Archive for day September 24th, 2011

Clues To Amazon’s “Prime eBooks” Loan Program Found In Kindle Code

scalednew_kindle

Some forum-goers at Mobileread found evidence of something called Prime eBooks in the online Kindle code. Searching for images of the new Kindle Tablet, he instead found a variable describing something called PRIME_EBOOKS_COMPATIBLE.

There is also some text that will show up when trying to deleted a “loaned” book, specifically:

prime_active_delete = “Are you sure you want to permanently delete this loan? Doing so will return the loan and remove it from your account.”

This code is distinctly different from the library loans text also found in the same app. Sadly, there was no evidence of the Kindle Tablet in the code. However, we did confirm that these loans will exist as an Amazon “Prime” subscription service, suggesting a Netflix-like method for downloading many books for a set price.

via the ebook reader



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John Biggs

September 24th

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This Vegas-Style Water Gun Ballet Makes Me Really Miss Summer [Video]

As much as I love autumn... I'm just not ready yet! I wanna be able to do this. Throw in some alcohol and you have yourself a grand old time. [Neatorama] More »


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Kwame Opam

September 24th

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Is Motorola Making Two Xoom 2s? [Rumor]

All the leaks and new images coming out about the new Xoom 2 seem to indicate that there's going to be two models released side-by-side. One could be the true successor to the Xoom. This, according to This Is My Next, will be the smaller Xoom 2 Media edition. More »


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Kwame Opam

September 24th

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"Is My Son Gay?" Is One Aggressively Sad Android App [Wtf]

If you think your son's sexuality can be determined through any means other than actually having a meaningful, face-to-face conversation, then you need to waste your money on the "Is My Son Gay" French Android App. More »


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Michael Zhao

September 24th

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Yes, Google Drive Is Coming. For Real This Time.

gdrive_shot

About a month ago, some additions to the code in Chromium (the open source browser behind Chrome) suggested that the long-fabled “GDrive” may be on the verge of actually launching. A week later, user-facing proof started appearing. Then earlier today, sharp-eyed social media consultant, Johannes Wigand, spotted something interesting during a presentation at a Google-sponsored event: something that sure looks a lot like Google Drive.

And it is.

Over the past month, we’ve been able to dig up more information about Google Drive. First of all, it is very real. And it is being used internally at Google. Of course, it was also real back in 2007 and 2008 before it was eventually killed. But talking to employees back then who saw and used the service all agreed that it was pretty wonky and not ready for prime time. This new version is expected to be much better.

As you can see in Wigand’s picture (above, with important elements circled by me), Google Drive on the web will essentially be Google Docs rebranded. This shouldn’t be a big surprise since Google has been positioning Docs as a sort of Google Drive since early 2010. The difference is that Google specifically didn’t want to call it that at the time. Now they do.

And it makes a lot more sense. Few people are using Google Docs for online storage beyond the files they use in Docs. Most still probably don’t even realize they can. Something as simple as changing the name to Google Drive should help with that. There will also be a new “My Google Drive” area for various folders in Google Drive. There will be other Drive-specific tools as well.

But here’s the real key: there will also be native syncing software that you install on your various computers and mobile devices. Yes, like Dropbox.

This was also true back in the day with GDrive, but again, the service (codenamed: Platypus) was said to be very buggy. Now it is said to work well. If you have a document on your computer that you want to move to another one, you simply drag and drop it into this new Google Drive sync app. Or, of course, you can use the web.

We haven’t heard the timetable for the Google Drive roll-out, but we imagine it will be fairly soon. Again, Google is using this internally right now and has been for some time. One thing that Google may be waiting for is Ice Cream Sandwich, the new version of Android due next month. There may be some built-in Google Drive component to it (though that’s just me speculating). And it seems that it will be at least a part of Chrome, and more importantly, Chrome OS.

Expect Google Drive to reside at drive.google.com (not live yet). It’s not clear how docs.google.com (the current home of Docs) will be used — perhaps as the home of the word processor app or maybe it will just redirect. Also not clear is how Google will allocate storage for this service, but presumably it will be the same as they currently do for Docs/Gmail/etc. You get a certain (ever-increasing) amount for free, and if you need more, you can buy it.


Company: Google
Website: google.com
Launch Date: July 9, 1998
IPO: NASDAQ:GOOG

Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps and YouTube. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing them with a rich source of information....

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MG Siegler

September 24th

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Hitman Falls For His Mark and Fakes Her Death. With Ketchup. For Love [Wtf]

It could only happen in the movies. Except it didn't. A Brazilian woman suspected her husband of cheating, so she hires a hitman to kill the supposed she-devil. Only the hitman falls in love the homewrecker instead. So what does he do? He fakes her murder. With LOTS of ketchup. More »


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Kwame Opam

September 24th

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Verizon Backs Samsung in Fight Against Apple, and Why It Doesn’t Really Matter [Verizon]

Kind of surprising, but Verizon has piped up in the Samsung v. Apple case, arguing that a preliminary injunction against Samsung would ultimately be bad for consumers. Interesting, especially considering just how impotent the move actually is. More »


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Kwame Opam

September 24th

Apple

How Steve Jobs Ruined Comics [Bylineurl=http://www.wired.com]

Before the iPhone, "This image would clearly be understood without the voice balloon, or the character's open mouth," says cartoonist Tom Pappalardo, who jokes that Steve Jobs ruined comics. More »


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Angela Watercutter - Wired

September 24th

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Tools vs. Toys: Why The Timeline Changes Nothing

scaled.Screen Shot 2011-09-23 at 1.49.32 PM

Yesterday Erick and I had an interesting discussion about Facebook vs. Google+ and I came down on the side of G+. Why? Because tools are important, toys aren’t. Granted Facebook’s 500 million visitors a day proves me wrong in numeric terms, but in general usability and quality, I’m coming reluctantly down on the side of Google Plus.

As you well know, Facebook won the Internet with its app features and new timeline feature, a view of your data that offers a sort of time machine into the distant past. I saw pictures of my kids from years ago, their faces implike and far more natal than they are now. It was a great feeling but it lasted maybe fifteen minutes. Now Facebook is showing me a list of things that happened since I was born, a fairly impressive feat given I spent two thirds of my life without the Internet.

Google Plus, on the other hand, introduced enhanced Hang-Outs. Leave it to Google to blow its wad on productivity software. While I find the value of Google Plus dubious at best, I think hang-outs are a great tool and quite disruptive. A room that I can use to share sketches, documents, and photos? Without having to download WebEx or GotoMyPC some other garbage screen-sharing app? That’s the world I want to live in.

I like Google’s tools. They are good and strong and useful. Google Wave was great (while it lasted) and hang-outs are great for tech folks who want to work together. Their goal is the steady erosion of friction between Google’s ad product and the Internet and they do it through the release of tools that Google programmers want to use themselves.

Facebook, on the other hand, is looking for the magic trigger that will turn all those eyeballs into paying customers. Zynga seems to have solved some of the riddle by selling social games, but by releasing Timeline Facebook has clearly decided to mine the valuable content they already have – your pictures, your preferences, and your recommendations. The fact that I can now embed Rdio songs onto my timeline is very telling: add in a music feature and you’ve got a music store to rival iTunes.

This is tools vs. toys. Google gives you tools to work in the information economy while Facebook gives you the toys to play in it. I’m not sure what’s better.

I’ve come to bury Google Plus and Facebook, not to praise them. Both services are essentially time sinks designed in both cases to stroke the souls of thousands of lonely people. I use them both, to be sure, but are they changing anything with these additions? Are they improving our lot in life?

Fans of Neil Postman will recognize a bit of stridency in my voice and I feel it is justified. Just as broadcast media controlled our minds two decades ago, one-to-one media control our minds in the early 21st century. It will take a few generations for us to become immune to the siren’s call of social media and by then the technology will have moved on.

There is a certain territoriality brewing in the G+/FB wars right now and I worry that soon it will be as corrosive as the Android/iPhone fights that pit brother against brother and father against son. I’m not saying I particularly care who wins here – I could take or leave both services and neither of them has offered me anything beyond an impressive list of human beings with whom I can interact. I thank both of these services for that opportunity, certainly, but I believe I’ve talked with perhaps 100 people in my social graph online and even fewer in real life. In short, if I’m so popular why am I still lonely?

In general, however, I can see people using G+ while people simply play with Facebook. It’s an important distinction for every day men and women put away their childish things and want to get down to business. Google is there for them at least in some regard and clearly Facebook is not.



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John Biggs

September 24th

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Windows Phone Mango Will Start Trickling Out on Sept. 27 [Windows Phone]

So it begins. After rumors of a release coming as soon as this week, Microsoft has just about confirmed them. This Tuesday, AT&T customers with the HTC Surround, LG Quantum, and Samsung Focus will get a fresh Mango update. More »


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Kwame Opam

September 24th

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