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Intel's Former CEO (and First Hire) Andy Grove Dead at 79 38

The Verge reports the death at age 79 of former Intel CEO, Andy Grove, one of the best-known names in Silicon Valley, and in fact one of the people who are behind the fecund technological and business climate that made Silicon Valley a household name. Grove's professional life at Intel spanned five decades, beginning as a day-one, number-one hire, as director of engineering; he went on to serve as president, CEO, and chairman of the board, managing to write several books along the way; "Only the Paranoid Survive" is probably the best known. From The Verge's story: During Groves' tenure as CEO, Intel produced chips including the 386 and Pentium, which became name brands unto themselves and laid the groundwork for much of the personal computing era. "Andy approached corporate strategy and leadership in ways that continue to influence prominent thinkers and companies around the world," Intel Chairman Andy Bryant said in a statement. "He combined the analytic approach of a scientist with an ability to engage others in honest and deep conversation, which sustained Intel's success over a period that saw the rise of the personal computer, the Internet and Silicon Valley."

Is $699 Too Much For a 13.3-inch Android E-ink Reader? 195

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.

Google Docs Can Now Export EPUB (thestack.com) 39

An anonymous reader writes: The EPUB format is now available as an export option from Google Docs. Tests show that the feature can very accurately translate Word-style hyperlinked indexes into EPUB sidebar indices, offering the possibility of updating legacy documents to a more portable and open format. However, despite the completely open XML-based nature of the format, and how much better it handles text-reflow than PDF can, the paucity of easy-to-use editors — particularly in the mobile space — may mean that EPUB continues to be seen as a 'baked' format.

AI Bookworms Seek To Predict Human Behavior (thestack.com) 26

An anonymous reader writes: Creating virtual assistants that can understand and anticipate human behavior and needs is one of the current lodestars of artificial intelligence research. Now, researchers at Stanford University have decided to approach the problem by using descriptions of everyday human activities found in online fiction, namely 600,000 stories from 500,000 writers at online writing community WattPad – input totalling 1.8 billion words – to inform a new knowledge base called Augur, designed to power vector machines in making predictions about what an individual user might be about to do, or want to do next. The scientists suggest that crowdsourcing or similar user-feedback systems would likely be necessary to amend some of the more dramatic associations that certain objects or situations might inspire. As the research notes, 'If fiction were truly representative of our lives, we might be constantly drawing swords and kissing in the rain.'

E-book Museum At the Library of Congress? (teleread.com) 19

David Rothman writes: Back in 2003, Slashdot ran TeleRead's call for a brick-and-mortar international e-book museum at the Library of Congress. The proposed museum would focus on the devices and other technology rather than the content. It still isn't too late for such a project, and TeleRead is again advocating the idea. Content, too, actually would benefit -- considering that proprietary formats and DRM can imperil the future readability of e-books. Meanwhile, a small-scale e-book museum is about to open in Paris and is looking for donations. A worthy cause!

New Study Shows Mystery 'Hobbits' Not Humans Like Us (phys.org) 127

According to a study published on Monday, diminutive humans that died out on an Indonesian island some 15,000 years ago were not homo sapiens, but rather a different species. The Homo floresiensis, known as "hobbits" since they looked like small humans, were found to be a distinct species based on the layers in the specimens' skulls. This discovery could be the end of one of the most heated arguments in anthropology.

Scribd To Change Its 'Unlimited' E-book Subscription Plan To Semi-Unlimited 55

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.

US Copyright Law Forces Wikimedia To Remove the Diary of Anne Frank (wikimedia.org) 178

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation announced its removal of The Diary of Anne Frank from Wikisource, a digital library of free texts. According to the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, works are protected for 95 years from the date of publication, meaning Wikimedia is not allowed to host a copy of the book before 2042. Rogers, the Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, says this is just one of the many examples of the overreach of the United States' current copyright law. He goes on to say, "Our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms."

Amazon Restores Some Heft To Helvetica For Kindle E-Ink Readers (teleread.com) 85

David Rothman writes: Props to Amazon. The Helvetica font will be restored to a more readable weight than the anorexic one in the latest update for E Ink Kindles. Let's hope that an all-bold switch—or, better, a font weight adjuster of the kind that Kobo now offers—will also happen. I've queried Amazon about that possibility. Meanwhile thanks to Slashdot community members who spoke up against the anorexic Helvetica!

Uborne Children's Books Release For Free Computer Books From the '80s (usborne.com) 119

martiniturbide writes: To promote some new computer coding books for kids, Uborne Children's Books has put online 15 of its children books from the '80s to learn how to code games. The books are available for free in PDF format and has samples to create your game for Commodore 64, VIC 20, Apple, TRS 80, Spectrum and other. Maybe you read some of them like "Machine Code for Beginners" or "Write your own Adventure Program for MicroComputers." Should other publishers also start to make their '80s and '90s computer books available for free?

Amazon's Thin Helvetica Syndrome: Font Anorexia vs. Kindle Readability (teleread.com) 156

David Rothman writes: The Thin Helvetica Syndrome arises from the latest Kindle upgrade and has made e-books less readable for some. In the past, e-book-lovers who needed more perceived-contrast between text and background could find at least partial relief in Helvetica because the font was heavy by Kindle standards. But now some users complain that the 5.7.2 upgrade actually made Helvetica thinner. Of course, the real cure would be an all-text bold option for people who need it, or even a way to adjust font weight, a feature of Kobo devices. But Amazon stubbornly keeps ignoring user pleas even though the cost of adding either feature would be minimal. Isn't this supposed to be a customer-centric company?

Interviews: Ask 'Ubuntu Unleashed' Author Matthew Helmke 59

Matthew Helmke (personal blog) is the author of the newly published 11th edition of Ubuntu Unleashed (published by Pearson); this updated edition of the book will cover the OS through Ubuntu's 15.10 and (forthcoming) 16.04 releases. Helmke is also a former Ubuntu Forum administrator, a musician, an entrepreneur, and a long-time Slashdot reader who now leads a "nice quiet life in Iowa." Ask Matthew about what it's like to be a Linux book author and community leader, and his thoughts on Canonical, the goods and bads of modern Linux distributions, and the future of Ubuntu -- especially relevant with the upcoming release of the first Ubuntu-based tablet. (Remember, Matthew isn't responsible for gripes you may have with either Ubuntu or Canonical, but he might have some good solutions to particular problems.) Ask as many questions as you'd like; we just ask that you keep them on-topic, and please stick to one question per post.

Ask Slashdot: State-of-the-Art In Amateur Book Scanning? 122

An anonymous reader writes: I have a shelf full of books and other book-like things ranging from old to very old that I would like to turn into PDFs (or other similarly portable format), and have been on a slow-burn quest for the right hardware and method to do so on a budget. These are mostly sentimental — things handed down over generations, and they include family bibles, notebooks, and photo albums, as well as some conventional — published, bound — books from the late 19th and early 20th Century. None of them are especially valuable as antiques, as far as I know; my goals in preserving them are a) to make them available to other people in my family who are into genealogy or just nostalgia, and b) so I can read some of those old, interesting books (et cetera) without endangering them any more than it takes to scan them once. I was intrigued by the (funded, but not yet available) scanner mentioned earlier this year on Slashdot; it seems to do a lot of things right, but like any crowdfunded project, the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding hasn't yet arrived. It's also cheap, and that fits my household budget. What methods and hardware are you using to scan old documents? Any tips you have from a similar project, with regard to hardware, treatment of the materials being scanned, light sources, file formats, clean-up and editing tools, file-size-vs-resolution tradeoffs? In the end, I'm likely to err toward high-resolution scans, since they can be knocked down to size later if need be, but I'd be interested in hearing about what tradeoffs you've found to work for you.

One big question that I'd like to have answered: Is there stand-alone Free / Open Source software, or even just cheap software (I am mostly on Linux, by choice, but won't leap onto a sword to keep my Free Software purity) that makes for easy correction of the distortion introduced by camera-based imaging? If I could easily uncurl and keystone-correct pages, then a lot of input methods (even my phone) are suddenly much more attractive. My old Casio camera could do this 10 years ago, but I haven't found a free software desktop utility that lets me turn photos into nicely squared-up pages.

Kindle or Not, a Resurgence In Used Bookstores 133

The growing availability of books via internet (whether instant, in the form of downloads from Amazon's Kindle store or the Google Play store, or in physical form by post) puts pressure on conventional bookstores. The Washington Post reports, though, that some bookstores are thriving, and some new ones are getting started, in a particular niche: used books. The phenomenon springs in part from the disappearance of many large chain bookstores, leaving gaps that smaller and nimbler shops can fill; as the article points out, a used bookstore in many places is the only one around. Nonetheless, It is by no means an easy business. Many used-book retailers — with either bad management or bad locations (or both) — still struggle against the digital headwinds. For one, Amazon is still just a few clicks away. But some used-bookstore owners have made a shrewd move: widening their customer base by listing their inventories on Amazon’s third-party marketplace, an idea many new-book retailers despise. (The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos.) My favorite bookstores have mixed stock (used and new), serve coffee, and specialize -- the process of discovery is still easier at a place like Ada's Technical Books in Seattle than it is browsing through Amazon recommendations.

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky