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Books

Submission + - The ebook Backlash 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The NY Times reports that people who read ebooks on tablets like the iPad are beginning to realize that while a book in print is straightforward and immersive, a tablet is more like a 21st-century cacophony than a traditional solitary activity offering a menu of distractions that can fragment the reading experience, or stop it in its tracks. “The tablet is like a temptress,” says James McQuivey. “It’s constantly saying, ‘You could be on YouTube now.’ Or it’s sending constant alerts that pop up, saying you just got an e-mail. Reading itself is trying to compete.” There are also signs that publishers are cooling on tablets for e-reading. A recent survey by Forrester Research showed that 31 percent of publishers believed iPads and similar tablets were the ideal e-reading platform; one year ago, 46 percent thought so. Then there's Jonathan Franzen, regarded as one of America’s greatest living novelists, who says consumers have been conned into thinking that they need the latest technology and that that e-books can never have the magic of the printed page. “I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.""

Submission + - Crowdsourced evolution of 3D printable objects (endlessforms.com)

JimmyQS writes: "The Cornell Creative Machines Lab, which brought us chatbots debating God and unicorns, has developed Endlessforms.com, a site using evolutionary algorithms and crowdsourcing to design objects that can be 3D printed in materials such as silver, steel or silicone. MIT's Technology Review says "The rules EndlessForms uses to generate objects and their variants resemble those of developmental biology—the study of how DNA instructions unfold to create an entire living organism. The technology is 'very impressive,' says Neri Oxman, director of the MIT Media Lab's Mediated Matter research group. She believes the user-friendliness of the evolutionary approach could help drive the broader adoption of 3-D printing technologies, similar to how easy-to-use image editors fueled the growth of digital photography and graphic manipulation. Oxman [notes] that this could ultimately have an impact on design similar to the impact that blogs and social media have had on journalism, opening the field to the general public." The New Scientist has a quick video tour and describes how the same technology can evolve complex, artificially intelligent brains and bodies for robots that can eventually be 3D printed."

Submission + - Secret plan to kill Wikileaks with FUD leaked (securecomputing.net.au) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Three information security consultancies with links to US spy agencies cooked up a dirty tricks campaign late last year to destroy Wikileaks by exploiting its perceived weaknesses, reads a presentation released by the whistleblowers'(TM) organisation that it claimed to be from the conspirators. Consultants at US defence contractors Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary proposed to lawyers for a desperate Bank of America an alliance that would work to discredit the whistleblowers’ website using a divide and conquer approach. Since the plan was hatched, disgruntled volunteers mentioned in the PDF broke away from Wikileaks, financial institutions withdrew services, Apelbaum was harassed by the US Government and Amazon denied service to Wikileaks' website.
Software

Submission + - The future of the web without Flash - will it be f (opera.com) 4

AuxLV writes: We've seen a lot of great HTML5 demos and now many people believe that HTML5 is our savior from Flash and will make our browsing faster and more pleasant once all the lagging Flash banners disappear. The problem? Banners themselves won't disappear — they will become HTML5-powered. And today you can get your web-future-sneak-peek fix. While HTML5 is great it will not auto-magically save us from lame banner creators and performance issues.
Privacy

Submission + - Facebook's "Evil Interfaces"

An anonymous reader writes: Tim Jones over at the EFF's Deep Links Blog just posted an
interesting article on the widespread use of deceptive interface techniques
on the web. He began by polling his Twitter and Facebook audience for
an appropriate term for this condition and received responses like "Bait-and-Click" and "Zuckerpunched,"
ultimately he chose "Evil Interfaces" from Greg Conti's HOPE talk on malicious interface design
and follow-up interview with media-savvy puppet Weena. Tim then goes on to dissect Facebook (with pictures).
So what evil interfaces have you encountered on (or off) the web?

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