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Latest on e-books, e-paper, DRM and related technologies



Last Build Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2016 20:35:18 GMT

 



The demise of the gadget

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:40:08 GMT

I don't think there's anything especially revelatory here, but it's a good exposition of the situation: The Gadget Apocalypse Is Upon Us. (http://p.nytimes.com/email/re?location=4z5Q7LhI+KVBjmEgFdYACPLKh239P3pgBgEGBL816epH+ykfX3VtzTQS+LKFR8MoP+UoZdwN2MLeSQsvDi7uhOta+6v+qcY52DVTv6tOsgneQlKqYVqU3UnSLNstPFjmkfY5OR6pgdCI4vAinakLSv9YhhwZV4QEU6drf2CZ519twqwGZ31I+fg6e6CnwRvZH/jBIzX/bbu4ohBKZ6wnMGxECYpgphj+&campaign_id=17095&instance_id=87530&segment_id=99300&user_id=7bc65bf9fe347c888bff1d779c48a4d6®i_id=16567528) ---Quote--- For 30 or 40 years, through recessions and war, through stability and revolutions, they were always there, one gadget after another, from transistor radios to TRS-80s to Walkmen and Gameboys, then iPods and Flips, GoPros and Fitbits. We were sure gadgets would always be with us, because they had always been with us, and it was good. But no. Winter is coming for gadgets. Or maybe winter has already come for gadgets. Everywhere you look, these days, gadgets seem on the rocks. ---End Quote--- I'm kind of a Luddite myself. I usually don't like the "new-and-improved," preferring the "tried-and-true." Moreover, I tend to like dedicated gadgets, rather than an all-in-one, to the extent that my tote tends to clack with the assortment I'm carrying - dumb phone, unactivated smart phone, eink reader, small tablet (sometimes two, or with one bigger one), plus Fitbit.... well you get the idea. And I tend to go to bed with a jumble of devices. But I assume I'm in the minority.



Lin-Manuel Miranda to Produce and Score The Name of the Wind

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 01:24:11 GMT

---Quote--- Lionsgate said today that Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is partnering with The Kingkiller Chronicle book trilogy author Pat Rothfuss to serve as creative producer and musical mastermind of feature film and TV series adaptations of the fantasy franchise, with an option to be involved in future stage productions ---End Quote--- http://deadline.com/2016/11/lin-manuel-miranda-the-kingkiller-chronicle-movie-tv-show-1201861224/ "The Story Of Tonight" from Hamilton was inspired by The Name of the Wind. http://www.tor.com/2016/06/29/lin-manuel-miranda-patrick-rothfuss-hamilton-inspiration/



The MobileRead Annual Reading Challenge, 2017!

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:42:02 GMT

http://s.mobileread.com/upload/news/2008-02/wheelie.jpgFor the 8th year, MobileRead has an Annual Reading Challenge! But unlike most reading challenges, for this one you make up your own target, and then track your progress through the year. Maybe you would like to read a certain number of pages this year, finish a certain number of books, concentrate on a specific genre, or deplete your ever-growing TBR list. If you'd like to join in, reserve a post in the 2017 Reading Challenge List Thread (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=281261). In this post you should set out your 2017 challenge, and track your progress (by editing your post) through the year. You can discuss what goal(s) you might set yourself in the 2017 Reading Challenge Discussion Thread (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=281262). Once the year starts, you can share your successes or ask for sympathy about your disappointments. Above all, remember that this is just a fun activity that some of us have enjoyed doing in the past. Many of us have found reading challenges to be an entertaining way to set goals for ourselves, get ideas for books, and see what others are reading. Whatever you do, please do not worry about whether or not you will complete your challenge for 2017.



Equal rules for taxing e-books, e-newspapers and their printed equivalents

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:26:29 GMT

The European commission has finally woken up and are now working on new laws regarding the VAT rules for ebooks (among others). http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-4010_en.htm The relevant part: ---Quote--- *Equal rules for taxing e-books, e-newspapers and their printed equivalents*: Current rules allow Member States to tax printed publications such as books and newspapers at reduced rates or, in some cases, super-reduced or zero rates. The same rules exclude e-publications, meaning that these products must be taxed at the standard rate. Once agreed by all Member States, the new set-up will allow – but not oblige – Member States to align the rates on e-publications to those on printed publications. ---End Quote--- Let's hope this will pass soon and our relevant governments implement it it quickly!



Amazon Announces New Text-to-Speech and AI Services

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 06:59:16 GMT

*AWS Announces Three New Amazon AI Services (http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2226605)* ---Quote--- *Amazon Lex*, the technology that powers Amazon Alexa, enables any developer to build rich, conversational user experiences for web, mobile, and connected device apps; preview starts today *Amazon Polly* transforms text into lifelike speech, enabling apps to talk with 47 lifelike voices in 24 languages *Amazon Rekognition* makes it easy to add image analysis to applications, using powerful deep learning-based image and face recognition ---End Quote--- ---Quote--- SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 30, 2016-- Today at AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced three Artificial Intelligence (AI) services that make it easy for any developer to build apps that can understand natural language, turn text into lifelike speech, have conversations using voice or text, analyze images, and recognize faces, objects, and scenes. Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, and Amazon Rekognition are based on the same proven, highly scalable Amazon technology built by the thousands of deep learning and machine learning experts across the company. Amazon AI services all provide high-quality, high-accuracy AI capabilities that are scalable and cost-effective. Amazon AI services are fully managed services so there are no deep learning algorithms to build, no machine learning models to train, and no up-front commitments or infrastructure investments required. This frees developers to focus on defining and building an entirely new generation of apps that can see, hear, speak, understand, and interact with the world around them. To learn more about Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, or Amazon Rekognition, visit: https://aws.amazon.com/amazon-ai Until now, very few developers have been able to build, deploy, and broadly scale apps with AI capabilities because doing so required access to vast amounts of data, and specialized expertise in machine learning and neural networks. Effectively applying AI involves extensive manual effort to develop and tune many different types of machine learning and deep learning algorithms (e.g. automatic speech recognition, natural language understanding, image classification), collect and clean the training data, and train and tune the machine learning models. And this process must be repeated for every object, face, voice, and language feature in an application. Amazon AI services eliminate all of this heavy lifting, making AI broadly accessible to all app developers by offering Amazon’s powerful and proven deep learning algorithms and technologies as fully managed services that any developer can access through an API call or a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. Amazon AI services make the full power of Amazon’s natural language understanding, speech recognition, text-to-speech, and image analysis technologies available at any scale, for any app, on any device, anywhere. ---End Quote---



Bookworms live two years longer

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 16:34:00 GMT

...according to a study by Yale researchers. (https://yalealumnimagazine.com/articles/4377) ---Quote--- "Older individuals, regardless of gender, health status, wealth, or education, showed the survival advantage of reading books,” says Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology and psychology. The survival advantage, she adds, persisted after adjustment for baseline cognition—meaning that it was the benefits of reading, rather than the readers’ previous cognitive capacity, that helped lengthen life spans. “More questions need to be answered,” Levy says. “But we know that reading books involves two cognitive processes that could confer a survival advantage: the slow, deep immersion needed to connect to content; and promotion of empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence." ---End Quote---