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Intelligent conversation

At the end of this story on LISNEWS - The End for Old Greenwich's Just Books - there is this question - Who can you have an intelligent conversation with at Amazon.com?

For some reason the comments on the story do not seem to be active.

So if we were going to have an intelligent conversation with Amazon what would be said?

Masked Protesters Aid Time Warner’s Bottom Line

Time Warner owns the rights to a Guy Fawkes mask and is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask worn by members of the hacker group Anonymous.

See story:
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/technology/index.html

How The A&P Changed The Way We Shop

Book: The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America

Story on NPR about book: How The A&P Changed The Way We Shop

Excerpt from NPR piece: "You'd ask for a certain weight of cheese, you'd ask for vinegar," says economic historian Marc Levinson. "The vinegar was not bottled; it was in a barrel and the shopkeeper would pump it out into a small jar for you. If you wanted some pickles, they'd be in a barrel, too. A lot of things would be in bulk, and the shopkeeper was responsible for giving you the quantity you wanted — or the quantity he'd feel like giving you. Because every store had a scale and the scale might or might not be accurate." -- Read More

'Player One': A Winning, Geeked-Out Page-Turner

Ready Player One

Book review on NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/22/139760489/player-one-a-winning-geeked-out-page-turner

Excerpt from review:
If you grew up in the 1980s and resided anywhere on the nerd-geek spectrum, all it takes is the right Rush or Genesis song to bring you back to the video arcade. This was before video games became visually stunning and able to be controlled just by waving your hand in the air. Back then, gaming consoles were behemoths with perpetually sticky buttons, and the game-play usually involved some variation on moving a dot around while shooting dots at differently colored dots.

It might not sound like much, but if you're the right age, the feeling of nostalgia can be almost overwhelming. Those arcade games, and those fond memories, are the subject of Ernest Cline's unapologetically nerdy debut novel, Ready Player One. The narrative takes place 30 years into the future, but — to quote Lou Reed's song "Down at the Arcade" — "its heart's in 1984."

Our Plugged-in Summer

Instead of avoiding the Internet while we were on vacation, my family and I made good use of it, and it rewarded us in many ways.

See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/fashion/this-life-a-plugged-in-summer.html?_r=1&ref=techno...

Amazon Cracks Down on Some E-Book ‘Publishers’

Amazon seems to be cranking down on duplicative e-book publishing.

See:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/amazon-cracks-down-on-some-e-book-publishers/?ref=t...

What to read

Picture on Flickr commenting on books. See: http://bit.ly/oPayUg

Articles

Why Did Facebook Buy an e-Book Publisher?

Facebook announced Tuesday that it was acquiring Push Pop Press, an interactive digital e-book publisher, although Facebook said it did not plan to enter the book industry.

Link: http://nyti.ms/rbrMr4

Using the Cube To Bring Back the Book
A nonprofit group is planning to build custom-designed portable reading rooms in New York and Boston starting this fall, provided they can meet a fundraising goal by August. 15.

The Uni Project, a brainchild of Street Lab, aims to create "an institution in a box" that will complement the work of libraries and community centers. The lightweight modular structure will bring books and various programs to public spaces and underserved neighborhoods.

On its website, the group explains that it wants to provide librarians and others with a new way to showcase what they offer by using a more flexible and less expensive institutional framework.

"And the best part, once we fabricate this lightweight infrastructure, we can keep it running, serve multiple locations, and even replicate it," said Leslie Davol, who is a co-director of the project along with Sam Davol.

Full article: http://bit.ly/rsq8KC

OverDrive CEO drops hint that Kindle library lending launches in September
See: http://bit.ly/q86i8a

Netflix Sees Angry Clients Cutting Profit

Reaction to a price increase for DVDs by mail is expected to affect revenue for the third quarter.

Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/business/media/netflix-lowers-outlook-citing-disgruntled-c...

Life Itself: A Memoir (Roger Ebert)

Life Itself: A Memoir

Roger Ebert is the best-known film critic of our time. He has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and was the first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. He has appeared on television for four decades, including twenty-three years as cohost of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies.

In 2006, complications from thyroid cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career.

Roger Ebert's journalism carried him on a path far from his nearly idyllic childhood in Urbana, Illinois. It is a journey that began as a reporter for his local daily, and took him to Chicago, where he was unexpectedly given the job of film critic for the Sun-Times, launching a lifetime's adventures. -- Read More

900 Kindle books on sale

Through July 27 Amazon has 900 books Kindle books for sale from .99 - $3.99

See: http://amzn.to/nYtb6H

U.S. to Close 800 Computer Data Centers

Analysts estimate that thousands of jobs will be eliminated with the federal government’s plan to shut 40 percent of its computer centers over the next four years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/technology/us-to-close-800-computer-data-centers.html?_r=1...

The Price of Typos

Some readers like to see portraits of authors they admire, study their personal histories or hear them read aloud. I like to know whether an author can spell. Nabokov spelled beautifully. Fitzgerald was crummy at spelling, bedeviled by entry-level traps like “definate.” Bad spellers, of course, can be sublime writers and good spellers punctilious duds. But it’s still intriguing that Fitzgerald, for all his gifts, didn’t perceive the word “finite” in definite, the way good spellers automatically do. Did this oversight color his impression of infinity? Infinaty?

Bad spellers are a breed apart from good ones. A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled tends to see through the words he encounters — straight to the things, characters, ideas, images and emotions they conjure. A good speller, by contrast — the kind who never fails to clock the idiosyncratic orthography of “algorithm” or “Albert Pujols” — tends to see language as a system. Good spellers are often drawn to poetry and wordplay, while bad spellers, for whom language is a conduit and not an end in itself, can excel at representation and reportage.

Full piece: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/the-price-of-typos/

Cities Report Surge in Graffiti

An upturn in graffiti nationwide has renewed debates about whether its glorification contributes to urban blight or is a sign of despair in a struggling economy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/us/19graffiti.html?hp

How Bible Stories Evolved Over The Centuries

Story on NPR

Scholars at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary have spent 11 years combing through early New Testament manuscripts, looking at how they've evolved over the centuries. And what they found may surprise some believers.

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/17/138281522/how-bible-stories-evolved-over-the-centuries

Why Netflix Raised Its Prices

Pogue at NYT has this piece on Netflix: Why Netflix Raised Its Prices

Netflix Raises Price of DVD and Online Movies Package by 60%

Netflix advertised the change as a new choice for consumers, but thousands of the company’s customers complained online.

Full article

I do not have cable so I make a lot of use of my Netflix account. I have the $9.99 plan that allows for one DVD in the mail and unlimited streaming. If you mail back the one DVD in a timely manner you can get 3-4 DVDs in the mail each month in addition to the streaming.

It is this plan that is going to $16. I think I am going to shut down my DVD by mail and use the $7.99 streaming only option. I easily watch ten things per month on the streaming that I find useful. At under $1 per viewing I think it is worthwhile. Do wish that Netflix had not messed with the $9.99 plan that allowed both streaming and DVD by mail. I will use Redbox at $1 per movie to subsidize what I cannot get from Netflix streaming.

Plus for libraries: There are going to be movies that are not available via streaming. Netflix is clearly pushing people more towards the streaming model. This will leave a pocket of movies that are harder to get hold of. Libraries may have an opportunity to fill this niche.

THE VISIONARY

A digital pioneer questions what technology has wrought

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/07/11/110711fa_fact_kahn#ixzz1Rx...

You cannot read the full article without a subscription. Don't have a subscription? Consider going to the library.

Book by Lanier mentioned in article: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Vintage)

You can purchase this issue on Amazon for $3.99.
See: The New Yorker

You can also subscribe for $2.99 per month. It is less than $1 per issue if you subscribe. Amazon has a free 14 day trial for the Kindle version. You could subscribe read the article about Lanier and if unimpressed with the magazine could end your subscription without paying anything. To end the subscription you just click a button in your Amazon settings so you do not have to call or write to cancel.

New Books in Amazon Top 100

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