-free books from Harpercollins, support charity, and strike a blow for freedom!

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Leaked Comcast employee manual reveals pressure for hard-sell from tech support


Despite denials from top Comcast execs, a leaked employee manual shows that all Comcast customer service reps, even tech support staff, are required to hard-sell every customer they deal with, using high-pressure scripts that interfere with doing their jobs.

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Copyright extortion startup wants to hijack your browser until you pay

Rightscorp, the extortion-based startup whose business-model is blackmailing Internet users over unproven accusations of infringement, made record revenues last quarter, thanks to cowardly ISPs who agreed to lock 75,000 users out of the Web until they sent Rightscorp $20-$500 in protection money.

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Monopolists are perfectly impedence-matched with bureaucrats


It's really easy to understand the perspective of the companies that own the giant buildings down the street, especially when the other side is a bunch of weird new businesses that want to do stuff no one has done before.

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Microsoft wants to rename Internet Explorer to shed negative associations

Turd-polishing at its finest. What do you think they should call it?

Comcast leaves customer on hold for 3 hours, closes the office and goes home

Redditor Awwwsnack was so frustrated with his troubles getting Comcast service installed that he decided to cancel.

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Brooklyn Law Clinic students scare away patent trolls

The school's clinic is run like a law office and offers free counsel based both on need and on the interestingness of the cases for law students.

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How Gary Gygax lost control over D&D and TSR


Jon Peterson, author of Playing at the World, tells the gripping tale of how Gary Gygax lost control over TSR and Dungeons and Dragons, ousted by his business partners after a series of miscalculations and mistakes.

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Profile of Flickr and Slack founder Stewart Butterfield


The long and affectionate piece from Wired's Mat Honan details Butterfield's pattern of founding unsuccessful whimsical games companies (Game Neverending, Glitch) that spawn innovative, beautifully functional tech startups (Flickr, Slack).

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Comcast: the only reason we're not ripping you off is that you recorded us

Tim David called Comcast to report that his self-installation after a move was running into troubles and was promised a no-charge service call.

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