Reminder: this list is largely culled from taking a look at my 500+ feeds in Fever’s Hot section for the past week.
Amazon wirelessly removed Kindle Editions of George Orwell books from people’s Kindles. The entire internet exploded in alarmist uproar, as it is wont to do, and Amazon issued a statement noting that it would never do this again. Although I’m anti-DRM and I like where Amazon ended this issue, I wasn’t very happy watching it unfold, not because of Amazon, but because of how everyone reacted. If you looked at this story beyond the headlines and actually did some investigation into what happened (most early posts about this didn’t), you’d see that the copy of 1984 that was removed from everyone’s Kindles was an unauthorized copy. Someone who didn’t own the rights to the book published it and sold it on Amazon, abusing Amazon’s rather open publishing platform (you can publish DRM free titles on it; you can also publish DRMed titles on it) to steal content and redistribute it. Also, Amazon refunded everyone the money for the item removed. It seems to me like Amazon could have done a better job of communicating what was happening and some people could have done a better job of initially reporting on it (instead of jumping to hyperbolic claims of this being a “Big Brotherian plot”; it sure sounds poetic given the books that were removed, but it isn’t good reporting).Keep in mind, none of these multiple stolen copies of this book would have been sellable in the non-digital world that we’re all used to reading books in. They would have been photocopied, taped together slabs of paper, sitting on a bookshelf next to nicely-bound official copies of the same works, so that neither Amazon nor Amazon’s customers would have been fooled into participating in theft in the first place.
What Amazon should have done: Amazon should have removed the titles in question from its store, emailed its customers informing them that Amazon had mistakenly sold and they had mistakenly bought stolen copies of these works, told its customers that it was refunding their money, pointed to another legal copy of the books in question (if they exist in Kindle format; if not point to the paper copies), and ask their customers to kindly delete the stolen copies from their devices.
How everyone should have reacted: any way other than the way everyone did, which effectively amounted to the modern day equivalent of screaming burn the witch! Amazon, just like all of us, is learning to deal with its own technology. There are going to be growing pains like this. I just hope we all learn, rather than everyone simply mobbing up, screaming at Amazon, and demanding justice in the face of actions that were meant—however poorly they were executed—to be just. If I were a suspicious-type (I am), I would think that someone published these specific books illegally on Amazon in the hopes that exactly the type of ridiculous explosion of news would result from his/her actions in order to reveal everyone involved to be fools.
Google added My Location awareness to Mobile Safari on the iPhone. Translation: you can now use your iPhone to search for things close to where you currently are directly from Google in the iPhone’s browser. Neat.
I‘m still working on my review for Obsessable, but one of the things that I’ve been thinking about since I first received my iPhone 3GS and started shooting video with it was that I needed a tripod mount to use it with my Joby Gorillapod.
For some reason, I was thinking about this tonight, and remembered the nice little white holster of plastic that came in the box of my iPhone 3GS and cradled it so nicely. So, I took that, took a 3/16 drill bit and drilled a hole where the camera is and another where the recycle symbol was on the back of the plastic holster. I shaped each hole slightly wider using the drill. The recycle symbol hole was just the right size to be a bit tight for the mounting screw, so that the screw itself could tap its own path tightly in the plastic hold. Once that was mounted together, all that was left to do was put a little padding and some tape over the exposed mounting screw to keep it from scratching the back of my iPhone 3GS, and then to find a way to hold the iPhone in the holster. Although it’s a bit of a quick fix, two thick rubber bands did the trick nicely.
Here’s a Flickr slideshow set of the tripod mount: