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Submission + - Print on Demand Publisher VDM infects Amazon (

erich666 writes: In recent months a flood of so-called books have been appearing in Amazon's catalog. VDM Publishing's imprints Alphascript and Betascript Publishing have listed over a total of 57,000 titles, adding at least 10,000 in the previous month alone. These books are simply collections of linked Wikipedia articles put into paperbacks, at a cost of roughly 40 cents a page or more. These books seem to be computer-generated for the most part, which explains the peculiar titles noted such as "Vreni Schneider: Annemarie Moser-Pröll, FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, Winter Olympic Games, Slalom Skiing, Giant Slalom Skiing, Half Man Half Biscuit." Such titles do have the marketing effect of turning up in many different searches. There is debate on Wikipedia about whether their "VDM Publishing" page should contain the words "fraud" or "scam". VDM Publishing's practice of reselling Wikipedia articles appears to be legal, but ethically questionable.

Amazon customers have begun to post 1-star reviews and complain. Amazon's response to date has been, "As a retailer, our goal is to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any item they might be seeking." The words "and pay us" were left out. Amazon carries, as a Googled guess, 2 million different book titles, so VDM Publishing is currently 1/35th of their catalog, and rapidly growing.

Comment Re:Away with the App store please (Score 1) 75

Some cell phone companies block users from installing *anything they want* in their Windows Mobile devices (AT&T for instance). In the end it's about the user experience, and their perception is that these phones do not allow installation of apps, unless you purchase them from the carrier's website.

You may say that unlocked phones allow installation of any app, but then, their price is not as attractive to the end user as the subsidized iPhone price is.

Cell phones and PDAs in America are simply a money making machine for the Cell Phone operators. The iPhone, Android are the first steps to open this market and move it away from the operators, with more variety and options, but we still have the censorship of Apple for their App store.

Let's hope the Android takes off and becomes a standard, so that we can have the freedom to control our own phones.

Submission + - 32 Reasons Why Geeks are Severly Underpaid

GeekinOz writes: "IT vs. Sales in the salary earning stakes.
Why are geeks losing out? Here's our in-depth answer:
32 Reasons Nearly All Geeks are Severely Underpaid
"Why are sales professionals still rewarded with the biggest pay packets? Are sales professionals better qualified or smarter than IT professionals? No, there's no such thing as a sales degree. Do they work longer or harder? Of course not. So why then is IT not the best paid profession?""

Submission + - World's First Commercial Quantum Computer Demo'ed

lost eden writes: ""The worlds first commercially viable quantum computer was unveiled and demonstrated today in Silicon Valley by D-Wave Systems, Inc., a privately-held Canadian firm headquartered near Vancouver.

Quantum computing offers the potential to create value in areas where problems or requirements exceed the capability of digital computing, the company said. But D-Wave explains that its new device is intended as a complement to conventional computers, to augment existing machines and their market, not as a replacement for them.""
The Media

Submission + - BBC decides to release content with Windows DRM

Serious Callers Only writes: Arstechnica looks at the BBC decision to use Microsoft DRM for their iPlayer software — forcing users to purchase Windows software to access BBC media. The BBC trust have expressed concerns about the plan, but for now have allowed the BBC to go ahead with their scheme. From the article :

"The BBC now has the means and the opportunity to make its vast archives available over the Internet, but it faces a major problem: rights. On the podcast, BBC workers point out that the difficulty in making the BBC's massive archive freely available is not primarily technical, but legal."

Unfortunately the use of DRM means that the primary problems users encounter in using BBC content will not be legal, but technical. The BBC podcast is available from backstage.

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