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Other posts by Chris Meadows

Adblock Plus launches ‘Acceptable Ads’ campaign—but how many people will find any ad ‘acceptable’?
April 3, 2014 | 6:04 am

adblockplusAd-blocking browser plug-in Adblock Plus has released its criteria for “Acceptable Ads.” Though the blog post in which they announce them doesn’t say so, presumably an “Acceptable Ad” is one that Adblock Plus wouldn’t actually block (though the blog post, it should be noted, does not actually mention anything about a willingness on Adblock Plus’s part not to block such ads—which might just be because of one teensy problem with their definitions, which I cover below). These magical criteria are as follow: Acceptable Ads are not annoying. Acceptable Ads do not...

(Nearly) completely open laptop project launches crowdfunded production run
April 3, 2014 | 3:16 am

novena-1068_pledge-bodyIn January, I covered the hardware hackers who had created a design to build a completely open laptop computer from scratch—including designing and building their own custom circuit boards. It didn’t look terribly pretty, and it wasn’t cheap, but the designs were completely open and publicly available to all. They were planning to crowdfund the design and production of a more-streamlined version. At the time, I wondered what the crowdfunded version of the laptop would end up costing. Now we know. Wired reports that the campaign is ready to launch, and these custom machines are anything but cheap. You can purchase...

StoryBundle releases video game book bundle
April 2, 2014 | 7:47 pm

The Humble Indie Bundle started out selling video games, but branched out into e-books down the road. This makes it almost, but not quite, symmetrical that its competitor StoryBundle, who started with e-books all along, has now come out with a bundle of…e-books about video games. The base price for this bundle is $3, which gets you six DRM-free multiformat e-books, mostly non-fiction: How to Do Things With Videogames by Ian Bogost Atari Inc.: Business is Fun by Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel SCROLL: Collection 01-11 by Ray Barnholt...

Dropbox uses file hashes to comply with DMCA requests. So what?
April 2, 2014 | 2:50 am

Surprise! Dropbox has anti-piracy measures in place. You’ve probably seen the stories by now. When you right-click that file on your drive and ask for a public link that you can share so your friend can download it, Dropbox runs a hash on the file—it basically takes the file’s fingerprint by assigning a specific character to particular bits. If it finds that hash matches a list of hashes that have been declared verboten by DMCA request, it tells you that you can’t share it. (Likewise, it hashes files so that it can save space by only storing one copy of...

Beware the First of April!
March 31, 2014 | 6:26 pm

The dark time is upon us once again. Tomorrow marks April Fool’s Day. (In fact, in some parts of the world it’s April 1 already.) Remember to be careful believing and sharing what you read for the next few days until the joke posts age off the pages. If it seems too good (or too terrible) to be true, it probably is. (That said, Google’s AFD prank this year is as funny as usual. Google has a great knack for coming up with hilarious “pranks” there’s no way you’ll think are true.) And do try to catch some of...

Book editors really do edit books. Really! They’ll tell you so themselves!
March 30, 2014 | 3:18 am

find-an-editor1What does it say about what people think of you if you have to write a lengthy editorial insisting that, no, really, you actually do do your job? That’s how a piece by book editor Barry Harbaugh in The New Yorker comes off. Entitled, “Yes, Book Editors Edit,” it insists that, despite Amazon claiming otherwise, book editors at major publishers actually do edit books. The fact that this piece had to be written in the first place possibly says more than does the entire piece itself. Especially since there are just a few problems with it. ...

Amazon doesn’t know it’s supposed to fail
March 29, 2014 | 9:00 am

I happened upon a Bookseller piece by Agent Orange (who I’ve mentioned before) noting that UK publishers have been making a lot of noise about the putative foolishness of Amazon’s plans. It’s funny how they seem to keep doing that, and Amazon never seems to pay any attention, isn’t it? Agent Orange notes: It is depressing how often we have been here before. Publishers pour scorn and disregard on Amazon. Amazon presses on with its plans regardless (announcing it is massively expanding in the UK this coming year) and a year or two later publishers discover...

BlackBerry gets injunction against Typo keyboard; plans to refocus on keyboard phones for business
March 29, 2014 | 8:02 am

Here’s an update concerning BlackBerry’s suit against the Typo keyboard, a Bluetooth thumbboard add-on for iPhones (backed by Hollywood’s Ryan Seacrest!) that hewed a little too closely to Blackberry’s own patented keyboard design. Opining that BlackBerry was likely to succeed in the overall trial, a federal judge issued an injunction halting sales of the Typo keyboard case. Meanwhile, BlackBerry has announced it plans to create more keyboard-equipped phones. Given the recent setbacks of its touchscreen devices, and the disappearance of Palm, the only other major smartphone brand to place such a premium on a physical keyboard, it seems BlackBerry...

Judge Cote certifies consumer suits for class action in Apple antitrust case
March 29, 2014 | 7:45 am

Calling it a “paradigmatic antitrust class action,” Judge Denise Cote has granted class-action certification to the consumers whose suit against Apple makes up one third of the intricate bundle of cases she is presiding over in the Apple antitrust trial. (The other two thirds are, of course, the actions brought by the Department of Justice and the state attorneys general.) She also denied Apple’s request to disregard the plaintiff’s damage expert, and threw out the opinions of the experts Apple had consulted in regard to damages. Not many surprises there for anyone who’s been following the trial so far. ...

Genre lines: Why literary writers won’t self-publish
March 29, 2014 | 5:58 am

jetpackI just happened to sit down and read the Robert McCrum article on struggling literary fiction authors that Paul covered earlier this month. It was interesting enough, and I’m don’t think I have substantively anything more to say about the content of the article itself than Paul did. But I was intrigued by a couple of the comments. Paul Bowes suggests that the reason literary writers can’t or don’t want to self-publish is a genre thing. Guardian Books, and the literary world generally, have a tendency to conflate 'writing' with literary fiction: or at least, with literary fiction and the kind of...

Who is more relevant now: BookExpo America or GenCon?
March 28, 2014 | 7:29 pm

avenue-close-up Earlier today, Susan wrote about Book Expo America adding a celebrity author convention this year. I find this interesting, but I wonder what they're trying to prove here. Not many of those celebs are known for being writers; they're celebs who are also writers. (Martin Short? Angelica Huston? Really?) And even the ones who are writers, like Grisham and Stan Lee (who didn’t even write for a book publisher to begin with), became so famous for their writing that now they’re more famous for being famous. Why don’t they just drop all pretense and get Snooki in...

Will Atavist Books really ‘revolutionize book publishing’?
March 26, 2014 | 8:19 am

sleepdonationPolicyMic has an article looking at a “digital platform that’s about to revolutionize book publishing.” I have my doubts. The platform is actually none other than The Atavist, which we’ve covered a few times since it was launched a couple of years back. It started out as a multimedia-enabled e-magazine for long-form journalism, which it still largely is. But it’s decided to bring its multimedia and interactivity chops to the world of books, too, by publishing an interactive, web-enabled version of a fiction book first, then bringing out a “hybrid” print book—“a paperback with the production quality of a...