Friday, 11 April 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Authors Guild Files Appeal in Google Books Lawsuit

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 08:24 PM PDT

When The the authors guildAuthors Guild lost the 8 year old Google Books lawsuit last November, it was obvious that The AG would be filing an appeal of Judge Denny Chin’s ruling which expanded the fair use doctrine of copyright law.

Google Books is the colloquial term for a decade old book scanning project where Google sought to scan both in and out of copyright books with the goal of serving up snippets in their search results.  The Authors Guild filed suit in 2005, and after multiple rounds of appeals, motions, and a negotiated settlement which was rejected by Judge Chin, The Authors Guild lost the lawsuit in late 2013.

The Authors Guild filed its appeal in the Google Books case today, and it argues pretty much what you would expect. They objected to every part of the ruling, arguing that Judge Chin was wrong when he:

  • endorsed each and every aspect of Google's Library Project by applying an unprecedented, expansive and erroneous interpretation of the fair use doctrine.
  • essentially ignored the inherently commercial nature of the Library Project and wrongly determined that the entire program is "transformative."
  • failed to separately evaluate whether each of Google's uses, including its reproduction, archival storage and distribution of the books in full, passes the transformative use test.
  • further disregarded that, in order for Google's search function to operate, Google did not need to distribute the e-books to its Library Partners, display "snippets" of search results to its users or store multiple copies of the e-books on online servers.
  • brushed aside the actual and potential harm to the literary market inflicted by the Library Project.
  • failed to heed one of the Supreme Court's key mandates in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 579 (1994), by failing to acknowledge that its ruling will open the door for others to copy, display and distribute digital versions of copyrighted works for their own commercial advantages and subjecting those works to further security risks.

I won’t presume to critithe merits of the appeal, mostly because Judge Chin’s ruling was a novel interpretation of fair use, and as such it is entirely possible that the appeals court might decide to over turn his ruling.

I would note, though, that this appeal is but one string in The Authors Guild’s bow.

The general counsel of The Authors Guild recently testified at a congressional hearing on this topic, requesting that Congress pass legislation to create an ASCAP-like organization to administer the digital rights which Google can now use under the fair use doctrine. Early signs suggest that Congress won’t be drafting any changes to copyright law at this time, but that could change.

appeal (PDF at Scribd)


P.S. If you have the time you might want to read the press release and the sections of the appeal that mention Amazon. Anyone familiar with The Authors Guild and its hostility towards Amazon will likely be entertained by the claims that Amazon was harmed by the Google Books decision.

The post The Authors Guild Files Appeal in Google Books Lawsuit appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Amazon to Launch Their Smartphone in June

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 02:49 PM PDT

Not the smartphone you are looking for.

Not the smartphone you are looking for.

Rumors about Amazon’s smartphone have been circulating since 2011, and today it suddenly got a firm release date and a some impressive specs.

According to the WSJ, it’s going to be launched in June and ship by September. And apparently it’s going to have a paparazzi of cameras:

The people said Amazon hopes to distinguish its phone in a crowded market with a screen capable of displaying seemingly three-dimensional images without special glasses, these people said. They said the phone would employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras, or sensors, to make some images appear to be 3-D, similar to a hologram, the people said.

So it’s going to have 4 front-facing cameras, huh? Boy is my face red.

The details reported by the WSJ sound a lot like the speculation which was reported last month. Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the Amazon smartphone would have 6 cameras, including “four cameras will be used for gesture control, allowing users to operate the smartphone without touching the touch panel.”

Yes, that is the speculation that I called hogwash, which in retrospect may have turned out to be the wrong call. Whoops.

In my defense, it was safe to bet against the analyst being right, especially when he was mentioned by name as having a 50-50 accuracy. His prediction sounded outrageous then, and it still does.

I have trouble believing that Amazon is going to release a smartphone with 6 cameras. I believe a smartphone is coming, and I believe that it will have at least one camera, but 6 cameras?

On a technical level, that simply doesn’t pass my BS filter. I can’t give you a specific technical reason, but I have trouble believing that it can be made to work or that Amazon can make the phone cheaply enough.

But my doubts don’t matter much, because all signs point to me being wrong.

The post Amazon to Launch Their Smartphone in June appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Dstrux Launches a Self-Destructing File-Sharing Service

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 01:01 PM PDT

Adobe and dstrux[1]other companies have long offered expiration dates on certain types of files (library ebooks, for one), and now a new file-sharing service is launching which promises to offer a similar ability for any type of shared file.

Dstrux was created for the person that needs to maintain control over the sensitive documents they share online. According to its founders, Dstrux gives creators the ability to control ownership and track what is shared online after hitting send.

It’s a pretty simple service. Upload a file, set a deadline in either minutes, days, or weeks, and then share the file by Facebook or email (twitter is not listed as an option). The recipient can see the file but it will still be protected against altering, printing, copying, forwarding or screenshots.

Or at least that’s what Dstrux claims; the service doesn’t work for me. I immediately set out to test it, but so far I have been unable to share a file with myself or anyone. Update: I’m told my problems are caused by normal the high demand most sites experience on launch day.

And that’s a shame because I am curious to know how Dstrux is controlling access. I don’t see how they can control the file after I have a copy, much less stop me from forwarding it like the press release claims.

DRM platforms like Adobe can cut off access because they control the file and the app you use to display the file. Dstrux, on the other hand, is supposed to let you share all sorts of files.

If I have to download a music or video to play it, how exactly would Dstrux stop me from copying it and uploading it elsewhere? It doesn’t seem like they can, and that’s why I was looking forward to playing with testing the service.

I plan to keep trying to get the service to work. If you want to explore the service yourself, Dstrux will be available free of charge for the first three months. Dstrux apps for iOS and Android are scheduled to be released this summer.

And if anyone has an explanation as to how Dstrux works, the comment section is open.





The post Dstrux Launches a Self-Destructing File-Sharing Service appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Barnes & Noble Was a Larger Tablet Maker in 2011 Than Samsung

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 10:52 AM PDT

Samsung color_nookgot off to a rocky start when they released their first tablets in late 2010 and early 2011, but only now are we finding out just how poorly Samsung did in those first few quarters. A new internal Samsung doc has been uncovered, and it tells us that Samsung’s own internal figures place their tablet sales at a much smaller figure than anyone had previously expected.

The doc was found during discovery by Apple’s lawyers as part of the latest round of patent infringement lawsuits between the two electronics giants. According to the chart posted by Forbes, Samsung believes they sold around one million tablets in the US in 2011.

This was during the period that Samsung was caught out with the lie that they had sold 2 million tablets in the first quarter of 2011, but later had to walk that claim back and admit that they had made 2 million tablets but had not actually sold them all.

Now we know that Samsung had sold only about half that many. That’s a million tablets for the entire calendar year, not just a single quarter. In comparison, Samsung believes that B&N sold 1.5 million NookColors in 2011.


This same chart says Amazon sold 5 million Kindle Fire tablets after it was released late in the year, but even though both Samsung and B&N were outdone by Amazon that doesn’t change the fact that Samsung was still thrashed by a bookseller which at that point had only released a a couple ebook readers and a couple tablets (counting the Nook Touch in mid-2011 and the Nook Tablet in late 2011).

Those were Barnes & Noble’s glory days; it’s a shame they didn’t last.

The post Barnes & Noble Was a Larger Tablet Maker in 2011 Than Samsung appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Total Boox Will Make Their Pay-as-You-Read Service Free During National Library Week

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 10:11 AM PDT

In honor oftotal-boox[1] National Library Week, Total Boox announced today that their "pay-as-you-read" metered ebook platform will be completely free next week to all users.

This Israeli startup offers a catalog of over 20,000 titles from a wide variety of publishers, and next week anyone with an Android or Kindle Fire tablet, iPhone, or iPad, in the United States and around the world can download and read any of the ebooks for free.

Total Boox is making this bold move in order to help public librarians everywhere introduce their patrons to ebooks and to encourage those who already read ebooks to explore the cornucopia of titles available on the Total Boox platform.

“Libraries and reading are inseparable, so it seems fitting to celebrate libraries by inviting people to read,” said Yoav Lorch, Founder and CEO of Total Boox. “Public libraries continue to face many challenges with ebooks. Let's take our minds off the issues during National Library Week and shift the focus back on reading. We are thrilled to help libraries promote reading in their communities.”

When Total Boox isn’t free, it is a service that charges readers based on the pages they access. eBooks cost nothing to download, and readers are only charged for the portion of the book that they read. Any pages accessed become part of the reader’s personal library, and if a reader finishes an ebook they will be able to access it later.

Total Boox offers a catalog of more than 20,000 fiction and nonfiction titles from  some of the world's premier publishers, including O'Reilly, FW Media, Sourcebooks, Other Press, Elsevier, Red Wheel Weiser, Berrett-Koehler, Open-Road, and many more.

Total Boox initially launched to provide this service to consumers and students (hence the technical publishers), but late in 2013 they started pursuing partnerships with libraries. After a Fall 2013 pilot at the Westchester Library System, Total Boox announced in January that the program was available to all interested libraries.

Total Boox



The post Total Boox Will Make Their Pay-as-You-Read Service Free During National Library Week appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Feed Reader Reeder 2 for OSX Now in Public Beta

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 09:25 AM PDT

Many of image-13795164056HeBrx[1]the news reader apps which depended on Google Reader managed to adapt and survive within weeks of the Readerpocalypse last Jule, and Reeder was no exception.

This popular app for OSX and iOS gained its independence from Google Reader last April, and it’s back on my desk again today with the news of a major new release. Reeder 2, the new and much improved app, is now available for OSX. This is strictly a beta release, so caveat emptor.

The new version of Reeder was released for the iPad and iPhone late last year, but it only arrived on OSX today. The app has new features and a new look:


The developers have replaced Google Reader syncing with modern alternatives: Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, and Fever, the same as on the iOS apps. You can also use the app independent of any web service.

This blogger runs Windows, and cannot test the app. Have you tried it? What do you think?


The post Feed Reader Reeder 2 for OSX Now in Public Beta appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Intel Launches a Keyboard Dock for Their Educational Tablet

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 07:09 AM PDT

Intel Education intel education keyboard dockhas long offered schools several hardware choices including both a tablet option and a laptop option, and earlier this week they combined the two with the launch of a new keyboard dock.

The Intel Education 2 in 1 combine’s Intel’s existing 10″ educational tablet with a new dock. The dock adds an optional 3 hour battery life as well as a trackpad and a full keyboard, but I cannot find info on whether it also adds other features like ports or card slots.

The Intel Education 2 in 1 is powered by a quad-core Intel Z3740D CPU, runs Windows 8.1, and provides up to 7.8 hours of battery life. Like its tablet predecessor, it features a stylus, a temperature sensor probe, and a snap-on magnification lens that turns the camera into a microscope.

intel education keyboard dock

The dock is designed to attach to the tablet both in regular laptop mode and in a reversed presentation mode. The tablet can also be folded down so it lies flush with the dock, which includes a carrying handle.

Like the tablet, the dock has been ruggedized to withstand the worst that kids can do to it. It can withstand drops of up to 70 cm and is water and dust resistant. When attached to the tablet, it can be dropped as much as 50 cm and shrug it off.

The Intel website has been updated with details about the new device, and it would seem that the Intel Education 2 in 1 is going to replace the Windows laptop Intel launched in January 2014. All mention of that device has been removed from the Intel website. Curiously enough there is no mention of Intel-based Chromebooks (this is new).

Apple has convinced the unwary that tablets are the future of education so it might sound odd that Intel would launch a dock, but it makes sense to me.

The second most widely distributed educational device in the US (after the iPad) is the Chromebook, and that is only available as a laptop – with a keyboard. And even when I read of tablets being distributed in schools, more often than not a keyboard is handed out at the same time.

The one to one iPad program in the LA schools was going to include handing out a keyboard case with each iPad, before the programs was scaled back and delayed. And the troubled Amplify program in Guilford county schools in North Carolina also included keyboards along with the Amplify tablets.

Intel is clearly responding to what educators and students need while giving them the best of both worlds. By combining a tablet with a keyboard dock, Intel can combine the portability of a 10″ tablet with the functionality of a laptop.

This might not appeal to everyone, but even in the consumer market it has found a niche. Many tablet makers, including Asus, Acer, HP, and more, offer a keyboard dock for at least one of their tablets.

education-2-in-1-tablet education-2-in-1 intel education keyboard dock intel education keyboard dock


The post Intel Launches a Keyboard Dock for Their Educational Tablet appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Plastic Logic Unveils a 4″ Flexible OLED Screen

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Plastic plastic logic flexible oled prototypeLogic has been teasing us since February that they had a flexible OLED screen under development, and last week it left the lab and appeared in public.

MyPrintResource is reporting that Plastic Logic’s newest OLED prototype was on display last week at the Printed Electronics Conference in Berlin. I cannot find very much original press coverage, but the conference did release a photo which shows a prototype screen.

This screen is reportedly 4″ in diagonal, and it is described as being full color and having a resolution of 360 × 128.  While that is a low screen resolution, it’s not bad for a prototype which only recently left the lab.

plastic logic flexible oled prototype

According to Plastic Logic, the 3:1 aspect ratio was designed to represent a smartwatch and to illustrate how the fundamental flexibility of their screen technology makes it ideal for the new generation of wearable devices.

No information is available as to when we will see this screen on a product, but I would not expect it to hit the market before 2016 at the earliest. This tech only just left the lab, and it should take at least that long to develop a design which can be mass-produced.

And while 2 years might seem like a long time for consumer products, the original research took even longer.

Plastic Logic has been working on flexible screen tech since it was spun out of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in the year 2000. Their first factory wasn’t built until 2008, and their first product, the Que ProReader for business users, was unveiled at CES 2010 after several years of development. Unfortunately the Que never shipped; it was killed by the iPad, which cost less and did more.

The Que had an epaper screen which combined E-ink’s screen tech with a flexible backplane like the one used in the prototype OLED screen. After the market for ebook readers fell a part in 2010, Plastic Logic tried to revive their prospects with the launch of an educational ereader in Russia before turning their efforts to licensing their flexible tech.

Plastic Logic’s tech can be used to produce flexible circuitry, including flexible image sensors, and several partners have been announced over the past couple years.

Plastic Logic only announced that they were developing a flexible OLED screen in February of this year. They partnered with NOVALED , a Samsung subsidiary (a minority share, to be exact). NOVALED is a specialist in OLED screen tech, and it is their frontplane which is mounted on Plastic Logic’s backplane.

The post Plastic Logic Unveils a 4″ Flexible OLED Screen appeared first on The Digital Reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment