Technology

Blind patrons sue Philadelphia Free Library over Nook e-Readers

Blind patrons sue Philadelphia Free Library over Nook e-Readers
With the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, four blind patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia—Denice Brown, Karen Comorato, Patricia Grebloski, and Antoinette Whaley—have filed suit (case number: 12-2373) against the library because they cannot access one of the library’s programs for which they are eligible. The Free Library of Philadelphia has instituted and announced plans to expand a program in which free NOOK Simple Touch e-readers, which are manufactured and sold by Barnes & Noble, are loaned to patrons over the age of fifty. Unlike some other portable e-readers that use text-to-speech technology and/or Braille to allow blind people to read e-books, the NOOK devices are completely inaccessible to patrons who are blind. The library’s conduct violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

How to Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet

How to Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet
There are no secrets online. That emotional e-mail you sent to your ex, the illness you searched for in a fit of hypochondria, those hours spent watching kitten videos (you can take that as a euphemism if the kitten fits) — can all be gathered to create a defining profile of you.

Your information can then be stored, analyzed, indexed and sold as a commodity to data brokers who in turn might sell it to advertisers, employers, health insurers or credit rating agencies.

Annealing the Library

Annealing the Library
What if a public library could fund a blogger of urban architecture to cover in detail all proceedings of the city planning department? What if it could fund a local historian to write an open-access history of the town? What if school libraries could fund teachers to develop open-access courseware? What if libraries could buy the digital rights of copyrighted works and set them free? What if the funds were available right now?

Why the death of DRM would be good news for readers, writers and publishers

Why the death of DRM would be good news for readers, writers and publishers
There's the other population of readers – the very occasional reader, someone who'll grab a book on the way to a beach holiday or a weekend away and then toss it out afterwards. Avid readers start off as occasional readers, and there are a lot of occasional readers in aggregate, so it's not a market that publishers can afford to alienate.

Collusion Browser Plugin Shows You Who's Tracking You on the Web

Collusion Browser Plugin Shows You Who's Tracking You on the Web
Once installed, Collusion works much like its Firefox counterpart, except with better tracking detection and some UI changes Chrome users will appreciate. The map is completely empty. As you browse, you'll see the sites you visit start to appear on the map, and if they drop tracking cookies on your computer you'll see them in red. Hover over any of the circles on the map to read more about the site, and whether it's a known tracker. If you already have privacy extensions installed, you'll likely see fewer circles on your map. Either way, you'll probably see lots of interconnected circles

Be Very Afraid: The Cable-ization of Online Life Is Upon Us

Be Very Afraid: The Cable-ization of Online Life Is Upon Us

Imagine what’s possible from Comcast’s perspective: If you can slice and dice traffic, play definitional chess (“that’s not the internet, that’s a specialized service!”), and be the only game in town, you’ll get to replicate the cable model by making sure that every successful online application owes its success in part to you and pays you tribute.

E-paper watch raises 7 million on Kickstarter

Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android has raised 7 million dollars on Kickstarter. The display is e-ink so that it is view-able in full sunlight. The watch will display the time and text messages from your smart phone.

There are going to be apps on it so someone will make a reader app. I read entire NYT articles on my old cell phone that had an equal size screen to this watch.

See Kickstarter for details.

Inside Washington's high risk mission to beat web censors

Inside Washington's high risk mission to beat web censors
For more than a year, the intelligence services of various authoritarian regimes have shown an intense desire to know more about what goes on in an office building on L Street in Washington DC, six blocks away from the White House.

The office is the HQ of a US government-funded technology project aimed at undermining internet censorship in countries such as Iran and Syria. And so every week – sometimes every day – email inquiries arrive there that purport to be from pro-democracy activists in those places, but which, the recipients are confident, actually come from spies.

Why Clifford Stoll is RIGHT about the internet

Every once in a while the.effing.librarian has a good point....
Why Clifford Stoll is RIGHT about the internet:
Yet for his goofs, Stoll gave me one of the wisest pieces of wisdom, ever. On one television program, he espoused having two computers, one for online and one that never touches an outside network. Because that was the only way to guarantee that your data would be safe. One day, you'll wish you'd listened to him.

The Internet will be a fad with little value

The Internet will be a fad
He thought the Internet had no future. Merely a fad. A passing fancy.
We were reminded of scientist Clifford Stoll yesterday when we posted a photo from when the Internet first came to NPR. MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert recently stumbled upon a gem from the MPR archives, a 1995 interview with Stoll by MPR host Paula Schroeder. Stoll was promoting his book Silicon Snake Oil (at the same time he also published a Newsweek article titled, "The Internet? Bah!")

"STOLL: I'd say it's not that important. I think it's grossly oversold and within two or three years people will shrug and say, '"Uh yep, it was a fad of the early 90's and now, oh yeah, it still exists but hey, I've got a life to lead and work to do. I don't have time to waste online." Or, "I'll collect my email, I'll read it, why should I bother prowling around the Worldwide Web or reading the Usenet" simply because there's so little of value there."

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