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Insanely Easy Weblog Post

A hilariously sarcastic article about the iphone hype machine by John Dvorak:

What reporter describes the function of anything as “insanely easy”? What does that even mean? “Holy crap! This is so easy that I’m going insane!”

In a hotel room there is a button you push on the phone and you get your voice mail. Is that insanely easy, too? Or not? Can something be easier? Maybe the iPhone injects the voice mail into your brain from a distance without you doing anything.

And “finding photos” is now insanely easy? I have close to 50,000 photos. I guess I can find them, but will the phone somehow help me find the one photo I am looking for? With magic, maybe? To be honest, unless I presort the pics, there will be nothing insanely easy about any of it, ever. Besides, the phone won’t hold all the photos, and I doubt it will display any RAW pics, either. And anyway, is this a phone or a photo frame?

And what’s this about ringtones? I usually want to set one and be done with it. I will admit that most phones make it an ordeal to find and change ringtones, so maybe making it insanely easy would be useful. I hope the phone switches to vibrate in some insanely easy way, since that function tends to be painful on too many phones.

A useful discussion of the economics of ebook pricing. They address the age old question of why ebooks are more expensive than print books. The answer (in a nutshell): publishers price conservatively, they don’t want to ruin relationships with bookstores and ebooks are marketed more as an afterthought.

In the last few days, there has been big announcements: first, Sony Reader will be able to read encrypted Digital Edition PDF files (making the Sony Reader immensely more useful). Second, some announcements from Bookeen give some details about the upcoming NAEB device. Details: replaceable battery, second generation Vizplex display eink technology and support for Mobipocket ebook format. I’ve been waiting for years to buy a high end ebook device, but when NAEB comes out, I’m probably going to buy (even though I wish there was a touchscreen and better notetaking).

David Rothman discusses the case of several ebook authors who have made a lot of money self-publishing ebooks.

Dwight Silverman laments about how social networking sites have created a steady stream of Friendspam (invites from relative strangers). By the way, I set up a Facebook account. It’s nothing special really and seems more geared toward student populations. Linkedin is definitely where it’s at. Feel free to send me a Facebook invite.

James Paul Gee encourages librarians to get more involved in videogames. Gee is actually a reading professor who wrote an influential book on videogames and learning, What Video Games have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy.

Here’s a crazy collaborative novel written 100 years ago. Downloaded for my ebook.

Rita Kempley on the magical Negro cliche in cinema:

Ariel Dorfman sees sinister forces, something disturbing in such portrayals. “The magic Negro is an easy way of making the characters and the audiences happy. And I am for happiness, but the real joy of art is to reveal certain intractable ways in which humans interact. This phenomenon may be a way of avoiding confrontation,” says Dorfman, a playwright, poet and cultural critic.

“The black character helps the white character, which demonstrates that [the former] feels this incredible interest in maintaining the existing society. Since there is no cultural interchange, the character is put there to give the illusion that there is cultural crossover to satisfy that need without actually addressing the issue,” Dorfman says. “As a Chilean, however, I sense that maybe deep inside, mainstream Americans somehow expect those who come from the margins will save them emotionally and intellectually.”

Steve Hodges does a video demo of a new Microsoft touchscreen interface.

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