Bibliofuture's blog

Mobile Travel Guides Can Help, but Trust Books

As with so many smartphone apps, it is tempting to look at the current spate of mobile travel guides and proclaim the end of their paper counterparts as we know them.

But to borrow a phrase often delivered to impatient travelers, we’re not there yet.

The better mobile travel guides, like Fodor’s iPhone City Guides ($6, for various locales), Lonely Planet’s Compass Guides ($5 on Android devices, for 24 cities) and Condé Nast’s Traveller series ($6, for Apple devices, covering four destinations), may be great for generating ideas and, at times, finding attractions or restaurants while out and about, but they are still harder to use than a book.

Full article

Data Scrapers

Data Scrapers are third-party organizations that use automated software to copy public data about people and products off of websites, sometimes to sell the information to advertisers. Wall Street Journal Technology Editor Julia Angwin says that this wholesale data capturing may change the way we see privacy on the internet.

Star Trek Cited by Texas Supreme Court

The following news almost makes up for how often I hide my head in shame of the decisions of the Texas courts. Especially when it comes to issues of science in schools, personal freedoms, and separation of church and state.

In the case of Robinson v. Crown Cork and Seal, the Texas Supreme Court has cited Mr. Spock. No, not Dr. Spock, the alleged parenting expert, but Mr. Spock, the Vulcan. Quoting from the opinion delivered on October 22, 2010, Justice Don R. Willett states:?

Read More http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2010/10/star-trek-cited-by-texas-supreme-court/#ixzz13hKKNLtE

The Phone Book

While there have been billions of copies printed, the phone book largely remains a neglected cultural artifact. Ammon Shea, author of The Phone Book: The Curious History of the Book That Everyone Uses But No One Reads talks about the often overlooked cultural impact of the phone book.

Working Needlepoint QRcode Facebook Link

See picture on Flickr of a Needlepoint QRcode Facebook Link - http://www.flickr.com/photos/tikaro/4438484758/in/pool-1080612@N20/

Variation on the sexy librarian trope

Making Ignorance Chic

Op-ed in the NYT by Maureen Dowd

Casanova’s rule for seduction was to tell a beautiful woman she was intelligent and an intelligent woman she was beautiful.

The false choice between intellectualism and sexuality in women has persisted through the ages. There was no more poignant victim of it than Marilyn Monroe.

She was smart enough to become the most famous Dumb Blonde in history. Photographers loved to get her to pose in tight shorts, a silk robe or a swimsuit with a come-hither look and a weighty book — a history of Goya or James Joyce’s “Ulysses” or Heinrich Heine’s poems. A high-brow bunny picture, a variation on the sexy librarian trope. Men who were nervous about her erotic intensity could feel superior by making fun of her intellectually.

Full op-ed

Wal-Mart to Add Nook to Inventory of E-Readers

Wal-Mart, which will begin selling the Nook in 2,500 of its stores, also plans to sell the e-reader on its Web site later this month.

Full story here.

Netflix update

Report: Netflix Accounts For Up To 20% Of Downstream Bandwidth In U.S.
http://bit.ly/atRle1

Netflix 'now primarily a streaming company,' could offer DVD-less plan this year
http://bit.ly/ckxO6a

CHART OF THE DAY: Netflix Streaming Up 145% In A Year
http://read.bi/aAEXfT

E-Book Sales Continue to Surge

Short piece at ReadWriteWeb about the increase in ebook sales.
http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2010/10/15/15readwriteweb-e-book-sales-continue...

$263 million in ebook sales in 2010

National Book Award finalists announced: No Franzen

The National Book Award finalists announcement Wednesday morning in Savannah, Ga., contained one major surprise: The acclaimed bestselling novel by Jonathan Franzen, "Freedom," failed to make the list. Author Pat Conroy read out the five finalists in four categories -- fiction, poetry, nonfiction and young people's literature -- at Flannery O'Connor's childhood home.

Full article in the LA Times

Heavy

A friend loaned me his iPad to try. I was just testing it and was only reading for a couple minutes and in that time I was struck by how heavy it was. The iPad is very dense and I found it cumbersome to hold. To me the iPad is very much a table top device. If you can lay it on a table the issue of it being heavy goes away. I also found the glare on the screen to be frustrating. I was noticing the glare when I was surfing the web not just when I was trying to read a book. The glare was not from outside sunlight but from conventional office lighting.

I have an iPad mini (aka iPod Touch) and find the screen big enough for reading and watching video. I am sure the iPad is perfect for some people but make sure you try one in person before you buy it.

In Defense of Naïve Reading

Opinion piece in the NYT titled: In Defense of Naïve Reading

Excerpt: Remember the culture wars (or the ’80s, for that matter)? “The Closing of the American Mind,” “Cultural Literacy,” “Prof Scam” “Tenured Radicals”? Whatever happened to all that? It occasionally resurfaces, of course. There was the Alan Sokal/Social Text affair in 1996, and there are occasional flaps about winners of bad writing awards and so forth, but the national attention on universities and their mission and place in our larger culture has certainly shifted.

Merchants of Culture

Merchants of Culture

The world of book publishing is going through turbulent times. For nearly five centuries the methods and practices of book publishing remained largely unchanged, but at the dawn of the 21st century the industry finds itself faced with perhaps the greatest challenges since Gutenberg. A combination of economic pressures and technological change is forcing publishers to alter their practices and think hard about the future of the book in the digital age.

In this book – the first major study of trade publishing for more than 30 years – Thompson situates the current challenges facing the industry in an historical context, analyzing the transformation of trade publishing in the United States and Britain since the 1960s. He gives a detailed account of how the world of trade publishing really works, dissecting the roles of publishers, agents and booksellers and showing how their practices are shaped by a field that has a distinctive structure and dynamic. Against this backdrop Thompson analyzes the impact of the digital revolution on book publishing and examines the pressures that are reshaping the field of trade publishing today.

With Apple Move to Verizon, a Shift in the Market

After more than three years of using AT&T networks, Apple is said to be making an iPhone 4 for Verizon.

Full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/technology/09phone.html?_r=1&ref=technology

The Case for Books

Chapter one of "The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future" can be read here.

The era of the printed book is at a crossroad. E-readers are flooding the market, books are available to read on cell phones, and companies such as Google, Amazon, and Apple are competing to command near monopolistic positions as sellers and dispensers of digital information. Already, more books have been scanned and digitized than were housed in the great library in Alexandria. Is the printed book resilient enough to survive the digital revolution, or will it become obsolete? In this lasting collection of essays, Robert Darnton—an intellectual pioneer in the field of this history of the book—lends unique authority to the life, role, and legacy of the book in society.

MGM and Warner Near on Deal for 'Hobbit' Films

An agreement would allow the director Peter Jackson to begin shooting J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” next year.

Full story at NYT.com - Media Decoder

Paul Collier on the "bottom billion"

-- Read More

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great

From its first issue in April, 1970, the National Lampoon blazed like a comet, defining comedy as we know it today. To create Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, former Lampoon illustrator Rick Meyerowitz selected the funniest material from the magazine and sought out the survivors of its first electrifying decade to gather their most revealing and outrageous stories. The result is a mind-boggling tour through the early days of an institution whose alumni left their fingerprints all over popular culture: Animal House, Caddyshack, Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters, SCTV, Spinal Tap, In Living Color, Ren & Stimpy, The Simpsons—even Sesame Street counts a few Lampooners among its ranks. Long before there was The Onion and Comedy Central news shows, there was the National Lampoon, setting the bar in comedy impossibly high!

Book was featured on NPR: Brilliant To Dead: The High Art Of 'Lampoon' Satire

Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff (TED Talk)

Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff

It may seem that big problems require big solutions, but ad man Rory Sutherland says many flashy, expensive fixes are just obscuring better, simpler answers. To illustrate, he uses behavioral economics and hilarious examples.

See presentation here: http://www.ted.com/talks/rory_sutherland_sweat_the_small_stuff.html

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