Tag Archives: IPod

eBook “singles” – and the problems

Electronic books, and devices for reading them, are really taking off. In a way, this is reproducing the effect the digital revolution had on music.

One parallel may be with the purchase of music as “singles” rather than albums. The eBook format seems to be ideal for novels and trade books. But it looks like it may be even better for shorter books – the equivalent of music “singles.” Short books can be provided rapidly and cheaply. And they may be more suited to common reading habits than the longer more detailed books.

Amazon thinks so anyway. They recently launched their Kindle Singles selection. Relative short books  each presenting a compelling idea “expressed at its natural length.” And costing no more than a few dollars.

Enter TED Books

Now TED has taken hold of this idea. Many of you are aware of TED – the outfit which describes itself as “a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.” It promotes conferences, events and prizes. These bring together people from Technology, Education and Design. And the ideas are disseminated by videos of the short and stimulating talks given.

You have probably downloaded and watched some of the videos. If not – I recommend you try them out.

TED have just announced the launch of TED books. The publication of short books as eBooks. Effectively taking their videos into a book format. And they are being release through Amazon in the Kindle format.

So TED Books at Kindle Singles is really a book version of TED videos. Their press release announced the first three TED books published as Kindle Singles (The Happiness ManifestoHomo Evolutis and Beware Dangerism!)

This is great and I look forward to many more TED Books.  Well, I would if I could only read them on my Sony eBook reader!

My complaints

So here is my bitch. When the hell are book publishers going to get themselves sorted out? When are they going to overcome the problems presented by different formats and digital rights management?

Why can’t I read kindle books on my eBook reader? (It already accepts ePub and pdf).

Why should I have to purchase another reader (a Kindle) which may not be as good as my Sony Reader Touch, or less suitable for my purposes, just because of the format difference?

Of course I could use a Kindle app on an iPad. But why should I be forced to buy an expensive iPad just to do this? (And don’t tell me about iPods. I have one of these and, No, they are not suitable for comfortably reading eBooks. Nor is reading from a PC monitor comfortable).

Why can’t publishers produce their books in multiple formats? Some already do, but why don’t Amazon make available multiple formats (Kindle, ePub and pdf)?

I hope we are in a transitional phase and these problems will soon be resolved. But if they aren’t it will only encourage production of software which eBook buyers can use to convert formats. This will inevitably mean software for removing digital right management from eBooks to enable conversion.

And that will make eBook piracy a dream – something the publishers surely don’t want.

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A handy app for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad

If you often find you read articles on the Richard Dawkins’ Foundation web site, watch videos or listen to audio on the site you might find the iPhone app useful. And it’s only NZ$1.19.

It provides access to all that useful material direct from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. With it you will be able to read articles, watch videos or listen to interviews while filling in time at the dentist’s waiting room.

For those who don’;t normally look at that site – why not try it. it’s not a Richard Dawkins fan site. More a collection of material of interest to people interest in science, reason and atheism.

The screen shots below give an idea of the material the app makes available.

RDEF 2

See: Richard Dawkins for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

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Check out your ancestors

Here’s a handy little resource of anyone interested in evolutionary science – The Timetree of life.  It enables you to find the last common ancestor of two species. Or, as the website describes it:

“TimeTree is a public knowledge-base for information on the evolutionary timescale of life. A search utility allows exploration of the thousands of divergence times among organisms in the published literature. A tree-based (hierarchical) system is used to identify all published molecular time estimates bearing on the divergence of two chosen taxa, such as species, compute summary statistics, and present the results. Names of two taxa to be compared are entered in the search window and the results are presented on a separate page.”

You can try it out at the search page. Just enter two names and click on search. This is the summary of what I got for humans and onions. Yes, we diverged 1408 million years ago. Continue reading

Get your climate change science on the run

Skeptical Science available on Itunes Iphone App StoreSomebody said that “lies are half way around the world before truth gets its boots on.” An underestimate, I would say.

With the current hysterical attack on climate science and climate scientists this is so true. It takes time to marshal the evidence needed to counter some of the claims being made. And most likely the perpetrator has moved on, in a Gish gallop, to a new issue and avoids facing up to the facts about the old one.

The internet is a great resource for people checking out some of the wild claims being made – providing you use reliable websites. One reliable site is Skeptical science, which has a byline of “Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism.” This site provides the actual scientific facts relevant to most claims made by climate change sceptics and deniers.

Now they have produced an application for the iPhone and ipod Touch. This will bring the much needed scientific information about climate change to your mobile device. Just imagine being able to check out a speaker during a lecture or debate – maybe even obtain the information of a sensible question.

Here’s a description of how to use the application taken from Skeptical Science now an iPhone app. at Skeptical science: Continue reading