As 9to5mac speculates, this could mean an impending Time Capsule refresh. We'll take a stab and say 1TB for $300 and 2TB for $500. Letting the current market guide us, external 1TB drives currently go for $100 to $120, and we've seen 2TB models for as … Read more
Toward the end of last year, I more or less decided that I wanted to get myself a Kindle, but I wanted to hold off for the next generation. So when Amazon announced the Kindle 2 in February, I put my order in right away.
I've now had it for a few days and have had a chance to play around with it a fair bit. Here are some early thoughts.
Yes, it's expensive. $359--and typically add to that at least $29 for a case. Although there are many free books available (more on this in a bit), and new releases are generally cheaper on the Kindle than in hardcover, it's a good bet that you're not going to save enough on book purchases to come close to paying for the device--especially if you buy a lot of books used (as I do) or get them from the library. This is a premium-price convenience device.
It's the convenience that the Kindle 2 offers that convinced me to buy one. I travel a lot, and the idea of having a library in the form factor of a single paperback is immensely appealing to me. Frankly, I probably would not have purchased a Kindle, if I didn't spend so much time traveling by air with as little luggage as I can get away with.
Plenty of others, including CNET Reviews' David Carnoy, have reviewed the device itself, and I agree with what seems to be the general consensus: the Kindle 2 is easy on the eyes, and the controls seem to work reasonably well.
For reading books, it is a qualitatively different experience from reading on a laptop or a phone. It's not that you can't read on those other devices--in fact, I do it all the time--but the Kindle's e-paper display and long battery life make it far better suited for reading books.
That said, I do believe that we're still in a relatively early stage of this device's evolution. There may or may not be any truth to these specific rumors from Fast Company. (After all, we heard various inaccurate Kindle 2 "leaks" and predictions throughout much of last year.) … Read more
Amazon yielded to the inevitable on Friday when it announced (in this statement) that it would no longer enable the text-to-speech feature on its Kindle 2 e-book reader by default; publishers can make the call.
Instead, publishers may enable the text-to-speech feature on a title-by-title basis, if they believe that choice is in their best interest.
I have been sorely tempted to write a response to some of the factually incorrect and even grossly deceitful pieces I've seen written about this issue since the Kindle 2 was launched, but fortunately, Amazon has made that unnecessary. Nevertheless, there are still … Read more
Amazon chose to keep secret from much of the publishing sector the text-to-speech feature built into the Kindle 2.
Instead, Amazon sprung the feature on publishers and the retailer is now taking public-relations hits that it might have avoided if it hadn't been so tight lipped.
Following the debut of the Kindle 2, the 9,000-member Authors Guild claimed text-to-speech created a derivative work and violated copyright. Paul Aiken, the guild's executive director said many publishers were also angered over the speech function, adding that Amazon never consulted beforehand with either of those groups. Amazon responded Friday by … Read more
There were two very interesting pieces of news to come out in the last week related to the availability of relational databases in the cloud. One involved a start-up you have almost certainly never heard of, and the other involves a major player in on-premise database products.
The first was an announcement to the crowd at "Whose Cloud is It Anyway?"--a "roundtable and meet-up" sponsored by TechCrunch, held Friday on Microsoft's Mountain View, Calif., campus.
(Charles Cooper has more on the "roundtable" portion of the program. My favorite part of the afternoon was the fun comment by Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff; he noted the irony of hosting a cloud-computing meeting at the facilities of the vendor most disrupted by the trend.)
During the "pitch" section of the afternoon, Justin Santa Barbara of start-up FathomDB announced that the company has released to beta testing a sort of virtual managed hosting service for "standard relational databases" running on Amazon.com's Elatic Compute Cloud, or EC2, service. (There is a video of the afternoon's pitches; FathomDB starts at about 49:30.)
The start-up's current service simply allows someone to get a basic relational database management system, or RDBMS, instance (initially MySQL) up and running in minutes under its management, with services including creation, monitoring, and backup.… Read more
Apparently, Amazon won't fight the publishing industry on the issue of whether the Kindle 2's text-to-speech function violates copyright.
The retailer, which makes the popular Kindle electronic-book reader, announced late Friday that the company is modifying systems to allow authors and publishers to decide whether to enable Kindle's text-to-speech function on a per-title basis.
Amazon began its press release with tough talk. "Kindle 2's experimental text-to-speech feature is legal," Amazon wrote. "No copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given."
But then the company says: "… Read more
I woke up this morning to a special deal from Amazon.com on a TomTom GPS device. While its one-day, 33 percent discount almost certainly has nothing to do with Microsoft's announcement that it is suing TomTom for eight counts of patent infringement, the appearance of Amazon trying to clear its inventory of the TomTom One-S couldn't have better comic timing:
I don't want to prey upon TomTom's misfortunes, however. I'm going to be waiting for the "75 percent off" sale next week. :-)
Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.
Executives at the Authors Guild say the text-to-speech feature in Amazon's Kindle 2 could hurt sales of audio books. Not all of the experts agree, including the guild's.
Andy Aaron, an expert on text-to-speech technology, recently commented in an interview about how much such systems have advanced. In an op-ed piece published Tuesday in the The New York Times titled "The Kindle Swindle?" Roy Blount Jr., president of the Authors Guild, used Aaron's quotes to support his argument that the Kindle's voice feature could threaten the future of audio books.
But when asked to … Read more
This was originally posted at ZDNet's Between the Lines.
Roy Blount Jr., president of the Author's Guild, argues that the Kindle 2's ability to read text aloud like one of those automated customer service robots is a substitute for audio books. Blount also adds that Amazon should be paying audio rights for the Kindle 2's text-to-audio feature.
In The New York Times, Blount writes:
The Kindle 2 is a portable, wireless, paperback-size device onto which people can download a virtual library of digitalized titles. Amazon sells these downloads, and where the books are under copyright, it pays royalties to the authors and publishers.
As someone who spends most of his day on the computer, I need to do everything I can to keep myself entertained. Sometimes, that manifests itself in games and other times I find entertainment on the Web through online music services.
For years, I used Pandora, the song-discovery service powered by the Music Genome Project, and loved every minute of it. But over the past couple months, things have changed and I've quickly started to dedicate all my music time to MySpace Music.
The reasons why are numerous, but I should first note that I've got some issue with the service. First off, it's inundated with ads, and no matter where you go, you can bet that any MySpace Music page will be flanked by blinking advertisements or other unwelcome additions that detract somewhat from an otherwise outstanding service.
I should also mention that MySpace Music doesn't allow its users to share playlists, which is a bit annoying. You also can't have it "on-the-go" nearly as easily as you can with a site like Pandora, which offers a mobile app for those who want to hear music while away from their computer.
Other than that, though, I simply love MySpace Music. It's the single reason why my love affair with Pandora is over and it's my first destination when I want to listen to music while I work. Simply put, it's outstanding.
Songs, songs, songs As much as I enjoy the discovery engine on Pandora, I'd much rather have the option to build my own playlist of songs and listen to only those titles I want to hear. That's a luxury I really don't have on Pandora, but it's the backbone of what makes MySpace Music great.
MySpace Music currently offers millions (yes, millions) of songs from artists ranging from the popular, like Britney Spears and Bruce Springsteen, to the obscure, like Deerhunter. And unlike most services in the space… Read more