Personal Technology Stories You Might Have Missed January 12 – 23, 2015

Article 1: Presidential Speeches That Include References To Technological Innovation: The first recommend article is from the Washington Post and it takes a look back at past presidential speeches that mention “modern” technology as an innovative tool. The list includes a few lines from John Quincy Adams on the subject of the growing of railroad technology, moves on to note Andrew Jackson mentioning the innovative power of stream, Lincoln offering words on the subject of the first global communications technology – the telegraph and goes all the way forward to 2015 when President Obama mentioned Instagram in his 2015 State of the Union Address – history and technology mixed together – cool!

Here’s the link to the article:

Bump, Philip. (21 January, 2015). The first mentions of technological innovations in State of the Union messages, catalogued. The Washington Post. Online. Accessed January 22, 2015.

Article 2: Technology Has Not Made Life More Stressful: Article 2discusses how many people think that the modern technology has made life more stressful, when in fact many people find the new communications technologies to be stress relievers as they allow people to more easily connect with family and friends.

Here’s the link to the article

Miller, Claire Cain. (15 January, 2015). Technology Has Made Life Different, but Not Necessarily More Stressful. The New York Times. Online. Accessed January 15, 2015.

Article 3: New Features of iOS 8: This article is for iPhone & iPad users who’d like to know more about the new features of Apple’s latest mobile software upgrade – iOS 8. The new features include the ability to ask Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, questions hands free while your device is plugged in as it might be while you’re in a car, the ability to use third party keyboards and the option to ask Siri to identify a song that is playing. The article comes with a video review found at the following link:

Wood, Molly. (14 January, 2015). Getting the Most Out of Apple iOS 8. The New York Times. Online. Accessed January 15, 2015.

Article 4: Fitness Trackers: This “article” is actually a funny video review of some of the most popular fitness trackers by the always fun Wall Street Journal Tech columnist Joanna Stern:

Stern, Joanna. (16 December, 2014). Review: Best Fitness Trackers to Get You Up Off The Couch. The Wall Street Journal. Online. Accessed January 13, 2015.

Article 5: The Basic Gist of The Term The Internet of Things:  If you’ve heard the term “The Internet of Things” and wondered what exactly that means – then this article is for you! Re/Code tech columnist Bonnie Cha offers an accessible explanation of just what that term means and how the technology is advancing in that integrated direction.

Here’s the link to the article:

Cha, Bonnie. (15 January, 2015). A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Internet of Things. re/code. Online. Accessed January 15, 2015.

Article 6: Google Translate Update: Google Translate has recently had an update and this link is to a video that shows how you can now have a conversation with someone speaking another language by using the software:

How To Video: Hold conversations using Google Translate. CNET. Online. Accessed January 22, 2015.

Article 7: Windows 10 Is Coming In 2015! (And the Start Menu will return!): This BBC article offers some basic info on the new Windows 10 operating system that Microsoft will be unrolling later this year:

Kelion, Leo. (21 January, 2015). Windows 10 to get ‘holographic’ headset and Cortana. BBC. Online. Accessed January 22, 2015.

Article 8: Windows 10 Holographic Headset: Windows 10 is being unveiled later this year along with a cool new holo headset that allows you to

Savov, Vlad. (21 January, 2015). Microsoft announces Windows Holographic with HoloLens headset. The Verge. Online. Accessed January 21, 2015.

Article 9: Microsoft Founder Bill Gates Will Be Guest Editor On The Verge Site In February:  Bill Gates will offer guest editorials on the tech site The Verge in February focusing on how technology will make the world a better place in the next 15 years:

Patel, Nilay. (22 January, 2015). Bill Gates is guest-editing The Verge in February: Technology will build a better, safer, healthier world by 2030. The Verge. Online. Accessed January 22, 2015.

Article 10: HBO Standalone Web Service Coming In 2015: Sometime this year HBO will be rolling out a paid standalone subscription service so you won’t need a cable

Kafka, Peter. (22 January, 2015). Will HBO on the Web Pull the Plug on Pay TV? Survey Says: Yep! re/code. Online. Accessed January 22, 2015.

Article 11: Amazon – Good For Readers or Not?  This “article” consists of a short article from NPR and a podcast of 50 minutes on the subject of whether or not Amazon’s e-book practices are good for readers. Essentially, the podcast offers a debate on the subject; on the pro side author Jon Konrath & Matthew Yglesias executive editor of, a digital news company, and on the con side Franklin Foer the former editor of The New Republic and author and lawyer Scott Turow.

Here’s the link:

Debate Is Amazon The Reader’s Friend? NPR. Online. Accessed January 22, 2015.

Article 12: The Battle For Net Neutrality Goes On: And this last article is an NPR offering on the subject of just what will happen later this year when the FCC rules on Net Neutrality & how congress will influence this new rules.

Here’s the link:

Rose, Joel. (21 January, 2015). The Battle Over Open-Internet Rules Shifts To Congress. NPR. Online. Accessed January 21, 2015.

And remember if you need assistance in learning how to use a new e-reader, tablet, computer or smartphone, or a new piece of software you can go to the library and get assistance for free!

Our Digital Literacy Services staff are happy to assist you in learning how to use hardware and software so contact us for a free one-on-one session today!

Give us call: 607-936-3713 or send an email to us at the following email address: DIGLIT@STLS.ORG

Tech Stories You Might Have Missed December 15 – 19 & December 22 – 26, 2014

Since most people are super busy at this time of year — here is a list of interesting tech articles you might have missed for last week and this week – in other words covering the two weeks of December 15 – 19 and December 22 – 26.

Have a great holiday season!

Linda, SSCL

And don’t forget although the library is closed on 12/24 & 12/25 — we are open our regular hours on Friday 12/26 (9 a.m. – 6 p.m.) and Saturday 12/27 — so while you’re out and about on Friday & Saturday drop by the library and pick up some books or DVDs!

Or, access digital content (e-books, digital audiobooks, streaming videos and music) through the OverDrive Media Console and Freegal Music apps found in your app store!

And here are the tech articles you might have missed!

Article 1: This first article discusses what a great level playing field for life is created by access to the Internet, and, correspondingly how this theoretical equality is actually unequal in practice due to a variety of issues including Net Neutrality and censorship issues – it is an interesting article!

Here’s the link:

Net is ‘less free and more unequal’, says web founder. (11 December, 2014). BBC. Online. Accessed December 17, 2014.


Article 2: Star Trek turbo lifts coming our way!

Wang, Brian. (14 Decenber, 2014). Star Trek Turbolifts will be reality in 2016 with multidirectional elevator . nextBIGFuture. Online. Accessed December 17, 2014.


Article 3: Article 3 is a New York Times article that focuses on how the job market is changing due to the advancing technology and how advanced education is going to increasingly be a necessity for people as smart machines & robots do more and more tasks that have in the past been done manually by humans – here’s the link:

Miller, Claire Cain. (15 December, 2014). As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up. The New York Times. Online. Accessed December 16, 2014.


Article 4: And article 4 is another article on Amazon and how the company has changed the way it sells items over the last 15 years. It is an interesting article for those interested in how technology is changing society and also for those interested in business trends — here’s the link:

Streitfeld, David. (14 December, 2014.) Jeff Bezos’ Lemonade Stand. The New York Times. Online. Accessed December 16, 2014.


Article 5: I found article 5 on a blog called “Coding Horror” which I had never heard of before! However, I think the article is cool because it does offer a “history” of e-ink, as in the e-ink technology of e-readers. And I put the word “history” in quotes because the first commercially successful e-reader, the first generation Kindle, only came out in 2007 – so from a long-term historical perspective that is short period of history!

Here’s the link to the article:

Atwood, Jeff. (15 December, 2014). The Evolution of eInk. Coding Horror: programming and human factors. Online. Accessed December 17, 2014.


Article(s) 6: And you may have heard in the news in the past week that Apple won its long iPod antitrust law suite earlier this month – and here are links to two articles on the subject. The NPR article is short and the Bloomberg article offers more in-depth info on the subject:

Calamur, Krishnadev. (16 December, 2014). Apple Wins $1B iPod Antitrust Lawsuit. NPR. Online. Accessed December 17, 2014.

Gullo, Karen., & Burnson, Robert. (16 December, 2014). Apple Deafeauts $1 Billion iPod Antiturst Suite in Three hours. Bloomberg. Online. Accessed December 23, 2014.

Article 7: Article 7 focuses on a new cutting edge trend – being able to see a doctor via a video chat from wherever you are! Katherine Boehret of the re/code site offers a neat review of the technology:

Boehret, Katherine. (17 December, 2014.) A Soc in Your Pocket: Doctor on Demand Gets Smarter. re/code. Online. Accessed December 18, 2014.

Article 8: And believe it or not as successful as Amazon is they are not quite as unstoppable as their public images might suggest – NY Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo offered and interesting look at the reason why this past week – here’s the link to his article:

Manjoo, Farhad. (17 December, 2014). Amazon Not as Unstoppable as It Might Appear. New York Times. Online. Accessed November 18, 2014.


Article 9: Article 9 is on a current item of local interest – how Corning is developing new glass – here the link to a Technology Review article on the subject:

Bullis, Kevin. (17 December, 2014).Chemical-Sensing Displays and Other Surprising Uses of Glass: An inside look at Corning’s labs suggests what’s next for the inventor of Gorilla Glass. MIT Technical Review. Online. Accessed December 22, 2014.


Article 10: And another article on the ongoing subject of government surveillance of Internet users and just what can be done about it:

Upton, Fred., Waxman, Harry. Royce, Ed. et al. (18 December, 2014). Protecting the Internet From Government Control. Re/code. Online. Accessed December 19, 2014.


Article 11: And on the subject of self-driving cards – Google just unveiled a fully functional self driving car prototype which can be legally driven in California – here’s the link:,2817,2474069,00.asp

Moscaritolo, Angela. (22 December, 2014). Google Unveils Fully Functional Self-Driving Car Prototype. PC Magazine. Online.


Article 12: And here’s a link to a Time’s article on just what really happened with that JP Morgan data breach earlier this year:

Goldstein, Matthew., Perloth, Nicole. & Corkery, Michael. (22 December, 2014). Entry Point of JPMorgan Data Breach Is Identified. The New York Times. Online. Accessed December 23, 2014.


Article 13: Article 13 is a quick and neat read for those who love both history and technology as it discusses how our looking to the future when discussing technology was really a though process developed during the Victorian Era – here’s the link:

Morus, Iwan Rhys. (10 December, 2014). aeon. Online. Accessed December 23, 2014.


Article 14: And the final article for this two week period is actually my favorite! This Venture Beat article discusses how the rapidly advancing technology is, and will continue to, transform the way we live and both cause certain manual jobs to disappear while fostering the creation of new jobs in newly emerging fields – here’s the link:

Wadhwa, Vivek. (22 December, 2014). Our future of unlimited wealth — and joblessness. Venture Beat. Online. Accessed December 23, 2014.

FYI Amazon Announcing New & Probably Low Cost Smartphone Today

Hi everyone, just FYI Amazon is holding a press conference as I’m writing this at 1:47 p.m. EST — and is widely expected to announce a brand new and low cost smartphone.

They’ll be a ton of news coverage about this new phone — but just to sum it up — here’s a link to a brief USA Today article on the subject:

Have a great day!

Linda R.


P.S. Update at 3:14 p.m. — Amazon has indeed launched a new smartphone called the Fire Phone — here’s a link to the Amazon Fire Phone description page where you can find more details:

And a link a recorded Re/code blogging of the Amazon Press conference that announced the even earlier today:

If You’ve Got Amazon Prime — You Now Have Access To A New Streaming Music Service!

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Amazon Prime – it a service Amazon offers customers for $99 a year; and it includes free 2nd shipping on items purchased from Amazon, free access to Amazon’s Instant Video Library, one free read of an e-book from Amazon’s Lending Library per month and now free access to the brand new Amazon Prime Music Service. Prime Music looks like its going to be similar to Pandora sans the ads.

Here’s a link to a LA Times article on the new Prime Music Service:

And one that takes you directly to the Amazon Prime Music page:

And as soon as I have a chance to really check out the Amazon Prime Music Service, which seems to have launched today, I’ll post an update on this blog.

Have a great day!

Linda R.

P.S. Don’t forget we offer free digital literacy assistance by appointment at the library! So if you have a new e-reader, laptop, smartphone or other tech device and are wondering how to use it — call us today to make an appointment — it is free! You can make appointments in person at the library, by phone – Tel: 607-936-3713 and via email: DIGLIT@STLS.ORG

High Tech Ways To Find Your Lost Keys, Why Apple Should Leader The Way To DRM Free E-Books, Amazon King of Audios & Google To Add Cable TV Content

So many tech stories so little time! And of course Thursdays in the summertime are super busy in library land so this will be a short posting that links to four interesting articles regarding personal technology – in other word I promise not to get up on my soap box and go on about any personal tech issues!

Article 1. “Locate Lost Keys With These 10 Handy Gadgets” – this article is from the tech site Mashable and offers a slideshow of 10 gadgets that will benefit tech fans who frequently lose their keys! If you’re like me and that occasionally happens to you check it out!

Here’s the link:

Article 2. “Apple should lead the move to DRM-free ebooks” – this article is from Macworld and offers examples as to why Apple is the ideal company to lead the publishing world into a customer friendly DRM free e-book era!

Here’s the link:

Article 3. “How Amazon Became the King of Audiobooks: Recorded books are now a billion-dollar business, which Amazon dominates perhaps like none other” – wow what a long title! The basic gist of this story is an enlightening one for most of us – and that is that Amazon which is known as the King of E-Books is also the King of Audiobooks! Amazon’s Audible company sells more digital (aka downloadable) audio books than any other audio book seller right now.

Here’s a link to the article:

Article 4. “Google Pitches Online TV Service to Media Companies: Streaming of Traditional TV Programming Is Also Planned by Others” – I keep talking about how streaming of movies and TV shows via the Internet is the next phase in the Internet Revolution and this article discusses how Google is working towards that end by trying to obtain traditional TV content – i.e. cable content that right now is initially offered to television fans only via traditional cable company TV packages – for its Google TV Media streaming player.

Here’s the link:

Have a great day!
Linda R.



Elliott, Amy-Mae. (2013, July 18). Locate Lost Keys With These 10 Handy Gadgets. Mashable. Online. Accessed Jly 18, 2013.

McElhearn, Kirk. (2013, July 17). Apple should lead the move to DRM-free ebooks. Macworld. Online. Accessed July 17, 2013.

Osnos, Peter. (2013, July 16). How Amazon Became the King of Audiobooks: Recorded books are now a billion-dollar business, which Amazon dominates perhaps like none other. The Atlantic. Online. Accessed July 17, 2013.

Stewart, Christopher., & Ramachandran, Shalini. (2013, July 16). Google Pitches Online TV Service to Media Companies: Streaming of Traditional TV Programming Is Also Planned by Others. The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal. Online. Accessed July 17, 2013.

High Tech Glasses For The Visually Impaired, Update On The DOJ v. Apple E-Book Case, Amazon Brings Back Kindle DX, Cornell’s New Technology School & Librarian & Blogger David Lee King’s Tale On A Recent E-Book Conference

Wow talk about your tech news for the day! The cool tech articles I came across today were many! And the ones I selected to highlight on this blog discuss new high tech Google Glass-like eye glasses that will allow the visually impaired to read, an update on the Department of Justice v. Apple e-book anti-trust case, the fact that Amazon has at least for now brought back their 9.7” e-ink Kindle DX, Cornell’s got a new high tech technology school and Librarian and Blogger David Lee King offers his input on a recent e-book conference he attended that had publishers’ representatives, OverDrive staff (OverDrive is a library e-book vendor) and librarian professionals on hand.

High Tech Glasses For The Visually Impaired: A new Israeli company called OrCam has developed a pair of high tech eye glasses that will scan and read aloud text that the wearer passes in front of the glasses — allowing people that have macular degeneration or other vision impaired conditions to be able to essential have a narrator read things for them where every they go!

The New York Times offers an article on OrCam and the new high tech glasses titled “Device From Israeli Start-Up Gives the Visually Impaired a Way to Read:”

Update On The DOJ v. Apple E-Book Case: Reuters reports that the alleged alliance between Apple and five of the largest publishers in the U.S. was not a harmonious one and that there is evidence that Apple and the publishers were trying to force the media giant and e-book seller Amazon to accept publisher’s prices for e-books. Here is a link to a that Reuter’s article which offers a more in-depth report on the case so far:

Amazon Brings Back Kindle DX: The tech site The Verge reports that Amazon’s Kindle DX which hasn’t been seen listed on the Amazon site for sale since last fall – is back! The Kindle DX is the 9.7” e-ink e-reader – so it is the same size as an iPad but features the e-ink technology so you can read an e-book on the DX outside – at the lake, at the beach or just in your back yard and there won’t be any glare from the screen as there is with a e-reading devices that has a color screen. The Kindle DX sells for $299.

And here’s a link to The Verge article itself titled “Amazon brings back long dormant Kindle DX, says it’s ‘excited’ to do so;”

Cornell’s New Technology School: Cornell which won New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s contest to create a great new science & technology school has done so! The new school which is located on New York City’s Roosevelt Island is a huge space donated by Google for the project that is filled with cutting edge technology. The school which offers a one year master’s degree in computer science opened earlier this year and had eight students enrolled in its beta program this term. The school gives us a glance at what computer science schools of the future may be like.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article on the school titled “Building a Better Tech School” which offers more information on the subject:

Librarian & Blogger David Lee King’s Take On A Recent E-Book Conference: Librarian and blogger David Lee King recently attended and e-book conference that featured representatives from major publishers in the U.S., from the library e-book vendors in the U.S. (namely OverDrive which is the vendor used by the Southern Tier Library System) and library professionals. David Lee paints a picture of publisher representatives that don’t seem to have been in a public library since they went to school and are under the mistaken impression that it is easy for patrons to download their e-books and keep them forever – which is not the case! Here’s the link to the David Lee King posting (from his blog) which is titled “Ebooks in Libraries – #BEA2013:”

And a link to an article he recommended titled “BEA Panel Suggests Publishers Still Clueless about Library E-Books and Piracy:”

And on a completely un-tech related note if by any chance there are any veterans who fought on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, who read this article today – hats off to you for helping free Europe from Nazi control and thus keeping our world a free one. Thank you!

Have a great day!

Linda R.


Markoff, John. (2013, June 3). Device From Israeli Start-Up Gives the Visually Impaired a Way to Read. New York Times. Online. Accessed June 6, 2013.

Meadows, Chris. (2013, June 4). BEA Panel Suggests Publishers Still Clueless about Library E-Books and Piracy. Teleread. Online. Accessed June 6, 2013.

Perez-Pena, Richard. (2013, April 13). Building a Better Tech School. The New York Times. Online. Accessed June 6, 2013.

Raymond, Nate. (2013, June 5). Publishers gave Amazon “ultimatum” over e-book pricing: executive. Reuters. Online. Accessed June 6, 2013.

Robertson, Adi. (2013, June 5). Amazon brings back long dormant Kindle DX, says it’s ‘excited’ to do so. The Verge. Online. Accessed June 6, 2013.



Kindle Romance Podcasts & PBS MediaShift Begins Publishing E-Books

Kindle Romance Podcasts: Amazon is launching a weekly romance podcast series this week titled “Kindle Love Stories.” The Kindle podcast will feature reviews, interviews with authors and news on new and exciting trends in the romance book field.

Here’s a link to a USA Today article, Breaking news! Amazon launches Kindle Love Stories podcast, focused on romance books, that offers a link to the podcast and more information on the subject:

And here’s a direct link to the Amazon Romance webpage which notes all the new and popular romance books you might like to read!

PBS MediaShift Begins Publishing E-Books: If you’re not familiar with it MediaShift is a site established by PBS in 2006, with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, that studies how citizen journalism, podcasts, social media, weblogs, online video, news aggregators and other digitally created and accessed media items are changing our lives and what we want and expect from online media.

And MediaShift, as an offshoot of PBS, has just launched a new e-book publishing service which will publish e-books and on demand print books based upon the subjects discussed and information found on the MediaShift website.

The first two titles in this new PBS/MediaShift publishing company are 1. “Your Guide to Cutting the Cord to Cable TV (Updated 2013 Edition)” By Mark Glaser, with essays by Dan Reimold and Seth Shapiro and 2. “How to Self-Publish Your Book” by Carla King; both titles obviously delve into tech related subjects. And as anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows – I am all for streaming video and cord cutting! Give me that Netflix subscription, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video and I am all set!

Here’s a link to a PBS/Media Shift page on the new publishing company:

A link to a related article from the paidContent website which offers more information on this new publishing service:

And a link to the About page on the MediaShift website just in case you’d like to know more about MediaShift:

Have a great day!

Linda R.


About. MediaShift. Online. Accessed May 13, 2013.

E-Books. MediaShift. Online. Accessed May 13, 2013.

Lamb, Joyce. (2013, May 13). Breaking news! Amazon launches Kindle Love Stories podcast. USA Today. Onlien.

Owen, Laura Hazard. (2013, May 13). Amazon Publishing launches Kindle Love Stories podcast, focused on romance books. paidContent. Online.

Owen, Laura Hazard. (2013, May 13). PBS MediaShift starts publishing ebooks; first topics: cord-cutting and self-publishing. paidContent. Online.

Microsoft Reportedly Negotiating To Buy B&N’s Nook E-Book Division, Amazon Is Working On A 3D Cell Phone! & The PBS App Comes To Roku

Microsoft Reportedly Negotiating To Buy B&N’s Nook E-Book Division: Microsoft, which previously invested more than $605 million dollars in the Nook division, has reportedly offered Barnes & Noble one billion dollars to purchase the Nook division which would include both the Nook e-readers and tablets and the Nook e-books. And those few facts are interesting to begin with; however, what I find even more interesting is that it is also being reported that if the deal goes through Microsoft will can the Nook series of e-readers and tablets and make the Nook e-books available on Microsoft tablets, smartphones and computers. So if you’re thinking of buying a new e-reader or tablet – you may want to wait or think about buying an e-reader or tablet!*

Here’s a link to a Forbes editorial on the subject, authored by one of their tech columnists Jeremy Greenfield, titled Microsoft To Buy Nook? What It Could Mean:

Amazon Is Working On A 3D Cell Phone! If you’re of an age that recalls going to see the very first Star Wars film in 1977, which was by-the-way – years before our current high tech revolution really kicked off, then you’ll probably recall the scene that features Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi try and get R2D2 to reply the SOS message Princess Leia recorded – and presto a 3D image of Princess Leia appeared and Luke and Obi-Wan discovered she was in trouble! That 3D message was cool and that type of technology will soon be coming to an Amazon smartphone near you! Amazon isn’t commenting on this news but according to a Wall Street Journal article it is so!

And, naturally, here is a link to that Wall Street Journal article which is titled Amazon Is Developing Smartphone With 3-D Screen and subtitled New Gadgets, Including Audio-Only Device, Is Bid to Expand Beyond Kindle Fire:

And if you have a Roku Player, as I do! You’ll want to check out the newly introduced PBS app – a chance to now watch all that PBS content you couldn’t stream directly through Roku before! Cool stuff!

And here’s a link to an engadet article on the subject titled Roku can now tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street with new PBS channels:

Have a great evening!

Linda R.

*The Google Nexus is an outstanding 7” tablet that you can read e-books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-book sellers upon – it cost $199 and in fact I’d recommend it over a Kindle or Nook in that price range because it is a fully fledged tablet and doesn’t lock you into the Amazon or B&N ecosystem. If you’d like to sit down and try out a Google Nexus 7 tablet – stop by the library – we have one here!


Bensinger, Greg. (2013, May 9). Amazon Is Developing Smartphone With 3-D Screen. Wall Street Journal. Online.

Gilbert, Ben. (2013, May 8). Roku can now tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street with new PBS channels. Engadget. Online.

Greenfield, Jeremy. (2013, May 9). Commentary: Microsoft To Buy Nook? What It Could Mean? Forbes. Online.

Amazon Allows Viewers To Choose Which Comedy & Kids Pilots They’ll Produce

Over the weekend Amazon introduced a new page on its site the “Amazon Original Pilots,” the page has the subtitle “You help decide which shows become series. Watch now for free.” And essentially this is the new cutting edge way to both watch video content (streaming show from the web to your TV, laptop or other device) and to put forth your more than two cents worth about which shows you’d like to see developed and to continue being produced (by both voting on free shows like the eight comedy pilots Amazon is asking for feedback on and paying $1.99 for streaming television episodes and slightly more for movies). You do have to have an Amazon Prime membership in order to watch these pilots for free – that costs $79 per year and does give you other perks including free second day shipping of items, access to all items in the Amazon Prime streaming video library and one free e-book, from Amazon’s lending library, per month.

As far as producing television shows goes Amazon in essence is doing what Netflix has done with its very popular House of Cards series – produced exclusive video content to offer to its members and completely bypassing traditional media and cable companies in the process.

And getting back to the Amazon comedy pilots, the eight pilots (& their plots) currently available for viewing are:

“Alpha House: They work in the Senate. They live in the Alpha House.

Betas: Four friends think they’ve cracked the code for Silicon Valley success.

Browers: Fresh-faced interns face the music, and sing along with it.

Dark Minions: Rules, reports, a Galactic Overlord…just another day at the office.

Onion News Empire: Onion News Network journalists will do anything to stay on top.

Supanatural: These divas are humanity’s last line of defense.

Those Who Can’t: The most immature guys at this high school are teachers.

Zombieland: Four survivors are killing zombies and searching for a home.”

And for John Goodman and Bill Murray fans – check out the Alpha House pilot which features John Goodman in a starring role and Bill Murray in a hilarious cameo!

And the Kids’ Pilot shows include:

“Annebots: Kid scientist Anne explores the world.

Creative Galaxy: Soar with a loveable alien artist.

Positively Ozitivley: Enjoy magical adventures in Oz.

Sara Solves It: Unravel mysteries with Sara and Sam.

Teeny Tiny Dogs: Canine pals help one another.

Tumbleaf: Join the journeys of Fig the fox.”

Here’s a Google shortened direct link to the Amazon Pilots page:

A second link to a Slate article on the comedy pilots titled Can Amazon Transform TV? With eight new sitcom pilots and stars like John Goodman and Bebe Neuwirth, the bookselling giant is willing to try:

And a third link to a New York Times article that offers more information on the new Prime series pilots for kids titled Amazon Introduces New Children’s Programs:

Have a great day!

Linda R.


Amazon Original Pilots. Amazon. Online. Accessed April 22, 2013.

Dell’Antonia, K. J. (2013, April 22). Amazon Introduces New Children’s Programs. New York Times. Online.

Thomas, June. (2013, April 22). Can Amazon Transform TV? With eight new sitcom pilots and stars like John Goodman and Bebe Neuwirth, the bookselling giant is willing to try. Slate. Online.


Used E-Books? Political Silencing Attempt At Blocking Report On Radical Intellectual Property Reform Backfires & The Photo Finalists in the 2013 Smithsonian Nature Photography Contest

Used E-Books?  As anyone who reads our library tech blog regularly knows I tend to get up on my soap box over the issue of digital content ownership or more precisely the lack thereof! I think the fact that you can buy a print copy of The Grapes of Wrath, buy a DVD copy of Star Wars and a CD copy of Abbey Road and actually own those items and keep them forever, donated them to your public library, bequeath them to whomever you wish in your will, sell them or give them away because you own them but that you cannot likewise actually purchase electronic versions of the same items makes no sense. It is not as if the words of the Grapes of Wrath are different if you read the printed book or the e-book, or that the movie Star Wars has a different ending if you watch a digital copy of it on your tablet or laptop or that the songs on Abbey Road are different if they are digital and played on a Smartphone, tablet or computer than they would be if you played the CD on the CD player in your car.

And as a librarian in a public library I am a firm believer that being able to own the printed word in book form is an essential thread in the tapestry of intellectual freedom. And I hold the reverse to be equally true – that the fact that you can’t own books, in the form of e-books, is a growing threat to intellectual freedom.

Of course, public libraries are known as places that protect and preserve information; the intent being that as much information is openly available to members of the public as possible. Further and in relation, the ability to own books, in the form of printed books, has traditionally been a pillar of our free and open democratic society. And the fact that anyone can go to a public library and read any of the books or journals kept there or access information online for free – that allows people access to information that they can use to think and grow intellectually and fosters creativity and depth and breadth of informed decision making regarding a great variety of issues.

For indeed, how can you research a subject be it the history of economic growth in the U.S., the reasons World War I exploded into being in 1914, the best refrigerator to buy or the best county legislative candidate to vote for without having access to books, periodicals and Internet accessed information about those subjects? And most people don’t have the money to purchase all the books and reading materials they’d need throughout their lives to research subjects for personal, academic or professional reasons; nor do a solid number of people have the option to have paid Internet access in their homes.

With all of that in mind, I think public libraries have an essential role to play in preserving and protecting information so it is available both now and in the future for anyone who might need to access that information to make an informed decision, do personal, professional or academic research, write a credible fact based report or simply to learn and grow as an individual.  And being able to preserve and protect information requires that we be able to purchase the information contained in books and journals as we have traditional done – and in the 21st century that material has to include e-books – this is essential because we are moving towards a society that is increasingly accessing the “printed” word through e-books and e-books are currently not being sold by publishers but instead are being licensed to public libraries and individuals as if they were a new version of Microsoft Word that you can license and use but not own and not give to anyone else.

Having gotten up on my soap box and said all of that – you won’t be surprised to hear me say I was thrilled to read an article in the New York Times this morning titled Imagining a Swap Meet for E-Books and Music which discusses the very point that consumers and public libraries cannot currently own digital content, in the form of e-books, e-videos and e-music titles and that this fact is being challenged by lawsuits and on the coming-soon-front the fact that both Amazon and iTunes are apparently working on used e-book stores to work into their sales ecosystems that will allow their customers to sell their purchased e-books and other e-items (music and videos); this in opposition to the way publishers and media companies have sold digital books, audio books, videos and music over the last ten years – as if they were copyright protected software.

Here’s the link to the article:

Political Silencing Attempt At Blocking Report On Radical Intellectual Property Reform Backfires: Recently the Republic Study Committee, which is a conservative think tank housed inside the House of Representatives, directed one of their staff members, 25-year-old Derek Khanna, to write a report on the subject of intellectual property reform. And in 2013 intellectual property refers not simply to physical materials in the form of printed books, printed journals, DVDs and CDs but also to digital content in the form of e-book and electronic video and audio works.  Now I know I mentioned that this think tank is a conservative one – so you won’t be surprised when I tell that they weren’t pleased when Mr. Khanna wrote a report titled “Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it” in which he set down on the printed page the very opposite of what the conservative think tank wanted – that in contrast to current conservative political and business views that hold that strict copyright control is a good thing and fosters innovation within U.S. society that, as Mr. Khanna states in the report, the opposite is true. Mr. Khanna notes of current copyright law that: “copyright violates nearly every tenet of laissez-faire capitalism. Under the current system of copyright, producers of content are entitled to a guaranteed, government instituted, government subsidized content-monopoly.”

Of course Mr. Kannah in essence wrote what the Republic Study Committee thought was a very liberal report and they fired him for that fact, blocked him from getting another job with a different Republic group and tried to silence him by deleting the official report. Mr. Khanna has bounced back from all of this by going public with his report and doing his upmost to promote the ideal of intellectual freedom and that, in relation, our current copyright system needs major reforming. He was even instrumental in gaining attention, along with his fellow petition organizer Sina Khanifar, for the recent petition found on the official White House website that protested a proposed legal amendment that would ban consumers from “unlocking” their cell phones once their initial contract with their carrier (i.e. AT&T, Verizon etc.) was completed. In other words what conservative politicians were trying to do was make it a crime to take the cell phone you paid for that you own after your cell phone contract with the initial carrier ends and switch to a new cell phone carrier and still use that same cell phone. Oh there was little loophole in the legislation you could ask the initial cell phone company through which you bought the cell phone for permission to switch to a new carrier and still use that phone.  Somehow I sincerely doubt that the original cell phone carrier would give you that permission if there was any way around doing so!

And perhaps needless to say there is a link to an article on this subject included in this blog posting! The article is from the Tech Crunch site, and is titled How a Fired Republican Staffer Became a Powerful Martyr For Open Internet, here’s the link:

And if you’d like to check out Mr. Khanna’s report regarding needed copyright reform – here’s the link to the whole enchilada:

The Photo Finalists in the 2013 Smithsonian Nature Photography Contest: And if you’ve read this far you may be pleased to see that this final topic has nothing whatsoever to do with e-books, digital content or copyright reform! I came across the photos that Smithsonian readers have picked as the ten finalist photos in Smithsonian’s 2013 Photo Contest and they are really cool!  All the photos focus on the natural world and were taken by amateur photographers and are breathtaking so I urge you to check them out!

And you can check the photos on the Smithsonian website via the following link:

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.


Chaffetz, Jason. (2013, March 8). How A Fired Republican Staffer Became A Powerful Martyr For Internet Activists.

Finalists PhotoContest 2012. Smithsonian. Online. Accessed March 8, 2013.

Khanna, Derek. (2012, November 16). RSC Policy Brief: Three Myhts about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it. Online.

Streitfeld, David. (2013, March 7). Imagining A Swap Meet for E-Books and Music. New York Times. Online.