Kurzweil, is there anything this guy can’t do? His book the Singularity is Near has spawned a whole new way of thinking about the future. He is a prolific inventor past and present. So what’s he go an do? Well remedy the bland existence of eReaders that’s what! —
One of Blio’s major advantages over current e-book readers is that the software offers a full color experience. E Ink, which is the black-and-white display used currently in almost all e-readers, works best for text, and even then most e-books still look ugly, thanks to design limitations in the readers.
Blio actually lays out the “pages” as they would be seen on paper, with typography and illustrations copied across. It also supports video and animation. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of the interactive magazine applications (also meant for upcoming tablet devices) shown off by the likes of Time Warner, Popular Science publisher Bonnier and Wired’s parent company Conde Nast.
Add to that some nifty features such as text-to-speech and the ability to synchronize things (like bookmarks, highlights and the page you last read) across multiple devices, and it makes for an interesting e-reader.
“We can take a PDF and an audio book and merge the two to get a combination such that you can hear the audio book and see the words highlighted on the PDF at the same time,” says Peter Chapman, an executive at Kurzweil Technologies.
For publishers, says Kurzweil the advantage is that Blio preserves the original book’s format, including typsetting, layout, fonts and pagination.
Wired goes on to mention stiff competition, etc. My guess is maybe not. First this has the attributes that most any student or researcher keeps in the stachel — marker, highlighter, sticky notes, etc. Then it supports color. Of course that’s more a hardware restriction than anything. But still color will probably be what separates the have nots from the haves in the ebook market very quickly once power issues are corralled.
What’s not to like? Well format for one. Got too many right now. Many non-Amazon systems were starting to gravitate around the ePub format. This will delay that for awhile.
Now the hardware makers need to step up. The merge of tablet and eReader will continue. Somebody will come out with a 8.5×11 formatted screen and the rest will be history. Whoever does it will have the same impact that IBM did when they introduced their laptop line oh so many years ago.
Look, I think Verizon has the duty to make a buck for its shareholders. It also in my view has a obligation to play fair with its customer base. Sometimes the two are in conflict. When that happens, sometimes the FCC takes notice –
“Late Friday, Verizon Wireless responded to the Bureau’s queries. The company’s answers, however, are not satisfying and, in some cases, troubling. In particular, I am concerned about what appears to be a shifting and tenuous rationale for ETFs. No longer is the claim that ETFs are tied solely to the true cost of the wireless device; rather, they are now also used to foot the bill for ‘advertising costs, commissions for sales personnel, and store costs.’ Consumers already pay high monthly fees for voice and data designed to cover the costs of doing business. So when they are assessed excessive penalties, especially when they are near the end of their contract term, it is hard for me to believe that the public interest is being well served.
“I am also alarmed by the fact that many consumers have been charged phantom fees for inadvertently pressing a key on their phones thereby launching Verizon Wireless’s mobile Internet service. The company asserted in its response to the Bureau that it ‘does not charge users when the browser is launched,’ but recent press reports and consumer complaints strongly suggest otherwise.
“These issues cannot be ignored. Wireless communications are an essential part of our lives, linking us to our places of business, our communities, and our loved ones. The bottom line is that wireless companies can truly earn their desired long-term commitments from consumers by focusing primarily on developing innovative products, maintaining affordable prices, and providing excellent customer service. I look forward to exploring this issue in greater depth with
my colleagues in the New Year.
Or so says Mignon Clyburn.
Verizon responded –
* most customers who terminate do so in the first year;
* no matter when a customer terminates a contract, Verizon loses more money than the ETF covers;
* based on those two points, Verizon would lose too much money if it evenly prorated the $350 ETF;
* so by unevenly prorating, Verizon can keep the initial ETF lower than it otherwise would be, but high enough over the life of the contract to adequately offset losses.
Here’s the problem with their logic. If the customers require such high support $$ then adjust you plan rates. Also please explain why we keep hearing in the press about phantom key sequences that activate services without knowledge of the customer. It might explain the additional support costs. Also if most smartphone users quit in the first year then smart money would say you slam them for $350 up to and including month 13 or 14. Then prorate monthly as the chance of leaving has decreased significantly. Eh?
Bottom line? All the carriers thought they were just selling a cell phone with the capability to view short video clips. They never thought people would spend hours watching YouTube clips, short films, etc. They were wrong, got caught flatfooted and so now they are CYA’s themselves all over the place. No sympathy fellas.
There is an old Texas saying that goes “its getting deep in here”. Our government has spent an unprecedented amount of money to create jobs, build infrastructure, and improve the Internet as justification. As most of you know by now, the only thing that is shovel ready is that we all need shovels to clear away the pile of BS about “jobs created or saved” we have been getting from the our leaders in Washington DC. For the 11th month in a row, this policy has only produced more shuttered businesses and more jobs lost. Few if any have any better faster or cheaper Internet.
They haven’t spent all of the “broadband stimulus” money on maps yet, so there’s still a little hope if they change course. If the money must be spent, there are positive ways to do it. It doesn’t even take a person who has any tech experience beyond thumbing his Blackberry. For example, former hedge fund manager Andy Kessler has a couple of great suggestions.
• Climb poles for wireless. Every street light in the country can be fitted with a wireless access point. Lots of companies, including Google, have tried to roll this out. But dealing with thousands of state and local governments to get access to poles and power is a nightmare. A stroke of the pen can create the Local Wireless Corps, with unfettered access to street lamps, telephone poles and utility sheds to create a massive wireless network to deliver Internet access—10 megabit, even 50 megabit speeds—to both homes and next generation mobile phones. AT&T and Verizon will complain about the competition, but so what—they’re hardly hiring.
• Dig fiber ditches. Even faster wireless is too slow. If, as the Federal Communications Commission states, broadband is a priority, let’s open up the right of way to a Local Fiber Corps to lay fiber-optic strands to every one of the 120 million U.S. residences (even the 10 million empty ones). The goal is gigabit speeds. It’s attainable now. New applications like YouTube are bandwidth hogs. It’s hard even to imagine the types of applications possible in a 100 meg or gigabit per second speed world. The only one way to find out? Build it. Then sell the fiber along with the wireless lamp posts to the highest bidders. More than one in each town will keep competition alive. And with so much bandwidth, arguments over things like network neutrality will magically disappear. (Wall Street Journal)
I personally know DOZENS of qualified professional folks who would be very happy to climb telephone poles and dig ditches for a lot less than they were making a year ago. They’ll do it because they are unemployed. Of course, these folks are network and IT professionals, not map makers. Then again, if the government would stop borrowing it might make more credit available to small businesses again. Then, these businesses might hire a these unemployed professionals.
Not only was the Kindle Amazon’s most popular gift of all time, that gifting caused digital books to outsell the dead tree versions on Christmas day this year. Barnes and Noble way underestimated demand for its new reader, and even Sony unloaded a boatload of its pricey reader that has an equally pricey and limited library.
As the ebook evolves rapidly, we will see that battle between device makers intensify with the big players struggling to hand onto proprietary platforms and DRM. In fact, I fully expect Apple’s new tablet to be joined at the hip to ebooks drawn exclusively from Apple’s own store. Besides a very high price for the one trick pony readers, that growing collection of closed, proprietary platforms, with draconian DRM will keep most consumers sidelined. I would think that publishers and book sellers would have learned from the errors of big music.
The platform battle may be dwarfed by the battle brewing between publishers, authors and retailers. With electronic distribution, the deep pockets of the publisher become less important to enterprising authors. Most never get big advances, or benefit from publishing house promotion. Retailers like Amazon are developing platforms that allow them to interact directly with authors to distribute product. This is not making life easy for publishers, who remain relevant largely because of new copyright laws that keep them in control of the bulk of material created in the last century. The battle brewing within the industry could be the nastiest we’ve seen in the copyrighted works arena so far. The risk for publishers is that they could end up without a business to run if the don’t make peace with the other parties soon.
Readers want books that are plentiful and cheap, publishers want to preserve their profit, and authors want a larger share of revenue. The conflict has created a strident internecine battle inside the publishing industry. At issue are the price and timing of e-books, and who owns the rights to backlist titles. While publishers, agents and Amazon.com bicker, there is little time for conceiving new content that satisfies customer demand. If the book business doesn’t tune in to that demand, it could wind up as a transitional source for the e-readers. (Washington Post)
By VICTOR GODINEZ / The Dallas Morning News
If you want to see a thrilling war movie about America’s battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, forget about heading to your local movie theater or calling up your Netflix queue.
You need an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 video game console and a game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for epic action from today’s front lines.
Hollywood churned out dozens of in-the-trenches, pro-America extravaganzas such as Wake Island and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo while World War II was being fought.
But the portrayal of the U.S. military during its current engagements has been more subdued and even critical.
Game makers have stepped into the breach. And they’re making huge bucks crafting patriotic entertainment pieces for which the movie industry used to be famous.
I think we will be seeing more of this kind of shift in the future. Hollywood’s problem is that they are hung with portraying a message that overrides the artistic value of the production. You can see that at the box office too. Something to be said when Avatar is running neck and neck with an Alvin and the Chipmunks animation.
Not to say film has not had messages as part of the medium. Take a look at Casablanca a perennial must see film. Hollywood’s problem is they are running counter to the ethos of country as a whole. That the game makers do not seem to be making that mistake probably has more to do with the technology rather than any overt consideration on the production team.
A trend to watch.