cashman73 writes: Bad news. My mother's six year old desktop computer finally bit the dust due to and electrical surge. It's out-of-warranty, and not really worth fixing. Plus, I'm 2,500 miles and two time zones away, so I can't exactly troubleshoot things from here. I recently got an iPad (fourth generation with Retina), and even 80% of the things I do are done easier with the iPad! Plus, she really likes the size, convenience, portability, and the screen. Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks. We're thinking that using the iPad as her sole "computer" might be the best solution here. What are other Slashdotter's experiences with using the iPad or other tablets without a separate desktop computer connected to it?
cashman73 writes: "Weatherspark BETA is a new website that just launched offering some pretty detailed and in-depth weather charts, forecasts, and historical analysis going back to the late 1940s. Data is laid out in charts, graphs, and averages, and also has a visual map. According to the site's about page, it was started by a software engineer and a rocket scientist from the San Francisco Bay Area. It's still fairly new — the only major press on it at the moment is a lifehacker post and a KOMO News story."
cashman73 writes: Several media outlets, including the Sydney Morning Herald, Fox News, and the Daily Mail, report today that Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has introduced legislation giving power to the President to shut down the Internet using a "kill switch" in times of "national emergency". The bill also describes the global internet as a US "national asset".
cashman73 writes: Several sources (NY magazine, Variety, The Big Money) are reporting that Nielsen is finally going to start measuring online TV viewing. You would think that this is a good idea, since many people are now watching TV programs on the internet. However, there's a catch: Nielsen's new service will only count viewings of a program with the same number of advertisements as the network TV model. So this immediately eliminates Hulu, as well as any shows watched via the network's own websites. As a matter of fact, it would currently only include Comcast's XFinity TV service, and TV Everywhere (which, so far, appears to be the equivalent of "Duke Nukem Forever" of television). So either, (a) everyone will rush out to watch their online TV on Comcast XFinity, so that they're viewing counts in the ratings (unlikely), or (b) Hulu and everyone else starts to put more advertisements on their shows (more likely, but would also probably mean the death of Hulu).
cashman73 writes: Amazon dropped a bomb on the publishing world Wednesday morning by announcing a new royalty program that will allow authors to earn 70 percent royalties from each e-book sold, but with a catch or two. The move will pay participating authors more per book than they typically earn from physical book sales so long as they agree to certain conditions—conditions that make it clear that Amazon is working on keeping the Kindle attractive in light of upcoming competition. Still, authors and publishers are split on how good this deal really is.
Amazon's old system will remain in place for those who don't want to participate in the new arrangement, but the carrot to upgrade is pretty attractive—a typical $8.99 book would pay an author $3.15 under the "standard" system, while an author or publisher would get $6.25 under the new 70 percent scheme.
The catch, however, is that authors or publishers must list their books for between $2.99 and $9.99 on the Kindle. A majority of Kindle books already fall into this range, but authors are able to set prices higher if they want, and some do.
The price must also be at least 20 percent below the lowest list price for the physical book, the book must be available in all geographical areas where the authors has rights, it must include all features of the Kindle store (including text-to-speech capabilities), and the Kindle price must be the same or below the price offered at other e-book stores.