Google is offering over a Million eBooks for Download

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Back in 2006 publishers and authors gathered together to file a class action lawsuit against Google Books. It is easy to see why, digital downloads are threatening the music industry and books could be perceived to becoming under the same threat. Just as Google revolutionised the way we navigate the internet, they are now assisting the future of books.

Today the Twitter stream is ablaze as Mashable has spread the news of #GoogleNowOffers. Quite simply Google have announced that they have reached “Our groundbreaking agreement with authors and publishers”. In a much needed celebration you can now ‘Download Over a Million Public Domain Books from Google Book in the Open EPUB Format’.

Of course you will no doubt have noticed that Sony released their “Amazon challenger” a couple of days ago. In some circles it has been announced as the Kindle killer. You may have seen my post ‘Future of Newspapers: eReaders?’. Amazon has been working their socks off to try and release the Kindle internationally and Sony have now given them some healthy competition.

So this news of Sony releasing their Amazon challenger, Google offering 1 million books for download, has come just after Sony is to ‘back open e-book format’. Notice a link between these three stories? No doubt Google’s ePub download offerings will be an outcome with an agreement with Sony. Oh wait! Sony and Google have made a deal.

Without any question of doubt I am very excited by this news. Suddenly the Amazon store is over shadowed by Google’s hoarded book collection and the Kindle’s wireless device is now no longer unique. Sony is now said to be in discussions with newspapers to get digital subscriptions sorted. We are truly witnessing history in the making.

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No Comment

With the uprising of Twitter and other social networking websites I have come to ask myself a simple question…

Do people still bother to leave comments on blog articles?

I think leaving comments on blogs might be in decline. Only you can prove me wrong.

As Tala Vista: Happy Birthday Unix!

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This article has nothing to do with student life, even University happenings. Will even be fairly arbour in nature. I want to ask you a simply question. Why would somebody remove Windows Vista on their laptop? Well, I took the honour to type up a little list earlier.

  1. Frustration
  2. Annoyance that everything runs slowly even on the fastest system
  3. Every waking hour is blighted with pop-up system messages
  4. The constant disappointment that Windows Aero was never that great
  5. Increased key pressed to find even the most simple system item
  6. Frustration (again)

So now that we have drawn up a list (feel free to comment your own) what should we replace Windows Vista with? Although I would like to avoid the word ‘replacement’, a ‘replacement’ for Windows Vista would be stray fuse around the house, a broken spoon on the floor or a novel written by Alan Titchmarsh. No, what we are looking for is an improvement. What we need is a system which is fresh and exciting. So, I took the liberty to type you another little list.

  1. A system that provides more eye candy than a lap dance
  2. Remains at the forefront of operating system (OS) developments
  3. Will not cost you a single penny or leg
  4. A human literate system
  5. Easy expandable options
  6. Up right stiffening joy

As the horribly obvious title of this article suggests I have replaced Windows Vista with a Unix based OS. As the sadder ones of you may know Unix comes in two large variants, commercially and publically. Notably, the Apple OS and the very slightly underdog Linux OS.

This month Unix celebrates its 40th anniversary and so what better way is there to celebrate Unix than to install Linux on my laptop? Using Linux as a main OS is a bit like diving into a swimming pool hoping that the man fills the empty abyss with water in time. Questions have plagued my technological corrupted mind, such as: Will I be able to do all my work on Linux? How reliable will the system be? How compatible will my hardware be? Basically…

Will Linux fulfil all my personal needs for stiffening joy and as a student constantly hitting essay deadlines?

If you excuse the cliché, I suppose time will tell. Even though I have knowledge of how Linux works I have never used it as my primary OS.

My advocacy of using Linux as an OS is quite timid though. I would never recommend that a friend should use Linux. Whilst the open source movement is an ideal that should be admired, it would be impossible to follow completely unless you avoid all commercial gadgets in the world. I even have to brush embarrassingly past some of the criteria I made earlier. It is widely known, a simply Google will prove it, that Linux systems always encounter compatibility issues.

Issues regarding hardware wired deep within the guts of computer and issues with software compatibility. A handful of companies have actually made official Linux drivers for hardware and even some of those don’t work. Linux is not nearly commercial enough among consumers to have any holding on how hardware or software companies should produce their goods. For this reason the majority of software on Linux has been written only for Linux. Usually by people within the computer industry working on a side project or by hardcore Linux enthusiasts (usually these two people are the same person).

So there is my little update. Perhaps not particularly interesting to you (in which case congratulations if you have read this far) but I’m afraid the prospect of diving into the world Linux and submerging myself in a different world of computing is exciting. Could be considered subversive but for me technology is only for pleasure.

Driven mad by comments

Really this post is a little bit of a rant and I hope that you will forgive me for this. I just can’t understand the type of ill-thought work patriotism some individuals have. The menial, tedious argument that choosing a degree is pointless, a waste of money. The sort of people who say that they, as tax payers, fund our education. People specifically who seem to have enough time in their ‘so called’ busy work day to write comments of upmost arse on thisisgloucestershire.co.uk.

I know I shouldn’t care. I know that reading comments on the internet is something one should avoid. Responding to them is a cardinal sin, so consider myself committed to this sin with this post. Who knows, I may have just brought this pathetic argument of “ditch University for work” to this very blog. The fact of the matter is that University students do work! Shock and horror.

I have juggled around five jobs this summer in order to have enough money to fund my second year of University education. At the same time a debt is building up in the background towards my degree and living costs. How dare people say that they fund our education. More importantly, how dare people say that University is pointless. University deriving from the French universite to mean ‘whole’. If we look at the very foundations of the word, which is from the Latin universum, then University comes to mean “all existing matter”. The same roots as the word Universe actually. Students can become whole filling themselves with academia.

The people who have written such fascist comments on thisisgloucestershire.co.uk will most likely chuckle at the though of academia it seems. Since when did knowledge become unnecessary in the work place?! Of course experience is needed as well! The fact of the matter is to chose the correct degree and you will get a lorry load of experience and education.

Leave out the tremendous amount of contacts one can build up studying their degree. Leave out the experiences of living away from home, in a new area, meeting a broad range of people. Leave out opportunities such as writing for newspapers, producing radio and doing talks which University provides and what are you left with? Nothing.

There is nothing wrong with leaping into the world of full time work but what can a young person expect to find at the moment? Not much. We have 2.42 million unemployed people in the UK and only a few thousand jobs available. Surely being in education, studying a course you enjoy, is the best thing to do at the moment? Most people have a vast variety of experiences during their gap years.

I would love to see the people who say A levels are too easy to actually take the exams. I would love to know why students have such a negative stereotype attached to them. I am the second person in over four generations of my family to have the opportunity to go to University. I have been fortunate enough to be born in an age where the intellect is praised so much that the government regard it a necessity to give all young people the option to study in further education. I would have been mad to have rejected this opportunity. Although, apparently, I would do a lot better in life immediately joining a practical trade as an impractical person.

Future of Newspapers: eReaders?

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It would be an understatement to say we are living in changing times, revolution has called and Rubert Murdoch blew the final whistle. Murdoch has said that there is a plan to release a News Corp e reader which will be in direct completion to Amazon’s Kindle. The Kindle e reader allows books, magazines and newspapers to be wirelessly downloaded directly to the device.

Downloading of newspapers, the digital subscriptions to newspaper, purchasing news content; these are all goals for the journalism industry. As I have shown before, the sales of newspapers have been dropping steadily every year. The cause of this problem is simple, ‘Why buy a newspaper when news is freely available online?’

Rupert Murdoch has called the end of free news content online. “The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites.”

All of his publications will need a subscription from next year to view content online. In some parts of the industry Murdoch has been met with criticism but most praise this move. We are living between two very different ages. One day (people my age) will be telling our kids of how, in the past, newspapers were printed on paper. You could access news content free online and how those good old days have now passed.

It is easy for us as consumers to scoff and announce our total rejection of Murdoch’s money making scheme. I have to admit that paying to read The Sun online brings uncontrollable shakes of disapproval to my body. However, will paying for journalism online become a necessity eventually? If The Sun had an exclusive celebrity story, which could only be read from The Sun, would you be prepared to pay subscription? Alternatively you could buy The Sun newspaper and read the story that way.

Murdoch’s scheme is money making but is also a method to heal the journalism industry. To give the industry a new breath of financial life and have it fuelled by costs other than advertising.

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The BBC is technically already doing what Rupert Murdoch has proposed. Our license fee to the BBC could be viewed as a subscription cost to BBC News. The example fails for anybody who doesn’t purchase the license fee; views the BBC from abroad but the BBC do receive payment for their news services. There is no doubt that the BBC will be the mainstream content against other news sites offering subscription as the BBC provides content without subscription. The license fee dominates the market and with Murdoch’s subscription plan, other newspapers will eventually move the same way and the BBC will certainty come under attack and criticism.

I am utterly convinced that paying subscription for newspapers online will be:

  • Only the first stages of reinventing journalism’s model
  • A necessity for being the only way to one day view newspapers

In 1984 there were 1000 internet devices in the world. In 2008 the number of internet devices in the world rose to 1,000,000,000. The amount of digital devices in the world is constantly increasing and with this will change how the internet will be viewed. The internet will become increasingly handheld and the majority of the content on the internet will one day be viewed through our PDAs, Mobiles (if a conventional mobile still exists then) and e readers.

In the UK e readers have hardly penetrated our market yet. Sony primarily dominates but the majority of people are still sceptical about moving away from paper books. What I can see on the horizon is a Harry Potter scenario, where ink will move on the newspaper’s pages and now we have the technology to do that.

eInk provides the technology for almost every e reader on the market. eInk essentially allows a digital paper display. This is achieved through positively and negatively charging ink molecules to change a position on a display. There is no glare from an e reader, it appears as paper and the battery is only needed when ink needs to change pattern. A charge is not needed for electronic ink to stand on a page. Due to this a single charge on a lithium battery will keep an e reader going for almost 2 weeks with heavy use.

The Amazon Kindle, which is currently only available in America, does more than read eBooks though. It allows you to digitally subscribe to newspapers and magazines; this truly challanges newspapers. Why carry newspapers, magazines and books around with you when you could use a paper thin device to host them all? Whilst the Kindle only allows subscription at the moment other e readers will follow suit.

Online subscriptions to newspapers won’t just be online. Eventually you will be able to subscribe monthly to receive newspapers on your e reader.

So am I dreaming? Not really. Amazon is working very hard to get their Kindle e reader over to the UK following their success in the American market. As we speak Amazon are apparently sorting out subscription deals with newspapers, magazines and mobile operators. The technology for e readers is constantly improving and Sony (the current leading e reader in the UK) is releasing further additions to their e reader product line.

Whilst e readers have not captivated a wide audience through the purchasing of digital books, I think they will change the way we read newspapers. I would like to believe that e readers will have an explosion of popularity this Christmas but alas I am an innovator. I will be buying the new Kindle when it comes out this Christmas, subscribing to newspapers and magazines but it may take longer for the majority of the public to catch up. I believe Murdoch is aware of the eNewspaper future. This might just be his first move, the industry’s first move, for properly accepting digital technology and journalism can work together.

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