After reading yet another silly patent abstract, I cannot find anything worth patenting in it...
Well, there's your problem. Abstracts are not the claims, and do not need to be novel or non-obvious by themselves. That is the job of the claims.
From US Patent 8060463
The first claim:
1. A computer-implemented method of matching users to other users, the method comprising: storing, in computer storage, event data comprising order data reflective of items ordered from an electronic catalog by each of a plurality of users; programmatically generating a score that reflects a degree to which item preferences of a first user of said plurality of users are similar to item preferences of a second user of said plurality of users, said score taking into consideration a first plurality of items ordered by the first user and a second plurality of items ordered by the second user, wherein generating the score comprises weighting a first item and a second item identified in both the first and second plurality of items, wherein the first and second items are different, wherein the first and second items are weighted differently based at least in part on a first inherent characteristic of the first item and a second inherent characteristic of the second item, wherein the first and second inherent characteristics are different, and wherein generating the score further comprises taking into consideration at least one additional type of event data reflective of user affinities for items represented in the electronic catalog; and based at least in part on the score, programmatically determining whether to recommend the second user to the first user.
The Kindle Development Kit enables developers to build active content that leverages Kindle's unique combination of seamless and invisible 3G wireless delivery over Amazon Whispernet, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, and long battery life of seven days with wireless activated. For example, Handmark is building an active Zagat guide featuring their trusted ratings, reviews and more for restaurants in cities around the world, and Sonic Boom is building word games and puzzles.
Additionally, the revenue sharing was announced, "User revenue will be split 70% to the developer and 30% to Amazon net of delivery fees of $0.15 / MB. Remember that unlike smart phones, the Kindle user does not pay a monthly wireless fee or enter into an annual wireless contract."
Q. Can I use my nook while traveling abroad?
A. Yes, when you travel abroad, you can read any files that are already on your nook. You can connect to Wi-Fi hotspots that do not use proxy security settings, such those commonly used in hotels, and download eBooks and subscriptions already in your online digital library. You cannot, however, purchase additional eBooks and subscriptions.
Q. Will new issues of eNewspapers and eMagazines be downloaded to my nook while I'm traveling?
A. Yes, if you are traveling in the United States, or if you are abroad but connected to a supported Wi-Fi hotspot, new issues are delivered to your online digital library in both cases. When travelling abroad without Wi-Fi access, new issues are not downloaded to your nook (automatically or manually).
So no, it isn't international.
and let either private enterprise (?) explore space
I agree, even 6 year-olds are doing it.
The flicker, which I don't consider unpleasant, is due to the physical properties of e-ink. It is a bi-stable screen, which means that little black pixels are electromagnetically moved up and down in white fluid to produce an image that stays without power, pretty much forever. This is why e-readers with e-ink screens have a battery life of over 2 weeks, no screen to actively power.
As far as the kindle goes, K2 is pretty fast, on the order of 250 ms (screen limitation, not hardware/software). I haven't seen any faster, but I am sure that as the technology evolves, the refresh time will shrink considerably.
Computer programs expand so as to fill the core available.