Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Google settles book-scan lawsuit

From Wired:

"The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and Google have announced a settlement in a 2005 lawsuit over its book-scanning project.

Google will pay $125 million to resolve claims by authors and publishers and to pay legal fees, as well as create a Book Rights Registry where copyright holders can register works to get a cut of Internet ad revenue and online book sales.

The agreement will also make many in-copyright, out-of-print books available for readers in the U.S. to search, preview and buy online. And instead of small snippets, copyright protected books will now have 20 percent of the content available for preview.
    “What makes this settlement so powerful is that in addition to being able to find and preview books more easily, users will also be able to read them,” writes David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, and Chief Legal Officer of Google. “If a reader in the U.S. finds an in-copyright book through Google Book Search, he or she will be able to pay to see the entire book online.”
The Partner Program will not be affected, said Drummond, but partners can now also profit from those who choose to read full, digital versions of their books online."

50,000 lb gorilla hiding in plain sight

Gartner confirms the growing importance of open source software stating, "...by 2012, more than 90 per cent of enterprises will use open source in direct or embedded forms". Open source promoters dispute the Gartner claims as too conservative. Promoters also feel Gartner has drastically underestimated the pervasiveness of open source. A discussion of the Gartner report can be found here.

The Standish Group, with no apparent irony, released a $1,000 per copy report this week that names open source software as the utlimate in disruptive technology. It states, "...if open-source products and services were calculated at commercial prices, open source as a whole would be equivalent to the largest software company in the world, with revenues exceeding the combined income of Microsoft, Oracle and Computer Associates." If you don't have $1,000 to pony up for the report, you can read about it here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Buisness Requirements are Bull%^*#

This is an absolutely spot-on blogpost by Steve Yegge skewering traditional product development processes. It is highly entertaining, if a bit blue. Well worth a read for those of us challenged with bringing innovative products to market.
When big organizations sit down to design new products, they put in huge amounts of time obsessing about who the users are and how to meet those people’s needs. One common practice—strongly identified with Microsoft—is inventing some fictional “real people” who are going to be the users, giving them names and personalities and strengths and weaknesses, then reasoning about product features in terms of how these people will react to them and use them.

All of which mostly doesn’t work. Most successful innovative new products aren’t produced by large organizations, they’re cooked up by little startups or, if in a big company, by guerrilla groups in skunkworks mode.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Librarian fined $500 for plugging daughter's book

For 39 years as an educator, Robert Grandt has been promoting other people’s books. So this year, when his daughter helped create a graphic novel of Macbeth of which he was mighty proud, Mr. Grandt could not resist bragging a little in the newsletter he distributes as librarian at Brooklyn Technical High School.

He also placed a few copies of the book at a library display table, and posted a sign: “Best Book Ever Written.” If someone was interested, they got a book free.

On Monday, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board announced it had settled a case it had brought against Mr. Grandt for promoting his daughter’s work. He agreed to pay a $500 fine and admit in a three-page stipulation that he had violated the city ethics code.

Thanks to BoingBoing

Story here

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Speed reading applications

is a website-based speed reading application that uses Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) to present a document to the reader a single word at a time at a speed determined by the application settings. Unlike normal reading this simple system frees our brain from the work of positioning the eyes word by word and keeping track of the point reached, mechanical operations which normally limit our reading speed. With iReadFast our brain can focus on the text comprehension because scanning the words is now work of the program (no more need to move the eyes) and it is no longer necessary to keep track of the reached point.

For you fellow Mac users, iReadFast is a simple app that you paste text into so it can play it back at a speed you set. iReadFast simply flashes the text, one word at a time, in a single screen. Sound seizure-inducing? Maybe, but it also saves your eyes work.

I am up to 750 WPM with no loss in comprehension!

Exploratree - an interactive thinking tool

Exploratree is a free web resource where you can access a library of ready-made interactive thinking guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups too.

It provides a series of ready-made interactive 'thinking guides' or 'frameworks' which can support students' projects and research. Thinking guides support the thinking or working through of an issue, topic or question and help to shape, define and focus an idea and also support the planning required to investigate it further. Exploratree guides can be used as a basis for whole class discussion, or emailed to individuals or groups to complete. They can also be used as a presentation tool to share your findings and thinking with others. As well as providing a set of ready to use thinking guides, which are completely customisable and shareable, Exploratree also enables teachers and students to create their own simply and easily.

Friday, October 10, 2008

They love to fly and it shows

Here's one of those interesting sites with information we'd have a very difficult time finding without the Internet. Ever wonder what uniforms are worn by Oman Air flight attendants, need to see a Delta uniform from 1975 looks like (what's with that scarf?) or just wondering if the uniforms in a movie are accurate? They're here! What a fascinating collection! Kudos and thanks to Cliff Muskiet, flight attendant and aviation enthusiast

Thursday, October 09, 2008

home library

Well, it's not your average home library! What an amazing space, amazing collection -just amazing! It's the library of
Jay Walker, founder of Walker Digital. Way beyond your wildest dreams for a personal library. Did I say it was amazing?!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Revamped Google Blog Search

Google has retooled it's Google Blog Search page.

No longer limited to either "searching" for a blog by topic or viewing just =what is in your RSS feeds, Google blog search is set up much like the Google news search with... well here are their words:

..."Adapting some of the technology pioneered by Google News, we're now showing categories on the left side of the website and organizing the blog posts within those categories into clusters..."

Facets and clusters... sounds familiar somehow... hmmm... like PRIMO!