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Comment It's like complaining about pop-up books! (Score 1) 149

Was there the same outcry when pop-up books were introduced?

Having downloaded Alice for the iPad, it looks more like the app has revitalised Lewis Carroll's work, and made it fresh and interesting for a new audience -- It's certainly a more sensitive and respectful adaptation than the Tim Burton movie.

Obviously there needs to be a balance between text and images, but I can see parents reading this Alice app to their kids, with the physics-simulations being an attractive bonus to keep them entertained. Now that books have to compete with DVDs, TV and the internet, what's wrong with a little novelty here and there to coax kids into engaging with the written word?

Far from "ruining" reading, it looks more like Alice for the iPad is the first book app I've downloaded that actually makes sense on the iPad. Right, I'm off to play with the Caterpillar some more.

Submission + - Do children's eBooks ruin reading?

An anonymous reader writes: A fierce argument has begun over whether children are actually "reading" new eBooks or simply "watching" them. As publishers pump increasing levels of interactivity into eBooks, the New York Times and others argue that these highly-interactive, popular titles are ruining the purpose of reading. The NYT also worries that new eBook titles could distract kids from the tougher task of actually concentrating on literature: "what will become of the readers we've been: quiet, thoughtful, patient, abstracted, in a world where interactive can be too tempting to ignore?". Others, like Gizmodo, defend these new eBooks, pointing at titles like Alice for the iPad, of which they blabber, "For the first time in my life, I'm blown away by an interactive book design." But, the NYT counters: "what I really love [about traditional books] is their inertness. No matter how I shake Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, mushrooms don't tumble out of the upper margin, unlike the Alice for the iPad.". Alice, a physics-enabled version of Alice in Wonderland is more like a hallucination than a book, but is, much to the horror of traditionalists, the top selling kid's eBook title. So, which is it? Are children's eBooks improving reading standards, or turning the joy of reading into a "watching" experience?

Submission + - 50 years of a sometimes bitter pill (

An anonymous reader writes: It is 50 years since the pill was first approved as a contraceptive, finally divorcing sex from pregnancy. But half a century on, our relationship with the tablet credited with revolutionising women's lives is not always an easy one.

Submission + - Summer jobs? 1

log1385 writes: I'd really like to avoid flipping burgers this summer. What is the best way to find employment over the internet so that I can work from home? I just finished my third-year as an undergrad majoring in applied mathematics with minors in computer science and physics, and I am currently a part-time IT guy at a public library, so I have some expertise in those areas. Of course, I would be happy with any sort of online job even if it doesn't make use of those skills. So, Slashdot, where do I look for jobs?

Submission + - Will the iPad ruin books? 1

An anonymous reader writes: The New York Times is leading a backlash against the recent success of a strange eBook called Alice for the iPad. The newspaper claims that, on this evidence, the iPad will ruin books. Alice, a physics-enabled version of Alice in Wonderland was made by two hobbyist coders, using public domain illustrations. It's more like a hallucination than a book, but has stormed to the top of the iPad Book store, outselling Disney, Marvel and Amazon. However the NYT says this goes against the whole point of traditional books , knocking Alice and other interactive titles: "what I really love [about traditional books] is their inertness. No matter how I shake “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” mushrooms don’t tumble out of the upper margin, unlike the “Alice” for the iPad.". The NYT also worries that new eBook titles could distract kids from the tougher task of actually concentrating on literature: "what will become of the readers we’ve been — quiet, thoughtful, patient, abstracted — in a world where interactive can be too tempting to ignore?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Never Trust Your Spell Checker, Lesson DCXVII (

nightcats writes: In a bad economy, publishers often bring the axe down on editors and proofreaders first. And every so often, it costs them big time. But at least the rest of us get to laugh. The opening paragraph of this BBC story says it all:

An Australian publisher has had to pulp and reprint a cook-book after one recipe listed "salt and freshly ground black people" instead of black pepper.

Comment Actually, it's a huge step forwards for many. (Score 5, Insightful) 1634

"What is clear, is that the rise of the App Store revokes control of the computer from the user."

Wrong. It may "revoke control" from the power user. But, the general public will view the iPad, like the iPod, as a simpler, more friendly way to get things done. It gives them control.

The general public doesn't care about our App Store hang ups, or cries of "DRM". Previously, the general public has struggled to install and play movies / apps / music at all, now they can tap a finger and it's there. Did these users prefer the pre-App Store world, where you had to have specialist knowledge to access this media? I doubt it. They couldn't access that world at all.

Here on Slashdot, we see the iPad bringing "DRM", and view it as a "huge step backwards". However, the general public sees the iPad as easy access to movies and apps, simple, straightforward accessible computing. The general public see it as a huge step forwards.

Our loss of control, as geeks, is most people's gain. Don't you think that complex media should be accessible to the general public, quickly and easily? We cry DRM at Apple, but do we really mean that we just don't want the general public in our clubhouse? What's wrong with the iPad and the "consumer mainstream" derided in the story? Not everyone wants to pop the bonnet and fiddle with the engine. In fact, hardly anyone does.

The story is seriously blinkered.

Comment Wrong! Nokia wanted to extort Apple. (Score 5, Interesting) 419

The issue Apple faces is that the patents Nokia were originally pursuing were patents that every single other mobile manufacturer was happy to license.

Actually no. Nokia wanted Apple to give them much more than "every other single" manufacturer. Nokia wanted to charge Apple 3x the fair and reasonable rate they charged others. They also wanted free access to Apple tech. Here are just a few of Apple's complaints:

Article 81. In Particular, in or about the spring of 2008, Nokia demanded that, as part of it’s compensation for licensing Nokia’s portfolio of purported essential patents, Apple must grant Nokia a license to a particular number of Apple non-standards-essential patents...Apple immediately rejected the proposal and reiterated Apple’s position that Nokia’s F/RAND obligations required it to licence Nokia’s purportedly essential technologies.

Article 82. ...In or about May 2009, Nokia demanded a royalty approximately three times as much as the royalty proposed the prior spring, which was itself in excess of a F/RAND rate, as well as “picks’ to Apple’s non-standards-essential patents.

Naughty Nokia. Go to your room.

Comment Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (Score 4, Interesting) 456

So did Walt Disney. The original plans for EPCOT in Disney World included a massive translucent dome covering the "community" and its twenty thousand residents.

EPCOT "would be a testbed for city planning and organization. A giant dome was to have covered the community, so as to regulate its climate (this idea was later seen in the 1998 movie The Truman Show). The community was to have been built in the shape of a circle, with businesses and commercial areas at its center, community buildings and schools and recreational complexes around it, and residential neighborhoods along the perimeter. Transportation would have been provided by monorails and People Movers (like the one in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland). Automobile traffic would be kept underground, leaving pedestrians safe above-ground."

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