March 2009

Retired Librarian Cuts the Internet Cord

In the early 1990s, Jack Hicks was among the first of his friends to go online. He was also one of the first library bosses in the Chicago area to provide free public Internet access.

Now Jack, 69 and retired, is the first person he knows to have pulled the Web wire on his own home computer. “Mainly, it’s a time-waster. And there’s so little time. Why waste it?” asked the former Deerfield Public Library executive director.

“In retirement, I’m interested in real life, not an imitation of life.” Pioneer local has the story.

Authors have lost the plot in Kindle battle

Cory Doctorow says Amazon’s Kindle 2 text-to-speech feature is not so much violating authors’ copyright but rather basic consumer rights.

Dropping $359 (£251) on a device whose features are subject to the outcomes of ongoing negotiations to which you are not a party is, frankly, nuts. Would you buy a car if it was known that your air-conditioner and stereo system could be remotely disabled?

Do-It-Yourself Magazines, Cheaply Slick

For anyone who has dreamed of creating his own glossy color magazine dedicated to a hobby like photography or travel, the high cost and hassle of printing has loomed as a big barrier. Traditional printing companies charge thousands of dollars upfront to fire up a press and produce a few hundred copies of a bound magazine.

With a new Web service called MagCloud, Hewlett-Packard hopes to make it easier and cheaper to crank out a magazine than running photocopies at the local copy shop.

Charging 20 cents a page, paid only when a customer orders a copy, H.P. dreams of turning MagCloud into vanity publishing’s equivalent of YouTube. The company, a leading maker of computers and printers, envisions people using their PCs to develop quick magazines commemorating their daughter’s volleyball season or chronicling the intricacies of the Arizona cactus business.

Full story in the New York Times

Saving Your Digital Life

Saving Your Digital Life: Like most of us online and definitely like most libraries, Jason Griffey creates more and more and more digital relics as he go through life. Pictures, videos, songs bought, ebooks downloaded, things written….you name it. If it’s being created you can bet it’s probably being created digitally. This all adds up, though, and the fate of any hard drive is to be filled with both really important, highly critical files and with digital ephemera that you want, but don’t need daily. He has a three-fold solution that he uses, and will hopefully be helpful in solving some problem for libraries (or at least, librarians) out there.

You’ve Read the Headlines Now Read the Book

As the metabolism of the culture has sped up in the digital age, pockets of the publishing industry are prodding themselves out of their Paleolithic ways and joining the rush, with more books on current events coming out faster than ever before reports Motoko Rich in today’s New York Times.

For generations the publishing industry has worked on a fairly standard schedule, taking nine months to a year after an author delivered a manuscript to put finished books in stores. Now, enabled in part by e-book technology and fueled by a convergence of spectacularly dramatic news events, publishers are hitting the fast-forward button.

Fujitsu Launches Color e-Book Reader in Japan

Japanese electronics maker Fujitsu has stepped into the e-book fray with the a color e-paper mobile device aimed at consumers. Thin and lightweight like its competition the Kindle, Fujitsu Frontech’s awkwardly named FLEPia, is now on sale in Japan and will start shipping on April 20 for around $1,000. Customers will have the option of purchasing e-books through the FLEPia-ya Web site via Japan’s largest e-book online retailer Papyless while connecting the device to the Internet via wi-fi.

A book catalog – on Twitter?

Literary types are obsessed with Twitter,” observes GalleyCat, the mediabistro daily book blog. They may be right. As the same blog points out, there are book clubs on the microblogging site, as well as hardcover books composed of Twitter posts (see “Twitter Wit” and “My Life In Tweets.”)

And now there is even a book catalog on Twitter.

Countryman Press is putting their entire fall catalog on the microblogging site, with all books noted and summarized in 140-word posts.

Following CiL 2009 on Twitter

If the hashtag in use remains the same during the conference, these two links can help you follow along via Twitter:

In context, relatively speaking, on Twitter Search:
RSS feed to pipe into your reader: