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How Amazon is Influencing Digital Content Creations & Larger iPod in the Works

How Amazon is Influencing Digital Content Creations: We are now in an era where it is becoming relatively easy to create digital content. Individuals can use their phones or hand held video recording devices to quickly film events and then post those video clips to their YouTube or Facebook pages within seconds of recording events. And it is also easy today for anyone who likes to write to use word processing software to type up a story and then use one of the digital publishing platforms, that can be accessed via online publishers who offer self publishing service; to quickly upload their writing to an online vendor’s site thus getting their work out there for the world to see (and people to buy). 

With all of that in mind one has to take a step back and remember that traditionally big media and publishing companies have been the ones responsible for creating and offering movies and books to vendors. And now some online vendors, namely Amazon, Netflix and Hulu are creating great waves in the digital content creation/publishing business by both offering writers a means to easily and inexpensively digital publish their works as e-books and by producing video content. Amazon is the largest online vendor currently offering customers the option to self-publish their writing as e-books and as the creator of new video content.  

CNET has an in-depth article on this subject titled How Amazon is changing the rules for books and movies and here’s the link:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57438541-93/how-amazon-is-changing-the-rules-for-books-and-movies/?tag=mncol;topStorie

And if you’re interested in knowing more about self-publishing here’s a link to Amazon’s Self-Publishing page:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520

Larger iPod in the Works: The tech rumor mill is abuzz with word that both the next iPhone and iPod touch will have larger screens. It seems that large screen parts attributed to production of upcoming Apple products, namely the next iPhone and assumedly the iPod Touch, have been seen by tech news reporters.  There are several sources for this report and CNET offers an article titled Taller iPod Touch Screen Parts Already Spotted in the Wild that offers more details on the subject.

Here’s the link:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57439339-37/taller-ipod-touch-screen-parts-already-spotted-in-the-wild/?tag=mncol;editorPicks

Linda R. 

Off Tech Topic Posting: Notes on a Century by Bernard Lewis

For anyone interested in Middle Eastern history author, academic and scholar Bernard Lewis has an excellent new book out titled Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian. I’ve just started to read it and it is excellent. It offers insight into why so much upheaval is happening in theMiddle East and what Islamic law really says about the way Muslims should interact with non-Muslims.

The book has received Starred Reviews from Booklist & Publishers Weekly.

Additionally, NPR has a great article, titled At 96 Historian Lewis Reflects on a Century and 30 minute author interview podcast on its website regarding the book.

Here’s the link:

 http://www.npr.org/2012/05/15/152764539/at-96-historian-lewis-reflects-on-a-century

Linda R. 

Wireless Bluetooth Speakers You Can Take Anywhere & DOJ Denies Apple/Publishers Move To Dismiss E-Book Anti-Trust Suit

Wireless Bluetooth Speakers You Can Take Anywhere: If you are a big music fan and you’ve ever thrown a backyard barbeque and tried to play music through a portable music device so it can be heard by everyone at the barbeque; while still allowing you to hear people you are talking to (a challenge and a half!), then a new group of reasonable priced wireless Bluetooth speaker sets may be music to your ears. You can take these light brick sized speakers almost anywhere and wirelessly play music through them via a laptop, smart phone or iPod. New York Times tech guru David Pogue praises two of these new, reasonable priced Bluetooth speakers, the Soundlink Wireless Mobile Speaker from Bose and the Big Jambox, in a New York Times article titled Taking Beats Anywhere, by Bluetooth.

Here’s the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/technology/personaltech/soundlink-and-big-jambox-speakers-go-wherever-you-go.html?_r=1&ref=technology

DOJ Denies Apple/Publishers Move To Dismiss E-Book Anti-Trust Suit: This week the Department of Justice denied a request by Apple and publishers Penguin and Macmillan to dismiss the previously filed DOJ anti-trust law suit alleging that five of the six largest publishers in the U.S.* and Apple colluded to raise e-book prices. US District Judge Denise Cote denied the request in strong and no uncertain terms and the site PaidContent provides both a short article, titled Judge comes down hard on publishers, Apple in e-book case,  illustrating the basics of the anti-trust suit, and, access to Judge Cote’s 56 page court ruling document that illustrates why she refused to dismiss the suit. The document is long; however, for anyone interested in all the whys and where-for-ofs of this situation the first 10-15 pages offer an in-depth and reasonably easy to read illumination on the subject!

Here the link:

http://paidcontent.org/2012/05/15/judge-comes-down-hard-on-publishers-apple-in-e-book-case/

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Linda R.

* The five publishers named in the suit are Penguin, Macmillan, Hatchette, HarperCollins & Simon & Schuster. And notably, three of those publishers, Hatchette, HarperCollins & Simon & Schuster have already settled the matter with the DOJ and thus will not be named in subsequent legal proceedings.

Algorithms: AKA How Online Vendors Exercise The Power of the Human Mind To Tailor The Goods They Offer To Consumers

A new All Tech Considered story offers illumination on the way information is gathered today to better tailor goods and services to the online consumer. The story makes a great analogy between the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution and the changes occurring today as part of the Computer Revolution by noting: “If the Industrial Revolution was about extending the power of human muscle with inventions like the car, then the computer revolution is about extending the power of the human mind — and algorithms are the key to its success.” The story goes on to discuss how information consumers enter online is gathered by companies and used to better determine what goods and services consumers would like, and assumedly purchase, based upon their previous purchase, listening or viewing history.

Examples of this evolving type of specialized marketing of online goods offered to the paying public, based upon their interests, can be found in the search results or recommendations one gets from Amazon, Netflix of iTunes after one has purchased content from those Internet vendors. For example, if you stream* several John Wayne movies from Netflix and then log in to the Netflix site to look for other movies to watch, you’ll see recommendations from Netflix to watch other westerns available in their catalog; if you purchased the latest Paul McCartney album via Amazon’s Music Store then the next time you log in to the Amazon site to look for new music to buy you will see recommends for other Paul McCartney and Beatles albums you might like to purchase; and likewise if you buy an episode of the television series Blue Bloods from iTunes then the next time you search the iTunes catalog for new TV shows to watch you will undoubtedly see recommendations for more police procedural dramas that the algorithms predict you might like to watch too.

Here’s a link to that neat NPR article and podcast on this subject titled Algorithms: The Ever-Growing, All-Knowing Way Of The Future:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/05/14/152444019/algorithms-the-ever-growing-all-knowing-way-of-the-future

Linda R.

* The word “stream” in this context refers to people purchasing movies, TV shows and music from online vendors and then watching them via Internet connected devices like computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets.

New Kindles Coming This Year & The First Black & White Digital Camera

New Kindles Coming This Year: Barnes & Noble recently issued a new e-ink Nook, The Nook Simple Touch With Glow Light. And that e-reader is the first e-ink e-reader (i.e. black text on a light gray screen) to offer a “front lit,” or built in lighting system, so you don’t  have to buy an extra clamp on light to use with the reader and you don’t have to sit next to a lamp to be able to read. And now Amazon is getting ready to add to the e-ink reader with front lighting arena by issuing a new e-ink Kindle that will also feature a front lit lighting system. The new e-ink Kindle is slated to go on sale in July and is as of yet unnamed. And in addition, Amazon is expected to issue a larger Kindle tablet, bigger than the Kindle Fire, this fall – just in time for holiday season.

Here’s a link to a Reuters article titled Amazon aims to launch front-lit Kindle in July that offers more information on these exciting upcoming e-readers:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/15/uk-amazonkindle-idUSLNE84E00U20120515

The First Black & White Digital Camera: The British company Leica has just announced it is issuing a new digital black and white camera called the M-Monochrom. This new camera will be made specifically to take black and white photos and unlike regular digital cameras, that you can manipulate to produce black and white photos; this camera is supposed to offer clearer photos that will show very fine details because it is made to capture pixels in black and white as compared to capturing pixels in color and then eliminating some of those captured pixels, the color pixels, in order to create black and white photos as a regular (color) digital camera does. Of course this first mainstream digital black and white camera is probably just going to suit professional photographers because of the price – it is being issued in the U.K. for £6120 which translates to about $10,000 American dollars! However, eventually we’ll likely see a consumer priced digital black and white camera and that is exciting!

Here’s a link to a MSNBC article titled Leicas Newest Full Frame Digital First to Shoot Only Black and White that gives more details on the subject:

http://www.gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/technology/technolog/leicas-newest-full-frame-digital-first-shoot-only-black-white-765030

Linda R.  

High Tech Taxi Booking, E-Book Writer’s Cramp & TV Viewing The Way You Want It

High Tech Taxi Booking: In some urban regions you can actually now book a taxi, pay for it in advance and even leave the driver feedback via an app.  Taxi booking/feedback apps include Report a Taxi, Taxi Magic, Uber and Sedan Magic. This taxi technology usage is in its infant stages but shows great promise and is growing in both popularity and usage in urban areas.

And here’s a link to a New York Times article titled Taxi Rides Are Getting Smart By The App that discusses the new high tech taxi options:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/nyregion/taxi-rides-are-getting-smarter-by-the-app.html?_r=1&ref=technology#

E-Book Writer’s Cramp: The popularity of e-books has exploded in the last two years and this has led to a change in what many readers expect of their favorite authors. Once upon a time a popular author could work hard through the year and publish one book per year and keep both his or her fans and publishers happy. However, in the newly evolving world of e-books where readers can access, download and be reading a new e-book in seconds readers are expecting to be able to read more than one e-book a year by their favorite authors. This new trend has bestselling authors like Lisa Scottoline, Lee Child and John Grisham working hard to write that extra material each year to keep fans happy. And some authors, like Lee Child, have taken to writing shorter works and publishing them in between the publications of their longer annual works to keep fans happy.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article titled In E-Reader Age of Writer’s Cramp a Book a Year is Slacking that offers more insight into this new trend:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/business/in-e-reader-age-of-writers-cramp-a-book-a-year-is-slacking.html?_r=1&ref=books

TV Viewing The Way You Want It: How people watch TV shows and movies is evolving. Todays’ Internet connected TVs and media streaming devices (i.e. Roku, Apple TV, Boxee, Google TV, iPads and other tablets etc.) are allowing viewers to watch more and more video content, frequently sans commercials and on demand. In essence, the evolving Internet technology allows more people to access the videos they wish to watch when the wish to watch them and this trend too is growing in popularity!

Here’s a link to a New York Times article titled A TV Schedule in the Hands of Whoever Holds the Remote that offers more insight into this growing trend:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/business/media/audiences-now-rarely-drawn-to-live-television.html?ref=technology

Linda R.

NPR’s Fun Weekly Pop Culture Podcast

Every Friday NPR broadcasts a new Pop Culture podcast. These podcasts are hosted by an NPR ensemble cast and are great fun to listen to. The cast includes NPR staff writers who cover music, art, books and movies and they always have a great time.

This weeks’ podcast is titled Pop Culture Happy Hour: Of ‘Avengers’ And The Other A-List and it highlights the new Avengers movie as well as discussing the subject of what makes an A List among other pop culture items. And also included is the weekly zany segment “What Makes Us Happy?” which has the hosts of the show offering their take on what books, movies, music and/or technology is enriching their lives at the present time.

Here’s the link to the podcast:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2012/05/10/152388599/pop-culture-happy-hour-of-avengers-and-the-other-a-list

Linda R.