Category Archives: Readings

Food for Thought

While I enjoy fine dining in Paris, check out The Evil Waiter Case in the U. Miami Law Review.

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Take a Shelfie?

Take a pix of your books and get free e-books?

After years of reading and posting rants about DRM and format shifting Pete and Marius (bitlit.com’s founders) decided to do something about it… They built an app that let’s you get the eBook for free or at a huge discount if you own the paper copy. The app is called BitLit and it’s available for free on Android and iOS. They’ve made deals with over 200 publishers including O’Reilly and Packt, and there are over 30,000 titles that are eligible for free / discounted ebooks if you own the paperback. Here’s how it works: First you take a shelfie (yes, a picture of your shelf) and the app will identify all the books on your shelf — hurrah now you have a complete inventory of your library! But, you’ll also get a shortlist of any books you own that are eligible for free/cheap bundled eBooks. To claim a bundled eBook you just need to write your name onto the copyright page of the book and snap a photo using the app… a few seconds later you should get an email with a download link to the eBook in ePub, PDF, and mobi formats.

via User Friendly.

Should I do this? I’m gonna bet that basically none of my books qualify. Plus there are I’d guess about 70 shelves, each of which would have to be photographed in two parts. Plus some of the books are double-shelved, so you’d see only the outer row…but as those tend to be the cheap novels, they’re probably the ones most likely to have an e-copy (as opposed to the academic books). Plus I am suspicious of the “free/cheap” line — will this mostly be a way to market to me?

No, great idea, but until there are more the books available in the scheme I’m not sure I’ll bother.

Well, maybe one test shelf, just to see…

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Wonderful Layered Short Story

Sleeper by Jo Walton at Tor.com crams in themes about dystopian spying, virtuality, how we create our pasts and our futures, and identity. All in just a few words.

When I grow up, I’d be happy to write something Jo Walton feels is worth re-reading.

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‘American Dream is a Continuous Process’

Kevin Sack’s A Lost Boy Grows Up is the story of a Sudanese ‘lost boy’ come to America who, many years later, decides he wants to be an Atlanta policeman. It isn’t easy, but he’s chasing his American Dream.

(Yet another example of why we should favor a more welcoming immigration policy.)

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Catnip

Cory Doctorow and Terry Pratchett interview each other

Benjamin will love this.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates

Have I mentioned recently that Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national treasure? His series on learning French alone would make the case, and it’s not even his most important work. Latest piece at Departures, Cont. I loved the ending.

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Eno Worries

Edge.org asked Brian Eno what we should be worried about. I like his answer (and really like his music):

We Don’t Do Politics

Most of the smart people I know want nothing to do with politics. We avoid it like the plague—like Edge avoids it, in fact. Is this because we feel that politics isn’t where anything significant happens? Or because we’re too taken up with what we’re doing, be it Quantum Physics or Statistical Genomics or Generative Music? Or because we’re too polite to get into arguments with people? Or because we just think that things will work out fine if we let them be—that The Invisible Hand or The Technosphere will mysteriously sort them out?

Whatever the reasons for our quiescence, politics is still being done—just not by us. It’s politics that gave us Iraq and Afghanistan and a few hundred thousand casualties. It’s politics that’s bleeding the poorer nations for the debts of their former dictators. It’s politics that allows special interests to run the country. It’s politics that helped the banks wreck the economy. It’s politics that prohibits gay marriage and stem cell research but nurtures Gaza and Guantanamo.

But we don’t do politics. We expect other people to do it for us, and grumble when they get it wrong. We feel that our responsibility stops at the ballot box, if we even get that far. After that we’re as laissez-faire as we can get away with.

What worries me is that while we’re laissez-ing, someone else is faire-ing.

Part of the series 2013 : WHAT *SHOULD* WE BE WORRIED ABOUT?

(Thanks to DF for the pointer.)

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