Monday, 13 January 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 14 January 2014

Posted: 13 Jan 2014 09:30 PM PST

Top stories this Tuesday morning include bookstores turning to new business models (link), a list for book lovers (link), a look at how evil Google has become (link), marginalia (link), and more.

  • 19 Quirky Conundrums Only Book Lovers Understand (HuffPost)
  • Bling it up for education (Studio Tendra)
  • Can We All Just Admit Google Is An Evil Empire? (? Co.Labs ?)
  • "Dumbest Thing Ever": Scribbling in the Margins of Dan Brown's Inferno (The Millions)
  • Feds accuse Apple of "character assassination" in fight over antitrust monitor (GigaOm)
  • If this can happen, then please, no more book covers. Ever. (TeleRead)
  • North Jersey bookstores write new chapters into their business models (
  • Three points to help you avoid infringing when using popular source material (Legal Minimum)
  • Two-Thirds of Kids Now Reading Digitally, New Study Shows (DBW)

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Judge Cote Swats Apple, Orders Anti-Trust Monitor to Stay and Monitor

Posted: 13 Jan 2014 03:28 PM PST

Somejudge_denise_cote_small[1] companies know when to throw in the towel on a lost fight, but not Apple.

They were back in court again today so Judge Cote could settle Apple’s latest disagreements with the DOJ and Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed anti-trust monitor, and it did not go well for Apple.

According to Reuters:

Apple Inc lost a bid on Monday to block an antitrust monitor appointed after a judge’s finding that the company conspired to fix e-book prices. At a hearing, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan denied Apple’s request to stay an order requiring an external compliance monitor pending the company’s appeal.

“I want the monitorship to succeed for Apple,” she said.

The judge also said there was “nothing improper” about a declaration filed by a lawyer chosen to serve as monitor, Michael Bromwich, that became the basis of Apple seeking his disqualification. Cote said she will promptly issue a decision explaining her reasoning. Apple will then have 48 hours to seek an emergency stay from the federal appeals court in New York, she said.

Apple will of course appeal this ruling, but I doubt that their appeal is going to accomplish anything.

Apple has never reconciled to the fact that they lost the anti-trust lawsuit last July. As you probably recall, Judge Cote ruled that Apple had brokered a conspiracy so 5 US publishers could control and raise ebook prices. The publishers settled before going to trial, but Apple decided to tough it out and they lost. As a result of that loss the judge appointed an anti-trust monitor whose job was to observe and monitor Apple’s internal efforts to correct the patterns of behavior that led to their past misdeeds.

Judge Cote assigned Michael Bromwich to the position in October,  and Apple has not stopped complaining ever since. They’re not happy about the fees he’s charging or his repeated requests to interview senior management at Apple. The tech company even filed a brief in late November which made a public spectacle of their fight with Bromwich, but their grandstanding accomplished absolutely nothing when they met with the judge the following week.

Judge Cote directed Apple to take their complaints about Bromwich to the DOJ. Unfortunately, Apple wasn’t any more willing to get along with the DOJ than they were with Bromwich, and as a result Judge Cote ordered both parties back into court today.

Apple lost again, but I don’t expect that to stop them. They had already vowed to appeal the July ruling, and we know that they will appeal today’s ruling.  Would anyone care to lay odds on whether either appeal will succeed?

Today’s ruling is almost certainly going to stand, but the July ruling could possibly be overturned or modified. There’s some reason to question whether Judge Cote pre-judged the case, and that might be enough to sway an appeals court. But that appeal has not yet been filed by Apple, so at this point it is little more than speculation.

I must say, when Apple lost the case in July I thought we would be in for a dry and dull period as apple licked their wounds and then moved on. Instead Apple has turned this into a media spectacle in which they keep being told that they are wrong and the DOJ and the court-appointed monitor are right. And just to make things even more fun, Apple’s ongoing media spectacle is generating all sorts of media coverage (like yesterday’s article).

It’s quite entertaining, don’t you think?

The post Judge Cote Swats Apple, Orders Anti-Trust Monitor to Stay and Monitor appeared first on The Digital Reader.

New Benchmark Test Results Show Nvidia’s Newest Chip is Significantly Faster than Tegra 4

Posted: 13 Jan 2014 10:57 AM PST

If you’ve 909bd3350bc64752b7b1b346822691cd[1]been pining for a high-end Android gaming tablet with a high resolution screen then you might want to hold off on buying a new gadget until a tablet with the new Nvidia Tegra K1 chip hits the market.

Tom’s Hardware and WCCFTech spent some time with a few of the prototypes running on the Tegra K1 chip, and earlier today they posted the benchmarks. If you’re looking for a powerful work tablet then this chip might not be worth the wait, but if you’re into hard-core gaming or you want the best hardware on the market, read on.

Nvidia's new Tegra K1 chips will be the first to bring better-than laptop-class Kepler graphics to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. The chips have 192 graphics cores paired with some of the fastest ARM-based processor cores available, making them potentially the fastest chips on the market.

WCCFTech ran a GFX benchmark test and they report that the Tegra K1 chip outperformed the iPad Air, the Galaxy Note 3 (with a SnapDragon 800 CPU), and even a couple PCs. The Tegra K1 chip managed a frame rate nearly 4 times higher than last year’s amazingly wonderful Tegra 4 chip:

909bd3350bc64752b7b1b346822691cd[1]While this is just one way to measure a chip’s performance, when it comes to gaming this is an important yardstick.

But it’s not the only yardstick, and that’s why I’m glad that Tom’s Hardware posted other benchmark results. On one test (Futuremark 3DMark) the Tegra K1 was easily the fastest chip, but the results for a couple other test were more ambiguous. They showed that the Tegra K1 chip was much more capable in theoretical terms  (the offscreen tests) than in practical terms (when it was driving the 3840 x 2160 resolution screen on the Lenovo ThinkVision 28″ Android-based monitor).

3.-LenovoThinkvisionPreview3DMark[1] GFXBench27OffscreenSorted[1] 4.-LenovoThinkvisionPreviewGFXBench[1]

I’m still trying to decide if those results mean that this chip is really as powerful as they say. Yes, the theoretical results show that this chip is much better, but if you can’t see a similar performance when using the actual device then it doesn’t really matter.

At this point I think the offscreen tests are probably the better yardstick. The devices used for these tests are not the polished and finished designs that will hit the market later this year, and that means that the practical scores for the commercially released hardware should be higher than what we see here.

But I would not expect all of the future benchmark test to show a better result For example, the Antutu benchmark shows that while the Tegra K1 chip is a great graphics chip, it’s not all that well-rounded. This test measures all the basic abilities of a chip, and not just the graphics abilities, and it shows that the Tegra K1 was out pointed by the Tegra 4 chip running the Tegra Note 7. The Tegra K1 did outscore in a couple areas but it’s not a clear winner overall.


But no matter how much the scores improve, I don’t think I will be getting one of these tablets. I’m not into heavy duty gaming, and I’m not expecting to want a tablet with a super-high resolution screen like the Lenovo ThinkVision mentioned above. My purposes are well-served by tablets based on much cheaper quad-core and dual-core chips.




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McDonalds Expands Free eBook Program Into Germany

Posted: 13 Jan 2014 08:29 AM PST

Over the past 6 months McDonalds has launched programs to bundle ebooks into the fat and sugar-laden kid’s meals sold in Portugal and the US, and this week they expanded that program in to Germany. 

RTEmagicC_eBooks_McDonalds.jpg[1]The new literacy/advertising program will be running for the next couple months, and it will feature ebooks on the subjects of natural wonders as well as stars and planets. Like the US and Portugal program, the ebooks given away in Germany were developed by UK-based DK Publishing. They’re aimed at children aged three to eight years, and thanks to the sound effects, animations and games they will probably entertain far more than encourage a love of reading. The ebooks will be available via the McDonalds Happy Studio app for iPad and iPhone as well as on the Happy Studio website.

McDonalds has been regularly giving away books in kid’s meals in Germany for a couple years now, but this is the first time they’ve added ebooks to the mix. In the past they have given away books in Germany in the summers of 2012 and 2013. Around 4 million books were given away each time, and then in September 2013 McDonalds also gave around 500,000 audiobooks.

The post McDonalds Expands Free eBook Program Into Germany appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Nook Exec Leaves Barnes & Noble to Join Wal-mart

Posted: 13 Jan 2014 06:47 AM PST

Jamie Iannone, the architect of the rise and fall of the Nook platform, left Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago to take a position managing the Sam’s Club online sales division.

The WSJ reports:

A Barnes & Noble Inc. executive who once oversaw the company’s Nook devices and e-books business has joined Wal-Mart Stores Inc., where he will lead online operations for the company’s Sam’s Club warehouse unit.

The departure of Jamie Iannone, 41 years old, is the latest in a string of executive exits at Barnes & Noble. The departures include Chief Executive William Lynch, who resigned in July after he said the company would stop making its own color tablets in favor of third-party devices. The company later reversed that position in August and is now studying its options. Chief Financial Officer Michael Huseby took over as CEO earlier this week.

After seven years at eBay Inc., Mr. Iannone joined Barnes & Noble in 2009 to help run its website. Shortly afterward, the company promoted him to run its prized digital business, where he oversaw its Nook devices and digital books. As one of the retailer’s highest-paid executives, he earned $2.87 million for the fiscal year ended April 27, including salary and stock awards, according to a proxy statement filed in July.

Jamie Iannone was one of the senior managers who crafted the policy which simultaneously turned B&N’s Android tablets into a walled garden while also neglecting to fill that garden with music, video, or enough apps. Along with Bill Lynch, Mr.Iannone was also one of the 2 people who signed off on the idea of selling the NookColor for $250 and the Nook Tablet for $350 when it launched in late 2011 (the Kindle Fire torpedoed that plan when it launched with a $199 price tag and a very nice content store).

While you cannot blame all of the Nook’s failures on Mr Iannone, he does make the list of the top 5 people who should have been fired a year ago after the disastrous 2012 holiday season (but only because we’re not allowed to line them up against the wall and shoot them). The subsequent decline of the Nook quarter after quarter after quarter only reinforced the point.

Good riddance.

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