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October 27, 2014

Is Amazon Evil or Prescient?

Filed under: News — admin @ 7:38 pm

Recently, Amazon has been taking hits as a “monopoly,” specifically with regards to books. Despite CEO Jeff Bezos’ resemblance to Dr. Evil, I think he has a point: Are publishers really necessary?

When one of my books makes money, the publisher rakes it in — many multiples of what I earn. And for eBook sales, that multiple is even higher. Where Amazon pays authors 70 percent, my publisher balks at any royalty higher than 10 percent. That’s outrageous!

So, are book publishers really necessary in the digital economy?

To some degree, I think so, but only when they respect the books. When a publisher uses a cheaper paper stock and tries to cut corners by outsourcing production and editorial, it shows that they’re about padding the bank account of their CEO and not serving the reader. Yet I believe that there’s value with publishers who truly treasure physical books.

Vox

Amazon Fire Stick

Filed under: News — admin @ 8:27 am

Keeping with the everything-fire theme, Amazon announced their own Internet-ready TV HDMI dongle, the Fire Stick. Click the link to check out the simple remote control.

Yes! Only six buttons and a click wheel. Now we’re taking!

As I’ve ranted about before, the problem with modern TV is the primitive, overly-buttoned remote controls. Amazon gets it. Google gets it. Will Apple eventually get it?

Oh, and according to Droid-Life, the Fire Stick is currently on sale for only $19. The Nexus Player, which is Google’s Internet-ready TV dongle, is projected to retail for $99.

Droid-Life

Nine Big Tech Blunders

Filed under: News — admin @ 7:55 am

They could have added Windows 8 as the tenth biggest blunder, but you’ll find enough Microsoft-bashing in the Top 9 list.

Gizmodo

The Amazon Fire Phone

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

The very nice people at Amazon recently sent me one of their new, Fire phones. I was so grateful, I wrote my latest book on the device, Amazon Fire Phone For Dummies.
(more…)

October 26, 2014

The Microsoft Tax is Dead in Italy

Filed under: News — admin @ 7:49 am

You probably don’t remember paying the Microsoft tax because it didn’t show up on your computer’s receipt. It’s not a tax, but rather a per-unit fee all PC owners pay.

Bill Gates was a clever man. Not only did he license DOS to IBM, he included an item in the PC manufacturer’s contract that required all computers to be sold with a DOS (now Windows) license. So every PC that rolled off the line brought in more money for Microsoft.

Yes, that’s how you become a billionaire.

The problem is that not every PC ends up with a copy of a Microsoft Operating system. Some people don’t install DOS or Windows, and instead install Linux or Unix or some other OS. Even though they do that, they pay the Microsoft tax.

A court in Italy recently determined that such a tax is illegal. Their reasoning is brilliant: You buy the PC and enter into an agreement for the hardware. That’s part of the purchase. But when Windows installs, you can choose whether to agree to its use or not. Most people click the I Agree button to accept the terms.

The Italian court ruled that if you don’t click I Agree, or don’t install Windows in the first place, you don’t have to pay for it. That’s logical. May the refunds flow — but for now, only in Italy.

Free Software Foundation

October 24, 2014

The Ugly World of Content Moderation

Filed under: News — admin @ 8:44 am

If you think that your job sucks, then lament the poor schlubs who provide content moderation for social networking web sites. These laborers — because it’s not the kind of flashy high tech you’d imaging — sift through mounds of obscenity and pornography to keep the web safe for Grandma and the little kids.

Wired

Starbucks Goes Mobile

Filed under: News — admin @ 7:46 am

You know the old joke: There’s a Starbucks on every corner. Supposedly there’s a location where two Starbuck stores are kitty-corner from each other. And you would think such saturation would pretty much put a cap on Starbuck’s phenomenal growth.

Not so fast.

Apparently Starbucks is finding more bucks, thanks to a new mobile app that rewards caffeine addicts with all sorts of goodies. It’s working to further expand the coffee giant’s empire.

ETF Daily News

Stand Up and Compute

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

I’m guilty. As I compose this blog post, I am sitting in my fancy Areon chair. It’s mighty comfy, but it’s not the best way to position myself during my workday.
(more…)

October 23, 2014

From $666 to $905,000

Filed under: News — admin @ 9:04 am

Back in 1976, no one would have paid $905,000 for a personal computer. Just recently, however, an Apple-1 computer — which is basically just a circuit board — sold at auction for over $900,000.

The amazing part is that it still works!

Fortune

October 22, 2014

The End of Windows Control Panel

Filed under: News — admin @ 3:09 pm

The original Windows featured an icon-based Control Panel.

Windows XP offered two views of the Control Panel: Icons and text/link. That trend continued through Windows 7, with the emphasis on the text-based Control Panel.

Windows 8 kept the original Control Panel (dual mode) but added a PC Settings screen.

Windows 9 will never exist.

Windows 10 is trying to bring the text-based Control Panel and PC Settings screen together. Will the old icon-based Control Panel final rest in peace?

NeoWin

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