Four short links: 17 January 2011

De-DRMing eBooks, Chinese Data, eBook Pricing, and Universal Translation (soon)

  1. Remove DRM from EBooks — it’s been done, and the tools are getting easier to use. The Kindle DRM-remover uses gdb to hook into the Kindle for Mac application, watch when a book’s decoded and snaffle the key. (via BoingBoing)
  2. AliBaba’s Data Possibilities (The Economist) — Alibaba has a huge and barely exploited asset: the data it has gathered on the spending habits of China’s emerging middle class. The firm is cagey about what, exactly, it will do with these data, and insists that it will not violate anyone’s privacy. Nonetheless, there are ways in which Alibaba could profit from what it knows. One idea might be to use customer data to identify trends and so help companies to anticipate what consumers want. Given the paucity of accurate data in China, this would be extremely valuable.
  3. Agency PricingUnder agency pricing, the publisher controls the price and the retailer is not allowed to discount [...] under Agency Pricing and with a reduced sales price of $9.99, the agency publishers are making the same amount of money as its hardcover revenue. (via Hacker News)
  4. Google Translate for ConversationsBecause this technology is still in alpha, factors like regional accents, background noise or rapid speech may make it difficult to understand what you’re saying. As Douglas Adams said, by allowing everyone to understand each other, the babel fish has caused more wars than anything else in the universe.
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