- The Morning Coffee – 3 November 2014
- Is Facebook a Life Raft for Web Publishers or the New Gatekeeper?
- Onyx T68 6.8″ Android eReader Update Borks Google Play
Posted: 02 Nov 2014 07:21 PM PST
Must read stories this morning include, well, everything. But I especially liked the post on authors who hate their readers, the need for an ebook DMCA exception, John Scalzi’s take on NaNoWriMo, and what happened when Dear Author’s tech blogger tried to review tablets.
Posted: 02 Nov 2014 06:45 PM PST
I had been following the coverage as the week wore on, but then lost all of the tabs I had open when my copy of Chrome spontaneously delaminated on Thursday. So this afternoon I went looking for the better articles and put together a roundup post.
The crux of the meta-story, as the NY Times put it in the article zero, is that Facebook is trying to get web publishers to work more closely with Facebook, especially with the mobile FB app:
Yep, Facebook wants publishers to hand their content over to Facebook.
I think that’s a crazy idea, but I can see why some publishers are considering it; Facebook earned $3.2 billion last quarter based on a userbase of 1.3 billion people (not all of which are actually visiting the website, though).
That’s a lot of audience members all piled up in one place, and it explains why Facebook was the source for 22% of the website traffic tracked by Shareaholic in September (the rest of the social web accounted for around 7%, and the other 71% ish came from organic search and direct traffic).
All those eyeballs in one place has also inspired a number of publishers to create content aimed at the social audience, Digiday reports:
I don’t know what’s crazier, that so much is being invested in popcorn content (it’s fluffy and goes stale quickly) or that it’s being given to Facebook as a freebie. Not all of the content is that fluffy, but any at all is too much IMO.
But as Digiday explained, Facebook seems to be paying back the investment:
The rise of Facebook as both a source of and destination for news content would appear to be caught in a feedback loop with the idea that social is the future (or at least, the near-future) and that direct traffic (i.e. readers who visit a website everyday) is irrelevant.
That might be true for some sites, but when it does not apply to all. This blog, for example, gets about a fifth of its traffic from readers who have made visiting The Digital Reader part of their routine. That’s a larger traffic source for me than social, and if I factor in the readers who visit after Googling for “The Digital Reader” the number rises even further.
Then again, I am a niche blogger who doesn’t have the resources to devote time to self-promotion on the social web (even though I fully grasp why I should be marketing myself on TW, FB, etc). Perhaps those who do have the resources to invest also gain from that investment, but I would think that before they crawl into bed with Facebook they should recall what happened the last time Facebook convinced them to cozy up.
According to Forbes, it didn’t end well:
Facebook’s News Feed algorithms would best be described as mercurial, and what is hot one week but be cold the next. From the NYTimes:
Marra went on to say that “We try to explicitly view ourselves as not editors” but I don’t see how that could be the case. If the algorithms pick one piece of content over another then the decisions to change the algorithms are arguably editorial decisions.
I wouldn’t phrase it in terms quite so strong as Jay Rosen did on his blog PressThink, but I do agree with his sentiment:
In short, getting into bed with Facebook means that publishers won’t just lose direct page views; they’ll also have to sacrifice editorial control to some degree.
As Chris Duncan, the chief marketing officer of News UK , told Business Insider:
The value and costs of Facebook is an open ended question which won’t be answered any time soon, but as I sit here writing this post I was struck by the question which I don’t see anyone else asking.
Is all this talk about closer partnerships with social networks really the future, or is this just another fad like iPad apps were in 2010?
I don’t know, but that’s definitely a point I will be thinking about as time goes by.
The post Is Facebook a Life Raft for Web Publishers or the New Gatekeeper? appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 02 Nov 2014 01:29 PM PST
Onyx has rolled out a new update for their larger ereader, the T68 Lynx, the week before last. There’s been no formal announcement of the update, but a fellow Android ereader devotee tipped me to the news.
The T68 Lynx sports a 6.8″ Pearl E-ink screen and runs Android 4.0 on a 1GHz CPU. It was originally released in June and has been updated a couple times since then. The new update can be installed from the T68; it can be found in the about menu under the settings menu.
I’ve installed the update and after testing it I would strongly urge you not to touch it. The update adds a number of features (as well as a fix for the touchscreen) but not all of the changes are improvements.
Also, I have encountered a serious problem.
Google Play is no longer accessible. Every time I try to open it, it either closes right away or freezes and then closes. According to the changelog, the update is supposed to add a way to manage your Google account (there was no option for this before), and I suspect that something was inadvertently broken instead.
This issue is particularly troubling because I just put my T68 Lynx through a factory reset. I don’t have any apps at all, and now I can’t install them. I am currently waiting on ArtaTech, one of Onyx’s partners, to tell me how to fix this.
When it comes to the rest of the update, it’s a mixed bag of useful improvements and changes that hurt more than they help. The official changelog is at the end of the post, and while I can’t say that I tested all of it both my source and I noted several changes.
My source reports that his touchscreen now performs better; I never experienced the issues reported by some so I can’t comment. The update adds several apps, including a sketchpad app called Onyx Scribbler and Drive and News apps from Mediapolist (sp?).
The update is also supposed to have added improved TTS, but since a recent factory update has deleted the Ivona folder I have no way to test it. There’s also supposed to be a better option for Google accounts, but I (still) can’t find anything which looks remotely like what I would expect on Android.
I can say that I’ve noticed that the icons in the menu bar have been rearranged; the option for the frontlight has been moved to the last position, and as a result I now have to press the more button before I can select it and adjust the frontlight. That was dumb; I need the frontlight more than I need the settings menu. (Also, the minimum setting is still too bright.)
But never mind the annoyances; after playing around with the T68 I have discovered that Onyx has also updated OReader, the stock reading app. I can’t tell you whether the changes were made in this update or an earlier update which I missed, but I have noticed that the design of the app has changed – and not for the better.
The stock reading app used to default to a full screen mode with nothing at the top and only a minimalist progress bar at the bottom, but now screen real estate is wasted on a status bar at the top and bottom of the screen. And I can’t find a way to make them go away, dammit. (To be clear, I used to have the option.)
But on the plus side, OReader is now considerably faster than it was when I reviewed the T68 Lynx in June. it now turns the page nearly as fast as the Paperwhite or the Aura HD. In June it was much slower.
I’m also seeing different options for fonts and other settings. For example, there is a slider bar for bold which I’m pretty sure wasn’t there before. There’s a similar slider bar for adjusting the contrast, but I can’t see that it is having any effect.
All in all, I am really disappointed in this update.
It adds almost nothing which benefits me, while at the same time it ruined the reading app. That last isn’t such a big deal, given that I can install 3rd-party reading apps, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.
The post Onyx T68 6.8″ Android eReader Update Borks Google Play appeared first on The Digital Reader.
|You are subscribed to email updates from The Digital Reader |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States|