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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 83 declined, 24 accepted (107 total, 22.43% accepted)

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Submission + - Barnes & Noble to release a $50 Android tablet for Black Friday

Robotech_Master writes: Barnes & Noble has decided to imitate Amazon yet again, as it comes out with a $50 Android tablet just in time for the holidays. The specs are similar to slightly better than the $50 Fire, but the kicker is this tablet will ship with plain-vanilla Marshmallow Android 6.0 and the Google Play utilities--unlike the Fire, which limits its users to only those apps Amazon deems suitable to offer. Might this be enough to rescue the ailing Nook brand?

Submission + - EFF lawsuit seeks to overturn DMCA ban on breaking DRM

Robotech_Master writes: The EFF has just filed suit against the US government on the grounds that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provision, Section 1201, represents an unconstitutional restraint on free speech.

The suit takes aim at the practice of outlawing breaking DRM, with the Librarian of Congress permitted to make exceptions to the prohibition every three years, as well as outlawing any explanation of how to break DRM. The EFF calls this “an unconstitutional speech-licensing regime.”

This isn't the first time the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision has been called in to question. Earlier this year, Congress asked for public comments on ways to improve the anti-circumvention process.

Submission + - Whoever feels like innovating e-books, please raise your hand!

Robotech_Master writes: I keep seeing complaint after complaint that e-books are stuck in a rut, and nobody is interested in 'innovating.' Amazon tends to get the lion's share of blame for this, as they're the incumbent in the e-book market, but what's keeping its competitors from trying as well? A good innovation could be a competitive advantage against Amazon, after all.

It seems to me that we're not seeing any innovation because most consumers are perfectly happy with their ten-year-old Kindle e-book tech, and Amazon's competitors have effectively already thrown in the e-book towel. Anyone who tries to come up with something new runs into the roadblock that consumers don't want something new if it's not compatible with the e-reading tech they already have.

And yet, we still see all these people crying out for innovation, but no one actually making a move to innovate. Well, here's the bell, there's the cat; knock yourself out.

Submission + - SPAM: Amazon adds SD card e-book storage, automatic video downloads to Fire tablets

Robotech_Master writes: Amazon has added a couple of interesting new capabilities in its latest Fire tablet firmware. The $50 Fire tablet will now automatically store e-books on SD cards, when available, and will also automatically download Prime Video movies to have on hand in case you can't access Wi-Fi for a while.

Submission + - After software upgrade, Kobo customers are losing books from their libraries (teleread.com) 2

Robotech_Master writes: After a recent Kobo software upgrade, a number of Kobo customers have reported losing e-books from their libraries--notably, e-books that had been transferred to Kobo from their Sony Reader libraries when Sony left the consumer e-book business. One customer reported missing 460 e-books, and the only way to get them back in her library would be to search and re-add them one at a time! Customers who downloaded their e-books and illegally broke the DRM don't have this problem, of course.

Submission + - $699 may be the right starting price for a 13.3-inch Android e-ink reader

Robotech_Master writes: GoodEReader editor Michael Kozlowski is running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to sell a $699 13.3" Android e-ink tablet. The campaign seeks $42,000--enough to fund the 60-device minimum order set by the OEM. But is it really a good deal for that much money? As an early-adopter or business-class device, it very well might be.

Submission + - How Barnes & Noble stole the first e-book I ever bought

Robotech_Master writes: I bought my first e-book in 1998, before my e-reading hardware had even arrived yet. Yesterday I discovered that Barnes & Noble has effectively stolen that book from me, mistakenly replacing it in my Nook library with another title I never bought.

B&N's customer service rep's most helpful suggestion was that I could buy the e-book again—he even offered to give me the link. Is it any wonder Barnes & Noble is having such a hard time competing with Amazon?

Submission + - Abundance versus scarcity: Of e-books, fabbers, and James Burke

Robotech_Master writes: James Burke, whose classic TV series "Connections" revealed the way our current lifestyle is a result of countless historical coincidences and synergies, recently predicted that nanotech fabricators could lead to a major upheaval in society as physical goods become as abundant as digital goods are now. The thing is, at least some sectors aren't so good at dealing with digital abundance now. What does this suggest for a physically-abundant future?

Submission + - Bad Karma: Karma Wireless pares back its monthly 4G hotspot plan again

Robotech_Master writes: The ongoing saga of the Neverstop plan shows that Karma Wireless just can’t seem to catch a break as far as high-bandwidth plans are concerned. After starting out with a straight pay-per-bandwidth plan, “Refuel,” for its $150 wireless hotspot, Karma thought it would innovate with a throttled-but-otherwise-unlimited 4G plan, “Neverstop.” However, it soon discovered that users were taking it at its word and using up considerably more bandwidth than Karma expected or could afford. After experimenting with further throttling, Karma subsequently revamped the plan into a $50 per month, 15 GB plan that throttled to dialup speed after it ran out. However, now it turns out even that plan was too optimistic, and Karma has opted to dump the Neverstop plan altogether in favor of tiered monthly plan called Pulse—whose bandwidth costs significantly more. ($40/mo for 5 GB, $75 for 10 GB, $140 for 20 GB.) Karma's "unlimited" users weren't pleased the first time the plan changed, and now they're practically through the roof.

Submission + - Scribd to change its 'unlimited' e-book subscription plan to semi-unlimited

Robotech_Master writes: Subscription service Scribd has announced that it will change its unlimited e-book and audiobook-reading plan to a hybrid limited/unlimited model starting next month. It will offer a rotating selection of thousands of titles for unlimited reading, plus up to 3 books and 1 audiobook per month from the entire Scribd catalog. The particularly interesting thing to come out of this is that only 3% of Scribd's subscribers actually read more than 3 books per month--so the effect for the other 97% will actually be to give them access to a wider selection of titles.

Submission + - Javascript user prohibitions are like content DRM, but even less effective (teleread.com)

Robotech_Master writes: It always puzzles me whenever I run across a post somewhere that uses Javascript to try to prevent me from copying and pasting text, or even viewing the source. These measures are simple enough to bypass just by disabling Javascript in my browser. It seems like these measures are very similar to the DRM publishers insist on slapping onto e-books and movie discs—easy to defeat, but they just keep throwing them on anyway because they might inconvenience a few people.

Submission + - RIP: Prolific Amazon customer reviewer Harriet Klausner (1952-2015) (teleread.com)

Robotech_Master writes: Prolific Amazon customer reviewer Harriet Klausner passed away last week at the age of 67. Klausner was a controversial figure: She never gave anything a negative review, her review blurbs cast doubt on how closely she actually read what she reviewed, and received dozens of free books per week (which ended up resold on Half.com via her son's account). Nonetheless, for a time she was one of the most recognizable names to any frequent Amazon.com customer; it was rare to come across any popular title that didn't have a Klausner review.

Submission + - $50 Fire tablet with high-capacity SDXC slot doesn't see e-books on the SD card 1

Robotech_Master writes: For all that the $50 Fire has a 128 GB capable SDXC card slot that outclasses every other tablet in its price range, and it evolved out of Amazon's flagship e-book reader, it strangely lacks the ability to index e-books on that card. This seems like a strange oversight, given that every other media app on the tablet uses that card for downloading and storage, and its 5 GB usable internal memory isn't a lot for people who have a large library of picture-heavy e-books—especially if they want to install other apps, too.

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