amazon, apple, book, download, DRM, e-book, ebook, electronic, file, freedom, iphone, ipod, kindle, market, mobile, mobile phone, mp3, pdf, phone, sharing, store
Electronic Book Readers
With the release of the International Kindle from Amazon, the subject of e-book readers is heating up. This is one of those technologies I want to love, who wouldn’t? You have a low power device that gives you a much more natural, ink on paper, like reading experience than any backlit LCD screen can. Then with Amazon you have an integrated discovery and delivery method for receiving books to your reader, just like Apple did for the MP3 player with iTunes.
Then again, I’ve just compared the Kindle book store to iTunes, perhaps this is where the problems start. We all know that in its early days, iTunes was locked up with DRM to the point of madness, the only way to free your content was to burn everything to audio CD and re-rip to MP3. Of course, things are now better in the digital download music market, with DRM gone and a choice of music stores. Although, both the movie and e-book industries have yet to catch up to the current state of sanity we enjoy with music downloads. I remember many years ago when I experimented with the e-book store for my Palm Pilot. Not only were your e-books tied to your credit card number, but they were tied to your device too. If either changed there wasn’t a clear route for how to get your books back. So when I did inevitably change my device, I lost my books.
With the Kindle, things aren’t quite so restrictive, from what I’ve been able to find out, not having one myself, your books are only tied to your Amazon account. This means that you can transfer to new Kindles, and also to the iPhone application. Unfortunately, Amazon haven’t released an application for other mobile platforms yet. Still though, the Kindle isn’t the only e-book reader out there (there’s also Sony and Bebook readers), but you can’t get your Amazon e-books on any of them. Whereas, the music I buy from any music store on the web can be played on any device I like. So the Amazon e-book system still ties you to the one device, just like iTunes with the iPod, which I submit is a reason not to use iTunes. The same goes for all current e-book stores.
My phone vs the Kindle. Which would you rather carry around?
I think the e-book and movie industries needs to learn from history. All encompassing ecosystems like iTunes work for a while, until the market (i.e. consumers) learn enough about the restrictions that DRM puts on them. Electronic documents already have a standard, PDF, which is so ubiquitous, it would be hard to imagine any other format being used. Yes, PDF’s can be copied without restriction, just like MP3′s. Although, a recent study has shown what many people believed all along, file sharers buy the most music, and I am certain that the same will be true for books and movies when they are available DRM free. Currently, the only way to get DRM free e-books and movies is illegal. Which is a shame for those industries, because by not using DRM free formats they are denying themselves a large and enthusiastic market segment.
Finally, lets look at the devices themselves. Despite the attractive features I mentioned at the beginning of this, it is still another device to carry around and look after. E-book readers are fairly large when compared to the likes of MP3 players and mobile phones. They are also expensive, the cheapest setting you back over £200. Sure, I imagine they’d be nice to have laying around at home. Although, in our busy lives, sometimes the best time to read a few pages of a book is in those strange little pockets time during the day (as David Allen would put it). Is it really worth carrying around something the size of an e-book reader? In these days when convergence seems to be an irresistible force, I find it hard to believe that e-book readers will get a firm foothold when mobile phones can do the same job, with a PDF application providing a free or inexpensive electronic book reading function.
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atom, facebook, flickr, furtive, google, media, mobile, nokia, phones, picassa, s60, series 60, sharing, social, social media, Twitter, youtube
Nokia Share Online with Furtiv's added social media gateways for Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube
Furtiv, a new internet start up in Helsinki, is creating a service to be a social media gateway, making it easier to send content from your phone to all of the various social media websites.
Their first beta project is an addition to Nokia’s Share Online application. Most new Nokia handsets come with the Share Online application allowing you to upload photos to Flickr, Ovi and Vox. Furtiv uses the API from this application to create gateways to more websites, like Facebook, Picassa, Twitter (via Twitpic.com and Vid.ly for video) and Youtube.
They are using the open Atom standard to achieve this, and they implement it in such a way that you don’t even need to have an account with them. Furtiv’s presence is completely transparent, once you get everything set up by visiting http://furtiv.mobi on your Nokia browser. Further instructions on getting set up can be found here.
I’ve tested this service out and it works perfectly. To qualify this, I tried it along with other readers from AllAboutSymbian.com who read about it there. Possibly coincidence, or possibly with us all flooding the service, but there were some early teething troubles. This is to be expected with any new system, although the Furtiv team had it fixed again surprisingly quickly, so kudos for that.
The benefits of this service are clear to see. Being able to plug-in to existing services on your handset saves having to install any extra phone applications. It also saves you having to figure out how to use e-mail portals and mobile site uploads. Every site you could want to upload to is there in your phone’s own services. This has the potential to remove more inertia in the way of the proliferation of social media, especially for non-technically inclined users, which can only be a good thing. Not withstanding Facebook becoming littered with as much mindless content as can be found on Youtube!
You can find Furtiv on Twitter, @furtiv, and read their blog and FAQ. Thanks to @rafeblandford from AllAboutSymbian for posting a heads up article about this.
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camera, digital, e-mail, flickr, micro sd, photography, sd, sharing, upload
An Eye-fi card
If you’re really into photography and sharing your work on the web, then you’ve probably heard of the Eye-Fi SD card, which not only stores your photos but transmits them to the web via Wi-Fi, all from within the SD card itself. It really is a very smart solution.
Micro SD card with a Micro SD to SD adapter
Although, if you don’t want spend the money, or you know you’ll be beyond the range of a WiFi hotspot, I have a simple alternative for you. You’ll need a mobile phone with a Micro SD card slot and a reasonable data plan.
Rather than using the standard SD type card in your camera, buy yourself a 2GB Micro SD card, along with a Micro SD to SD adapter. Using this adapter, loaded with a Micro SD card, makes no difference to your camera. When you’re ready to post your photos, simply take the adapter out of the camera, and the Micro SD card from the adapter and slot it into your phone, then connect to the internet via your 3G connection. Once you’ve done all that, simply locate the files from your camera in your e-mail or browser, and start uploading!
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bookmarking, sharing, social
I’ve just added a widget called “Add to Any” for sharing my posts with social bookmarking services.
Now, it’s only visible when you click on an individual post to read the whole post, which I’m not sure is good or bad. Although once you do get to use it, it does something I’ve never seen anymore. Upon floating the cursor over over the link, it creates a drop down list of popular sites, and if you click the down arrow at the bottom of the box, it unfurls to show a lot more link sharing/bookmarking services.
I haven’t found any other way to put sharing/bookmarking icon style links at the bottom of each post, so I’ll stick with this for now. Especially since I’m very much still in the cobbling together stage of things.
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