ENTRIES TAGGED "publishing"

Four short links: 12 June 2012

Four short links: 12 June 2012

Amazon Royalties Suck, Learn Electronics, Microtasks, and Finance Considered Harmful

  1. Amazon’s Insanely Crap Royalties (Andrew Hyde) — Amazon offers high royalty rate to you, but that’s before a grim hidden “delivery fee”. Check out Andrew’s graph of the different pay rates to the author from each medium.
  2. SparkFun Education — learn electronics from the good folks at SparkFun.
  3. TaskRabbitconnects you with friendly, reliable people right in your neighborhood who can help you get the items on your To-Do list done. Lots of people and projects sniffing around this space of outsourced small tasks, distributed to people via a web site.
  4. Henry Ford on Bootstrapping (Amy Hoy) — Amy has unearthed a fascinating rant by Henry Ford against speculative investment and finance. I determined absolutely that never would I join a company in which finance came before the work or in which bankers or financiers had a part. And further that, if there were no way to get started in the kind of business that I thought could be managed in the interest of the public, then I simply would not get started at all. For my own short experience, together with what I saw going on around me, was quite enough proof that business as a mere money-making game was not worth giving much thought to and was distinctly no place for a man who wanted to accomplish anything. Also it did not seem to me to be the way to make money. I have yet to have it demonstrated that it is the way. For the only foundation of real business is service.

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Four short links: 6 June 2012

Four short links: 6 June 2012

Lagging Latency, Don't Take the Extra Cookie, Amazon's Print Plans, and Maker Schools

  1. Why Latency Lags Bandwidth (PDF) — across disk, memory, and networking we see bandwidth growing faster than latency comes down. This paper covers why and what we can do about it. (via Ryan Dahl)
  2. Michael Lewis’s Princeton Commencement Speech — a subtle variation on “work on stuff that matters” that I simply love. Commencement speeches fly around this time of the year, but this one is actually worth reading.
  3. The Amazon Effect (The Nation) — Readers of e-books are especially drawn to escapist and overtly commercial genres (romance, mysteries and thrillers, science fiction), and in these categories e-book sales have bulked up to as large as 60 percent. [...] Amazon swiftly struck an alliance with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to handle placing its books in physical stores. In a transparent subterfuge aimed at protecting its tax-avoidance strategies, Amazon intends to publish many of its books under a subsidiary imprint of Houghton’s called New Harvest, thus keeping alive the increasingly threadbare fiction that it has no physical presence in states where it does business online. I did not know these things. (via Jim Stogdill)
  4. Learn by Doing (Slate) — Dale Dougherty’s excellent call to arms to turn away from zombie-producing standardised test classes to learning by making real things. The empty campus on test day horrified me.
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Four short links: 30 May 2012

Four short links: 30 May 2012

CC-Licensed Museum, Bye Bye API, Socket Server, and Free Taxpayer-Funded Research NOW!

  1. Wide Open Future of the Art Museum (TED) — text of an interview with curator at the Walters Art Museum about CC-licensing content: reasons for it, value to society, value to the institution. What I say in a very abbreviated form in my talk is that people go to the Louvre because they’ve seen the Mona Lisa; the reason people might not be going to an institution is because they don’t know what’s in your institution. (via Carl Malamud)
  2. Twitter Resiles From API-Driven Site (Twitter) — performance was the reason to return to server-assembled pages, vs their previous “client makes API calls and assembles the page itself”.
  3. Stripe Einhornlanguage-independent shared socket manager. Einhorn makes it easy to have multiple instances of an application server listen on the same port. You can also seamlessly restart your workers without dropping any requests. Einhorn requires minimal application-level support, making it easy to use with an existing project.
  4. Petition the Whitehouse For Access to Taxpayer-Funded Research (Whitehouse) — We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research. Sign this and spread the word: it’s time to end the insanity of hiding away research to protect a handful of publishers’ eighteenth century business models.
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Four short links: 16 May 2012

Four short links: 16 May 2012

Old Periodicals, Learning to Code, Substituting for Newspapers, and Charty Font

  1. Many Old Periodicals — I’m working my way through the back issues of “Thrilling Love”. Sample story, Moonmist for Mary by Dorothy Daniels, from Feb 1950. Filing clerk Mary wins the heart of her secret coworker romance AND closes the sale AND is promised stock. It’s torn from the pages of real life, I tell ya!
  2. Please Don’t Learn to Code (Jeff Atwood) — my take: everyone who is a “knowledge worker” should learn to program (who of us has not seen people wasting time with something we could automate in 10 lines of code?). It’s hard to justify an adult like Bloomberg to take the time to learn to code, because he’s already powerful and can hire other people to code. For this reason, I think kids should routinely be taught computational thinking (decomposition, pattern matching, etc.) and programming as a useful application of these skills. (via Jim Stogdill)
  3. Fungible NewsHere’s my hypothesis. Educated people over forty have come to assume that journalism, whether on television, radio, print or the web, is the most convenient way to get answers to questions like what’s on the television, what’s going on in my neighborhood, who got elected, who is making a mess of things, any new music I should hear? [...] The younger the person you ask, the less likely it is you’ll find that link between wanting to know what’s going on and grabbing a paper or opening up a news website. They use Pinterest to figure out what’s fashionable and Facebook to see if there’s anything fun going on next weekend. They use Facebook just the same to figure out whether there’s anything they need to be upset about and need to protest against. (via Phil Lindsay)
  4. FF-Chartwell, a Graph-Making Font — brilliant! Font uses ligatures to show graphs. This is an elegant hack in so many ways, for example: copy and paste and you get the bare numbers! (via Chris Spurgeon)
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DRM-Free Day, forever.

DRM-Free Day, forever.

Authors and publishers need to get creative with piracy. DRM isn't the answer.

Mike Hendrickson: "Adding DRM to content to deter theft … are you kidding me? Seriously, think about that. It will take a good programmer about an hour to get past most DRM, or a manual shop somewhere in the world will cut and scan the physical book and away it goes."

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Four short links: 17 April 2012

Four short links: 17 April 2012

Animal Imagery, Infectious Ideas, Internet v Books, and Transparency Projects

  1. Penguins Counted From Space (Reuters) — I love the unintended flow-on effects of technological progress. Nobody funded satellites because they’d help us get an accurate picture of wildlife in the Antarctic, but yet here we are. The street finds a use …
  2. What Makes a Super-Spreader?A super-spreader is a person who transmits an infection to a significantly greater number of other people than the average infected person. The occurrence of a super spreader early in an outbreak can be the difference between a local outbreak that fizzles out and a regional epidemic. Cory, Waxy, Gruber, Ms BrainPickings Popova: I’m looking at you. (via BoingBoing)
  3. The Internet Did Not Kill Reading Books (The Atlantic) — reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.
  4. Data Transparency Hacks — projects that came from the WSJ Data Transparency Codeathon.
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Four short links: 16 April 2012

Four short links: 16 April 2012

Competition, Creation, Minimalism, and Monop{ol,son}y

  1. Peter Thiel’s Class 4 Notesin perfect competition, marginal revenues equal marginal costs. So high margins for big companies suggest that two or more businesses might be combined: a core monopoly business (search, for Google), and then a bunch of other various efforts (robotic cars, TV, etc.). Cash builds up because it turns out that it doesn’t cost all that much to run the monopoly piece, and it doesn’t make sense to pump it into all the side projects. In a competitive world, you would have to be funding a lot more side projects to stay even. In a monopoly world, you should pour less into side projects, unless politics demand that the cash be spread around. Amazon currently needs to reinvest just 3% of its profits. It has to keep running to stay ahead, but it’s more easy jog than intense sprint. I liked the whole lecture, but this bit really stood out for me.
  2. Kickstarter Disrupting Consumer Electronics (Amanda Peyton) — good point that most people wouldn’t have thought that consumer electronics would lend itself to the same funding system as CDs of a one-act play about artisanal beadwork comic characters. Consumer electronics as a market has been ripe for disruption all along. That said, it’s ridiculously not obvious that disruption would come from the same place that allows an artist with a sharpie, a hotel room and a webcam a way to make the art she wants.
  3. OmniOS — OmniTI’s JEOS. Their team are engineers par excellence, so this promises to be good.
  4. Understanding Amazon’s Ebook Strategy (Charlie Stross) — By foolishly insisting on DRM, and then selling to Amazon on a wholesale basis, the publishers handed Amazon a monopoly on their customers—and thereby empowered a predatory monopsony. So very accurate.
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Top Stories: April 9-13, 2012

Top Stories: April 9-13, 2012

Carsharing boosts city governments, why complex systems fail, and what web ops teams could do with big data.

This week on O'Reilly: How Zipcar's technology is saving big money for U.S. city governments, why scalable clouds need simple parts, and pondering the possibilities of web ops and machine learning.

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Four short links: 9 April 2012

Four short links: 9 April 2012

Ebooks Numbers, Data Monopolies, Single Sign On, and Large Network Use

  1. E-Reading/E-Books Data (Luke Wroblewski) — This past January, paperbacks outsold e-books by less than 6 million units; if e-book market growth continues, it will have far outpaced paperbacks to become the number-one category for U.S. publishers. Combine that with only 21% of American adults having read a ebook, the signs are there that readers of ebooks buy many more books.
  2. Web 2.0 Ends with Data Monopolies (Bryce Roberts) — in the context of Google Googles: So you’re able to track every website someone sees, every conversation they have, every Ukulele book they purchase and you’re not thinking about business models, eh? Bryce is looking at online businesses as increasingly about exclusive access to data. This is all to feed the advertising behemoth.
  3. Building and Implementing Single Sign On — nice run-through of the system changes and APIs they built for single-sign on.
  4. How Big are Porn Site (ExtremeTech) — porn sites cope with astronomical amounts of data. The only sites that really come close in term of raw bandwidth are YouTube or Hulu, but even then YouPorn is something like six times larger than Hulu.
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Four short links: 6 April 2012

Four short links: 6 April 2012

Agile FBI, Lucky Meat, Hiring Introverts, and Future of Reading

  1. FBI Uses Agile (Information Week) — The FBI awarded the original contract for the case management system to Lockheed Martin in 2006, but an impatient Fulgham, who was hired in 2008 to get the project on track, decided to bring it in house in September 2010. Since then, the agency has been using agile development to push the frequently delayed project across the finish line. The FBI’s agile team creates a software build every two weeks, and the pre-launch system is now running Build 33. The agency is working on Build 36, comprised mainly of features that weren’t part of the original RFP. Fulgham says the software is essentially done.
  2. Lucky Meat (Matt Webb) — the man is a mad genius. If you believe “mad” and “genius” are opposite ends of a single dimension, then I will let you choose where to place this post on that continuum. Then when you choose your tea (or coffee), the liquid is shot as if through the barrel of a gun BANG directly at your face. We use facial recognition computer chips or something for this. It blasts, and splashes, as hard and fierce as possible. And then the tea (or coffee) is runs down the inside slope of the “V” and is channeled in and falls eventually into a cup at the bottom apex where it finally drips in. Then you have your drink. (But you don’t need it, because you’re already awake.)
  3. Quietly Awesome — how are your hiring processes biased towards extroverts? See also I don’t hire unlucky people.
  4. How We Will Read (Clive Thompson) — Clive is my hero. I feel like we see all these articles that say, “This is what the e-book is,” and my response is always, “We have no idea what the e-book is like!” All these design things have yet to be solved and even thought about, and we have history of being really really good at figuring this out. If you think about the origins of the codex — first we started reading on scrolls. Scrolls just pile up, though. You can’t really organize them. Codexes made it easier to line them up on a shelf. But it also meant there were pages. It didn’t occur to them for some time to have page numbers, because the whole idea was that you only read a small number of books and you were going to read them over and over and over again. Once there were so many books that you were going to read a book once and maybe never again, it actually became important to consult the book and be able to find something inside it. So page numbers and indices became important. We look at books and we’re like, “They’re so well designed,” but it took centuries for them to become well-designed. So you look at e-books, and yeah, they’re alright, but they’re clearly horrible compared to what they’re going to be. I find it amazing that I can get this much pleasure out of them already. AMEN!
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