I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm: A trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill.
Lifehacker: "One of the more annoying things about Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon's television streaming libraries is the vast difference between the selection available. It would be almost impossible to get a thorough idea of who has the better library without searching for hundreds of TV shows on each service and comparing them manually. So we did just that." [more inside]
A new iteration of the august tradition of fictional Amazon.com product reviews has arrived: The 2-in-1iPotty Activity Seat for iPad. (scroll down for reviews)
I am working at the new Amazon fulfillment center in Haslet, Texas as a seasonal, part-time picker. It is winter. We aren’t workers here: we are associates. It is a job that I can do hung-over and high and I can make just enough money here to technically have my own apartment, a place to store all my empty beer cans and all my crumpled Taco Cabana wrappers and all my stacks of shitty sci-fi novels. - Fulfillment
Waterstones announces their Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, a brand new way to receive your favourite books. Per the FAQ: Q. Isn’t this just what they did in Harry Potter? A: Yes, this is exactly what they did in Harry Potter. You’re asking that as if this is a bad thing
Cloud services that power email and other technologies we use each day are themselves massive energy consumers. Gigaom reporters have written a pair of in-depth articles about efforts by Amazon and Apple to build infrastructure and source their own energy.
Ex-Amazon employee Eugene Wei on Amazon's "profitless business model" fallacy, and why the claims that Amazon is not profitable are fundamentally wrong. "If Amazon has so many businesses that do make a profit, then why is it still showing quarterly losses, and why has even free cash flow decreased in recent years? Because Amazon has boundless ambition. It wants to eat global retail. This is one area where the press and pundits accept Amazon's statements at face value. Given that giant mission, Amazon has decided to continue to invest to arm itself for a much larger scale of business. If it were purely a software business, its fixed cost investments for this journey would be lower, but the amount of capital required to grow a business that has to ship millions of packages to customers all over the world quickly is something only a handful of companies in the world could even afford." Wei also previously touched on this in Amazon, Apple, and the beauty of low margins.
The Secrets of Bezos: How Amazon Became the Everything Store, Brad Stone (Businessweek) "Amazon’s culture is notoriously confrontational, and it begins with Bezos, who believes that truth shakes out when ideas and perspectives are banged against each other. Wilke and his colleagues argued that lubricants were available in supermarkets and drugstores and were not that embarrassing. They also pointed out that Amazon generated a significant volume of sales with such e-mails. Bezos didn’t care; no amount of revenue was worth jeopardizing customer trust. “Who in this room needs to get up and shut down the channel?” he snapped." [more inside]
"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized." Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
PayPal locked down the developer’s account, and said it could only have 50% of the funds. The rest would be released as development continued, based on PayPal’s assessment of the situation. PayPal was, essentially, going to become a producer going forward. Crowdfunding's Secret Enemy is PayPal
Something or someone is building tiny towers and fences in the Peruvian Amazon. And nobody knows who, or what they are, or why they're being built.
Amazon has announced that "MatchBook" will launch in October, allowing you to buy Kindle versions of select physical books you've purchased from Amazon, for $2.99 or less. The service will be retroactive to 1995. Reactions from TechHive, Time, and Engadget.
The son of a Yanomami tribeswoman returns to the jungle to look for her. David Good is the child of an American anthropologist and the Yanomami woman he married while doing field research in the remote Amazon rainforest. Raised in the US, he returns to find his mother. [may be nsfw - images of unclothed tribespeople]
Launching my first product :
Brand, Make, Sell Sell, Make, Brand
President Obama visited an Amazon facility in Tennessee today giving a speech proposing a "grand bargain for middle-class jobs" that would cut the U.S. corporate tax rate and use billions of dollars in revenues generated by a business tax overhaul to fund projects aimed at creating jobs. The American Booksellers Association is not happy about the visit and called him out on it.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has found that Apple conspired with publishers to fix the prices of ebooks. Publishers Weekly describes Apple's defeat as "a major blow". Writing before the ruling, Roger Parloff at Fortune Tech delved into Apple's "agency model" for ebook sales and noted that Amazon's business model is "the missing piece... of this jigsaw puzzle". Philip Elmer-Dewitt reviews Judge Cote's findings. (Review the decision and other trial information yourself here.) Michael Clarke at Scholarly Kitchen explains why he considers this a loss for the public.
The Problem with Wonder Woman - An iconic DC superhero on the level of Batman and Superman, her potential remains competitively untapped. Can Grant Morrison And Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One Help? Or is Perez’ Wonder Woman the Gold standard?
The last mile of logistics in getting food from the warehouse into the consumer's house is getting exciting. Schwan's has a very large delivery area for quite awhile, but only with frozen food. Amazon Fresh has expanded to L.A. Safeway is expanding quickly too. Peapod has been in this space for awhile but hasn't expanded very far. But sometimes, you just need a Whopper delivered. Daily milk delivery doesn't seem to be on the radar.
Embrace the mystery: Is repeat viewing the best way to approach complex TV?
Amazon introduces Kindle Worlds, allowing fanfic authors to profit from works based on settings and characters not their own. Kindle Worlds is set to roll out this summer. Don't dust off your classic Kirk/Spock opus just yet, though - at this point they're only working with properties owned by Warner Brothers' Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries). [more inside]
Franco believes that governments must increase efforts to preserve indigenous cultures. “The Indians represent a special culture, and resistance to the world,” argues the historian, who has spent three decades researching isolated tribes in Colombia. Martínez says that the Indians have a unique view of the cosmos, stressing “the unity of human beings with nature, the interconnectedness of all things.” It is a philosophy that makes them natural environmentalists, since damage to the forest or to members of one tribe, the Indians believe, can reverberate across society and history with lasting consequences. “They are protecting the jungle by chasing off gold miners and whoever else goes in there,” Franco says. He adds: “We must respect their decision not to be our friends—even to hate us.”
"..it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski, a leader of the team that built Amazon's first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” [more inside]
"It's become a tradition among Amazon users: Find the stupidest products for sale on the site, and write sarcastically glowing reviews of them. The examples are legendary: the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt, of course, and also Bic for Her pens. Now, the latest idiotic product to get a ceremonial roasting is the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, a little plastic gizmo that lets you "slice an entire banana with one quick motion." Universally panned as something completely unnecessary, the product is thus being faux-celebrated as a milestone of human invention." [more inside]
The social book site Goodreads has been acquired by Amazon. Many members are upset and uncertain what this means for site which has relied on members to do the work of building and maintaining their database. Amazon already owns Shelfari and has a 40% stake in LibraryThing, two competing sites.
"Hi, my name is Paul Rosolie. I'm a naturalist based out of southern Peru and today I'm headed into the jungle to show you a place that very few people have gotten to see. I'm in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, this is the far western Amazon and some of the deepest jungle on earth."
How Napoleon Chagnon Became Our Most Controversial Anthropologist. "Jaguars and anacondas are impressive adversaries — 'Indiana Jones had nothing on me,' Napoleon Chagnon says — but his staunchest foes are other anthropologists."
Twitter is experimenting with online shopping: "American Express card holders who connect their card numbers to their Twitter accounts can post on Twitter to trigger a purchase of select products, including discounted American Express gift cards, Kindle Fire tablets from Amazon.com Inc. and jewelry from designer Donna Karan. The program will roll out over the next few days." [more inside]
Last December Amazon blocked sales of the Ebook Spots the Space Marine by author M.C.A. Hogarth after a notice from gaming industry powerhouse Games Workshop that they had trademarked the phrase "Space Marine" and that Hogarth, and anyone else who uses it, is infringing. GW brought this complaint based on "Class 16" of their European tradmark. [more inside]
Amazon contemplating the used ebook market. But will they still have used book coffee rings on the pages? [more inside]
A ten-day trip to the Mato Grosso do Sul to take pictures of anacondas worked out quite well for nature photographer Franco Banfi. (Videos from a similar expedition in 2010.)
Amazon just announced AutoRip, a service to provide MP3 versions of any song you buy on CD from their store. That's all well and good, but the kicker is that "Amazon is retroactively giving free MP3s to any customer who has purchased an AutoRip compatible CD since its Music Store first opened in 1998". Looks like I'll be knee deep in Blink 182, Cake, and The Spin Doctors again.
The International Consumer Electronics Show has been hosted in some form or fashion since 1967. But with the absence of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, journalists are asking if the show is still relevant.
The customer reviews on Amazon.co.uk's Veet For Men Hair Removal Gel Creme are not for the fainthearted. "Being a loose cannon who does not play by the rules the first thing I did..."
An explanation of how hard it is to boycott Amazon, even when you are an organisation calling for the boycott of corporations like Amazon While the organisation UK Uncut is calling for the boycotting of organisations that don't pay their fair share of tax, even they are using Amazon (though Amazon is not a company currently listed on their website, it is one of the most talked about in the UK for not paying corporation tax) The first linked article goes beyond the technical aspects of Amazon and cloud hosting and talks about a re-analysis of capitalism.
Released today: the top Google searches of 2012. Also, the top Google searches in the UK. Hungry for more "Best of 2012" collections? Curious about "best of" versus "most popular"? There's much [more inside]
"Every time I run [Amazon Random Shopper], I give it a set budget, say $50. It grabs a random word ... then runs an Amazon search based on that word. It then looks for every paperback book, CD, and DVD in the results list, and buys the first thing that’s under budget."
Five years ago today Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com released the Amazon Kindle, a move that would revolutionize the publishing industry. While often controversial, most recently for its international tax avoidance schemes, Amazon has been very successful and has made millions for its founder. What has Bezos done with some of his tax-free millions? Well for one, he launched and landed a rocket vertically, and posted the video to YouTube, just yesterday. [more inside]
The book publishing world is merging into behemoths in order to better negotiate with Amazon. Rupert Murdoch (HarperCollins) has made an offer to buy Penguin for $1.6 billion. This just hours after Penguin said it was in talks to merge with Random House to create a 'Random Penguin' with nearly 25% of all English-language book sales. Either way the reputation of Penguin could soon be in tatters. As one agent said, "Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one."
Outlawed by Amazon DRM: A couple of days ago, my friend Linn sent me an e-mail, very frustrated: Amazon just closed her account and wiped her Kindle. Without notice. Without explanation. Leaving her without recourse. [via] [more inside]
Following much speculation Amazon has refreshed the hardware for it's Kindle range, including the Kindle Paperwhite (featuring a "flattened out fibreoptic display") and an updated version of the sold out Kindle Fire and a new 8.9 Inch Kindle Fire HD. Earlier Kobo announced their new range, including a Kindle Fire like tablet. Between this, speculation that the Surface RT will have an astonishingly low price and rumors of a 7" iPad coming soon (probably to be announced sometime after Apple's September 12th iPhone 5 event) is the window of opportunity for stock Android tablets closing?
Netflix has open sourced tools it uses for load balancing and failure management with Amazon Web Services . They plan to release more tools in the future. They are on Github.
RJ Ellory's secret Amazon reviews anger rivals. [guardian.co.uk] "Crime bestseller caught using sock puppets to trash colleagues and hymn his own 'magnificent' work." Under the pseudonym "Nicodemus Jones":
"All I will say is that there are paragraphs and chapters that just stopped me dead in my tracks," he wrote. "Some of it was chilling, some of it raced along, some of it was poetic and langorous and had to be read twice and three times to really appreciate the depth of the prose … it really is a magnificent book."
A blogger records a blow-by-blow account of how an author tries to use social media to 'correct' bad reviews of her book. [more inside]
I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day's tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack.
But now, Bic has saved me! With these easy-to-manage lady pens, I too can record my grocery lists and the agenda for my weekly sewing circle! Yes, that's right; due to these pens' soft grips and lightweight build, even my useless, made-from-porcelain hands can manage to wield them. And what's more, their sweet and rosy color palette is soft on my frail lady eyes! It really is a dream come true!